Monday, November 14, 2016

Frank Schaeffer, Son of Evangelical Royalty, Turns His Back, and Tells the Tale - The New York Times

Frank Schaeffer, Son of Evangelical Royalty, Turns His Back, and Tells the Tale - The New York Times

Schaeffer was interviewed on NPR today, Monday, November 14, 2016, vis-à-vis Trump, Republican wins, etc. and in researching him, I found this five-year-old feature....

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This is why we love journalism

Two killer stories in recent Bloomberg Businessweeks:

How Goldman Sachs exploited Libya

Gaming the system, ripping off investors in rural Vermont

The nature of the human animal is to steal.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Passings 2016

Boulez, Bowie, Harnoncourt, Prince, Zoltan Kocsis and now Leonard Cohen.

Who was more obsessed with God than Leonard Cohen?

Everybody Knows
Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

I first heard the name "Leonard Cohen" at college.  One of the roommates was East Coast, from Long Island, and much taken with him.  It was back when everyone had a guitar, and I did, too, and I thought Cohen was certainly artistic, kind of dark, and sometimes depressing.

So much water gone by the bridge since then.  Leonard made and lost and remade a fortune, spent years in a Buddhist monastery.

He was always artistic, never more so than with his last release, just a few days ago, and I am surely sad he is gone.  If you haven't read the New Yorker interview with him, just four short weeks ago, I recommend it.

R.I.P. to all.....

Ohio State leads the way: Implanting Lab-Grown Cartilage to Fix Damaged Knees | For Better | US News

Implanting Lab-Grown Cartilage to Fix Damaged Knees | For Better | US News

Coaxing Knee Cartilage to Regrow

Coaxing Knee Cartilage to Regrow

Later on, the researchers checked 66 of the patients' knees. They found signs of regrown cartilage in 42 cases. In 18 cases, regrown cartilage looked the same as normal cartilage, Stone's team reports.

Knee Cartilage Repair: How One Patient Proved His Doctors Wrong | The Huffington Post

Knee Cartilage Repair: How One Patient Proved His Doctors Wrong | The Huffington Post

Monday, November 07, 2016

Nov 7, 2016 We lost Jimmy. . . Bob Moriarty 321gold

Nov 7, 2016 We lost Jimmy. . . Bob Moriarty 321gold

Must read....

Zoltan Kocsis, Hungarian Pianist and Conductor, Dies at 64 | Billboard

Zoltan Kocsis, Hungarian Pianist and Conductor, Dies at 64 | Billboard

I met him back stage, one time, March 1, 1987, at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, following his program (I was 35, he was 34, how the time goes by....):

Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5
Liszt Ave Maria
Liszt Grosses Konzersolo
Schubert Sonata A, D. 959

He was a very great artist;  R.I.P. Z.K.

With less than one day to go, I find my candidate....

Zoltan Istvan for US President 2016

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

10 Classical Composers With Extreme Eccentricities

You can't make this stuff up:  Composers are just people, too, after all.  Still.....

10 Classical Composers With Extreme Eccentricities - Listverse

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hungarian Folk Dance troupe “steps higher;” much more to their art than leaps and boot slaps

When we were young we had some bohemian friends, Randy and Daisy.  Their passion was folk dancing.  They loved everything about it:  the music, the steps, the endorphins they ginned up from the strenuous exercise, the social interactions.  We were invited to join them, multiple times, but truthfully, we thought it corny, though harmless.  After all, we were young Americans, and young Americans didn’t “folk dance.”

Now, after decades, a near lifetime, come to find out as with so many things, we were wrong.  Turns out there is a lot to more to folk dance than is immediately apparent.  Though not a “fine art,” it is art, it is not “corny,” and it has as much meaning to offer humanity as any other art form, maybe more, and can even serve to show some remedy to much of what ails society today.

How did this reversal come about?  During the research for the “csárdás” section of a new book I was working on (see, I had made the online acquaintance of Mr. Kalman Magyar, and learned he would be producing a national tour of the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble in a program titled “Spirit of Hungary:  Revolution and Roots in Dance and Music.”  It would make its Chicago stop October 19, 2016.  He was extremely helpful to my research, I was grateful, and as an opportunity to say so in person, I promised to attend.

When the day actually came, as luck would have it, I was returning from an arduous two-week business assignment.  After a four hour flight, I went home long enough to drop my bag, splash water on my face, change clothes, and exhausted, push myself back out the door again to fight some unusually brutal Chicago traffic and make it to the show on time.

I’m glad I did.  I was repaid 500 times.  The dancers, some 20 strong, in the prime of youth, were unforgettable:  athletic, artistic, confident, poised, in absolute command of their intricate steps.  The young women were beautiful, lithe, expressive, and modest, all at the same time, not a small feat.  The young men:  muscular, leaping, boot-slapping, powerful, ferocious, even, at times, tender.  Moments of humor interspersed with moments of awe at the sheer athleticism of all the dancers.  It was a two-plus hour program, quite long, but one wished it wouldn’t end.  Part one was a moving tribute to the 1956 revolution;  part two, traditional folk dance.

Out in the wider world, we have wars and rumors of wars;  in this idyllic, mythic ‘village’ recreation, there was no such enmity.  In the dances for men only, everything was handshake, nod and respect, freely given, freely received.  No “dissing,” no “trash talking.” 

Most notably, the same high plane was attained when the young women took the stage to join the dance, and male-female relations came to the fore.  Respect, admiration, and eventually .... love.  One of the eleven set pieces even depicted a village marriage that followed a proper courtship.

Here was parity between the sexes vs. master-slave;  respect and love vs. cynical exploitation;  partnership vs. separation.   “Gender equality,” an ancient issue that has never and maybe never will be resolved and obviously much discussed in our society, actually becomes a reality in the art of folk dance.

It was in the steps, in the assured expressions, the eyes, the heart, the feeling that came from the dancers over the stage lights and into the audience.  All was right in the world, at least while the music was playing and the dancers were dancing.

Folk dance was showing us a possibility: a world not only of art and rhythm, dash and color, leaping and boot-slapping, sound and fire, but a world in which men can cooperate, and men and women can respect each other and achieve true oneness of purpose, neither diminished, both enhanced by the exchange.

This must be what God (we know in some quarters it is “politically incorrect” to mention him, still......) had in mind when he invented marriage and we don’t find it often in film, or television, or books or plays, but we did in the most unlikely setting:   folk dance.  Maybe the writer of Ecclesiastes had it right:  enjoy your spouse, enjoy your food, enjoy your work, your days under this sun are short, and end soon enough.  Here, through dance, was the enjoyment of the spouse, male to female, female to male, in a wholesome, yet vibrant setting.

The young pairs here were having fun, there was no angst, no hand wringing, so much so one might imagine having this much fun was illegal or at least politically incorrect.  Out in the wider world, sadly, too many young people were at the same moment taking drugs, committing crimes, ruining their lives in 1,000 ways, but none of that in this pristine, artful setting.

Dance, specifically folk dance, has in it a treasure chest of good things:  all the things our friends liked plus a) a model of relations between all humans, and specifically between male and female.

We write this at a time (October, 2016) when that very topic -- male-female relations -- is in the very forefront of the presidential race news.  Candidate Donald Trump was recorded some years ago bragging about his ways and means with women that some say should more rightfully be titled sexual assault.  Others chalk up the same disclosure to “locker room talk,” never acted on.  The “discussion” and race goes on....meanwhile....

Whether talk or action, that sort of sensibility could not be further from the ethos of folk dance where respect, parity, positive intentions reigned.

From the earliest days of “classical” music, composers have appropriated folk and popular tunes. 

For example, the final variation, no. 30, in J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which some cite as the foremost keyboard composition ever written, is a Quodlibet (lit. “that which pleases”) based on the tunes of two folk-songs, as pointed out by harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick, in his liner notes to his classic 1958 recording:

“Ich bin so lang nicht bei dir g'west.
Ruck her, ruck her, ruck her.”


“Kraut und Räben haben mich vertrieben,
hätt' mein' Mutter Fleisch gekocht,
so wär' ich länger blieben.”

These might be translated thus:

“I've not been with you for so long.
Come closer, closer, closer.”


“Beets and spinach drove me far away.
Had my mother cooked some meat,
then I'd have stayed much longer.”

A touch of love, a touch of humor, a good summation of the folk art.  If folk music was not a “dumbing down” for Bach, and countless other composers, then how much less for us.  It was for them a tool to be employed, and a special one.  Instead of “dumbing down,” it might be a “stepping higher.”

Understanding the ramifications and hidden meanings of folk dance help us to better  understand classical music.  For that alone, we earn an intellectual profit by giving a closer look to folk dance.

One of the projects Kalman Magyar had contributed to earlier in the year was my pursuance of a translation of Mihály Vörösmarty’s 19th century symbolist play, Csongor és Tünde.  Considered avant-garde for its time, the title character Csongor encounters money, power, and knowledge as paths to self-fulfillment, but finds them all wanting.  Only love, he concludes, can provide transcendence.

The folk dance art from Hungary seemed to provide another argument -- in human movements vs. words -- to the same conclusion that night in Chicago, that parity, respect and partnership were paramount virtues in human transaction, especially so in male-female transaction.  And that only these values would provide the path, the only path, to transcendence, at least in the never-ending interaction between the sexes.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The way to go out

Chicago radio legend Herb 'The Cool Gent' Kent dies at 88 |

The radio station where Kent worked, iHeartMedia's V103 FM Chicago, said Sunday that Kent died Saturday evening.

Kent had been on the air, like he was every weekend, just a few hours earlier and had celebrated his birthday just a couple weeks prior.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

If USA elects Hillary......

Trump vs. Hillary: A Summation -- Paul Craig Roberts -

If the result of Americans’ dereliction of duty is nuclear war, the American people will be responsible for the death of planet Earth. One would hope that with responsibility this great on their shoulders, the American people will reject the unequivocal war candidate and take their chances on holding Trump accountable to his words.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Artistic growth is more than anything else a refining of the sense of truthfulness.  The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy.  Only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult is is.

Willa Cather

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Prince Plays Gershwin

One very complex individual.  Seemingly androgynous in his style, he had a string of women, but he promoted monogamy.  One pundit said his songs were either prayers or foreplay.  He left out the sexy stuff, he said, when children started coming to his shows.  He lived a healthy lifestyle, but apparently got addicted to a painkiller that just might have done him in.

From the mundane to the sublime:  He could be seen riding his bike around the neighborhood, they say. He was a Jehovah's Witness, gave visitors to his home a copy of Watchtower;  he was a fan of Dairy Queen, and a customer of a local Twin Cities record shop where he could go through bins of vinyl, a place where the other customers respected his space and left him alone.

Oh, yes, and versatile, ground-breaking musician. Some say one of the greatest.  He makes himself right at home here in Gershwin.

When he died too young, the whole world let out a collective sigh.  Gone too soon, RIP Prince....

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cans or bottles? -- you decide

Is it ok to drink from cans?  We haven't thought so for many, many years when we learned of a former NFL team who practiced on a field laden with heavy-metal sludge:  many members succumbed early to Alzheimer's, dementia, and similar neuro-muscular issues.

It seems metals and brain function do not peacefully co-exist.

We had reason to revisit the issue recently.   Here's what we found:

Summary:  Cans bear risk from liners and the aluminum itself.  Alzheimer's takes many years to emerge, but autopsies show patients have higher rates of aluminum in their brains.  Where does it come from?  As these web pages point out, many sources.  Still....

Scientists are wary even though partisans like the American Beverage Association tells us a cheery "no problem."

So we come back to the ubiquitous question:  who do you trust?  Or in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood, "do you feel lucky, punk....well, do you?"

This writer doesn't trust trade groups, and doesn't feel "lucky," and very rarely drinks from cans.  Beer -- bottles only.  Water bottle and cookware -- stainless steel.

Cancer and dementia are horrors.  Why help them along?


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Two pieces of great journalism: Ty Cobb and the life insurance industry

Who Was Ty Cobb? The History We Know That’s Wrong - Imprimis

Executive summary:  The angry, evil, "rascist" Ty Cobb is a myth.  One of the best pieces of journalism we have come across lately.  This, and the life insurance expose on 60 Minutes from Sunday.

Just another complexity of biology

Oral bacteria may signal risk for pancreatic cancer

From RealtyTrac: the most toxic real estate markets in America

Here are the most toxic real estate markets in America - MarketWatch

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Facing A Growing Rat Problem, A Neighborhood Sets Off The Cat Patrol | WBEZ

Facing A Growing Rat Problem, A Neighborhood Sets Off The Cat Patrol | WBEZ

Thought police nab two

Calvin Trillin’s Poem on Chinese Food Proves Unpalatable for Some - The New York Times


Born again Christian and top fighter Manny Pacquiao on homosexuality

Pacquiao net worth is $200 million.  He lost his Nike contract over this, and we can't find exact amount of same, but assume "millions."  Said he was sorry to offend LGBTs with unfortunate choice of words ("worse than animals," whereas the Bible calls it "abomination", but glad he could tell the truth.)

Telling the truth will get you a knock on the door from the thought police.....please remember, freedom of speech is a one-way street.  Only acquiescence and obeisance to the Political Correctness god is acceptable.   Surely, by now, everyone knows that......?

The Panama Papers Could Really End Hillary Clinton's Campaign | Zero Hedge

The Panama Papers Could Really End Hillary Clinton's Campaign | Zero Hedge

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Merle Haggard, RIP

Merle Haggard, Country Music’s Outlaw Hero, Dies at 79 - The New York Times

This Mineral Could Literally Save Your Life: Magnesium!

This Mineral Could Literally Save Your Life: Magnesium!

How They Brainwash Us

How They Brainwash Us -- Paul Craig Roberts -

Liberalism has helped to make Western peoples blind by creating the belief that noble intentions are more prevalent than corrupt intentions. This false belief blinds people to the roles played by deception and coercion in governing. Consequently, the true facts are not perceived and governments can pursue hidden agendas by manipulating news.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

'Good Friday' Is A Roman Catholic Invention, Jesus Went To The Cross On A Wednesday

'Good Friday' Is A Roman Catholic Invention, Jesus Went To The Cross On A Wednesday ⋆ this explanation from the webiste Now The End Begins

Hungary Plans Ahead for what is now viewed as the inevitable

Thursday, March 24, 2016, AP -- Hungary's interior minister says the government wants to limit phone calls in the vicinity of any future terror attack to prevent the overload of communications networks and avoid interference with emergency and rescue services.

Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said Thursday that civilians would be restricted to sending only text messages in areas affected by any attack. The concept's technical aspects would be developed jointly with the telecommunications companies.

Pinter said networks frequently collapse after attacks because of the large number of people wanting to get in touch with friends or relatives.

Pinter said another alternative would be to expand an exclusive radio network already used by police and the disaster management agency to other emergency services like firefighters, ambulances and hospitals.

The idea is part of a new package of anti-terrorism measures being discussed by the government that also seeks to grant intelligence services greater access to financial transactions and personal communications.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Former Candidate Romney Proves our Leaders "Just don't get it"

Mitt Romney Is The Real Super-Fraud: Here’s The Proof, Chapter And Verse | David Stockman's Contra Corner

Executive summary:  Revolution underway.  Romney "doesn't get it."

To paraphrase meaning of the Trump revolt to the Establishment GOP from the days of Rome:

"Death without phrases."

Huckabee calls the Trump Juggernaut "A Peaceful Revolution, a coup against the War Party that rules D.C."

With a few more words, David Stockman weighs in:

The Trumpster Sends The GOP/Neocon Establishment To The Dumpster | David Stockman's Contra Corner

I think I finally "get" it.  This is why 'evangelical Christians' et al are moving to Trump, and all other concerned citizens who want no more senseless war, waste, profligacy.

Trump is the anti-Establishment candidate.  He is William Wallace, Braveheart, "freedom" candidate.  He is the chance for Americans to "stick it to The Man."

Same goes for Bernie, except go hard left.  Free schools, but no more Iraqs.  Hence, his big success.

The remainder, Hillary, is mere extrapolation of Obama, i.e. more oppression, more war, more deficits, more control, more 1984, more devastation for the middle class, more Goldman Sachs, more $250,000 speeches, more Libyan debacles, more entitlement (for her), more free stuff from a bankrupt state (us) for more and more illegal immigrants, more decline of America.  We are insolvent, under Hillary we go bankrupt.

Americans don't want Rubio's, or Cruz's, or even the soft-spoken Ben.  They want a hellion to go to the White House and turn D.C. upside down.  Left leaners, Bernie,  Right thinkers, Donald.

Bernie won't pass Hillary, but bravo, Bernie, we did indeed 'feel the Bern."

So there we have it, Donald v Hillary.

Rocky vs. Ivan Drago.

David v. Goliath.

The 150 to 1 underdog.  That's where Trump started from in October 2013.

Trump is too cocky, too vain, too proud to be "Presidential."  Perhaps.   But who else would take on the GOP?  One of their own sons?   No one else bought and paid for would ever dream of doing what Trump is doing.

Heavily flawed Trump is, yes, brave, yes, patriotic, apparently so.

One man, one fortune, one plane, more or less, and the ears and eyes of the world, and the hearts of more and more Americans.

He owes no one.

Can we even imagine such a thing?  Indebted to no one.  And yet, there it is.

We had all this and more in Ron Paul, but he, too, was soft spoken like Ben, and everyone missed his genius.  Shame on America.  And the time wasn't right.

Media age demands a celebrity it seems.  So now we got The Donald.  The anti-sycophant.  As Jimmy Connors said once upon a time,  "This is what the people want...this is what they've come to see."

In the back of our consciousness, we still love a winner, even if he's brash.  NFL rolls on, with more and more end zone dance, the kind of thing that would never have been done by a Jimmy Brown, Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas.

But that was then.  We live in the new world.

I used to think Trump could never top Hillary -- too many people wanting too much free stuff. 

Now I'm wondering if some Democrats themselves don't even yearn to be free of the yoke of official Washington, of war, debt, entitlement ----- whether from Dem or Rep, the same crew that made us a nation of bankrupt, belligerent wounded souls, lost in body and and in soul.

Trump, the pragmatist.  Yes, flawed, but a fixer, a doer.   What did Obama do for America?  Everyone I know that voted for him rues the fact now.

Go 4 or 8 more eight years of it.  More and more, the voters are saying, 'no way.'

America seems to be saying, OK Trump, get in there.  You can do no worse.  If you are half as smart as you say you are, you put together a great team, and actually turn the nation around.  In the great spirit of what made this country, people seem to be saying, "Let's try it......."  That's how everything great begins, with those three words.  And a little courage, and a lot of hard work.

Friday, February 19, 2016

End of an era for Goose Island

Goose Island sells original brewpub to Anheuser-Busch - Chicago Tribune

A singular place, GI attracted customers for its handmade beers and delicious menus from far and wide, including your writer.  We hope it can somehow stay the same, but we know, too, that is not the trend in our society for top-tier enterprises that put special stock in craftsmanship, and then sell out to corporate behemoths.  To the gods of fermentation, can we make an exception this time.....?


M.B.A., Goose Island

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Is this the calculus: negative interest rates = $4000 gold? ----- read on.....

Forget 'The Great Moderation', This Is 'The Great Intellectual Failure' | Zero Hedge

Comment:  To function, a democracy needs a learned, engaged populace.  What do the present frontrunners Trump and Sanders tell us about our political and financial "literacy".................

Hint:  Trump (no policies, check it out on his web site, he begins with finger pointing:  "How We Got Here: Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook", no Donald, not even close).  And then we have Bernie "Feel the Burn" Sanders (imagines everything should be free and doesn't know that socialism is a proven failure).

Both pander to ignorance, both are "on the rise."  And "generating excitement."  God help us.

There is no candidate on the scene who is even touching on the continued insolvency/soon-to-be bankruptcy of the USA, our no. 1 problem.  That came and went with Ron Paul.  We had a patriot among us;  few knew.

Ignorance reigns.  God help us.....

He predicted it....

Feb 18, 2016 This is a Turkish False Flag Event Bob Moriarty 321gold ..

Hungarian Central Bank Hoards 200,000 Bullets, Hundreds Of Guns Due To 'Security Risks' | Zero Hedge

Hungarian Central Bank Hoards 200,000 Bullets, Hundreds Of Guns Due To 'Security Risks' | Zero Hedge

Monday, February 15, 2016

Washington's Dismal Comedy Of Terrors - When In Doubt Bomb Syria | Zero Hedge

Washington's Dismal Comedy Of Terrors - When In Doubt Bomb Syria | Zero Hedge

A cogent analysis of the U.S. Political Scene amidst the chaos of "debate"

Take Cover—–Now Comes The Gong Show | David Stockman's Contra Corner

The Road to WWIII

Feb 15, 2016 Turkey is about to launch a false flag operation so they can invade Syria ---- Bob Moriarty 321gold ..

"If President Erdogan of Turkey and the King of Saudi Arabia send troops and or aircraft to attack Syria, they risk igniting World War III. At the very least they are going to get their butts kicked. They may well end up turning both Turkey and Saudi Arabia into wind blown deserts with no one alive."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Breakthrough: Scientists detect Einstein-predicted ripples

Breakthrough: Scientists detect Einstein-predicted ripples

"It's one thing to know soundwaves exist, but it's another to
actually hear Beethoven's Fifth Symphony," said Marc Kamionkowsi, a
physicist at Johns Hopkins University who wasn't part of the discovery
team. "In this case we're actually getting to hear black holes merging."

Gravitational waves are the "soundtrack of the universe," said team member Chad Hanna of Pennsylvania State University.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is this The Big One?

Has The 'Big One' Commenced - And Can You Afford To Assume Otherwise?

Trump, Sanders and the decline of the "Deep State"?

An Oligarchy Has Broken Our Democracy. It Must Be Dislodged  :  Information Clearing House - ICH

The calculus of the Deep State has been
upset by Donald Trump, a narcissistic
pseudo-populist billionaire, who,
ironically, is a symptom of all the
pathologies within the Deep State. His
followers may be misguided, and Trump is
all too ready to offer them scapegoats,
but they instinctively sense that there
is something deeply wrong with the
status quo.

At the other end of the political spectrum,
Bernie Sanders has overthrown the
current model of elite financing of
candidates. Tens of thousands of his
energetic followers – Sanders’s average
contribution is under $30 – actively seek a return
to the New Deal and the Great Society. 

The Deep State may yet reassert itself
through money and fear, but the 2016
election looks to be the first ballot of
a longer-term national referendum on
what it has made of our society.

Martin Luther King, JFK assassinations -- the real story

Martin Luther King -

"Washington’s response to the government’s murder of Martin Luther King was to create a national holiday in his name. Honoring the man that elements of the government had murdered was a clever way to bring the controversy to an end and dispose of troublesome questions."

Friday, January 08, 2016

One Very Special Ceremony

Holidays is a time for friends, and we met with friends with whom we had been too long out of touch.  Much ground had to be traversed.

We learned that our dear Karen had become a minister -- for one day -- purchasing her Universalist's minister's kit ($30) so that she could officiate her niece's wedding.  She read us the words to her service.  We share them here, with Karen's permission:

When she was a tadpole and he was a fish, in the Paleozoic time, side by side thru the ooze and the brine, they swam together under moonlit tides.

Here tonight, in this evening’s twilight Cody and Sasha are united once more.

And we rejoice with them for their ancient souls’ reunion on this ancient glacial shore.

To all the skeptics who question the nature of love, the act of marrying may seem like a ritual as insignificant as a speck of stardust.  In the mortal moment’s sense, marriage is a profound opportunity for two lovers to affirm a secret, sacred chemistry that goes beyond understanding.

We have to turn to philosophers, poets and artists to help us speak of that which cannot be seen but is as sure as eternity.  The Lebanese philosopher Kahil Gibran has written “You were born together, and together you shall be forever more. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of the universe,” He goes on to say that marriage in not an act of bondage but one that liberates each partner’s soul in the spiritual knowledge that they are now whole, that they walk in the holiness of togetherness. He writes: “Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone…For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

The second element in the definition of mirth is laughter. Anyone who has ever heard Sasha’s throaty laugh knows that her voice suggests depth of joy and beckons one to join in the happiness.  Words from a poetic lyricist of the musical South Pacific act as a possible reason Cody chose Sasha when he heard her unusual and wonderful expression of mirth. 

This also happens to be a  chosen song for a Minnesota artist from Hibbing in his latest album….

Some enchanted evening
You may see a stranger,
you may see a stranger
Across a crowded room
And somehow you know,
You know even then
That somewhere you'll see her
Again and again.

Some enchanted evening
Someone may be laughing,
You may hear her laughing
Across a crowded room
And night after night,
As strange as it seems
The sound of her laughter
Will sing in your dreams.

Some enchanted evening
When you find your true love,
When you feel her call you
Across a crowded room,
Then fly to her side,
And make her your own
Or all through your life you
May dream all alone.

Cody, Once you have found her, never let her go

Sasha Once you have found him, never..let..him..go.

Cody and Sasha

We wish you happiness
Now and Forever......


Even in this time of trouble across the whole wide world, there is still this thing, love......and sensitive souls like our dear friend, Karen, to remind us so...................


Saturday, January 02, 2016

Why I wrote
Death in Classical Music:
making friends with the unfriendly

By John A. Sarkett

Death in classical music, you say?  Why would anyone write about that?  Isn’t that --- morbid?  We understand.  You can talk about anything in our wide-open, anything goes society -- except death.  So here’s the story on what made us tread right in (and it’s not really morbid at all, so go ahead, you can read it....)

Since encountering Beethoven at a young age, and having my molecules rearranged, I have been a constant consumer of classical music for more than four decades without ever even having heard the composer name “Kurt Atterberg.” 

Then, one day, several years ago, on classical WFMT, Chicago, we heard the tail end of what we thought the announcer said  was Kurt Atterberg’s “Symphonica Rustica.”  We looked for it in vain.  (Actually what we heard was the Symphony No. 7, Sinfonia romantica, though there is a “Sinfonia Rustica,” Symphony No. 3 by Vagn Holmboe.)   

Atterberg is an obscure composer now, but, interestingly, like many such, he wasn’t always obscure.  In fact, he was respected enough by the likes of Arturo Toscanini to receive a 1940 recording of his Symphony No. 6, Op. 31, “Dollar Symphony.”  A box set of his nine symphonies came out in 2005, performed by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and NDR Philharmonic Orchestra (Hannover) led by Ari Rasilainen.

But by and large, this Swedish composer, who mixed Swedish folk tunes into a musical broth that had been influenced by the Russians, Brahms and Reger, has been forgotten.

That research made us curious. How many more interesting works by “obscure” composers were out there which we had never heard?  Answer:  near infinite number.

One thing led to another, and soon enough, we were researching and cataloging more like Mr. Atterberg.  Obscure Composers was published October 9, 2013;  we presented 186 lesser known but highly worthy composers.  We didn’t stop there, and Obscure Composers 2:  another meditation on fame, obscurity and the meaning of life debuted October 28, 2015 (100 more composers).  In between, was our busman’s holiday Bach and Heaven:  The Promise of Afterlife in the Text of the Cantatas (August 14, 2013 publication).

Since obscurity is the brother of death itself, all of these titles were pointing in some way shape or form to an unblinking treatment of death in classical music, not to mention the large body of music about death we had encountered along the way (Requiems, funeral marches, dirges, and operas (88% of the top 25 deal with death in a significant way)).  So we “had no choice” but to undertake Death in Classical Music:  making friends with the unfriendly, too.  It was published November 2, 2015. 
Music is a physical manifestation, the vibration of air, but also a spiritual manifestation -- always.  It raises the questions of life and death from its very essence, sometimes explicitly, in religious works, and sometimes implicitly.  Even after the air molecules cease vibrating, music poses the question, ‘will this go on?’   Now, later?  This thing, music?   This

Freud said there was a “death-drive,” and perhaps on some level, he was right.  But there is also a “life-drive,” a wish not to stop, a wish to keep going, to grow, the conquer, to overcome, to go on with “this thing, life.”

Even among the most cynical.  If we cannot go on, most of us seem to say, at least let me not be forgotten.  But I would rather go on.  The story of Frederick Delius (1862-1937) is a good illustration.
After knocking about early on, in the wool trade with his father, managing an orange plantation in Florida, Delius made his mind up once and for all to become a composer, and he had more than a little success, at least artistically.  No less than famed conductor Sir Thomas Beecham championed his lush soundscapes.  

The reward was intrinsic as well.   Delius said:   There is only one real happiness in life, and that is the happiness of creating.

Among his 40 or so opus numbers was a Requiem.

Requiem, Frederick Delius

Our days here are as one day (Chorus, Baritone)
Hallelujah (Chorus, Baritone)
My beloved whom I cherish was like a flower (Baritone, Chorus)
I honour the man who can love life, yet without base fear can die (Soprano, Chorus)
The snow lingers yet on the mountains (Baritone, Soprano, Chorus)

Dedicated “To the memory of all young artists fallen in the war,” the Requiem by Frederick Delius was composed between 1913 and 1916, and received its premiere in 1922.  Surely this was Delius’s least-known major work, with no recording of it until 1968 and a mere seven public performances of it anywhere in the world by at late as 1980.

The five-section work lasts just over one-half hour. The section title “I honour the man who can love life, yet without base fear can die” sticks in one’s mind.

Delius was neither a Christian nor religious.  In fact, it seems his sympathies lie elsewhere as the working title of this work was Pagan Requiem.  A bit of a mash up, the text comes from secular writers, such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, as well as William Shakespeare, the Bible, and the text of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. At one point, “Hallelujahs” are interspersed with Arabic invocations to Allah, and done so ironically at that, as Delius seems to be pointing out the futility of all religion.  Baritone Thomas Hemsley, 1965 Liverpool performance soloist, described the text as “a bit embarrassing, seeming to be rather a poor, second-hand imitation of Nietzsche.” 


Nevertheless, in 1918 Delius wrote “I don’t think that I have ever done better,” though some of his most ardent admirers were nonplussed by the Requiem on first hearing, including his champion noted conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, as well as Philip Heseltine and protégé and biographer Eric Fenby (“the most depressing choral work I know”).  It should be noted Fenby, at least, changed his mind.  In his 1936 book Delius as I Knew Him, Fenby wrote:  “This musical expression, in the Requiem, of Delius’ courageous attitude to life in rejecting organized faiths may well be rated by future generations as second only to the “Danish Arabesque” as one of his most characteristic and commendable masterpieces.”  (The “Danish Arabesque” was one of a set of seven songs by the composer.)

A double chorus sings with solo soprano and solo baritone.  As the first movement says so well:  “Our days here are as one.” Indeed.

Sadly, Delius’ last years were blighted with difficulties and suffering.  He had contracted syphilis in Florida, and the once-latent disease now manifested itself with a vengeance in both blindness and paralysis.  He was loathe to give up “the only one real happiness in life,” and so Delius attempted to dictate new works to his visual artist wife, a bit of a conundrum.

Help arrived in the form of a letter.  Eric Fenby, a musician himself and fan, in a self-described mood of “blessed felicity” for all the beauty the composer had brought into his life, wrote to him, and volunteered his expert skills to assist the compromised composer.

Frederick Delius passed on at his home in France, June 10, 1934.  

Here is where the story becomes interesting.  

He had wished to be buried there, on his property, but French law forbade it.  Though he was an atheist, and composer of the Pagan Requiem, so-called,  his second wish, then, was to be buried, as he put it, “in some country churchyard in the south of England, where people could place wild flowers.”

What could be more ironic!?  A self-described pagan aspiring to an eternal resting spot near church.
Nevertheless, his wish was realized.  St. Peter’s Church, Limpsfield, Surrey, was selected.  His wife, Jelka, made the crossing from France for the ceremony, but fell ill, had to be hospitalized, and missed the midnight ceremony.  The Sunday Dispatch covered it with the imagic and strange headline: 

“Sixty People Under Flickering Lamps In A Surrey Churchyard.”  

Stranger still, Jelka died just two days later, on May 28, and was buried at the same location, next to Delius.

Delius is Everyman.  Whether a pagan, or angry at God, or whatever, we each have a spirit that wishes a) at the very least to be remembered or b) better still, to go on living.

Philosophers have been at work on this since day one, e.g. Cicero:  “to philosophize is nothing else but to prepare for death” and Montaigne:  “the whole life of a philosopher is a meditation on death.” This pushing back against death has been the business of humanity for a very long time.  

Whereas the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) postulated that we can’t know the ‘noumenal’ or “ultimate reality” world, Kant claimed that we had the right to hold certain beliefs about it, and these were optimistic beliefs: that it was sublime, and possibly contained God, justice, and immortality.   In the philosophy of Kant, “noumenal” denotes an object as it is in itself independent of the mind, as opposed to a phenomenon. Also called thing-in-itself.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) disagreed vehemently. He believed that this thing Kant called the “noumenal” world was a wild, seething, meaningless force that he called “will.” This force creates all and destroys all in its insatiable demand for “More!”

Schopenhauer believed that it is possible to get a glimpse of this noumenal world (which Kant said was impossible). He cited three major ways in which we are granted access to this ultimate reality: one was music.

Schopenhauer believed that since music is the only art form that is non-representational, then it is therefore the self-expression of something that cannot be represented at all, namely the noumenal world: it is the voice of the metaphysical will. That is why music seems to speak to us from the most ultimate depths, deeper by far than the other arts (according to Schopenhauer).  This view caught hold of Wagner, his admirer, and had a great resonance for the composer (naturally!). 

A second way was sex (though, ironically, Schopenhauer wound up living alone), and a third, compassion for suffering -- also ways into the noumenal realm. Hence, when Wagner chose topics for his remaining three musical works, they were based on the three Schopenhauerian concepts of the ways in which we can perceive ultimate reality:

SEX: Tristan und Isolde (1859)
MUSIC: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg  (1867)
COMPASSION:  Parsifal  (1882)

The latter is really something different.  Most opera has as main or sub-plot, male chasing female, and/or vice versa.  Think of Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini, Verdi, et al.  Only in Parsifal, the hero spurns sex to attain a higher spiritual plane.  In that way, he overcomes life on this planet, and transcends to the noumenal world.  He realizes the full potential of romantic, German mysticism, that storm-and-stress striving for something “more.”  That “insatiable demand for more.”
In so doing, by his faith in God, and the salvation represented by the Holy Grail, the cup that held Christ’s own redeeming blood, Parsifal is redeemed from death, he overcomes it, this, the dream of every man, and gains entry into the world of ultimate reality -- the world that music both expresses and points to.

If not the meaning of music, this surely must be a meaning of music.  Music, that wordless art, has been employed to stand between us and the ultimate reality, a bridge, if you will.  Or a mirror.  Or a model, of the world of ultimate reality.  An earnest note, an escrow, a very small fractional down payment of “somethingness” ---- to express that vastness of “nothingness” (to our limited minds) which cannot be expressed.  What could be greater?

Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony contains the line ‘let it not be death, but a completion,’ which is orders of magnitude better than the dread, fear, terror of death we usually encounter.  That God grants his own eternity, and allows us to transcend this “completion” ------ infinitely greater still.

This is why Mozart, who was aspiring to a post as a church musician, like Bach, specifically as Capellmeister, St. Stephen's Church, Vienna, at the time of his passing, wrote to his dying father, Leopold, several years earlier:

I need hardly tell you how greatly I am longing to receive some reassuring news from yourself. And I still expect it; although I have now made a habit of being prepared in all affairs of life for the worst. As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind, that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling! And I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity (you know what I mean) of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness. I never lie down at night without reflecting that—young as I am—I may not live to see another day.
This is why vibrant faith trumps quietist resignation.  Buddha says, rightly, life is suffering. (And I love Zen poetry.) But Christ did something about our plight, that suffering.  Instead of sending serpents to punish, he became the serpent on the pole to redeem his creation by faith.  (John 3.16 gets all the press, but start your read at John 3.14;  compare to the Old Testament reference,  it  never fails to astonish.)  

All religions are not equal.  Just one offers real hope to transcend death, man’s greatest enemy.  Of course, that is not politically correct to say.

But there, I said it.

And that’s why I wrote Death in classical music:  making friends with the unfriendly.  And that’s how we “make friends with the unfriendly.”  By faith in the One who overcame death.  Music, Bach, puts it best in his cantata Christ lay in death’s dark prison BWV 4:

It was an awesome thing that strife,
When death and life did wrestle;
And life did the vict'ry win,
For it hath death devoured.
The Scripture foretold it so,
How one death the other ate;
To scorn has now death been given.

John A. Sarkett is the author of Obscure Composers;  Obscure Composers 2:  another meditation on fame, obscurity and the meaning of life;   Bach and Heaven:  The Promise of Afterlife in the Text of the Cantatas;   Death in classical music:  making friends with the unfriendly;   Amazon category best seller Extraordinary Comebacks: 201 Inspiring Stories of Courage, Triumph and Success, and other titles to be found here and at Amazon.