It’s Christmas – Time to Kill a few Orcs!

December 16, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Being a Dad, Fun for Your Family, Musings | Leave a comment
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Hi Everyone, it has been – well – awhile since I posted on this blog.  OK, it’s been 5 years.  Weirdly enough, my kids have grown up as well.  They are now 8, 10 and 12…still very interesting ages, but not the ages when they want to be listening to their dad sing “Piggy” one more time.  No, what they want to be doing (at least the 10 year old), is going to see The Hobbit part deux with their dad at the local theater.  I mean, let’s face it, going to see your dad sing is not a guarantee of Snowcaps, Popcorn and a large, refillable drink – but watching a few (or shall I say 1000 (000000000000) ) orcs get killed definitely primes a (young) man’s appetite – and MAN was I hungry when I watched the latest Hobbit flick with my son…and I mean hungry to see a few nasty, smelly,  snarly, scarly, orcs meet their maker (Peter Jackson?)…and they did at the hands of two VERY ninja-esque elves.  (Yes, Harry Potter, Dobby was free, but pretty lame compared to these Bad A** elves – just think what would have happened to Bellatrix LeStrange if Tauriel had been on the job…)

As for the rest of the movie – it’s alright. OK, maybe more than alright, but other than the awesome Peter Jackson-esque vistas and the lovely soundtrack, it’s pretty standard fare. It’s the old story of a quest to recover the dwarves homeland, restore Thorin to his rightful place as King Under the Mountain and rid the world of the terrible scourge of Smaug (who should have been named ‘Smug’ with his know-it all attitude and British accent.  Seriously, how is it that a dragon can speak better English than the orcs when he lives alone and never talks to anyone?)   Then there is the mysterious Necromancer – threatening impending doom to all the world.

With that same-old heroes questy thing going on in the background, Jackson needed to jazz it up with some pretty exciting fight scenes – and he did.  A good example is the one when the dwarves are floating down a river in barrels beating off attacking orcs aided by the elves Tauriel and Legolas. Legolas leaps back and forth on the dwarves heads (I just can’t get over how far elves have come since Herbie wanted to be a dentist!) This fight scene, like every other one, involves impaling, shooting, beheading, tripping, teasing, and generally ridiculing orcs.  Not that they don’t deserve it, they are ugly and bad mannered, and their noses are all scrunched up so undoubtedly they snore.

On a literary note – orcs weren’t in the Hobbit.  The dwarves were bothered by goblins and some wolf-like things called, if memory serves, wargs.   No, Jackson created these pesky creatures himself.  And, they fit what seems to be Jackson’s pattern: the tougher and meaner you look, the more ridiculous a fighter you are – the big spiders fit this pattern and ***SPOILER ALERT*** so does Smaug who will end up being killed by a single arrow (in the next film, assuming Jackson follows the text).

My ten year old loved every minute of it.  As I watched him watch it, I was reminded of my 9 year old self watching the first Star Wars way back when.  In that movie it was the tough looking Storm Troopers who literally fell like flies.  I watched, wide-eyed and open mouthed with awe back then in the same way he watched today .  All in all, it was definitely worth the $20 it cost us to get through the door and then the additional $20 we spent on snowcaps, drinks and popcorn.  And, with it’s white bearded magic dude, elves who make miracles, snowy landscapes,  and desire to make the world a better place (albeit by killing orcs), it may just become the next great holiday classic.

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Cluck Old Hen, Buffalo Girls, Weaver John and much more – The Barnard Tapes!

October 28, 2009 at 5:53 am | Posted in Fun for Your Family, kids music, Reviews | 1 Comment

It has been a very long time since I have written…ooops, sorry.  Time does fly, and when I started this thing, I planned on a post a day – that lasted about 8 days.  Anyway, I have been in the studio and performing – and I am happy to say we have finished our latest CD – The Barnyard Tapes –

Front Cover web page

The Barnyard Tapes - Cover Art by Dave, our Drummer

If you read this blog before I dropped off the edge of the earth for a year, you know about my fascination with public domain music – that’s what we focused on.  So check it out at our website right here – listen to tracks at CD Baby – and enjoy.  I’ll try to write again soon.

The Virtual Campfire…or how about a little Chicken on a Raft?

April 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Fun for Your Family, kids music, Music for You | Leave a comment

Need a song, or two, or seventy? I was casting around for some tunes to sing and play, and I must have typed in” campfire tunes” and KABOOM (or KA-GOOGLE) I found The Virtual Campfire.

I ignored the fact that somehow the idea of a virtual campfire is a little pitiful and clicked onward…to find…lot’s of songs! Not only lots of songs, but lots of songs sung by British people around a real campfire…crazy, but just so crazy that it works.

To give you a sample, here’s that well-known favorite, Chicken on a Raft.  OK, so maybe it’s not your favorite song, but it’s a darn good song, worth singing, and it’s some indication of the depth of Virtual Campfire’s library…it’s big, and fun, and goofy at times, but definitely worth perusing and singing along.

p.s. If you do sing along, try to light a real fire so you’re not so pitiful…or if you’re entirely comfortable with the virtual world, play this video of a virtual fire and then sing-a-long – with your virtual friends.

Side by Side – an MP3 for you – Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 15, 2008 at 6:32 am | Posted in Fun for Your Family, kids music, Music for You | 1 Comment
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Here’s a great old tune – “Side by Side” performed by Paul Whiteman and the Rhythm Boys recorded in 1927 and featuring a 24 year old Bing Crosby on vocals.

Side by Side.mp3

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Bing loves ya, baby – Side by Side!

Here are the lyrics – seemed appropriate for V-day to me…

Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money
Maybe we’re ragged and funny
But well travel along
Singing a song
Side by side

I don’t know whats a-comin’ tomorrow
Maybe its trouble and sorrow
But well travel the road
Sharing our load
Side by side

Thru all kinds of weather
What if the sky should fall
Just as long as were together
It doesn’t matter at all

When they’ve all had their quarrels and parted
Well be the same as we started
Just traveling along
Singing a song
Side by side

 

Rockin’ the Walk

January 24, 2008 at 7:59 am | Posted in Fun for Your Family | Leave a comment
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Last year and in year’s past we have had the privilege of playing at the Walk Now for Autism Walk here in NH. It’s a great event – fun to play and full of excited and enthusiastic people. Last year it was at Greely Park in Nashua – we arrived in a soaking rain – but somehow, no one seemed too upset about it. I asked Susan, the Co-Chair of the event if she still wanted us to play – she said, “If you guys are up for it, we sure are!” We got our cars as close to the stage as we could and ran our equipment in – people were using the stage as shelter, so it was a bit crowded. The walk was set to start in 10 minutes…then 5 and the rain kept coming. People were zipping up their rain coats and tightening their boots, not daunted. Suddenly, just one or two minutes before the walk was to start, the rain stopped. The clouds parted, and a little sun peeked through. It seemed miraculous, almost unreal, but definitely fitting the optimism of the day.

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Rockin’ the Walk in Year’s Past

Autism Speaks is a great organization. In 2006 alone, they funded $20 million worth research; through their Baby Siblings Project, they’ve pushed diagnosis (and early treatment) of autism to as early as 24 or even 18 months; they began The Autism Tissue Program (ATP), making over 60 research projects possible since 1998; they’ve funded researchers at Yale University… the list goes on. (Check out the website – www.autismspeaks.org .)

Their walks, which take place all over the U.S., are where the rubber hits the road (literally). They are where regular folks earn money to fund these astounding projects. People know they are doing something great, which is why, on that very rainy day in September, no one was awfully concerned about the rain. What they were doing was a little like the weather, miraculous, and we were happy to be a part of it.

We have some inside information (you heard it here first) that this year’s walk is scheduled for October 5, at Greely Park in Nashua. We’ll be there – hope you are too!

 

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