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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

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Visions Of Sugarplums: John Legend’s “A Legendary Christmas”

The slow bossa nova beat slinked its way into the room, sultry and impassioned. As Gwen stood by the stove prepping dinner, she began to involuntarily shift her hips back and forth to the rhythm.

Wrap me up in your love / wrap me up in your love / wrap me up in your love (this Christmas)

The lyrics weren’t as vibrant as the other tracks on the album, but John Legend made for a perfectly effective backdrop during the holiday season. Gwen hummed along.

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Days Long Ago: Nickelodeon’s “A Rugrats Chanukah”

“See, I never grew up watching the show, so I probably have a completely different view on it,” Dania said.

“That’s fair,” Gwen shrugged. “Rugrats was slightly before my time, so I didn’t watch it that often. But this episode played every year, so I saw it a lot.”

“Sure,” Dania said. “I just don’t think I could handle an entire series with those voices at the center.”

“What, the babies?”

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The Mirror To Nature: Neil Diamond’s “Reel Injun”

“What do you think he would say about Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger?” Dania asked.

Rolling her eyes, Eleanor replied. “What do you think?”

“It might make an interesting discussion,” Dania said. “Compared to something like Iron Eyes Cody.”

“Well, Iron Eyes Cody is a problematic example,” Gwen said, as the credits for Reen Injun began to roll. “An extremely interesting one, but a more extensive issue than simply casting Johnny Depp as Tonto.”

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Joy Of The Chase: E.L. Konigsburg’s “From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

The cover image, with the two photographed children standing at the steps of a pen drawing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was too iconic to be mistaken for any other. Dania’s heart skipped to see it in Gwen’s hands.

“The Mixed-Up Files” had been a formative book for Dania –– a testament to the power of art and history, the need to let facts affect you rather than simply accumulate in your mind. Since first reading Konigsburg’s book as a child, Dania had returned to it periodically. Each pass through Claudia and Jamie’s tale provided more details, including humor at the comparatively cheap prices in the New York of the 1960s.

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