Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Come a long way, long way still to go

September 24, 2020

Things have improved, but still we’re far from the goal (and there are constant threats to take back the gains). The hymn for this time begins:

Lift ev’ry voice and sing
‘Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
… Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on ’til victory is won

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Marrow among the courgettes

September 19, 2020

(This moves pretty quickly to men’s genitals, so it’s not appropriate for kids or the sexually modest.)

From the distinguished phonetician John Wells (in England — the England part is significant) on 9/18, this garden photo, with John’s caption:


(#1) Look carefully, and you’ll see a big marrow hiding underneath the courgette.

A FB reader (since I’m not sure about privacy protections, I won’t use their name) then wrote:

[A] Oh what a beauty

to which John replied

[B] …never seen one as big as that before!

taking us right into the world of sexual double entendres having to do with penis size. I admired the move (John and I are both openly gay, and that too is significant), and John delicately provided me with the source of the A – B sequence; it’s a famous quote from BBC comedy.

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Waiting for my man

September 16, 2020

(Men’s bodies and sex between men, in street language, totally not for kids or the sexually modest.)

He’s never early, he’s always late
First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait
I’m waiting for my man

(from Lou Reed’s “I’m Waiting for the Man”)

Today’s Daily Jocks ad, for a jockstraps sale, has yet another model posed as offering himself for anal intercourse, something of a DJ specialty; these ads show really handsome male buttocks, minimally clothed, and right up against the line with porn. In today’s case, I’ve chosen to spin a whole sex story (in free verse, as a caption) about the man in the ad. Under the fold.

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Cocktail music

September 15, 2020

Today’s morning name. Lounge music for the cocktail hour.


(#1) DJNTV’s (Disc Jockey News TV) Mobile Music with DJ Jason Jones features mobile DJs from around the country who are playing weddings, schools and bars to find out how and what they play and when they play it.

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All they will call you will be “escapees”

September 13, 2020

Well, maybe also “escapers”, or even “escapettes”, as in this One Big Happy cartoon from 8/17, which taps into a much-studied phenomenon in English morphology:

(#1)

From my 1/9/15 posting “-ee” (warning: this goes, unavoidably, pretty deep into the technical weeds of syntax and semantics):

The great resource on [the English derivational suffix] –ee is a 1998 paper by Chris Barker in Language (74.695-727), “Episodic -ee in English: A thematic role constraint on new word formation” (stable URL here), which uses a database of “fifteen hundred naturally occurring tokens of some five hundred word types” to analyze the semantics of the suffix; it also has a full bibliography of relevant literature on the subject.

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Red Löbster Cult

September 9, 2020

The band name in today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a cute play on Blue Öyster Cult (if you don’t know about Blue Öyster Cult, then the cartoon will be pretty much of a mystery to you):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

A band of lobsters. They have an umlaut. They have cowbell.

It’s all an elaborate play on BÖC.

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The post-celebratory day

September 7, 2020

The fourth installment in the story of my 80th birthday. The core of the story:

The day itself was quiet but pleasant (though I refused to go out of the house for any purpose, since it was a goddamn oven out there). Kim Darnell brought me a large assortment of salmon-based sushi, plus a collection of tartlets, mostly with fruit — enough for two substantial meals, the second of which was my breakfast today. Mostly I spent yesterday responding to birthday wishes, of which there were many hundreds. I know an awful lot of people.

A surprising development was that for this birthday I got not one, but three (different) Jacquie Lawson ecards (charming brief animations developing a scene or story, accompanied by music, usually classical music). Details below.

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Celebratory day

September 6, 2020

Today, September 6th, is both National Coffee Ice Cream Day — my favorite flavor — and also Lafayette’s birthday (1757), a most satisfying confluence of occasions. Meanwhile, it has brought me some extraordinarily warming good wishes from people appreciating things I have said and written over the past roughly 60 years, on my own celebratory day. Today I become an old man.

(Is there a ceremony for this? Would I have to do it in Hebrew? That would make it a deeply serious ritual, but totally out of my range, as a lapsed Episcopalian, formerly Lutheran. The Book of Common Prayer, alas, lacks a rite for this occasion. On the other hand, the Lutherans and Anglicans (and many other Christian denominations) have music for it; see below.)

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Onomatopoeia and program music

September 2, 2020

On 8/31, e-mail from fellow shapenote singer Peter Ross, asking

whether onomatopoeia might apply to songs like the City of New Orleans, Bill Staines’s song River, the Carter family song Winding Stream, etc., where the music fits the meaning of the lyrics

These are wonderful, incredibly moving songs, and I’ll write about them below, but what Peter’s talking about is a relationship between the form of pieces of music (including their lyrics) and the images or stories the music might evoke — while onomatopoeia is a specifically linguistic relationship, having to do with an association between linguistic elements — lexical items — and their referents, turning on the phonetics of the lexical items and perceptible characteristics of the referents.

So they’re clearly related concepts, but not the same thing.

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tantrum

August 30, 2020

Today’s morning name. So obviously Latin, a 2nd-declension neuter noun. But apparently not; instead it’s a mystery.

OED2 on tantrum:

Etymology: Origin unascertained.
colloquial.
An outburst or display of petulance or ill-temper; a fit of passion. Frequently in plural. Now often spec. a fit of bad temper in a young child.
[1st cite: 1714 E. Verney Let. 30 Oct. in M. M. Verney Verney Lett. (1930) II. xxi. 18 Our lady has had some of her tanterums as Vapors comeing out etc. Then: 1754 S. Foote Knights  ii. 41 None of your Fleers!..Your Tantrums! You are grown too head-strong and robust for me.]

fleers? From NOAD:

verb fleer: [no object] literary laugh impudently or jeeringly: he fleered at us. noun archaic an impudent or jeering look or speech. ORIGIN late Middle English: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian and Swedish dialect flira ‘to grin’

Etymology occasionally throws up mysteries like this one. If someone now wants to search collections of texts from the period, they might find some clues as to its source. It’s even possible that the noun doesn’t have an ordinary etymology, but was a mock-Latin invention. Whatever; ya gotta know the territory.

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