Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sevastapol

March 29, 2014

Sevastapol

To generations of American musicians “Sevastapol” hasn’t referred to a place in Crimea but to a guitar tuning, also called “Open D” (DADF#AD low to high). Liverpool-born Henry Worrall was teaching guitar at the Ohio Female College in 1855 when he wrote and published a piece commemorating the Siege of Sevastapol in the Crimean War. “Sebastopol: A descriptive fantaisie for the guitar,” specified Open D, and the sprightly march helped spread the tuning.

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Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

January 29, 2014

Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

“Pete Seeger, Champion of Folk Music and Social Change, Dies at 94,” Jon Pareles, New York Times

“Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014), Stephen Winick, Folklore Today

“Smithsonian Folkways Remembers Pete Seeger (1919-2014),” Folkways

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Image: 1965 Vega SS-5 Folklore Pete Seeger Longneck 5 String Banjo

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U.S. Judge: Oklahoma Same-Sex Marriage is OK

January 15, 2014

U.S. Judge: Oklahoma Same-Sex Marriage is OK

On Tuesday Judge Terence Kern of the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled that the Sooner State’s amendment banning same-sex marriage is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit” and violates the U.S. Constitution.

Don’t order the cake and orange blossoms just yet, though. The ruling is stayed pending appeal, so there won’t be gay nuptials in Muskogee any time soon.

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Mistletoe and Wine

December 30, 2013

“Mistletoe and Wine,” written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan, performed by British pop singer Sir Cliff Richard, who had a big UK hit with it 1988. The song was originally written for a musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” and emphasized harsh British class inequities. A re-write turned it into a more conventional holiday song, heard ad nauseum in the UK each yuletide.

More:

“Mistletoe and Wine’s political beginnings,” John McKie, BBC News

“Why Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe and Wine is really a socialist Christmas song,” The Guardian

“The Little Match Girl,” 1986 HTV

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Wonderful Christmas Time

December 29, 2013

“Wonderful Christmas Time,” composed by Sir Paul McCartney, and performed by Sir Paul with his band Wings.

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What Christmas Means to Me

December 25, 2013

“What Christmas Means to Me,” written by Allen Story, Anna Gordy Gaye, and George Gordy, performed by Stevie Wonder at Disney World in 2009. Not to be confused with the tune of the same name recorded by Eddie Fisher.

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Here Comes GOCE!

November 10, 2013

Here Comes GOCE!

The European Space Agency satellite GOCE is returning to Earth, falling out of its decaying orbit. It will re-enter the atmosphere Sunday night and land … somewhere. GOCE, the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer, had been mapping ocean currents since 2009. It cost $443 million and weighs about a ton.

More:

“GOCE Satellite Hours Away from Falling to Earth,” Phil Plait, Slate

“Duck! Falling Satellite Arrives on Sunday,” Jeffrey Kluger, TIME

UPDATE (phew!):

“European Space Agency’s Goce satellite falls to Earth,” Jonathan Amos, BBC News

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Truc(k)ulence

October 12, 2013

Truc(k)ulence

A week into the Tea Party petulance that shut down the U.S. Government, a group called “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” threatened to roar into DC during morning rush on Friday October 11th with enough tractor-trailers to shut down traffic on the Capital Beltway surrounding Washington. The trucks would then drive to the White House and arrest President Obama for … well, something-or-other.

Virginia and Maryland state troopers were mobilized. DC Metropolitan Police, Capitol Police, National Park Police, and Secret Service were on high alert Thursday night and into the wee hours of Friday. Then came the dawn.

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Equinox

September 22, 2013

Equinox

It’s officially Fall in the Northern Hemisphere. The Autumnal Equinox was Sunday. The September Equinox also marks the beginning of Spring for half the world.

More:

“First day of fall Sunday: March-level sun, temperatures a cut above,” Justin Grieser, Washington Post blog

“September Equinox,” timeanddate.com

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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NFL R-Word Rally in Green Bay On Sunday

September 14, 2013

NFL R-Word Rally in Green Bay on Sunday
There will be a protest this Sunday at Lambeau Field when the Packers host a team from the Nation’s Capital, the NFL team with a Native American slur for a name. That game will be played in an Oneida neighborhood, Green Bay Wisconsin. New York’s Oneida Nation will air local radio spots protesting that racist team name, so even the Menominee community 45 miles away will get the message. But will DC team owner Dan Snyder?

Mr. Snyder has thus far avoided hearing the voice of reason calling for a team name change, but the Washington Post editorial board heard it loud and clear. So have many sportswriters, most recently Christine Brennan of USA Today. Mark Murphy, CEO of the Green Bay Packers, a former DC player who wore that racist name on his jersey in two Superbowls, says Mr. Snyder should think about changing it. So does NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

As Keith Olbermann observes, the Washington team’s moniker has been “the last racist name you can say at the office without being fired” thanks to Dan Snyder and the NFL.

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