Wednesday, January 21, 2009

episode 44: a new hope

I wish I could say I originated that title, but a search on the googles shows one other blogger on the planet had done it previously.

Worldwide reaction seems to be quite intense and favorable to our new President although the German newspaper "Bild" led with an analysis of his handwriting.

Their conclusion? Obama is harmonious, artistic, but he has "eine Schattenseite"... "a dark side". I guess the Germans know all about dark sides.

There are quite a few people in the world with the title "President" but very few came by it through any honest election process. I wonder how they feel about their own legitimacy while watching all this? A lot of internationals have felt that American democracy is a sham, but it's harder to say that after this result.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

observations on the inauguration

-NBC's Matt Lauer sagely observed the "45 years ago Barack Obama would have had trouble voting in this country". I'm sure that was true because 45 years ago Obama was... TWO YEARS OLD.

-I may be one of the rare people who likes the classic band music played during the ceremony. All my favorite marches get pulled out. Fittingly the band played Vaughn William's "Seventeen Come Sunday" when Bill Clinton was introduced...hmmm...

some words from "Seventeen Come Sunday":

How old are you? My fair pretty maid
How old are you my honey
She answered me right cheerfully
I'm seventeen come Sunday

-In a sign of the decline of the American auto industry, the new Presidential limo has 6 inch thick doors:

but a trunk about half the size of my old 1961 Cadillac:

(photo not of my car but mine was very similar to this)

-DO you think there was any worldwide cheering, crying for joy or dancing in the streets when either of these guys got elected?

-Why do people reciting poems work so hard to make it seem like they are not reciting a poem?

-I think Warren's and Lowrey's prayers were about the same length, but Warren's sure seemed longer. It was like the blessing before Thanksgiving dinner that lasts too long. Note also that by including The Lord's Prayer he was disregarding Jesus' direction that that was for private use, not for show.

-I predict four years of people claiming Barack Obama is not legally President because the oath of office got bobbled by the Chief Justice.

-I am now old. The President of the United States is younger than I am. But he's got gray hair and I don't. At least I've got that much to cling to.

Monday, January 19, 2009


If anyone in the White House had a sense of humor they would have put something like this together. Just to leave as a gift. But I doubt their sense of humor.

I hope our new President is the smartest, coolest, calmest, hippest, thinkingest, strategiest, best President ever. Because that's what it's going to take to get us out the hole we're in.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

awkward landings

It does seem that Captain Sullenberger made the right choice to "ditch" his jet in the Hudson River.

But I have to wonder at the logic involved. It's reported that one reason he rejected the suggestion to land at nearby Teterboro Airport was that "he had never flown [there] before."

But he had landed in the Hudson before?

Does any one remember the title of an old movie drama about an airliner that has to crash land in the ocean? I remember seeing it several times on TV in the 60's. I can't find any reference on IMDB, however.

I had a strange landing flying home from Minnesota after Christmas. We were descending to DFW in what seemed like a normal approach. We were close enough to the ground to start seeing blades of grass when the plane starts climbing straight back up again. Then we have about 10 minutes of gut wrenching turns and several moments where it seems the bottom has dropped out and I'm weightless in my seat.

No one ever explained what had gone wrong. My guess is we were landing on the wrong runway.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

choir boys

Occasionally you will read a critic of "American Idol" complain that the singers are indulging in an excessively "melismatic" style, when one syllable is stretched out over many notes.

This was an issue during the Reformation. Protestants complained that choral music in church had become so melismatic that the words were incomprehensible. One line of text might get spread out over several minutes.

Giovanni Palestrina represented the apex of that style. One of my college teachers asserted that Palestrina's music was "perfect" in that it never broke the rules of counterpoint, and was therefore "boring".

But when it's done well, it's a beautiful, hypnotic cloud of sound that you can easily imagine might be the sound of angels.

This is a pretty impressive performance by some college singers, each one singing a unique part:

Saturday, January 03, 2009

indoor archaeology

How long has it been since I cleared off my desk?

Well, at the bottom layer I found this ticket stub to "Chicken Little" from November 2005.

UPDATE: Also found in another strata... a check for $1000 for some free-lance work I did last summer.