Definition: Spirit House, Witch (Coffin) Window, Haint Paint

“Spooky architecture” (my term, see Feb 5 post) words today…

 

Spirit House

Purpose-built structure to invite spirits to stay in so they don’t stay in houses where people lived

 

Witch Window (also Coffin Window)

Conventional vertical windows, just tilted at an angle so witches can’t fly through them

 

Haint Paint

Blue paint on the ceilings of outdoor porches, to ward off ghosts or spirits

 

Try This Prank If You’re Not Caucasian

I come up with a lot of interesting ideas out of nowhere, it seems, when I run for distance running training. This was something I came up with today. It’s a practical joke idea that could be funny, but also a bit discomforting in a symbolic sort of way given race relations the way they are these days. It doesn’t make fun of people’s skin colour, but gets people thinking about it. It could work for Caucasian people as well, but probably not nearly as effectively.

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San Clemente’s Not the Same, Mr Nixon You’re to Blame!

Just watched Our Nixon on CNN, and my favourite part was this little rag at the end! A cute little ditty by sung by Barbara Foster and written by Myron Ace, its theme denounces the Washington/political tourist crowd that bombarded San Clemente after Richard Nixon moved to San Clemente’s coastal hamlet and bought the Cotton’s estate. To this day the home is still known as the Western White House.

I don’t think this song has ever gotten the attention it just got now on CNN! I get the feeling it’s gonna be sung a lot more often now with its catchy chorus of “Mr Nixon, you’re to blame” and Nixon’s image associated with the Watergate Scandal that seemed like everybody around Nixon went to jail for except Nixon.

Mr Nixon, you’re to blame… Mr Nixon you’re to blame…

TED Ads Worth Spreading 2011, Part 3 of 3

This is the final part of 3 posts showing all the ads TED deemed worth spreading. Please click on the links for Part 1 and Part 2.

The TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) community just released its 2011 Ads Worth Spreading contest winners, and the ads are better than the ones I have seen for the Super Bowl in any year! But what did you expect from a brilliant group who’s moniker is “Ideas Worth Spreading”?

These ads aren’t like those in the Super Bowl where they last 30-60 seconds. They tend to be much longer, often the full version of the ad rather than the truncated TV time version. However, with ads like these, I could watch commercials in place of TV shows because I don’t notice how long or short the ads were. I’m actually a little sad once it’s over, alongside whatever mood the commercials left me in.

I have posted the ads here because I have found higher quality versions of the ads than the ones available on the TED website. Otherwise, I’d have just linked to them all on TED’s site.

Enjoy and be prepared to be wowwed!!!

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What Lyric Writing Sometimes Feels Like, Demonstrated by Hugh Laurie

house_hugh_laurie-711333This is Hugh Laurie of( Dr. Gregory) House M.D. fame, singing a comedic song, Mystery, during a June 2006 appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio. The song was originally from the show A Bit of Fry and Laurie.

I’m not posting this for performance, or lyrics or musicality. Rather, I’m posting it because the way Hugh put a little acting into all the little spots in the song as if he were improvising. At various points, he pretends to struggle to come up with a rhyme, the idea for the next verse, how to manipulate a word to rhyme, making up new words, squeezing in entire phrases, etc.

What all that feels like is the struggle, and mystery, of lyric writing for songwriting. The various methods, successes and failures of “creativity” to find that elusive lyric, sometimes forced and sometimes “enlightened”, are demonstrated well, I thought. The song is simple enough you can just sit and dissect the lyrics, which are included under the video below. The tune and musical chord progressions are nice and simple, too.

Besides that, I’m not sure I can say much about the “mystery” of lyric writing. It just kind of feels this way, if you’ve never experienced it yourself.

If you have, I’d love to hear your descriptions of it. Thanks!

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Mystery
All my life has been a mystery
You and I were never ever meant to be
That’s why I call my love for you a mystery

Different country
You and I have always lived in a different country
And I know that airline tickets don’t grow on a tree
So what kept us apart is plain (plane?) for me to see
That much at least is not really a mystery

Estuary
I live in a houseboat on an estuary
Which is handy for my work with the Port Authority
But I know you would have found it insanitary
Insanitary

Hated me
I’d be foolish to ignore the possibility
That if we’d ever actually met, you might have really taken a violent dislike to me
Still, that’s not the only problem that I can see

Dead since 1993
You’ve been dead now . . . wait a minute, let me see…
Fourteen years come next Jan-uary
As a human being you are history

So why do I still long for you?
Why is my love so strong for you?
Why did I write this song for you?
Well, I guess it’s just a mystery

Just a mystery
Mystery!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.9