Category: Music and language

Ah, look at all the lonely people! 'Eleanor Rigby' in quarantine

Ah, look at all the lonely people! 'Eleanor Rigby' in quarantine
My look at “getaway songs” in recent weeks led me to “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles (well, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, of course).  Living alone myself under Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order, a.k.a. quarantine, suddenly I’m thinking of it more than usual. Here’s my modernized version of the words, with apologies to the great... Read more »

'Hushabye Mountain' -- a musical retreat

Thumbnail image for ''Hushabye Mountain' -- a musical retreat'
Whether you use them as CDs or good old-fashioned LPs, or the kind of albums I’ve inherited, actual books with pockets for 78 or 45 RPM records, albums of music have their advantages. They’ll help you remember and replay a song you didn’t know you needed until it is back in your memory. That’s what... Read more »

Onward and upward we must press -- 'The Roses of Success'

Onward and upward we must press -- 'The Roses of Success'
Sometimes keeping old technology going has great advantages. When I wrote “Onward” in a message this morning, I remembered a song in a movie I saw as a child, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” It was the first story by Ian Fleming — yes, that Ian Fleming, Mr. Bond — I ever saw on the screen.... Read more »
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Happy Tchaikovsky's birthday!

Happy Tchaikovsky's birthday!
Repeating to repair video reference. The author regrets the error. Ludwig van Beethoven’s getting all the noise ahead of the 250th anniversary of his birth, and that’s not even until Dec. 16 (as any long reader of “Peanuts” comics knows). Meanwhile, today is the 18oth anniversary of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s birth (in 1840 — I did... Read more »

'Don't Wanna Hold Your Hand' -- a ballad for virus season

'Don't Wanna Hold Your Hand' -- a ballad for virus season
(Tune: “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand: Coronavirus coming — Don’t wanna hold your hand! Don’t make me hold your ha-a-a-and, Don’t wanna hold your hand!   Oh please, say to me you really washed your hands; then I’ll say... Read more »

'Kindness and Wonder' -- Like Mister Rogers, make a joyful noise

'Kindness and Wonder' -- Like Mister Rogers, make a joyful noise
The children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was musical, and repeated songs were often ones that Rogers himself had written. Author Gavin Edwards calls his third way to be like Mister Rogers “Make a joyful noise,” in his book “Kindness and Wonder.” Catch up to previous “ways” in posts from recent Mondays. As Edwards notes, “Fred... Read more »
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'Kindness and Wonder' -- Be kind to strangers, like Mister Rogers was

'Kindness and Wonder' -- Be kind to strangers, like Mister Rogers was
Some of the stories in the second “Way to Be Like Mister Rogers,” part of Gavin Edwards’ book “Kindness and Wonder,”  choked me up with the beauty of Rogers’ bravery as he loved and comforted sick children — and injured people in general. It’s part of what already makes this part of my collection of... Read more »

'Kindness and Wonder' -- To be like Mister Rogers, be 'deep and simple'

'Kindness and Wonder' -- To be like Mister Rogers, be 'deep and simple'
In Gavin Edwards’ book “Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever,” the first way to “Live More Like Mister Rogers Right Now” may look contradictory: “Be deep and simple.” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” remember, was aimed at very young children — those who had a deep need for answers that very few... Read more »

'Kindness and Wonder' -- Mister Rogers and sustaining words for the new year

'Kindness and Wonder' -- Mister Rogers and sustaining words for the new year
Just after Christmas, I spotted an old friend on a new book: a photo of Fred Rogers on Gavin Edwards’ book “Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever” (New York, 2019; Harper Collins Publishers). Since I grew up watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on Channel 11, Chicago’s public broadcasting station, much of... Read more »
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Time after time, what we get wrong about time

Time after time, what we get wrong about time
I’m laying aside The Chicago Manual of Style for now, although I may return to it later. My reading on most recent Fridays has included “The Essential List: The Week’s Best Stories,” an e-mail newsletter from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Today’s edition, under the usual subject heading FUTURE, has an article on “What we get... Read more »