Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Q is for Qwerty #atozchallenge


REMINDER: Tomorrow’s post will be “R for Request.”  Please submit a subject or theme you’d like me to try to photograph in the comments or tweet me at @othemts. The subject/theme need not start with “R” as that is already covered by “Request.”

I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

“Q” is for “Qwerty”

Sometimes you don’t have to leave your desk to find the subject for the day.

 

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: P is for Paris Creperie


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

“P” is for “Paris Creperie.”

I don’t usually photograph my breakfast, but my breakfast isn’t usually so delightfully presented with my name on it.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: O is for Oars #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

“O” is for “Oars”

A familiar scene from the Charles River.

What I’m Listening to Now – March 2017


It’s more than halfway through April so it’s about time I get this post up for March.

Podcasts of the Month

99% InvisibleChurch, Sanctuary part 1

Sanctuary churches have been in the news.  Here is how it works in practice.

BackStoryTaking it to the Streets

A history of mass protests in the United States.

Best of the LeftLiving in an empire of lies (Propaganda)

Stepping back from the headline news and taking a deep dive into the history of propaganda in the United States.

To the Best of Our Knowledge – Every Time You Troll Me, A Scientist Gets Her Due

Emily Temple-Wood decided the best way to get back at misogynist trolls on the internet is to write a new entry about a woman scientists on Wikipedia every time they attack.

RadiolabShots Fired, part 1

An investigation into police shootings of innocent or unarmed individuals and the networks of the families and friends left behind.

Fresh Air – An ‘Intimate Portrait’ Of Dorothy Day, The Catholic Activist With A Bohemian Past

An interview with Kate Hennessy, author of a new biography of her grandmother, Dorothy Day.

Song of the Month

Frank Turner adds another song to the rapidly growing Resistance Mixtape, “The Sand in the Gears.”

Albums of the Month


Artist: The Feelies
Album: In Between
Release Date: 24 February 2017
Favorite Tracks: “When to Go,” “Stay the Course” and “Turn Back Time”
Rating: ***

The Feelies are a band that seems to have always been around, but this is only their 6th album in 40+ years.  They managed to both influence R.E.M. and be beneficiaries of R.E.M.’s popularity in the 1980s.  The jangle pop of this album is reminiscent of the 80s, not in the 80s Nostalgia Industry way but in the type of music you’d hear your older sibling’s cool best friend listening to in the car in the 80s.  The songs appear laid back, but grow in lyrical and emotional intensity.


Artist: The Shins
AlbumHeartworms
Release Date: 10 March 2017
Favorite Tracks: “So Now What” and “Cherry Hearts”
Rating: ***

The Shins return with their typical high harmonies and wall of sound arrangements.  This album appears to do some genre hopping – ska to EDM to psychedelia – but all within The Shins’ framework.  Definitely a good return to form after a long 5-year hiatus.


ArtistPeter Mulvey
Album: Are You Listening
Release Date: 25 March 2017
Favorite Tracks: “D.I.A.,” “Are You Listening,” “Just Before the War,” “The Details,” and “Oh, The Rain”
Rating: ****

Peter Mulvey is who I’d want to be as a singer-songwriter. On this new album produced by Ani DiFranco, Mulvey’s bass voice resonates and his profound lyrics are full of thought and emotion.  Definitely an album you’ll want to check out.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: N is for Ninth #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

“N” is for Ninth Inning.

With two outs in the ninth inning, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel works on saving the Sox 4-3 Patriots Day game victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Blogging A to Z Challenge – Halfway There! #atozchallenge


We are halfway through the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!  Today’s a day off and I’ll resume with a photograph for the letter N tomorrow, but I wanted to take a moment to look forward and look back at the challenge itself.

 

First of all, I’ve decided that for the letter R post that will go up on Friday, April 21st, I will be taking “Requests.”  Please use the comments below or tweet me at @othemts and give me a suggestion for something I should try to photograph for the day.  Keep your suggestion family-friendly and within the bounds of law and I will pick the one I find the most creative.

Second, here are some of my favorite blogs that I’m following for the A to Z Challenge with their themes:

Third, here are all of my posts so far:

Happy blogging!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: M is for Manhattan #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

The letter “M” is for “Manhattan.”

Yes, we’re visiting New York this weekend, so enjoy this glimpse of a jumble of buildings in the lower Manhattan skyline!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: K is for Knobs #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

The letter “K” is for “Knobs.”

This post will be unintentionally funny in the UK and Ireland.

What does this photograph make you think?  How does it make you feel?  Let me know in the comments!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: J is for Jagged #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

The letter “J” is for “Jagged.”

Smooth, rough, and jagged – all in one.

Let me know what what you think of this photo in the comments!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: I is for Instructions #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

The letter “I” is for “Instructions:”

 

I did.

How does this photo make you feel? Does it tell a story? What technical suggestions would you offer for improving the photograph?

Let me know in the comments!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: H is for Head #atozchallenge


 

I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

Today’s letter is H for Head!

 

 

This giant head is named Ines and was sculpted by Jaume Plensa.

How does this photo make you feel? Does it tell a story? What technical suggestions would you offer for improving the photograph?

Let me know in the comments!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: G is for Games #atozchallenge


 

I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

Today’s letter is “G” which stands for “Games!”

 

Board games for sale in the window of a tobacco shop, but they’re faded by the sun so I don’t think they’re top sellers.

Do you like these photographs?  How do they make you feel?  Do they tell a story?  If you know a thing or two about photography, what technical suggestions would you make?  Let me know in the comments!!!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: F is for Fish #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

 

Today is a Friday during Lent so let’s do “F’ for “Fish!”

 

Don’t be koi, splash on into my comments feed and leave a reflection. I’m not fishing for compliments, but I’ll be happy if you tell me it’s gold.  You can even school me and tell me you think it’s total carp!

 

 

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: E is for Exterminate #atozchallenge


 

I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

Today’s letter is “E” which stands for “Exterminate!”

 

If there’s something bugging you, the local corner store can help you out!

Okay, the muse has been weird lately.  I’ll look for something more fanciful and friendly for the letter F!

In the meantime, let me know what you think of today’s photograph.

Photopost: A Visit to the MFA, part eight


I continued my ongoing quest to visit every gallery in the Museum of Fine Arts by visiting the Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa wings.  It’s unfortunate that the art of the two most populous continents and some diverse island cultures are all clumped together like that, especially since the MFA boasts having a large collection of Asian arts dating back to the earliest days of the museum.  Nevertheless there was quite a delightful collection of works that had me hopping around geographically as well as through time.  One gallery deliberately mixed contemporary and classical Japanese art in a provocative way.

I also took a 3 masterpieces in 30 minutes tour and got to learn about three family portraits from three different artistic styles – Sargent’s The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, a folk art portrait from the 1830s, and Steen’s Twelfth-Night Feast.

After these eight visits, I believe I’ve been to every permanent gallery in the museum.  Of course, art on exhibit is changing all the time, so I’ll have to go back and do it again.  Maybe next time I’ll have a theme like art with families or bridges or pets or something like that.

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Previous visits:

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: D is for Ditch #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

Today’s letter is “D” which stands for “Ditch.”

 

It’s a dismal day today which can get one down in the dumps.

Do you like these photographs?  How do they make you feel?  Do they tell a story?  If you know a thing or two about photography, what technical suggestions would you make?  Let me know in the comments!!!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: C is for “Compassion” #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

Today’s letter is “C” which stands for “Compassion.”

This is an image of a sculpture of Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion reflected in the glass of another exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Do you like these photographs?  How do they make you feel?  Do they tell a story?  If you know a thing or two about photography, what technical suggestions would you make?  Let me know in the comments!!!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: B is for “Branches” #atozchallenge


I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge through all of April 2017. Every day (except Sundays), I will be posting a new, original photograph (or photographs) related to the letter of the alphabet.

Today’s letter is “B” which stands for “branches.”

 

Do you like these photographs?  How do they make you feel?  Do they tell a story?  If you know a thing or two about photography, what technical suggestions would you make?  Let me know in the comments!!!

Music Discovery: “Weird Al” Yankovic


I need a good laugh these days, who doesn’t, so “Weird Al” Yankovic is my Music Discovery this month, just in time for April Fool’s Day. As a song parodist, Weird Al has had an unexpectedly long career. Listening back to all of his albums has the element of opening a time capsule. There were times when I thought “Oh yeah, I remember this song he’s parodying when it was a hit” or found myself chuckling at a reference to a pop culture entity of time gone by. But Weird Al is more than novelty music and a lot of his work has a surprisingly long shelf life. Here are three reasons I think why:

1. He’s a talented musician. Weird Al and his accompanying band are accomplished artists who put as much work into their music as any other popular artist. He’s also been able to keep up with the time, taking styles that didn’t exist when he first started, such as grunge, gangsta rap, and boy bands.
2. He really has a creative way with words that make the lyrics worth listening to again and again.
3. As a parodist, rather than a satirist, he is rarely making reference to current events. Of course, this could also be a criticism of how apolitical Weird Al’s work is, but I just acknowledge that Weird Al is a great parodist while others are great satirists. Besides, we really need funny songs about food, movies, and direct marketing infomercials.

Having listened to all of Weird Al, I’ll say that his own songs and style parodies stand up better than direct song parodies, but a number of them thrive as well.  Here is Weird Al at his best:

Weird Al’s” Five Best Albums

  1. “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D (1984) – this was my first Weird Al album so there was a lot of nostalgia listening to this one
  2. Off the Deep End (1992) – this came out when I was in college.  Weird Al had been out of the picture for a while, but coming back with an album where he had a big hit parodying Nirvana made him cool again.
  3. Bad Hair Day (1996) – the mid-90s was a time when big time musicians were taking themselves way too seriously so this album is particularly rich.
  4. Straight Outta Lynwood (2006) – may be one of the strongest albums track-by-track of Weird Al’s career.
  5. Mandatory Fun (2014) – Weird Al once again makes a big splash releasing 8 videos in 8 days and what may be his last album (but not last work altogether!)

“Weird Al’s” Top 20 Songs of All Time

This list doesn’t include any of Weird Al’s polka parodies which are their own category of brilliance.

“Another One Rides the Bus” – the lyrics are true to any regular bus rider’s experience

“Eat It” – Weird Al’s first monster hit is also something I can relate to as a parent with fussy eaters.

“Buy Me a Condo” – I always loved this reggae song of an upwardly-mobile rastaman.

 

“Like a Surgeon” – the lyrics are great but you also have to admire how the song keeps rhythm to the EKG monitor the entire time.

“Yoda” – not for the last time Weird Al sets the plot of a blockbuster film to music and creates a masterpiece.

“Fat” – Michael Jackson was very good to Weird Al in the early days.  The wordplay in this fat anthem is particularly strong.

“Smells Like Nirvana” – This may be the first time Weird Al parodied a song to make fun of the band that played it, and it’s hilarious.

“You Don’t Love Me Anymore” – The best of Weird Al’s original love ballads.

“Bohemian Polka” – polkas are always a highlight of any Weird Al album and this is the one time a polka is dedicated to parodying a single song.

“Amish Paradise” – It takes Weird Al to think that gangsta rap and the Amish people needed to be joined together.

“Pancreas” – it is an important organ.

“Everything You Know is Wrong” – things get weird because parodying They Might Be Giants is nigh on impossible since you just end up with a They Might Be Giants’ song. So I guess this is an excellent homage?

“The Saga Begins” – take a mediocre, overplayed song and an awful, overhyped movie and you get something that transcends both towards absolute brilliance.

“Bob” – +1 for parodying Bob Dylan so well.  +2 for doing it entirely in palindromes.

“White and Nerdy” – pretty much the official theme song of Weird Al and his most devoted fans.

“Don’t Download This Song” – perhaps Al at his most political, satirizing the moral panic of the music business and the dreck of charity songs.

“Perform This Way” – kind of the essence of Lady Gaga, only funnier.

“Foil” – Weird Al switches topics mid-song and it works so perfectly.

“Mission Statement” – the hippies of the 60s became the vapid corporate execs of today.

“Tacky” – brilliant parody, amazing video.