Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Knock on the front door or the house behind the LFL to ask.

Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

You Need Your Towel Today!

Each year, May 25 is Towel Day.  Do you know why?

towel

Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25 May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans.

On this day, fans carry a towel with them, as described in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author.

The original quotation that explained the importance of towels is found in Chapter 3 of Adams’ work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

towel-day

 

This book is important to me because I read it while I was at NIH waiting for pituitary surgery.

 

 

In case you like poetry, you might be interested in this: Vogon Poetry Generator.

 

 

Here’s mine:

 

See, see the old sky
Marvel at its big grey depths.
Tell me, Clyde do you
Wonder why the armadillo ignores you?
Why its foobly stare
makes you feel yucky.
I can tell you, it is
Worried by your qwerty facial growth
That looks like
A tofu
What’s more, it knows
Your rolf potting shed
Smells of pea.
Everything under the big old sky
Asks why, why do I even bother?
You only charm fish.

 

Who Knew?

Today is National Biographer’s Day!

stack-of-books

National Biographer’s Day commemorates the anniversary of the first meeting of Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell in London, England on May 16, 1763, and honors all biographers.

A biography is a written account of another person’s life.

Famous poet, essayist, literary critic, editor and lexicographer, Johnson was also a biographer. According to Johnson, the best biographers were those who ate, drank and “lived in social intercourse” with those about whom they wrote. If that were true, his best biography would be An Account of the Life of Mr. Richard Savage, Son of the earl Rivers which was published in 1744.

Applying this same rule, Scots-born James Boswell met his friend Samuel Johnson at a bookshop near Covent Garden. Nearly 30 years later he published The Life of Johnson, which became the most celebrated English biography.

 

 

From one of my favorite shows, Blackadder.  Dr. Samuel Johnson seeks the regent’s support for his dictionary, but when it is used for firewood, Edmund must rewrite it.

 

World Book Day

 

World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on April 23rd, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright.

In the United Kingdom, the day is recognized on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995.

 

 

National Bookmobile Day

 

Bookmobile Day is an opportunity to celebrate one of the many services offered through public libraries. Originating in the nineteenth century, the earliest bookmobiles were horse-drawn wagons filled with boxes of books.

In the 1920s, Sarah Byrd Askew, a New Jersey librarian, thought reading and literacy so important that she delivered books to rural readers in her own Ford Model T. And today, Kenya still uses camels to deliver materials to fans of reading in rural areas.

 

Fairfax County Bookmobile Timeline:

1890s – Bookmobile serves northwestern part of Fairfax County.

1938 – Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce proposes a consolidation of library services to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in order to include both urban and rural areas of the County. Branches are to be established in heavily populated areas and bookmobile service to all other residents. The Chamber appoints a library committee.

1940 – First County-wide bookmobile in a truck loaned by the W.P.A.

1942 – W.P.A. support for the bookmobile ends December 31.

1943 – County purchases a vehicle for bookmobile.

1947 – County purchases a new bookmobile, a customized school bus.

 

 

Bryant Park Little Free Library

 

This last weekend we were in Bryant Park in NYC for the Tartan Day Parade.  We got there a little early (intentionally) to hear a pipe and drum concert.  When it was over, we wandered a bit around Bryant Park and came across this Reading Room.

We knew that Bryant Park was actually built over the New York City Public Library stacks so this was especially cool.

Bryant Park is located entirely over an underground structure that houses the library’s stacks, which were built in the 1980s when the park was closed to the public and excavated; the new library facilities were built below ground level while the park was restored above it.

In addition to the LFL part, they had books to be read there only, a newspaper section, a magazine section, a section of Oxford Classics, a children’s section… just like a “real library”.

What a great way to spend some time waiting for the parade to start!

 

 

Four million books are stored underneath Bryant Park. Twenty-seven feet below the grassy patch in mid-town Manhattan are miles and miles of bookshelves at the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) Milstein Research Stacks.  Here’s how they get books from those stacks under Bryant Park to the main library.

The New York Public Library announced they have completed its conveyor system for requested media. The $2.6 million system uses 24 carts to truck books through the library’s 11 levels to the Rose Reading Room. Here’s how it works, and what it’s like to ride inside one.