Tuesday, December 30, 2014

David's Best of 2014

Every December the media is filled with "Best of..." articles, helping readers sort through an entire year's deluge of news, promotions, advertisements and click bait.

I'm suspicious, however, that because these articles are easy to prepare in advance their real purpose is to allow the harried media professional to knock off work early during the holiday season.

We here, in the Mixed Meters newsroom, want to do year-end "Best of..." lists as much as the next blog because we like quitting work early too.

We've done such lists before.  Last year had an exceptionally negative tone.   The 2012 entry was very misleading.  In 2008 I listed things I had genuinely liked during that year . . . that was boring!

Now consider the human hand.  What an amazing tool the hand is.  Civilization would lack so much without the help of hands: typing, sign language, wind instruments.

Our hands are very delicate and easy to damage.   They are a complicated array of bones, muscles and nerves - all designed for touching and manipulating the world around us.

Sometimes we need to protect our hands from things that are too hot or too cold, too rough, too sharp or too infectious.  We do this by covering our hands.

That protective thing we wear on a hand is called a glove.  Since our hands come in pairs so do our gloves (except for baseball gloves).

Disposable gloves have become very common.  Workers at the deli counter put on gloves before they touch my food.  Then they throw them away unless they forget.  I can't decide if the glove is to protect them or me.

Humans also have feet.  Our feet are no less complex than our hands but they serve completely different purposes.  We use feet to walk and run, to kick soccer balls, to play the pedals on a pipe organ.

Every day I use my own feet to walk at least 10,000 steps; that's a little over 3 miles.  In one year I walk about 1000 miles.

All that walking can get a little boring.  To give me something to think about while I walk I carry a camera.  I take pictures of the strangest stuff.

Among my favorite photo subjects are abandoned gloves.  I usually don't bother to take pictures of shoes or socks or any other articles of clothing I  encounter.  I find gloves far more interesting; they twist themselves into the most interesting shapes.

And that's the story behind this blog post, David's Best of 2014,  These are my best "lost glove" pictures for the entire year.  I wonder what lost gloves 2015 will bring.

Be honest.  Have you been ignoring the pictures as you scrolled through this blog post?  Hands up if you've only been reading the words.  Now you can go back and click on any picture for an enlargement.

The short history of previous Mixed Meters posts about Gloves:
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blue Glove
Gloves in the Wild

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jiggle Belts

Although it's been very quiet around Mixed Meters lately this blog does have some traditions worth preserving.  One of these is my annual encounter with Jingle Bells.

J.B. is a simple tune, useful as a musical starting point because everyone knows it.  Also it is "seasonal".  It evokes winter: snow and cold and darkness and a sense of gloomy despair that these short days might never start getting longer again.  It all adds up to a good reason for a big party.  You build a fire, get drunk and beat on some drums.  Before long, you're having a night of wild sex.  Anything to stay warm.

J.B. also evokes Christmas.  This is because anything which evokes cold and snow has been co-opted as a Christmas ornament.  Houses are decorated with white lights meant to resemble icicles. Penguins, polar bears, reindeer, snow men, igloos and Santa Clauses are called out to serve the Capitalist Christian Solstice holiday.

Santa  Clause takes off some extra pounds with a Jiggle Belt

Music is called on as well.  As a non-Christian and a musician living in a mindlessly Christian society I have often found all the Christmas music unbearably oppressive.  So I've made an effort to cope by hollowing out a little space for my own musical interests in the galaxy of Christmas music.  It makes me feel a bit better.  Your mileage may vary.

This years offering is called Jiggle Belts, if only because I'm running out of Jingle Bells puns.  It's not so much an idyllic sleigh ride in a one horse open sleigh as it is a subversive unrelenting drag race between people with noisy powerful machines who need to shed a few pounds.  Enjoy:

Click here to hear Jiggle Belts, © 2014 by David Ocker - 75 seconds

a crosswalk button festooned with a Christmas ornament

Other Christmas music references I have enjoyed.

The Little Drummer Boy Game  - anyone can play this at Christmas time.  (You lose the moment you hear any version of The Little Drummer Boy.)  (So far, this year, I'm still a winner.)

Here's a poem by Charles Bukowski on the subject of classical music radio, Christmas and people:

Charles Bukowski poem "without fail" manuscript

Finally - a list of past Jingle Bells pieces from Mixed Meters and me.  Merry Happiness everyone.  The days will start getting longer soon - trust me.

Jungle Bells (2006 - 209 seconds)
Jingle Bulls (2006 - 231 seconds)
Jingle Bills (2007 - 30 seconds)
One Note Open Sleigh (2008 - 38 seconds)
A Combination of Jingle Bells and the Internationale (2009 - 327 seconds)
Solstice Lights (2010 - 640 seconds)
Jingle Bells - The Long Version (short version) (2011 - 212 seconds)
Jinglemonics (2012 - 247 seconds)
The William Bell Overture (Jingle Tells) (2013 - 390 seconds)
Jiggle Belts  (2014 - 75 seconds)

All works © David Ocker