Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

A bit off topic, I know, but: I've long loved the ukulele. It's such an unassuming, friendly little instrument. I even started playing it for a year or so and had a great time1. One day, time permitting, I will get an ukulele and start learning it again.

Anyway, I recently stumbled on to The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain. Lots of good stuff there. But, I'm also a long-time fan of Sergio Leone's old Spaghetti Westerns and of Ennio Morricone's classic film scores he wrote for them.

So, a soulful rendering of "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" theme by ukulele orchestra is of course as close to musical entertainment nirvana as you can possibly get:

#1 Unlike my neighbours, who had to endure a slow, badly played "House Of the Rising Sun" many, many, many more times than any human should ever have to. At least I wasn't singing.


  1. brilliant Janne.

    dr kildare datsun

  2. It's great. This is one of the best covers of the song I've heard. And it makes me want to get the movie so I can see it again.

  3. Hi Janne....Nothing I particularly wanted to say in reference to the know, carry-on. I just wanted to let you know that I stumbled upon your blog, quite by accident, and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I live in California----teach literature and writing at a junior college here, and have read every page you have written. You have a breezy, easy, writing voice and are extremely articulate. (This despite the fact that you are a scientist; almost unheard of really. I imagine even your scholarly papers are readable.) Anyway, that's it. And you have a most beautiful wife----who I imagine must be pretty darn sweet as she continuously hunts for new space to store yet another camera. All the Best, Janet

  4. Janet, thanks for the kind comment! Though that "breezy, easy writing style" only comes about with several agonizing editing passes and cutting half or more of what I originally wrote.

    Don't dismiss scientists as writers, by the way; many of us spend a lot of our days writing, after all. It's true that most scientific papers can be rather impenetrable, but that's not primarily due to any lack of writing ability. Mostly it's really because the paper as a text form is highly specialized and aiming for a particular niche. They look the way they do because the form makes it _easy_ to digest, not to make it hard.

    Consider that most of us are inundated with papers. There's more being published than we can ever hope to digest. The paper format has evolved to ease that problem. Everything - the layout, the structure, the language - is made to make it as quick as possible to find out 1) is this paper relevant to me; 2) what are the interesting results; and 3) how did those results come about?

    A stereotypical structure and formulaic language may make for dull reading but it does make it very easy to skip 90% of the paper and skim only the parts that seem to have the relevant information, and still be confident that you did not miss anything important. See a paper not as a piece of prose, but as an extended card catalogue entry in a worldwide database of scientific results.

  5. Yes, I guess that's right---in regard to academic, scientific papers----they are, after all, mostly written for and meant to be read by other academicians/scientists. The problem only arises should one of us, not-of-that-world persons attempt to read it. On the other hand, much of that discomfort has as much to do with an unfamiliarity, or general lack of knowledge on the topic. Anyway....your blog definitely doesn't fall under that I have no worries there.

  6. P.S. I hope I didn't offend you in the original comment. I certainly didn't mean to....My aim was to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading what you wrote.

  7. No, not at all, don't worry. I really enjoy getting comments and I'm just delighted that you did.


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