G.I. Jive

 

 

Something for the weekend:  G.I. Jive.  Recorded in 1944 by Johnny Mercer, he intended to write a song that he thought American soldiers would like.  The song was a popular one among the G.I.s.  Here is a rendition by Deana Martin in 2013:

 

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Published in: on June 8, 2019 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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O Sacred Head

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Surrounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

How shall we explain the world-wide light of faith, swift and flaming in its progress, except by the preaching of Jesus’ name? Is it not by the light of this name that God has called us into his wonderful light, that irradiates our darkness and empowers us to see the light? To such as we Paul says: “You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord.” This is the name that Paul was commanded to present before kings and pagans and the people of Israel; a name that illumined his native land as he carried it with him like a torch, preaching on all his journeys that the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon — let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the day-time. To every eye he was a lamp on its lamp-stand; to every place he brought the good news of Jesus, and him crucified. What a splendor radiated from that light, dazzling the eyes of the crowd, when Peter uttered the name that strengthened the feet and ankles of the cripple, and gave light to many eyes that were spiritually blind! Did not the words shoot like a flame when he said: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk”? But the name of Jesus is more than light, it is also food. Do you not feel increase of strength as often as you remember it? What other name can so enrich the man who meditates? What can equal its power to refresh the harassed senses, to buttress the virtues, to add vigor to good and upright habits, to foster chaste affections? Every food of the mind is dry if it is not dipped in that oil; it is tasteless if not seasoned by that salt. Write what you will, I shall not relish it unless it tells of Jesus. Talk or argue about what you will, I shall not relish it if you exclude the name of Jesus. Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, a song in the heart.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Published in: on April 20, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on O Sacred Head  
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Spring

 

Something for the weekend.  Spring Symphony by Robert Schumann.  Written in 1841 it is a fine example of the genius of Schumann, a genius cut short by mental illness, probably caused by a brain tumor.  Schumann left this vale of tears in 1856, but his music remains to lighten our way.

 

Published in: on March 30, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Spring  
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Miles Gloriosus

 

Something for the weekend.  Bring Me My Bride, perhaps the funniest sequence, in what I regard as one of the funniest films of all time, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  A superb recreation of a comedy that could have been written by the Roman playwright Plautus.  Wily slaves, braggart soldiers, dull-witted Senators, scheming wives, crazed soothsayers, they are all there, along with all the other stock characters that caused the Romans to roar with laughter.  Appropriate for the day after the Ides of March.

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Published in: on March 16, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Miles Gloriosus  
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John Brown’s Body

Something for weekend.  A favorite marching song of the Union troops in the early months of the Civil War, before the tune became attached to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  That this song was sung in the Civil War that John Brown did so much to ignite, I am sure pleased his grim spirit to no end.

 

Our history has its share of odd characters, but surely none odder than John Brown.  An Old Testament prophet somehow marooned in Nineteenth Century America, John Brown preached the wrath of God against slave holders and considered himself the bloody sword of the Almighty.  It is tempting to write off John Brown as a murderous fanatic, and he was certainly that, but he was also something more.

The American political process was simply unable to resolve the question of slavery.  Each year the anti-slavery and pro-slavery forces battered at each other with no head way made.  Bleeding Kansas was the result of Stephen A. Douglas’ plan to simply let the people of the territory resolve the issue.  Where ballots cannot, or will not, resolve a question of the first magnitude in a democracy, ultimately bullets will.   A man like Brown, totally dedicated to the anti-slavery cause, was only too willing to see violence resolve an issue that the politicians would not.

Brown attacked a great evil, American slavery, but he was also  a murderer, as the five pro-slavery men he had dragged from their houses at night and hacked to death at Pottawotamie in Kansas with home made swords would surely attest.   His raid on Harper’s Ferry was a crack-brained expedition that had absolutely no chance of success, and yet his raid helped bring about the huge war that would ultimately end slavery.

After his mad and futile attempt to start a slave insurrection at Harper’s Ferry in 1859, Brown was tried and hung for treason against the state of Virginia.  He considered his trial and treatment quite fair and thanked the Court.  Brown impressed quite a few Southerners with the courage with which he met his death, including Thomas Jackson, the future Stonewall, who observed his execution.

Brown of course lit the fuse for the Civil War.  He convinced many moderate Southerners that there were forces in the North all too ready to incite, in the name of abolition, a race war in the South.  The guns fired at Harper’s Ferry were actually the first shots of the Civil War.

Brown, as he stepped forward to the gallows, had a paper and pen thrust into his hand by a woman.  Assuming for the last time the role of a prophet, Brown wrote out, “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”

Abraham Lincoln commented on Brown at his Cooper’s Union  speech on February 27, 1860 and took pains to separate the Republican Party from Brown: (more…)

Published in: on February 9, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on John Brown’s Body  
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Just For Fun

 

Something for the weekend.  I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Rube Goldberg devices, and the Swedish musical group Wintergatan has constructed one of the most amusing, running on 2000 marbles.

Published in: on January 12, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Just For Fun  
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Star Trek the Music

Something for the weekend:  Star Trek Mega Suite.  Something easy to star off the year, various Star Trek musical themes.

Published in: on January 5, 2019 at 7:37 am  Comments Off on Star Trek the Music  
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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Something for the weekend.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sung by Gene Autry.  Rudolph first appeared in a coloring book written and drawn by Robert L. May in 1939 as a Christmas giveaway by Montgomery Ward.  The tale of Rudoplph proved immensely popular with kids, with the coloring book still being in print and sold more than seven decades latter.  The famous song was written by Johnny Marks, a song writer and world war 2 combat veteran.  It was first sung by Harry Brannon in November 1949, shortly before the singing cowboy, Gene Autry, performed his immortal rendition. (more…)

Published in: on December 15, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer  
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Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

 

 

Something for the Christmas weekend.  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.  Written by the ever prolific composer Anonymous in 16th century Germany, it quickly became a favorite hymn of both Catholics and Protestants in that time and land of religious strife, and that is a good message for Christmas. (more…)

Published in: on December 1, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming  
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Te Deum

Something for the weekend.  Right after Thanksgiving, Haydn’s Te Deum Number 2 in C seemed appropriate.

Published in: on November 24, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Te Deum  
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