Donald's Blog

  This old house was only a few blocks from the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. All the neighborhood cats lived in the basement during the winter. The house has long since been torn down, but in 1972 there were AR2ax speakers in the front room, and a lot of good music was heard there.

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In the 21st century I am just as opinionated as ever, and I now have an outlet. I shall pontificate here about anything that catches my fancy; I hope I will not make too great a fool of myself. You may comment yea or nay about anything on the site; I may quote you here, or I may not. Send brickbats etc. to: dcmusicbox@earthlink.net.

 

May 20, 2012

A Sunday book review

Having read the excellent Wall Street Journal's weekend review section, I can now go slumming online to glance at the New York Times book section, and I have enjoyed not one but two reviews of amateurish right-wing polemic. Janet Maslin's review of The Amateur, by Edward Klein, reveals that it is an autobiography in which Barack Obama appears as well as Mr Klein. Even better, Joe Klein (no relation, as far as I know) reviews Jonah Goldberg's The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas
      I think Jonah Goldberg is a jerk and a creep. I can say that because this is my blog and nobody is paying me and anybody can say anything they want to on the Internet. I can also say it because Goldberg's column appears regularly in the Morning Call, and it is always unintentionally funny (unlike Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal, for example, who is merely boring). But my first exposure to Goldberg's work was back in West De Moines in a Barnes & Noble store of blessed memory. One of the world’s lonely bores used to hang out in the café there, and a few years ago the book he wanted to tell us all about was Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. This is one of those books, like Ann Coulter’s or Bill O’Reilly’s, of which you can open any page at random and skim one paragraph and see that it is tendentious crap and that you don’t need to read further. Goldberg’s thesis was that a great many people in the early 20th century, before two world wars and the Holocaust and all that, and who should have known better even then, believed in rubbish like eugenics, which was the “science” of sterilizing all the ugly stupid people in the world so that soon we would all be beautiful and smart. A lot of the believers were the “progressives” of that era, who also proposed civil rights for black people, votes for women, social security, and all that nonsense. It follows, according to Goldberg, that anyone he wishes to describe as a “liberal” a century later is a fascist. If you can follow that.
      Several years later, Goldberg has been held back in the sixth grade several times. Joe Klein’s amusing review of his new book is here.

 

May 20, 2012

Kudos to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

When my dear old friend Barbara Costanzo moved back to Wisconsin, I was surprised to learn that the well-known Dutch conductor Edo de Waart is now the music director of the Milwaukee Symphony. She’s been going to the concerts, and evidently de Waart is one of those, like Jascha Horenstein, Sergiu Comissiona and a few others, who is really good at training a band, lifting it up. They recently delivered a very good showing of themselves at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The reason they snagged de Waart for Milwaukee is that his wife is from the area. Here's an interesting feature about him from Milwaukee’s NPR station.
      Milwaukee of course also has the Fine Arts Quartet at the local campus of the U. of Wisconsin... Gee, I miss the MIdwest.

 

May 20, 2012

Matthew Benson, ace photographer

Matthew Benson is an ace photographer and an all-round good guy. When he went on morning TV to talk about organic vegetables, he managed to keep motormouth Regis Philbin from taking over (and Philbin was amused). Matthew has a small farm in New York state, where he photographed chickens for an article in Organic Gardening magazine, and managed to get one of them standing on tip-toe, certainly the chicken photo of the century. He has a beautiful new book out about how to photograph plants, and about digital photography in general, and an exhibit soon at Anthony and Florence Rodale's nifty new gallery in Emmaus, Pennsylvania; if you're in the Lehigh Valley, check it out. Here's a piece from The Morning Call.

 

May 20, 2012

Butch comes to Bethlehem

The last time I saw Texas troubadour Butch Hancock live was in the back room of a pub in South London 25 years ago. Now he's coming to Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and I'm going to be there. Here's an article from the local press, and here's my entry for Butch from my encyclopedia.
      The title of the article is silly. Butch's songs are not old time, but timeless. There's a lot of live music in the Lehigh Valley, most of it local cover bands or used-to-be rock stars, but this gig will be special.

 

May 20, 2012

Speaking of photographs...

Speaking of photographs...

Having mentioned Matthew Benson's work, I hesitate to display my cruddy snapshots, but can't resist. This is my feeble capture of Elizabeth Murray's photo of Monet's lily pond, one of the most breathtaking photos I have ever seen. Her pictures are on display at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx until October. Her website is here.

 

May 20, 2012

Peonies in the Bronx

Peonies in the Bronx

Personalities on display all over the New York Botanical Garden include the most outrageous peonies; this is just one example.

 

May 20, 2012

Monet in the Bronx

Monet in the Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden has recreated Monet's garden at Giverny; that sounds ridiculous, but they have actually done a very impressive job of filling an enormous conservatory with a tribute to the genius of an artist who loved plants as much as he loved painting. It's a magnificent achievement, on display until October.

 

May 20, 2012

And finally today...

Here's Butch Hancock and his West Texas Waltz.