Thursday, December 31, 2020

Warren Haynes - New Year's Eve

For all of us who have lost loved ones, or just plain had a tough, tough year "watching time go by."

"New Year's Eve"

(feat. Railroad Earth)

Next year's gonna be better
Next year will surely be the one
And it's right around the corner
Hell, it's just about begun
So what am I still sitting here for
When everyone's inside?
What am I doing drinking whiskey
And looking for a place to hide?

Yeah, old buddy, I sure miss you
You and old "What's his name?"
And I know if y'all were here now
This party wouldn't be so damn lame
There'd be dancing, and fighting,
And cussing, and laughing
Raise our voices to the sky
Bring the new year in right
Instead of watching time go by

Yeah, sometimes I wonder what
The world would be like
If I didn't have strangers as my best friends
I'm sitting here on new year's
Thinking 'bout old friends and old times
We'll never see them again

Yeah, sometimes I still wonder what
My life would've been like
If I didn't have angels at my defense
I'm sitting here on new year's
Singing 'bout old friends and old times
We'll never see them again

But next year's gonna be better
Next year will surely be great
Well, I guess I should say "This year"
Geez, how did it get so late?
What am I still sitting here for?
When did everybody leave?
What am I doing here drinking whiskey?
Oh yeah, it's New Year's Eve

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Quote du jour - Call The Midwife 2020 Christmas special

The fellow tipping his hat is none other than the wonderful Peter Davison playing the ringmaster of a circus that comes to Poplar during the Christmas season.

These are the last words of this excellent episode, again spoken by Vanessa Redgrave.

And so it is Christmas. As eternally different as it is the same. We come together, drawn to the place that we call home or where we are simply welcomed in. We can be broken, but we still belong. We can be fragile, but are valued all the more. We each have our place, our part to play, our seat at the table, and our purpose. The future will not be unwrapped just yet. We can't know if it holds the things we dream of, and if only for today, that is exactly as it ought to be. For now, the moment holds us in its arms. We are as safe as a child once was, beneath a star and swaddled in a manger. There is no darkness that is of any consequence, and yet not one space that is not filled with love.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Keith Urban - I'll Be Your Santa Tonight (Official Music Video)

I just discovered this song! Don't know how I missed it last year. The only thing better than Keith Urban is three Keith Urbans. Haha!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

"Just Breathe" - Live At Austin City Limits - Pearl Jam

On his 56th birthday, thought I'd share an older song sung by Eddie Vedder. In my very most humble opinion, he has the best voice in rock music.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Today's poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I was looking at my 2020 Susan Branch calendar and saw that the last piece of verse she noted on the December page is the last verse of this poem. It is quite fitting for our very strange and sad year. Ah, Longfellow. Always and forever one of my favorites. He puts his whole soul into his work. And I've just ordered a brand new biography of him! So excited.

This was first published in 1838. His first wife had died just a few years earlier after a miscarriage.

Here is an 1840  portrait of him done by Cephas Thompson.

A Psalm of Life

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Quote du jour/George Bernard Shaw

 I am currently watching a New Zealand show on Acorn TV called Nothing Trivial, and I just saw a quote from George Bernard Shaw that I had never heard before.

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven."

Isn't that just the best!

Here's a picture of the man. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Lukas Nelson - Focus On The Music (Quarantunes Evening Session)


Gotta focus on the music
Focus on the heart of things
Focus on the peace that music brings

Musicians have been very creative in getting their music out there. This "quarantune" was an early example. You can see it is as homemade as it gets.The singer, the guitar, the recording device.

There were three evenings in the past few months when music did "carry me merrily and gently down the stream".

The first one was early on, in March. Chris Smither was on what is called a Parlor Room Home Session. He is a longtime time favorite of Tom and I, and it was a delight to see him in his own home. He told stories and sang his wonderful songs. I was transfixed. The music was just what I needed when everything had changed so much in such a short time. You may watch it here. Just to let you know, it takes a few minutes before he appears.

The second one was Keith Urban, live streaming on Amazon Music. An hour in which I thought of nothing. I just basked in the music. There are several videos on YouTube from the show. Here is one where Keith sings with Pink.

The third was a live stream of Farm Aid. You may find most (all?) of the performances here. I hope that address works, but if not, just go to YouTube and type in Farm Aid 2020. This is where I first heard Lukas Nelson, and I've since bought an album, and follow him on Instagram where he often posts videos. Lately he's been doing something called Soundcheck Songs where his band Promise of the Real explores "songs and artists, some well-known, some more obscure, that have influenced us as a band in one way or another." These are also on YouTube on his page. Farm Aid introduced me to other artists I'd not heard before like Black Pumas, whose album I've also bought. You may see a Tiny Desk Concert of them here

And speaking of Tiny Desk Concerts, they are a wonderful music source to visit, if you haven't already. The main page is here

Music gives solace to my soul and is as necessary as air, never more than in this strange and sad year.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The birthday pals

 Yesterday the birthday pals, Tom and Hazel celebrated their special day. And indeed, this one was particularly special, numerically speaking! Hazel turned 7 and Tom 70 which means he is, for this year TEN times older than she is!! 

And turning seven is in itself a special day. There is quite a quite a wonderful article here, if you are interested. It isn't necessarily exactly seven. Kids develop differently. But it is right around seven that is a real milestone in one's life.

If you watch the Up series, you'll remember that the first episode began with these words:

Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.

I've looked it up and they have been variously attributed to Aristotle, Francis Xavier, and the Roman Catholic Jesuits. 

"Six or seven or eight" is in Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. I'll quote the whole song because it is so moving. 

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

There's a lovely version done by James Taylor here

So, it is a big deal to be turning seven!

I thought I'd put up pictures of Tom and Hazel over these seven years. Most of them on or near their birthday.

The first one, the very first time Tom held her, one day after she came home from the hospital - February 9, 2014. If you don't know her story, you made read it here

December 5, 2014

December 6, 2015

December 5, 2016

December 5, 2017

December 7, 2018 (opening a coconut)

November 28, 2019

And this year

In this strange year, she had a drive-by birthday party. People stayed in their cars, everyone wearing masks, and gave her presents! Margaret's text to me said, "overwhelmed with the love". There have been many things that have been wonderful in spite of the virus, and this party was certainly one of them. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Queen - Thank God It's Christmas (Official Lyric Video)

This is, hands down, my favorite Christmas song - not hymn, but popular song. That voice. I've read it ranged four octaves. 

 "It's been a long, hard year"
 "We live in troubled days" 

I couldn't find a live version, but I think the video is very special, and the bonus is that you can read all the words.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Wham! - Last Christmas

I figure someone else must love this song as much as I do!
Addendum: The next day, this showed up on the BBC Radio 2 feed on Instagram!