Whitacre’s “Enjoy the Silence”


Stumbled across this musical oddity a few weeks ago: Eric Whitacre’s setting of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.” Seems like a bit of an odd fit, but apparently they (and especially this song) were significantly influential on him during his teen years. “The anthem of my youth,” he calls it. I myself find it particularly [Read More...]

California: No Wonder They Call It Golden


I may be a happy Wyomingite now, but I’ll always be from SoCal. Which means this will always get to me. (HD and full-screen, please.) Gorgeous piece on a breathtakingly gorgeous subject. Michael Shainblum, the short’s creator, had this to say about his work and about the state that inspired it: “Into The Atmosphere,” is [Read More...]

My Favorite O’Toole


The legendary Peter O’Toole passed away on Saturday. When I first heard the news, I was reminded of a question Looking Closer’s Jeffrey Overstreet asked his readers last year: Which is your favorite O’Toole performance? At the time, I remember being grateful that he didn’t say “best performance,” because I’m not sure I could answer that [Read More...]

Nicol Williamson and the Definitive Hobbit


Last December, I was discouraged by Peter Jackson. This December, I am discouraged by Steven Greydanus’ suggestion that I will probably still be discouraged by Peter Jackson. So, I’m doing what any reasonable person does when confronted by the specter of such bitter, Hobbit-themed disappointment: I’m listening to Nicol Williamson! Take it away, Internet Archive: [Read More...]

The Benefits of Reading for (and to) Others

David, Somewhat Skeptical of This "O. Henry" Dude

Confucius once said “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day… …but teach him to read, and he’ll be able to keep his little brothers occupied for hours.” Or something like that. And it’s absolutely true. In my house, we don’t have Readers and Non-Readers; we have Genuine Readers and Readers Who Read [Read More...]

Curing My Canon Fatigue


Pachelbel’s Canon in D is one of those pieces that a) is truly great, and b) I can barely listen to any more because ALL THE CLASSICAL COMPILATION CDS! “Classical One-Hit Wonders” are fairly common, but Johann’s in a category all his own; “ubiquitous” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Search for “Pachelbel” on Amazon, and [Read More...]

Nature Turns Black Friday on Its Head


November 29th was Black Friday – a day of annual (and increasing) infamy. But it was also a day featuring a rare and breathtaking natural phenomenon: Temperature Inversion at the Grand Canyon. The DailyMail(UK) described it thusly: According to the national park’s Facebook page, the fog was caused by something called a ‘temperature inversion’. This happens when [Read More...]

Advent Adventures with “The Blue Umbrella”


One of my favorite scenes from Gettysburg is that moment ’round the campfire when General James Kemper responds to his commanding officer, General George Pickett, with one of the greatest back-handed compliments of all time: “I gotta hand it to you George. You certainly do have a talent for trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious. You ever considered [Read More...]

A Word of Warning


For those amateur chemists out there who might be tempted to mix NH4Cr2O7 with HgSCN some time in the near future, just …don’t. Because WAIT FOR IT… That’s about the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. Or the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t quite decide which response is uppermost in my mind as I watch [Read More...]

50 Years of Whovian Title Sequences


I’m probably heading off into the rarefied, brain-addling air of the nerdosphere with this one, but I just can’t help myself. This post on the 50-year-old-yet-ever-evolving institution that is the Doctor Who title sequence combines two of my all-time favorite nerd-things: Title Sequences. And “Doctor Who.” (OK, yes. That title was a bit literal. It’s Monday.) The pilot [Read More...]