Sunday, December 31, 2023

Ernest Tomlinson - Fantasia on Auld Lang Syne

Ernest Tomlinson was an English composer active from around 1950.  He was an anachronism in that he wrote music with melody, in great contrast to the a-tonal, arrhythmical dreck that is the wasteland of modern classical music.

He may have single-handedly saved much of this sort of music in 1984.  The BBC decided to eliminate their archive of light classical music - it was ever so unfashionable, old chap - and he got the entire archive.  50,000 works are now in the Library Of Light Orchestral Music.  Tomlinson was awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his service to music.

This piece is simply a delight.  Everyone will recognize the primary theme - Auld Lang Syne, the traditional New Years' Eve song.  But Tomlinson weaves in brief snippets of 152 other pieces.  It was a completely unexpected pleasure to discover this, and a fitting high note to say goodbye to 2023.

Ernest Tomlinson passed on in 2015.  His obituary is worth a read:

After falling out of favour in the middle of the last century, light music, once a major part of British cultural life, has enjoyed a modest renaissance in recent years. Nobody did more to encourage this revival of interest than Ernest Tomlinson, who has died aged 90. He was a prolific composer, praised by the singer and broadcaster Catherine Bott for his “exceptional technical skills allied to a rare gift for melody”. Equally, he fought to preserve the light music heritage by founding the Library of Light Orchestral Music and acting as consultant and performer for an important series of CD recordings.
He was an anachronism inn modern classical music, living an admirably traditional life.  Married 57 years, this part of his obituary stood out:
He is survived by his children, Ann, Geoffrey, Hilary and Linda, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Jean died in 2006.

Rest in peace, and thanks for the great music.

UPDATE 31 DECEMBER 2023 17:29: From the notes at Youtube, here are some of the different songs included in this piece.  What a fun, very clever musical piece.

0:33- Auld Lang Syne 
- Gounod’s Soldier Chorus from Faust
- The British Grenadiers
2:24 - Leroy Anderson’s The Rakes of Mallow
- Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations
2:52 - Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2, 2nd movement
- Elgar's Enigma Variations, main theme
- Beethoven's Symphony No.9, 4th movement, "Ode To Joy"
3:53 - Haydn’s St.Anthony Chorale
- Purcell's Abdelazer, "Rondeau" or Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
4:23 - Schubert’s Trout Quintet, 4th movement
4:32 - Haydn's Symphony No.94, 2nd movement
- Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
-Dvorak’s Humoresque no 7
-Foster’s Beautiful Dreamer
- Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique symphony 3rd movement
-A Life on The Ocean Wave
- Auld Lang Syne
- Khachaturian’s Adagio from Spartacus
6:14 - Mendelssohn’s Overture to The Hebrides
- Mozart's Piano Sonata No.16, first movement
- Handel's Entry of the Queen of Sheba
- Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Little Swan from Swan Lake
- Bach’s Fugue in C minor from Well-Tempered Clavier
7:31 -Arthur Sullivan ... "Major General" (Pirates of Penzance)
-The Keel Row
- Bizet's Overture to Carmen
7:53 - This Old Man
- Thomas-Arne’s Rule-Britannia
- Strauss Jr’s Voice of Spring Waltz
- Tchaikovsky’s Valse no. 2 from Swan Lake
- Weber’s Invitation to the Dance
9:31 - Je veux vivre (Juliet's Waltz) from Romeo et Juliette by Charles Gounod
9:46 - Strauss. Jr’s Waltz from Die Flaudermaus
- Chopin's Grand Valse Brilliante
- Tchaikovsky - Serenade for Strings, 2nd movement
11:26 -Smetana’s Dance of the Comedian from The Bartered Bride
- Strauss. Jr’s Perpetuum Mobile Polka
- Mozart’s French Horn no. 4, 3rd movement
12:42 - Shenandoah
12:48 -Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance no 2 op.46
-Wi’a Hundred Pipers
12:59 - Offenbach's Can-Can Dance
- Schubert's Military March No.1, or Stravinsky's Circus Polka
- Offenbach's Can-Can Dance
- Rossini’s La Danza from Les Soirée Musicales
13:38 - Mysterious Pizzicato
- Bach’s A Riercar a 6 from The Musical Offering
- Rossini’s Overture to Semiramide
- Dark Eyes
-Koenig’s Post Horn Gallop
14:42 -Benjamin’s Jamaican Rumba
- Khachaturian's Sabre Dance
- Rossini's Overture to "The Barber of Seville"
15:04 - Bizet's L' Arlesienne Suite No.2, "Farandole"
- Glinka's Overture to "Ruslan and Ludmilla"
15:20 Goodnight, Ladies
- Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture
- Verdi's Le donna e mobile, from "Rigoletto"
- O, Come All ye Faithful
- La Curachacha
17:58 The Girl I left behind 
- Yankee Doodle
- Good King Winceslas
18:10 Sailor's Hornpipe
- Grieg’s Morning Mood from Peer Gynt
- Dvorak’s New World Symphony, 2nd movement

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Face Vocal Band - The Parting Glass

This is an old, old traditional song of parting, popularized by The Clancy Brothers and often played at both New Year's and funerals.  This song is especially poignant to me in a year where I lost both Younger Brother Borepatch and my deeply missed Wolfgang.  May 2024 be better.

Happy New Years, everybody.

A very literary Christmas

The Queen Of The World got me a Barnes & Noble gift card, so we went out to an actual bricks-and-mortar bookstore (do they really have those?  As it turns out, yes they do).

It was a blast, and a bit of a blast from the past.  The whole Borepatch clan would go out Christmas shopping Back In The Day, and we'd spend an inordinate amount of time in bookstores.  TQOTW and I were in the bookstore for a couple of hours.  I'd forgotten just how much better book shopping at a bookstore is, as opposed to online.

Sure, online lets you get that book you already know about instantly, no fus and no muss.  But there's no good way to browse.  Basically, online handles the known knowns, but in the store is unbeatable for unknown unknowns.

For example, I didn't know that I wanted this until I was browsing: Wingmen: The Unlikely, Unusual, Unbreakable Friendship Between John Glenn and Ted Williams. (Williams was Glenn's wingman in the Korean War, flying combat sorties)

I also didn't know that I needed Barry Strauss' Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors From Augustus To Constantine.  I had listened to Robin Pearson interview Prof. Strauss on The History Of Byzantium podcast (you can listen at the link; recommended), and lo and behold here was the book.  Done and done.

Likewise with Tom Holland's new book Pax: War And Peace In Rome's Golden Age.  Like with Strauss, I had heard Robin interview Tom Holland on the same podcast.

I had wanted Max Miller's new cookbook, Tasting History.  We've seen Miller's videos here before (for example, Trader Vic's original Mai Tai).  Miller recreates recipes from the past, going all the way back to ancient Babylon (!).  I think the first of his videos I posted was about feeding the Roman Army.  He is entertaining and the recipes looked really interesting and now that there is a cookbook of the recipes I thought I'd get it.  We'll see if TQOTW lets me make any of these in her kitchen.

All in all, podcasters were well represented at the bookstore.  Both of Mike Duncan's books were there.  Already had both, but was happy to see that he's currently in stock.

So it was a great afternoon with The Queen Of The World (who also scored some history books - she's not just a pretty face, she's also wicked smart).  Bricks and mortar bookstores for the win.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Nikki Haley was right

The Civil War was not fought over slavery.  This is trivial to demonstrate.

Consider the Corwin Amendment:

The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that has never been adopted, but owing to the absence of a ratification deadline, could still be adopted by the state legislatures. It would shield slavery within the states from the federal constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress. Although the Corwin Amendment does not explicitly use the word slavery, it was designed specifically to protect slavery from federal power. The outgoing 36th United States Congress proposed the Corwin Amendment on March 2, 1861, shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War, with the intent of preventing that war and preserving the Union. It passed Congress but was not ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures.
Yeah, yeah - Wikipedia.  But the article plays it straight up.

So if the war was about slavery, why did both houses of Congress pass this amendment, and why did the President sign the bill, sending it to the States for ratification?  And oh by the way, Congress passed this without the Representatives from the seceding States.

And Abraham Lincoln - the "Great Emancipator" himself did not oppose the Amendment.

So the War was all about slavery, but Congress was playing 6-dimension chess or something, right?

[rolls eyes]

I'm no fan of Haley, but she is also right that the question was a liberal plant.  Her response might have been bad politics in 2023, but she is 100% correct on the facts.

But while facts are stubborn things, so is the ignorance and arrogance of the media (including the ostensibly conservative media). Remember, the history of that war as taught today is retarded.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Save the planet by violating Indian treaties

I mean, why not?  There's a long American tradition of ignoring treaties with the tribes.  But this time it's playing out differently: Federal Judge sides with Osage Nation, Orders removal of 84 Wind Turbines:

The Osage Nation won a massive ruling in Tulsa federal court on Wednesday that requires Enel to dismantle a 150-megawatt wind project it built in Osage County despite the tribe’s repeated objections. The tribe’s fight against Rome-based Enel began in 2011 and is the longest-running legal battle over wind energy in American history.


The decision by U.S. Court of International Trade Judge Jennifer Choe-Graves is the culmination of 12 years of litigation that pitted the tribe and federal authorities against Enel. During the construction of the project, the company illegally mined rock owned by the tribe, and it continued to do so even after being ordered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to stop. Instead of halting work, the company sped up construction. Enel must now remove the 84 turbines that it built on 8,400 acres of the Tallgrass Prairie located between Pawhuska and Fairfax. Removing the turbines will cost Enel some $300 million.

As you might expect, the Oklahoma State courts were corrupt - with the Chief Justice of the OK Supremes benefiting from the project.  But the Federales were different, and ruled for the indians.  It looks like there's very little chance of an appeal, as the US Supremes ruled on a very similar case in the not so distant past.

And this bit is spot on:

By thrashing Enel in court, the Osage tribe not only stands to collect millions of dollars in damages and the removal of the loathsome turbines, it also has handed Big Wind the biggest public relations debacle in its history. It’s not just that the wind industry lost; it lost to a Native American tribe. That’s a particularly bad look when it comes to the branding of wind energy as “clean,” “green,” “sustainable,” and, of course, “renewable.”  

Chalk one up for the good guys.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Surgery today

The Queen Of The World is having a cataract removed.  Unfortunately, then she'll have a clear view of me.

Getting old is not for sissies.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas

God bless us, every one. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

J. S. Bach - Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring

It's Christmas Eve, which calls for the best of traditional Christmas music.  You don't get much more traditional than this.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Friday, December 22, 2023

Michael Bublé - Blue Christmas

The stockings are now up, but there are only two.  Wolfgang had a stocking with two feet (he had twice as many feet as we do, right?).  He sure loved Christmas, knowing he was going to get Puppy Loot.

Now we just have memories.  I sure miss you, buddy.

Here's a picture of his stocking last year:


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Joe Bonamassa - Christmas Boogie

It's been almost a month since I posted any Blues.  Fixing that now.

Big Pharmacy chains turn over medical into to police without warants

Hey, you can trust the Government, right?

All of the big pharmacy chains in the US hand over sensitive medical records to law enforcement without a warrant—and some will do so without even running the requests by a legal professional, according to a congressional investigation.


They include the seven largest pharmacy chains in the country: CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Cigna, Optum Rx, Walmart Stores, Inc., The Kroger Company, and Rite Aid Corporation. The lawmakers also spoke with Amazon Pharmacy.

All eight of the pharmacies said they do not require law enforcement to have a warrant prior to sharing private and sensitive medical records, which can include the prescription drugs a person used or uses and their medical conditions. Instead, all the pharmacies hand over such information with nothing more than a subpoena, which can be issued by government agencies and does not require review or approval by a judge.

This sure seems like a violation of HIPAA, not to mention that pesky Fourth Amendment.


Wednesday, December 20, 2023


Good Lord, it's been a month since the last Dad Joke.

Where was the Declaration Of Independence signed?  At the bottom.

Monday, December 18, 2023

When the White Hats are actually Black Hats

Not cool, dude:

An Atlanta tech company's former COO has pleaded guilty to a 2018 incident in which he deliberately launched online attacks on two hospitals, later citing the incidents in sales pitches.

Under a plea deal he signed last week, Vikas Singla, a former business leader at network security vendor Securolytics – a provider to healthcare institutions, among others – admitted that in September 2018 he rendered the Ascom phone system of Gwinnett Medical Center inoperable.


After all of the events had transpired, Securolytics began emailing potential clients regarding new business opportunities, citing the publicized attacks.

 Quis custodiet ipsoes custodes, indeed.


Sunday, December 17, 2023

Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops Orchestra, Pops Christmas Party 1959

The mid-20th Century was the high point of the much appreciated and much lamented in its passing "Mid-Brow"* culture: a set of societal expectations that a properly educated man or woman should know certain (respectable) things and behave in certain (respectable) ways.  One of these things that people were expected to know was classical music.  There were two great popularizers of mid-brow music: Leonard Bernstein, and Arthur Fiedler.

Bernstein was a musical genius, who wrote fabulous music.  "West Side Story" is perhaps most famous, but "Candide" is perhaps his greatest composition.  Of course he was a dirty commie bastard, but there's no denying his influence on the Mid-Brow public.

Arthur Fiedler was the long time conductor of the Boston Symphony and (more famously) the Boston Pops which became perhaps the most famous Mid-Brow orchestra ever.  Fiedler joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1915 (!) and graduated to cunductor in 1930.  He remained conductor of the Symphony and the Pops for the next half century.

His career was the apogee of Mid-Brow culture in America.  All 3 networks plus PBS covered the July 4, 1976 Pops concert from Boston liveAll of them.  After all, people were expected to behave in particular (respectable) ways.

Alas for the America of my youth.  Here's a delightful musical album of the 1959 Boston Pops Christmas.  Sadly, Youtube tells me that this has only 173 views.  Alas for the America of my youth, indeed.

* Not the hoity-toity High Brow set, and certainly not the Low Brow set.  Mid-Brow, the sweet spot.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

The terms "Software Engineering" and "Military Intelligence" are strangely related

It is said that Engineering is "Science that works", so we have to relegate "Software Engineering" to the same bucket as "Military Intelligence" and "Jumbo Shrimp".  Exhibit A for the prosecution is this month's Microsoft Patch Tuesday, which fixes a data leakage vulnerability caused by a divide by zero condition:

CVE-2023-20588 is a “division-by-zero” vulnerability affecting specific AMD processors that can “potentially return speculative data resulting in loss of confidentiality.”

Microsoft addressed the vulnerability in its Patch Tuesday update round, as the latest Windows versions enable mitigation and protection.

[blink] [blink]

Oooooh kaaaaay.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but aren't folks taught that divide by zero is no bueno?  Like taught that in Coding 101?

All I can think is, well, bless their little hearts.  Wow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Tony Bennett - My Favorite Things

Thanks for all the great music, Tony.  Rest in peace.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Mike Rowe, John Rich, and The Oak Ridge Boys - Santa Claus Has A Dirty Job

Proceeds from this song go to Folds Of Honor (scholarships for military and first responder's kids) and the Mike Rowe Works Foundation.  Bravo, gentlemen.

If you don't like this, I'm afraid we can't be friends anymore.

Courts smack down New Mexico Governor's gun ban

Lawrence has a great analysis. Key bit:

By actually applying the Bruen test, and using it to strike down half of the remaining decree, the courts have giving gun owners at east three-fourths of a loaf here.

We're winning.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

César Franck - Prélude, Fugue et Variation op. 18

Perhaps the greatest organist of the Romantic Era was César Franck.  Organist for over 30 years at the Parisian church Sainte-Clotilde, he was renowned for his improvisational ability.

He loved the organ in the church, and as his reputation grew the organ manufacturer increasingly asked him to debut new organs purchased by other churches.  He also started impromptu recitals at the church, which later became regular scheduled events attracting notables such as composer Franz Liszt.

As with many great composers, he was a child prodigy, giving his first concert at age 12.  The Paris Conservatory recognized his ability and made him a professor.

He is known today for his symphonies, but I like this organ music which was his passion.  Happy birthday, César Franck!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Alan Jackson - Let There Be Christmas

This is a Country song for people who don't like Country Music.  Alan Jackson wrote this, and he's about as Country as anyone - but this is essentially a traditional Christmas song that Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole could have recorded if they had lived to 2002.  No slide guitars or banjos, just traditional sentimentality.

I like this song a lot, but you know how sentimental I am.  And I'm not the only one - not only did this reach #6 on the Country chart, it also reached #27 on Billboard's 200.

Let It Be Christmas (Songwriter: Alan Jackson):

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the hearts of all people
Both near and afar
Christmas everywhere
Feel the love of the season where ever you are
On the small country roads
Lined with green mistletoe
Big city streets where a thousand lights glow

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing
Let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas, Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
With the gold and the silver, the green and the red
Christmas everywhere
In the smiles of all children asleep in their beds
In the eyes of young babies
Their first fallen snow
The elderly's memories that never grow old
Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing
Let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas, Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the songs that we sing
And the gifts that we bring
Christmas everywhere
In what this day means
And what we believe
From the sandy white beaches
Where blue water rolls
Snow covered mountains and valleys below

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing
Let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas, Christmas everywhere
Christmas everywhere
Christmas everywhere


Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tuesday, December 5, 2023


The Queen Of The World and I have taken another lap around the sun.  She's my brown-eyed girl.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Christmas movie trivia - Scrooged

The Queen Of The World and I watched Scrooged, the 1988 Bill Murray Christmas flick.  It's a quite fun film but it has a fair amount of depth as well - not to mention an all-star cast including Robert Mitchum, John Houseman, and Carol Kane among others.

And the "among others" was the fun part of watching.  You see, the ghostly taxi driver (Ghost of Christmas Past) is played by David Johansen, a.k.a. Buster Poyndexter.  Yeah, that Buster Poindexter:

Notice the cameo by Bill Murray in this video?  The video was made in 1987; Scrooged was filmed in 1988.

Astonishingly, The Queen Of The World had never watched this video before.  Her reaction?  Buster Poyndexter is a really good actor, both in film and in the video.  About right, there.

Scrooged gets two thumbs way, way up.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Irving Berlin - Sisters from White Christmas

This scene was ad lib, with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye reprising the song from Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.  It started as Bing goofing around and everyone thought it was funny so they filmed it.  They filmed it several times because people were laughing so much that it was hard to get a clean take.  The laughter you see here is genuine.

The Queen Of The World and I was watching this, and she found this at 35 surprising "White Christmas" facts.

Vince Guaraldi Trio - Peanuts Christmas Special