My nephew is staying with us at the moment and is keen to sign the 12 Days of Christmas, up the the appropriate day, to us each morning. In an effort to remember all of the lyrics, as my BBC micro singing version obviously didn't burn it in adequately during my childhood, I looked it up.
The first google hit, which I will not link to as I don't want to increase it's page ranking, was a Christian carols page that claimed religious symbolism to each of the days:
1 True Love refers to God 2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments 3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues 4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists 5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace. 6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation 7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments 8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes 9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit 10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments 11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles 12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
This all sounds slightly dubious to me. A few hits down the ratings we find the wikipedia page. No more reliable a source but it does include the following text:
"The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes indicates there are suggestions that "the gifts have significance, as representing the food or sport for each month of the year. Importance [certainly has] long been attached to the Twelve Days, when, for instance, the weather on each day was carefully observed to see what it would be in the corresponding month of the coming year. Nevertheless, whatever the ultimate origin of the chant, it seems probable [that] the lines that survive today both in England and France are merely an irreligious travesty."
"A bit of modern folklore claims that the song's lyrics were written as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn their faith, at a time when practicing Catholicism was discouraged in England (1558 until 1829). There is no substantive primary evidence supporting this claim, and no evidence that the claim is historical, or "anything but a fanciful modern day speculation."
"In fact, variations in lyrics provide evidence against the "catechism song" origin. For example, the four Gospels often are described as the "four calling birds," when in fact the phrase "calling birds" is a modern (probably 20th century) phonetic misunderstanding of "colly birds" (blackbirds).[original research?]"
So, the song is probably irreverent but it's not entirely clear. I'd definitely take any religious claims with a large pinch of salt.
For a more surreal take on it the brilliant 12 Days themed Why Bother? interviews between Peter Cook and Chris Morris, which is a gem of improvised comedy. [It's available on CD and in text form.]
Heya! It's been some time. I know I may have thrown you the odd scrap of music now and again but that old spark, it just hasn't been there lately has it. I know you have other places to hang out. I hope you understand what a death in the family has done here. But it's great to meet up again, have a drink, chew that fat, catch up on what we would have been chatting shit about if other events hadn't conspired against us.
Did I tell you I attended the BLDGBLOG book launch last week?
[v.o.g.: You mentioned you were going]
Ah, well, I did. And not only did I get a great book out of it, not only did I meet with and chat with Geoff Manaugh, whose a really inspiring guy, not only is there a photo floating around flickr of me sat at the same table as Warren Ellis (I didn't realise that at the time, I was distracted by the woman with him), but I've also come away with some blog based inspiration.
In the introduction to the book Geoff explains that when he started BLDGBLOG he decided that he wasn't going to pour concerns and negativity into it, it would just be for stuff that interested him. Things that made him think, gave him ideas, starting points for flights of fancy. I like that philosophy. I may try to take it on to some degree.
"But seriously, is this not one of the best presidential photographs of all-time? Even Sarkozy looks like he's sneaking a peek, though he's French, so we expect him to do it. However, in Obama's defense, that is a great ass!"
"Solicitors for the National Portrait Gallery are apparently threatening legal action against a US Wikipedia user for downloading 3,300 digital photographs of paintings in the UK museum's collection, and then uploading them to Wikipedia." [via clayton cubitt]
"Patti Smith is one of the most anticipated gigs of the week, and the audience the most vocal. … joined by SMZ leader Efrim Menuck on drums and Portishead’s Adrian Utley, who attacks a guitar with a paintbrush to spooky effect." Festival review: Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown, Southbank Centre, London SE1 | Music | The Observer I mentioned this to Leafcutter John, wondering if he was aware Ade was at the Polar Bear gig where John had used the same paintbrush trick a few months back. His response was a spirited "Ah, but did he do it better?"
Open Source TIC - ePetition response | Number10.gov.uk "The Government supports the principle that, where new software is being developed by the Timely Information to Citizens pilots, this should wherever possible be released under open source licence and available for use by other local authorities. ... Where the pilots will result in new software tools, ownership and intellectual property rights will usually remain with the individual local authorities" Is this not a contradiction?
Stuff you've missed on the tumblr * a whole bunch of new photographers discoveries * shoes by architects * a bunch of LEGO stuff inc jewellery, USB sticks and giant Star Wars models * London Underground Map print dress * Geek guide to shoe lacing * The Battleships drinking game
I've also just discovered that Blogger is limited to 20 tags per post.
"Correlates of War attempts to collect data on international relations. During the recent conference on global catastrophic risks I started playing with their data on wars, coming up with the following graphs."
You can't really tell much at this size^ so please follow the link and read through the explanatory text.
I decided to pop into the Cold War Exhibition at the RAF Museum Cosford when I drove past it the other day. Although some of the aircraft are interesting and seeing them in the flesh is much more impressive than I expected, that wasn't really what interested me. I liked the display cases they had put together to demonstrate differences between West and East during the Cold War. Differences in sporting achievement, arts, etc. It reminded me of the Russian propaganda display at Tate Modern I saw last year, the graphic design in those magazines was way ahead of its time. In the life style section I spotted the Kommissar board game from 1966, above. It's effectively US anti-commie propaganda for kids, based on a Monopoly like board where you try to collect enough of “the peoples money” to get to “the peoples airport” to escape Serbia to retirement somewhere warm. The idea seem to be that everyone is a capitalist at heart and is just trying to escape from tyranny. Hmm.