Archive for December 2014

At the gate of 2015

At the gate of 2015
Sometimes Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations surprises me. (It’s one book, so it surprises.) The quotations turn out to be longer than what I consider the familiar part, or the title is different than what I “know.” Both have happened with the quotation that I love when I think about facing a new year. Here it is,... Read more »

Understanding the world's most popular song for Dec. 31

As 2014 ends, I have a prediction which is far more likely to be accurate than any I could make for 2015… until it ends, too. On Dec. 31, nearly all of us, all over the world, will be listening to, or singing, the same song, “Auld Lang Syne.” Christmas has all sorts of music,... Read more »

The majesty and grandeur of Handel's 'The Messiah'

The majesty and grandeur of Handel's 'The Messiah'
According to Max Spicker’s “Introductory Note” in my copy of the vocal score — voice lines and basic instrumentation, not the whole orchestra’s worth — ” ‘The Messiah’ is Handel’s most successful and best-known oratorio.” (Spicker’s introduction, like the score, is in the G. Schimer, Inc. edition, copyright 1912.) Most successful, sure. Best-known, of course... Read more »
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Taking 'Inventory' with Dorothy Parker

Taking 'Inventory' with Dorothy Parker
The witty American writer Dorothy Parker (b. 1893) takes up just under half a page in my edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. When I looked at her entries recently, I was amused by new things about even the more familiar quotations — for instance: “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” That turns... Read more »

A date which will live in...

I looked it up in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to be sure, but I already remembered every word: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” — President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s... Read more »

Perspective changes, changes, faster than lightning

Perspective changes, changes, faster than lightning
Have you ever gone back to watch a TV show or film you enjoyed many years ago? If not, I hope you’ll try it — and I hope you’ll enjoy it the way I’m enjoying one of my first favorite TV series, “Flipper.” When I saw it recently in the weekend TV listings on an... Read more »
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I'm not happy with these 'happy' definitions

I have a confession to make: My English dictionary, Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary (Unabridged), has failed me. I’m unhappy with its definitions of “happy.” Here they are: “Happy — adj,. from Icelandic happ, good luck, chance, hap. 2. having, showing or causing a feeling of great pleasure, joy, contentment, etc., joyous; glad; pleased; satisfied.... Read more »

For your St. Andrew's Day observance, more about pudding

For your St. Andrew's Day observance, more about pudding
After my recent post about the real time when the proof is in the pudding, comments ensued about whether sausage was considered a pudding. So, just to help you out, I looked it up — and the dictionary said yes. In case you’re observing St. Andrew’s Day (Scotland’s national day) a day late, here’s a... Read more »