Christmas Shuffle [Repost]

The Best of ChristmasOriginally posted on 20 December 2012.

Last year our eldest daughter (then 3, now 4), The Frogger, fell in love with the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. This year she is obsessed with “A Holly Jolly Christmas”. It is no coincidence that both songs are performed by Burl Ives in the Rankin/Bass classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Cut to me, in the car, frantically pushing buttons to cycle through CDs and play Burl Ives singing “A Holly Jolly Christmas” in order to fulfill the heartfelt request of my child. Experienced parents will know that there are a variety of potential motivations for such behavior beyond simply avoiding a tantrum, for example cutting short a half-hour of repeatedly yelling the same three lines of the song with 73.21% accuracy.

Having found the correct CD and as I pushed buttons to get to the right track, I began to wonder if I was taking the shortest route to my song of choice. There are three possible routes to any given track on my car’s CD player. Continue reading “Christmas Shuffle [Repost]”

Song of the Semi-Regular Time Unit

Like you, I too have been missing Marie-Claire‘s regular Song of the Week picks. Fortunately for science education, but unfortunately for us, she has been too busy getting situated as the first Research Chair in Science Education and Public Engagement. How busy? Too busy to get her Barry (Jack Black in High Fidelity) on.

I scratch that itch by tuning into the Pandora station we created by seeding it with all the artists we could from past Songs of the Week (Marie-Claire’s music selections are more eclectic than Pandora’s library at times) – KFPR 1865AM*.

KFPR 1865AM Button

Currently playing while I type? Amos Lee’s “Sweet Pea”.

*K (West of the Mississippi) + FP (Finch & Pea) + R (Radio) 1865 (Year Mendel published “Experiments in Plant Hybridization”) + AM (cause we are old school)

Stars: Holding On & Letting Go

Editor: Marie-Claire Shanahan is a bit busy taking on her new job as the new & first Research Chair in Science Education and Public Engagement at the University of Calgary; but she was not too busy to make a Song of the Week pick.

Not sciency at all…But here’s the song I wanted to post. New video from one of my favourite bands, about love and being yourself in love and seems appropriate for the particular moment in time.

cdza demonstrates how to make your music more epic

cdza have a hypothesis: key changes increase the epicness of a song.

They have evidence*.

*I will grant you that this is more of a demonstration to illustrate a point. At best, it is, in isolation, anecdotal. But, it is fun, and unlike unproven, quack cures for cancer, this has almost no side effects.

Nick Everett and the Zone of Proximal Development


Sometimes a song just grabs you right away. Nick Everett‘s Liar was one of those songs. I wasn’t content, though, just enjoying it. I wanted to know why I found it so compelling.

I caught my first glimpse of Nick as he tuned up his guitar before a set a few weeks ago at the Wunderbar in Edmonton. The place was cheerfully packed with music types enjoying carefully selected craft brews while Nick stood unassumingly on stage, wagging his head emphatically with song playing during the break. Once it had finished, he leaned gently into the mic, “Helllloooooo, I’m going to start singing songs now.” Continue reading “Nick Everett and the Zone of Proximal Development”