December 20, 2017

Holidays, and the Bleak Mid-Winter

Only because of the help of wonderful donors, I finally managed to pay the December rent a couple of weeks ago. It was a few days late, and I only managed it by inches. But it was paid. In terms of finances, I've been surviving on fumes since then.

All that worsens my health woes. In the last two weeks and continuing now, I've been contending with a variety of physical ailments, some of which are enormously uncomfortable and occasionally quite painful. So I'm afraid my writing plans were once again derailed, for which my sincere and profuse apologies. At least half a dozen articles of varying length and complexity are partially completed. I can't focus sufficiently to get them into publishable form.

This morning, I also had to confront the fact that I have two bills to pay by the end of the week. Both are comparatively small; together, they total $90. I don't have it. And at the moment, it appears the food cupboard will be bare just in time for Christmas, with no means of replenishment currently available.

If you have a little excess holiday cheer that you would like to throw in this direction, it would be most gratefully and humbly received. If the ongoing tension over money were even partially and temporarily relieved, I think it possible that I might feel a small bit better, or at least not so utterly undone by stress. Many, many thanks for your kindness!

So as to avoid focusing solely on my personally bleak mid-winter in this post, here's a very beautiful version of the famous song performed by Chanticleer. Other essential holiday music must include this from Leontyne Price, and here's the entire Price-von Karajan Christmas album, which still ranks among the very best holiday albums from classical performers.

Although it has nothing to do with the holidays in particular, I need to point out that Claudio Abbado's magnificent reading of the Mahler Third Symphony is available on Youtube. The final movement (beginning at 1:12:30) is among the most breathtakingly glorious creations in any of the arts. You may need to listen to it several times to begin to appreciate it more fully, but you could spend your time in far worse ways. It is truly mind-expanding! Please give it a try if you're not familiar with it.

For the holidays, we can't forget the version of "A Christmas Carol" from 1951, with the staggeringly wonderful performance by Alastair Sim as Scrooge, also on Youtube. Some of the other versions of the classic story are very good, but none measures up to the totality of this version, now almost 70 years old. (I used to assume that everyone knew of this brilliant film, but I continue to find that some people aren't even aware of its existence.)

I'll try to complete a post or two before Christmas; if I'm unable to, I'll try again next week. Hopefully, my personal situation won't be quite so bleak then. Thank you again for your consideration.