Worldly Wednesday: “When I Grow Up,” Fever Ray


Oh, Fever Ray.  You’re so incredibly weird.  Is it because you’re Swedish?  Do I really care?  No, not really.  For other, darker songs, check out “Keep The Streets Empty For Me,” and “Seven.”

PS: Whoopsidaisie, I let the blog lie fallow for a week.  Sorry, Yankette Nation.

PPS: Hi, Karl.


Worldly Wednesday: “Dancing Song,” Little Comets


Today, humans landed a spacecraft on a comet.  On a COMET.  I am overwhelmed with how incredibly awesome this is.  Naturally, the only song to play is “Dancing Song” by the amazing and delightful U.K. band, Little Comets.

Watch this.

Termagant Tuesday: “Bugle Call Rag,” Benny Goodman



“So died these men as became Athenians. You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defense of your country, though these would furnish a valuable text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to them as the present, you must yourselves realize the power of Athens, and feed your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts; and then, when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honor in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valor, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer.”

– Pericles, funeral oration, 431 B.C.


Happy Veterans Day.

Sacred Sunday: “Sanctus,” Franz Schubert



This heartbreakingly beautiful piece is from Schubert’s German Mass.  I love the version with words, of course, but this simple instrumental version is haunting.  It is my go-to for when I need to calm down and center myself.

Throwback Thursday: “The Promise of Living,” Aaron Copland



I have this sense that we all could use a collective reminder that life goes on.  This short little number by Aaron Copland should help.  Nothing is more of a soothing balm as a Copland harmony.  This piece is from his opera, “The Tender Land,” and features the hymn, “Zion’s Walls,” which Copland arranged.


Worldly Wednesday: “Election Song,” Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains



There are a lot of people who woke up this morning with a hangover after watching the midterm results last night.  So, today is a good day for your friendly neighborhood anarchist punk bank, Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains.  Fare forward, voyager.

I curse this world one second. Demand it buy me a sandwich in the next. Or else I’m bummin’ a cigarette. That will help me to forget how hungry I am. 

I can’t believe that bastard won this morning. It’s the kind of night for vodka and forties! And we’re mixing our drinks stiff tonight. Yeah, we’re mixing our drinks stiff tonight.

Today is the dawn of the draft. And tomorrow we’re shipped off to Iraq. Or else we’re cutting off a toe. Praying that we won’t have to go.

I can’t believe that bastard won this morning. It’s the kind of night for vodka and forties! Who’s ready for the war tonight? Who’s ready for the war tonight?

I’m running on caffeine. And nicotine and amphetamines. I hope more stimulants are on the way. Cause who doesn’t have a drug problem these days?

I can’t believe that bastard won this morning. It’s the kind of night for vodka and forties! And I’m sniffin’ those pills hard tonight! Yeah, I’m sniffin’ those pills hard tonight!

Termagant Tuesday: “The Washington Post March,” John Philip Sousa



I marked my 23rd birthday while monitoring the second round of presidential elections in Boghe, Mauritania. I remember so many things about that day. I remember the delay on the satellite phone I used to call my parents during a lunch break. I remember the uneven wooden benches we sat on as we watched hundreds of people file into concrete block schoolhouses, present their I.D. cards, be handed a ballot, go behind a cloth screen, make their choice, stuff their ballot in a plastic bin, dip their finger into an ink bottle, and walk out. Person, after person, after person; men, women, and new-to-voting teenagers. I remember watching an argument between an election official and a woman who had walked twenty miles to vote but had forgotten her identification. I remember watching the vote count, late into the night. I remember being amazed at how fervently people wanted to vote. I remember wishing my country was similar. I remember Mauritanians asking me why it wasn’t. 

Voting is the only thing about which I am an absolute evangelical. It is America’s strongest and most enduring characteristic and the thing that, despite everything, still compels foreigners to emigrate. It is undeniably the most patriotic act an American citizen can perform. It is why 13-year-old Erza Retta Dessie from Ethiopia wore a Captain America costume when he got sworn in as an American citizen four days ago. The greatest gift I got while I was an international election monitor was understanding the power of the ballot box. You can’t change anything without participation.

Tired of corruption? Vote. Think politicians can’t be trusted? Vote. Want your guy or woman to win? Vote? Want any kind of change? Vote. Want to affirm the reasons why your forefathers came to this country? Vote. Want to affirm the assertion that people can change a nation? Vote.

Welcome to America, Captain.

Welcome to America, Captain.

See you at the polling place.  (Not sure where it is?  Look it up here.)

To motivate you, and in honor of the late departed Mr. Bradlee, a titan of the field of journalism, I give you the Washington Post March.

Modernism Monday: “Rolling Stone,” Reuben and the Dark



This band is a new discovery for me, and I’m more than a little obsessed with this song.  The group is from Canada and makes music that is as expansive and beautiful as the country itself.  My cousin compared the banjo to the telephone poles that pin a highway to the earth.  Since this song sounds like a high-speed yet solo car journey, I think he’s exactly right.