Saturday, December 28, 2013

Belated Merry Christmas!

Other than the fact that I haven't written in about 15 days, I haven't really anything to report personally. Christmas was lovely, despite being on call for crisis assessments on Christmas Day, which kind of made me want the day to go by fast. Work has been going well, and I am less stressed than I was before, which is making my life far less.......stressful. I finished the Bates Motel which had an interesting ending, and not a bad ending overall. Definitely shows what a bad mother-son relationship can end up like. Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates and Verag Farmiga as Norma Bates both play their parts so exquisitely, perfectly well; almost creepily well done. Not for everyone, but definitely worth watching, and I am curious to see how they progress the series and then connect it to the film that Alfred Hitchcock made. I also started this new series called The Newsroom which stars Jeff Daniels, who so far is the part of the entire series (at least of the 2 episodes that I have seen). He is charismatic and speaks his mind and makes sense doing it, which may have to do with the fact that Aaron Sorkin wrote and created the series. That man is perhaps the best writer in all of Hollywood right now, aside from Christopher Nolan. He has a way of developing characters that is well done, but more so is his talent to write powerful, and moving language that is clever, witty, humorous, and stirring. The show also stars Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, Alison Pill, and Sam Waterson who fits his character like a glove, and it is very different than his character on Law & Order. The show is about a group of people who set out to make good news that reports the facts and tries not to gain popularity by pandering to the gossip, often simpleminded audience that pines for pop-news. So far I like where the show is going, but things can always take a negative turn mid-season. 3 days left of 2013. Wow, I still cannot believe this year has gone by so quickly, and so much has really happened in this year. You'd think that I'd have more to say after such a long absence, but words seem to be fleeting for me. So I shall say good night and good luck.

Opening Scene for The Newsroom (this is an awesome scene)

Worthy is the Lamb by Georg Frederic Handel
(I was supposed to put this as the last song for my 25 Days of Christmas songs, but it didn't work out that way, so here it is. It kind of works as an end of the year song pretty well too.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Great and Stupendous, Smaug.

Yesterday was long and the the end of a very long week, so I didn't post anything last night as I went to bed quite early. I then turned around and got up very early this morning to go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. And yes I did see it in IMAX 3-D which was very nice, although I must be getting used to it now, because I don't remember many things popping out at me except large bees. How was it? Hmm.....I think I have to see it again. There was a lot of superfluous story within the film, since they had to stretch it out to three films rather than just two. There was also a love triangle of sorts, which was boring, and also a focus on a rather insignificant character and location from the books in the film, which I didn't care for either. The action was fast paced, but not really that impressive either; Peter Jackson has some difficulties with his action sequences. That said the film was entertaining and relatively well done. Martin Freeman reprises his role as Bilbo and continues to deliver an excellent performance and his relationship with the dwarves deepen, as well as his relationship with the ring. All of the returning cast from the previous film continue to perform well. Orlando Bloom comes back as Legolas, and I think he does a much better job in this film bringing the fictitious elf character to life than he did in the The Lord of the Rings films. Stephen Fry (Master of Laketown), and Luke Evans (Bard) are two new rather prominent characters that I could have lived without elaboration on in the films, along with a female elf called Tauriel played by Evangeline Lilly. Essentially boring characters, although the actors the played them were of course of high caliber. The characters that were new that I liked most were of course Thranduil played by Lee Pace, and the best addition to saga for this film was Smaug voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, although the digital artists who brought him to life also deserve a good deal of the credit. That has got to be best dragon on film to date, topping only Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. So the characters make their way through the Mirkwood where they encounter big spiders and nasty elves, and then they get to the mountain, after passing through a city of men where they are less than welcome, only to deal with a dragon in its lair. Meanwhile, Gandalf works on unmasking the growing evil of Sauron. I've heard from critics that it is supposed to be better than the first one, but I'm on the fence right now with that. I only remember bits and pieces from Howard Shore's score, but it seemed pretty good. Costumes and set design were of course beyond top notch, as was the cinematography. If there is one thing Peter Jackson is as a director, he knows how to make beautifully crafted, and breathtaking looking films. I think they could have done The Hobbit in two films rather than dragging it out into 3, which is really what it seems like to me due to all of the superfluous content in the film. I loved the scenes with Gandalf during his investigation into the Witch King's tomb, and then his close up inspection of Dol Gul Dur. Bilbo and Smaug were also a great set of scenes to watch. The scenes that happened with Bard in Laketown were dull, and the love triangle that was going on between Legolas, Tauriel and one of the dwarves was more than annoying. Off first viewing I am giving it an "Admirable Ability" although that may change after seeing it again; as of now I like the first one more. Go see it though and consider yourself entertained, please though leave your younger children, infants and babies at home as this film was intended for at least individuals over the age of 10. Well today we have "Deck the Halls" with information provided by Wikipedia below:

The tune is that of an old Welsh air, first found in a musical manuscript by Welsh harpist John Parry Ddall dating back to the 1700s. Poet John Ceiriog Hughes later wrote his own lyrics. A middle verse was later added by folk singers. In the eighteenth century the tune spread widely, with Mozart using it in a piano and violin concerto and, later, Haydn in the song "New Year's Night."
Originally, carols were dances and not songs. The accompanying tune would have been used as a setting for any verses of appropriate metre. Singers would compete with each other, verse for verse—known as canu penillion dull y De ("singing verses in the southern style"). The church actively opposed these folk dances. Consequently, tunes originally used to accompany carols became separated from the original dances, but were still referred to as "carols". The popular English lyrics for this carol are not a translation from the Welsh.
The connection with dancing is made explicit in the English lyrics by the phrase "follow me in merry measure" as "measure" is a synonym for dance. A collection of such sixteenth and seventeenth century dances danced at the Inns of Court in London are called the Old Measures. Dancing itself having been previously suppressed by the church was revived during the renaissance beginning in fifteenth century Italy.
The Welsh melody with English lyrics appeared in the December 1877 issue of the Pennsylvania School Journal, with the melody, described as a "Welsh Air" appearing in four-part harmony, and unattributed lyrics. The melody is substantially today's, except that the third "Fa la la" is omitted. An identical printing appeared four years later in The Franklin Square Song Collection.
Charles Wood arranged a version, the words from Talhaiarn; translated by Thomas Oliphant. Oliphant died in 1873 and the English version of the 1881 publication (The Franklin Square Song Collection) is also attributed to Oliphant. he melody of "Deck the Hall" is taken from "Nos Galan" ("New Year's Eve"), a traditional Welsh New Year's Eve carol published in 1794, although it is much older. The Welsh and English lyrics supplied there are as follows:
O mor gynnes mynwes meinwen,
fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la:
O mor fwyn yw llwya meillionen,
fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la:
O mor felus yw'r cusanau,
[instrumental flourish]
Gyda serch a mwynion eiriau

fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la:

I know news hasn't been something I've been mentioning a lot lately, but let's just say that it will not be a very merry Christmas for either the people of Syria or the rebels fighting against the Assad regime. Let's not also forget about North Korea as Kim Jung Eun begins solidifying his power by executing his uncle after branding him a traitor (he was the second most powerful man in North Korea up until that point) most likely not making him a man of change, but rather a man just like his father. One day left for this term for graduate school!!! I am so relieved. So much stress will be off my shoulders it will be amazing, and the perfect time for a vacation, or rather a "staycation." Well time to sign off. Take care peoples and remember only 11 more days until Christmas!

Julie Andrews singing "Deck the Halls"

Interview with Benedict CumberBatch

Interstellar teaser trailer (Christopher Nolan's new film, not sure what it is all about though; should be interesting.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Did Somebody Say Reindeer?

This was a very productive yet busy day. Since my eyes are about to close on me I'll just get on with it. That classic Christmas song, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is a fantastic tale about the underdog and outsider who becomes the beacon of hope, quite literally. Irregardless of the story, it is a fun song; and I can only think of Burl Ives who sings it better aside from Gene Autry. Wikipedia provided the information about the song below:

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a song written by Johnny Marks based on the 1939 story Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer published by the Montgomery Ward Company. In 1939 Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May, created Rudolph as an assignment for Montgomery Ward and Marks decided to adapt the story of Rudolph into a song. Marks (1909–1985), was a radio producer who also wrote several other popular Christmas songs.
The song had an added introduction, stating the names of the eight reindeer which went:
"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall The most famous reindeer of all?"
The song was sung commercially by crooner Harry Brannon on New York City radio in early November 1949,[citation needed] before Gene Autry's recording hit No. 1 in the U.S. charts the week of Christmas 1949. Autry's version of the song also holds the distinction of being the only chart-topping hit to fall completely off the chart after reaching No. 1. The official date of its No. 1 status was for the week ending January 7, 1950, making it the first No. 1 song of the 1950s.
Autry's recording sold 1.75 million copies its first Christmas season, eventually selling a total of 12.5 million. Cover versions included, sales exceed 150 million copies, second only to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas"

There you have it. 13 more days until Christmas! A goodnight to all, and a....well, good night.

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer sung by Gene Autry

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Norman!!"

What a busy and long day it was, and the week isn't over yet. If work doesn't kill me I am certain that graduate school will get around to doing it. While I was finishing up some homework I was able to squeeze in the first episode of Bates Motel starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga. It's very interesting so far, and after only seeing one episode I am unable to make a definitive judgment, but so far the performances are good, and the psychological underpinnings quite fascinating. I haven't seen Psycho, but it is only my list of things to see. It definitely does accurately display the affect an unhealthy relationship a mother can have with her son and the other way around as well. Well 14 more days until Christmas and today we have Panis Angelicus which I didn't really get introduced as a Christmas song until a few years ago, but depending on who is singing it, it is truly a remarkable song. Below, www.wikipedia.org provides some very interesting factoids on the song:

Panis angelicus (Latin for "Bread of Angels" or "Angelic Bread") is the penultimate strophe of the hymn "Sacris solemniis" written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi as part of a complete liturgy of the feast, including prayers for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
The strophe of "Sacris solemniis" that begins with the words "Panis angelicus" (bread of angels) has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn. Most famously, in 1872 César Franck set this strophe for tenor voice, harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe à trois voix, Op. 12.
Other hymns for Corpus Christi by Saint Thomas where sections have been separately set to music are "Verbum supernum prodiens" (the last two strophes begin with "O salutaris Hostia") and "Pange lingua gloriosi" (the last two strophes begin with "Tantum ergo").

Panis angelicus                        Bread of the Angels
fit panis hominum;                         Is made bread for mankind;
Dat panis cœlicus                    Gifted bread of Heaven
figuris terminum:                     Of all imaginings the end;
O res mirabilis!                      Oh, thing miraculous!
Manducat Dominum              This body of God will nourish
Pauper, servus et humilis.       The poor, the servile, and the humble.

Te trina Deitas                       Thou Triune God,
unaque poscimus:                   We beseech;
Sic nos tu visita,                     Do us Thou visit,
sicut te colimus;                     Just as Thee we worship.
Per tuas semitas                     By Thy ways,
duc nos quo tendimus,               lead us where we are heading,

Ad lucem quam inhabitas.      to the light Thou dwellest in.

Alrighty I am very sleepy and therefore I am going to go to sleep. God bless everyone, have pleasant dreams, and have a great week. And if you live in a region where it is cold and snows, don't turn into a popsicle.

Friar Alessandro singing "Panis Angelicus"

Bates Motel trailer and interviews

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jingle Bells Backwards!

It was very cold today. Work was long, and I have a lot of projects to finish up for graduate school by tomorrow night. Not looking forward to it. I could really use a month long vacation, and someone to finish grad school for me, or a clone would be good. 15 more days until Christmas! We have reached the halfway point, and also the days remaining of the year are quickly fleeting as well. Jingle Bells is perhaps one of the most recognizable Christmas songs ever, so it wouldn't be fitting to do my 25 days of  Christmas Carols without it. See below for additional information acquired from www.wikipedia.org:

"Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung Christmas songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is now associated with the Christmas and holiday season, it was actually originally written to be sung for American Thanksgiving. It is an unsettled question where and when James Lord Pierpont originally composed the song that would become known as "Jingle Bells". A plaque at 19 High Street in the center of Medford Square in Medford, Massachusetts commemorates the "birthplace" of "Jingle Bells", and claims that Pierpont wrote the song there in 1850, at what was then the Simpson Tavern. According to the Medford Historical Society, the song was inspired by the town's popular sleigh races during the 19th century. "Jingle Bells" was originally copyrighted with the name "One Horse Open Sleigh" on September 16, 1857. It was reprinted in 1859 with the revised title of "Jingle Bells, or the One Horse Open Sleigh". The song has since passed into public domain. The date of the song's copyright casts some doubt on the theory that Pierpont wrote the song in Medford, since by that date he was the organist and music director of the Unitarian Church in Savannah, Georgia, where his brother, Rev. John Pierpont Jr., was employed. In August of the same year, James Pierpont married the daughter of the mayor of Savannah. He stayed on in the city even after the church closed due to its Abolitionist leanings. Music historian James Fuld notes that "the word jingle in the title and opening phrase is apparently an imperative verb." In the winter in New England in pre-automobile days, it was common to adorn horses' harnesses with straps bearing bells as a way to avoid collisions at blind intersections, since a horse-drawn sleigh in snow makes almost no noise. The rhythm of the tune mimics that of a trotting horse's bells. However, "jingle bells" is commonly taken to mean a certain kind of bell.

There you have it. Goodnight and farewell.

Barbara Streisand singing "Jingle Bells"

Jupiter Ascending trailer (looks interesting, but kind of predictable as well, but still interesting).

Monday, December 9, 2013

"My Friend the Doctor!"

If you've never heard of Rex Harrison, then it is a bloody travesty, and although My Fair Lady is triumphant in many regards as a musical film, Doctor Dolittle (from 1967) is delightful and fun, and has that wondrous lightheartedness that is missing from films and even musicals. These days everything is depressing and dark that comes out of Hollywood on average; it's good to re-experience....the good old times occasionally. Not all of the songs are fantastic, but between the story, characters and the fun nature of everything it makes it a great film watching experience. I grew up watching this film, so for me part of the allure is to relive the past of sorts...not to mention you get to see Richard Attenborough (the old guy from Jurassic Park) sing and dance like he was probably in his late thirties or so, and he even has a good singing voice. So if you like musicals, then watch it, and despite it's somewhat ridiculous nature at times, you'll have a good time. So today as Christmas inches closer we have for a song fare "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays." The version I chose is sung by Perry Como who not only has a fantastic singing voice, but he sings phenomenal Christmas songs. Below is some info on the song provided once again by www.wikipedia.org:

"(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays" is a popular song, commonly associated with the Christmas season although the lyrics are also applicable to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The music was written by Robert Allen, the lyrics by Al Stillman. The song was published in 1954.
The best-known recordings were made by Perry Como, who recorded the song twice. The first recording, done on November 16, 1954, was released as a single for Christmas, 1954, by RCA (catalog number 20-5950-B on 78rpm and 47-5950-B on 45rpm). The flip side was "Silk Stockings" (which appeared in the Cash Box magazine top 50). "Home for the Holidays" reached #8 on the Billboard magazine chart in the United States. The next Christmas it was released again, with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as the flip side, as RCA 20-6321-A and 47-6321-A. The same recorded version was released in the United Kingdom by HMV with the catalog number POP-103, with the flip side "Tina Marie". This recording has appeared on many compilation albums over the years and remains a Christmas radio staple.
Como's second recording of the song, in stereo and with a different musical arrangement, was made on July 15, 1959. It was released as a 33rpm single (RCA catalog # VP-2066), with flip side Winter Wonderland in the U.S., and as a 45rpm single by HMV in the UK (catalog number RCA-1215). This 1959 version was also included on the album Season's Greetings from Perry Como and has appeared on many compilations.
The Carpenters recorded a popular cover version that was eventually released on their 1984 album An Old-Fashioned Christmas.
In 2002, Barry Manilow covered the song for his second Christmas-themed album, A Christmas Gift of Love.
On November 30, 2011, T-Mobile announced a surprise event at the Woodfield Mall. On December 1, 2011, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed about six surprise singing and dancing mall performances of "Home for the Holidays" by Carly Foulkes and 100 Chicago-area women in magenta dresses. The performances were later edited into a music video with the hope that it would go viral. The full video that was posted on YouTube has a run time of 3:48 and it was presented in a 60-second national television commercial starting on December 12. The video was produced by Ridley Scott and Tony Scott's RSA Films. The musical director was Paul Mirkovich.
The song was also remade as a duet between Cyndi Lauper and Norah Jones in 2011 for an exclusive iTunes release. The 1-track single was available to download on November 1 and did well on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at #12 and at #22 on the Adult Contemporary Radio Airplay Chart in the US.

The song is currently under copyright.

There are only 16 more days until Christmas, so you better get that shopping done. I began my new position at work today and so far so good; we shall see how it turns out. Goodnight everyone!

Perry Como singing "There's No Place like Home for the Holidays"

"My Friend the Doctor" from Doctor Dolittle soundtrack

Doctor Dolittle trailer (it doesn't do the film any sort of justice; I don't know who designed trailers back then, but they sucked at doing it).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dexter's End.


Granted the season and show ended a while back, but I finished the last episode of the final season tonight. I have to say overall it was a good season, and even the last episode was played out well. Granted the very, very, very end was a little anti-climactic, but from a writer's perspective a good choice. I personally would have written it out very differently, but it wasn't as bad as I heard it rumored to be. I started watching this show back in the fall of 2010 so I was fortunate to come along when I did so that I didn't have suspense building up for ex-amount of seasons. It was a good show with excellent writing and excellent characters, but once again I would have ended it differently. This is was what I write about, now that I do barely any writing, and seem to delegate myself to only watching re-runs of television shows no potentially interesting films; how ridiculous. I suppose that's what happens when you get typical full time job and do graduate school at the same time, of which I had two rather large projects due today, and I was fortunately able to complete them without pulling too much of my hair out. The "Ave Maria" is one of the great, and splendid Christmas songs ever written. It is haunting yet beautiful; I read up on it a little bit and it is often used for weddings and funerals, so not certain how it got lumped into Christmas, but there you have. Here is some info from www.wikipedia.org:

The Hail Mary, or Ave Maria in Latin, has been set to music numerous times. Among the most famous settings is the version by Charles Gounod (1859), adding melody and words to Johann Sebastian Bach's first prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier; and Franz Schubert's Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III, D839, Op 52 no 6, 1825), Ellen's third song in English, as part of his Opus 25, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott's popular epic poem "The Lady of the Lake," loosely translated into German. It has become one of Schubert's most popular works under the title of Ave Maria. Antonín Dvořák's version was composed in 1877. Another setting of Ave Maria was written by Giuseppe Verdi for his 1887 opera Otello. Russian composer César Cui, who was raised Roman Catholic, set the text at least three times: as the "Ave Maria," op. 34, for 1 or 2 women's voices with piano or harmonium (1886), and as part of two of his operas: Le Flibustier (premiered 1894) and Mateo Falcone (1907). Settings also exist by Mozart, Byrd, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Rossini, Brahms, Stravinsky, Lauridsen, Franz Biebl, David Conte and Perosi as well as numerous versions by less well-known composers, such as J. B. Tresch. Anton Bruckner wrote three different settings.
In Slavonic, the text was also a popular subject for setting to music by Eastern European composers. These include Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Bortniansky, Vavilov (his version often misattributed to Caccini) and several others.
This text was also very often set by composers in the Renaissance, including Josquin des Prez, Orlando di Lasso, and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Before the Council of Trent there were actually different versions of the text, so the earlier composers in the period sometimes set versions of the text different from the ones shown above. Josquin des Prez, for example, himself set more than one version of the Ave Maria. Here is the text of his motet Ave Maria ... Virgo serena, which begins with the first six words above and continues with a poem in rhymed couplets.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum, Virgo serena.

Ave cuius conceptio,
solemni plena gaudio,
celestia, terrestria,
nova replet letitia.
Ave cuius nativitas,
nostra fuit solemnitas,
ut lucifer lux oriens
verum solem preveniens.
Ave pia humilitas,
sine viro fecunditas,
cuius annunciatio
nostra fuit salvatio.
Ave vera virginitas,
immaculata castitas,
cuius purificatio
nostra fuit purgatio.
Ave preclara omnibus
angelicis virtutibus,
cuius fuit assumptio
nostra glorificatio.


O Mater Dei, memento mei. Amen.

There you have it. I believe it is now 17 days until Christmas, and very soon it will be about a month until I turn the grand old age of 28. Twenty years ago I was my nephew's age; wow! Where did all of the time go? Have an excellent week everyone.

The "Ave Maria" in German, sung by Maria Callas

Pompeii latest trailer (still not certain about how this will turn out)

Michael C. Hall interview

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Here Comes Santa Clause!

It was another busy day for work. Although I ended up chasing my tail all over creation because I had one appointment go longer than it should of, which therefore made me late for the rest of my appointments. So from 9:30am-5pm I was running around like a madman trying to get all of my appointments done, which is no small feat when they are spread throughout the radius of a very large city. I then had a lovely dinner party that I hosted with some of my co-workers which was a lot of fun. Thank you Phoebe, Zee, and Katie for an excellent time, and I wish that the rest of the team could have made it; oh well, maybe next time. Well, today for a song we have "Here Comes Santa Clause" from a time period when people actually used to write original Christmas songs instead of just rehashing the old ones in different ways. Gene Autry is an awesome singer, and I love his Christmas songs; there is something very.....I don't know, "Christmasy" when he or someone like Nat King Cole sings such songs that people don't sing that way anymore. Maybe I'm just old fashioned; below is some information on the song provided by www.wikipedia.org:

"Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)" is a Christmas song written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman.
Autry got the idea for the song after riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade (now the Hollywood Christmas Parade) in Los Angeles during which crowds of spectators chanted, "Here comes Santa Claus". This inspired him to write a song that Haldeman set to music. A demo recording was made by singer/guitarist Johnny Bond, whose recording made use of ice cubes to mimic the sound of the jingling sleigh-bells. This inspired the use of real sleigh-bells in Autry's own recording of the song.
Autry first recorded the song in 1947; released as a single by Columbia Records, it became a #5 country and #9 pop hit.[1] Autry performed the song in his 1949 movie The Cowboy and the Indians. He re-recorded it again for Columbia in 1953 and once more for his own Challenge Records label in 1957.
Elvis Presley recorded another popular version of the song for Elvis' Christmas Album in 1957. Other artists to record the song include Doris Day (1949), Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (1950), the Ray Conniff Singers (1959), Alvin and the Chipmunks (1961), Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans (1963), Willie Nelson (1979), The Wiggles (1997), Billy Idol (2006), Bob Dylan (2009), Mariah Carey (2010), Chicago (2011), and the cast of Glee (2013).
"Here Comes Santa Claus" was featured in Very Merry Christmas Songs which is part of the Disney Sing Along Songs collection.
The song was used in the 1989 Christmas film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the 1974 television special The Year Without a Santa Claus and the 2007 Christmas film Fred Claus.

Rapper Ludacris' Christmas song "Ludacrismas" (2007), also from the movie Fred Claus, features the first four lyrics from "Here Comes Santa Claus".

That's about all I have in me, so goodnight everyone. 18 days until Christmas!

Gene Autry singing "Here Comes Santa Claus"

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Early Start.

I worked from 7am-5:30pm without much of a break. BLAH! Since I was out sick the other day I had to double time everything today and get a whole lot done in a short amount of time. It sucked, but I was able to get most of what I wanted accomplished, although currently I am quite exhausted and don't really want to work tomorrow, not to mention the cold weather is making it fairly intolerable to move about whatsoever. I really do miss San Diego. The day would have gone almost perfectly if I hadn't forgotten my wallet and then had to go all the way back to my apartment to get it; that cost me about an hour, which vexed me so. 19 days until Christmas, and I haven't done any shopping, mailed any cards or done any decorating. I guess I really am turning into Scrooge. Today's song is perhaps a Christmas song that you may not have heard of; Patapan. I selected a version sung by Julie Andrews, who has an astounding voice, and she does an amazing job with Christmas songs. Information below pertains to the song, which is brought to the world by www.wikipedia.org:

"Patapan" (or "Pat-a-pan") is a French Christmas carol in Burgundian dialect, later adapted into English. It was written by Bernard de La Monnoye (1641–1728) and first published in Noël bourguignons in 1720. Its original title is "Guillô, Pran Ton Tamborin" ("Willie, Bring Your Little Drum" or "Willie, Take Your Little Drum").
The carol revolves around the birth of Jesus Christ, and is told from the perspective of shepherds playing simple instruments—flutes and drums—the onomatopoetic sound of which gives the song its name; "patapan" is meant to mimic the sound of the drum, and an accompanying lyric, "tu-re-lu-re-lu," the flute. This is similar conceptually to the carol "The Little Drummer Boy", with its chorus of "pa-rum-pa-pum-pum."
Mannheim Steamroller recorded a version of the song on their 1995 album Christmas in the Aire. (The accompanying video plays during the group's live shows when the song is performed.) American singer-songwriter David Archuleta recorded a contemporary version of "Pat-a-Pan" on his 2009 album Christmas from the Heart.
American Composer John Gerrish wrote Variations on a Burgundian Carol for 3 Recorders published by Associated Music Publishers in 1957, based on the Patapan theme. It was played by his three children at the composer's 100th birthday party. Pagan folk musician Damh The Bard recorded his version on the 2009 album, 'Tales Of The Crow Man', substituting Christian references in the lyrics with pagan ones to make it a celebration of the Winter Solstice.


Julie Andrews singing "Patapan"

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer (looks good, but not at the same time)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Blast of Cold Air!

I swear this weather in this part of the State is so weird. It was warm last night around 50 degrees F. and today it fell to about 0 degrees F. at least that is what it felt like with that cold wind. I was out sick today with the wretched flu bug, or some evil cousin of it or something; it vexed me as I had a lot of stuff I needed to do for work today. Oh well, you do what you have to. So as you can imagine nothing really extraordinary happened today so I am going to just leave it at that and move on with the song. It is 20 days until Christmas! The song is "Oh Christmas Tree" or "O Tannenbaum" if you prefer German. I think of two things when I hear this song: Nat King Cole, and Ernest Saves Christmas (I love that movie!!! You should watch it if you haven't seen it). Below is some information about the song from www.wikipedia.org:

"O Tannenbaum" ("O Christmas Tree") is a German song. Based on a traditional folk song, it became associated with the Christmas tree by the early 20th century and sung as a Christmas carol. The modern lyrics are due to Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz, written in 1824. A Tannenbaum is a fir tree. The lyrics do not actually refer to Christmas, or describe a decorated Christmas tree. Instead, they refer to the fir's evergreen qualities as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness. Anschütz based his text on a 16th-century Silesian folk song by Melchior Franck, "Ach Tannenbaum". Joachim August Zarnack (de) (1777–1827) in 1819 wrote a tragic love song inspired by this folk song, taking the evergreen, "faithful" fir tree as contrasting with a faithless lover. The folk song first became associated with Christmas with Anschütz, who added two verses of his own to the first, traditional verse. The custom of the Christmas tree developed in the course of the 19th century, and the song came to be seen as a Christmas carol. Anschütz's version still had treu (true, faithful) as the adjective describing the fir's leaves (needles), harking back to the contrast to the faithless maiden of the folk song. This was changed to grün (green) at some point in the 20th century, after the song had come to be associated with Christmas.

While I'm at the Christmas countdown, let's toss something else in there as well; 26 days of 2013 remain, and then it will be 2014! Wow! Good night everyone and sleep well, or I hope that you are sleeping well.

Nat King Cole singing "O Christmas Tree"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Mommy Chose the Wrong Son."


It was a very long and busy day and I felt like crap for most of it, irritatingly enough. Work was something else, and kind of a haze now that I think about it; me and the people in my department are always so stinking busy that we don't get time to relax or even process what's coming next. It can be quite vexing. Anyways, before I rattle on something ridiculous let me move to the prime time event. Book publisher got back to me quicker on the part of the book that we are working on, and soon we will be moving onto the next phase and getting closer to publication!!!! I suppose I should sit down in my spare time (yeah right) and begin writing the third and final book. Wow. It sounds so weird to say that. The prime time event was rather this than the book 2 news, which is big of course, but with my 25 days of Christmas I'm trying to make certain that I blog every day leading up to Christmas. Today for songs we have "Hark the Herald Angels Sing!" I enjoy this song and often think of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Below is some information provided by www.wikipedia.org:

In 1855, English musician William H. Cummings adapted Felix Mendelssohn's secular music from Festgesang to fit the lyrics of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" written by Charles Wesley. Wesley envisioned the song being sung to the same tune as his song "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today", and in some hymnals, is included along with the more popular version.
This hymn was regarded as one of the Great Four Anglican Hymns and published as number 403 in "The Church Hymn Book" (New York and Chicago, USA, 1872).
In the UK, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" has popularly been performed in an arrangement that maintains the basic original William H. Cummings harmonisation of the Mendelssohn tune for the first two verses but adds a soprano descant and a last verse harmonisation for the organ in verse 3 by Sir David Willcocks. This arrangement was first published in 1961 by Oxford University Press in the first book of the Carols for Choirs series. For many years it has served as the recessional hymn of the annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in King's College Chapel, Cambridge.
An uncommon arrangement of the hymn to the tune "See, the Conqu'ring hero comes" from Judas Maccabaeus (Handel) normally associated with the hymn Thine Be the Glory is traditionally used as the recessional hymn of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. This is broadcast live each year on Christmas Eve on RTÉ Radio 1. The usual (first) three verses are divided into six verses each with chorus. The arrangement features a brass fanfare with drums in addition to the cathedral organ and takes about seven and a half minutes to sing. The Victorian organist W. H. Jude, in his day a popular composer, also composed a new setting of the work, published in his Music and the Higher Life.

After I got back to my apartment I made myself some delicious pasta and vegetables and continued to foray into the final years of Dexter. I do have to say that I am really enjoying the final season a lot; definitely a real nail biter, and there are certainly a good many twists and turns happening at the same time as well. Despite everything that Dexter has become and is, you find it odd enough to be cheering for him to have everything go well and turn out alright. It was apparently around 50 degrees F. today here in the Midwest, in December! I was so happy and delighted; it reminded me of San Diego. Darn it! I wish the weather would last like this for the rest of winter. Oh well though. Good night and God bless ya'll!

Susan Boyle sings "Hark the Herald Angels Sing!"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The October Madness Continues.

I don't know if I wrote about how stressful work was for me in October, but it was and I thought that with November I would see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is now December and that seems unlikely. I have no idea how I am going to get on top of my caseload unless I work 60 hours a week. On top of that I have graduate school, of which the 2nd fall term will be finishing up in a couple of weeks, so the big projects are coming up soon. Even though I do it online, school still sucks up a whole lot of my time. Then I also have the book/writing stuff going on, of which I was doing a fair bit of it today. In regards to that, I am back on track to making progress with the publisher again, at least I think. I won't be giving any concrete details yet, but with any luck things should be moving along quite splendidly. I had the day off, but it certainly didn't feel like it whatsoever and that's what I need; I need the ability to pause all of time so I can catch up on my caseload at work, catch up on my writing, get everything on track for school, and also catch up with my social circle. After I get all of that accomplished time then can resume and I can take it easy a little bit. If only comic books and other science fiction stuff were real. 22 days until Christmas. Today on the musical repertoire we have the classic Christmas song "The Coventry Carol" which is very old, and one of my favorites. Below is some information provided by www.wikipedia.org:

The "Coventry Carol" is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew. The carol refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed. The lyrics of this haunting carol represent a mother's lament for her doomed child. It is the only carol that has survived from this play.
It is notable as a well-known example of a Picardy third. The author is unknown. The oldest known text was written down by Robert Croo in 1534, and the oldest known printing of the melody dates from 1591.[1] The carol is traditionally sung a cappella. There is an alternative setting of the carol by Kenneth Leighton, and another by Philip Stopford.

Lyrics:
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,

Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Well I have nothing else to write, other than The West Wing show has brilliant moments of writing and humor, yet also possesses some very irritating characters. Not certain how that works. Even though it is diminishing from the news, everyone still needs to remember the people of Syria as their country continues to be torn apart and people killed every day often in the most inhumane manner. Praise be to God for freedom, and the protection of the U.S. Constitution. May the Force be with us all.

The Coventry Carol sung by the boys choir Libera

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Pipes.

Well today for the Christmas song, we have "Christmas Pipes" of which there is a lovely rendition done by the music group Celtic Woman. It's a lovely song that I had never heard of until I listened to the group's Christmas album. Of course though I am one of those people who listen to Christmas music all year around. Work today went by so quickly, I don't even know where the entire day went. I thought I was getting on top of my caseload, but apparently it is much more...difficult than I thought it would be. All I can do is keep working hard and work towards my goal of returning to San Diego and out of this bloody awful, freezing environment. Despite life being anything but boring, nothing really all that exciting or interesting happened, of which I am very thankful. 23 days until Christmas. Good night everyone.

Christmas Pipes by Celtic Woman

Sunday, December 1, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Carols.


I try to have some sort of tradition for some of the months of the years, and every Christmas I share something each day of the 25 days, or 24 days of December. Last year it was 24 Christmas film, and this year it will be Christmas songs. The song for today is "The Christmas Song" sung by Nat King Cole, one of the greats of American music. Below is some info about the song:
"The Christmas Song" (commonly subtitled "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" or, as it was originally subtitled, "Merry Christmas to You") is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by musician, composer, and vocalist Mel Tormé (aka The Velvet Fog), and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to "stay cool by thinking cool", the most-performed (according to BMI) Christmas song was born.[1]
"I saw a spiral pad on his piano with four lines written in pencil", Tormé recalled. "They started, "Chestnuts roasting..., Jack Frost nipping..., Yuletide carols..., Folks dressed up like Eskimos.' Bob (Wells, co-writer) didn't think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. "I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics."

The Nat King Cole Trio first recorded the song early in 1946. At Cole's behest – and over the objections of his label, Capitol Records – a second recording was made the same year utilizing a small string section, this version becoming a massive hit on both the pop and R&B charts. Cole again recorded the song in 1953, using the same arrangement with a full orchestra arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, and once more in 1961, in a stereophonic version with orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael. Nat King Cole's 1961 version is generally regarded as definitive, and in 2004 was the most loved seasonal song with women aged 30–49,[2] while Cole's original 1946 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.

So November has come and gone, and now only one, lone month of 2013 remains, or rather 30 days remain. I spent some time day with my brother in-law, sister and nephew as they went Christmas tree shopping, which was a lot of fun. It has been a very busy week, and I am physically and mentally exhausted, and wouldn't you know it, the week is about to begin all over again. Joseph Stalin was a butcher of humanity and I do not like him whatsoever, but he did make a statement that I have always found interesting. "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." I think that says enough, as it seems to be usually the case unfortunately. Not necessarily a very festive end run for the day, but life is what it is. Work this month is going to be very....interesting. God help me. Good night everyone, and good luck.

"The Christmas Song" sung by Nat King Cole