Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.

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Da Burg Annat

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Yeah, yeah, I'm inspired

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He knows if yinz is a jagoff

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Quote of the day

Stupid is a pre-existing condition.
-Bill Maher

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"I have a dream"


I posted the above a few weeks ago, but today is the 46th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a defining moment of the American civil rights movement.

The full video, considered by many to be the best political speech of the 20th century, is here.

A transcript of the speech is perhaps somewhat underwhelming. It is, after all, a traditional Baptist sermon, relying heavily on anaphoric phrasing and allusion. Yet it contains perhaps the most perfectly constructed sentence in all English oratory: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

The speech's rhythmic perfection can be easily observed in the "song" version of the speech. From 1:47 to the final chorus, note that while King's voice has been AutoTuned, his delivery is totally unedited. In fact, the final phrase before the chorus, "Thank God almighty, I'm free at last" is King's original delivery.

I was nine when I watched the speech with my grandmother on an old black and white television in our living room. I have no recollection of the delivery of the speech itself, but I vividly remember my grandmother crying as King left the stage.

It's been nearly half a century, and the curses of intolerance and racism continue. Yet the dream remains, and perhaps in another 50 years "this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blast from the past

I wander around YouTube while waiting for stuff to compile and batch programs to complete, and stumbled onto this little gem.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, André Previn led the Pittsburgh Symphony, and during his tenure the conductor and orchestra were featured in the PBS series Previn and the Pittsburgh.

At this point in his career, Previn- who had either adapted, conducted, or composed for dozens of films- had all but discontinued his work in motion pictures. "Hollywood composer," he said on an episode of the show "is one of the worst perjoratives in the music world."

Ironically enough, he made the comment while interviewing Miklos Rosza and John Williams on a episode dedicated to film music.

But I digress.

Later in the series, Williams returned to conduct the main title to Superman. My son Doug had probably just turned three at the time, and- because of his father's habit of playing an album until the vinyl was grooveless- he knew the main title and would "conduct" the stereo speakers.

When the segment in the video below appeared, he immediately took his position in front of the television and led the Pittsburgh Symphony perfectly, even nailing the final orchestra hit.

That was- what?- 30 years ago. And I remember it like it was yesterday. Even better than yesterday- I don't even recall what I had for breakfast.

Somewhere I have a photo of him wearing a huge set of headphones- and diapers- making like Arturo Toscanini. But that's a family spectacle best kept private.

Incidentally, if you want to hear scores that sound like the cast album, your best bet is to go to a symphony. Phantom of the Opera had nearly 100 pieces in some parts of the motion picture score. The pit band on Broadway? Maybe 15 instruments, a third being synthesizers.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the day

The Internet is like closing time at a blue-collar bar in Boston. Everyone's drunk and ugly and they're going to pass out in a few minutes.
-Leon Wieseltier

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New cable news host?

Nah. Sounds too much like Glenn Beck.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

You're doing it wrong.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Quote of the day

When C.S. Lewis characterizes the path to hell as "the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts," his description sounds suspiciously like a golf course.
-The Covert Comic

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Copyright © 1987-2024 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The e-mail address is now something other than saga. used to be until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up and adopting created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the domain name in 1993, and had since that time used as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that was no longer but rather which is longer than and more letters to type than and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than but actually just as functional as I sent e-mails from the address to just about everybody I knew who had used in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that no longer is the they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...


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Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

I am a professional. Do not try this at home.

I canna change the laws of physics

As a matter of fact, I *am* the boss of you.
(as a matter of fact, i AM the boss of you.)

Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Left wing liberal nut job

Flies spread disease. Keep yours zipped.

Eff the ineffable, scrute the inscrutable.

If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.

If evolution is just a theory, why am I surrounded by monkeys?

Nutrition makes me puke

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eat wisely

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