The Widdershins

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Hello Shinners! It’s been a while since we did anything light and fluffy, and boy, do we need and deserve it.

Let’s have some fun! Since it’s spring, I’m in full birding mode. Here are some of the amazing birds we’ve been seeing in our back yard and in the nearby park.

Hooded Oriole – this beauty drinks nectar, and his beak is skinny enough to insert into the holes in our “flying saucer” hummingbird feeder. We see him perched on it almost every day.

Western Bluebird – We think we have two pairs of these in our yard. The male’s deep blue and rusty breast are extremely striking.

Northern Mockingbird – This bird’s song is the real star of the show. The variety is mindboggling!

Black Phoebe – This is a really pretty black and white bird with a crested head. We see them flying around the creek in our neighborhood park.

Open thread – let the fun, fur and feathers fly!


Is it correct to say that?  I’m not sure but I’m going to anyway.  I can say I hope you enjoy your day, whether you are at the beach, or you are having a barbecue or what have you. I also hope you are celebrating safely, six feet apart from strangers, and away from Trump boats on the water.  

However, let’s not forget the reason we celebrate the day.

In the United States, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

In many countries, the working classes sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded. In the United States and Canada, however, the official holiday for workers is Labor Day in September. This day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, US President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.

n 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882,after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto, Canada.

Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day

Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation’s trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers’ Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent Communist, Syndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers’ Day All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

Finally let’s celebrate with some songs

Enjoy the day and long weekend Widdershins.  If you are going out to celebrate, be safe!

Open thread.

Good weekend Widdershins

So actually the summer solstice was on the 20th, last weekend, but I was just feeling too lousy to fool with much of anything.  Better late than never.

Summer is truly here for us.  At the time I’m writing this the temp is 90° with a feel like of 101°.  Indeed that merits an oy!

Summer songs; here ya go.

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Bonus clip:
That time Gustav Mahler could not come up with a theme for a symphonic movement
Mahler Symphony 1 in D Maj 3rd mvmt

(I love the way this conductor emotes)

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Tags: ,

J.S. Bach with top of head and wig cropped

Good weekend Widdershins (music appreciation 101)

(You will notice dear Widdershins I’m not even mentioning any of the current events because…well, I’m not.)

In keeping with my and DYB’s somewhat running theme of the Widdershins version of The Lives of the Great Composers, I thought this weekend we could look at some music by Johann Sebastian; prolific composer of many forms of music, both secular and sacred.  He also appears to have been prolific in the marital bed, fathering twenty children!  Oy!

In his instrumental works, not sure about vocal stuff, Bach wrote many pieces in a style known as contrapuntal music, defined as:

having two or more independent but harmonically related melodic parts sounding together

It has also been referred to as counterpoint, from a Latin phrase literally meaning “note against note”.

Fun fact about Bach

He once got into an argument and fight with a bassoonist saying his playing sounded like a nanny goat.


As choir director in Arnsadt, the 20-year old Bach got into fisticuffs with a student named Johann Geyersbach.

The brawl originated thusly: walking softly and carrying a big stick, Geyersbach approached Bach as he crossed the marketplace with his cousin. Geyersbach accused Bach of having insulted his bassoon skill, 18th century lexicon for “Come at Me Bro.” Bach denied having insulted him. Geyersbach retorted, “Whoever insults my bassoon, insults me.”

He then called Bach a “dirty dog” and Bach drew his sword. The two began wrestling until other students tore them apart.

The nanny goat case was taken to court. The court found Bach guilty of having called Geyersbach “Zippelfagottist,” a nanny goat bassoonist. They told him that a man must learn to accept the less talented.

So on to the music.

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And for those of us who have a long memory, a piece also known as the music for a conservative tv talk show called “Firing Line”.

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Class dismissed and take the discussion wherever you wish.  Infamous “open thread”.



Happy (?) weekend Widdershins

So as you can see from the top, we’ll call this one cabin fever weekend.  It really was one today because with several rounds of severe thunderstorms I really couldn’t even get out to do a bit of walking.  Bubba would not even come when it was dinner time and I had a nice Popeyes chicken breast that I tore apart for him.  So it’s back in the fridge and I’ll try later today (since it’s now Sunday).

For the scientifically inclined Widdershins, thinking of you Luna and Quixote, I saw this site mentioned on Maddow’s show.  It’s called the Covid-19 compiler. When you go to the first page you see a map of the entire U.S.  It allows you to hover over a particular county in each state to get info on the number of cases.  You can also look at demographic data and that allows you to drill down a bit further. Further, if you click on “Insights” it will give you a host of topics they have researched.  I looked it over a couple of times but honestly I just did not want to get even more depressed over this mess.

On to some music.

The following are just a couple of things I heard on the all music classical dealio on cable.  They sounded nice at the time so I jotted down the info for the pieces.

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You may recognize this from Amadeus

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Okay shinners that’s all I got but just remember:

Take the discussion wherever you wish.



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