Thanks in part to my Emily project, I’ve been branching out into some different genres and reading levels lately. I had been looking for awesome Emilys in fiction, like, say, a pirate queen. While I didn’t find one by that name, in the process I did come across Hannah Mabbot, the notorious pirate queen of Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder.
The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.
To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider. …Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.
Thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, pirates remain more popular than ever (well, besides ninjas, of course, but that’s an age-old debate), but somehow I hadn’t gotten around to reading many books about them until now. I couldn’t have picked a better book to start with. The pirate crew here is rough around the edges yet each have their surprising secrets and foibles, their queen is fierce and larger than life, and the descriptions of Owen’s culinary masterpieces never failed to make my mouth water. It was the perfect adventure.
Here are more books on pirates and other seafarers, both real and imagined, and to set the mood while you’re reading, check out some pirate-y music here.
I like to listen to holiday music all year round…..except December. December is the worst. What is so special about December anyway? Why should it be the month for holiday music. If I want to listen to It’s a Very Megadeth Christmas (I’m not sure if that is a real album) in July then that is what I will do. That’s right, I’m talking to you broadcast radio and store intercoms. December is not the time to listen to Johnny Mathis or Berl Ives, that’s just weird……Who are those guys anyway?
I may be dreaming of a White Christmas, but I don’t really need to hear it every 3rd song. Also does it really matter if its a white Christmas, isn’t a green Christmas okay or how about a zombie Christmas, that would be awesome! RAHHHhh! Christmas brains. That’s zombie talk in case your were wondering.
Really, I know what you are thinking. This dude is a curmudgeon. Maybe I am, because I have no idea what that even means. Please, don’t explain it to me, I don’t want to know. I’m just a guy who likes to listen to the music that I want to listen to when I want to listen to said music. I like music. I also like to pump my fist in the air and yell, “You darn kids, get off my property.”
Anyway, in case you were interested in some nifty holiday music, the library has a boat load of keen CDs you can check out and listen to at your leisure. I am in no way advocating listening in December but if you must then go right ahead. Be a lemming. Follow the herd. But be wary of Christmas zombies. If you are like me and want to listen during the other months you can do that too! Here are a couple of holiday music CDs that I am advocating …Bright Eyes or Punk goes Christmas.
We also have some cool non-holiday music like The Killers, Ellie Goulding, Justin Timberlake or Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong.
Whether you love her crazy antics and meat dresses or not, you have to admit, Lady Gaga certainly makes some catchy songs. And for those who have worn out their iPods repeating Just Dance and Born This Way over and over again, rejoice, for her third album, Artpop, is finally here!
I’ve been a fan ever since seeing the video for Bad Romance in 2009 (okay, so I was late coming to the Monster Ball, but I’ve been a Little Monster ever since!), and I’m happy to say, this new album is just as catchy and dance-able as Gaga’s first two albums. While Born This Way, with its rock-inspired themes, was lots of fun, I think Artpop is more similar to the pure electronic pop I fell in love with from The Fame. The lyrics all share a focus on fame, fashion and art.
Clermont County Public Library is packing everything cool about books, movies, TV and pop culture under one roof for an upcoming free, after-hours event. The 2013 Librari-Con is expected to be a hit with teens and young adults. Inspired by the famous Comic-Cons and Mini-Cons across the country, it will bring enthusiasts together in a conference-style event at the library.
The Librari-Con will feature live performances by the Muses of Mayhem dance troupe, the Mayan Ruins tribal collective and Aloysius Fox of the Pandora Society’s Steampunk Symposium. There will also be hands-on demonstrations, workshops, contests and more.
“We’ve never done anything like this before and it should be really exciting,” said Adam Baker, Clermont County Public Library Communications Manager. “It’s a perfect one-stop-shop for fans. They can come for one of the scheduled performances, or just show up during the event and check out everything going on.”
Attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters from books, graphic novels, movies or TV. However, no weapons or weapon replicas are allowed. There will be a costume contest with several categories and prizes.
The Librari-Con is 6:00-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Clermont County Public Library’s Union Township Branch located at 4450 Glen Este-Withamsville Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45245.
For more information, call the branch at 513-528-1744.
For my money, the only Justin is the one with the last name Timberlake. He is a true triple threat. Not only has he conquered the world of Mickey Mouse and appeared on Star Search, he has also emerged victorious in the fight against boy band obscurity. As a member of the Five-Timers Club of Saturday Night Live fame, he joins an elite cadre of celebrities to accomplish such a feat. Plus, he is kinda talented, or so I’ve heard.
Being a triple threat is hard work, I know: I’m one myself. It means you have to be amazingly talented at three separate things. For JT, one of those things is music. Check out some of his CDs from the library if you don’t believe me. Plus he throws in some acting, in his spare time, in such movies as…..these. I can only guess that his third talent is being awesome.
Oh and check this out…he’s bringing MySpace back. It is the future/past of social media networking. That’s rad!! Take that, other Justin guy from Canada!
With that kind of influence, especially over me, I now wear suits and ties for no reason, all the time. Really, so should you. I mean, what is stopping you? Convention? Blah, if JT and Jay-Z says it’s OK, then it is OK. (I say it’s OK too.)
Opera is one facet of classical music in which I’ve never indulged. I’m a patient man, but I don’t have the endurance for a composer like Wagner, whose Ring Cycle lasts roughly eighteen hours (seriously). And then there are the over-the-top melodramatic beltings, the proverbial fat ladies singing, which seem ridiculous to me. That isn’t to say that opera is trivial; you’ll find many devotees. Like those freaks on NPR’s Opera Quiz who are able to identify an aria by hearing half a note. So, yes, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of opera.
I say “not exactly,” because behind those warblings, you’ll find some great classical music. Take for example, Verdi Without Words, an arrangement of his best-known themes by former Cincinnati Pops conductor Eric Kunzel. Even for the uninitiated, you are likely recognize the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore, which is often parodied in popular culture (just think of Looney Tunes). And then there’s “La donna è mobile,” whose melody has become for many the epitome of Italian opera. My personal favorite piece is the “Egyptian March” from Aïda.
Put on your Viking helmet complete with horns for the Overtures and Preludes from the operas of Richard Wagner (pronounced vahhhg-ner, not wag-ner). Sure, the man’s legacy isn’t exactly without tarnish, but the music is brilliant and you won’t be subjected to eighteen hours of Germanic mythology in song form. Who can’t resist banging their head to The Ride of the Valkyries? A favorite from this album is the Prelude from Act III of Lohengrin, which puts me in the mood to be heroic.
Until next time–may your personal rite of spring not be riotous.
Chris Tomlin, one of my favorite artists, has a new CD titled Burning Lights. It is a marvelous mixture of songs with lyrics that inspire and music that is fresh and exciting. I just love his new songs, “Awake My Soul” and “Lay Me Down” that are included on this album.
If you are looking for an awesome Contemporary Christian Music CD, check out the Burning Lights Album.
Greetings and salutations!
During this Library Lovers’ Month, I’m returning with more on the Classical Music I hold so dear to my heart. I, your savant, and my trusty sidekick Philip Koro, will be coming at you with the rockin’ rambunctious raucous action that you associate with composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and others. At this point, I’m making the internationally-recognized sign for “metal” in the air. YEEEAAAAH.
In earlier blog posts, I had mentioned the library now has a collection of performances on DVD. Although you may think that us librarians live a life of bon-vivant leisure, I haven’t had much a chance to report back my findings–until recently.
If you like baroque music, you already love Johann Sebastian Bach. It’s impossible to miss him. The man was a machine–he composed over 1,100 compositions during his lifetime. He also had twenty children. In one of his last works, The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), Bach showboated his mad crazy compositional skills. I watched a performance of this work by Die Akademie für Alte Musik (which is based in Berlin) through the magic of the digital video disc. The recording, which gives an intimate view of the performance, also gives a sense of the work’s architecture, beginning with a simple theme played on the organ to its complex counterpoint played by strings, woodwind and keyboard.
Sure, The Art of Fugue isn’t exactly easy listening. The reward, however, is a better appreciation for the structures of baroque music and a greater understanding of perhaps the greatest composer ever (the greatest in this gent’s humble opinion). I must admit that The Art of Fugue is not for everyone–in fact, it was intended as a teaching aide for students of composition. This means that at times the music can be rather on the heavy side, like reading a complex multi-layered but well-structured novel–one that Bach never completed. The last piece in the cycle, Contrapuntcus XVIII, abruptly ends with the last note being played by a viola.
Until next time–may your larks always be ascending and your clavier be well-tempered!
Last fall I went to my first college football game. Nothing big like Notre Dame or Ohio State but a Division 1 game featuring The University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Needless to say it, was a fun and great experience hanging out with some buddies and enjoying a Bearcat victory. Then all of the sudden, about midway through the first quarter, one of those dance music songs started playing during a timeout. You know, they do that sometimes to get people off their butts and shaking them in some way. I ignored it like all those other tunes because quite frankly I can’t dance and don’t want to. You will not see me doing the YMCA on the Jumbotron during a TV timeout at any sporting event. I am actually there for the game and not the music and dancing. But then I noticed everybody riding the pony during this song and thought, that’s a new one. I dismissed it and, quite frankly forgot it altogether.
So quietly this song, “Gangnam Style” (which I found out later is what it’s called from a coworker), is taking over my subconscious. It has now permeated through everything – MLB, NFL, Cyclones hockey, the library! – and is taking over my life. I find myself just randomly dancing “Gangnam Style.” If you don’t believe me, ask my family or even my coworkers. The song is stuck in my head forever, just like that classic, timeless Rebecca Black song, “Friday.”
The real question about this Korean music sensation is, is this only a Macarena-type fad, or is it here to stay like the YMCA or the Chicken Dance? It’s hard to say but the YouTube video has over a billion views - that’s ONE BILLION – and if my information is correct, it is the first video to do so. I guess 1 billion people can’t be wrong. I say, long live PSY and “Gangnam Style.” I’m actually doing it right now and I’m terrible at it.
I’m a guy, so I never cry. But, as the title goes sometimes, some things do make me cry. It’s a natural human emotion and I am man enough to admit to it. This, however, is not going to be about all the things that make me cry; you don’t care about that and I certainly have no need to share my sensitivities that only occur when it’s raining. Nonetheless, it’s time we share a tender moment together and delve into our feelings over a nice, freshly brewed cup of tea.
For me, nothing gets me crying more than a good Bruce Willis movie, like the Die Hard movies or Red or even 16 Blocks, in which he sports an outstanding mustache. In the grand scheme of things, a good Bruce Willis tear-jerker keeps it all in perspective for me. When poor John McClain gets sucked into another scenario where he is the only one that can be the hero and save the day, that just hits me right in the tear ducts man. The pain he goes through must really hurt – I mean emotionally, of course. Probably physically as well.
But, even more than that, sitting down next to the fireplace while sipping on some tea and reading a good emotionally gripping-novel with some historically accurate inaccuracies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. This book is so emotionally gripping that my copy has several tear-stained pages. There is not a doubt in my mind that the library’s copy has some of the same problems…from many other patrons’ leaking eyes.
Then there is Justin Bieber. “I’ll be honest with you, I love his music. I do. I’m a “Justin Bieber” fan. For my money, I don’t know if it gets any better than when he sings “When a Man Loves a Woman”.” Bieber brings on a whole other level of sentimentality. Every song he bellows from his velvety smooth vocal chords brings out emotions in me that I just don’t understand. He sends me to tears with one note. He’s just that good.
As you can plainly see, I’m an emotional fellow. I may not cry at every time a vampire shines like a diamond for me or for every lost love, but I have my moments and that is exactly what they are…my moments. Plus, I kinda lied; this did turn out to be about my times of tenderness.
P.S. I never Cry, never. I don’t care what you say…..never. Plus, I’m more of a Michael Bolton fan. He just gets me.