“Herr Mannelig”

Seeing as I have no musical chops to speak of, I’m not big on live performances and not much better on live performance videos. But these can be good, even for me, and this performance of “Herr Mannelig” by Camilla M. Ferrari is a great example. The videography gives even a non-musician a sense of what is involved in playing each instrument, and every part of the arrangement is played by Ferrari:

Camilla Ferrari is also the proprietor of Ebanisteria Musicale, a musical instrument workshop in Italy. That the stringed instrument (a tagelharpa) was new to me made the fingering all the more interesting. I had the illusion of almost understanding…

This is an instrumental arrangement of a traditional Swedish song. An English translation was posted as a comment on the video’s YouTube page. It seems to have been intended as pop propaganda warning newly Christianized Swedes against marriage with pagans. You can find a modern performance of the original Swedish (with subtitles) HERE.

“130 A History Of The World According To Getty Images”

FIPADOC is an international documentary film festival based in France. A History of the World According to Getty Images makes the point that even though an intellectual property is in the “public domain” that does not mean that said property is available to the public at no charge. The filmmaker, Richard Misek, follows this insight by licensing some classic film clips of U.S. history then making them available without charge.

Intellectual property might seem like a subject both tedious and irritating: tedious because it is a complicated subject and irritating because the game is rigged. But this documentary keeps its focus narrow then takes it further by telling the story (as best as anyone knows) of each clip.

This is what got my attention to view the video: a street scene filmed from the front of a San Francisco cable car in 1906, a day or two before the disastrous earthquake. No, it’s not the morbidity of the clip but the chaos of the traffic on the street: horse, auto, cable car sharing a busy street without anything more than an ephemeral agreement on right-of-way and process.

Trust me. This is not uniquely San Francisco traffic for the time. I’ve seen similar films from Chicago and New York from the same general time period and they were every bit as anarchic.

This is why we have jaywalking laws, people! The casualty rate must have been as bad as traffic injury in the 1950s. But we’ve become educated in the pedestrian dance and habitual in its moves, so maybe we’ve outgrown jaywalking laws, mostly?

All of which has nothing to do with Richard Misek’s point with the documentary, but it is one of my pet obsessions and it is why I ended up watching this wonderful little documentary.

Murmuration Psychology

complex behavior from simple idiocy…

Photo / Graphic by Roman.

A crowd of me
Gathers around the screen
To watch the work
Of some of us
And are so pleased
To be surprised.

As we gather,
We snack on nuts and flesh
In nervous anticipation,
Not all of us pleased
To be fed.

Every one of them me.
As me as me as could ever be.
Some are ephemeral,
Some seem hardwired.

We don’t all agree
And frequently quarrel:
Or was that really an accident?


Vote Chicago

Illinois holds its municipal elections apart from the general elections held on even years. This year will feature elections in many towns and other units of local government. I don’t know what percentage of Yip Abides’ audience lives in Chicago or even in Illinois, but it would be a fair guess that the two categories are a plurality at best. If you inhabit Illinois or most especially Chicago, this public service announcement is for you.

In Illinois generally, these local elections will be held April 4, 2023. Consult your county’s Board of Elections for more information. In Chicago (and perhaps in several other jurisdictions) there will be a primary election on February 28.

Over the years, the Chicago municipal election has become non-partisan in the sense that the candidates are listed without any party label and all voters are welcome. A candidate winning a majority of the votes in the primary is elected; otherwise, the April election features a rematch of the top two vote-getters.

Early voting is already in progress in Chicago, by mail and at two Chicago Loop “super-site” voting locations. On February 13, an early voting station will be open in each of Chicago’s 50 wards. On February 28, election day, there will be a polling place open in every precinct. For more information, visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Note that these local elections generally have a pretty poor turnout, meaning that those who do turn out to vote have a greater say in the outcome than they would otherwise. Use it or lose it.

For those curious about the politics (or needing to make voting choices), I’d recommend the news-blog Block Club Chicago as a great place to begin. My old outfit, Chicago DSA,* has some endorsements that you might check out for activism or, at least, motivation.

* Still a member but militantly inactive.

“Nasty Magic”

Every year for the past several, Pecos Hank has been compiling an anthology of his year’s storm chasing, all accompanied by his own music. I’ve come to look forward to these about as much as I once did Judith Merril’s Year’s Best anthologies.

Here is Pecos Hank’s 2022, including some great shots of tornado genesis in drought-dry Texas fields:

“On anticipated big days, A storm chaser might drive all the way to Iowa and only see some rain. Then turn around and drive all night back to Texas and only see some rain. A storm chaser might drive all the way to Montana only to get a sun burn. And sometimes a storm chaser isn’t expecting to see anything and they find a monster.”