Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday Wordage Euphemism of the year 2018 Already Decided!


Pegasus Airlines, a low-cost Turkish carrier, said in a statement that the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, flying to Trabzon from Ankara, the capital, “had a runway excursion incident” as it tried to land.



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday Monday Musical Offering

Ok, a day late.  But--here is a radio program that I have found that I like very much:  The Piano Matters, hosted by David Dubal. (Link) Oregon's classical radio station, KWAX, plays it Tuesdays at 5 PM and Saturdays at, I think, 6.  It's on other stations too.  It's an hour of piano lover's delights.

So much of radio programming, not to mention concert programming and CD producing, is geared towards completism and Big Statements:  all the preludes of so and so, the complete scherzi of X, the entire Opus 42 of Y.  This show is mostly miniatures, morceaux de salon, obscurities by one-hit-wonders, or obscurities by big names who just aren't known for little snippets that can be played by talented amateurs.  A space is carved out for one big thing per hour, usually a concerto movement, but the rest is a big box of bijoux that few have heard.

Not only that, but the host is content to play recordings that have sound quality that is...well, the suck.    But if you want to hear Godowski or somebody who studied with Liszt, that's what you're going to get.  And you'll like it.

The host is also worth listening to, because, as is rare these days, he has opinions about what he plays and he freely shares them*.  To be sure, he comes by those opinions honestly, as a piano teacher at Juilliard.  "That was pretty good...Maybe a little lacking in a certain majesty, but stylish in its own way."  "Well played, a charming but negligible piece that is worth hearing, once."  He name-drops, but he's entitled to do so by his own works.  He throws in a few mottoes as spacers, which are sometimes worth thinking over and sometimes merely annoying.  But, all in all, this is one of my absolute favorite shows.  Give it a listen.

*Sean Bianco, of Sacramento's Capitol Public Radio's At the Opera on Saturdays at 8:00 is especially worthy in this regard.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday Wordage, Utopian Edition

Of course, Utopia was imaginary, situated (by its name) nowhere.  Lately I've been attracted to a couple of modern, well-developed and well-imagined no-places.  One, Night Vale, exists in the desert Southwest, in a parallel dimension; it projects into this dimension via a podcast, every two weeks.  The other, Discworld, exists on the back of four giant elephants astride the back of the giant space turtle A'tuin who swims through the stars in an odd dimension of the universe, and was projected into this world by the late, great Terry Pratchett.

I've been trying to figure out what I find attractive in these imaginary lands.  Neither of them is a paradise; both are haunted, both are plagued by some of the same ills--war, corruption, hatred--that plague our world.  What's more, they are afflicted by demons, monsters, and evil of every sort.  People do stupid, cowardly, or hateful things.  Fate is capricious.  People die (Death himself makes at least a cameo in every Discworld story).

Yet, I really like letting my imagination go to those places.  Ultimately, they both have something that is very right, and that is sadly too rare in this less demon-haunted world.  In both, at the end, there is a certain acceptance of the "other."  People learn.  In Night Vale, the mysterious Glowing cloud that controls human minds (All hail!) and rains animal corpses completes a story arc, and is a member of the school board.  In Discworld, everybody of one species pretty much hates everybody of every other species--dwarves hate trolls, humans hate goblins, everybody hates vampires--but the bustling city of Ankh-Morpork is home to all of them, bumping shoulders but not coming to blows (very often).  It's lovely to spend time in these places, if you feel at all different, or wish this world were more welcoming to the "other."  It has become all the more so, since our government has been seized by a party that, for now, is based largely on demonizing the "other."

So, check them out.  Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast, you can get it where you will.  The Discworld is found in a whole series of, what, thirty-some novels; the first three introduce some recurring characters, but weren't really written with an eye towards establishing a whole series--but read the whole lot, they're good.  Better than the news, for sure.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday Musical Offering Tired of Travel Edition

A week on the road, Stockton-LA-LA-Fresno-Davis-Burlingame and home.  Saw and did some wonderful things, reconnected with friends.  Tired, happy to be home with my sweetie.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Monday Musical Offering Manual Mauling edition

Farm work is physically taxing, and there are many, many ways to get injured.  I have so far managed to escape anything serious (frantically knocking on wood), but I do ding myself up pretty regularly--a mashed thumb from a misdirected screwdriver, a glorious bruise from a dropped piece of wood, and so on.  I especially worry about my eyes (I wear safety glasses a lot) and my hands (I wear leather gloves a lot).  I think of this cartoon very often:

(Note that Schulz always used real music in his cartoons.  That's Beethoven's Fur Elise.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday Words, Mood matters edition

If you are apologizing, do not use the subjunctive.

Thursday, December 14, 2017