Walter Bitner

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Monthly Archives: January 2022

One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns


Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s not that Hot Cross Buns. It’s not the Hot Cross Buns that you thought we had gotten past by now, those four measures of ignominy that haunt the deepest recesses of your early instrumental music education memories. It’s not that inane ditty that you practiced, repeating those three notes over and over, tormenting your parents and your siblings until finally, after what seemed like a very long time but probably was not very long at all, it was burned into your memory, burned into the memory of your fingers, those three notes:

B, A, G
B, A, G
B, A, G.

No, it’s not that Hot Cross Buns. It’s a different one.


A Snow Day on Tolkien’s Birthday



“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

It has been about 46 years since I first read those initial ten words. Tolkien was still a figure of the “literary underground” in 1976 – none of my friends or classmates knew of him – and I was only ten years old.

Tolkien’s name is now a household word, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings now appear near the top of every all-time bestsellers list of books in English, and Peter Jackson’s film franchise based on the books is one of the highest-grossing in history.

The books are still the same today as they were when I first read them, but I am not.