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The Complicated Legacy of ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ | Arts & Culture| Smithsonian Magazine

“My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight,” as it was originally titled, was written by Foster in the 1850s as an anti-slavery songinspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and following the same story arc as Stowe’s title character. His initial working title was “Poor Uncle Tom, Goodnight.”

The song emphasizes the humanity and close family ties of the enslaved population at a time when African Americans were routinely dehumanized and caricatured. The opening scene in Uncle Tom’s Cabin features a slave trader explaining that black people do not have the same tender emotions as white people, a rationalization for selling their children for profit. “My Old Kentucky Home” is a rebuke to that racist thinking.

In My Bondage and My Freedom, abolitionist luminary Frederick Douglass, himself formerly enslaved, wrote that the song “awakens sympathies for the slave, in which antislavery principles take root, grow, and flourish.”

The great Paul Robeson, the black singer, Shakespearean actor, and political activist of the mid-20th century, delivered a rendition with most of the original sorrowful lyrics—including a racial slur that no one would use today—that makes Foster’s meaning painfully clear.

The verse sung at Churchill Downs, often by affluent, white crowds, looks different when taking into account that Foster’s singer was describing a slave trader coming to steal away a family member:

The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy, and bright.
By and by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night.

The day goes by like a shadow o’er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight.
The time has come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night.

Source: The Complicated Legacy of ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ | Arts & Culture| Smithsonian Magazine

My Old Kentucky Home – Song of America Song of America

My Old Kentucky Home

“My Old Kentucky Home,” originally titled “Poor Uncle Tom, Good Night!,” is the state song of Kentucky.

The facts surrounding the composition of this song point to the influence of Uncle Tom’s Cabin rather than a visit to Kentucky. Foster may or may not have visited his cousins in Bardstown, Kentucky at their mansion Federal Hill, but the original sketch of this song, dating from 1852, substitutes “Poor Uncle Tom” for “My Old Kentucky Home” and aligns Foster’s sympathies with the Abolitionist movement.

Source: My Old Kentucky Home – Song of America Song of America

(242) Ukrainian Now – YouTube

noelpaulstookey1.12K subscribers

Tom Paxton and John McCutcheon have written a heartfelt, stirring song, “Ukrainian Now,” that touches us all. Noel Paul Stookey edited this beautiful video that includes the voices of Peter Yarrow, Bill Miller, Tret Fure, Holly Near, Emma’s Revolution, Rebel Voices, Crys Matthews, Carrie Newcomer, Christine Lavin and Joe Jencks – whose playing of the electric bouzouki adds a haunting compliment to the piano of McCutcheon. The lyrics scroll across the screen and the sheet music is at the end. Please share far and wide. As Holly says at the video’s conclusion, “We are all Ukranian, now…”

Opinion | Baseball Is Dying. The Government Should Take It Over. – The New York Times

Mr. Walther is the editor of The Lamp, a Catholic literary journal. He writes frequently about sports.

“Opening day of the Major League Baseball season, which falls on Thursday after being delayed for a week by a labor dispute, is as good an occasion as any for fans of the game to come to terms with certain hard facts. I am talking, of course, about the inevitable future in which professional baseball is nationalized and put under the authority of some large federal entity — the Library of Congress, perhaps, or more romantically, the National Park Service.

Like the Delta blues or Yellowstone National Park, baseball is as indelibly American as it is painfully uncommercial. Left to fend for itself, the game will eventually disappear.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment
It was a commenter who pointed out this might not be entirely serious. It is hard to be funny. The top comments certainly are more pointed as to why most of us can’t afford the luxury of $500 nights out to watch adult men play and have fun. I feel about English based, ritual, Morris and Sword dancing, the way this fellow cares about baseball, but I’m not whining for government bailouts and protections for Morris dancing. But subsidies might help.
David Lindsay Jr is a writer, who founded the New Haven Morris and Sword Team, which kept dancing during the pandemic on zoom, and after 45 years of joy and glory, is circling the drain. It takes six dancers, a musician and a fool, to field a full side.

Francis James Child and the Child Ballads: Part I – Essays on Mythic Fiction & Art – Terriwindling.com/

“. . . In addition, Child was instrumental in establishing the American Folklore Society, serving as its first president from 1888 to 1889. But sadly, Child did not live to see that movement flower in subsequent years, and he died doubting his work had relevance to a modern age. “If he’d lived just a little longer,” says Mark F. Heiman of Loomis House, which published a handsome new edition of The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, “he would have seen the golden age of the ballad collector and folklorist. He would have seen how important his life’s work really was.”

Cecil SharpChild’s work went on to inspire a whole new generation of folklorists, men and women who weren’t quite so convinced that the oral tradition was irretrievably dead and gone. One of them was Cecil Sharp, who began collecting English folk songs and dance tunes in the early years of the twentieth century. Sharp was a trained musician, and unlike Child he was also interested in preserving the music of the ballad tradition rather than viewing ballads primarily as poetry. He noted that the Child ballads were rarely part of the repertoire of the elderly singers he listened to in the countryside; they’d been replaced by broadside ballads and other more recent songs. Sharp wondered if the older ballads might have survived among the British and Scottish settlers in America, particularly among the descendants of settlers in isolated mountain regions, where “pennysheets” of modern ballads would not have been available. Between 1914 and 1918, Sharp made two extensive trips through the Appalachian Mountains, collecting over a thousand songs with the aid of his secretary, Maud Karpeles. Sharp and Karpeles discovered that many of the Child ballads were indeed still known and performed in Appalachia, although sometimes the titles and lyrics had changed somewhat in this new setting. Sharp published these ballads in his now-classic English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, which in turn inspired new folklore studies and new collection efforts throughout the United States.”

Barbara Ruth, it was great talk with you the other evening. Francis James Child came before Cecil Sharp, and was from Boston, then a Professor of English Literature at Harvard. He was not trained as a musician, and was interested in the old songs mostly as representations of traditional poetry. Sharp was a musician, and he collected the melodies, including the variants he found. Both men were giants in the Anglo-American folk music and dance revival. Child was the pioneer. Sharp was the talented disciple, who honored and surpassed his teacher.

Source: Francis James Child and the Child Ballads: Part I – Essays on Mythic Fiction & Art

How to Get Pee Out of a Mattress: 6 Easy Steps | Casper Blog

Step 1: Remove Your Bedding

Before you do anything else, strip your mattress and get your bedding into the washing machine as quickly as possible. Urine stains will set, so it’s important to get your sheets and comforter into the wash immediately.

If you wash your bedding and find the urine stain or smell still lingers, add a cup of white vinegar and run the wash again.

Step 2: Blot (Don’t Scrub!) the Area

Grab a clean, dry towel and blot the soiled area to soak up as much excess liquid as possible. Avoid scrubbing the spot — this will push the liquid further into the fabric of the mattress, making it harder to remove fully.

Step 3: Spray Vinegar Solution on the Stain

In a spray bottle, mix a solution of two parts cold water, one part white vinegar, and a small amount of laundry detergent (a few tablespoons for a standard spray bottle; more if your bottle is larger). Spray the stain liberally — don’t be afraid to really soak it!

diy-mattress-cleaning-solution

Step 4: Let Vinegar Solution Soak

Allow the solution-soaked mattress to sit for a minimum of 10–15 minutes. Blot with a new clean cloth to soak up the excess liquid.

Step 5: Cover Area with Baking Soda

Cover the entire surface of the soiled area with baking soda and allow it to sit for 8–10 hours. Close up the room to avoid any pets or kids making a baking soda mess!

Step 6: Vacuum Up the Dry Baking Soda

Using a hose attachment, vacuum the dried baking soda from the mattress. Be careful to ensure the powder is completely dry or you’ll run the risk of damaging your vacuum. Alternatively, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up damp powder.

Source: How to Get Pee Out of a Mattress: 6 Easy Steps | Casper Blog

Two common shoulder injuries and how to avoid them – Harvard Health

These workhorse joints are more vulnerable than you may realize. Protect them now to stay independent.

“It doesn’t take much to sustain shoulder injuries once we reach our 50s. By then, shoulder muscles and tendons have become weaker, cartilage has worn away, and bones have begun losing density. Two particular categories of shoulder injuries are common among older adults.

Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff — a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder and help move your arm — is vulnerable to becoming inflamed or torn.”

Source: Two common shoulder injuries and how to avoid them – Harvard Health

Larry Gordon, creator of community choruses in Vermont, dies – VTDigger

“Larry Gordon, the Marshfield resident known for creating community choruses in Vermont and reviving the shape note singing style around the world, died Tuesday at UVM Medical Center, where he’d been in a coma since a Nov. 1 bicycle accident.

Gordon, 76, was taken off life support earlier in the day and had been breathing on his own, according to Sinead O’Mahoney, one of the workshop leaders of Village Harmony, the nonprofit Gordon founded. His former partner, Patty Cuyler, confirmed his death Wednesday morning.

“Generation after generation of teenagers went through his (music) camps and were transformed by the experience of singing together,” said Peter Amidon, a Brattleboro-based choral arranger and director of the Guilford Community Church choir. “Larry got them to become lifelong singers.” Amidon’s two sons, both professional musicians, are among them.

Gordon brought shape note singing to Vermont in the early 1970s, according to Mark Dannenhauer, a Shutesbury, Massachusetts-based photographer and videographer long associated with Bread and Puppet Theater. He recalled Gordon introducing the emotionally visceral a cappella music in the puppeteers’ living quarters when Bread and Puppet was in residence at Goddard College’s Cate Farm. The theater troupe’s founders, Peter and Elka Schumann, took to it enthusiastically, Dannenhauer said. Their 1972 performance of Stations of the Cross was the first time shape note singing surfaced in a Bread and Puppet production and in the years since it has been a frequent element in the group’s performances.

A gathering was held Tuesday afternoon at Gordon’s home in Marshfield and other vigils took place in Brattleboro, Boston, Western Massachusetts, New York, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, England, Germany and South Africa, according to Suzannah Park, chair of Village Harmony’s board of directors. Some 200 people sent notes to be placed in Gordon’s casket before cremation, according to Park.

A Facebook page titled “Love for Larry Gordon” has drawn more than 900 members, several of whom have shared links to recordings they made honoring Gordon. The musical tributes came from members of Trendafilka, a New Orleans-based polyphonic singing group; a cellist named Sarah Birnbaum Hood who recorded the four-part harmony of a song on four different cello tracks; a church in Corsica; and Bongani Magatyana, a South African musician who leads Village Harmony workshops.  . . . . ”

Source: Larry Gordon, creator of community choruses in Vermont, dies – VTDigger

It’s Possible to Be Too Rich, Speeding up your phone – The New York Times

What if I told you that your iPhone could feel like new even if you didn’t plunk down $700 for the “most incremental upgrade ever”? Brian X. Chen, The New York Times’s consumer technology columnist, tells you how.

“There is a widely shared conspiracy theory that phone manufacturers deliberately slow down phones as they age to entice you to buy a new device. In reality, the opposite has been true. In the last few years, Apple’s iPhone software updates have made older phones faster, and Google’s Android 12 release, expected in coming weeks, was also designed to improve performance.

It is true that phones slow down over time — but for different reasons. Like a car, smartphones need maintenance to stay in tiptop shape. Here are some tips for what to do to give your phone a boost if it’s feeling sluggish:”