I’ve blogged a lot about Tommy Makem since his death two weeks ago, including a lengthy post explaining what he meant to me. But they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and in this case, an audio clip is worth about a million of ‘em. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Brendan Loy, at 3 years old, singing about moonshine:
The song is “The Hills of Connemara,” and I know it’s probably bad form to call myself “cute,” but good lord, is there anything more adorable than hearing a 3-year-old sing, “Run like the devil from the excise man”? :) I had no idea what any of it meant, of course; I just thought it was a fun song. But there you go: if you thought maybe I was exaggerating when I told those stories about singing rowdy Irish songs in my early childhood, now you know I wasn’t. (And if you ever wondered why I took such a liking to “Rocky Top,” maybe that question too is answered: apparently I just like songs about concealing illegal alcohol from the authorities!)
The audio clip comes from an old cassette tape, recently dug up by my mom, of my parents and I performing Irish music in our living room for my Grandma and Grandpa Loomer and my Papa Loy — all now deceased — and my Uncle Robert, sometime in 1985. You can hear a lot of Grandpa in that clip; he’s the one who played an “A” for my mom before the song, who commented “the show’s getting better, Robert,” and who cheered loudly at the end. In this later clip from the same concert, of “Place in the Choir,” you can hear Grandpa again at the end, and also Papa Loy saying “This is good, I want to hear the rest of it” when I abruptly interrupted the song to comment on our previous performance. (Hey, what do you want, I was three!) Entirely aside from the nostalgia of the music, and of hearing myself as a little kid, it’s also really cool to hear my grandfathers’ voices again. :) Anyway…
Judging by my parents’ comments, it seems that that was the first time I ever sang along with them on “Place in the Choir.” Which is pretty funny, because it soon became one of my all-time favorites, and has always remained so — to the point where, when my mom busted out the guitar last week in the Adirondacks so we could sing a few songs in Makem’s honor, it was one of the first songs I suggested. We had some trouble remembering the verses, but here it is: the same song, by the same singers, 22 years later…
P.S. It’s possible I was 4 years old, not 3. The tape is labeled “1985,” so I’m assuming I was 3, since I didn’t turn 4 until October 30 of that year. But it could have been late 1985, in which case I would have been 4. It’s also possible the label is wrong. But in any event, I was really young.
P.S. As you might guess, I made this post, and the one below, some time ago. I had them set to post automatically at noon, but I finished a little early, so I moved up the timestamp (and reset the countdown clock above).
P.P.P.S. Evidence grades are out. They’re on InsideND. I got a B! w00t! I’m very happy about that, considering.
Newfoundland folk-music singer Dermot OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Reilly, who wrote and sang West Country Lady — which I considered my favorite song in all the world when I was 9 and 10 years old, having learned it from the album All the Best, which we bought during our family vacation to Newfoundland in 1991 — died Saturday at age 65 after apparently suffering a sudden heart attack.
Have a listen, if you like:
My musical tastes have (not surprisingly) changed quite a bit in the last 15 years, and to be honest, while I continue to love Irish and Canadian folk music, I no longer consider West Country Lady a favorite. But the song still has great nostalgic appeal for me, and the metaphorical lyrics are poetic and beautiful. (The “West Country Lady” is Newfoundland herself, similarly to how Ireland — where O’Reilly was born — is often portrayed as a metaphorical woman, like in Tommy Makem’s classic “Four Green Fields,” another one of my favorites both then and now.)
It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (though you wouldn’t know it here at Notre Dame Law School, as we have class today), but I haven’t yet had a chance to do my annual tradition of spending 16 minutes of my day with Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I will later, though… and for those who’d like to do the same, here’s a video clip:
If you just want the audio clip, here you go:
It always gives me goose bumps, every time I listen to it.
I love the Christmas season. Always have, always will. I often say that the Christmas season and March Madness are my two favorite times of the year. :)
Unfortunately — and this is one of my biggest regrets of the last three years — the law-school calendar and my poor study habits have conspired to rob me of my signature Christmas tradition: my annual “lighting ceremony,” the kick-off to the Christmas season that I used to do annually on midnight of the day after Thanksgiving, then moved during college to some arbitrary date shortly after Thanksgiving Break. The tradition dates back to when I was around 10 years old, but it really took on a life of its own at USC, becoming a much-anticipated annual event among my friends and spawning mini-traditions like the “light nazi” speech. The video below, which I made in iMovie a while back, shows parts of the 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 ceremonies:
Fun times. But alas, the date of the would-be ceremony now inevitably falls somewhere between the “bargaining” and “depression” phrases of my five stages of exam preparation each fall semester. And because it actually takes a lot of work to plan, decorate, coordinate, synchronize, and generally make things go off without a hitch (and even then, they sometimes don’t, as the musical hiccups in 1999 and 2003 prove), it’s been impossible to keep the tradition going during law school.
As a result, I’ve been deprived of that official “kickoff” which tells my brain that the Christmas season is underway. Oh, I know what date it is, and I see the big tree in front of the bookstore and the pretty lights on Sorin Hall, and my aunt sends me an advent calendar every year, but somehow it just doesn’t tend to “click” that it’s Christmas season until I’ve decorated my apartment, given the “light nazi” speech, and listened to Percy Faith & His Orchestra play Joy to the World as all the lights come on in unison for the first time.
Last night, though, it clicked. Not because of any tree or lights, but because of a song, or more specifically, a particular recording of a song. I was at the grocery store, picking up a few much-needed snacks (because, obviously, I can’t survive exams without an adequate supply of Goldfish, Granola bars and peanut-butter-and-cheese crackers), when the in-store radio thingy started playing Adeste Fideles/O Come All Ye Faithful by Perry Como. Man, I love that song, and specifically that version of it. It takes me back to sitting at home as kid, back before we had a CD player (let alone MP3s), listening to Como’s Christmas album on my parents’ vinyl record player, which we rarely used except during the Christmas season. (To this day, I associate the crackles and pops of old vinyl records with this time of year, and Christmas songs always sound more “authentic” to me when they have those imperfections in them.)
Although Percy Faith’s Joy to the World is always the first song on my Christmas-ceremony playlist — an aspect of the tradition that actually dates back to my mom’s childhood, when that was always the first song she and her family would listen to each Christmas season — Perry Como’s Adeste Fideles/O Come All Ye Faithful is usually second. (You can hear it at the tail end of the video above, from the 2003 ceremony.) It’s probably my favorite Christmas recording of all-time.
Anyway, it came on at the grocery store last night, and before I knew it, I was quietly, half-subconsciously singing along. And suddenly it hit me: it’s Christmas season. I’m not ashamed to admit, the thought gave me warm fuzzies.
To my fellow law students, among whom this time of year is (understandably) thought of more often as “exam season” than as “Christmas season” — it’s hard to fully appreciate the “most wonderful time of the year” when the first portion of it also happens to be one of the two most stressful times of the year — I highly recommend taking a break every now and then and listening to some Christmas music. It’s very relaxing and, well, joyful… and we could all use a little joy around now, right? You can start with good ol’ Perry, if you like:
Happy Christmas season, everybody.
After a trip to the Grotto this evening (more on that above), I noticed a large crowd milling around outside of the Main Building (the one topped by the Golden Dome). As anyone who knows me is well aware, I’m drawn to large crowds like a moth to a flame, because nothing says “something interesting is happening that I should be taking photos of” like large crowds — well, except maybe emergency sirens, to which I am also inexorably drawn. :)
Anyway, in this particular case it was especially obvious that there must be something interesting happening, or about to happen, because it was raining steadily. Obviously, there wouldn’t be hundreds of people randomly standing around outside in the rain, unless they were waiting for something cool to happen. So I walked over and joined the crowd. I eventually went up to a random Domer and asked, “Uhh, what are we waiting for?” He seemed baffled by the question at first — giving me a look that said, “you mean you don’t already know?” — but then he finally grunted in reply, “Drummers’ circle. Starts in about 15 minutes.”
I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about (in my mind, a “drummers’ circle” is something that hippies at Venice Beach do, not something that Catholics at Notre Dame do), but I pretended I did, and said, “Oh, okay.” I figured this must be some sort of standard pre-game tradition that they don’t tell us law students about. And, via Google, I learn that I was right: it’s the Midnight Drummers Circle, put on before “many” home games by the ND Drumline. Here’s a YouTube video (though you can’t actually see anything, so it’s really more like a glorified audio clip) of the Drummers Circle before last year’s Syracuse game.
Tonight’s Drummers Circle ended up being cancelled because of the weather; a guy from the drum line came out a few minutes after midnight and regretfully announced, “Due to the inclement weather and unsafe conditions, we are unable to perform tonight.” Audio clip below.
However, although there was ultimately no Midnight Drummers Circle tonight, I’m very happy to have discovered this tradition by chance, and will definitely have to attend one of these later in the season.
After the jump, some video clips of students doing various ND cheers while waiting for the Drummers Circle to begin.
Snakes on a Plane only made 15.2 million motherf***ing dollars at the box office over the weekend — or $13.8 million, depending on how you do the motherf***ing math — a disappointing result for a film that had been expected to make $25-30 million. “After all the Hollywood hype, New Line’s Snakes on a Plane flakes,” writes Nikki Finke. “It seems only the bloggers cared about this pic.”
Whatever. It was still motherf***ing awesome. :)
P.S. Inspired by Mad Max’s comment, I made this audio clip of Howard Motherf***in’ Dean. WARNING: Profanity! Enjoy:
(If you’ve been living in a box and don’t understand why I keep saying “motherf***ing,” click here. Again, a profanity warning applies. Duh.)
P.P.S. For those who are unfamiliar with the back story — which I wasn’t, entirely, until just yesterday — the “motherf***ing snakes” line was not originally in the movie. It was added in response to fan demand, specifically blogospheric demand. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Chris Rohan of Bethesda, Md., created an elaborate, R-rated audio trailer that lovingly mocks the title and movie. “It’s a genius title,” Rohan said. “It’s so stupid it’s great. It invites satire, but it’s something you just love. It’s something I can’t explain. You either get it or you don’t.”
The audio bit uses a Jackson sound-alike shouting, “I want these motherf***ing snakes off the motherf***ing plane!” Soon, the growing legion of fans added their voices as they demanded that that phrase also appear in the movie.
Apparently, the studio got the hint. When Ellis assembled Jackson and others for the recent shoot, the filmmakers added more gore, more death, more nudity, more snakes and more death scenes. And they shot a scene where Jackson does utter the line that fans have demanded.
Those involved with the film said the reshoots weren’t prompted by fans but rather by the existing footage that already was a hairline into R territory. Within the studio, the thinking was, “We’re already going to get an R, why not go all the way?” But the filmmakers do concede that the Jackson line will be in the movie for the sake of the fans.
Clearly, this belongs right near the top of the blogosphere’s historic list of triumphs. Removed Trent Lott from power, check. Exposed Dan Rather as a partisan hack, check. Got Samuel L. Jackson to say “motherf***ing snakes on this motherf***ing plane,” check. :)
[NOTE: This post was originally published at 6:39 PM on Aug. 20; it was bumped up so that more people can listen to my genius Dean clip. :) -ed.]
Sabres 3, Senators 2! Buffalo wins the series, 4-1! The Sabres go to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1999! Bring on either the Devils or the
UPDATE: Here are Rick Jeanerette’s goal calls:
The schedule for the conference finals hasn’t been set yet, but according to WGR: “There are rumors that this series could start as early as Thursday.” That would presumably depend on Carolina beating New Jersey tomorrow. If the finals do start Thursday, the games in Buffalo would probably be on Monday the 22nd (Game 3), Wednesday the 24th (Game 4), and, if necessary, Sunday the 28th (Game 6), though that could vary depending on arena schedules and such.
P.S. Hmm… if Game 6 is over Memorial Day Weekend… my firm isn’t having any social events that weekend, so… we could fly from Phoenix to Buffalo… how many body parts do you think I’d have to sell to get tickets? (They go on sale Wednesday, according to sabres.com.)
P.P.S. Here’s the game wrap-up by Mark at Bfloblog. Meanwhile, over at Hockey Country, Sens blogger Chris writes: “Congratulations to the Buffalo Sabres and their fans. They’re a hardworking, deserving team and I look forward to watching them prove the hockey world wrong. Now excuse me while I go out and get sh*tfaced.”
My horse, Sinister Minister, had the lead for a few seconds as they neared the stretch, but then Barbaro took command and won easily. Here’s Dave Johnson’s call:
(If you just want to hear the stretch call, jump ahead to 1:44. “Down the stretch they come!” is at 2:08.)
And so now, as happens pretty much every year, I stop rooting for “my horse” and start rooting for the Derby winner instead. Horse racing is one sport in which I am a blatant and unabashed bandwagon fan: I just want to see somebody win the Triple Crown! Go Barbaro, win the Preakness!! :)
It’s not exactly a defensive battle in Ottawa, where the Senators lead the Sabres, 4-3 with 15:00 left in the second period.
UPDATE: Okay, so I exaggerated… the first to seven will win. Holy crap! It’s 6-6, going to overtime! And neither team has led by more than one goal at any point. Crazy, crazy game. Buffalo scored a short-handed goal (the Sabres’ second short-handed goal of the game) with 1:37 left to tie it at 5-5, then Ottawa took the lead 6-5 on a power-play goal with 1:13 left, and then Buffalo scored the game-tying goal with 10.7 seconds left to send it to overtime!!
UPDATE 2: BUFFALO WINS!! Sabres score 18 seconds into overtime, and win 7-6!! Again: HOLY CRAP!! That’s the fourth-fastest overtime goal in NHL playoff history, and the fastest since 1986. Over on Bfloblog, TreyMatt wasn’t far off: “WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the over/under for how quick this OT is decided? 9 seconds?” Lots of funny comments over there. Anyway, wow… four goals in the last two minutes of the game… wow.
P.S. It was 2-2 after one period, 4-4 after two periods, and 6-6 after three periods. The Sabres led 1-0, then fell behind 2-1, and from there the game followed a predictable pattern: tied 2-2, Senators lead 3-2, tied 3-3, Senators lead 4-3, tied 4-4, Senators lead 5-4, tied 5-5, Senators lead 6-5, tied 6-6. But then Buffalo broke the pattern and won it in overtime. Talk about “stealing” a win… the Senators must be so demoralized right now. How did they lose that game?? (Hint: their goalie sucks.)
Anyway, it was totally worth taking a long study break to watch that one. :)
P.P.S. Here’s Rick Jeanerette’s call of the game-winning goal. Actually, it’s his call of the entire overtime:
UPDATE 3: Here is Bfloblog’s wrap-up of the game.
Here’s the schedule for the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Sabres and the Senators. Game 1 is Friday at 7:00 PM in Ottawa.
Interestingly enough, the four favored teams in the Eastern Conference all won their first-round series, while in the Western Conferences, all four underdogs won. (The Mighty Ducks completed the low-seed sweep yesterday. Quack! Quack!!) So, what we have left now are a #1, #2, #3 and #4 seed (all in the East) and a #5, #6, #7 and #8 seed (all in the West). Presumably this means that whoever wins the Eastern Conference will be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup — but who knows how it will ultimately play out.
Anyway, in anticipation of Buffalo’s upcoming series, and with all due respect to any Canadian readers who aren’t Senators fans, I offer the following in the spirit of trash talk and utter silliness (warning: profanity)…
Go Sabres! :)
P.S. Speaking of Buffalo, see for yourself (after the jump) the stark evidence sent along by Becky’s mom, proving that bird flu has reached the Buffalo area and taken a devastating toll on the suburb of Cheektowaga:
The Sabres lost Game 4 last night, so the series is tied 2-2 heading back to Buffalo. So far, the home team has won all four games (contrast that to the
WhalersHurricanes-Canadiens series, in which the home team has lost all four games). If the home-ice advantage persists, that whould be good news for the Sabres (knock on wood), since they have Game 5 and potentially Game 7 at home. The bad news? They looked like crap in Game 4. Hopefully they can pull it together before Sunday’s game, which will be on NBC at 2:00 PM.
P.S. In the spirit of the “L.A. Angels of Anaheim,” is it OK if I refer to the Carolina Hurricanes as the “Hartford Whalers of Raleigh”? :) Speaking of which… I’ve done some memory-lane stuff for our resident Sabres fans… well, here’s something for my fellow Connecticutians who remember the good old days:
Not that I ever went to a Whalers game or anything, but whatever. I was sufficiently aware of their existence that I remember the song… :)
Here’s an audio clip of the USC vs. Notre Dame debate today at DeBartolo.
Photos after the jump.