March 2012

S M T W T F S
    123
45678 910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 07:50 pm
Scotland's wait to regain the Calcutta Cup goes on after England open the Eddie Jones era with victory at Murrayfield.
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 11:44 am
Due to being sick, by the time I even heard of Hamilton, the Broadway hiphop musical about Alexander Hamilton, it was the hottest thing ever and its fans were pushing it with so much zeal that I was actually put off. I figured it could not possibly live up to the hype.

Also, except for Sondheim, I'm not a huge musical theatre fan, and though I am a history nerd, I'm not much into American history in general, except for the Vietnam war and to a lesser extent the 1930s and 1940s. I find Hamilton's period particularly uninteresting. Hamilton would have to be a staggering work of heartbreaking genius to get me to like it at all. Previously, Gore Vidal's novel Burr, which is indeed pretty great, was the only work set in that period which I liked or even did not find excruciatingly boring.

So I am a little hesitant to put up a post which is inevitably going to make non-converts feel the exact same way I did, and make them even more reluctant to try it. However…

I consider Sondheim to be the genius of American musical theatre. In my opinion, no one has ever even come close to matching him, so far as my personal taste is concerned. Sweeney Todd is my favorite of his plays, and I also think it's objectively his best, insofar as that can be objective. I say this not to say that Hamilton is like Sondheim (though it does have noticeable Sondheim influences) but to explain my own personal standards when I say that Hamilton is the only musical I have ever heard that I think is as good as, and I already love as much as, Sweeney Todd.

I now see why Hamilton is so popular in fandom circles, and why its fans are so enthusiastic. For one thing, no one is going to listen to the whole thing if they don't like it early on, and it seems to be something that either people love or are totally indifferent to. So you only hear from the fanatical fans - everyone else didn't even finish it.

That aside, Lin-Manuel Miranda pretty clearly identifies with his own character of Alexander Hamilton. (When I mention Hamilton, I mean LMM's character, not the actual historical guy.) He wrote him as an immigrant and a writer, a man who came from nothing and fought his way up, a man who ran off at the mouth and was told off for thinking he was the smartest in the room (because he often was). He wrote Hamilton as writer, and as a misfit whose intelligence annoyed others even as it made him notable. No wonder so many fans identify!

I have never identified with a fictional character as much as I identified with Hamilton in certain songs and lines. One song in particular is not only a beautiful song, but is about the defining act of my life - the one moment, if I had to pick just one, that sums up the core of my self. It's a song about what makes me who I am.

I've written about that too, but Miranda wrote it in music, which I could never do. He wrote lines that I could never write, not because he's a better artist than me (though he probably is, and I say probably because, like his Hamilton, I do generally think I'm the smartest in the room so I'm not sure) but because only he could write them, just as only I could write what I write. Lin-Manuel Miranda's surely never even heard of me, but he wrote my soul into a song and put it on Broadway.

I assume that's because it's his soul too. I think it's the soul of a lot of writers and artists. Though the particulars are directly applicable to me in a way that's really unusual, and I would not be surprised if some of you have been biting your tongues not to say, "Rachel, you HAVE TO listen to Hamilon because you will identify SO MUCH, let me link you to this one song that is SO YOU."

I heard that song and I was glad that I lived long enough to hear it. I felt as if, had I died the day before, what I would regret most was that I never got to hear that song. I felt that way when I saw Sondheim's Assassins and Sweeney Todd, when I saw The Kentucky Cycle on Broadway, when I saw the first X-Men and Lord of the Rings movies, when I went to Japan for the first time and saw monks practicing kyudo in Kita-Kamakura and autumn leaves falling at Eikan-do temple.

Again, this isn't about my taste and whether it matches yours - it's about that shock of joy at something you experience for the first time, and fall in love with at first sight. It's as if you exist solely so you could experience that moment.

I'm not going to name the song because I managed to be unspoiled for the show, and so it came as the most amazing, poignant surprise. Maybe it will be for you, too.

(I'll talk about it later, in a spoilery post, along with other spoilery things. Obviously the historical events are known; I'm talking about artistic moments, and there are many delicious surprises there which I don't want to ruin.)

If you are unfamiliar with Hamilton, I think watching these two videos will tell you if you'll like it or not. I think if you don't like these, you probably won't like the rest either. I suggest that you watch the videos in this order. They both should actually be watched, as one is a performance and one includes lyrics.

Lin-Manuel Miranda performs an early version of the opening number at the White House

My Shot

The entire thing is streaming for free at Spotify.
Tags:
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 07:35 pm

Posted by Alan Smith at St Mary's Stadium

Another clean sheet and, most importantly, another win for Southampton. Victor Vanyama’s avoidable sending off in the 54th minute meant they had to withstand a barrage of West Ham pressure but the resurgence of Ronald Koeman’s team since the turn of the year shows no sign of abating thanks to Maya Yoshida’s early goal.

This victory made it 13 points from the last 15 and suddenly the top six is in Southampton’s sights. They have still not conceded since Fraser Forster made his return from injury against Watford five games ago and for all the talk about Jack Butland competing with Joe Hart for England’s No1 shirt, the Saints keeper has surely wrestled his way back into the reckoning.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 07:27 pm

Posted by Scott Murray

An early Maya Yoshida goal was enough to give Saints the win, though they had to fight hard for it after Victor Wanyama got himself sent off on the hour.

And Saints see it through! A fine defensive display by the ten men in the face of relentless West Ham pressure. So that’s five consecutive clean sheets in a row, a league sequence they last achieved 15 years ago! They climb back to seventh, but are now just two points behind West Ham, who stay in sixth. And on the whole, Southampton deserved their win: their early attacks were the most incisive of the match, while they defended resolutely when a man down. Fraser Foster hasn’t let in a league goal for nine hours and three minutes. Like Ronald Koeman said, it’s all about defensive organisation.

90 min +5: Cresswell crosses from the left. Collins, on the penalty area, shapes like Zidane in the 2002 Champions League final, and volleys. It hits Yoshida on the chest. Collins claims a penalty kick, but that hit the defender plumb on the crest of his shirt.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 07:18 pm

Posted by Associated Press in Los Angeles

  • At least one aircraft falls into ocean after collision involving three people

  • Search for survivors shifts to effort to find remains and wreckage

Authorities on Saturday called off the search for survivors of a midair collision that sent at least one plane plunging into the ocean near the Port of Los Angeles and instead turned to hunting bodies and wreckage.

The active search for three missing people was suspended at 9.15am, according to a US coast guard statement.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:43 pm

Posted by Paul Rees at Murrayfield

• Scotland 9-15 England

Eddie Jones will be ordering beers rather than biers for his players after what had appeared to be one of their trickier obstacles on the trail of the Six Nations title was negotiated with something approaching ease. Yet again, Scotland failed to score a try against England here and at no point were they able to exploit the atmosphere generated by the home crowd, never rising above the ordinary.

England kept Scotland at arm’s length for the most part and played most of the game on their own terms. They took few risks but achieved width, defended strongly and enjoyed the bulk of possession. The big difference from the World Cup was that they did not kick from deep regardless but looked for opportunities and as starts go this looked more promising than the 13-6 success here four years ago.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:38 pm

Posted by Josh Halliday

Low turnout as 200 protesters gather at industrial estate as similar rallies take place across Europe

Supporters of the anti-Islam group Pegida staged a silent march in Birmingham standing against what they called “the most dreadful, subversive, violent ideology” as clashes broke out at twin rallies in France and the
Netherlands.

About 200 demonstrators gathered for the inaugural Pegida rally in the UK – half as many as expected by police – which took place on an industrial estate miles from the city centre.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 05:14 pm

Posted by Andy Hunter at Anfield

Jürgen Klopp had his appendix removed by surgeons at Aintree hospital, two points removed by Jermain Defoe in the 89th minute and any notion about harmony at Liverpool removed by a mass protest against rising ticket prices at Anfield. Pity the poor soul who woke the Liverpool manager to tell him this result.

An estimated 10,000 supporters heeded the call for a 77th-minute walkout against Sunderland, singing “You greedy bastards, enough is enough” as they went in the hope that someone at Fenway Sports Group was listening. Anger and appendicitis were not Klopp’s only problems, however, as Liverpool blew a two-goal lead with eight minutes remaining against Sam Allardyce’s relegation-threatened team. Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana established a comfortable advantage for the home side, only for Adam Johnson’s free-kick, and Simon Mignolet’s weak attempt to stop it, plus Defoe’s clinical late strike to extend Liverpool’s miserable run to five points out of 18 in 2016.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:40 pm

Posted by Anthony Wells

As well as the new EU poll, Friday’s Times also had a new YouGov Scottish poll. There was also a new TNS Scottish poll in the week. Topline voting intentions for Holyrood were:

YouGov (tabs)
Constituency: SNP 50%(-1), LAB 19%(-2), CON 20%(+1), LDEM 6%(+1)
Regional: SNP 42%(-3), LAB 20%(nc), CON 20%(+1), GRN 6%(nc), LDEM 5%(nc)

TNS (tabs)
Constituency: SNP 57%(-1), LAB 21%(-2), CON 17%(+5), LDEM 3%(-1)
Regional: SNP 52%(-2), LAB 19%(-1), CON 17%(+5), GRN 6%(-3), LDEM 6%(+2)

While the scale is difference, both polls have the usual overwhelming lead for the SNP. The obvious expectation is that they’ll easily secure a landslide win come May. More interesting is the battle for second place. YouGov have Labour and the Conservatives essentially equal (in the constituency vote the Conservatives are a point ahead after rounding… though this was nearly all in the rounding!). YouGov have tended to show the highest levels of Conservative support in Scotland and have had Labour only a whisker ahead of them for their last couple of polls, however other companies now seem to be showing the Labour and Conservative gap in Scotland narrowing too. TNS have the Conservatives up five points since December, bringing the gap in the regional vote down to two points, a Panelbase poll earlier this month also only had a two point gap between Lab & Con in the regional vote, MORI had the gap falling to 2-3 points in their last poll. Survation’s last Scottish poll still showed a 4-5 point gap this month, but it was down from an eight point gap in their previous poll.

Personally I’d still see the Conservatives coming second in Scotland as unlikely – while Ruth Davidson is well regarded (her approval ratings in the YouGov poll were substantially better than Kezia Dugdale’s) their brand seems almost irretrievably tarnished in Scotland. However if Scottish Labour fall far enough, I suppose it is possible. We shall see.

Saturday, February 6th, 2016 12:00 am

Posted by Bill Barnes

And the Winner is YOU…When You Listen to ALA Award Winners! ENTER TO WIN an Audiobook Collection for Your Library!



Unshelved comic strip for 2/6/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us

This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on November 23, 2004.

Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:01 pm
Several thousand Liverpool fans walk out of Saturday's league match with Sunderland at Anfield in protest at rising ticket prices.
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 07:07 pm

Posted by Scott Murray

80 min: From the set piece, Song drifts a cross in from the left. Forster barges his way through a crowd to rise and claim. That’s fine keeping with his team creaking at the back. West Ham are soon coming back at Saints, and this time Song is attempting to curl one into the top right from distance. It’s well over the bar.

79 min: Clasie curls the corner into the box. Collins heads it back to him. Clasie curls it in again, straight down Adrian’s throat this time. And West Ham are instantly back on the attack, winning a corner down the left.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:55 pm

Posted by Edward Helmore in New York

Maya Widmaier Picasso, 80, says dealer Larry Gagosian ‘paid in good faith the proper price’ for her grandfather’s 1931 Bust of a Woman

Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter, Maya Widmaier Picasso, has weighed in on a dispute over the spectacular Bust of a Woman, a sculpture of her mother, Marie-Thérèse Walter.

In a statement, Widmaier Picasso, 80, dismissed allegations that she sold the same work twice, saying the dealer Larry Gagosian had “paid in good faith the proper price” for the 1931 plaster bust.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:43 pm

Posted by Paul Rees at Murrayfield

• Scotland 9-15 England

Eddie Jones will be ordering beers rather than biers for his players after what had appeared to be one of their trickier obstacles on the trail of the Six Nations title was negotiated with something approaching ease. Yet again, Scotland failed to score a try against England here and were at no point able to exploit the atmosphere generated by the home crowd and never rose above the ordinary.

England kept the Scots at arm’s length for the most part and played most of the game on their own terms. They took few risks but achieved width, defended strongly and enjoyed the bulk of possession. The big difference from the World Cup was that they did not kick from deep regardless but looked for opportunities and as starts go this looked more promising than the 13-6 success here four years ago.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:42 pm

Posted by Dan Lucas

  • Jack Nowell try secures England win at Murrayfield
  • England retain Calcutta Cup for eighth successive year

That was impressive from England. The southern hemisphere sides won’t be quaking in their boots just yet, but Eddie Jones and co made no secrets about just focusing on the win today. The big difference between this performance and those of years gone by was the lack of idiotic errors – they brought the kind of efficient professionalism you expect from a Jones team. Credit has to go to Hartley for setting an excellent example of that too, while there was some huge performances from Billy Vunipola, George Kruis and Mako Vunipola when he came off the bench. George Ford and Mike Brown were flaky in the backs, but Jack Nowell looked threatening every time he got the ball.

Scotland played well in fits and spurts, but were undone by a lack of composure once again. That’s not a new problem and Vern Cotter needs to find a way to eradicate it sharpish.

Related: Jack Nowell’s try seals winning start for Eddie Jones’ England in Scotland

Back it goes to Ford, he boots it off the pitch and England retain the Calcutta Cup!

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:38 pm

Posted by Josh Halliday

Low turnout as 200 protesters gather at industrial estate as similar rallies take place across Europe

Supporters of the anti-Islam group Pegida staged a silent march in Birmingham standing against what they called “the most dreadful, subversive, violent ideology” as clashes broke out at twin rallies in France and the
Netherlands.

About 200 demonstrators gathered for the inaugural Pegida rally in the UK – half as many as expected by police – which took place on an industrial estate miles from the city centre.

Continue reading...









Saturday, February 6th, 2016 05:26 pm

Posted by Louise Taylor at St James' Park

At the final whistle Steve McClaren shook every Newcastle United player – as well as West Brom’s Saido Berahino – by the hand. His team were out of the bottom three, his job was considerably more secure than at 3pm and, for once, there seemed cause for cautious optimism on Tyneside.

Complemented by Andros Townsend’s promising home debut, Steven Taylor’s assured return to central defence and Cheick Tioté’s no nonsense dictation of midfield, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half winner proved sufficient to undo Tony Pulis deeply disappointing, if injury hit, side.

Continue reading...