New Years in FSM

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NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts

I knew that NPR’s All Songs Considered did a series called Tiny Desk Concerts, but somehow I missed that they filmed these concerts as well as recording them for the radio.

The Decemberists, who did not expect the office to stop and watch them.

Beirut, being all super Bavarian-esque.

Noah and the Whale, with a haunting, stripped down version of “Blue Skies.”

I’ve decided that if I ever give up academia, I’m becoming an NPR All Songs Considered intern/custodial assistant/office temp or whatever job gets me in the building on the days they film the Tiny Desk Concert.

Movies in Review

We’re at end of the year, film in review time. Right on cue to curate our Christmas movie and television watching are the Golden Globe nominations. I agree with a lot of these, but Emily Van Camp got robbed not getting a nod for Revenge. Yes, Madeline Stowe has been eating up the screen as Victoria Grayson, but no more so than Alex Kingston as River Song on Doctor Who…who also got robbed, come to think of it. If they can nominate The Hour for best miniseries (well deservedly), then surely Alex Kingston deserves a nomination for her portrayal of River Song. I digress, however. Emily Van Camp’s Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke is the undeniable center of Revenge; her every expression, eye brow raise, or flicker of a smile are vital to the show. As the actually films, I still need to see Midnight in Paris (it alas never made it to FSM or I was out of town the one weekend it did), The Descendants, Crazy, Stupid Love, The Artist, 50/50, and Moneyball. Honestly, I’ll see The Artist over the break and the new Sherlock Holmes film. Oh, and the Doctor Who Christmas episode. Since I’m proposing a paper on Christmas episodes of Doctor Who for PCA, I can now officially consider Doctor Who watching work related.

Hat tip Andrew Sullivan for the 2011 filmography video above.

Typography

A grad school friend and former lawyer posted this fascinating link about typography and documents that lawyers write. I think the principles discussed, however, apply to all document design. I know one of the reasons why students turn in drafts or final copies of essays in a multitude of fonts, font sizes, and other visuals is that they’ve never been taught document design. I know ProfHacker had a post awhile back about letting students come up with an agreed upon class design for documents. I hesitate to do this with first year students because they’re also supposed to know how to do MLA by the time they get out of the comp sequence, but it might be interesting to do. New ideas for the Spring are already percolating, and I’m not done grading yet. Okay, back to those essays.

Song of the Day: Joe Henry, “Heaven’s Escape (Henry Ford on the Bank of America)”

Oh my goodness, I think this album has reduced me to teen girl speak with how good it is. I adore the opening track, “Heaven’s Escape (Henry Ford on the Bank of America)”. It does what all good songs should do–evoke a sense of time and space that is both specific and really anywhere at all. It’s Bill Evans-esque without being really like Bill Evans at all. And that line, “Farewell to this endless, confused reverie”…it’s the sonic equivalent of an old movie.

Commonplace

“There is something as inevitable as labor that takes over around Christmas. I feel impelled to the kitchen. I feel deep hungers for star-shaped cookies and tangerine ices and caramel cakes, things I never think of during the rest of the year. Even when I have vowed to keep it simple, I have found myself making the deadly Martha Washington Jetties my mother made every year on the cold back porch. You have to make them in the cold because the sinful cream, sugar, and pecan fondant balls are dipped by toothpick into chocolate and held up to set before being placed on the chilled wax-papered tray. The chocolate dip, of course, constantly turns hard and must be taken into the kitchen and heated. My mother made Jetties endlessly because her friends expected them. We professed to find them too rich but ate them until our teeth ached. I still have the cut-glass candy jar they spent their brief tenures in.”

~ Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

Commonplace

“It was a meal that we shall never forget; more accurately, it was several meals that we shall never forget, because it went beyond the gastronomic frontiers of anything we had ever experienced, both in quantity and in length.

It started with homemade pizza–not one, but three: anchovy, mushroom, and cheese, and it was obligatory to have a slice of each. Plates were then wiped with pieces torn from the two-foot loaves in the middle of the table , and the next course came out. There were pâtés of rabbit, boar, and thrush. There was a chunky, pork-based terrine laced with marc. There were saucissons spotted with peppercorns. There were tiny sweet  onions marinated in a fresh tomato sauce. Plates were wiped once more and duck was brought in. The slivers of marget that appear, arranged in fan formation and lapped by an elegant smear of sauce on the refined tables of nouvelle cuisine–these were nowhere to be seen. We had entire breasts, entire legs, covered in a dark, savory gravy and surrounded by wild mushrooms.

We sat back, thankful that we had been able to finish, and watched with something close to panic as plates were wiped again and a huge, steaming casserole was placed on the table. This was the speciality of Madame our hostess–a rabbit civet of the richest, deepest brown–and our feeble requests for small portions were smilingly ignored. We ate it. We ate the green salad with knuckles of bread fried in garlic and olive oil, we ate the plump round crottins of goat’s cheese, we ate the almond and cream gâteau that the daughter of the house had prepared . That night, we ate for England.”

Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence