“With Pleasant Swab in the Anterior Nasal Region”; or, Traveling in Europe During Omicron

In the Before Times, I often travelled internationally. But I have not left the United States in over two years. Until last week. For the December holidays, my sister invited me to visit her, my brother-in-law, and niece in Switzerland – where they live. Since I no longer take international travel for granted, I decided to

A 2nd shot in the arm

The exciting sequel to A shot in the arm! Because I am both civic-minded and slightly silly, I filmed myself getting the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine & made another brief Get Vaccinated! video. (Featured performer: Anna Capps on the needle!) Surprising no one, I again adapted lyrics from Hamilton. Sincere apologies to Lin-Manuel

A shot in the arm

Last week, Kansas added higher education to Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout. This past Monday, I got my first shot of the Pfizer. To encourage you to get yours, I filmed myself. Hey, what’s that on your head? I hear you ask. A deranged, sentient shrub? An off-brand Muppet? The very latest Larry Fine

Go tell that long-tongued liar. #PlagueSongs, no. 25

This week’s plague song goes out to that long-tongued liar, his regime, and all who have enabled it over these past four years – whether actively or via silent complicity. The earliest recording of the song is from the Golden Gate Quartet in 1946, but it’s been recorded in many genres, by many artists, and under

4′ 33″ #PlagueSongs, no. 20. AND 43 notes on silence, time, & the corona era

1 There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. – John Cage, “Experimental Music” (1957), in Silence: 50th Anniversary Edition (Wesleyan UP, 2011), p. 8 Philip Nel, guitar and vocal, Manhattan, Kansas, 26 July 2020. 2   John Cage’s 4’33” was first performed

Someday we’ll find it. #PlagueSongs, no. 18

This hopeful, aspirational song is the first musical number in The Muppet Movie (1979), the first and best of the Muppet films. I chose it because I figure we could all use a little hope. Written by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher, “Rainbow Connection,” is one of two songs most closely associated with Kermit the

Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline. #PlagueSongs, no. 17

When I started assembling my COVID-19 Spotify mix (at Boston’s Logan airport, 13 March 2020), R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” led the playlist. It still does. At that time, I didn’t think I would actually try to learn it. The music isn’t difficult, but what