Tornadoes.

I try not to be overly dramatic about storms, and dislike the way the Weather Channel catastrophizes every little thing, but we had some bad ones last night and have more on the way.

Our hearts go out to everyone who’s been affected by this storm. I haven’t been able to find anything comprehensive this morning. The last info I saw said we had nine tornadoes in Mississippi alone.

We take storms like this seriously.

I saw this tornado with my own eyes last year. It passed within a few blocks of me.

Diana sheltered in the basement of a dorm while this one plowed through the campus of her alma mater 12 years ago. And I’ve had enough other close calls to have a care. One of my earliest memories is of an aunt who was minding me taking me into the hallway of an apartment and pulling a mattress into the hallway to cover our heads.

So, last night I scheduled posts for today and tomorrow here and at The Writing Catalog, just in case I lose power or Internet. I’m planning to be around as normal, but it pays to be prepared. Supposedly, we have more in store today, but I’m hoping the worst of it is over.

More Wildflowers, Thank Yous, and Plans for the Week

These little blossoms were about the size of a dime. This shot was taken mid-afternoon on a sunny day, so the sun was pretty high in the sky. The thing that makes me most happy about it is the texture.

Image © Gene’O, 2014. Free to use with credit, which means a link.

Image © Gene’O, 2014. Free to use with credit, which means a link.

If you missed the Feminist Friday discussion this weekend at Drifting Through, you can find it here. It turned into a great thread, and I appreciate everyone who’s helped keep these Friday discussions going for so long. Rather than wait until tomorrow as is customary, I’ll go ahead and put out the call – if any of you bloggers who have been following these discussions for the last six weeks would like to write a Feminist Friday post this week, let me know and I’ll promote as usual. If we don’t have any takers by Wednesday evening, we’ll figure something out.

Thanks for your reads, likes, follows, comments, tweets, links, and other feedback. This blog passed 500 followers over the weekend, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of regular readers and other bloggers.

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for nearly everyone who helps to keep these blogs going. Our offline lives follow the academic calendar, and spring finals are next week. I decided this weekend was a good time to really recharge my batteries, so I slept 12 hours on Friday night, slept another 12 on Saturday night, and spent a lot of time outdoors with my family in between.

All that didn’t leave much time for blogging, so our schedule will be more fluid than usual this week. We do have a Batman post for Wednesday, I only have two more posts to write for A to Z at The Writing Catalog, and we have plenty of reblog-worthy friends. So, we’ll have posts this week. Once we get through to next Wednesday, I’ll have all kind of time to write, and I have no shortage of ideas.

Have an awesome week, and if you live in the Deep South, be sure and pay attention to the weather reports for the next couple of days. We’ve got a serious storm system on the way.

O For A Muse of Fire

Since there’s a big 450th birthday party for Shakespeare going on this weekend at Statford, I think this is appropriate for a Sunday blog.

I caught a #Shakespeare450th tweet from @MargaritaMorris earlier this week asking people to share their favorite opening lines. You can find her blog here and read her about page here. Here’s my response:

That’s the first line of the Prologue from Henry V.  That’s not necessarily my favorite play, but it’s in my top 5. It is, however, my favorite opening. It frames Henry as an epic hero translated onto the stage. Here are two film versions of the Prologue.

First, Sir Derek Jacobi’s complete prologue from the 1989 Kenneth Branagh version.

And a truncated version from the 2011 movie Anonymous. I like this one because they made some effort to reconstruct the Elizabethan stage, and the delivery of the lines is very good.

I’ll be done with the A to Z Challenge at the Writing Catalog on Wednesday, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of me here, on twitter, and on your comment threads, by next weekend.

Take a moment in the next couple of days to enjoy a snippet of Shakespeare, and have a fabulous week. Feel free to share your favorite opening lines or other favorite moments from Shakespeare on the thread.

Weekend Music: Here’s to surviving another seven days.

Marie of My Wild Surmise put Thunder Road in my head a couple of weeks ago, and I knew right then it needed to be weekend music before the month was out. For my money, the best arrangement is the one they used for the Live 1981-85 boxed set, and this is an especially good performance of that version, recorded in Paris. Stick around until 5:55 and you will see something truly awesome.

There was no real internet until I was into my 20s, and music was very important to me when I was a kid. It was more immediate than books – I could get it from the radio all day long for free. I discovered Bruce and the E-Street Band in 1984 through the Born to in the USA album.

The first thing that impressed me about them was that the sound was so big. They didn’t just have a bass, two guitars, and a drummer. They had a glockenspiel, an organ AND a piano, an accordian when they needed it. They had the best saxophonist in the universe, they were playing hard rock, and their lyrics were as good as any poetry I’d ever read.

I was also taken aback by the fact that ” Born in the USA” is really a scathing song. It’s criticism, not patriotism, but none of the grownups seemed to understand that at the time. It’s like they just did not understand the words. It’s one of the first pieces of art that made me really stop what I was doing and look at how the world works.

The way I learned about artists in those days was, when I heard someone I liked on the radio, I’d go to the library or the grocery store and browse magazines. There were weekly mags that published song lyrics and discographies on newsprint that you could buy for less than one 1980s dollar. I’d memorize the discographies and the names of the band members.

This is also how I educated myself about The Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Eagles, Bob Dylan, and a lot of other important musicians. The ones I really liked, I’d memorize all their album titles and save my money for the monthly trip to the mall. I’d go to Sound Shop for cassettes (anyone else remember that store with their yellow stickers that gave you the one-year guarantee?)

I bought Born in the USA and liked it so much, I bought Born to Run on the next trip without having heard a single song from it. The trip after that, I  bought Nebraska.

Born to Run is their third album. The first two, Greetings from Asbury Park N.J., and The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle, are immature, both in terms of songwriting and sound. Born to Run is a coming-of-age album. It, and the next four (Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Nebraska, Born in the USA), are some of my all-time favorite popular music.  The next few aren’t that great, but I love The Seeger Sessions.

You can find the full discography at the Wiki.

(This post just wouldn’t be complete without shoutouts to Vinyl Connection and Peace, Love and Great Country Music. So, #shoutouts!)