On my last day at work at a particularly crap company, a Friday, I taped a kipper to the back of the radiator in my bosses office.— Allen Grove (@AllenGrove15) December 28, 2023
Friday, December 29, 2023
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Years ago, I participated in a "sing-along Messiah" that was such great fun. This Opinion piece is right - the Messiah belongs to us all, even the Silent Monks....Fortunately, Handel’s “Messiah” is so popular that the ideological fashions of critics and performers cannot contain it. The work continues to be gleefully performed very much as it was in the days of Stokowski, even as the Handel and Haydn Society solemnly persists in its commitment to small ensembles, period instruments and other trappings of historical accuracy....This seemingly inexhaustible variety of interpretations is possible because “Messiah” is sui generis: an unclassifiable hybrid of sacred art and theatrical revelry that cannot be subsumed neatly into any given school of performance, idiom or national tradition. This is why “Messiah” has succeeded in such a wide array of cultural contexts, including the TV special “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown” (1992), in which Marcie and Peppermint Patty attend a performance that sounds remarkably similar to the Stokowski version, as well as the Japanese animated TV series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (from 1995 to 1996), in which the Somary recording plays over images of a teenage girl thrusting the spear of Longinus into a monstrous alien being.“Messiah” is now the common property of the entire human race: a jewel in the crown of the Anglican cultural tradition that has become not only the source of recessional hymns for Catholics but also an indelible symbol of Christmas for millions of non-Christians. In the words of the oratorio’s first chorus, taken from the Book of Isaiah: “All flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
...The special's musical supervisors, Ian Fraser and Larry Grossman, originally intended the duo to record a straightforward rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy". However, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy": "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?", Fraser recalled Bowie telling him. Scriptwriter Buz Kohan further stated that Bowie felt "Little Drummer Boy" "wasn't a good showcase for his voice". Startled, Fraser, Grossman, and Kohan found a piano in the studio's basement and wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy" in just over an hour. Regarding the experience, Kohan said, "It all happened rather rapidly. I would say within an hour, we had it written and were able to present it to [Bowie] again." Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy", while Bowie sang "Peace on Earth", which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal. Kohan added that "Bing loved the challenge" of the arrangement, stating he "was able to transform himself without losing any of the Crosby-isms."...
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Here's some great dogs - plus cats and owls and the rest of the barnyard.
this guy built a racetrack in his backyard for his dogs and it's amazing— theworldofdog (@theworldofdog) December 19, 2023
(ginger_cat_and_vizslas IG) pic.twitter.com/GifKiQnTSZ
this dog and duck are the best of friends— theworldofdog (@theworldofdog) December 11, 2023
(jukin media) pic.twitter.com/cJGYuVMjh1
Sunday, December 17, 2023
I know Seymour Hersch has his flaws - a tendency toward grandiosity in his reporting -- but he has good sources and his column last night raises some good questions about the Israel-Hamas War that undoubtedly will dominate international discussions over the next weeks:
At least they're talking tonight about another ceasefire and hostage release:Thousands of Hamas fighters are now facing a deadly shootout with the Israeli army as the disastrous war their leaders triggered is in its tenth week. Now out of their tunnels, those men are trying to cope with the increasing winter chill and heavy rains. There is little shelter for them, or for the bedraggled surviving citizens of Gaza, from the elements and from Israeli bullets and bombs.War is hell, too, for Israeli troops, who are on the hunt, now engaged in house-to-house and rubble-to-rubble searches for Hamas fighters, who will be far more willing to engage in one-on-one shootouts in the south of Gaza than in the earlier days of mass bombing in Gaza City. Future historians will make their judgment on the stunning ratio of dead Palestinians in Gaza to the Israeli combat dead. Israel’s military leaders now assess that the majority of Hamas fighters will be dead, will be captured, or will have deserted by the end of January. But then what? If the religious zealots who now dominate the government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a day-after plan, it is not known.
Scoop: Israel's Mossad director David Barnea is expected to meet Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Europe this weekend to discuss resuming negotiations on a deal to release hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. My story on @axios https://t.co/C2uLUi0nWA— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) December 15, 2023
Friday, December 15, 2023
I got a chuckle out of Evan Scrimshaw's lead in his Substack yesterday: Abacus' Conservative Curveball Is There Life In The Liberals?:
It is a notable statement that being down 10 is a victory these days for the Liberals, but Abacus has the Tory lead down 9 poll to poll, so it is actually good news for a government that’s needed it for a while. It’s of course not the same thing as saying that the government is in good shape – a government that’s happy to be at 26% in Nanos and 27% in Abacus because the trendlines are good is not a government that is in a good spot in an absolute sense. Nor does any of this mean that Poilievre giving up more and more of his lead is an evitability.But it is a decent endorsement of the idea that Poilievre will not be able to be a dogshit political leader and still win easily. Yes, the Liberals are troubled, yes the economy is bad, and yes the Liberals need a rate cut or 5 before the election. But there’s been an air of inevitability about the Tories imminent victory that hasn’t sat right, as if the election had already been won and lost, and all that needed to happen was the results to be relayed to the masses.
And today this was happening:
Abacus' last poll only two weeks ago? CPC +19— Polling Canada (@CanadianPolling) December 13, 2023
Now CPC +10 https://t.co/6R6vTleRmZ
Good Day to all progressives. Today we get to watch CPC MPs scrambling madly to walk back every vote, everything they said, everything they did over the past several days.— Mike Morris (@1MikeMorris) December 14, 2023
We also get to watch their supporters lose their minds over a possible fall in poll support for Poilievre.
Poilievre thought his polls were so good he could get away with anything he wanted. Like dissing Ukraine and calling it a "far-away foreign land".
#JustinTrudeau: "Let's be clear, this Conservative leader has no long-term vision for this country with or without glasses. It takes more than a couple of bags of McDonald's to feed Canadians." #cdnpoli #QP— RF 🇺🇦 (@dipbrat70) December 13, 2023
How did Pierre Poilievre get this so wrong? The Conservative Party would be nothing without western Canada. Western Canada would be nothing without Ukrainian immigrants. It's unimaginable that Conservatives would let Pierre Poilievre turn his back on Ukraine. https://t.co/bZPGASz6Le pic.twitter.com/rM6sHkNypL— Karl Tous (@KarlTous) December 14, 2023
Saturday, December 09, 2023
Wut?? https://t.co/c5HMZ3OjNz— Raptor fella- full time Russiaphobe (@raptorgirlSK) December 2, 2023
Wednesday, December 06, 2023
On the day that Canada remembers the Montreal Massacre, I am reading articles about the terrible sexual violence and rape that Hamas inflicted on Israeli men and women on Oct 7 -- I think it is shameful that it has taken two months for this violence to be called out and condemned.
NEW: According to three senior Biden admin officials, Hamas is not releasing the remaining women hostages because, it seems, they have been sexually abusing them. One official said they think Hamas is keeping these women in order to keep raping them.https://t.co/ZMXQAXa2X6— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) December 6, 2023
The New York Times writes Biden condemns sexual violence in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller suggests “one of the reasons [Hamas doesn’t] want to turn women over that they’ve been holding hostage — and the reason this pause fell apart — is they don’t want those women to talk about what happened to them.” pic.twitter.com/GOlM3PHgVR— The Recount (@therecount) December 4, 2023
For more, see several articles in the New York Times over the last couple of days.President Biden on Tuesday condemned the “unimaginable cruelty” of Hamas attackers who raped and mutilated women in Israel on Oct. 7, and he blamed the group’s refusal to release its remaining female hostages for the breakdown in cease-fire talks.Speaking at a fund-raising event in Boston, Mr. Biden cited reports that Hamas fighters “used rape to terrorize women and girls” on Oct. 7, as they swept through Israeli towns and a music festival in the southern part of the country, killing more than 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.“Over the past few weeks, survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared the horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty,” Mr. Biden told donors at the event at a Westin hotel. “Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them.”He added: “It is appalling.”......Mr. Biden also echoed comments made on Monday by Matt Miller, a State Department spokesman, who said that Hamas had “reneged” on an agreement to release all the women it was holding hostage, and that the group’s officials “were never able to provide a credible reason why.”Hamas has said it considers the women to be soldiers. But President Biden said, “These are civilian women, mostly between the ages of 20 and 39,” adding, “Let me be crystal clear. Hamas’ refusal to release the remaining young women is what broke this deal and ended the pause in the fighting.”On Monday, Mr. Miller said that “a number of people believe” that Hamas did not want to release the female hostages because of the stories they would tell about how they were treated.
Saturday, December 02, 2023
To celebrate the season I created a new List of many of the people posting daily Advent Calendars posts on Twitter - click here to find it. It ranges from art to opera to fashion to the Walking Dead.
According to my chocolate advent calendar there’s only 4 days left until Christmas Day— Dr Helen Ingram (@drhingram) December 1, 2023
And now on to the funny stuff:
A Christmas advert created by a family-run bar in Northern Ireland has gone viral on social media.— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 28, 2023
The manager of Charlie's Bar said she is "overwhelmed" by the reaction to the advert, which highlights how lonely people can feel over the festive period 🔗 https://t.co/RJnSCxcwpq pic.twitter.com/iDvu23rC23