Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Hipsters, beats, and raconteurs

September 26, 2016

Zippy has recently run through a series of five strips on these characters, with capsule biographies: Harry “The Hipster” Gibson (9/19), proto-beatnik Lord Buckley (9/20), jazz dj Symphony Sid (9/21), radio monologuist Gene Shepherd (9/22), and beatniks in general (9/23). The series:


The Antichrist

September 26, 2016

At a Palo Alto Sacred Harp singing last month, someone called #548, Ainslie, a contemplation on death, with the first two verses:

1 The time is swiftly rolling on
When I must faint and die;
My body to the dust return,
And there forgotten lie.

2 Let persecution rage around,
And Antichrist appear;
My silent dust beneath the ground;
There’s no disturbance there.

Several singers were startled to see Antichrist in the text. Now, there is a vein of Sacred Harp songs with hallucinatory text from the book of Revelation, but this text is nothing like that, so it was something of a puzzle.

But… there is a resource, the excellent Sacred Harp Concordance (1992, keyed to the 1991 edition of the book). There, we discovered not one, but three, songs with Antichrist in them. Well, three settings of the very same text (with the first two verses above), in which nothing whatsoever, not even the appearance of the Antichrist at the End of Times, will disturb the silence of the singer’s remains.


Another curiosity shelf

September 18, 2016

A while back, a photo of some shelves of small oddities, treasures, and art works. And now, thanks to Kim Darnell, another photo, of some other shelves:


An ivory carving; four lovely boxes, of different types; each housing little treasures; a beanbag playpus with Jacques’s Columbus Park of Roses badge; and the centerpiece, the printing plate for #99 (Gospel Trumpet) in the 1991 Sacred Harp, a gift to me from my fellow shapenote singers years ago (thank you especially, Chris Thorman), when printing moved from hot lead to photographic reproduction on computers — one of the most moving presents I’ve ever gotten, a recognition that this fugung tune was one of “my songs” (sometimes sung in my honor when I couldn’t make it to a singing).



September 16, 2016

Caught in passing on a tv show, a character talking about cop-talk:

Hinky? That’s not even a word!

Like every other cry of “That’s not a word!”, this one is bullshit.

Start with the very short story, from NOAD2:

US informal (of a person) dishonest or suspect: he knew the guy was hinky. (of an object) unreliable: my brakes are a little hinky. ORIGIN 1950s: of obscure origin


Toucan, get what you need

September 12, 2016

Ok, a lame pun on the line from the Rolling Stones’ song “You can’t always get what you want”(from their 1969 album Let It Bleed), here with reference to what we know in my household as the Toucan Bowl:


The Stones song; toucans; and the Toucan Bowl.


Breaking bad

September 12, 2016

Today’s One Big Happy is mostly about Ruthie’s mistaking femur (a genuinely rare word) for fever (a common one):

But there’s also a crucial ambiguity in the verb break.


Julian and Sandy

September 9, 2016

(Some coarse sexual slang, so it might not be to everyone’s taste.)

From the August issue (pp. 37-39) of The Advocate, “Speaking Lavender” by Chadwick Moore, about Bill Leap and the Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conferences (Lav Lgs 23 in February 2016 at American University, Washington DC; Lav Lgs 24 in April 2017 at the University of Nottingham (UK)), with the subtitle: “From Regency England to 1920s Harlem to Miss Piggy, gay vernacular has given voice to homosexual identity and desire in a hostile world. It still does.” and a section on Polari (and its scholar and champiom Paul Baker). Eventually the story leads us to the campy queens Julian and Sandy, and from there by sound associations to the remarkable entertainment (also campy) Façade, uniting the playful poetry of Edith Sitwell and the music of William Walton, notably in the “Valse” / “Waltz” movement beginning “Daisy and Lily”.


How sweet the daphne smells

September 7, 2016

… and how poisonous it is.

A birthday present from Chris Waigl (plants and poetry, with something of an Edward Gorey twist) , this note:

I was thinking of you the other day when I remembered a little (somewhat twee) poem my mother liked. It’s from a German humorous herbarium (the book is called Heiteres Herbarium [‘Bright/Cheerful Herbarium’]) by someone with the extraordinarily Bavarian name Karl Heinrich Waggerl. The book’s still in copyright [and is described as lyric poetry], so there doesn’t seem to be much online. Apparently, it sold extremely well for a book of, at least on the surface, poetry.
The poem I was thinking of was about the pretty, traditionally medicinally used (and quite poisonous) Seidelbast (Daphne mezereum). Not native to the Americas and therefore not much talked about here. It has a ton (dozens) of common names in German. I knew it as Zeiland in Austria and Lorbeerkraut (lit. laurel herb) at home. Much lore and warnings. The poem is a warning, too, with a quasi-moral level of meaning and at the same time a … rhyme at the end that marks it as jocular.


Waltzing with Boynton bears

September 6, 2016

Posted on Facebook today by Steve Otlowski, this Sandra Boynton illustration of two bears dancing together by the light of the moon:

Clearly the bears that Uncle Walter went waltzing with. Wa-wa-wa-waltzing.


Two OBHs

September 4, 2016

Two recent One Big Happy strips, one with Joe updating a nursery rhyme (with Ruthie’s help), one with Ruthie once again in the Land of Ambiguity: