Termagant Tuesday: “Go Daddy-O,” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy



July 22nd.  Blessed day that the Lord hath made.  A day that will live in infamy.  (“Get to the point.”  Oh.  Right.  Sorry.)  Today is my last day in the office before I go on vacation.  I’m sure you’re all beside yourselves with happiness – not because you’re nice people, which you probably are, but because you’re thinking, “God almighty, when will she shut up about vacation already?”  Well, the time is now, Tune-Up fans.  The time.  Is.  Now.


There is another reason today should be marked in your daily planner.  Today is the anniversary of the birth the greatest sporter of Dockers, boat shoes, and t-shirts that say “WORDS on a SHIRT” (Snacks on a Plane jokes, anyone?) there ever was.  My esteemed father.  E.F. is currently swanning around abroad, sending risible emails filled with observations about the oddities of Renaissance Italian art and how beer significantly improves one’s experience at the opera.  So please, raise your glasses in salute of world traveler extraordinare, the Frenchman in shorts, and greatest father of all time – my Dad.  Go, Daddy-O!


Modernism Monday: “Over Yet Blues,” Brian Wright



I saw Brian Wright live in DC a few months ago and he was incredibly awesome.  I recommend picking up everything he’s done so far.  This particular track is my favorite one of one of his most recently albums, “Rattle Their Chains.”

Okay enough about Brian Wright.  Two more days until I’m on vacation…just two…more…days…

Sacred Sunday: “Credo,” Arvo Pärt


Very rarely, I have the presence of mind to a) note a tough time when it’s happening, b) actually believe that everything will be fine, and then c) get through the tough time to the other side and line up those feelings side by side and rejoice that I did, indeed, make it through.  I’m in one of those moods today.  It got a little fruity over here, I won’t lie.  But the storm is passing.  The Credo, or Creed, comes to mind, and one of my very favorite settings is this one, from Pärt’s “Te Deum.”

WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.


Salubrious Saturday : “Tetris Ska,” The Melting Pot


I am sitting here watching Señor Boyfriend trying to pack his suitcase for our upcoming vacation. His meticulousness reminded me of how the little blocks fit into each other in Tetris. (He is now telling me that it reminded him of Tetris and that I laughed. Yeah, yeah, okay, fine, true.) So we just had to hear the Tetris theme song. But why listen to the original 8-bit version when you can listed to a ska version? I mean, what? No conversation necessary.

Fortitude Friday: “Heart Sutra” Lama Tashi



Yesterday was a horrific and brutal day for our fellow humans.  It feels necessary and appropriate to face it, mark it, and let it go.  For help with tasks like this, I turn to Tibetan school of Buddhism.

This chant is 1400 years old.  So much has happened over the course of these 1400 years.  So much will happen over the next 1400.  The relentlessness of time edges meaning and reason aside while putting all weight on the present moment.  I wish there were a way to live multiple present moments, each with its own emotional resonance, to help us process the enormity of events like the ones that happened in Gaza, Ukraine, Tripoli, and Kabul.

But there isn’t.  The fact that there isn’t, the fact that there isn’t an easier way to deal with blinding tragedy, tells us something.  We are not built to withstand such pain.  We aren’t cliffs that remain upright against the pounding of the sea, day after day, for millennia.  We’re built to experience and then to be changed by that experience.  We collapse.  We crumble.  We go under, sucked out by the rip-tide, and wash up somewhere else.  We are built for constant, painful evolution in this one version of the present moment we are given.  And the central part of evolution is that, in changing, we let go of what made us change.

My heart breaks for the families of those killed on flight MH17, for trapped non-combatants in Gaza, Israel, Tripoli, and Kabul.  There is nothing I can say.

Gate gate, pāragate, pārasaṃgate, bodhi swāhā

Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!



Throwback Thursday: “Tant Que Vivray,” Claudin de Sermisy



It’s Eduardo Antonello again!  Yay!  You might remember his Praetorious recording from a few Throwback Thursdays ago.  “Tant Que Vivray” is one of my most favorite French Renaissance pieces.    It’s just charming.

That's the chap.

That’s the chap.

de Sermisy wrote this piece in the 1520, during the reign of Francis I.  Francis was a serious patron of the arts (he acquired the Mona Lisa) and of scholarship, who apparently standardized the French language.  de Sermisy joined the court of Francis in 1515 and became assistant chapel master in 1533.  In an odd sort of way, we are listening to the same music heard by the (quite expired) king of France.  Wowie zowie.

Worldly Wednesday: “Le Hogon,” Malian Musicians and Damon Albarn



Ahhh!  This song makes me so happy.  It sounds like kids running through sprinklers on a hot summer afternoon.  It’s a song that makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.  It also reminds me that I’ll be on vacation a week from today, and it’s been an age since I’ve been able to say that.  I am grateful and lucky I can say it at all.

Termagant Tuesday: “La Paloma Azul,” Dave Brubeck



In a number of months, after the weather turns cold again and the darkness of winter is creeping closer and closer, I’m going to thatched-roof, one-room hut on the beach, at the southernmost tip of Baja California in Mexico.  My thatched-roof, one-room hut is in the absolute middle of nowhere.  I will wake up, open the screen door, step out onto the beach, and walk down to the ocean for a swim.  Then I might read in the shade.  I might nap.  I might take a walk.  I might have a beer in the evening.  That’s all there is to do, and I will do this for an entire week.  Until that week starts, I will listen to this song and imagine myself there.


Hola, Baja.

Hola, Baja.


Modernism Monday: “La Marseillaise,” Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle



Happy Bastille Day, Tune-Up fans!  Joyeux Fête Nationale!  France’s National Day is known as the Fête de la Fédération and commemorates France’s transition from a monarchy to a republic.  The reason the day is colloquially known as “Bastille Day” is because it was following the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, that the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was written, formally abolishing feudalism.  It’s a pretty awesome holiday and deserves an equally awesome anthem, which Rouget de Lisle certainly provided.  Written in 1792 and adopted as the French National Anthem in 1795, it evidently got its nickname from the volunteers from Marseille who marched through Paris, singing the song.

I do love the above version, but the scene in Casablanca when they start singing the Marseillaise is probably my favorite film scene of all time, so I’m exercising editor’s privilege and posting it, too.

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’etendard sanglant est levé
Entendez vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces feroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes!


Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons! Marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

Amour sacr de la patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs!
Libert, Libert cherie,
Combats avec tes defenseurs!
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure tes males accents!
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!


Nous entrerons dans la carrire
Quand nos ains n’y seront plus;
Nous y trouverons leur poussire
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre!


Arise, children of the fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us tyranny’s
Bloody flag is raised! (repeat)
In the countryside, do you hear
The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
They come right to our arms
To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!


Grab your weapons, citizens!
Form your batallions!
Let us march! Let us march!
May impure blood
Water our fields!

Sacred love of France,
Lead, support our avenging arms!
Liberty, beloved Liberty,
Fight with your defenders! (repeat)
Under our flags, let victory
Hasten to your manly tones!
May your dying enemies
See your triumph and our glory!


We will enter the pit
When our elders are no longer there;
There, we will find their dust
And the traces of their virtues. (repeat)
Much less eager to outlive them
Than to share their casket,
We will have the sublime pride
Of avenging them or following them!


Sacred Sunday: “Freuen Wir Uns All In Ein,” Michael Weisse



This extraordinary hymn was written by Michael Weisse in the very early 16th century in Silesia.



I can’t find the German or English anywhere for the life of me, so sorry to leave you hanging.  Nevertheless, I can’t get enough of the tune.  It’s classic German and classic Baroque at the same time: solid, four-square construction, with gorgeous but sober harmony.  It’s an earth-bound hymn with heaven-ward eyes, like all good prayers should be.