Archives for the Month of July 2007 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

Canada: not socialized medicine, just national socialism

Canada bans private insurance for essential health needs, but it is not a socialized system. Doctors and hospitals are private.

That bit of insane hair-splitting comes from an article about a Canadian who came to Buffalo to have his brain cancer treated in time...and who is now suing the Ontario health-care system to cure its brain cancer.

Mano: this is your brain. This is your brain on single-payer health care. Any questions?

And in anoher case of messing things up...

Drive-in theaters are starting to charge people for bringing in coolers. I understand that they're desperate for money. But cheap food is one of the main reasons to go to a drive-in. It would be better to raise the gate. This is just going to encourage people to sneak food in, which will encourage the proprietors to patrol cars, which will ruin the experience and lead to their demise. As somebody who grew up on drive-ins, I don't want to see that.

Leave it to Cleveland to screw up a good thing

The West Side Market is getting new display cases, and the vendors are not happy about it...and the city is not happy about the vendors rallying grass-roots opposition on city property. The city claims that the vendors were offered input; the vendors say otherwise. By the looks of the picture, the damn things are so tall that you can't serve a customer over one. Nothing like spending $3 million to fix something that wasn't broke.

EEEvul Branson and Rutan

Here's a prime moonbat screed for you. Apparently, private space travel is a bad thing because, when the feces hits the rotary air mover, they'll be up there, and the poor folks will be down here. Forget for a moment that any survival is better for mankind than no survival, or that space travel in currently dependent on earth support. It's bad because poor people can't afford it. By which standard we all ought to be walking.

And this is the kind of thinking that gets you a doctorate in history from Yale?

And speaking of PETA,

Why don't they say something about China's mistreatment of Tibetan animal lovers?

At the edge of the parade ground a friend helped Zhouma to put on her many layers of heavy ceremonial robes, including a chuba decorated with otter skin. “We have to wear this because we are dancing. But people who aren’t performing don’t do so.” By way of explanation, and in an oblique reference to the Dalai Lama, she added: “He said we shouldn’t.” Any government official or state employee who does not don his fur at the five-day festival would be sacked, Tibetan sources said.

Dancers and performers taking part in the opening ceremonies faced stiff fines if they appeared without a skin trim. Mostly students and nomads, they have been paid 50 yuan a day to take part in training and will lose it if they leave their furs at home.

Pending Digital TV train wreck

It seems that our masters are a little nervous about the unintended consequences of what they've wrought:

Some committee members were clearly worried. A poll released in January by the Association of Public Television Stations indicated 61 percent of respondents had ''no idea'' that the digital transition was going to take place.

There is a ''high potential for a train wreck here,'' said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Funny, Maria; people die in train wrecks. The big worry?

A number of organizations are concerned that many people, particularly the elderly, the poor and minorities, will be caught off guard when the change occurs.

Oh horrors! The poor won't be able to watch television! God, they might have to work to alleviate the tedium! And Jerry Springer's ratings might drop! Can't have that happen to a good Democrat, can we?

PETA bitches about Cleveland Zoo

...because too many animals have died there.

PETA is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to levy "harsh penalties" against the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo after a 1-year-old kangaroo was struck by a zoo train Tuesday....

In May, a female wolf was killed by other members of her pack. In 2005, three wallabies died after eating a corpse flower, a toxic plant that was placed in their enclosure by a zoo employee; a Grant's zebra died from a ruptured aorta after being kicked by another zebra; and a gorilla died after he was anesthetized for an examination. In 2003, a lion died after being attacked by another lion.

Let's see, of 6 incidents, half were animal-on-animal attacks. Just how responsible are zoo employees for these? Since animals are people too, maybe we should be administering the same punishment to the wolves, lion, and zebra that we do to humans who murder: put 'em down. And if that's not acceptable, it's because people are animals too, in which case it's perfectly appropriate for me to rip Debbie Leahy's throat out with my teeth. As for the rest: do gorillas generally die under anesthesia? Should we quit administering it and just chain 'em down and cut 'em open? Do you know what a corpse flower is, or that it's toxic to wallabies? Should everyone know that? That leaves us the train incident..and the driver has been fired and the train shut down until a fence can be built. So tell me, just how was Cleveland Zoo negligent?

Wisconsin Democrats Commies to pass single-payer health care?

I missed this debate on my visit to DDR-West. I must have been too busy making music or otherwise having a productive life. But apparently the Republican House is the only thing keeping Wisconsin from providing quality health care to every citizen committing economic suicide:

Democrats who run the Wisconsin Senate have dropped the Washington pretense of incremental health-care reform and moved directly to passing a plan to insure every resident under the age of 65 in the state. And, wow, is "free" health care expensive. The plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes. It represents an average of $510 a month in higher taxes for every Wisconsin worker.

Employees and businesses would pay for the plan by sharing the cost of a new 14.5% employment tax on wages. Wisconsin businesses would have to compete with out-of-state businesses and foreign rivals while shouldering a 29.8% combined federal-state payroll tax, nearly double the 15.3% payroll tax paid by non-Wisconsin firms for Social Security and Medicare combined.

This employment tax is on top of the $1 billion grab bag of other levies that Democratic Governor Jim Doyle proposed and the tax-happy Senate has also approved, including a $1.25 a pack increase in the cigarette tax, a 10% hike in the corporate tax, and new fees on cars, trucks, hospitals, real estate transactions, oil companies and dry cleaners. In all, the tax burden in the Badger State could rise to 20% of family income, which is slightly more than the average federal tax burden...As if that's not enough, the health plan includes a tax escalator clause allowing an additional 1.5 percentage point payroll tax to finance higher outlays in the future. This could bring the payroll tax to 16%. One reason to expect costs to soar is that the state may become a mecca for the unemployed, uninsured and sick from all over North America. The legislation doesn't require that you have a job in Wisconsin to qualify, merely that you live in the state for at least 12 months. Cheesehead nation could expect to attract health-care free-riders while losing productive workers who leave for less-taxing climes.

Wasn't John Galt's last known employer in Wisconsin, or somewhere near there?

I suppose Mano Singham is shopping for his cheesehead hat even as I type this.

UPDATE 8/9: John Stossel encourages Wisconsin to go for it, so we can see socialism in practice, and adds this data point:

Does it never occur to the progressives that the legislature's intrusion into private contracts is one reason health care and health insurance are expensive now? The average annual health-insurance premium for a family in Wisconsin is $4,462 partly because Wisconsin imposes 29 mandates on health insurers: Every policy must cover chiropractors, dentists, genetic testing, etc. Think chiropractors are quacks? Too bad. You still must pay them to treat people in your state.

Want to buy insurance from another state, like nearby Michigan, where an average policy costs less? Too bad. It's against the law to buy across state lines. Your state's Big Brother knows best.

More on Mignarda

Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart, AKA Mignarda, whose recent misfortune led to some musings here, are doing a free (they think it will be, anyway) concert August 12 at 7 at the Lyceum to thank Cleveland for the July 13 benefit concert. I was in Madison, otherwise there might have been some alta cappella stuff on that show. Sorry I couldn't make that one, guys.

In less happy news, several of Amazon's resellers have been offering "new, factory-wrapped" copies of Mignarda CDs. Gee, I wonder where they got those? That's been known for at least 3 weeks, and Amazon isn't in any hurry to quit facilitating fencing, as they were still there yesterday. It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth about Amazon in general.

Meanwhile, Cleveland auto thieves continue their exquisite taste in targets, and good people continue to try to make it right.

No more Weekly World News?

How will I know when the 3-headed space aliens are going to bring Jesus back?

So, is this a threat?

ATF Area Supervisor Linda Young came in today from Spokane, Washington (567.72 miles; 9 hour drive) along with Industry Operations Inspectors Calvin Pavey and Mike Gorewicz from Portland, Oregon (570.96 miles; 9 hour drive) at around 9:45am. They showed up in a rented newer model Chrsyler … [it] appears they are staying at Best America Suites, which I have to compliment them on their taste, that is a very nice hotel for this area," he wrote.

Evidently it was enough to scare a bunch of BATFE agents. That and the pictures some old man was taking.

Given that they were trying to destroy somebody's livelihood, it's about time they got scared back. Especially when they're so easily frightened.

More here.

UPDATE 8/1:
Evidently the Feds have agreed that it wasn't a threat after all.

Check here for more news.

Republicans want your guns

Apparently, the Republican Party of Cuyahoga Co. is planning to adopt a new platform tomorrow, which includes this little gem:
“Oppose the efforts to curtail constitutional home rule in such areas as…gun control"
Apparently they aren't pleased by the local pre-emption passed by those awful downstate hick Republicans; not that local rights are a bad thing, but they should be devolved to the individual level.. Now, they don't have the draft document up on their website, at least the public portion, so my information is being filtered through Buckeye Firearms Association. But for Republicans to go anti-gun is ultimately a repudiation of the principles the party claims to stand for. Not that that is old news, mind you. But this is a particularly egregious bullet through the metatarsal. With a pro-gun Democrat in the governor's mansion, and a resurgent Libertarian Party, there are fewer reasons to put up with RINO-dom.

Another DEA informant lies people into jail

Oh goody, we get our very own lying POS. Fortunately, they've awakened to his game before any 92-year-old ladies got shot or before anyone could be sent to Death Row for plugging an unannounced intruder. Now, if somebody would only figure out that the Drug War is always going to generate creeps like this...

Of course, Balko is on it.

Voinovich: dumbest man in Congress?

Joe Farah has nominated Voiny as Dumbest Man (thus doubtless leaving room to nominate Nancy Pelosi as Dumbest Woman). I kind of liked George as mayor and governor, but it seems to me that he's met his Peter Principle. Even so, it seems like there has to be somebody stupider (and let's not confuse crazy or evil with stupid; neither Kucinich nor Hillary are stupid), maybe somebody from one of the more inbred parts of the country.

Sheehan vs. the income tax.

The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan – all brought to us via the Democrats.

Yep, that's Crazy Aunt Cindy.It's really refreshing to hear her come out against the Fed and the income tax...maybe she's been listening to old Ron Paul speeches. But for the woman who snuggled with Hugo Chavez, the woman who was the former darling of the Left to renounce their favorite tool of income redistribution beggars belief. Is she coming to her senses, or has she just found a new brand of nuts?

Septic adventures

We had our septic tank pumped yesterday.
Rusty had seen the guy at Ike's on Friday and made the appointment for Monday, as we've been here almost three years and not had it done. That meant I had to find the lids. We knew where the tanks were, sort of...the places where the grass was dead. I only moved 3 times more heavy clay than I needed to, and even got some help from Sara, who is not known for her work ethic. She gets to fill them in today.

He showed up Sunday, wanting to do the job then as he had a doctor's appointment on Monday. That was fine with us. The first tank was no problem, except for not having been done in awhile. But the previous owner had been in the habit of flushing hog manure into his septic system, and it was all in the second tank, so getting that cleared out was a time-consuming challenge. Meanwhile, I got good gossip, like the tale of the woman who called him in because she had accidentally flushed her false teeth (they were found in the toilet trap). And the Hopkins Rd. property that burned was sold by the sheriff at auction Saturday for $39,000... 15 acres (5 wetlands), well, septic and a house that needs torn down.

Sullivan on Hummer vandalism

while I completely abhor the violence, I don't abhor the sentiment. Parking a 7-foot high Hummer in your neighborhood is about as irritating as watching one careen down the small streets of Provincetown. We have to create a social stigma toward people totally contemptuous of the environment....These owners of massive, gas-guzzling behemoth cars deserve social opprobrium. They also deserve to have their property respected.

I dunno, Andrew; there are a lot of people who think that gays deserve social opprobrium. Does this mean it's OK for me to call you "faggot" to your face, as long as I don't hit you? Seriously, calling for "social stigma" is a double-edged sword you shouldn't be swinging. Whatever happened to the great American virtue of minding your own business?

Thanks to Beck, who is several orders of magnitude more direct than I am.

LBJ, radio, and corruption

Here's a nice tale on how the late Lady Bird Johnson, with help from hubby,used the power of the FCC to become a broadcasting tycoon. And at the time, the FCC was close to being abolished...a move LBJ prevented .. which to my mind was a worse sin than Vietnam.

"Dry 'til 21" not saving lives.

Hmmm...apparently, forcing the states to raise the minimum drinking age to 21 really didn't save lives.

Housing policy: pot, kettle, black

This Commie slags Bush for allowing high-risk mortgages in order to create more Republicans, and not doing enough to help borrowers, then turns around and supports all kinds of neo-New Deal intervention in the housing market...in order to create more Democrats.

It's not that he can't conceive of a government which doesn't take on the job of housing its citizens, because he cites the bad old days of half down and 10 years. But it doesn't occur to him that the last time we had a free market in mortgages, the country was on the gold standard, and that in today's inflationary environment, there'd be a lot more mortgage money competing for a home. And gods forbid that in today's instant-gratification world, people actually save for a house, that people buy a house that fits their income, or that "the rich" be allowed to pass on houses without estate tax.

A good time to stop taking Vitamin C.

On the heels of studies showing that artificial isolated Vitamin C really doesn't do much for your health comes a big spike in the price of ascorbic acid, 80% of which is made in China. The companies blame more stringent Chinese pollution controls and a spike in the price of corn, but the 4 major producers are facing a price-fixing suit in New York. Ironically, the Chinese took over after Clinton's Justice Department broke up "the vitamin cartel" in the West.

It would have no impact on the food-preservation uses, but maybe we should all be munching acerola berries or rose hips instead.

Stress test

My stress test today was a long affair: in at 8:30, out at 3:30, mostly due to equipment malfunctions. Boredom and caffeine withdrawl were the worst of it, though the chemical stress test is no fun either, as the vasodilator they give you makes you feel as if your veins were crawling with fire ants. St. Rusty came with me (her idea) and kept me laughing, and was rewarded by lunch at Olive Garden.

For light reading I had The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living, by Zmirak and Matychowiak, gotten through OhioLink (Franciscan University)because of a review on lewrockwell.com. It is in roughly equal measure a cookbook, a hagiography, and a Christianized version of a George Hayduke book (e.g., telling the story of Lidwina of Schiedam to your kids when you take them shopping for roller blades, or staging raw Easter egg fights on your lawn at 6 AM Easter Sunday), with a light sprinkling of theology.

They're pretty concerned about religion at St. Joe's (of the Humility of Mary Health Partners, no surprise). The doctor asked me about mine while I was wired-and-drugged, and I said truthfully "It's in flux", and he went on to describe his Byzantine Catholic wedding which included, no joke, placing a crown of thorns on his head. After my wife's last "honey-do" job (finding the lids to our 2 septic tanks, under a foot of hard clay, by Monday), I could relate to the symbolism.

What I did on my summer vacation

Here are the pictures from Madison. They're biggish files, so I hid them below the fold.

Continue reading "What I did on my summer vacation"

Nat Hentoff takes on ALA over Cuban librarians

...who don't get Michael-Moore-praiseworthy health care in the cells where they rot. And the ALA refuses to speak up, despite the support of 76% of the rank and file for such a move.

Nat isn't the only one kicking butt. Andrei Codrescu gave a speech at last year's con that didn't please the likes of Ann Sparanese.

And I discovered the Heretical Librarian (David Durant), who will probably be a regular stop for me. You've got to love this:

Basically, the study defines librarians as "stressed" because they're underpaid, hate their jobs, and have high absenteeism. I'm sorry, that situation sucks, but it's not real stress. Dealing with IEDs and sniper attacks is stressful; having two BI sessions in a day isn't.

Homer Simpson meets the Cerne Abbas Giant

I'm not much of one to jump on the bandwagon when Pagans get their loincloths in a bunch. But if this is the new wave in marketing, I think we need to expand it into larger markets, and what larger market than the Catholic Church? Let's put a statue of Homer in St. Stanislaus; he can stand right next to St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Really...what were they thinking?

Jerry Hadley off life support

The stuff I miss...the man who created the role of Harbison's Great Gatsby scrambled his brains with an air rifle and is not expected to survive...and certainly not to sing.

Suicide is the ultimate in self-cernteredness. But if you've got to, the state of NY could have made it easier to buy a gun that would do the job efficiently.

Damn it all...

UPDATE 7/18: And at 11:20, he was gone.

Home again

Out of Madison at 7:30 (EDT), back here at 6:15, no problems. But not much besides problems here. Half my new blueberries are toast, the fruit is drying on the vine, everything is dry dry dry, the hose which I fixed before leaving needs fixed again (or, better, replaced partway with tubing), half my pictures didn't come out, I have a stress test scheduled on Thursday, there's a stack of unread snail, God knows what will be waiting at work. And yeah, Bob, Joan and I agree that it would be a good thing for me to practice to consolidate my gains.

I'll get some of those pics up here when I finish trying to fix them.

Girls gone wild at MEMF

The final concert went quite well, and was well received. After, there was a reception with hors d'oevres and cash bar...and a MEMF tradition I was not aware of...the MEMF polka band. Evidently this one girl and her grandmother play accordion, and a boombas and fiddle rounded out the ensemble. All the best people were on the dance floor...Sarah and Sherry danced almost every dance. I got swept up by a sweet young thing, so how could I refuse? But my knees gave me hell. Ellen Hargis and Tom Zajac did a number of dances, with Ellen improvising high vocal descants. People were taking turns on the boombas, even Marion (she's a better recorder player). Insanity reigned. Next year I'm bringing my euphonium, damnit...that ensemble needed bass. Lots of good clean fun for everyone.

But now for bed...day comes too early.

Adieu, mes amours

Today, the breakfast conversation was about animal husbandry. Sadie, our youngest participant, plans to be a veterinarian and is beginning college biology study in the fall. She also milks 60 cows twice a week. After a good dawdle, I went to school to test my learnings on my own shawms. Joan's reed played wonderfully on my alto (it plays better than Rotem's alto) but after a week of 460 the instrument seemed dark, like some kind of pommer d'amore. The soprano was a different question; I could play the bottom octave with the good control I had learned, but above that the instrument very much wanted to have its own way. The Cronins are reputed to be quite bright up there. And I couldn't get a stable written upper A to save my life.

Then on to the final concert dress. I gave Laura a CD of my compositions, and have a choral one for Andrew tonight. All went well, though vocally I was not where I wanted to be. Afterwards, I felt a great sadness, being parted from new friends. It's very odd and creepy to have the afternoon off. I walked to Teddywedgers for a pasty (got a whole, should have gotten a half), which was right at the edge of the weekend art festival. I didn't much feel like joining the sea of people oozing widdershins around the Capitol, though certainly ritually banishing the Wisconsin state government seems like a good thing to do. I started back and poked into side streets. I found a wonderful natural pharmacy (even if it was a "worker-owned co-op"), had some good gelato, and then, in a used bookstore, I found a copy of Morrison's Feeds and Feeding for $10 (This is the bible on feeding animals homegrown feed...it gets referred to a lot in writings on organic animal husbandry, and it's out of print). Popped into Pipefitters, a real old-time head shop, and back into the Exclusive Company (the classical record store). Then I headed back and spent some time in the library looking at music periodicals (They have 2 different polka newsletters there! Plus the new SAM journal and Sacred Music, and the stuff that CIM gets that I'm behind on reading.) Then to my locker to bring instruments to my room, and to my room to tidy up.

Big party after the concert. I'll be out as soon as I wake up...which may be later than I want, if I'm up late. I'll certainly miss the festival, though I certainly need a break from the single-minded focus on music. As for Madison, I saw a T-shirt that said something like "Madison: the escape from reality". And it's true: a lovely place to visit, but one with a rather blinkered (or maybe rose-colored) view of reality. I really got the feeling that everyone in town was a member of Democratic Underground. Everywhere, one saw blatant disrespect of the President. Now, of course I don't give the office of the Presidency much respect, but this was personal. And all over town there are historical markers. Most are about leftish concerns (first African-American community, campus riots, the Wisconsin Plan and Fighting Bob LaFollette). And the one I saw that seemed critical of its subject was also big-government: the story of Prohibition in Madison, which had declared a half mile around campus to be dry in 1907, and in 1917 had banned all alcohol sales. Cleveland is a far more balanced place...but it needs the nightlife of the Mall (think Coventry on steroids).

Madison Friday: Glory!

Yesterday was all about preps for the participant concerts. I dawdled over breakfast, being social, as I had an extra half hour before I needed to be at school. I warmed up on the pipes, went onstage for the runthrough at 9:05. Then we went into another room to run the loud band stuff. Loud band was due onstage at 11:30, but Bob told us to blow it off as we'd run it already. Most of us didn't get the message though, and since Bill Baylis, Mike Allsen and I were ready to play anyway, we ran our little trio. Then off to eat sushi for lunch.

The gig went well. My piping was about as good as it gets after a week, though I was cheating by having the drone blocked. We pulled a little stunt: we had signsd pinned to our backs, and on the last note we turned around to reveal the message "Piffaro farm team". Priscilla Smith really is on the AAA Piffaro farm team (she's on their new album), but me? How low does the pro baseball system go? (But I could make a tenuous claim to being on the Ciaramella farm team because of my appearance in Anna's play.) The concert was filled with inspiring performances. Priscilla led and Marion Verbruggen coached a recreation of Loeki Stardust's transcription of Sweelinck's Mein junge Leben hat ein End, in which ALSQ's size-12 shoes were filled with size 11 1/2 feet. Case's own Concerto delle Donne sang wonderfully with a chalumeau (!). (Whenever I said I was from Cleveland, singers felt they had to make positive comments about our ladies...Sarah, Sherry, Cheryl, you GO girls!). Ockeghem's Petite Camusette was ably sung by the channelled voices of Musica Reservata. Then there were a few performances that were, uh, inspiring in a different way. And I knew then that if I crashed and burned, I would be better than that. So the loud band went on near the end, and I played as well or better than I'd ever played. Laura's hubby got it all on Ipod and she has promised me a copy. And at the end, Ellen Hargis made her public dance debut.

Afterwards was mass rehearsal, and Josquin's Virgo salutiferi went exceptionally well. Afterwards, Bob and Joan, Priscilla, Liza, Christine, Laura and her husband Rich and a few others went down to the Memorial Union for beer and brats on the lake, coming back just in time for the King's Noyse concert. I will admit that my critical faculties were in liquid abeyance for the first half, but there was nothing to criticize, this being the King's Noyse. The show was Josquin, Compere, Phalese, Willaert, and Lasso, and KN brought new life to old chestnuts like El Grillo. Grant, Christa, and Tom Zajac played with them. Case's Julie Andrijeski seems to be part of the band these days, and forsook her viola to do a dance number with Grant. And of course, Ellen was singing, doing a particularly effective job of miming Willaert's O bene mio.

A better idea in Wisconsin

Heard on the local radio: a Republican legislator wants to cut funding to the University of Wisconsin Law School, because there are enough lawyers in WI. It's actually about the middle of the pack in lawyers per capita. The governor thinks its a ridiculous idea. I dunno; if there are enough, why should the state subsidize more? Or subsidize even if there aren't?

Madison: Thurs.

Yesterday was a little bittersweet as it was the last day of classes. I got out early to practice shawm, as the faculty concert was that day and I knew I wouldn't be able to use it. Time-share instruments can be a pain, but thanks to Rotem Gilbert for letting me use her instrument for the 460 loud band (the only high pitch festival band in the country, I hear). In bagpipes, we decided it was safer to mute my drone for the concert...with these little pipes, I'm having trouble getting adequate pressure for both chanter and drone. In dulcian class, Bob and I are negotiating about reeds...the one he made for Priscilla is too large, so he'll have to go to the drawing board. In harp class, we talked about harp types and procurement. Before mass, we had a lecture by Alexander Blachly. No revelations, but a nice chance to hear bits of Pomerium recordings. Lunch was an Indonesian tempeh dish; dinner I scrounged in my room, after going out to a used book/CD store quite a ways out.

The faculty concert was 15th-c, Dufay and a bunch of Hugo de Lantins from an upcoming A-R edition (they're one of the sponsors of the Festival.) There were some things they did tutti...rather odd to hear this repertoire done by a dozen or 2 when 3 people would work better. Paul Flight, it turns out, is not only a fine conductor but a damn good countertenor. One highlight was the first performance of Dufay's Gloria ad modem tubae that really worked for me. Maybe it was the antiphony from the balconies that did it, but it was somehow more interesting, in a proto-minimalist way.

I went back to my room hoping for a phone call. My cell seems to be out of minutes, and I'd asked Rusty to call my room phone, as I hate calling cards. But Sara had messed up her computer and she didn't get the email telling her the number. She got it back up for a morning email though, so all is good.

Madison 6

Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day here. There was no evening concert, just the picnic at the Memorial Union. Food was spendy for what we got, and the cash bar was outrageous. I sat down with some staffers and had a good time, but then after an hour the faculty got up for rehearsal and I left shortly afterwards to practice. I couldn't even call my wife, as evidently my phone is out of time.

Madison 5: Fortune's Wheel, etc.

Yesterday I started to finally get some of the technical concepts we've been discussing. I found myself producing a thin thread of shawm sound in the afternoon loud band, and I said, "It doesn't sound like a shawm; it sounds like a bad oboe," which got me quickly corrected. I still need to work on quiet attacks; too often the sound doesn't start, or because I fear the sound not starting, I hammer the note.

In mass, we hit the Josquin pieces without instruments. Paul Flight has wonderful rehearsal technique and knows how to lead the uninitiated into Josquin's language. I've been singing Josquin for about 30 years, but for many, it was necessary. But sometimes he seems a little cavalier about balance issues, leaving it for us to work out. It's difficult to do music intended for male voices with a choir which is 70% female, and altos alone on the contra wasn't cutting it. Not even the kind of women I like can produce a low D, let alone a low D with any volume. I think I would have split altos and tenors into 3 parts and combined them on each relevant line. That may seem a rather Shawian solution for early music, where tenors should sound like tenors, basses like basses, etc. But projecting the pitches is the Prime Directive. Anyway, Paul did sanction tenor support of the altos when we didn't have anything else to do, and I was in good voice with all the singing and reeding, so I took it on myself to join the altos. After the evening concert, I had 3 people thank me and compliment me on my beautiful (?) voice. That means I'm helping; it also means I'm sticking out. Hmmm...

Fortune's Wheel (with David Douglass and Grant Herreid replacing Shira Kammen) was fantastic. Their program was mostly Dufay, with some Banchois, Busnoys, Grenon and Lantins. I've never heard Dufay sung with such propulsion; even the "white clouds in blue sky" pieces were moving through the sky. They began with a shock-and-awe rendition of "Donnes l'assault", as if to shout to the ghost of David Munrow, "We don't need no steenkin' sackbuts!". There was a good balance between "hits" and unknown pieces, and some of the hits were represented by instrumental improvisation on their content. In "Malheureulx cueur", Lydia Knutson found an expressionist style within period style which reminded me of Schoenberg in its intensity. It sent shivers up my spine. (Maybe good for business; she's a practicing chiropractor.)

Back to our usual topic?

I suppose there are readers who miss the pungent political commentary here. Well, tough. I haven't had time for surfing, or TV, and if I don't see it in the top of the paper sticking out of the coin box, I don't know about it.

I did have an interesting breakfast conversation though, with a Canadian freelance violinist who credits Canadian healthcare with making her freelance career possible. I never thought of that as a surreptitious arts subsidy. But then, her mother is on a waiting list for a nursing home. But oh gosh, the American system is so horrible... I wasn't argumentative, but I'm sure I rolled my eyes a few many times. Had another guy last night raving over Fats Moore's latest movie. But I'd had enough Belgian ale to not be argumentative (I'm a mellow drunk, not a mean one.)

Off to try to get some practice in before tonight's concert.

Madison 4: AM

Yesterday was a much more relaxed and energetic day than Sunday. I'd gotten some good sleep, found the time for half a bagel mid-morning, had a decent lunch. And I realized that Laura and Priscilla play better than I do, but they don't play like God, and that I have a lot of potential. Piping with the drone is a lot harder (at least this drone) because if you don't start the sound with breath, the drone reed overblows. And I am faced with an ergonomic problem: while pushing the bag, my left-hand fingers tighten up.

The lunch wagons were out in full force on the mall, so I had my choice of relatively inexpensive ethnic delicacies.

The beginning of Josquin's Praeter reum seriem doubled by viols and dulcians is very Brahmsian.

There was still a keglet of the Belgian ale untapped, so we had a happy hour at 6. Fortunately, I didn't get too happy to practice.

Madison 2: PM...my butt is whipped.

Today was rough...just the kind of rough I signed on for, but rough nevertheless.

8:30 (after too many turnovers, Composers Guild business, and news that my mom is in the hospital again) was bagpipe class. We had two newbies, and 3 slightly experienced. So Joan Kimball lent us some bagpipes, showed us some basics, and sent us off into the corner to practice while she worked with the others (no offense to the ear; we were all in G).Piping is a tricky thing to get ahold of: you're either blowing or squeezing the bag, but you have to transition between blowing and squeezing to keep the air pressure constant, or you get dips in pitch and volume.I was starting to get it by the end though. Tomorrow I'll have a drone...wow.

Then there were the two of us in dulcian class. Bob Wiemken is infinitely kind and infinitely strict, and basically we're going to rework my entire embouchure. After that, harp class was a breeze, though it's hard to get a handle on the finger and arm habits of real harping. After a Turkish lunch, it was loud band time, which meant playing on a borrowed instrument because we were at A-460. I wasn't horrid, but my bad habit were found out. The sackbutteers had the worst time adjusting to the new pitch standard.Bob let them figure out what works for them. Me, I've just bit the bullet and learned A positions, and then transpose via clef. But that's not something done in a day, and I still haven't fully mastered it.

I stood for that, and stood through mass, and that's all the standing I could stand. I went to my room for horizontal time and some nosh, back to school to practice. Right now is the Marion Verbruggen recital. I should be there, but I'm not, and I really don't feel guilty about that.

Madison morning 2

Well, we're underway.
The first event was afternoon "mass" rehearsal. The orchestra was a motley crew, with everything from a doucaine to a modern guitar. I had decided to sing because, after all, it's vocal music, and I figured I'd be more useful there. I was right; there was a swarm of soprani, a gaggle of alti, some basses, and a handful of tenors. I had decided I would only sing tenor-clef tenor parts, but I jumped on Tenor I in one of the Sweelinck psalms because it wasn't being heard. With my technicolor falsetto As, I am sure it's being heard now. I had avoided mass at Amherst, because motets in the style of Mahler 8 really aren't my thing. But I would crawl over broken glass to sing Josquin (whose music, like Bach's, is practically indestructible), and Paul Flight knows his business.

At mass I discovered that Eberhard Gerlach was here. I played with Eberhard under Denis Stevens at the Ann Arbor Medieval Festival in 1977, very nearly my public debut as an early musician. Back then he was "that old guy with a bunch of instruments"; now he really IS old, but well-preserved.

Afterwards, I ate pelmeni (not a thrill) and a smoothie from some California chain, listening to 2 divorcees who had finally found each other, revelling in the discovery. It was so cute! Bought a few used gardening books, and then off to check the course postings. I got in all the classes I wanted. There are only 2 in the dulcian course. Too many sackbuts in the afternoon alta (rumored to have some great players in), so I will for sure be borrowing a 460 shawm (from Joan maybe, or if not, Rotem has offered one.)

Piffaro is always worth hearing, but they were a bit off their game in the first half of last night's concert. And I was disappointed to not hear any motets done on louds. OTOH, they're doing some really tasty harp-and-lute stuff, including a recorder/harp/lute rendition of Josquin's Fortuna Desperata (or, as I refer to it from my alta perspective, "the Josquin sackbut concerto"...that's a wicked bass line.) And Susato's Morisque featured 2 tuned Renaissance long drums as quasi-tympani. Afterwards was a reception of Dutch food provided by Slow Food Madison: herring, husarensalade, artisanal bread, gouda from Babcock Hall, sweets...and microbrewed witbier...which was as potent as it was tasty. I has thankful to have only one street to stumble across to make it to bed.

Madison morning

Continental breakfast was predictably carb-based, but I could work with it: there was cereal, bagels, fruit, and the university's own milk (only in more or less defatted versions...evidently they steal all the cream for their ice cream). Only about a half-dozen people showed up for it. I sat with a guy named Aage Nielsen from Boise, who plays bass clarinet in a bass clarinet/viola duo, but whose big thing is playing doucaine in a 14th-c group with vielle and countertenor.

After breakfast I went over to practice some dulcian. the practice rooms were locked, but I found an open classroom and got some good work in.

Then I went shopping. I got some manuscript paper at the university bookstore, and checked out the required book offerings. Not too much happening in the ag dept. over the summer (gotta get that hay in), but there was a course, Nutrition Science 350, which required "I Rigoberto Menchu", Ehrenreich's "Nickle and dimed", and another book of the same ilk. So where's the science in that? Stopped in this incredible classical record store on State St.but didn't buy. DID buy some super-premium ice cream from a place that refused to give nutritional information, saying "You want nutrition, eat carrots." By 11, the street was already full of beggars.

I'm in the library now. Seems to be a nice place, but I had to apply for a pass even to get into the doors; evidently State St. encourages a fortress mentality. From the stories I hear from KSL, can't say I blame them.

And I'm off to register!

Rah, rah, RAH

Robert Heinlein would be 100 today, if he were still alive.
There are some good links on Clairefiles about this. The Wikipedia article makes much of Heinlein's youthful flirtation with the Left, though he was apparently not an out-and-out Commie like so many intellectuals in the 30s. But he more than redeemed himself. The Christers are right about literature in school libraries influencing impressionable young minds; I owe more of who I am to Heinlein than any other writer, Rand included.

Mad-is-son I

The first two states of my trip to Madison were pretty uneventful. Northern Indiana corn is way behind Ohio corn, short and stressed (IL and WI corn are of course beautiful). There really isn't much else to look at on the turnpike, besides The Other Field Crop (soybeans). And I was taking it easy to avoid interactions with The Other White Meat.

IL, OTOH, was a different story. If Mapquest ever sends you to WI via I90, don't do it! Don't go anywhere near Chicago unless you have business there (or like the place). Between construction and the incessant tolls, it was a very poky trip. I counted myself lucky because I missed most of rush hour, having forgotten about the time change (my watch is still in B flat, reads an hour higher than actual time.) Not even WFMT could salve that journey, though where else would you hear a transcription of the Shostakovich 15th for string trio and 3 percussionists? I've never spent time in Chicago, and might actually like the place, given time enough and public transportation. But I found myself looking at some nice boarded-up apartment buildings and thinking, "Politicians love to spend money; why don't they buy these up and put windows and curtains in the sides facing the Dan Ryan? It worked for Potemkin." So...a trip billed at almost 9 hours by Mapquest took just under 12, with minimal meal breaks.

Madison is a lovely place, in spite of that steepled dome east of here, and its denizens (Why is Congressional architecture quasi-religious?) It's in-your-face green, with bicycle paths everywhere, and has quite a healthy nightlife. I walked to the Willy Street Co-op. Another warning: when you don't know distances in a new town, maybe a car is a better idea at first. The hippie district is on the other side of the Capitol from campus (there's a meaning in there somewhere); I walked for miles. The entertainment district is much closer...and the lake...

Nothing happening here yet; Festival check-in is at noon, breakfast at 7, and its before 7 EDT, which is why I didn't have to fight anyone for this computer.

Lovely! Another private law!

From a Repugnican yet, proposed on the courthouse steps with little Emily's grieving parents in tow.

The screwup pharmacist has already been punished. Suddenly we need excessive training for technicians just to cover a pharmacist's butt?

"If it saves one child's life..." Humbug!

Ted Nugent goes full-auto on hippies

The Nuge is about as subtle as a brick:

Forty years ago hordes of stoned, dirty, stinky hippies converged on San Francisco to "turn on, tune in, and drop out," which was the calling card of LSD proponent Timothy Leary. Turned off by the work ethic and productive American Dream values of their parents, hippies instead opted for a cowardly, irresponsible lifestyle of random sex, life-destroying drugs and mostly soulless rock music that flourished in San Francisco.

He's not wrong. But, even though I feel his pain at the loss of his colleagues, this isn't productive to his cause. Here's the problem: it takes a generation to see and evaluate cultural change. Children are raised by 20s and 30s who largely hold their youthful values. The children know no other, and pass those on to their children. The original parents become grandparents, and observe how the world they see is inferior to that of their youth. But they no longer have the energy to change it, and after 2 generations, the young, who do have the energy, can't understand or reconstruct the world of their grandparents. When I was young, the Victorian Age was depicted as some monstrous neurotic mess. Now we can see certain moral choices as a society's collective striving for prosperity, at a time when that had finally become possible for the masses, by avoiding personal behaviors that would make that impossible. (Hint: the same behavior choices have the same outcomes today.). Likewise, what I remember of the early 60s was its absolute normality. 1967 was the end of that, not so much for the Summer of Love, but for the riots in Detroit and elsewhere.

I don't know how we can get back there, or to a "there" like but different. Some think that the Roe Effect will bring us back. But I have 4 step-grandchildren, and none of them are legitimate. It's unlikely that anything will change as long as we pay the poor to make babies. If it does, it will be because of those who make their own decisions and are willing to examine basic values, for whom neither tradition nor change are a given. And there are never enough of those.

Poor felons are more equal than others

“Nonviolent offenders should not be serving hard time in our prisons. They need to be diverted from our prison system.!” --Hillary Clinton.

Unless their name is Scooter Libby, of course.

Hat tip to Taranto.

Oh, and by the way, Mme. Clinton... if Libby should do time for lying under oath to a federal grand jury, when's your hubby going to report for his?

Hiram Community Band

Yesterday was the performance of the Hiram Community Band, an ensemble that, according to founder/director Tina Dreisbach, "appears once a year like Brigadoon." I joined because it was a short time commitment (3 rehearsals and concert), and an opportunity to meet local musicians, play a repertoire I don't normally play, and exercise my face for Madison. (Yes, spending that much time practicing sackbut would have been more effective, but I wasn't going to do that). For a no-audition group (beggars can't be choosers) there's remarkably little dead wood, and by the end, we had a reasonably balanced ensemble: 2 trumpets (the weak section), 2 horns (1 Eb!), 4 trombones (1 valve!), euphonium (me), tuba, 3 flutes, 6 clarinets, alto-tenor-bari saxes, and 4 hitters of things (I think only one was a real percussionist.) The group plays what Case-trained HIP performer Tina calls "historical arrangements", easier band music from the '40s and '50s. This is great for the (nonexistent) budget, but when a part is gone, so is the arrangement.

The concert is usually held outside, but the weather was iffy and the police had forgotten to block off the campus street where the group usually plays. So we set up chairs in the big ballroom-type room where we usually rehearse and ended up SRO with an audience in the 100-200 range, including the mayor and the man who is directing the upcoming performance of The Music Man.

I had volunteered to conduct 2 numbers:The Tennessee Waltz and The Thunderer. The 2nd horn, a woman apparently known only as "the Mother of the Twins", had only been at the first rehearsal (probably because of The Twins), and 15 minutes before, I found out there was no F horn part available for The Thunderer, and she was going to lay out because she didn't feel confident transposing. "That's not acceptable," I said, found in one of the supernumary horn folders a hand-copied part to something else, and proceeded to write out a transposed part in pencil. I finished 2 minutes before the end of intermission, she played and it was fine...and I achieved heroic status with her.

All went well...I declined to wear the silly military band hat for The Tennessee Waltz, saying "Nobody can fill your hat, Tina", but put it on for the Sousa because, well, it was Sousa. The crowd began clapping along after the breakup strain, so when it came back around, I turned around and conducted them.

Afterwards I had a lovely conversation with Tina's parents (Mr. Spencer retired from the trombone section this year at the age of 88.)

Going on vacation

Friday I'm leaving for the Madison Early Music Festival. My computer access will be spotty and I'll be busy. What blogging I manage will be about the event...but I find that people don't appreciate me blogging my musical adventures, because I tend to tell too much truth. So you'll get what you get.

Another dogooder group admits defeat

The Campaign for Ohio's Future can't get enough signatures to loot the state treasury because its members are too busy looting locally.

Awww... cue the music.

Animal rights terrorists none too successful.

This week's Farm and Dairy had the story of the Wiles family's all-but-acquittal on cruelty to hogs. They got the son for tossing piglets too energetically, but the other charges were dismissed. A disgruntled former employee had narked to an activist organization who sent a spy in (without an Ohio PI licence) ....who appeared in court in disguise as he's spying on somebody else now. The big charge was that they hanged hogs, mostly because many of their employees were convicted felons barred from using firearms.

Joe Wiles was charged for euthanizing a hog with a shotgun.

Now...I pulled 3 homestead-butchering books off my shelf, and they were unanimous in recommenting a .22 shot in the head. But a shotgun slug would be faster and surer...and is the only legal way to kill deer in Ohio, so why not pigs?

Meanwhile, the non-farm pigs did more damage than they prevented:

Wiles expressed disgust with the way the November raid was handled. During the search, employees were in a "lock-down" situation for 10 hours, Wiles said, which made them unable to tend to the livestock and facilities.

Wiles said while authorities searched the property, he and employees couldn't move sows to farrowing pens and an unidentified number of sows delivered litters of piglets that were cannibalized.

"Everything died, died, died, just like that, and it didn't seem to matter to anyone," Wiles argued.

"When you come in here at 1 [p.m. for the raid] of course you won't see the work we've done all morning," he said, noting some hogs' feed pans would be empty at that time and that feces and urine would undoubtedly build up in pens during the 10 hours his employees weren't able to do their normal cleaning and feeding chores.

Meanwhile the idiot prosecutor didn't know what he was talking about:

Forchione mispronounced the word 'sow' as 'so' several times when referring to the hogs before one of his own witnesses corrected him, and also referred to the animals as having arms and hands.

In the same issue, a followup on another dud abuse case, this time against horses. The "animal rescue" was a rescue from the (cold) frying pan into the fire:

Beard and Swaney said together they visited all the horses in foster care approximately two to three weeks after they were seized, and did the same examinations on them at that time.

Both veterinarians agreed that while those who cared for the horses during the investigation had the best of intentions, "some of their facilities were not appropriate to house horses, let alone a Thoroughbred."

The vets also noted in their October reports that some of the horses seized were in good condition and should not have been taken.

And last...in Californistan, they use incendiaries instead of paper terrorism, but they're no more competent, fortunately for UCLA Professor Arther Rosenbaum.