Archive for December, 2008

Pushing Daisies

I am always on the lookout for great music on TV. Here is a wonderful clip from last week’s episode of Pushing Daisies. I featured this show last year in a blog post. When you have Kristin Chenoweth in a tv show you just hope you are going to get to hear her sing.


Happy Birthday Avi

In many of my blog postings about Avi I have spoken about our problems getting him the help he needs and also about his problems in general. What I have not really touched upon is “just Avi.” Eight years ago today my little boy came into my life and forever changed the way I see and do things. I have grown and learned from him just as he has from me.

For the most part, Avi is a very happy boy who loves to play with lego, loves to play games with his family and loves to have fun. He is a real budding artist and is also very skilled at math. It is these qualities that we sometimes loose site of when dealing with the ADHD and other problems that he has.

My challenge as Avi begins his ninth year of life is to try and take a moment each day to see the boy I just described in him. I know he is capable to showing this and I just need to be strong enough to see it.

So happy birthday Avi. Here is one of his favorite songs.


Song of the day

The other day my friend Wrekehavoc had a couple of Paul Simon tunes on her blog posting. Of course that got me to listening to Simon and Garfunkel songs for a few days. I have the box set Old Friends as a playlist on my ipod, so during my commute I had some nice times listening.

I came away with more appreciation to a lot of older S&G gems that are not heard too often like Bleecker Street, For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her, He Was my Brother, and many others. There are so many S&G songs that I love. In fact, next to The Beatles and Billy Joel I would probably rank them as my third favorite group. I could probably write a whole book on their work.

One song came up on the ipod and it is one of the more well-known songs, but I saw it in a different light. The song is Scarborough Fair/Canticle. What may not be known by most people is that Paul Simon did not write this song. The song itself is an old English ballad which is an exchange between a man and a woman giving each other seemingly impossible tasks. If they succeed they can be together (for example, making a shirt without seams). The Scarborough Fair was a real fair in England which was a gathering of merchants from all over Europe to sell and barter. With so many people in one place, entertainers were also there and it became a real old English fair.

Paul Simon (with the help of Martin Carthy) came up with the arrangement we are familiar with and Art Garfunkel set it in counterpoint with Canticle (which is based on an earlier Simon song which now included anti-war lyrics). It is this piece called Canticle that really struck me today with what we hear in the news about Iraq.

Many people know the lyrics to Scarborough Fair, but not to Canticle, so I want to add them here and you can see how this really fits what we are seeing today (especially the final line).

On the side of a hill in the deep forest green
tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground
blankets and bedclothes a child of the mountains
sleeps unaware of the clarion call

On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves
washes the grave with silvery tears
a soldier cleans and polishes a gun

War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions
generals order their soldiers to kill
and to fight for a cause they’ve long ago forgotten

I always prefer to post youtubes with video so here is a version together with Andy Williams. Unfortunately the middle verse of Canticle was left out from this performance.


Movie Music Week Day 4

Well, not really day four, but since day four was Thanksgiving, I was unable to write a post.

There are some exceptional songs written for the movies they appear in. Most of these songs will have some connection to the story itself. In the case of these two songs they fit right into the plot.

First up is the movie M*A*S*H. Not the exceptional TV series by the same name, but the original movie which is base on the book by Richard Hooker. The book is about three doctors who were drafted into the army and serve at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea. The book was made into a very successful movie. One scene in the movie has the company dentist, who suffers from depression, come to the doctors to commit suicide. They give him a sleeping pill and plan a “last supper” for him. The scene is dark but very funny. During the “funeral” the song Suicide is Painless is played (which later became the theme music for the TV show). I really like the song. Granted it is a dark song but I think it kind of reminds me of the book of Ecclesiastes. Everything is meaningless and ends in death, but in the end it matters what we did while we were alive.

The other song is totally different and very upbeat. In 1975 a new musical debuted on Broadway based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The show was notable as it featured an exclusively African American cast. The show ran for 1,672 performances and was made into a motion picture in 1978. The show was called The Wiz and it was popular almost from the moment it opened. Perhaps one of the best known songs from both Broadway and Movies is the song Ease on Down the Road, which is kind of comparable to the song Follow the Yellow Brick Road from the Wizard of Oz movie. Unfortunately the movie was not a bit hit, but the song was.

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