August rambling #2: Fibonacci sequence music

Tubby

A friend wrote: “Suddenly, it all makes perfect sense to me. Tubby all grown up=?”

Boston Globe, 22 August 2018: “It’s hard to come up with a satisfactory explanation that doesn’t end up with ‘because he got his hand caught in the cookie jar.'”

The drift towards autocracy continues

“That’s Obstruction of Justice”

How the National Enquirer helped DJT’s fixer keep scandals off the front page

‘Like a State Dinner’: Huge White House Event Honoring Evangelical Christians and he lied to them that he got rid of a law

The 47-page indictment against California Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret details a shocking list of improper uses of campaign funds and financial mismanagement. The Hunters are accused of spending $250,000 of campaign funds on expenses that no reasonable person would believe were legitimate campaign expenditures

Why peace doesn’t last without women

Trade: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Jared is to blame

Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development

Another deadly pandemic is coming — and the United States is not ready

Cancer: It’s Not Always What You Eat, But When You Eat It

Climate change will be deadlier, more destructive and costlier for California than previously believed, state warns

Life After Quitting; Five people on addiction, in their own words

America Soured on My Multiracial Family

Elizabeth Warren stakes out her message

Court Backs Activists Who Feed Homeless

The interwoven systems that shape our destiny even though we rarely pause to think about them

TV debate between William F. Buckley and Groucho Marx

When a Stranger Decides to Destroy Your Life

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey

Meet The People Who Spend Their Free Time Removing Fake Accounts From Facebook

Ken Levine interviews Peri Gilpin of Frasier, Part 1 and Part 2

A mouse walks into a bar

Jaquandor geeks out

Pulp Empire – “A Tarantino inspired Star Wars mashup and remix”

The insidious lure of nostalgia

Fonts of knowledge

Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart?

Snapping dry spaghetti into just two pieces

Mean Hetty Green

Scrambled eggs in a microwave

Now I Know: Why Bird Poop is White

MUSIC

Music from the Fibonacci sequence

Robert Mueller’s Indictment Song -James Corden

René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War – Paul Simon (2018)

The Cedar and the Palm,”symphonic picture” Vasily Kalinnikov

Bobaflex – Hey You (Pink Floyd cover)

SEUNGRI – ‘WHERE R U FROM (Feat. MINO)’

A Pentatonix kind of day

Kaze no Torimichi (The Path of Wind) from From My Neighbor Totoro – Joe Hisaishi, adapted for chamber performance

Coverville 1229: The Madonna Cover Story III

The Mamas and the Papas “If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears”

overture to Les Horaces – Antonio Salieri

Inspecta – Jain

The evolution of Dragon’s “Young Years”

Do songs of the summer sound the same?

Inductee insights: Moody Blues

Dirty Prank Calls, Done For $250,000

Newly Released FBI Files Expose Red-Baiting of Woody Guthrie

John McCain: blunt, hawkish, conciliatory, patriotic

I’m SO conflicted about John McCain. He fought in Vietnam, a war that I had actively opposed. But it’s long been my feeling that war is in the providence of civilian leadership. I understand that McCain, son, and grandson of four-star admirals, found his own way to serve his country, after his carousing youth, and suffered five and a half years of torture as a result.

After returning from Vietnam, McCain remained in the Navy until 1981, after which he embarked on a second career in politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a congressman from Arizona in 1982, then to the Senate in 1986.

His Vietnam experience made him a powerful advocate against “enhanced interrogation” by the United States, which this country, to its shame, surely participated in. And it created in him a great supporter for veterans. But it also helped make him an unrelenting war hawk, with whom I largely disagreed.

The first time I participated in the ABC Wednesday, in October 2008, it was re: the Keating Five when I wrote about McCain receiving about $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates in 1987, but hesitant about intervening on the financier’s behalf in the dealings with the Lincoln Savings and Loan.

That lapse, which he owned up to, led him to be an advocate for campaign finance reform with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) in legislation now rendered moot by the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling.

The Weekly Sift captured the reason why I would have voted for John McCain in the New York Republican primary for President in 2000, had I been eligible to do so, against George W. Bush.

“Presidential politics in New Hampshire traditionally has revolved around the town hall meeting, and McCain was the absolute master of that form. No matter what they’re asked, shallow candidates find a way to segue into their canned talking points. But… McCain always answered the questions he was asked. Usually, he did it knowledgeably and articulately while radiating a sense of earnestness tempered by self-deprecating humor.”

Then, of course, he blows it by pandering to South Carolina voters over the Confederate flag then hanging over the statehouse. Later that year, he admits he was wrong.

During the Iraq war, John McCain was right about those non-binding resolutions the Democrats tried to pass: it’s immoral to continue to, on one hand, fund the war and on the other hand, suggest the war is wrong.

During the 2008 campaign for President, McCain went to Selma, Alabama where on March 7, 1965, peaceful civil rights demonstrators were attacked by state and local lawmen. “I’m aware of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me. But I’m going to be the president of all the people and I will work for all of the people and I will listen to all of the people, whether they decide to vote for me or not.”

I became sure that John McCain would finally become President that year because of the Clinton/Obama infighting. He had considered then-Senator Joe Lieberman, a hawkish Democrat from Connecticut to be his Vice-President. But once again, to his greatest detriment, he essentially allowed the party to pick the relatively unknown former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Frank Schaeffer, a longtime supporter of John McCain, wrote in October 2008 that McCain-Palin rallies were starting to resemble lynch mobs. “If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.”

Does that sound familiar? No wonder he had to correct that woman during a town hall event.

If not for Palin, or maybe Tina Fey, McCain might have won. Or not. I thought in September 2008: “McCain’s self-declared lack of strength in the economic side is problematic. His economic policy, deemed ‘incomplete’ by the hardly liberal US News makes the rich richer. He declares that fundamentals of the economy are strong even as Wall Street collapses.”

John McCain and Ted Kennedy, Died August 28, 9 Years Apart,
of Brain Cancer (Jim Watson, Getty Images)


In August 2009, McCain noted that the health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the “Lion of the Senate”, wasn’t able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy, like McCain, was an “old-time” senator who really DID work “across the aisle.”

In 2012, McCain called out the sheer lunacy of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) when she and four Republican colleagues accused Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin of being circuitously connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He needed to do that sort of thing more often.

And of course, there were three Republican Senators who voted against the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, in July 2017. One was John McCain, who made a dramatic return to DC that week after a diagnosis of brain cancer.

In his October 30, 2017 speech to the Naval Academy, he said: “We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”

In a most divisive time in history, two former presidents, Obama and Bush 43, the guys who kept him out of the Oval Office – have been asked to deliver eulogies at the funeral.

His Farewell Statement, written back in March 2018, showed that John McCain might be the last good Republican.

Well Intentioned White People; West Side Story

When my wife’s family was staying at a timeshare in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, my wife, my daughter, a brother-in-law, one of his daughters, and I went to see productions at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield.

More correctly, we went to the TWO theaters. On the Sunday, we went to the St. Germain to see the world premiere of the play Well Intentioned White People. It was written by Rachel Lynett, who gave an author talk before we’d gotten there.

Someone keyed Cass’ car with a racial epithet. The black professor, looking to make tenure, would just as soon let it go. But thanks to the well-meaning concern of her roommate Viv, it becomes public.

Soon Dean West from her university ends up wanting to make the incident a teachable moment, with Cass and another “minority”, Parker, having to do the heavy lifting to create an “appropriate” event in response.

Many of the characters are quite recognizable, especially the dean, if you’ve ever spent five minutes in the world of academia. You might be surprised to find that the story is often quite funny.

The production continues through September 8. I hope it will be considered for Cap Rep sometime in the future. Incidentally, Andrea Cirie, who plays the dean, has performed in the Albany theater.

The musical we, all but my BIL, saw on the following Wednesday on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, a couple blocks away from the St. Germain, was West Side Story.

I know this story extremely well, and it may be my favorite musical. I saw the movie when I was 10 or 11, I’ve seen a ballet, and several stage productions.

This may be the best. Here’s Steve Barnes’ review in the Albany Times Union. It is playing through September 1.

The Barrington Stage Company was founded in January 1995. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee premiered on the St. Germain stage in 2004, ran on Broadway from 2005-2008, and then played on the Mainstage later in 2008.

My wife and I are considering going to Pittsfield to see The Glass Menageie on the Mainstage in October. It’s amazing that with our several trips to the area over the past couple decades, we discovered BSC only this year.

H is for helmet: bicycle, motorcycle

For the longest time, I’ve been wearing a helmet when I ride my bicycle. Years ago, I used to take a lot of grief for it. “Whadja think you’re doin’, riding a motorcycle?”

That’s because in New York State, only bicyclists under the age of 14 years old are required to wear safety certified bicycle helmets when they are operators or passengers on bicycles. BTW, children aged 1 to 4 must wear certified bicycle helmet and ride in specially designed child safety seats.

Whereas, motorcycle helmets ARE REQUIRED in New York State. “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he wears a protective helmet of a type which meets the requirements set forth in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safety standards as may from time to time be amended.”

I’ve read that protective headgear is designed to absorb shock and redistribute impact on contact, thus reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury. Specifically, despite some criticism of bike helmets for not being protective enough, they do cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) by half when riders suffer a head injury, a U.S. study suggests.

I have this friend Donna who had a serious bicycle accident in July 2017. She recently showed me photos some days beyond her event, and she would agree about two things: 1) she looked pretty terrible in the after her event, though she looks quite like herself now; and 2) if she had not been wearing a helmet, at best, she would have had severe brain injury, and more likely, she would have died.

I sought her out because my sister Leslie had experienced a remarkably similar event in June 2018, with each flying over the handlebars. Having seen her helmet, which she bought only three days before the event, there’s little doubt she would have been dead or permanently injured without the “shell”.

I know some people don’t like helmets because of vanity, or “freedom”, or wanting to feel the wind in their hair. My experience suggests those are meaningless trade-offs if you’re deceased.

For ABC Wednesday

Full moon, lost keys, Berkshires vacation

The three of us just got back from a week-long vacation in a timeshare in Hancock, just across the state border in western Massachusetts. I never write about these things beforehand or during the trip. “hi, we’re away until Friday. Please rob our house.”

Did you miss me? Of course not; that’s the beauty of posting ahead of time. But I missed me, and my quiet reflective time. It was difficult to keep up with current events, or visit other blogs, or write this one. I did have Internet connection on the laptop, but my cellphone was useless. There were a couple TVs in the room, but I never saw the news but once.

The irony, naturally, is that I have plenty to blog about, not just what I did, but what’s going on, such as Robin Leach dying. I think some other folks passed away recently as well.

A long-planned meeting of my parents-in-law, my two remaining brothers-in-law and my wife, sans the spouses, took place. This meant the “outlaws”, which is how my BIL’s wives and I have long dubbed ourselves, got to compare notes on family characteristics. It was surprisingly fun.

When the three of out we went out in Albany on Saturday, we wondered what the heck was wrong with the world. Two bicycles almost ran into our car, and separately, another bicyclist nearly cut in front of us.

OK, they’re bike people. But then two different people parked their cars and started crossing the street in the middle of the block in front of us. They didn’t even look, yet they had no distracting electronic devices.

This continued with more pedestrians and cars Being Stupid all weekend. Yes, it was a full moon. I’m not one to attribute the level of earth’s satellite to wacky human behavior, but SOMETHING had to be happening.

I lost all my keys a couple weeks ago. No clue where, but naturally, it’s been a royal PITA. We went to Home Depot Sunday to get new keys, copied from my wife’s set. Front door and back door keys – no problem. Mailbox key – ditto. The shed key, where I keep my bike – no can do. Feh.

Champagne kisses and caviar dreams to all of you.

EpiPen extended use dates provided by Pfizer

My daughter has been had in her possession (or her mother’s, or mine) an Epipen for nearly a decade.

For those who aren’t familiar, an “EpiPen is an injection that contains epinephrine, a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs. The allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) treated with the use of EpiPen include those from insect stings or bites, food, drugs, and other allergens.”

We discovered my daughter’s allergy to peanuts when she was two and a half, and ate a cookie. She also responds poorly to several tree nuts, which we found out a couple years after that. We, of course, are very vigilant about checking food labels. To date, we’ve never actually USED the device, though we have practiced with the dummy version of the Epipen: Blue to the sky. Orange to the thigh.

But, like most health aids, the Epipen has an expiration date, so this requires getting a new device a couple times a year. The schools loathe having outdated medicines on hand.

As it turns out, for a varirty of reasons, there has been a shortage of Epipens in 2018. To address this, “FDA is alerting health care professionals and patients of updated dates through which some EpiPens and the authorized generic version, manufactured by Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company, may be used beyond the manufacturer’s labeled expiration date.”

If you click on this link, you can look for the alphanumeric batch designation, the manufacturer’s original expiration date, and the new expiration date (beyond manufacturer’s original expiry date).

The thing is, I’ve always sensed that the expiration date was too short, which has made the process of keeping “current” devices at school/camp/et al to be costly and inconvenient.

In a related announcement, the FDA approved the first generic version of the EpiPen this month.

Leonard Bernstein would have been 100

Leonard BernsteinThis is true: I have a stuffed lion named Lenny, named after Leonard Bernstein. He has a wild and magnificent mane, just like the composer/educator often had when he was conducting a symphony.

If he only did those Young People’s Concerts on CBS-TV during my growing-up period (1958-1972) , that would have been enough to make him an important figure in my life.

But, of course, he also composed the music to West Side Story, a movie I saw when I was about 10, and which I’ve seen in various iterations of plays and ballets at least a half dozen times. The Quintet version of Tonight was revelatory.

Leonard Bernstein had such a vast and varied career, I can hardly do it justice.

Here’s a bunch of links:

Leonard Bernstein: Young People’s Concerts | What Does Music Mean (Part 1 of 4) (1958)

Glenn Gould and Leonard Bernstein: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor (BWV 1052) (1960)

West Side Story -Tonight Quintet and Chorus (1961)

Leonard Bernstein explains beautifully and eloquently exactly what a conductor does

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “The Titan” with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, conducted by Bernstein himself

George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – Leonard Bernstein, conductor AND pianist, New York Philharmonic, the Royal Albert Hall (1976)

Leonard Bernstein – Kennedy Center Honors, 1980

Jaquandor writing about John Williams: “There’s a wonderful essay by Leonard Bernstein called ‘The Infinite Variety of Music,’ which appears in the book of the same title. The essay is actually the script of one of the wonderful episodes he used to do for the educational teevee program Omnibus.

“In this particular episode, Bernstein described how composers are able to create an astonishing variety of musical works from just thirteen notes of the Western tuning system, by reducing things even further and showing how a number of great composers wrote amazing pieces, many of which are very familiar, by using as their main motif the exact same four-note melody.”

Bernstein at 100

Religion & Spirituality In The Music Of Leonard Bernstein

10 Must-See Artifacts in This Powerful Leonard Bernstein Centennial Exhibition

Amy Biancolli interview with Jamie Bernstein, Lenny’s daughter

Movie review: Eighth Grade

There was an easy way my wife and I knew the movie Eighth Grade was definitely on the right track; we brought our recent eighth grader with us to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. She sat between her mother and me at the cinema, and alternated burying her face in into the arm of one parent or another in mortified recognition.

The film is an honest and poignant comedy about Kayla (newcomer Elsie Fisher) as she’s continually trying to figure out adolescence during the last week of middle school. Her father Mark (Josh Hamilton) tries to negotiate the terrain between showing that he cares and trying to give his daughter space, but just ends up leaving her exasperated. (Sometimes I know the feeling.)

I suppose what I like about the film is what it’s not. It largely avoids being a knock-off of Mean Girls or Clueless. Social media plays a large part in this endeavor – Kayla records a bunch of self-help videos – but she doesn’t become a YouTube star. It’s not an emo bummer.

Writer/director Bo Burnham, who says that he’s never been a 13-year old girl, talked on The Daily Show about how his stand-up comedy was really appealing to that middle school demographic.

Maybe it’s that there’s something universal about being person unprepared for the challenges of being on the cusp of adulthood, a period many look back upon with an odd mixture of nostalgia and horror.

The film is rated R for “language and some sexual material”, none of which was ribald enough to suggest you keep your teen home. In fact, some of the sex ed stuff is hysterically funny, and true.

Naomi Fry of The New Yorker says the movie has “queasy verisimilitude.” If you’ve ever been thirteen, you should watch Eighth Grade, and drag a teenager with you if you can.

Covering the regime’s pep rallies

A guy I know and respect IRL posited: “The media shouldn’t be covering Trump pep rallies. It would drive him crazier not to be covered.” I understand this position.

Omorosa Manigault Newman, the former reality show villain turned White House adviser turned regime foe suggested as much: “There’s one way to shut Donald Trump down and that is to just don’t give him the oxygen,” she said on The Daily Show recently. “And the oxygen comes from the clicks, the likes, the shock, the discussions. If you ignore him, then you starve him of the thing he loves the most ― and that is controversy and attention.”

Yet I’m resistant to the idea.

1. He’ll still be covered by FOX, CBN, right-wing bloggers. Do we want to cede the analysis and the reporting of news to them?

2. He’ll tweet about it. I remember some folks early on suggested not covering those. But unfortunately, he makes pronouncements on the platform. He fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter.

3. Failure to cover him will feed into his narrative that the news is biased. Some have suggested that point anyway after the “editorial collusion by dozens of newspapers,” in response to the regime’s “fake news” claims.

4. He announces things at his rallies that the public should be aware of. At the rally in Great Falls, MT on July 5, 2018, he announced, “I’ve directed the Pentagon to begin a process of creating a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces called the space force.”

It’s also where QAnon, which is either a “a deranged conspiracy cult” or a faux movement, leapt from the Internet to the crowd at the Tampa MAGA tour on July 31.

There are, I imagine from reading enough right-wing literature, some people who DO believe the regime actually “installed Robert Mueller as part of an ongoing plan to capture the Muslim terrorist Barack Obama. At the climax of the consensus narrative, Trump supporters will have to unite for a mighty Good vs Evil fight in which Hillary will team up with George Soros in an attempt to overthrow the government, only to be cast down by Trump, who will then usher in a new age of Christian righteousness.”

(My head hurts.)

I’m pained by the cost of these rallies. While the core event expenses presumably comes from the campaign of the presumed 2020 Republican candidate for President, the taxpayers are on the hook for the Secret Service, which is already overextended, plus state and local law enforcement.

So I say cover the guy, and then read The Fact Checker’s ongoing database of the false or misleading claims he’s made since assuming office. It’s about 50 truth-bending comments per week, a goodly number of them at his rallies.

Hunchback of Notre Dame; Ring of Fire

It’s obviously for my own sake, not yours, that I review shows that my family sees ON THE LAST DAY OF THE PERFORMANCE.

We went to Mac-Hadyn Theatre in Chatham on August 5 to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame. My daughter kept correcting my wife’s pronunciation of the last word in the title; it DOESN’T rhyme with Mame.

Odd thing about the story. I’ve never read the book. Somehow, I had never seen the Disney adaptation BUT I own the soundtrack on CD. I’m fond of that music, particularly The Bells of Notre Dame and Hellfire.

The production was great, as usual. But what I should mention more often is the fact that when the minor characters are in the aisles leading to the tiny stage, they remain in character, not just waiting for their entrances.

And these people can SING! And, seemingly, singing right to the audience, and enjoying our appreciation of their vocal prowess.

On August 12 at Capital Rep downtown, we saw Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Coincidentally, Josh D. Smith, the music director of the show, was music director at Mac-Hadyn for nine years.

There were six musicians (plus the drummer, cordoned off) on stage, singing, playing multiple instruments – at least three of them played the upright bass. I was surprised to see a choreographer, Freddy Ramirez, listed, but there WAS a lot of movement on stage.

The first act was more biography, using the songs to tell John R. Cash’s story – and the latter, more of a jukebox musical. But the second act had the a cappella The Far Side Banks of Jordan, which was stellar.

I didn’t know this until afterwards, but there was a
1996 Broadway version of this show, which flopped after less than five dozen performances. This iteration has been whittled down in length, and from various reviews, for the better.

I was personally disappointed that Hurt, Johnny’s last great song, didn’t make the cut, but Ring of Fire. having nothing to do with volcanoes and earthquakes, was a monumental achievement.