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May 12, 2011


lj, funny you should mention that.

I just lent my piano teacher this CD:

True story. Many years ago - almost half a century - I was singing in an outstanding college choir in California. One year we did the Stravinsky "Symphony of Psalms" and there was a rumor that we were going to record it for a major label, with Stravinsky himself conducting. (Why not? We had recorded Brahms under Bruno Walter a year or two before.) Our conductor, the legendary Dr. Howard Swan, told us that, yes, the offer had been made to us, but we (= he) had turned it down.

Why? Stravinsky, he said, wasn't really a very good conductor!

It's probably a sign of my upbringing that I expect the end to fade into Mellotron and the beginning of Siberian Khatru.

Stravinsky, he said, wasn't really a very good conductor!

Interesting. I haven't actually seen Stravinsky conduct until the above video, but what I notice is that he keeps his hands around waist level and close to the body for much of the piece, which means that (guessing, here) that it's really a lot more difficult for the musicians to see what they're doing. Also, he's actually leaning on the stand for part of it.

Compare and contrast styles with this guy: hands always visible; lots of body language. He's practically hooked his entire soul into leading the charge through the piece. It's even more remarkable, being there. There's an interview with Spano on Youtube where he mentions that he spoke with the interviewer after the first movement of a particularly long operatic piece whose name I can't recall, and that he was already spent.

what they (his hands) are doing

Fixed, to remedy the uncertain antecedent.

My understanding is that Stravinsky -- like many composers -- wasn't trained as a conductor, but had enough gumption and spunk to occasionally direct some of his own works. (I know of no recordings of him conducting anyone else's music, fwiw.)

However, he knew his own scores back-and-forth (which cannot, sadly/amusingly, be said of every composer) and did what he could. It just doesn't look right, because it ain't textbook.

His piano playing on the other hand is remarkable, if strange.

"Music is powerless to express anything." -

Here's a better description of that CD. I realized after posting that the previous link doesn't do it justice and the image is too small to read. It's Firebird: Jazz Meets the Symphony No. 3

That Trans-Am is exactly like the one we used in driver's ed! The local dealership in Plano leased them to the school district for the summer, then sold them used in the fall. Strange times.

I just wish to say that I'm alive and well, and will be posting again Real Soon Now! (For some value of "soon.")

Life keeping me busy! Various health things, and the rest of life, and then, um, acquired a New Sweetie/relationship!

That latter is a Good Thing, but Very Distracting. :-)

Apologies for lack of appearance around ObWi for a while! Haven't forgotten about the place!

I have seen many conducting styles. Some conductors fulfill the cliche to the point. On one occasion the guy wielded the baton so wildly that it flew away and almost hit one of the musicians in the head. No interruption though and the conductor had to wait for the end of the piece before he got the stick back.
The job is not without dangers and can be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Lully>lethal ;-)

Wow. Self-inflicted, though. It's not as if a cello player launched his instrument at him and transfixed him with the spike, or anything.

Suboxone's comment is so peculiarly inappropriate (Thunderbird and Firebird are completely distinct cars made by different car companies) that I suspect it's an exploratory comment that sometimes is a prelude to a spam attack. Maybe we should form a pool as to if and when the spam onslaught occurs?

Slart, it was. What I have done in those cases is go in and delete the mail address and the url associated (I can only do this on the threads I post as I don't have SuperUser credentials) I do that because 1)there is always a possibility that someone may have commented on the comment, so I don't want to leave someone's comment flapping out in the wind, as it were and 2)I generally don't feel comfortable deleting comments. However, I feel under no obligation to let them include their links or their addresses. I'm not sure if this is the best strategy, so if there is anyone who might have a better grasp on what to do, please let me know.

Here's what I do: if it's a spammer, I IP-block them and mark their comments as spam, which takes them out of publication. Hopefully typepad is actually heeding the IP addresses marked as spam, but I don't know for sure.

Oh, I see so1 is a product. Definitely spam, then.

"Suboxone's comment is so peculiarly inappropriate"

If you're going to refer to a comment, delete it, and then refer to it, could you please give a timestamp? When did this comment occur?

If you'd give this info, there'd be less of a "wtf are you talking about" effect; it's perhaps politer to the rest of us?

"Oh, I see so1 is a product. Definitely spam, then."

Wtf are you talking about? :-)

"What I have done in those cases is go in and delete the mail address and the url associated"

In what cases?

"Thunderbird and Firebird are completely distinct cars made by different car companies"

I don't know anything about cars, and will take your word for it, but of course Thunderbird and Firebird are both Mozilla. Cars, too? Okay. Now: what are you talking about?

I happened to see a small part of the Kissinger interview on CBS this morning. In this case he claimed the bombing of Cambodia was miniscule in comparison to what is going on now in Pakistan. Without defending what we're doing in Pakistan, I wonder how he could possibly make such a claim. (I mean, leaving aside the fact that he's a liar, which would probably explain it nicely.)


Hi Gary, nice to see you up and about (in the blog sense)

To try and explain, there was a comment, I went in and deleted the email and url, but left the comment as it was innocuous, (it directly preceded Slart's observation about the Thunderbird being a completely different car at 8:13AM) and mentioned that this is what I usually do 'in these cases', which, to be more specific, is when it is not multiple messages from the same 'user', even though an examination of the return address and the url indicates it is spam, I have just gone in and deleted what I presumed to be the 'valuable' part of the spam (at least to the spammer). Slarti suggested I mark it as spam, and so I thought 'OK, why not?' But what happens is that typepad automatically deletes everything from that IP. This is not such a big thing if it the first post, though, as you can see, if someone does make a passing response, it turns it into a non sequitur.

It can be much more problematic if one marks someone as spam who has actually commented here a lot, because it goes through and deletes ALL those comments.

Hope that helps

LJ, I got the context. I still don't know what "so1" is.

It's simpler to simply be clear about what one is referring to. That's all. I grasp how deletion and spam-marking work. This isn't worth explaining further, as my point was simply that that it's a lot shorter to explain what one is referring to.

Or, put another way, having public conversations about things you've deleted, without explanation, isn't a great idea, I suggest.

Either delete something, and explain that you've done so, or delete something and don't refer to it again, but deleting comments, and then referring to those comments or comment as if the comment is still there, without explaining that you're now discussing specific references from a comment, and describing what you're referring to, since it's no longer there to be referred to, is apt to cause confusion, and questions, and boring follow-ups. :-)

Shorter me: referring, without explanation, to things you've disappeared is apt to cause confusion. It's simpler to provide the explanation first, or to not cause the confusion in the first place.

Just a suggestion.

One of the puzzling things here is that you elaborately write this:

What I have done in those cases is go in and delete the mail address and the url associated (I can only do this on the threads I post as I don't have SuperUser credentials) I do that because 1)there is always a possibility that someone may have commented on the comment, so I don't want to leave someone's comment flapping out in the wind, as it were and 2)I generally don't feel comfortable deleting comments. However, I feel under no obligation to let them include their links or their addresses.
But then apparently behaved entirely differently. Leaving me with the: huh? Why are you describing this behavior that you apparently don't actually follow? You say you do this, but... you do not?

Because, yes, doing that would have been good. And prevented this entire boring exchange. :-)

Alternatively, just mark something as spam. And again prevent a long and boring set of "huh? wha?" q&a.

But doing neither, and having a mysterious conversation in public about something no longer there, seems lacking in benefit. (I have now bored myself writing this. :-))


(I mean, leaving aside the fact that he's a liar, which would probably explain it nicely.)
Quite sufficient.

Donald's link, for those interested, goes to Henry Kissinger on China, Nixon and OBL.

HI Gary,
Basically, I did what I said I usually do but when Slart pointed out about the IP blocking that comes with marking spam, I thought that might be good and so I marked it as such and then it disappeared. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way to un-spam something. So it's gone, making the public conversation difficult to follow. However, the public conversation was comprehensible (or at least it seemed to me) until the typepad spam marking took the comment out. You came in after all this and asked where the comment is. This is just to explain that I'm not saying I do one thing and then doing another, I did what I usually do, and then tried something else.

I suppose it is because I not only live here in a foreign culture, but have a household with two daughters that my tolerance for conversations that seem to make absolutely no sense to me is much higher. While I don't recommend it in all cases, you might want to give it a whirl from time to time, it can be quite calming. :^)

What I'd like to know is if I mark something as spam in my thread, will it take comments from that IP out of other people's threads? Or is this just a super user thing? I realize that front pagers talking about dealing with spam is not the most scintillating topic, but it is an open thread...

What Kissinger conveniently forgot to mention was that the bombing of Cambodia was never authorized by the US Congress, which is why it is referred to as the "secret bombing." It was no secret to the Cambodians: they knew they were being bombed, and they knew who was doing it. The secret was hiding this fact from the US Congress, because it was - though IANAL - illegal. In terms of US law, not just the larger geopolitical/humanitarian question of WTF were we doing anyway.

Funny that he didn't mention that.

Gary: Mozilla has Firefox, but no Firebird.

Icons Matter!

Mozilla has Firefox, but no Firebird.

Alas, no.

Once again I sit corrected.

Unlike some former Secretaries of State, I am capable of admitting my errors.

And you're also not responsible for killing millions of people!

Why does this blog seem to attract mostly spam for shoes (referring to a spam post currently directly above this one)?

By chance yesterday evening I watched http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegro_Non_Troppo>Allegro non troppo the Italian parody on Disney's Fantasia made by Bruno Bozzetto which includes a segment using the Firebird music.
I doubt that the film could be publically shown in the US even today without massive protests or even legal repercussions (spoofing of a beloved classic, nudity galore, and the Firebird sequence would draw charges of blasphemy).

Hartmut, Allegro non Troppo is available from Netflix, though I expect you are right that there are those places in the US where it might inspire protest.

I first saw it years ago at the Varsity Theater in Palo Alto (which no longer exists, alas).

I just got to the bonus material of the DVD. The movie took actually off in the US and only found an Italian distributor after the smashing US success. I simply forgot that it was pre-Reagan America. In Italy the usual distributors said that the film had no audience since it was obviously not for children but also did not qualify as 'proper' porn ;-)

Some interesting news in science:

Researchers from the University of Oxford and King's College London have made a crucial discovery that could lead to the development of better treatments and maybe even a cure for type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Professor Tim Spector, study leader from the Department of Twin Research at King's College London, and Professor Mark McCarthy, co-author of the University of Oxford, have determined how a previously discovered gene that is linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol acts as a regulator for the gene's that reside within the body's fat.

There's more; read as inclined.

Tuning in for the first time in many months, "Firebird" in the title of the open thread -- and the photo of said Firebird -- caught my eye.

My dealership has a reputation for having some of the finest pre-owned Corvettes month after month, year after year, on the East Coast. But Corvettes don't do squat for me.

I am a Firebird man.

Maybe it started as an adolescent watching each and every episode of my all-time favorite TV private investigator: James Rockford of The Rockford Files.

What a show.

It was as if over the years you got to know the players as friends of your own -- Rocky as Rockford's good-hearted, truck-driving dad; Angel as Rockford's always-scheming, always-in-over-his-head ex-con buddy; Dennis as Rockford's salt-of-the-earth, dependable friend on the LAPD force, the long-suffering seargent longing for a crack at advancing to lieutenant; all of Rockford's comely, yet down-to-earth female companions.

At the heart of it all was Rockford --or "Rockfish" as one of his ex-con buddies so endearingly called him.

Rockford was a man's man, but at the same time, an Everyman. Suave, but no sophisticate. He was very much at ease in his own skin, covered up by his rumpled, out-of-date sports coat.

Rockford was the kind of guy men like to be around and women want to get to know, a rarity in any day and age, pulled off convincingly, and naturally, by Garner's old "Maverick" charm.

You always got the feeling Jim didn't want to take at least half the cases he did over the years. But, good guy that he was, Rockfish had trouble saying no.

Rockford -- unlike today's full-of-themselves prime-time crime-fighters --
never carried a gun. (He did, however, always have one hidden in his ramshackle trailer's kitchen cookie jar. Just in case.)

And then there was Rockford's iconic Firebird.

It got Jim out of many a jam, dazzled us with several chases, suffered several crashes, yet always seemed to be back in fighting shape for the next week's episode.

I miss The Rockford Files.

I miss Rockfish, and Rocky.

I miss James Garner.

3:19 AM, btfb? Couldn't sleep after that exciting Phillies game?

My favorite "Rockford Files" memory was the show (plot details are hazy now) in which Rockford got sucked into investigating some sort of chicanery at a Buddhist monastery, if I recall, and inevitably ends up landing a punch on the jaw of one of the thugs, and remarks to no one in particular, "That's the sound of one hand clapping."

Methinks the show's writers had the line first and wrote the show around it.

I liked that every time Rockford punched someone, he hurt his hand doing so, which is how it is, unlike the endless fistfights of old in which guys get nailed 20 times without feeling a thing.

It occurs to me that Rockford would find a way to kick Christianist jacka*s Chuck Norris' arse one way or the other, maybe braining him with a heavy, large print copy of the Koran, remarking to the stupified fascist FOX blondes running from the room with little more than a bedsheet (fitted) shielding them:

"Chuck's END was near, so I thought I'd kick it."

O.K, it needs a little work.

Christianist jacka*s Chuck Norris' arse

Careful; Chuck Norris knows both the position and velocity of everything in the universe.

Yeah, ever since he gave Heisenberg a good roundhouse kick to the side of the head.

I actually executed a jump roundhouse kick to the head of a somewhat taller fellow this week. His name was not Heisenberg, though. I think that was on my 10th round of sparring that night. There's something to be said for working yourself loose but not to the point of utter exhaustion.

Two weeks from tomorrow is black belt testing. It'll be nice to pass that mark, so I can start heading to the next one. My plan (in progress) for exhibition break is inverted ridgehand (palm up), neck-level, probably a single board, followed by horizontal ridgehand, 3 boards, and wrap up with jump ball of foot (or shin) round kick, high head level, 3 boards (or if my instructor is inclined to push me, 4).

If I could drop 5 lbs between now and then, all would be perfect.

Sounds like you could probably dial back on your fear of getting into a fight. ;)

Or it explains why he's worried about getting into one in the first place.

Nope, fear's still there. Other people know how to fight, too. I just (now) have some ideas about what to do. What I definitely don't want to do, and am not prepared to do, is to fight someone who's got a knife. Even someone who doesn't really know how to use one. Because I just haven't trained how to defend and disarm against knives. Probably anyone reasonably proficient in Wing Chun or similar would be difficult. And, needless to say, someone like avedis who has trained and done fitness his entire life could make fairly short work of me.

I grappled with a guy last weekend that was kind of soft and chubby-looking. He just about literally wiped the floor with me. I mean, I did manage not to get submitted, but I made a mental note that the moment you assume that you are going to be the teacher in a situation just might be the moment you become the unwitting student.

So, yes, I'm still properly wary of getting into a fight. I don't have any problem with calling it what it is: fear. Fear isn't anything to be ashamed of; at least, I am not ashamed of it.

Slarti - don't you do some heavy-duty lifting as well and, if so, any recommendations on breaking through a plateau?

No lifting, sorry. I don't lift anything heavier than me. Which is heavier than I'd like, but I repeat myself.

I've been struggling with plateau-ish stuff myself; I'd love to be able to string together more than 40 pushups without a rest, and without making it so I can't do anymore pushups for a while, but 40 is where it stays. I can do a few sets of 40, but 40 seems to be the limit at present. I've heard people say just do more sets until (at last) you can do 5 more reps, but that seems to be slow in coming.

I can imagine doing 45 pushups, does that count? I plateau at doing 10, I think, I don't actually do ten, I do a few then extrapolate based on how tired I am.

Slarti - don't you do some heavy-duty lifting as well and, if so, any recommendations on breaking through a plateau?

You might be thinking of Von, Ugh. He asked in an open thread one time about the best place to hang weights off his body while doing pull-ups. You know, because pull-ups are just too easy without adding to your body weight, especially if you describe yourself as looking like Henry Rollins, only heavier.

What sort of plateau are you experiencing?

HSH - Von, yes, right. Sorry Slarti.

On the plateau, just one that I think I should be able to push through, i.e., I don't look like Henry Rollins and don't think that my frame would be overwhelmed by, e.g., being able to lift an additional 10-15 lbs on each rotation. Tho it would be good to know when I've reached such a stage (even now).

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