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

Interesting new blog

This guy thinks a lot like me.

National collegiate empty holster week

I know, I wasn't going to post about this any more. So I refer you here, without comment.

RIP Chas Smith

Charles V. (Chas) Smith died on the morning of Oct. 16, of double pneumonia, 4 other infections (he had no spleen, physically or metaphorically), Hodgkin's lymphoma, or a stroke...take your pick. Like most adjunct faculty (he taught rock history at Cleveland State), he had no medical insurance.

Chas and I were fellow students at Cleveland State. He was studying composition, and we sang together in Dr. William Martin's collegium (Bill referred to him as "the Chasuble"). But his real allegiance was not to the Western concert music tradition, but to his succession of bands and his radio show...a wild but temporary creativity. So we basically lost contact. We were nominally "in the same community" but in radically different corners: I as a Gardnerian Wiccan, he as a SubGenius participant. Hearing of his illness 3 weeks ago was the first I heard about him in several years.

It's pretty clear from the Yahoo Brushwood list that Chas had friends. There's a tribute site up at http://www.chastribute.com/

Visiting Hours will be

Thursday, October 18th
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
BRICKMAN BROS. FUNERAL HOME
37433 Euclid Ave.
Willoughby, Ohio 44094
440-951-7800

Go to http://tinyurl.com/25zpeh for directions from your NE Ohio home

The Service, followed by the Funeral begins
Friday, October 19th
10:00 AM
Brickman Bros. Funeral Home

"if they believe that, why, they aren't even Chris-tee-ans!"

Thus spake my late grandmother, pronouncing the faith in three syllables in her inimitable way, while discussing the latest revelation by her Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor about the doctrines of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. So their apostasy and heresy are scarcely newsworthy. It must have pained her to hear that I was Wiccan, though she must have taken the matter up with God, as she never did with me. So I can well imagine her fretting in heaven over HerChurch.org, a San Francisco ELCA church which cross-dresses God.

Now I of all people should have no problem in seeing God as feminine. And indeed, I have no problem, as long as the God you're discussing is a goddess as opposed to the God of the Bible. The problem is that if you "re-imagine" God, you have to throw out the images in God's Word, and thus the Word itself. Without that as an anchor, you're making it up as you go along. I don't even have a problem with that; everyone has the right to go to Hell in their own fashion. But it isn't Christianity, let alone Lutheran, and I do have a problem with calling a thing what it's not. If there's anything that Lutheranism has historically been about, it's the primacy of the Bible. The primacy of pudenda seems like a comedown to me.

A feminine deity takes you different places than a male deity. Even if gender is a social construct, a society still holds that construct, and is not easily moved from it. And they will apply that construct to a gendered God, no matter which gender. "We also create an idol when we worship only a masculine deity, breaking the commandment against idolatry," the site supposedly says (I couldn't find it, but it's cited here.) As one who spent many years worshiping mated pairs of deities, it's pretty obvious that if a male deity is an idol, then so is a female deity, so the Ebenezer-ites are breaking the First Commandment twice, and demonstrating rank hypocrisy in doing so. Even Judaism, which has such a cootie about graven images that they're even loath to write out in full the class of being that YHVH is ("G-d"), considers "G-d" to be male. And one of the big ideas of Christianity (and probably the one most offensive to Jews) is that God has a face and a name...and both are male. If Jesus is an idol, He's the joint artwork of Mary and the Holy Spirit. And if a Person of the Trinity is breaking the Commandments, well, the game is over.

Pope Paul VI caught a lot of flack for saying that women couldn't be priests because they did not have "a natural resemblance to Jesus." Some early feminist theologian (IIRC it was Naomi Goldenberg in Changing of the Gods) noted that this was actually very astute, because people model their images of God from those who serve God, and that a female priest(ess)hood would lead to a female vision of deity. So it's not a surprise that Pastor Boom's first name is Stacy. And the graven image of a woman is at the center of HerChurch's rosary beads (!). I'm sure that Dr. Luther is doing a happy dance right now --NOT! I remember some End Times novel from the 60s with a church very much like Ebenezer Lutheran. Clearly, the gift of prophecy is not dead.

Turning out the lights

I had an epiphany in the bathtub the other night. I do my best thinking in the bathtub, while I'm relaxed. But I wasn't relaxed; I was looking over my shoulder, wondering who my blog would piss off next...and which psychosis-producing virus had invaded all my email lists.

Continue reading "Turning out the lights"

Freegans

This week I introduced my wife to the concept of freeganism. She went online, found a New York Times article, and was suitably appalled (especially about housing squatters). But we decided that we, and most of the neighborhood, are freegans ourselves, without the self-righteousness, and without giving up six-figure jobs (because nobody in the sticks ever had a six-figure job). Everybody scrounges free stuff, including food, fixes stuff, and generally minimizes involvement in the corporate economy...because they're poor. They aren't anti-capitalist, though. No, the highest use for free stuff is to sell it for cash. That's why you have junk stores, used lawnmower salesmen, and Amish salvage groceries. Too bad my commute to work negates all my good works.

Missing women

It began with Lady Liberty, whose normally-active webpage went into suspended animation in May. I'd met Liberty through a Usenet flirtation, and had met her in person several times, the last with my wife. We weren't particularly close, and I hadn't viewed her site for awhile, so it was a surprise when I noticed it several months ago. I wasn't particularly alarmed, because she said she'd been on vacation, and I knew she was trying to get escape velocity to go out West. Maybe she'd established something there, came back to wrap things up, and then went back. Or...maybe "chucklehead", her ex, decided to do something not-nice. Certainly it wasn't like her to just let things dangle.

Then there was the retirement of Claire Wolfe. That was not left to dangle; she explained very clearly what she was doing, and why, on her blog and on theclairefiles.com (now thementalmilitia.com). We'd never met; I'd given her a few tips on playing recorder, and she had some kind words for my music. But for all her legendary stature (is it Claire Wolfe Time yet?), she always seemed like family. I was in denial about this a bit, and went to her blog, hoping to find another post...but she's let her web-hosting account expire. (The content is mirrored here.)

Now, in a time when governments claim the right to disappear people, it should be more than obvious that people have the right to disappear themselves. I have no rights to anyone's time, or to demand that they never change. And at least (unlike The Artist Formerly Known As Lady Liberty) I know that The Artist Formerly Known As Claire Wolfe is doing fine. But damnit, I miss them. And a world where semipublic figures just drop out of sight is a scary place, even if they drop out for the best of reasons. But I echo Wendy McElroy's blessings (Mac, don't YOU drop out now!)

Auf wiederhören, oom-pa

Hmmm, here it is mid-October (well past Oktoberfest season, go figure) and no Oktoberfest gigs. Gee, I wonder why?

I haven't missed them. I think with the Composers Guild stuff, I would have gone nuts trying to do that. And I was just tired; it was time to quit. As it is, the farm is shaping up nicely for fall.

But I hate burning bridges or leaving on bad terms with anyone. Here's the story: der Chef (we'll call him that, because he's figured out ask.com; actually, he's probably figured out how to Google himself, but why be evil?) found the story and had problems with it. There was a little too much slice-of-life there about life on the road with dem Chef. His points were mostly good, and I didn't really want to cause problems for him or the band, so I cut away all the stuff about the road.

Well, when der Chef called about dates, he said it was much improved, but that it caused him a lot of trouble, and he wanted the whole thing gone. As the saying goes, "You can always tell a German, but you can't tell him much." And here were two Germans locking horns. I couldn't imagine what his problem was; I thought I'd dealt with it all. So I went back to the page, and realized that somebody in Baltimore must have given him grief about inviting Gov. Ehrlich onto the bandstand during election season. Now, Ehrlich had turned him down (which I praised profusely...and regular readers know just how often I praise politicians here, so I was loath to cut it), but I'd gone and told on him, and it appeared at least that der Chef had gone partisanly Republican at a non-partisan event. (I wonder if they ever found this?) Well, I don't like covering for anyone, and if I was going to do it, I was going to make it clear that I was covering. Which I did, knowing the risks. Oh well.

But I wish the man no ill. So let me clarify for the Deutschamerikanischer Burgerverein of Baltimore: der Chef doesn't play politics; he just loves to be associated with power. He's an equal-opportunity Arschkriecher; both Voinovich and Kucinich are his buddies, and he's no more associated with Republicans than the general population of elderly European ethnics is. Political arguments I've heard from him have been more on the Progressive side of things, but he's assured me that he doesn't believe anything that comes out of his mouth in that regard; he just wanted to get Don and me riled up so that we'd keep him awake in the van. So for all I know, the man has no political principles at all and would be just as happy onstage with FDR's Uncle Joe or this famous German as with Ehrlich. So...don't worry, Baltimore...he takes orders well, and nobody else I know of is doing music in quite that style. And he won't have that obnoxious hippie euphonium player with him.

Monsignor Whim-worshipper

The man La Repubblica identified as the Vatican official can be heard saying that "he didn't feel he was sinning" by having sex with gay men and asking his visitor if he liked him.

I'm sorry, but you can't derive doctrine from "feeling". If that's the standard, then we all can do whatever we "feel" like. That was the suspendable offence here, not hitting on another male. As long as the person is of age and not under the priest's direct supervision, I really don't care about that, and I think that Christendom dwells disproportionally on sexual sins in general. As a human, I can understand his "feeling", and I don't at all envy him having to square that with his job. But it just doesn't square, with the church or with rational thought.

Eat s--t and die live

Trials in a Scottish hospital have shown patients suffering from the Clostridium difficile bug can be cured using 'donor stool' administered via a tube through the nose into their stomach.

They're finding that our guts have all kinds of freiendly stuff in them which must not be wiped out by antibiotics. So this might well work. OTOH, it's not the most appetizing notion, is it?

It's the Nobel PEACE Prize...

...not the Nobel Prize for Propagandizing Junk Science. Given that there's no peace in the world,and nobody making any, they had to give it to somebody, though there's always General Petraeus, or Lauren Canario ...and I understand that the Burmese generals made some peace recently too. So now Owlgore gets to join the distinguished ranks of Yassir Arafat, Henry Kissinger, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt (not to mention the even more distinguished ranks of nominees, which include Stalin and Hitler).

I've known this was coming for three days, but like most things out of my control, I floated it down Cleopatra's favorite river. But knowing didn't make the news any easier to take.

So let's look at anthropogenic global warming and peace, shall we? We can convince poor nations to use the farming techniques of last century so that they can sell us carbon credits, and close down their industries. That's sure to keep them happy and peaceful. Whereas turning Canada into the breadbasket of the world and drowning NYC (and the UN!) will lead to constant war. If we really want to stop global warming, why don't we just nuke our enemies and be done with it, and bring on a nuclear winter? I'm sure things will be peaceful then, though Oog might still crawl into Bam's cave and spear him (but Bam will have insurance from GEICO).

Well, we've had over a century of the Nobel peace prize (except for WW II, when they pretty much gave up), and you can see how much good it's done. And at least Al isn't using the money to pay his electric bill. So joining the nonentities (and a few true luminaries) on the Nobel list is not the end of the world.

UPDATE: European gentlemen say these things so much more suavely:

"The relationship between his activities and world peace is unclear and indistinct," [Czech President Vaclav Klaus'] statement said. "It rather seems that Gore's doubting of basic cornerstones of the current civilization does not contribute to peace."

UPDATE 10/16: Here's one of the nominees who didn't get the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Clearly it's more important to save the planet than 2500 Jewish children.

Whoops, I'd better shut up now...

...about weapons on campus. Evidently, at Hamline University, such discussion is a suspendable offence.

Or is that what it is? I'm down with both WND and FIRE, but even with the information presented, it's pretty clear that this student is imperfectly bolted down. And perhaps he should have been suspended for illiteracy unbecoming a college student. If in fact Hamline is following its own written procedure and rules, and not just pushing the VT panic button, as a private institution it has a right to do what it will, and to suffer the consequence: a loss of reputation for free inquiry. I think that the suspension/shrink evaluation is way out of line. But there may be more to this than we're being told.

Of course, as always, that's just my opinion, not Case's.

UPDATE: More from Declan McCullagh, including something I somehow missed: Scheffler is a graduate student. It seems that Hamline now has more to be embarrassed about than their "Ham"-fisted approach to campus security. He's also a CCW permit holder. As for the all-important "written procedure and rules" mentioned above:

But then, after FIRE pointed out being suspended for expressing political views violated the school's freedom of expression policy, President Hanson retreated to a fallback position. Hanson said that the suspension was also based on "critical input from various members of the Hamline community."

The bizarre thing is that to this day, Hamline has never informed Scheffler what those anonymous allegations were (or who his anonymous accusers are).

Not quite getting the Herrenvolk thing

"But we like you...you wouldn't hurt us, would you?"

"After the first days of jubilation were over, we were aghast to learn that while I am eligible to vote, my wife, being stigmatized and inferior because of her Jewish heritage, must stand aside," wrote Franz Ippich of Salzburg.

"So I decided ... to ask you: Please erase the dishonorable, Jewish heritage of my wife, which is not her own fault ... (by doing so) my wife's and my offspring will become your loyal and enthusiastic followers who will bless you for all your life."

The letter went unanswered, and Ippich fled with his wife for South America.

From a recently-published collection of letters to Hitler.

The radical atheist left cleans up Venezuela

Tax 'em to death: alcohol, tobacco, luxury cars, artwork. Make sure a poor man can't buy a beer on the street.

The president has a long list of other "New Man" recommendations: don't douse foods with too much hot sauce, exercise regularly, eat low-cholesterol foods, respect speed limits. He also wants parents to stop buying Barbie dolls — and breast jobs — for their daughters.

The question on every Alabaman's mind: can the New Socialist Man buy sex toys?

The personal, the political

"The personal is political."

There's a good old slogan from the '60s. I'm not sure just what it was originally intended to signify...probably that one's personal whims and desires are grist for the political mill, worthy of having laws made over them. But if true, it follows (because of the "is of identity" - and don't go Clintonian on me here) that the political is personal, that any political act that affects me negatively is a personal wrong committed by the legislators who voted for the law. They don't get to hide behind "the will of the people" because "the people" don't exist, only individuals who benefit or are harmed by any particular legislative act.

Continue reading "The personal, the political"

Review: Cleveland Chamber Symphony 10/7

The Cleveland Chamber Symphony's concert yesterday at Baldwin-Wallace was their usual mix of new pieces, modern repertoire, and 20th-century classics. It began with a commissioned work, In Memoriam David Lelchook: For the Victims of War, by Michael Leese. The program says that the commissioning body was the "Cleveland Chamber Symphony", but the notes say that it was "commissioned by Judith Lelchook in memory of her beloved brother...", so maybe the version in the program should have been, "commissioned by Judith Lelchook for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony." This sort of private patronage should be encouraged as much as possible. Ms. Lelchook was present to hear "her" piece and was acknowledged by the audience.

She got a lot of bang for her buck. Micahel has always written solidly professional music, but nothing that has gotten into me quite like this piece. The program notes were not encouraging..."Oh gawd, another anti-war piece with snare drum gunfire" (which, in the event, I missed), but the reality was something different. The thing which made the work special was the coexistence of lyricism and "wars and rumors of war", not alternating, but as material that was somehow both. This is a piece that could grow legs, especially with world events being what they are.

This was followed by the John Adams Chamber Symphony. It's not the first time the CCS has played this work, but the first time in the Steven Smith, post-Ed London era. I was not much taken with it last time I heard them play it, but it's a piece that grows on you with familiarity. I tend to prefer the serious Adams to the "playful ear" Adams (though the portentious can easily become pretentious) and this is definitely in the latter category (So is Century Rolls, but concertos are supposed to tickle the ear.) The piece is hard as hell to play. Special mention should be made of the violin work of Susan Britton, especially in the last-movement cadenza with tambourine (played by Andrew Pongracz; easily the most musical tambourine playing I have ever heard, from an implement which I generally consider a "musical instrument" only by courtesy.)

After intermission was the old classic, Atlas Eclipticalis by John Cage. I was happy that they did it; Cage must always be remembered, even if only for the same reason we remember 9/11. It was a bit odd to do an orchestral piece with only 7 musicians though; it gave the work a post-Webern feel which I don't believe was intended. I entered into the spirit of the experiment, and found that "tonality happens"; indeed, I even heard an antecedent-consequent phrase or two. The instrumental parts (or in the case of bassoonist Mark DeMio, parts of instruments) were of course expertly played. I'd rather have heard Morton Feldman, but hey, you take what you get.

The final piece, Big Band, was by Elizabeth Joan Kelly, a recent MM grad of CIM who was born in Slidell LA but is now resident in Tallahassee. It was performed on last year's "Young and emerging" concert, and the band liked it so well that they repeated it on a regular concert. It was a good call. Kelly has taken sonic objects which are recognizably jazz-derived and worked them in a totally non-jazz way. In this, there's a superficial resemblance to the music of Jeff Harrington. But where Harrington's usable past is in minimalism (he hates to hear that, but it's so), what I heard here was the ghost of Xenakis (!), particularly in the opening. The work had a fresh voice and did not outstay its welcome, and I predict a bright future for its composer.

Tom Jackson's review is here.

How Che became a fashion statement

"Che Guevara has become a brand. And the brand's logo is the image, which represents change. It has becomes the icon of the outside thinker, at whatever level - whether it is anti-war, pro-green or anti-globalisation," she says.

Outside thinker?! The man who fought to establish the ultimate Establishment, which is well on its way to being established?

As time went on, the meaning and the man represented by the image became separated in the western context, Ms Ziff explains.

It began to be used as a decoration for products from tissues to underwear. Unilever even brought out a Che version of the Magnum ice cream in Australia - flavoured with cherry and guava.

And people are out there worrying about Indian blankets with swastikas on them?

Actually, this is a fascinating story, naming all the people who were responsible for creating the Che Brand: Alberto Korda (the original photographer), Jim Fitzpatrick (who turned it into a graphic), and even Jean-Paul Sartre (who may have given the photo to Dutch anarchists.) But what's missing...perhaps too hot for the Beeb...is a real examination of how the face of a political terrorist became acceptable causal wear, and what that means for us as a society.

UPDATE 10/10 - Capitalist exploitation of Che might be acceptable, but the Guevara family draws the line at Islamist exploitation.

UPDATE 10/16 - And Humberto Fontova (the one-man anti-Che lobby) tells the story about the guy who should have been on all those Che shirts.

It's Friday: time to improve my memory


"There are human epidemiological data of others indicating that mild [to] moderate drinking may paradoxically improve cognition in people compared to abstention," says Maggie Kalev, a research fellow in molecular medicine and pathology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and a co-author [ with Matthew During, a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine - JAQ] of an article in The Journal of Neuroscience describing results of a study she and other researchers performed on rats. "This is similar to a glass of wine protecting against heart disease, however the mechanism is different."

One way to get a politician's attention

Said Ward last month, “If this (zone change) doesn’t go through, I lose my home, I lose my shop, I lose everything I got.”

After Thursday’s 5-7 vote was cast, Ward stood and walked steadily toward the council.

“Johnny (Piper), I know I can’t speak,” Ward said over the mayor, who was telling Ward the public comment period had ended.

“Y’all have put me under,” Ward said, pulling out a small silver handgun. “I’m out of here.”

A gunshot punctuated his sentence, and Ward fell at the feet of those sitting in the first row.

My take on this is a little different from Beck's. In one sense, Ward was seeking an unearned value, by having his house declared more valuable so that he could secure the loan he needed. Yet his house was worth less solely because of the artificial market distortion of zoning. It would be interesting to know just what reasons the council majority had to refuse his request, besides that they could, or to know if zoning had been imposed before or after he got the house. Yet Billy's main point stands:

A nation of people bred now to everything but freedom will generally find it unimaginable that a man might simply have enough of the mortal indignity of so-called "public servants" arbitrarily deciding on the terms and conditions of his life, as if it is theirs, and not his.

And if it's not your life, but somebody else's, and there is no way to get it back, it's not totally unreasonable to take your life, so they can't have it. Not my choice or yours, maybe, but not the choice of a madman either.

Mr. Atkins, do not mingle with other passengers

We flew to Oakland Airport, were ready for a beer,
The airport man 'e up an' sez, "there's no deplaning here.
Behind the baggage trailers, that's where you'll leave the plane."
I gets into the plane again an' mutters, half-insane:

O it's GI this, an' GI that, an' "GI, go away";
But it's ``Thank you, Mister Joseph,'' when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Joseph,'' when the band begins to play.

(with thanks to Rudyard Kipling)

Case Collegium concert Sunday 8PM

Sunday, October 7, at 8PM in Harkness Chapel, the Case/CIM Collegium Musicum will present "Binchois and His World", a program based around the chansons of Gilles Binchois and his contemporaries. Special guest artist will be Scott Metcalfe, director of the Blue Heron Renaissance Choir, on vielle (he's on campus filling in for Julie Andrijeski in the performance practice course.) I haven't heard the singers or the soft instruments yet. I'm in the alta capella that will be opening each half of the concert, doing pieces from Trent 87 among others. I'm on alto shawm, Debra Nagy (the director) on soprano, and new grad student Adam Corzatt on sackbut (the slide trumpet is in the shop). Adam is a real high-range monster, lots of face, a job made harder because this is (as far as I know) the first Case loud band to play at A460 (one of the more standard Renaissance pitches). Debra is of course the special non-guest artist, part of the grand Case tradition of shawm virtuosi extending through Adam and Rotem Gilbert back to some quite capable groups in the '80s led by Dr. Ross Duffin himself. It's both awe-inspiring and humbling (mostly humbling) to play with people who have solid professional careers...Debra recently got some nice press in American Recorder for her contributions to the recent Boston Early Music Festival.

Anyway, after the Cleveland Chamber Symphony concert, come out and hear us.

This test will not be graded

I know better than to take a stand on this one. But I have to ask questions. Do the blind have a right to force people to drive cars that make noise? Do people have a right to breathe clean air? Does one right override another? Do people have a right to streets free of unnecessary noise, even if it inconveniences the blind? If the blind have a right to noisy cars, do the deaf have a right to cars with flashing lights?

Justify your answers using any cogent theory of rights.

Knock 'em all down, let God sort 'em out

Cleveland tore down an empty century home on the city's East Side last month after a bank spent more than $19,000 to fix it up.

On the near West Side, a crew last May knocked down an empty two-family house after Councilman Brian Cummins e-mailed the Building Department asking that it be taken off the wrecking list. A prospective buyer had already fixed the garage and rewired the house.

In June, a crew demolished a Revere Avenue house that the Union Miles Development Corp. and another nonprofit development group, Neighborhood Progress Inc. wanted to renovate.

Frank Ford of Neighborhood Progress said the nonprofit persuaded the lender that owned the property to drop the price from $49,000 to less than $10,000.

Before the deal could go through, the house vanished.


Yep, gotta destroy blight. That's the ticket.

Who would move into a city with such a cavalier disregard for property rights?

Pop can smuggling ring broken up

I grew up in Michigan and have family there, so it's natural that we've discussed returning our Ohio cans to Michigan for 10¢. So I was a bit shocked to read in Taranto that a smuggling ring has been broken up for doing just that. Well, apparently the cans might not have been marked for Michigan redemption at all, and half those arrested were merchants.The charges specifically mention "nonreturnable beverage containers", and when they're crushed, you can't tell if they're returnable or not. Since the ring operated in Ohio, where there is no deposit law, the actors "knew or should have known" that no deposit had been paid.

I see an Interstate Commerce Clause problem here. Cans are commonly sold in Ohio with various state's deposits printed on them. If I bought them in a 5¢ state and redeemed them in Michigan (the Seinfeld scenario), I would be committing the same dollar amount of fraud as if I'd bought them in Ohio and redeemed them in a 5¢ state. Yet I've never heard of another state having problems with can-smuggling rings. Could it be that the real problem here is that Michigan's deposit is too high in relation to other states, just as some states have disproportionate cigarette taxes, and that the disparity encourages organized criminal gangs like Hezbollah? This assumes that it could be a crime to redeem a can marked with a certain value. How can the authorities know the can's provenance? If I live in Toledo and buy my pop in Temperance MI, am I a criminal if I try to get my deposit back?