Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flatulence, tumbling thoughts, and other strange and funny stuff from acround the internet

Ah, the internet! You never know what strange and funny things you will find. 

I post things as I find them at @Laughing_Improv on Twitter. But before we get to that, here's me on a morning radio show, making a fool of myself and causing my coworker to spit into his microphone.

Probably the most popular thing I've posted is the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator (If I was born to Sarah Palin, my name would have been: Copper Catfish Palin). But the greatest "laugh out loud" quotient (for people who use Twitter) has to be "No Twitter for Hitler:"

I think you'll also find it virtually impossible to keep from laughing at some of the lists of unusual quotes I've seen lately:
And here are a few more things that caught my eye recently:

The strange and the funny

Pics and Video

We're #1!

... and a few quotes:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cats and Kittens: Pictures, facts, videos, funny stuff and websites.

Is there any time that isn't nap time?http://is.gd/2QJC
Here are some of my favorite recently discovered places about cats!

Our homegrrl sisters Stasha and Ruby practice night and day for the next Olympics (the power lounging event). My husband Dave is our resident photographer.

If you want to see more cool stuff about cats, I put up links as I find them (a few a week) on Twitter as @CatMom. Send me your links to share!
... and a few quotes:
  • All I know I learned from a cat: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap. When you go to the vet, pee on your owner. 
  • Climb your way to the top. That's why the drapes are there. 
  • When your cat falls asleep on your lap and looks utterly content & adorable, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.
  • I can't use Windows. My cat ate my mouse.
  • You don't have to tell your cat you love it - it knows you do.

You might also like to read Understanding cats: the short course, or Do's, Don'ts, Tips and Worries for Cat Owners.

Green Eyes
Stasha resting on a favorite pillow.

Green and gold before dinner
Ruby checking for twilight critters.

First pea in the pod
Lounging practice is essential when the
Olympics are never more than four years away!

 And of course, we must not ignore Ninja Cat!

Monday, September 15, 2008

One of the coolest people I know: Ethnomusicologist, Drummer, photographer and Fulbright recipient Nicole Lecorgne

My friend Nicole Lecorgne (at left) is one of the coolest people I know!

How we met

We first met about fifteen years ago when we both were fairly new to the Cassandra School in Minneapolis. (Nicole is originally from New Orleans.)

Nicole took dance classes and traded with Cassandra, drumming in exchange for her lessons. One day after Level 3 class, she suggested to me that we do a piece together in the upcoming Annual Guild Show. She said, “let’s ask Cassandra for a drum solo that’s simple enough that I could learn it and that you could dance to.” We did, and Cassandra suggested one for us, and we began rehearsing together.

We put together our piece, performed it (all of about 90 seconds of heart-stopping excitement!!!) I made myself a costume for the occasion: black and gold foil harem pants and a matching tietop-- over a leotard, with a hip wrap. (We’ve both come a long way since then.)

What an educationwhat a teacher!

While she was here she received a B.A. in World Music and Dance from the University of Minnesota. She got her Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. Beyond her education and skills though, Nicole is a fantastic and dedicated teacher.

She has tons of experience in special education, classroom instruction and conducting workshops for both children and adults of all levels. She has given workshops and lecture demonstrations at William and Mary College, Brown and Harvard universities.

Minneapolis to San Francisco to New York

From here she moved to San Francisco to study with the amazing Susu Pampanim. Then she began to play with the Georges Lammam Ensemble. With the group, she returns to Minneapolis each year to play for Jawaahir Dance Company. After a few years, she decided to earn her Masters in Ethnomusicology and moved to Connecticut to go to Wellesley. After that, she moved to Queens, New York and made fairly frequent trips to the Arab World to study music and play.

She has been the Camp Drummer for Oasis Dance Camps for many years, playing in the States—and Morocco!

Drumming and photography

With the writer, Kay Hardy Campbell, Nicole traveled to Saudi Arabia as staff photographer for Aramco World Magazine. Nicole is a very fine photographer, too—her first degree was in visual art. Here's some proof from her site:

She started as a visual artist in New Orleans, became a puppet maker with In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater in Minneapolis, switched to Arabic drumming in Minneapolis, which took her to San Francisco (and all over the Arab World) and circle back to photography.

Moving to Egypt on a Fulbright!

I haven't really done justice to Nicole in this short post, so if you really want to learn more about her you can read her bio or visit her percussion or photography sites. Nicole recently moved all her things to her mother’s home near Birmingham, AL—and from there is going to Egypt to live in Cairo for a year on a Fulbright.

I hope that I get to visit Nicole this year!! I love her very much—plus I really need some new costumes!!!

All images in this article ©Nicole LeCorgne

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A quick free crash course in the greatest composers and greatest pieces of classical music.

The quickest crash course in classical music you're likely to find anywhere! And when you're ready to go further, also check out the Classical music learning and appreciation resources page.

Pronunciation guide

Be sure to keep the audio pronunciation guide to composers and performers handy (allows you to listen to audio of the correct pronunciation) as you go. (Here is an alternate list with additional audio samples of correct pronunciations.) You might also like to use a pronunciation resource used by some classical music announcers, the Pronouncing Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Famous composers and music to familiarize yourself with

First are six videos containing brief audio clips of famous works by famous composers, with a picture and brief bio of each. Following those are three videos, each containing very short excerpts of famous and popular classical pieces.

Famous composers:

Famous music:
1) Pachelbel, Canon in D major.
2) Charpentier, Te Deum. Prelude.
3) Vivaldi, The Four Seasons. Spring.
4) Bach, Cantata BWV. 147. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.
5) Bach, Cello Suite No.1, BWV 1007. Prelude.
6) Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565.
7) Haendel, Messiah HWV 56, Hallelujah.
8) Haendel, Water Music HWV 348-350, Alla Hornpipe.
9) Mozart, Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, KV 492.
10) Mozart, Symphony 40 in G minor, KV 550. 1st Mov.
11) Mozart, Eine Kleine Nachtmusic KV 525.
12) Mozart, Rondo Alla Turca, KV 331.
13) Mozart, Piano Concerto No.20, KV 466. Romance.
14) Beethoven, Symphony No. 3, Heroica.
15) Beethoven, Symphony No. 5. Allegro con Brio.
16) Beethoven, Symphony No. 6, Pastoral.
17) Beethoven, Symphony No. 9. Choral.
18) Beethoven, Ruins of Athens Op. 113. Turkish March.
19) Beethoven, Bagatelle in A minor. Fur Elise.
20) Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata Op.27.
21) Schubert, Trout Quintet. Die Forelle Op. 114.
22) Schubert, Ave Maria.
23) Schubert, Symphony No. 8, Unfinished.

1) Strauss Jr: Blue Danube Waltz.
2) Strauss Jr: Emperor Waltz.
3) Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5.
4) Wagner: The ride of the Valkyries.
5) Wagner: Tannhauser Overture.
6) Mendelssohn: Wedding March.
7) Offenbach: Can Can.
8) Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.4.
9) Tchakovsky: Symphony No.5.
10) Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake. Lake in Midnight.
11) Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake. Waltz.
12) Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker. Waltz of the Flowers.
13) Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien Op. 45.
14) Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture.
15) Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1.
16) Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No.2.
17) Liszt: Dreams of Love.
18) Liszt: La Campanella.
19) Schumann: Traumerei.
20) Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1.
21) Chopin: Etude Op.10, No.1.
22) Chopin: Etude Op.10, No.3.
23) Chopin: Etude Op.10, No.12.
24) Chopin: Polonaise Heroic Op.53.
25) Chopin: Waltz Op.64 No.1 "Minute Waltz".
26) Chopin: Polonaise Brillante in C major op.3 Cello and Piano.

1) Bizet, Habanera (Carmen).
2) Bizet, Les Toreadors (Carmen).
3) Rossini, The Barber of Seville. (Overture).
4) Rossini, William Tell (Overture).
5) Rossini, Largo al Fatotum.
6) Rossini, La Gazza Ladra.
7) Grieg, In the Hall of the Mountain King (Peer Gynt).
8) Grieg, Morning. (Peer Gynt).
9) Dvorak, New World Symphonie.
10) Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique.
11) Elgar, Pomp and Circumstance March No.1.
12) Saint Saens, Danse Macabre.
13) Suppe, Light Cavalry Overture
14) Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini.
15) Rachmaninov, Prelude in G minor.
16) Strauss R, Also sprach Zarathustra.
17) Rimsky Korsakov, Flight of the Bumblebee.
18) Puccini, Nessun Dorma (Turandot). (Pavarotti).
19) Verdi, La Donna e Mobile (Rigoletto).
20) Shostakovich, Waltz 2 from Jazz Suite.
21) Sousa, Stars and Stripes Forever.
22) Ravel, Bolero.
23) Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue.
24) Khachaturian, Sabre dance.
25) Orff, Carmina Burana. Oh Fortuna.
26) Rodrigo, Concierto de Aranjuez.

To keep abreast of news and interesting links on Classical Music, visit or subscribe to @Classical_Music on Twitter. Want an RSS feed of just Classical Music posts? Here you go!