November 15, 2015
Still learning to use Facebook
I have now made my Facebook page "public" so the link below will work for a billions of people. Duhhh...
July 29, 2015
As far as I know, not many people look at this blog, and I don't get around to writing much here anyway, so I am going to write whatever I want to write on my Facebook timeline. As irritating as Facebook can be, it is where I keep track of friends and family, so they will see whatever I write. Any other interested parties should go to https://www.facebook.com/dcmusicbox. Happy landings!
July 24, 2015
"It's MY couch."
(I can do cute animals as well as anyone.)
July 21, 2015
Attention must be paid
On this day in 1969 I was stuck in a motel in Oconomowoc, where my car had broken down. I thought there was something wrong with the TV: fuzzy picture, sound like a taxi radio. All of a sudden I realized guys were walking on the moon.
July 20, 2015
My rant for the day
Received today in an email from a dear friend:
It is a slow day in a little Greek Village.
A cute story, and I sympathize with everybody in it. There are a number of curious aspects.
July 19, 2015
It's the kitchen's turn
New floor, rearranging the cabinets... I can't tell you how proud I am of my son. Okay, he was inspired as a toddler by watching me put up a shelf or whatever, but he's gone screaming past any ability I ever had as a handyman. There's nothing he can't do. Once upon a time he handed me a tool; now I'm the one who does the fetching.
July 19, 2015
A blast from the past, in Colorado Springs
Once upon a time there were 1800 Tastee-Freez outlets in the USA; now there are fewer than 50 original locations. And there's one in Colorado Springs, spelled Tasty-Freeze. Dunno what that's about; maybe some of the original franchises have gone independent. But this one has great burgers, terrific fries, chocolate malts... miles better than McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's. We're going back soon.
July 10, 2015
Every day, a hundred small insults
Today in my spam file there's an email with the subject line "Hey, You Won a $50.00 Sams Club Gift Card". (We go to Costco, but we have nothing to do with Sams Club.) Then I am asked to take part in a 30-second survey for a chance to win a $50.00 gift card.
How many morons help them with their marketing on the strength of a false statement? Quite a number, no doubt.
July 9, 2015
Nat and Gus in New York
I’m reading the autobiography Nathaniel Shilkret: SIxty Years in the Music Business, published by Scarecrow Press. Shilkret (1889-1981) was a multi-talented man who was music director at Victor Records in the 1920s. He was so full ot stories that he was pursuaded to start writing them down; it isn’t really a very good book, published in 2005, edited (sort of) by his daughter and his grandson, with no dates and some clunky writing, but it sure is full of stories. Shilkret was playing the clarinet in public when he was about seven; at 19 or 20 he was playing for Gustav Mahler.
The following winter I played with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. First, Safanov, the great Russian piano teacher was conductor, and he brought quite a few young musicians into the staid German-controlled orchestra. After Safanov came the famous conductor and composer Gustav Mahler. It was a great experience for me at such a young age to be part of an orchestra with such remarkable musicians. Unfortunately Mahler was a very sick man and did not stay long with us.Then there’s a good story about a performance of Also Sprach Zarathustra under Safanov in which several musicians’ music stands got knocked over and the end of the piece was a shambles. “The next morning I bought all the newspapers, and, believe it or not, we received rave notices for our performance.”
Mahler, like some other conductors, doubled the woodwind players to compensate for the Beethoven scores in the loud parts because the modern orchestra used so many string players.That’s the end of the Mahler content. After Mahler left the Philharmonic Society, the board did not renew the horn player Reuter’s contract; he was too expensive and the next conductor (not named) “was not a Wagnerian specialist." The Met wouldn’t have Reuter back either, so he went freelance and toured with Walter Damrosch, as did Shilkret.
Shilkret says that contrary to popular legend, Paul Whiteman was a good conductor. But at the second (electric) recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in 1927, Shilkret conducted Paul Whiteman’s band because Gershwin and Whiteman were squabbling about tempi, according to Ryan Paul Bañagale’s book “Arranging Gershwin”. I hope that story is in the Shilkret book, which I am enjoying. It’s almost like hearing the old man telling his stories with an after-dinner glass of something.
July 9, 2015
Gizmo designers are all ESN
Apple's new music app, or interface, or whatever it is, offers the user 30 million songs, but that doesn't impress me. (Where is Tex Beneke's "Lavender Coffin"?) Anyway I am sure it would drive me nuts. Joanna Stern reviewed it in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, and all my suspicions are confirmed.
And there's a lot more, but you can always get help from Siri the robot, if you use "specific strings of words."
The people who design this stuff have no idea and apparently couldn't care less how their clients are going to want to use it. Everytime they update iTunes they screw something up, probably because they're the sort of people who think they need spellcheck. Yet Stern thinks that, like the original iPod, this new gimmick will wipe out Spotify and the others, because it is so intuitive at telling her what she likes. But I'm lucky; I have 65 recordings of Schubert's "Great" C Major symphony. What do I need with 30 million pop songs?
July 5, 2015
No paper this weekend
There's no weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal this week (no book review section, to which I look forward all week), because the 4th of July happened to fall on a Saturday. How un-American of them on our national birthday, to have turned down all that advertising.
July 4, 2015
And another Fourth of July
Thirty-five years ago today, our pals Leonard Joseph and Sue Carter tied the knot, and had their wedding party in our back yard in Teddington. They had had their first date on the night our David was born, so there were already shared memories; we serenaded the neighbors with Sousa marches on the record player, and Leonard took charge of the fireworks. Tonight they are in Spain celebrating their anniversary, and our thoughts are with them.
July 4, 2015
Well, it was forty years ago today
Forty years ago, on Friday, the 4th of July, 1975, I had been living in England for nearly two years. They had been tumultuous years for me. I will not go into any personal details unless some foolish publisher offers me a contract for an autobiography, but I had somehow escaped from the self-imposed limitations of flyover country.
In the pub I hoped to find someone I had met on the picket line, and she wasn't there, so I met someone else. I was still hoping to find a life partner, and it took another couple of years, but I found her.
July 3, 2015
At Musicweb, a CD review begins:
How can a project just getting off to a start, er, already be realised?
June 30, 2015
Initially I was not all that sanguine about gay marriage, because I thought that for thousands of years marriage was about blood, about ensuring that the next king would be legitimate, and why would people who will never make babies the old-fashioned way need to call it marriage? They should of course be able to have any sort of civil contract they want.
But that was too precious a view. The 50 states were never going to agree on a standard civil commitment (as I have been saying, we are not a nation but a loose federation of 50 squabbling little countries), and anyway the definition of marriage had changed a long time ago, with the shops full of pretty things where the bride could "register" and pick out her presents, to say nothing of Bridezilla herself, and a skyrocketing divorce rate leading to serial marriage. (And I ought to know about that).
And now there is the hypocricy and bullshit coming from those who disapprove of the Supreme Court's decision on the subject, like William McGurn in today's Wall Street Journal:
Earlier in his rant, of course, McGurn mentions "free exercise of religion" and all of that. Nowhere however does McGurn or anybody else tell me how gay marriage could affect my personal religious belief (religion is about controlling yourself, not other people) or could devalue my marriage (that is, the one that has lasted 36 years so far).
McGurn thinks that 'the full furies have been released", that we will now have a new culture war on our hands. I think he is a toad.