I only care because I’m a Sufjan Stevens fan. Apparently, only the state of Illinois recognizes Casimir Pulaski Day as an official holiday. It falls on the first Monday of March. Asthmatic Kitty Records has issued some background info on Pulaski as well as a demo of Sufjan’s heartbreaking song about a close friend who dies on this day:

Those lucky Illinoisans. Unless Easter comes early, we Canadians don’t have a stat holiday in March. Nor do we have one in February, making for a seemingly long winter.


From Sufjan’s bio on the Asthmatic Kitty Records website:

… Sufjan’s other interests include graphic design, painting, running, knitting, crocheting, weaving, quilting, cleaning, photography, haircutting, and dry wall installation. …

And further confirmed by an article about Sufjan from The Guardian:

… He really does teach knitting to the blind in his spare time. …

Another song to share with you by Sufjan Stevens. My Christmas wasn’t exactly disastrous, but given how things went, I do appreciate the hopeful sentiment expressed in the line, “In time the Lord will rise.”

Going outside
Shoveling snow in the driveway, driveway
Taking our shoes
Riding a sled down the hillside, hillside
Can you say what you want?
Can you say what you want to be?
Can you be what you want?
Can you be what you want?

Our father yells
Throwing gifts in the wood stove, wood stove
My sister runs away
Taking her books to the schoolyard, schoolyard
In time the snow will rise
In time the snow will rise
In time the Lord will rise
In time the Lord will rise

Silent night
Holy night
Silent night
Nothing feels right

Here’s a delightful little Christmas treat to share with you all. It’s an animated video for Sufjan‘s “Put the Lights on the Tree” by Tom Eaton. Enjoy!

A heart-breaking song by Sufjan Stevens from his Greetings from Michigan:

once when our mother called,
she had a voice of last year’s cough.
we passed around the phone,
sharing a word about oregon.
when my turn came, i was ashamed.

once when we moved away,
she came to romulus for a day.
her chevrolet broke down,
we prayed it’d never be fixed or be found.
we touched her hair, we touched her hair.

when she had her last child,
once when she had some boyfriends, some wild.
she moved away, quite far.
our grandpa bought us a new vcr.
we watched it all night, we grew up in spite of it.

we saw her once last fall,
our grandpa died in a hospital gown.
she didn’t seem to care,
she smoked in her room and colored her hair.
i was ashamed, i was ashamed of her.

words and music by Sufjan Stevens

… is The Innocence Mission, who I heard about from Jeffrey Overstreet from the Looking Closer Journal, who I heard about from my friend Jason. If you are into indie folk, may I direct you here and here to sample IM’s music. Apparently, Sufjan Stevens is also a big fan of this group, so I’m happy to have everything connect together. For some reason, I take pleasure in knowing that I can be consistent sometimes. Maybe it’s my need to make sense of this big, chaotic world we live in.

Anyways, one thing I’m loving about this whole blogging business is finding people who share similar tastes, interests, and ways of thinking as my own. And because these people are also very different from me, I get exposed to new things and ideas, which in turn stretch and push me in pleasantly unpredictable ways (a.k.a “surprises”) that keeps this one life I have to live enjoyable and interesting.

Blogging has come to be for me an efficient and reliable way of obtaining certain kinds of information; depending on what I’m looking for, it’s one way to sift out the wheat from the chaff out there on the Internet. I think it has to do with the fact that there’s a thinking, respectable person behind certain blogs. Once I find someone that I respect, I find myself paying attention to his/her interests and views, although I may not always agree with them.

Aaaaargh. I am so kicking myself for not going to the Over the Rhine concert last Wednesday. After I saw Jason’s post about the concert, I started poking around the web for more info on this amazing husband-wife duo. Hadn’t played my one and only album of theirs for a while and I have forgotten how good they are. Karin Berquist has an amaaaazing voice.

Over the Rhine has a Christmas album coming out and I want it. With my newfound interest in Sufjan Stevens, I was originally thinking about picking up his recently issued Songs for Christmas. But while it does feature a number of his own creations, most of the tracks are (albeit unique) arrangements of Christmas standards, and I actually don’t like listening to Christmas music (over the years, I have been completely inured by the Christmas musak played in retail environments). I only like singing Christmas songs.

Anyways, Karin and her husband Linford Detweiler have come out with a fully original album called Snow Angels, which you can sample on their myspace site. I quite like “All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue” and the happy “Darlin’ (Christmas is Coming).”

So move over, Sufjan! You’re now sharing the reign of my heart when it comes to indie labels.

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