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.
network solutions made me a child pornographer!
The sordid details...
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Friday, August 28, 2009
Quote of the day
Stupid is a pre-existing condition.
"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.
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.'"
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.
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.
New cable news host?
Nah. Sounds too much like Glenn Beck.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Cash For Clunkers
You're doing it wrong.
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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Violators will be prosecuted.
The firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address is now something other than email@example.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used firstname.lastname@example.org as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that email@example.com was no longer firstname.lastname@example.org but rather email@example.com which is longer than firstname.lastname@example.org and more letters to type than email@example.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than firstname.lastname@example.org but actually just as functional as email@example.com? I sent e-mails from the firstname.lastname@example.org address to just about everybody I knew who had used email@example.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the firstname.lastname@example.org change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which email@example.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for firstname.lastname@example.org would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that email@example.com no longer is the firstname.lastname@example.org they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. email@example.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...
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