Articles in section: 'Shorts'

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Saint Patrick's DayHere’s to Saint Patrick, a great Welshman (or so I was told as a lad) who tried mightily to save the Irish.

The tune to “Be Thou My Vision” is known as “Slane,” and is associated with a moment in history when Saint Patrick lit a fire on a hill in pagan Ireland—the hill of Slane—in defiance of the customs of the time, in order to mark the Christian holy day of Easter. His bravery was met with a success that put him in the history books and makes him the subject of parades in countless cities across the world. Many Christians today exhibit similar bravery and find merely death—in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and North Korea—but their hope is in something far beyond the acceptance of men.

Surely no one has sung it better than Van the man.

(Available on Van Morrison’s album, Hymns to the Silence.)

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be thou my armor, and be thou my might
Thou my sole shelter, and thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenwards, O power of my power


……

Ray Price, Rest in Peace

Ray Price, a towering figure in country music and the kind of performer who truly defined what it meant to be a class act, has died at home at the age of eighty-seven.

He recorded too many classics to mention, but I’ve long loved his very special version of “Danny Boy.” [Read more →]

Snowstorm in Central Park

The statue of Balto (hero sled dog of 1925) watches over the first real snow of winter in New York City today.

Balto with snow in Central Park
[click for larger] [Read more →]

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Chanukah

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is tomorrow. It coincides in rare fashion with the Jewish holiday of Chanukah which begins this evening. So blessings to those celebrating one, the other, or both. These are serious times, no doubt, but all the more reason to remember gratitude.

……

Sun to Undergo Total Magnetic Flip

Sun to perform magnetic flipThe sun’s magnetic field is expected to reverse its polarity in the next few months, flipping the north pole to the south and vice versa. It is said to occur every 11 years. Researchers have assured that “we have nothing to fear.” Solar physicist Phil Scherrer told SPACE.com that “the world will not end tomorrow.” [Read more →]

The Wisdom of Jim Rockford

The Rockford FilesJames Rockford. 1970s TV detective. Lovable loser. Does he ever get paid for a case? He always gets to the truth of the situation somehow, but the paycheck seems to evade him for one reason or another virtually every time. That obviously explains why he lives in a grungy trailer on the beach. On the other hand, something’s got to be paying for his shiny Pontiac Firebird, which gets bashed up quite often.

Although The Rockford Files has been in syndicated reruns since record-keeping began, I’ve been getting reacquainted with it through the internet service “Hulu,” where there are currently three seasons available to watch for free. I like watching this way because as compared to regular TV, where scenes are often brutally edited to squeeze the show into a time-slot with the requisite number of commercials, on “Hulu” you seem to see every minute of what’s on the original tape (even if advertisements sometimes butt in at odd moments). And naturally it’s nice to watch a show just when you feel like it. Me and Mrs. C. recently finished watching everything available from Kojak—the often-brilliant 1970s police show with Telly Savalas set in New York City. [Read more →]

Happy Independence Day: Say it with Firecrackers

Fourth of JulyHappy Fourth of July. Can’t go wrong with watching the YouTube clip linked below of an incomparable American artist literally lighting up the stage.

Click: Fred Astaire: “Say it with Firecrackers”

(Especially wishing a happy Independence Day to Mayor Bloomberg of my own New York City, who ought to very much appreciate the content of that performance.)


Smoking (and John Malkovich) Saves a Life

John Malkovich Saves a LifeJim Walpole, a 77-year-old man from Ohio, was visiting Toronto with his wife Marilyn when, as reported in the Toronto Sun, he just happened to stumble. He fell against scaffolding and in a freak happenstance his throat was cut by some sharp piece of the structure as he fell. Blood gushed from what should have been a lethal wound.

“Out of nowhere” a man who had been standing outside an adjacent building (apparently the King Edward Hotel) while smoking a cigarette rushed over and immediately pressed on Mr. Walpole’s neck at the precise location necessary to prevent him from bleeding to death. He was soon assisted by a couple of other bystanders. Paramedics arrived and Mr. Walpole looked up at the man who’d saved his life and asked, “What’s your name?” He reportedly said, “My name is John and you’re going to be alright.” Multiple reports now confirm that the man was none other than John Malkovich, the well-known actor, who is currently starring as Casanova in a stage-play titled “The Giacomo Variations” at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.

There is as yet no word on whether he finished his cigarette. [Read more →]

George Jones’ funeral to be open to the public

The funeral of country singer extraordinaire George Jones will be this coming Thursday at 10 a.m.; it will take place at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House (where else?) and the public will be permitted to attend.

My guess is that it will prompt a kind of outpouring rarely seen. There will an awful lot of ordinary people who will want to pay their respects to George Jones, people who felt like they knew him, and felt like they were somehow blessed and helped through some of the darker times in life by his way with a song.

It would be nice to think that George might be watching from a window up above.

Hey, that reminds me of a song. Indeed, “Window Up Above” is one of George Jones’ greatest hits, dating from about 1960. George has been known primarily as a vocalist, but this is one of his own songs, and a beautiful tune it is too, a song of broken love of the kind Jones sang so well, with a melody both lilting and mournful. [Read more →]

Imagine No Possessions

“I wonder if you can …”

A new documentary film titled Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s is said to reveal many celebrity shopping “secrets,” culled from happenings over decades at the ultra-high-end fashion mecca known as Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. [Read more →]

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