Brave Combo is a fun band that mixes more styles in one album than most bands do in their career. While they primarily play polka, the also play everything from folk to rock to klezmer. This song is an old song from Mitch Miller, but Brave Combo speed it up and spice it up with clarinets and fun instrumental frills. It’s fast and furious.
And if that wasn’t strange enough, Bob Dylan covered the song–and clearly covered the Brave Combo version when he made his Christmas album in 2009. Although Brave Combo didn’t write the song, Dylan’s cover is certainly in the polka style and he includes lyrics that Brave combo added:
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton.
Dylan singer faster than I’ve ever heard him. It’s a hoot. And the video is really funny too.
[READ: January 3, 2012] Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
I saw this book on the library shelf and the tagline (“Boldy Going Where No 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl Has Gone Before”) made it sound like a lot of fun. Upon reading it, I can see it’s not quite what thought it was. It turned out to be much cooler. This also proves to be the second book in this series, although you don’t need the first book to appreciate this one.
Mirka, an orthodox Jewish girl has been grounded (for fighting a troll with a sword. Her stepmother, sick of her hanging around, offers to play Mirka in chess. If Mirka wins, her punishment is over. As with everything Mirka does, she is too brash, too hasty, which means that she will not win. But her stepmother takes pity and allows her to go outside–if she stays out of trouble. But because she is willful, Mirka runs right back to the troll. The troll, angered at being defeated by such a stupid girl (his insults at her are great), creates a meteorite and sends it hurtling towards the town of Hereville.
Mirka consults with the witch who helped her defeat the troll in the first place and the witch changes the meteorite into a girl who is the exact copy of Mirka. Although indeed, not an exact copy for Metty as she comes to be known is smarter, neater and better at basketball. Mirka thinks it would be great to have this twin around to help with chores but Metty winds up eating all her food (they can’t both be in the same place at once) including the big feast at Shabbos and making her look bad.
Sure enough, Mirka wants Metty to go back to where she came from (just as her sister Rochel predicted). But Metty likes being o earth–she enjoys the food and the fun, so they have challenge: whoever can be the better Mirka (with Mirka’s brother and sister as the judges) gets to stay. Metty easily defeats Mirka at all of the challenges (easily besting her in swordfighting and math). Will Mirka be banished from her family? Will her family even know the difference?
This story was fun and funny. It was also enlightening in terms of some of the orthodox traditions. Mirka is always wearing a full length garment and yet the local boys feel that she is okay to touch because she doesn’t take the bible seriously (she’s can’t really care about Negiah, she hardly ever acts like a girl). Yes, there are even Jewish words included (with translations at the bottom of the pages). I also really liked the style of drawing–it was very clean, very elegant and it conveyed so much with seemingly little effort. I especially liked the technique when Mirka was running and having an internal dialogue with herself. The way Deutsch set this up (with a large Mirka in the middle and several small Mirkas surrounding her in boxes) was very effective.
I really enjoyed this story and will look for the first book as well.