Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holiday Shout Outs

It's that festive time of the year again! I'm too well stuffed to think of anything interesting to say so I'll cop out by giving a shout out to a few do-gooders I've heard about recently... in no particular order:

Jefferson Lab is making science fun and easy to understand with their excellent
Youtube channel.

This is how real science is done, mates! You observe a phenomenon and make predictive guesses (hypotheses) on what makes it go the way it does. Predictiveness is the key! If this causes that to happen, then what will happen if I do this and that to it? This is what makes a scientific guess (hypothesis) special. You can falsify it against real observation and see if you guessed wrong or not.

2. Rachel Maddow, the adorable (though at times in a rather irritating manner) and
as-smart-as-a-whip host of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show and at Air America Radio is making it hard for me to completely give up on journalism.

Photo: The Rachel Maddow Show

She is quite to the left of me and we disagree on a few issues, but she has convinced me that she always does her very best to get the facts straight before reporting them... And that in the rare occasions that she doesn't she always promptly corrects herself and apologizes. Never mind what David Frum says. The lass is an honest and straight shooter who is also a pleasure to both agree and disagree with!

3. Prince William of Wales spending a homeless night out on the frozen street of
London for a good cause. It is too easy to sit in a well heated home while lumping all street people together as being deserving of their misfortunes. Some are, to be sure, but many more aren't and it really doesn't take much to help them get back on their feet. It takes guts for a prince to voluntarily have a taste of it without shining a spotlight onto himself (only one photo was released well after the deed was performed). Photo: Centrepoint/AP

I think his mum would be proud!

4. Joyce DiDonato. The American mezzo-soprano not only burns down the stage with her intensity and superb skills every time she goes to work, but also keeps a refreshingly down to earth and regularly updated blog that allows us outsiders a good glimpse at life as a deservedly successful performance artist.

Photo: Sheila Rock

She also posted the best holiday greetings on it this year with a generous gesture worth imitating!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all my friends and readers, of course! Thanks for putting up with my smorginess all this time. I'm taking your remarkable patience for granted now and hereby impose upon you yet another one of my operatic indulgences...

This is the marvelous Vesselina Kasarova really rocking the boat (or rather, the concert house in Bremen) with Ariodante's final bravura aria, Dopo notte. Merrily accompanying her from the orchestra is Maestro Harry Bicket (obviously from his pace setting... another rock music lover in disguise as a classical conductor!)!


Geisslein said...

Hi Smorgy, I hope you have a wonderful christmas time with all your lovies around you! May the next year will be a very great one for you!
hugs from germany,
geisslein! hohohoooo ;o)

André said...

Happy holidays to you, too! Keep up your good work.

HairMan said...

Belated Season's Greetings Smorg!

Will said...

William's night with the homeless is a huge step away from the normal reserve and distance of the Royals and would have been unthinkable without his dearly lamented mother's pioneering effort.

I tend to give Elizabeth a lot of credit for modernizing things in ways unthinkable to the generation before her (the woman who became queen because her uncle wanted to marry a divorcee supported three children in their divorces, for example) but William is truly a man of the contemporary world and may well wind up revolutionizing the Monarchy in the 21st century as Victoria and Albert did in the 19th.

Ms. di Donato is a treasure, a truly inspired performer and great singer.

Smorg said...

Hallo Geisslein! I had a great Christmas surrounded by goodies indeed. It is a wonder that I can still fit into my clothes now. I ate so much I wished I had died and been reborn as a cow (with 4 stomachs instead of just one). :oD

I hope 2010 will be a wonderful year for you, too! Hope you are getting good holiday time off and a lot of good friends and family to spend it with. Warm hugs and all the best of wishes. Prosit Neujahr! :o)

Hallo Andre: Vielen Danke! :o) Hope you are catching a lot of great opera and concerts this winter. Prosit Neujahr 2010!

Hi there Hair Man! I'm loving the hairy Bryn Terfel post on your blog a lot. :oD Just got a DVD of his debut as the Flying Dutchman at Welsh National Opera in the mail. It's gonna be a great start to a new year for me! :o) Best wishes and Happy New Year!

Hiya Will!
I was quite impressed with Prince William's common touch indeed. Diana really did well in exposing her sons to the real world when she had a chance. He seems a lot more at ease with non-royals than his dad is (though I'm sure Prince Charles tries hard, too).

We just had some sort of a celebration about Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson here a few months ago. Apparently Mrs Simpson used to live in a cottage on Coronado (the west side of San Diego Bay), and they had kept the place as some sort of a museum to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at Hotel Del Coronado. I used to walk by there when I go to the beach there, but didn't know what the little red-roofed cottage was for!

I'm glad you like Joyce DiDonato, too. It's great to have so many wonderful artists around like her who are also so refreshingly normal off the stage. :o) If anyone ever writes an opera about Diana Spencer, I'd nominate her for the title role!

Thank you very much for stopping by. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year 2010! :o)

Geisslein said...

Wish you a very happy new year with a lot of fun and great times!!! :o)

berenice said...

Happy New Year dear mister Smorg
here with the countdown in San Diego, warm wishes and for Geisslein, who is living 2010 already too!

wanderer said...

Have a great year Smorg.

Drew80 said...

Smorg, I am late getting back to you, as I was home for the holidays and not keeping up with anything online.

I hope your 2010 is off to a remarkable start!

And I'm sorry you missed out on those apple pies at Julian!

Id it is said...

A Happy New Year to you too!
Glad we met :)

Georg said...

Hello Smorgy,

Just listening to Ms Kasarova singingDopo notte, wonderful, splendid. She is a great singer and you are her happy addict.

Wish you a two thousand ten with lots of music to listen to and always in good spirit.

Let me tell you once more that I highly appreciate your blog. You bring up lots of facts and subjects that would have remained unknown to me, like this Prince William story.


Smorg said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by and for well wishes, too! Sorry I'm behind on things again. Been working online too much and the monitor is giving me cluster headaches, so I'm cutting down computer time for the moment.

Our winter seems to have gone on vacation! It's cloudier and cooler today, though the last 2 weeks could have passed for summer. I hope that means we'll have a cold summer (wishful thinking?). ;o)

Hey, I'm delighted that you enjoyed the clip, Georgy! I love how rough and rowdy she sounds there... I listen to it thinking Handel and Kasarova the Baroque era's equivalent of rocking Eddie Van Halen! ;o) And it's always a pleasure dropping in at your blog, too. You always make me think and I learn loads reading it. Vielen Dank!

Hope 2010 is going well your way,
Smorgy :o)