Thursday, December 27, 2007


I promised I would post this, and due to some Shakespeare, I'm feeling rather human tonight.
This is some further factification 'round the "Origins issue" story September 11, 2006

April 21 2004

Doug, Some months ago, I asked you to leave me alone and explained as best I could why.
You stopped e-mailing me, which I appreciate. However, since then you have offered to come with me on Symphony on Wheels, asked me to play flute for your composition at Composers Salon, and now asked me to listen to your composition and give you feedback. I don't think you understand that this is not what I would consider leaving me alone, so I am repeating my request. Please leave me alone.

Thank you


P.S. I have put your CD in Bryan's box, as I think he wanted to hear it.

Pretty tame, except sending it to "human" resources makes it a harassment complaint.

Pisses me off if you get my drift.

I was told "O, that's just Meighan"
That really pissed me off.

So here's my response, which I didn't send upstairs.

In spite of it's toothlesness, your complaint does constitute a harassment complaint.
This makes it a serious act on your part.

I am not the cause of your discomfort.
I am not the one who beat you up.
I am not the one who put you down.
I am not the one who verbally or psychologically abused you.

I am hurt and angry that you would do this to me
But I refuse to be your enemy.

All I can do is stay on this side of whatever line you draw and offer you my sympathy, my empathy, my compassion, my love, my intelligence and my concern for your pain in the hope that it may be abated.

My heart is open to you and my hand is out in friendship.

That worked to get me an interview with "human" resources.
It wasn't done properly of course. They didn't care about either one of us.

But My ally informed me that they thought of it as a "poem"

It is a simple statement of my relevant feelings in the matter.

So, bite me, Buttkus


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Vito's money

SSO in the news again.
When I left 'em they were talking about a financing scheme
with some outfit from Las Vegas.
Now Gerry shows up with a broken leg.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lump of coal

Twas the night before the 25th of December
All through the house there was crap strewn about
The cats were hissing and smacking each other
And nary a dry Kleenex to be found

I and my wife had just settled down
To an evening of computer games, each to his own
When suddenly from the front door there came such a sound
As if religious proselytizers knocking thereupon

That turned out to be the case and we were then faced
With odd little beings who demanded that we accept
That the true meaning of this cold icy time of year
Was to celebrate the birth of someone who was born sometime in March as far as anybody who ever actually studied the subject could ever figure

So we listened and nodded and uh-huhed in agreement
And they soon went away
Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Meredith read the hunky-dory thing and said it was well written but too bad it was a rant.
She has a very low tolerance for my depression fueled humor.
The thing is, I thought it was funny over the top absurd wailing that no one could take seriously.
Referring to Hitler, George Bush, Gerard Schwarz, and maybe even Napoleon all because my feelings were hurt by a couple work-stressed SSO employees.
But, some people take stuff like that seriously.

Her cheeriness at this time of the year is annoying, mainly because I just don't feel it and it is a strain to pretend.
Getting kicked when I fall off that narrow trail does not make me feel any better.

But it's not about me feeling better, it's about other people feeling better, so maybe I should take acting lessons and pretend to be in love with this deadliest season.
I can't say from any personal perspective that that would help anyone.
This is the time of the year when people whose endorphins are working to shove it in the face of those who can't find the appropriate sentiments.
So I am a bad guy, a Grinch.
Or whatever role Meredith, Meighan, Ginny, and Jesus have decided I'm a failure at.

Good king Pencilstub looks out, spots a poor man and sends his lawyer out to sue the sorry bastard for failing to have the proper attitude about this time of love and joy.
Then passes a law making it illegal to be cold and hungry.

Has this one run out yet?

I got something to say about what is or is not poetry.
I may post it soon
It involves someone else's writing style.
I am honor bound to say no more at this point in time.

Make a poem out of that, Buttkus!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gravity well

The Norman Lebrecht quote on Ilkka Talvi's latest post pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say about the maelstrom sucking the life out of the SSO.

Our great leader sits in his bunker making his demands, throwing his tantrums, blaming everything other than himself, denying there's anything wrong.
Issuing pompous bull about everything being all hunky-dory.

With a capital PAH!

We were great weren't we?
A shining beacon?
An icon of goodness and light?

But it's too late.
A pity, a pity.
Too late, too late.

The plug has been pulled and we swirl ever downward.
The lever has been pushed and we rush headlong down the tubes and into the sewer.

Leaving naught but a black hole of emptiness.
Moral, ethical, artistic even constitutional emptiness.

Even the sun shuns us, sinking lower and lower in the sky.

What's to be done?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Phooey! It seems like I've been in bed more than not in the last two months.
Those 50-mile bike rides are not improving my health.
Had to cut yesterday's Beethovens birthday trek into town short cause I damn near passed out.
I missed my book group meeting.
I'm not going to miss the solstice party, you hear?
Contac, plenty of fluids, and rest.
Jeez... last year I thought I had beaten the damn SAD thing.
I'm not sure this is a better solution
.........Anyway, that's why I'm not posting today.
I'm going back to bed.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

New York, NewYork

Just read the NY Times article abt SSO.
The troops are in disarray and the General is making excuses.
Excuses with the usual rotten smell of legal dissimulation.

What a riot!

My own experience with that circus involved 10 years as a season subscriber and over 1000 hours as a volunteer and being accused by insinuation of harassment.
At least, that's what I think was on their minds.

Apparently for asking a flutist if she would listen and comment on the flute concerto.
And, dig it, two years after the complaint.
The real problem here, of course is the heavy hand of the fascist leadership.
Big monkeys slapping smaller monkeys on down to the smallest monkey, me.

The short version;
Gerry is demanding power above his artistic and leadership abilities.


Anyway, I've laid out the whole sordid story on this site before.
look for "Origins Issue" and things with "Chutzpa" in the title.

I'd go to the trouble to link them, but I really doubt that you are that interested
in my bruised ego whining.
Just in case you are, "Origins Issue" is in the Sept -06 post

This is why I fantasize about Meredith's friend.


December 16

Today is Beethovens birthday which, taken literally,is an absurd thing to say inasmuch as he was born in 1770.
When I started my repair shop in 1985, I decided that, since I was now "The Boss" I had to make some kind of major decision about something.
So I decided to make Ludwig's birthday a holiday.
As a joke of course and a sad comment as to just how little control one actually has as an "independent businessman"
Still, I lasted 17 years before the bastards broke me.
Then when I re-met Meredith, she decided that it was an amusing thing to so we established a habit of bussing downtown to do some Christmas shopping on or as near as practical to the date.
The joke is a bit worn out for me, but she still gets a kick.

We are going tomorrow.

Today is also a rare double Talvi day. Two posts on

  • Music & Men

  • Also the enlightening saga of Butches early life continues over on

  • Feel Free To Read

  • Please do not read any sarcasm in the phrase "enlightening saga"
    I know that this is supposed to be a humorous site, full of irony, sarcasm, snide, and snark, but do please allow me some intermittent sincerity.

    My life has never been as interesting as his.

    Thank God

    The mystery remains; Whatever happened to Al Kistenmacher?

    Irony sarcasm
    Snide and snark
    Sincerity weathers the storm.

    Ironic metaphor
    Outright insult
    This kind of thing seems the norm

    A sudden twist
    To bring out the gist
    It's just my humerous form

    I do it that way
    'Cause it's my way to say
    I'm an asshole, now go away.

    I think I will quit before this gets any worse.

    Love and joy come to you and you not you,
    Merry Christmas and god bless us one and all!


    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    What evil lurks

    Hostile, abusive, corrosive, infantile.
    The halls of Benaroya reek of it.

    Feel pity and let loose the kittens of sympathy for the poor downtrodden musicians who are the soul (not the minions on the sixth floor) of this potentially great orchestra.

    Let your hearts pour forth for these talented ladies and gentlemen trapped behind the iron curtain surrounding the block of 200 University in this Gulag of ego-deprived pretentiousness, mediocre humanity, and short-sighted self aggrandisement.

    Remember, this is Christmas time a time to honor the birth of God's only son, who was sent to earth to kick Caesars ass.

    It's time for Rome to fall yet again.

    Lest ye not forget

    Judge to consider violinist's claim against symphony?

    By Melinda Bargreen

    Seattle Times music critic

    Developments continue in the ongoing lawsuit of violinist Peter Kaman against his employer, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

    Since the dismissal late last month of two of Kaman's three claims against the symphony, the Seattle Symphony asked the court to dismiss the final claim as well.

    While that motion was not granted immediately, on Tuesday King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer agreed to hear arguments about whether the final claim — that the orchestra inflicted emotional distress on Kaman — should be allowed to go forward.

    If Kaman's emotional-distress lawsuit does proceed, a trial date has been set for Jan. 7.

    In an e-mail, orchestra spokeswoman Rosalie Contreras summed up the latest development: "The Symphony invited to file an additional motion to address any issues remaining in the lawsuit. The Symphony intends to file such a motion shortly. At the summary judgment hearing, the judge will formally consider whether Mr. Kaman may, in fact, properly assert his remaining claim and, if so, whether it has merit. We believe it should be dismissed."

    The summary judgment hearing has not yet been scheduled.

    Kaman, a member of the Seattle Symphony's first-violin section since 1981, suffers from an anxiety disorder. His lawsuit, filed in February 2006 and detailing his long-standing grievances with his treatment in the orchestra, is expected to be a substantial portion of an upcoming New York Times story on the Seattle Symphony, scheduled to appear Sunday.

    Melinda Bargreen:

    Also it is the second anniversary of that organizations denial by force of my basic right as a citizen of the United States of America to walk unmolested on the streets of Seattle.
    This is of course unconstitutional.

    An un-american activity.

    Naughty Seattle Symphony!

    Let us now pray for Peter Kaman that justice may prevail.


    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    I liked Ike

    Good bye Ike Turner. Thanks for what you did for rock music. You were a pioneer and the most significant identifier of pioneers is the arrows in their backs.
    But you sure knew how to spot talent, didn't you?
    Man those legs!, I heard she could sing too!
    All kidding aside, rock put something back into music that academia had leached out over the centuries.
    Remember this, Ike, all the fancy schmancy orchestras of the world depend on donations, whereas you worked for and made a living and earned your keep.
    Musicians who depend on donations to cover the fact that ticket sales don't pay are known as street musicians or buskers.
    When highly paid, famous musicians busk anonymously they do no better than the honest ones.
    Million dollar salaries for musicians who are basically begging in the street smells of a bit of brimstone knowhuttImsaay'n?

    I'm going to sneak downtown today and get something for Meredith for Christmas (my Meredith, not David's Meredith [MTT's close personal friend])
    And also go to city hall for some Medieval Woman's Choir.
    Medieval Women!
    If they are still around, maybe I still have a shot at Emily.
    O, I love the colorful clothes they wear, and the way the sunlight shines through their mummified skin.

    Beethoven's birthday Sunday.
    Celebrate on Monday if you want.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Sympathy for the......

    I guess I'll have to curtail my denigration of the Seattle Symphony for awhile.
    Mr. Schwarz broke his leg skiing.

    Being down, I kick him not.

    Not that I'd expect the same courtesy from those kind of people.

    Better than us they are.

    A pity that "better" doesn't include honorable, truthful, courageous, thrifty, obedient, loyal, imaginative or reverent.

    All qualities I posses in abundance.
    Being of low station, I am exalted.
    Also, I don't go around breaking my leg just to try to weasel out of some well deserved criticism.

    Anyway, heal, Gerry, heal soon and give my regards and seasons greetings to you and all your loved ones (ifyouhavany)

    Whoops, I forgot to capitalize Ifyouhavany, Dmitry Ifyouhavany that is.
    Dmitry is a brilliant composer, talents almost rivaling my own, (if you can imagine such a thing) yet he remains obscure, so obscure that even Butch wont be able to research with any luck.

    Well Keth just left for work. He has an unusual schedule, being a computer programmer, he can set his own hours.
    Meredith is at work too and I have the place to myself for the day.
    Usually he and Meredith manage to be home long enough to prevent me from making any
    Now I can use the speakers instead of the 'phones. I can bang around on the piano.
    Play my bassoon if I want.

    I'll be back later in the day.


    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    Nor any drop to drink

    So Alex escapes the excesses of fire to come here to the excesses of water.
    If ya don't cut down the trees yer house burns down.
    If ya do cut down the trees, mudslides turn roads into rivers.

    'Tis a pity, a pity that we can't coordinate things so that the floods put out the fires and the fires dry up the floods and we all go tripping gaily in the glen.

    I'm not totally sure, but I think we are the only state that has high occupancy canoe lanes. (once again revealing my inability to steal outright, that joke is from Ron Judd's Seattle Times column)

    Further caveat, "Tis a pity" etc is from Beethovens last words, he was referring to some wine he was expecting, which was to cure him or something.

    Even more caveat, that last caveat is from something I read somewhere and is as likely to be true as anything else you read.

    Caveatus maximus, "Canem"

    You figure it out. My ADD just kicked in again.

    Progress on the violin concerto is progressing progressively. I still feel like a bit of a coward for skipping the percussion and the piano concertos.

    Beethoven again, his fifth, "The Emperor" seewhottImean?

    You figure it out. My ADD just kicked in again.

    Meredith (mine, not the one who is a personal friend of MTT) says there are flecks of snow wafting through the winter air outside the cold glass panes that separate us from the harsh extradomicilular environment.

    I lift the curtain and gaze in vain, for I see them not.

    I'm sorry, but I forgot to remember my first stepfather, no wait a minnit, the second
    who was stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7 '41.
    I usually include the joke about there being a nip in the air.
    "Nip" is short for Nipponese. "Nippon" being the Japonese word for Japonese.
    In my formative years the word was Jap. Even the ones who had been here for generations.
    Roosevelt sent them all to concentration camps.
    My first stepfather was at Iwo Jima in the Coast Guard on a P.T. boat.
    If you had to be at Iwo Jima that was a much better place.

    Ummm... My first Father in law was in the Army with MacArthur when they were pushed off the island and Dougie scarpered

    I, personally, found a way to get out of the draft.

    Maybe that's why the Christian world hates me.

    Ah, well we go into life with what we have.
    Do you remember that event?

    Saturday, December 08, 2007

    Special message for Anonomann

    Michael Tilson Thomas is, was, a childhood friend of a different Meredith friend of mine.
    I lie awake nights dreaming how to exploit the 2 degree separation.

    He is doing such a good job in San Francisco that maybe he could work wonders here.
    Of course SSO's troubles are largely my own wishful thinking.


    Great Bloggers steal

    Here's one for Butch, several movies, short stories and stage plays in one acerbic pastiche.
    Brilliant satire and social commentary.
    My complaint is not that symphony orchestras are not of social merit, but that the glorification of "classical" music by overpaid superstars drains the pool for smaller and often artistically superior organizations.
    Here in the Great Pacific Northwest there are a great many small volunteer groups who work for the love of it and are often shadowed by the elephantine sleazeball Seattle Symphony and it's sixth floor of Potters

    This view is my personal one but not entirely sour grapes from a mediocre composer.

    Besides, you got sump'in against the Count..hmm? Or Spike?

    It’s a Classical Life

    George Bailey walked out on the bridge, miserable and alone, his mind swirling with unhappy thoughts. He was sick and tired of struggling against the forces of stupidity and backwardness. When uncle Billy, in one of his characteristic empty-headed gestures, accidentally lost his score, the one that would redeem him from undeserved obscurity, something broke in him and he ran screaming out into the streets, meandering aimlessly, meaningless sounds burbling from his lips until he wound up here, on the bridge, teetering over the edge on the verge of a long, life-crushing fall into the dark waters below.

    It hadn’t always been this way. Many years ago, George had started out full of hope. He had studied and played the works of the great composers and vowed to continue their great tradition as a composer, himself, but with a modern twist, just as they had assimilated the work of their predecessors yet imbued their own work with an originality derived from their very being and the times they wrote in. He was not after glory, although he would not have rejected it. But what he really wanted was to reach the heights of expressiveness, create music that could move people and enter their hearts and minds; music that affected people in the way that his great mentors affected him. In short, he wanted to compose intelligent music for intelligent people.

    The only flaw in George’s plan was the fact that the musical intelligence of people was not getting greater, it was getting worse. Take Mr. Preeble, the kindly manager of the town’s Five and Dime over on Main Street (next to the feed store). Preeble was a good enough listener to appreciate George’s music and enough of a critic to give George some good ideas about improving it. “That coda,” Preeble would say, “isn’t up to the quality of the rest of the sonata. You might pay a little more attention to that tempo there…it kind of whimpers out. And don’t forget our big sale this weekend…those jackets you like are almost half price.”

    While Preeble senior was with the program, Preeble junior was a different case. His interests ran to running around in a beaver coat and dancing the Charleston. Although he was George’s age, and had a kind of business cunning that made him successful in the dry goods field, he had no use for the kind of introspection offered by George’s music or that of any other classical composer. And then there was Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter was the richest man in the area and a holy terror. He hated the little people whose lives he made miserable at every opportunity. Crabby and hateful, he gouged his renters, foreclosed on anyone foolish enough to miss a mortgage payment and had no qualms about buying up a business, gutting it and throwing its unfortunate employees into the street.

    Potter’s only saving grace was his support of the Bedford Falls Symphony Orchestra, a 30 piece band that played the classics and some contemporary pieces including a number of works composed by George Bailey. Potter’s donations were large and he was listed in programs as the orchestra’s sole Gold Patron. However, on the night that George balanced precariously at the edge of the bridge, the worst night of his life, Potter had severely wounded George in a way that George did not see coming.

    After Uncle Billy had lost George’s new opus, George had received a phone call from the symphony board chairman asking him to hurry down to the Rotarian lodge where the board was meeting on an important matter. He hopped into his old Huppmobile (a broken down thing which was all George could afford since most of his spare funds went for his music) and headed downtown. The room where the board was in session was hot and smoky. As he strode in George could hear the words “This is an outrage” and “Never!” and as he drew closer he could see that the center of attention was Henry Potter whose pinched, nasty expression was directed at him.

    “Here he is,” Potter sneered, “Bradford Falls’ great composer.” A murmur of dissent swept the room. “As I’ve been telling these gentlemen, George, the time has come for a change. I’ve shelled out plenty of cash to this organization for many years…”

    “And don’t think we don’t appreciate it,” simpered Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, whose daughter was a First Violin. “Your generosity has…”

    “Oh cut the bull, Gower,” said Potter. “You and I both know your little symphony is all washed up. Who needs it? I can’t stand the music you play. No offense since I hate any kind of music pretty much. I was only donating because it made me look good to be a ‘patron of the arts’. But who cares about the arts now? Especially those German pieces you keep playing. We just kicked the butts of those Krauts. But, no, you want to play the same kind of music Hitler liked: Beethoven, Wagner…Mozart!”

    “What about me?” said George pugnaciously, “Am I a German too?”

    “Bailey…” said Potter thoughtfully, “could have been Bailstein originally. But that’s not the only reason I’m pulling out of your little tea party. I know you can’t see the writing on the wall but I can. Last night I had a Christmas vision and it shook me gentlemen, it shook me so that I can’t forget it and must act on it.”

    While sleeping fitfully after a meal of undercooked, black market beef Potter awoke to a horrible wailing and clanking. A terrible wraith appeared in his bed chamber, cloaked in an old fashioned costume and wrapped in chains that rattled as he lumbered toward the bed.

    “Ohhhh, help me,” cried the wraith. “Heeeelp me.” It was old Marley, Potter’s business partner who had passed away twenty years ago to the day.

    “I am the ghost of Marley,” said the wraith, rather unnecessarily. “I am doomed to walk the earth…in these terrible chains…for my sins.”

    Potter, who had known Marley as a good businessman and close friend was taken aback. “How can this be?” he queried. “You were always a fine banker and decent enough chum.”

    “To you, to you, “replied Marley,” but who was I to the rest of the world? I was a conscienceless exploiter of men, a ruiner of families, a disgusting plutocrat who cared nothing for anyone but myself.”

    “Piffle,” said Potter somewhat Britishly. “You donated to charities. You were on the board of the Bradford Falls Philharmonic.”

    “Yes, I was on that board and supported that orchestra, not because I liked that kind of music, I have a tin ear and much prefer dirty limericks to concert music, but because it was the thing for wealthy men like me…and you…to do. But in the end it meant nothing. I died and was still damned as a greedy exploiter of mankind. And now I have to wear these chains and wander about moaning like a B movie character.”

    Potter was quick to catch on. “So there’s no point in supporting culture, is there?”

    “What is culture, anyway?” Marley replied. “Kids today want to have fun. They don’t need stuff that requires thought and just drags them down into some kind of angst. All those serious Germans, what good did they do the German people – when crunch time came they all flocked to Uncle Adolph like a bunch of lemmings.”

    Culture is anything, thought Potter suddenly. It could be ukulele music or an electronic oscillator playing random notes or just taking some crap you found on the ground and putting it on the floor of a museum with your name on a plaque next to it. It could be the music they used to play while they danced themselves into oblivion with the Charleston prior to the Great Depression. It could be fatuous Hollywood movies with well-known actors. It could be anything at all!

    Of course Potter was a bit ahead of his time in thinking all this. The time had not yet come when countless intellectuals of the professorial persuasion would take up the cudgels and declare minor celebrities to be great cultural icons so they could write books about them and appear cool. So it was no wonder that George Bailey and the symphony board could hardly believe their ears when they heard Potter say:

    “So not one more red cent for this outdated, outmoded and even ridiculous institution. Gentlemen, I have spoken.”

    George sunk to his knees in despair. This was the final blow. It was bad enough to watch helplessly while Benny Goodman and his band became national celebrities whose musical exploits were touted all over the radio and whose following included most of the youth of Bedford Falls while he, George Bailey, toiled away anonymously, hoping to have a few minutes of music played by the now-defunct symphony orchestra.

    “Damn you to Hell, Potter,” he screamed and ran out of the lodge into the wintry night heading nowhere. As he stumbled on it seemed the entire town was taunting him. “How many records have you sold, Bailey? Even Zazu Pitts’ debut album sold more copies than all of yours put together. Even Dimitri Tiomkin, who sold his soul to Hollywood, can beat you in the market place. And, as Potter knows, the market is everything. You think we fought the Nazi’s because they were evil…that was just window dressing. We fought them because they were after our markets. Ditto the Japs. The new millennium of greed is here and the market is its supreme arbiter.”

    And that’s why George Bailey wound up on the bridge that Christmas eve about to jump to his doom.

    So now, I suppose, you are expecting to hear how an angel named Clarence comes down from Heaven and jumps in the water instead, inspiring George to jump in and save him. And when George says he wishes he never was born, Clarence, with his angelic powers, turns that into a temporary reality. You’d like to hear that, but, as Potter would say, life is hard. Instead of that stuff what happens is this:

    “I wish…I wish…I wish there was no classical music,” George cried. “You got it,” said Clarence and suddenly everything was transformed. George ran back to the lodge, hoping to apologize and win Potter over by explaining to him that not all composers were Germans, but the Rotary hall was empty, the floors spic and span as though no meeting had taken place that night. When he returned to his house he found everything as expected. His wife and four children crowded around hugging and kissing him.

    “Oh George, we were so worried,” cried his wife between hugs and kisses. “The kids are getting ready for Santa (wink, wink) and I had no idea when he might show up.”

    One thing was a little strange. When his oldest daughter sat down at the piano to play the carol she had practiced over and over she unexpectedly pecked out a syncopated tune from the Broadway show, “Gold Diggers of 1946”. Its sentimental melody fit in well with the Christmas mood but it was a bit startling to George.

    “Oh, Mary, you have no idea what happened tonight,” George began, but decided to drop it since telling his wife that an angel named Clarence had saved him from killing himself seemed like a bad move. Instead, George decided to go upstairs and see if he could find his notes for the symphony that his uncle had idiotically lost so that he might begin to reconstruct it. But, dear reader, as you have already guessed, there was nothing in his study even remotely associated with symphonic or any other classical music, nor were there any phonograph records except for some tunes from a band called Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

    Without saying a word to Mary or the tykes, George left by the back staircase and headed downtown where he peered into the record store to see if his recording was still displayed there. It wasn’t. He pounded on the door of the closed shop and, finally, the owner, who lived above the shop, came down.

    “Harv,” George cried desperately, “you’ve got to help me. Potter just dumped his support of the symphony…why am I telling you, you were there!..and now I can’t find any of my…”

    “Calm down, George,” crooned Harvey. “Symphony, you say? What’s that? And what do you say Potter has done now?”

    “Oh Harv, you’ve been imbibing too much of the Christmas sauce. You know all about Potter and as for the symphony…isn’t this your store? Aren’t most of the records in here this symphony or that? Aren’t some of them done by the Bradford Falls philharmonic? Wake up Harv, I need your help.”

    “Symphony?” Harvey repeated dumbly. George rushed past him into the store and grabbed some phonograph records from the bins.

    “Yes, symphony, this.” But the record in his hands was not a symphony at all. He had dipped into the “B” bin assuming he would come up with Beethoven or Bach but in his hand was actually…

    “Basie,” corrected Harv. “The Count himself. Beat me, Daddy, eight to the bar!” And he started dancing. He had, in fact, been imbibing the Christmas sauce and he felt saucy.

    “There must be some mistake,” muttered George and he rummaged through that bin and then another but with no classical result. Seeing behavior like this, reader, one must wonder why it is that such plots always protect the hero against a remark he made only minutes earlier which, against all logic, he has somehow forgotten. But that’s show business, as Mr. Potter’s west coast equivalents would say with relish.

    As we so easily remember, Clarence had granted George’s ill-conceived wish and classical music was banished from the world. Do we need to hear more of this? Do we need to know how, with Beethoven and Bach and even Humperdinck gone, mankind missed one of the greatest, most transcendent experiences of human existence? True, there was still plenty of music available, but, contrary to the renegade professors of the cultural studies persuasion, entertaining as it all was, it didn’t hold a candle to what had been lost. And, even when Clarence rescinded the wish, in this version of the story George did not suddenly become happy and celebrate with friends and family the return of great culture because he knew that the Potters of the world would sell anything down the river if it meant revenue and the intellectual flunkies of the world would justify with pen and word until it was all gone.

    Roger Rudenstein

    December, 2007

  • Roger Rudenstein

  • Mediocre bloggers attribute.


    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    What a difference

    I go away for a little bike ride; 26.4 mi, 10.8 avg speed, 2:hr:25 min:50seconds,and check this, max speed 48.3!!
    Mon comptuer a va bonkers.
    Actually one time it told me I was going over 60!
    I think, on reflection, that there were some high tension wires or something that I rode too near.
    Anyway, due to lack of sleep last night the ride consumed the whole day.
    Got home at 2:00, fell asleep, had dinner and when I finally get here at FFTL I find that my new site "Feel Free To Read" has gone from one two sentence post to a virtual
    library of poetry, movie reviews, and I don't know what all. All thanks to Butch.
    Whatta guy!

    So, go look.

  • Feel Free To Read

  • The last cabinet is up, and the handles and pulls are in at McClendons.

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    Violin duet

    O.K. the violin duet link has been updated. Now it's a live recording.
    Matthew Weiss and Alan Sholl did a wonderful job of capturing the soul of the piece.
    Thanks guys.
    The piece is called "Far. Cry. Blue."
    Think of it as a chord. All the words at the same time so they mingle and resonate with each other.
    Consequently, I am in a good mood.
    To paraphrase Tolstoy's opening remarks in Anna Karenina, all good moods are alike.
    The bad moods all have their own unique qualities.

    Or something like that.

    Anyway, have a happy holiday season.
    Love, Joy and eggnog to you all.


    Sunday, December 02, 2007


    The salon was interesting.
    Two piano pieces; eight short pieces for piano and ten short pieces for piano.
    Similar in design, lots of interesting ideas but overall composition lacking in coherence and dramatic arc.
    A violin solo that Meredith and I disagreed on I liked it mostly because of the near infinite range of violin sonorities due to mutability of pitch that instrument offers.

    Agony and ecstasy due to the lack of frets.

    Another, completely different three movement piece, a mini opera about a cowboy love affair provided an amusing contrast.
    Movement 1 for two acoustic guitars. Movement 2 for acoustic guitar and acoustic bass. Movement 3 for acoustic guitar and cello.
    Written and performed by Jay (Sorry, Jay I forget the last name, Hamilton?,) and his accompanist, name also forgotten.
    Wait, I may be able to research those names; be right back.

    My apologies, I've deleted the salon announcement and will have to rely on my memory for details of the show.

    Anyway, Jay composed and sang and it was interesting, even thought my decreasing hearing left mush of it to the ether. (I think I'll leave the typo "mush" as it seems to relate to my hearing. Freudian slip?)

    The postpenultimate (means after the one before the last, or mathematically speaking, last) offering was Wally Shoup's improvisating trio. Piano; Gust burns, percussion, (see earlier comments about memory and hearing loss) And Alto Saxophone, Wally Shoup.
    This is a well known and well practiced group and they are terrific.
    All made up on the spot, the music was sonorous, entertaining, intelligent, and insightful.
    I can perceive a parallel between the "aleatory" nature of the violin piece (which had a written score) and the "composed" nature of the trio (which didn't), but I couldn't possibly explain it to you.

    Anyway, the comparison of the "amateur" works and the "professional" work was enlightening.

    Terms; "amateur" means done for love. "professional" is trickier to define because I want to avoid the "done for money" aspect. I guess it means that it's a basic component of your beliefs that you are willing to allow the world to observe.
    And bet your livelihood on, I guess.

    Once again, my brain is starting to hurt, I've got to get back to trash talking the SSO.

    Saturday, December 01, 2007


    161. SCHWARZ, Gerard- SP 8 x 10 color action shot of the long time very popular Mostly Mozart leader now winding down in Seattle.

    Love it! (italics are mine)

    This and more can be found at;


  • I have nothing against Mr Schwarz personally. It's the organization he works for that I want to get even with. and he's the face of that organization.

    Omniscient Mussel has posted a desire to see some WWF style action on the classical stage. Immediately there came to my mind a lovely image of Gerry being given an "attitude adjustment" with a metal folding chair by some big muscular guy with a lot of hair.

    I wonder what I would pay to see that live, or on a T-shirt.

    I can only dream.

    Seattle is the only place where Sir Thomas Beecham could get a job when he antagonized everybody back home in England.
    Warned us about becoming a "cultural dustbin"
    But we went on to give "grunge" to the world, didn't we?

    Seattle, the door out of the big time.
    A retirement home for post prime musicians.
    Love it!

    I wish Meredith K's friend would come here and turn that around a bit.


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