American Elephants


Happy Constitution Day!
September 17, 2014, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, History, Pop Culture, Television | Tags: , , ,

I’ve known the Preamble of the Constitution by heart since I was a little kid because of Schoolhouse Rocks, which used to come on in between Saturday Morning Cartoons–so they had a captive audience. Great Way to introduce your kids to our founding document. Can you recite the Preamble by heart? If not, you probably didn’t grow up with Schoolhouse rocks. Try learning the chorus. And teach it to your kids.



It was 34 years ago today!

[Ed. note: the following was originally posted in 2008 on this infamous day]

Chances are, if you’re not from Washington or Oregon, the date May 18th has little meaning to you. Heck, even around here many don’t think of it unless someone reminds them. But I remember — every year. It’s one of the only world events I remember from back then — I was very young after all; but the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 was just the kind of event that little boys remember forever.

We were very fortunate; the mountain exploded northwards, but the winds carried the ash-cloud away to the southeast. I remember being somewhat disappointed that the ash wasn’t turning day into night for us like it was for all the people on the television. In fact, we didn’t seem to get any ash-fall at all, much to my chagrin; while people on the other side of the mountain were measuring it in inches, like snow.

So much excitement! …and so little pay off.

About the most exciting thing I personally experienced was standing on my father’s roof to see the enormous plume looking fairly small and unimpressive so many miles away. I’m not sure if we heard the explosion or not. They say people heard it as far as 700 miles away, and we were certainly much closer than that. I think we did — but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me.

So close, and yet so far. But I still remember it every year.

Where were you?

Update: Michael Rubin at the Corner links to an excellent photo montage on the eruption and the aftermath.



Elephants are very musical
May 4, 2014, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: ,

…and we’re pretty good dancers too!



Happy Easter!
April 20, 2014, 4:55 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , , ,

Easter

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

video via @pgkstj



O Holy Night!
December 24, 2013, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags: , , ,

I hope to stop in more throughout the day, but in case you don’t, I know my fellow elephants join me in wishing you and yours the very Merriest of Christmases! And Joy to the World!



Merry Christmas Three-fer

I suppose I should have known from the start that since much of my favorite Christmas carols were hard to find audio recordings of, that finding them on YouTube would be even more unlikely. That obvious conclusion, nonetheless, escaped me.

BUT! While I haven’t necessarily been able to find the songs I most wanted to share, I have found some fun stuff that I hadn’t seen or heard before myself. The first of which is a performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which is usually one the most tedious and/or obnoxious carols around, but NOT when done by the King’s Singers with Julie Andrews. Dame Andrews doesn’t actually sing in this one, while it’s her special, she’s just there for comedic effect. Although everyone should own at least one of her various Christmas albums.

The second is the sultry stylings of legendary jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson in That’s What I Want for Christmas. Often imitated, never equaled.

And last but not least, Chanticleer, perhaps the best men’s chorus in the world, performing in the Medievil Sculpture Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in front of the Neapolitan Baroque Créche and Christmas Tree. The tree is beautiful beyond compare, the acoustics in the room are breathtaking. Many PBS stations will replay the performance each year — watch the whole performance if you can.



My Favorite Things
December 24, 2013, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Music, Pop Culture, Religion | Tags: , ,

Nobody beats the original by Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, but one of my favorite things is Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ Christmas Album. We grew up with it, and last year I found this rare footage on YouTube. The whole album is a classic; one that everyone should have.




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