A George Harrison song I did not know, which is rather amazing. He is my favourite Beatle. Perfect for the season.
Here is some haunting Norwegian Christmas music. (My mom used to give me haircuts like the singer’s haircut. It’s a Norwegian thing.)
This day can mean only one thing – Frank Sinatra’s birthday. In tribute, here is some Sinatra Christmas cheer, with Der Bingle along for the fun. (And here is my HuffPost tribute to Frank last year, on what would have been his 100th birthday.)
This fine article sums up my feelings about the Nobel selection, as well as my thoughts about Dario Fo. The interesting thing is, I strongly suspect the Nobel Committee either did not know the song “Neighborhood Bully,” or did not understand it, as I cannot believe they would award someone so strongly supportive of Israel. Rather just that they did (likely in spite of themselves).
Two versions of Douce France (insert profound insight regarding demography and history here, if you so please, or merely enjoy both versions of this wonderful song).
Version Charles Trenet:
Version Rachid Taha & Carte de Sejour:
Finally feels like spring. Sing it, Jacques.
On the death of Frank Sinatra Jr., I thought I’d post this very good piece by Tom Junod. It was written over 20 years ago and reposted in 2013. It was not easy being the Chairman’s son, as one can imagine. My Significant Other and I used to listen to Frank Jr. on Siriusly Sinatra and as S.O. once said, “Compared to most people, he is a decent singer. But compared to his father, he’s a disappointment.” Still, Sinatra Jr. seemed to have terrific humour about his unique situation and Junod shows great empathy.
Somewhat a propos, the tribute I wrote to Frank on the 100th anniversary of his birth. In it, you can find links to many great pieces of writing about Sinatra, including Gay Talese’s famous “Frank Sinatra has a cold.”
…Lucio Dalla died. Here, one of his most beautiful songs (and that is saying something).
Update on my New Year’s Resolutions — yes, I am reading Finnegans Wake. And it ain’t no piece o’cake. Ulysses was rather easy to read, and not only by comparison. It was actually a linear story. Finnegans Wake is not and there is an awful lot of made-up language (puns, portmanteaux and the like) in it. Still, one can follow. Book One was easy. Book Two a good deal more opaque. Book Three I am finding readable and quite funny.
In fact, I would suggest the key to reading Finnegans Wake and not letting it intimidate or frustrate you is to simply realize it is comedy — dark, at times, slapstick, vulgar and, on occasion, deeply literary. It reads as if someone had written out their dreams upon waking.
It also helps to be half-Norwegian, or know something of Norway and its culture. References to Ibsen and Norwegian words are strewn throughout the book and the story features Norwegian characters, as well.
Finally, it helps to know the song (especially for Book One).
I think Bernie Sanders is an awfully nice man who is wrong about many (though not all) things. That said, this ad is almost Morning-in-America-esque perfect. It very nearly made me cry.
And here is David Bowie, performing the same song at the Concert for New York City, shortly after 9-11. (I cannot find a way to embed, so click on the link.)