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Christmas Track of the Day!

Good Morning Blues

Ella Fitzgerald










The latest in this series of Christmas songs is by an icon. This is a track called Good Morning Blues from her 1988 Christmas album. Ella Fitzgerald was possibly the finest female jazz and blues singer of the 20th. century

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Saint Andrews Day November 30th.



Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew, and this is widely displayed as a symbol of national identity.

The "Order of Saint Andrew" or the "Most Ancient Order of the Thistle" is an order of Knighthood which is restricted to the King or Queen and sixteen others. It was established by James VII of Scotland in 1687.

Very little is really known about St. Andrew himself. He was thought to have been a fisherman in Galilee (now part of Israel), along with his elder brother Simon Peter (Saint Peter). Both became followers (apostles) of Jesus Christ, founder of the Christian religion.

St. Andrew is said to have been responsible for spreading the tenets of the Christian religion though Asia Minor and Greece. Tradition suggests that St. Andrew was put to death by the Romans in Patras, Southern Greece by being pinned to a cross (crucified). The diagonal shape of this cross is said to be the basis for the Cross of St. Andrew which appears on the Scottish Flag.

St. Andrews bones were entombed, and around 300 years later were moved by Emperor Constantine (the Great) to his new capital Constantinople (now Istambul in Turkey). Legend suggests that a Greek Monk (although others describe him as an Irish assistant of St. Columba) called St. Rule (or St. Regulus) was warned in a dream that St. Andrews remains were to be moved and was directed by an angel to take those of the remains which he could to the "ends of the earth" for safe-keeping. St. Rule dutifully followed these directions, removing a tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap and some fingers from St. Andrew's tomb and transporting these as far away as he could. Scotland was close to the extremities of the know world at that time and it was here that St. Rule was shipwrecked with his precious cargo.

St. Rule is said to have come ashore at a Pictish settlement on the East Coast of Scotland and this later became St. Andrews. Thus the association of St. Andrew with Scotland was said to have begun.

Perhaps more likely than the tale of St. Rule's journey is that Acca, the Bishop of Hexham, who was a reknown collector of relics, brought the relics of St. Andrew to St. Andrews in 733. There certainly seems to have been a religious centre at St. Andrews at that time, either founded by St. Rule in the 6th century or by a Pictish King, Ungus, who reigned from 731 – 761.

Whichever tale is true, the relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel. This chapel was replaced by the Cathedral of St. Andrews in 1160, and St. Andrews became the religious capital of Scotland and a great centre for Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics.

There are other legends of how St. Andrew and his remains became associated with Scotland, but there is little evidence for any of these, including the legend of St. Rule. The names still exist in Scotland today, including St. Rules Tower, which remains today amongst the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral.

It is not known what happened to the relics of St. Andrew which were stored in St. Andrews Cathedral, although it is most likely that these were destroyed during the Scottish Reformation. The Protestant cause, propounded by Knox, Wishart and others, won out over Roman Catholism during the Reformation and the "idolatry of catholism", that is the Saints, relics, decoration of churches, were expunged during the process of converting the Roman Catholic churches of Scotland to the harsh simplicity of Knox's brand of Calvanism.

The place where these relics were kept within the Cathedral at St. Andrews is now marked by a plaque, amongst the ruins, for visitors to see.

The larger part of St. Andrew's remains were stolen from Constantinople in 1210 and are now to be found in Amalfi in Southern Italy. In 1879 the Archbishop of Amalfi sent a small piece of the Saint's shoulder blade to the re-established Roman Catholic community in Scotland.

In 1969, Gordon Gray, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was in Rome to be appointed the first Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation. Pope Paul VI gave him further relics of St. Andrew with the words "Saint Peter gives you his brother". These are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Thanks to Gateway to Scotland for the above. 


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The Toilet Bend of Scottish Football

Not much time this morning but there is an excellent article by Benjie Goodhart on his Guardian blog about the Stenhousemuir-Forfar game he attended last week. Good reading and even the comments worth the look.

HERE is the link.

Don't worry though Helpless Dancer, there'll be another Christmas track tomorrow!

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The Fitba’

I should have mentioned the Scottish teams in Europe this week and how various of my friends are willing each one to win and the others to lose. Firstly respect to Russell alias the Tomahawk Kid who as I type is in Madrid supporting Aberdeen on a lost cause. Commiserations to my pals Stevie and Craig who will be cursing Rangers luck on Tuesday against Stuttgart when it looked as if they were good for a point. Stevie it is fair to say would not be supporting Celtic last night or indeed Aberdeen tonight as he refers to both these sides somewhat affectionately as "they bastards". And finally congratulations to Davie who will still be cock-a-hoop at Celtic's last gasp winner against Shakthar Donetsk last night. One thing you can be sure of is that when Celtic are involved the game's not finished until the ref blows his whistle. Davie it was who at the final whistle at Parkhead when his team had just beaten Rangers, phoned Craig and just held the phone up to the noise!


Ah the glamour. In other news in the cup draw today Dumbarton got St Mirren away. So that's that then!


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Christmas Track of the Day!

A few records have reached the charts featuring only the human voice. A few records by what could be regarded as 'folk' acts have also crept in over the years. I am fairly sure though that this track is the only one ever to appear on Top of the Pops, and feature in the charts which was sung entirely in Latin!


I remember seing the TOTP performance in the early 70's. It is fairly hazy but I think the band came on singing the choruses,dressed in monastic robes and did a kind of choreographed slow walk as Maddy Prior stood at the side singing the verses.  

This video would seem to be of a much more recent vintage (if it had been from the 70's or 80's they'd have done that folk singer finger in the ear thing!) Today's Christmas track is Steeleye Span and Gaudete.

Edit: Thanks to the two private messagers who point out that there has been one other Latin hit. Read all about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaudete

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Just When You Thought You’d Seen Everything

Tom Morton was talking about this on his radio show today.

From Ananova:


A soft toy designer has come up with a macabre new range of road kill teddies.

Twitch the Raccoon /Ext

The first to be launched is Twitch the Raccoon which comes complete with its own body bag to keep the maggots out, reports Metro.

Twitch also has an identity tag revealing it was "run over over by a milk float last Thursday, near the Hangar Lane Giratory system in London".

A zip on each side of the toy allows the owner to remove Twitch's innards and stuff them back in again. A tyre print runs across its back.

Creators, Compost Communications, style themselves 'toy terrorists' and according to their website: "We squash and burn and bludgeon and maim. But we're also toy fanatics like you. We love toys."

Toy creator Adam Arber, 33, from London, said: "I got the idea from looking at my mother-in-law's dog which is quite ugly and I thought it would make a great toy. A friend of mine had taken some pictures of road kill and the two things gelled into one idea."

He said he thought the toys, which cost £25, would appeal to people with a sense of humour and "probably not anyone easily upset".

Coming soon are other characters including Grind the rabbit, Splodge the hedgehog and Pop the weasel.

The toys go on sale this week at Play Lounge in Soho, London, and from mid-December on http://www.roadkilltoys.com.

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The Science v. Religion Flowcharts