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Posts Tagged ‘music’


  • List of technology-enhanced activities for secondary English classes.
  • Examples of worthwhile technology-enhanced lesson plans.
  • Quick thoughts from the Hardings, homeschooling parents of ten who have sent seven kids to college by age 12.
  • Recently found this silly video I made for a class I was taking two years ago.  Amusing.
  • Instapundit nails it: the humanities lost relevance when they decided to preach that nothing has intrinsic value.  It’s been my experience that students (yes, even at-risk, underprivileged minorities!) appreciate the classics.  Everybody likes the egalitarian ideal of participation in the uniting, universal canon, rather than manufactured niche curricula that only panders to trends.


Language & Literature

  • Great WSJ essay on one of my favorite books, A Confederacy of Dunces.
  • Cute chart collects insults from famous authors who hated each other’s work.
  • Fascinating memoir of writing the script for Star Trek: Insurrection. Included here because it shares so much about that specific writing craft.  Also, Insurrection is often over-maligned—it is not great, but not nearly as bad as many say.  This long essay shows how it could have been great.
  • Long lost introduction by Anthony Burgess to Dubliners.



Living Well


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“Beware of the Blob!”

Saw the old, original version of The Blob this weekend.  Three notes:

1. It’s surprisingly mediocre–not bad, but not great.

2. There’s a Criterion Collection edition.

3. The best part is the opening theme song, a catchy ditty by young Burt Bacharach.  It’s a perfect late 50’s tune.  Seriously, try getting this thing out of your head for the rest of the day!

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Recently found this stirring group rendition of my favorite song, a folksy bit of homesickness for Scotland:

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One of my favorite R&B songs, from the early 90’s (of course).  Does anybody write stuff like this anymore?

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Thanks again to the good people at the Thistle & Shamrock, I have another great contemporary Scottish folk song to love.  Last Sunday I heard “The Sang o the Saracen Maid” and fell for it hard; it’s about all I’ve listened to for a week.

Here it is:

I was prompted to do some research about the background of this heartrending tale.

This YouTube video directly precedes the one above; the author of the original poem introduces it.

Here’s a written story of the poem’s origin.

Here are the words to the poem.

And the lyrics to the song.

This is the old legend being retold here.  Isn’t it sad?  I’d never heard this before.  Local folklore is the best!

Here’s another telling of the same story.

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Talking to a student a few weeks ago about The Catcher in the Rye segued into the movie Finding Forrester, which reminded me of the clip of this song used near the end of the film, which led me to look it up on YouTube, which is how I found this wonderful video:

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Video Games and Violins

Lindsey Stirling’s done some entertaining stuff:

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I still think this is catchy and sweet as all get out.

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“Besame Mucho”

I’ve watched this whole concert many times.  Beautiful.  And it doesn’t hurt that it was in my neck of the woods!

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“On Broadway”

Still one of the coolest, catchiest songs ever.

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Writing is like:

  • architecture.  Form follows function; the design of the piece, especially the basic structure, should require every element to contribute to the overall mission of the creation’s existence.  A solid foundation must be established first–in writing, the introduction is critical.  An outline of major topics and examples is like the layout of various beams and girders in construction.
  • sculpture.  Michelangelo said that he saw his sculptures inside the marble blocks, and simply chiseled off anything that wasn’t part of it.  We should do the same with our drafts.
  • bees.   (more…)

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Bela Fleck & Chick Corea

I didn’t even know that these two had teamed up to record together until I heard an ad for a show they’re doing next week at the Smith Center here in Las Vegas.  Here’s a couple tracks from the album they’re touring for:



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“No One Is To Blame”

Decent 80’s track; excellent live acoustic performance.

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So apparently Steve Martin plays a pretty mean banjo.

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