Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kansas City Symphony: Juanjo Mena

Three things were evident about last evening's Kansas City Symphony concert:

1) Despite the heavy mix of rain and snow that was falling and a holiday weekend, the KCS could still draw a quite respectable crowd.
2) The Kansas City Symphony players appreciated and were quite inspired by the guest conductor Juanjo Mena (he is sometimes listed as Juan José Mena).
3) Mena felt the same way.

I figured this would a concert that I would miss since I am always at my sister's on Thanksgiving. But this year, I was tired of her whining and came back a day early. It was certainly worth the effort.

South African pianist Anton Nel joined the program in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto # 2. Opening the concert was the Arriega Overture to "Los esclavos felices". The second half was a feast of Spanish (or at least Spanish inspired) favorites, Bizet's Carmen Suite #1 and the two Suites from de Falla's "El Sombrero de tres picos" ballet. Not an earth-shattering concert of monumental proportions, but a delight to the ear and a welcome diversion for the weekend.

I had originally thought Mena was an unknown figure to me, but upon reading the program notes, I remembered he is the conductor on the wonderful Jesus Guridi Sinfonia pirenaica ("Pyrenees Symphony") on Naxos. I had heard of Anton Nel but not heard him play even on recording.

The Rachmaninoff received a cool, not excessively romantic, but successful performance. Nel nowhere had the command or power of a Bronfman or Hamelin, but his formidable technique was on full display. Mena's well chosen yet fluid when needed tempi and the orchestra's warm, vibrant well balanced accompaniment were also key to this wonderful performance. Nel gave the audience a brief encore, the powerful Etude for the Left Hand alone by Scriabin (op 9 #2, I believe).

The Russians stood in contrast to what was a Spanish dominated concert. The opening work,
Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga's (1806-1826) "Overture to Los esclavos felices" was a work befitting a youth called the "Spanish Mozart". Tragically, he died early as well, a few days shy of his 20th birthday, likely of tuberculosis. The overture possesses a mature Mozartean grace and elegance combined with the rhythmic fluidity of Spanish music that made for a charming opening.

The second half was devoted to the popular Bizet and de Falla suites. The orchestra played with a confident a snap and sparkle that showed they were truly enjoying the music making. Mena, not a showman at all, but still an active and entertaining conductor, pulled some rhythmically solid and tonally lush music from the orchestra.

The Carmen was brisk, lyrical, sensuous and ultimately dramatic as the heroine of the opera. The Symphony's wonderful English Horn, Kenneth Lawrence, gave me chills in the famous languorous solo in the "Miller's Dance"of the de Falla suite. The concluding "Final Dance"of the second suite literally had the audience swaying along.

Not an excessively demanding concert (such as a Bruckner or Mahler Symphony or the Berlioz Te deum) but one that sparkled and thoroughly entertained the audience. The orchestra and Mena expressed their mutual admiration to each other in a prolonged ovation.

Note to the KCS people who might read this... bring back Mena next season!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Break

I have racked my brain this PM thinking of something witty, timely, interesting or funny.

I failed.

So, it is time for a blog break. Pato is going to go home for Thanksgiving this week, back to the shell of a town from which I came, Decatur, Il. I didn't want to go and deal with my sister and her whining, but family is family. So since I am gone from Wednesday through Saturday, I'll just let Puggingham Palace rest a week.

Give thanks this week, be with (or tolerate) family and friends. As the tradition started 385 years ago decrees:

"Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes and garden vegetables and has made the forests to abound with game the sea with fish and clams; and inasmuch as he has protected us, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, do proclaim, that all Pilgrims do gather at the meeting house, on the hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November the 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three, and in the third year since Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock there to listen to the pastor and render thanksgiving for all His blessings."

Governor William Bradford's Thanksgiving Proclamation 1623.

Happy Thanksgiving From D and P at Puggingham Palace

Friday, November 21, 2008

Has The Mother Ship Landed??

It seems a rather large meteor streaked across the sky of Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday eve. It was captured on a patrol car dash camera:

Edmonton Meteor

Pretty wild, eh?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What I am Listening to Today

Erkki Melartin 1875-1937

His music is new to me, and quite good. I have just started to sample it, listening to the Symphony # 1 of 1902 and now the Symphony # 6 of 1924, which is quite a bit more harmonically advanced and darker.

A short blurb from the Ondine Records site sums up his career and style:

"Equally renowned as a composer and as a conductor, Melartin was responsible in the early decades of this century for introducing Finnish audiences to the music of Mahler, Strauss, and other moderns. His own music - crowned by the six symphonies - reveals his complete familiarity with the late Romantic style, while maintaining a richly individual voice."

I hear Mahler, especially the 5-7th symphonies, Sibelius too in his music, but as the quote above, combined with an individual voice.

After hearing the 1st once and only through part of the 6th, I do think this is a composer to explore.

Ondine ODE931-2 Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra Leonid Grin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Celtic Thunder

I did something last night that I have never done before. I went to a concert/show and did not have much of a clue what I would really be seeing.

My friend Bruce called me this weekend and asked if I would like to join him at the "Celtic Thunder" concert on Tuesday, seems he had an extra ticket. Being Irish/English/Welsh and basically lacking a drop of blood from Continental Europe, I certainly enjoy Celtic music and culture. That, combined with an empty calendar, made it a date.

"Celtic Thunder" is a 5 man (4 men and one boy of 15 actually) singing group from Ireland (well one Scotsman I am told) that have become a staple of Public TV. Their shows are frequently broadcast on PBS pledge drive weeks since they draw a big audience and thus big donations. It seems that is how Bruce got fabulous 2nd row floor tickets, he gave money to our local PBS station.

Frankly, the show was a bit disappointing. The main problem is that was short on two things you would think would be a part of such a show: Celtic and Thunder. Beginning with the misty atmosphere of whistles, pipes and drums accompanying a video of a hooded figure intoning a poem that would have made Edgar Allen Poe proud, the band and singers performed a couple of folk/Celtic tinged songs in Gaelic. Perhaps, I thought, I was going to hear a wonderful evening of real Irish/Celtic music.

Sadly, for me, they soon drifted into solo after solo ballad, some original, most sad and reflective, and some soupy standards such as "Desperado", only a bit of Celtic harmony here and there to spice it up. The group (and audience too) really came alive in the traditional Irish songs, especially when the extremely talented singers performed two songs (including the obligatory "Danny Boy") a capella in close harmony. Not swoopy barbershop style, but with real tight and clear harmonics that were breathtaking. Think "Chanicleer" to understand what I mean. The youngest member has an absolutely incredible, mature voice, but spent too much time being silly and relegated to singing 50's standards like "Young Love" and "Puppy Love".

The accompanying instrumentalists, a keyboard, string quartet, massive battery of drums, guitars and one fellow playing an array of traditional instruments, were often the highlight. The battle of the drums between the rack of percussion, a set of field drums and a bodhrán, the ancient Irish goatskin drum, was one of the highlights as was the lively suite of jigs used to close the show.

Don't get me wrong, "Celtic Thunder" is an extremely entertaining and talented group; they obviously enjoy what they do. Maybe if I had been more familiar with them, I would have left feeling a bit less underwhelmed. Instead of "Celtic Thunder", the show rumbled with sprinkles of Irish pop.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You have Fucking GOT to be kidding.....

Olathe police have investigated allegations that a 13-year-old boy inappropriately hugged a school faculty member, the department announced today.

The female faculty member reported the incident Nov. 11 at the Chisholm Trail Junior High School at 16700 W. 159th St., police said.

The boy was released to his parents, and police have forwarded the case to the Johnson County district attorney’s office for review on a possible charge. So far no charge has been filed, a spokesman said.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lyric Opera Kansas City : Giulio Cesare

Baroque opera is a bit of a different beast. Long, almost semi-spoken recitatives often with the barest accompaniment really delineate most of the opera's action and plot, where as in later opera they serve to add commentary and color. To further confuse, arias are used in baroque opera like later recitatives, to flesh out the characters and comment on the action. The operas are also quite episodic and there is rarely a dramatic high point as in later opera.

Thus, the more casual opera goers reacted with a bit of confusion at the Lyric Opera's first baroque offering in recent memory, Handel's glorious "Giulio Cesare" (Julius Cesar).

Using the New York City opera sets from the celebrated 1960's Beverly Sills performance with wonderfully grand but not over the top costumes (some quite revealing), the opera flowed well despite the often static nature of the action. At about 2 1/2 hours of music, this production was heavily cut. Some members of the audience were a bit confused over the role of Cesar being sung by a countertenor as was the custom. "Cesar sounds like a screaming fairy", I heard one patron mumble at intermission. Sadly, people like that take up space in about every concert hall around the world and don't tell me they don't either.

All that aside, this was a fine production well sung and a delight to see. Ward Holmquist led the orchestra of non period instruments in a well paced, totally non fussy performance with just the right amount of embellishment. Special note has to go to Soprano Christine Brandes' portrayal of Cleopatra. Her arias were gorgeous and frequently met with bravas and extended accolades. Her "Se pietà" aria took one's breath away. The countertenors were also quite good. Listening to a countertenor can be trying for even the most ardent listener, but these gentlemen had a clear and bright voice, never descending into strained falsetto.

Kudos to the Lyric for doing such an expensive and somewhat risky production. When most smaller companies stick to the standards, the Lyric does not hesitate to do modern, lesser known and even premiere operas.

A break for the year and then in March we will have a continuation of favorites celebrating the opera company's 50th season, La Traviata.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Proposition 8, Saturday Rally

Despite a cold day, the coldest one yet, and a really inadequate sound system, Kansas City's anti-Proposition 8 rally Saturday was a success. Here are a couple of reports from the rally, one by "Julia" and one by me from

Julia: I attended the rally in Kansas City, MO. I am 65 years old and straight and had never attended this type of function before. I was very moved by the people and signs. I stood on the curb with the associate pastor of my church (MCC-KC) and held the church flag while across the street members of the ‘church of hate’ from Topeka, KS stood with the flag of our country on the ground under their feet and around their waist like a skirt.

People passing in their cars either honked or gave a ‘thumbs up’ to us. I saw young people from GSAs in the area with their signs in support. One sign that I noticed said ‘I’m too old to wait for my civil rights’. A friend who is the mother of a gay son who was married in San Francisco went with me. We met another mother of a gay son who was married in LA just before the election. One of the speakers (a young man from GLISSEN) said that he had brought 10 straight allies with him (his co-workers). I am not good at estimating numbers of a crowd, but I’m sure there were close to 1000. I congratulate the organizers for their good work in bringing so many people together in such a short time particularly the people from the LGBT center in KC and PROMO.

Don said: I too was at the Kansas City Rally. Despite a cold day and an inadequate sound system the 1000 people did a great job of protesting our dismay yet not attacking anyone. I came with a 65 year old man whose partner of 40 years stayed home as he could not endure the cold and the standing due to arthritis. I was honored to be in their presence and call them friends.

My favorite sign was “I want my cake and to eat too!” superimposed over a wedding cake with same sex couple figures. Good job KC!

As usual I forgot my camera. I took a couple pics from my cell phone, but damned if I know how to get them off the phone and transfer them to my computer. After the speeches and rally, many of the protesters lined 47th and Main with signs.

Protesters all over the country took to the streets to show our disapproval over the outcome of the vote. On the Fux News and all that crap in TV, those opposed were whining "the people voted, get over it, stop bringing it up." Well then, you give up on abortion then. And, certainly, if it ever came to a vote, slavery, women's right to vote, racial equality would have been voted down as well.

I was glad I went. I hope the spirit goes on and it does not end there.

And remember this, 129,000 children in this country are in foster care. And the state of Arkansas feels they are better off this way than with a loving and safe gay family. In Arkansas, many gays with foster or adopted children are living in fear that they will be taken away.

Family Values my ass.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Religious Hypocrisy

From the New York Times:

“We’ve spoken out on other issues, we’ve spoken out on abortion, we’ve spoken out on those other kinds of things,” said Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormons are formally called, in Salt Lake City. “But we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

From the Washington Post, same person speaking:

"[W]e're talking about 750,000 Californians who are Latter-day Saints," he said. "These are California families. They are registered voters. They have the right and the obligation to express themselves on a major social issue. To imply that there was an attempt to manipulate the election from outside the state is bizarre and absolutely ridiculous."

Church members "have a right to speak, they have a right to vote and to do so without this kind of reaction and without this kind of intimidation," Otterson said.

Didn't Jesus preach more about hypocrisy and lying than gay relationships??

Or did I read the wrong book?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Defend Equality

Work to defeat homophobia, lies and ignorance. Do it strongly, but respectfully.

Go out on Saturday and show your community that ignorance and homophobia do not belong in our country!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I am Listening to Today

Mieczysław Karlowicz

Tone Poems: Stanislaw and Anna Oswiecimowie. Lithuanian Rhapsody, Episode at a Masquerade

Naxos 8.570452 Warsaw Philharmonic Antoni Wit

What a loss Karlowicz (12/11/1876-2/8/1909) was to Polish music and to 20th century music in general. Similar in style to Szymanowski, Richard Strauss, Scriabin, and other turn of the century Europeans, his music is colorful, youthful, exuberant, yet polished and actually quite mature.

Karlowicz wrote a small amount of music including a Symphony a Violin Concerto and several atmospheric tone poems including the ones recorded on this album. He also wrote a number of songs for voice and piano. Sadly some of his small output was lost during WWII.

My introduction to Karlowicz, I look forward to more.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Take it to the Streets

I am not for copying an article in its entirety here, that violates copyright and I want to stay clean in this litigious word. I do have to share this email from Soulforce, a coalition of religious leaders and church members who are crusading for full equality for gays and lesbians. They are more gutsy than the rest like HRC, Lambda Legal, etc who seem more interested in power and parties than real change.

There is a protest here in KC on Saturday 11/15 at 12:30 at the Nichols Fountain at 47th and Main. I plan on being there.

Time to Take it to the Streets

Mr Lutes is right, other gay pundits, bloggers, etc are trying to sugar coat the Proposition 8 debacle, mostly because they failed to see that those supporting Obama would not automatically support gay rights. We are tired of "later", "we got more than last time", and being called moral degenerates and lied about.

Fuck them, join me in taking it to the streets. Besides, I have not been in a protest for a long time!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Finally Did it, Daniel... I mean God...

Daniel was, and I am being so un-PC here, a total lunatic. The poor old fellow probably spent most, if not all his life, in mental institutions likely suffering from schizophrenia. Daniel thought he was God.

Daniel hung around the door of the small geriatric psych facility that I did some work for in the mid 1990s. "Don't you know I am GOD!??", he would shout at anyone who entered, as he teetered on his cane and hung on to the tank of oxygen trailing behind him.

Most visitors passed by without comment or avoided him completely by entering through the back door. I, however, would stop and talk to him, bemused by this strange and sad creature, sometimes shamelessly egging him on. As I was listening intently to God speak one day, a fellow resident down the hall was insistently bellowing "he is NOT GOD!! HE IS NOT GOD!!!!!!. Finally, she walked up to me and smacked me on the arm, "Damn it, he is NOT GOD! God is 6 foot 4 and better looking than that son of a bitch." No, folks.. I could not make this up.

One fine afternoon, Daniel asked me if I was Catholic. "No I am a Methodist", I replied. "There are only two true religions," he sternly advised me, "Catholicism (which he pronounced "Cathlick-ism") and Congregationalism. All will be in Heaven by 1997!!!!". He seemed disappointed that I was not either/or and waddled away. I was left feeling numb; I had annoyed God, and he was on oxygen to boot. All did not bode well. Some philosophers have claimed God is dead; I didn't want to be fingered as the murderer!

Well Daniel....God... whatever... it may be 11 years late, but I am becoming a member of one of the "two true religions".

Calm down, I am not turning Catholic. I have little love for that homophobic, corrupt organization. But I have started attending a United Church of Christ (UCC) church, Country Club Congregational UCC to be exact. I kind of like it.

Several things wrenched me from the United Methodist Church. The UMC just doesn't get it and continues its hypocritical path. "Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors" is the current UMC slogan. But that does not include the GLBT community. Yes, some local congregations buck the church and accept gays lesbians, et. al, but do so at peril. Methodist congregations have no control over who is appointed their pastor. Therefore, they do not have to accept the congregation's wishes. The Methodist Book of Discipline, more important than the Bible to many, is inconsistent and contradictory. "Homosexuality is incompatible with Christian Teaching", they love to cry. Yet at the same time, gays and lesbians are supposed to be treated with respect... as a sinner. And don't try to become an ordained minister if you are openly gay or lesbian, that means an automatic "trial", shades of Salem.

I just got tired of it. That is combined with a local pastor who seems to be systematically dismantling the church I was a member of for over 10 years.

UCC was founded in 1957 with the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. The Congregational Churches trace their history back to the Pilgrims and Puritians of the 1600s. Despite a Puritian heritage, the UCC holds progressive views on GLBT issues and other social justice issues. Congregations have extensive authority over matters of doctrine and ministry, the mother church guides and holds the denomination together in a spirit of communion and shared history, not with dogma and legal chains. Years ago, the UCC leadership decided that being gay or lesbian was a non issue to them, thus there are gay pastors, lesbians on boards, etc. It is so refreshing.

But I am sad as well. I feel a bit unsettled as I leave a church and an instution I have been a part of for most of my life. I will miss seeing the congregation at my old church, those that are left that is, the number leaving is rising. Some are coming to CCCUCC with me. I will visit perhaps, and make that special effort to connect with the ones who are special.

So, after all this time, I can finally get to Heaven, according to Daniel... I mean God. But do I have to wait to the next year that ends in 7?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Proposition 8

The blame game has started for the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which stripped gays and lesbians of the court given right to marry.

Here are some of the favorites so far:



Christian Fundies

Indifferent Homosexuals

Catholic and evangelical Hispanics and African-American Baptists stood alongside conservative white evangelicals in arguing for "traditional" marriage. Exit polls showed 70 percent of blacks supported the ban, a far higher percentage than any other race.

The Mormon Church poured tons of money into California, collecting it from all over the country and the world. Gays are wondering how they can keep their tax exempt status while doing that. It is clear, no one wants to challenge them. Thankfully gays and lesbians have been protesting in front of Mormon churches and offices in California and their headquarters in Salt Lake City, demonstrating that we will not just sink into a hole and go away.

The members of this powerful opposition also spearheaded the rise of Barack Obama. Blacks, Hispanics even a lot of evangelicals came out in force for him. Opponents of Proposition 8 were in a no win situation. These people had to vote for Obama to get him in to the White House, but they in turn voted to ban gay marriage. Obama himself has not the courage to say gay marriage is ok, even though the church he belonged to, the United Church of Christ, has come out in support of full marriage equality.

Compounding the issue, there were, I am sure, thousands of gays and lesbians who stayed away from the polls, feeling their vote does not count or that marriage is not all that big a deal. They miss the point and thus their passive-aggressive behavior makes them as guilty as those who actively campaigned to take away the joy and privilege of marriage for those who do feel it is a big deal.

I do have to unleash a little invective at African-Americans. I remember the 1993 March on Washington and the millions of gays and lesbians who marched for equal rights. I heard then NAACP President Benjamin Chavis speak to the crowd: "We are with you... we are with you!!" I guess no longer. I have sadly seen more hate and opposition towards gays from black people and organizations than I have from almost any other. Sadly, gay and lesbians frequently marched with Dr King and others, often at great risk, feeling civil rights for blacks was really civil rights for all. No wonder many gays and lesbians feel betrayed.

But there is hope. 61% of younger voters, under 30, voted against Proposition 8, regardless of their race. Opposition was actually strongest among voters under 24. The older the voter, the more likely he or she was to have supported the amendment. Younger people are tending not to be as influenced by conservative, fundamentalist churches or politicians. They have gay and lesbian friends, they are accepting. They simply do not feel it is fair to take away the rights of others. To them marriage is not the holy grail that the right makes it to be.

One gay couple said in the aftermath, "we are still going to get married, with our friends and family, but without God and our country."

Sadly Mormons, Blacks and Hispanics are continuing the age old trend; the oppressed soon become the oppressor.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The "Wasilla Hillbillies"

It seems not all was hunky dory with Caribou Barbie and John McSame on the campaign trail. There is one comment in particular from a McCain aide that is sure to get lots of play and ignite some friction between Sarah and John. An aide told Newsweek that the Palins were the "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast" during their now famous buying spree.

Newsweek and others go on to report that a wealthy donor who agreed to pay for the expenses was absolutely shocked when he received the bill. Both the New York Times and Newsweek report that he expected a bill between $20,000 and $25,000. Instead Granny-to-be, Track, Truck, Trunk, Todd and Tutu Palin spent almost $150,000.

Then it came out that she supposedly said she thought Africa was a country and could not name any NAFTA countries (Canada, USA, Mexico). I guess if she could not see it from her house, then it did not exist. She also thinks the world is 4,000 years old.

And just like Jethro Bodine from the Beverly Hillbillies, the Wasilla Hillbillies left Phoenix in style Tuesday. Mc Cain drove to his home, well... one of his homes... in a SUV. Palin and 18 of her family, including Truce, Tuck, Tigger, Tank, Trap, Tick, Trick, Tooth, Tush and Tiff, left in a huge caravan.

Remember this, my friends in 2012.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Reality Check

Perhaps I am too much a realist. I have always been, thus the excitement over Obama's win and the end of the Bush era is tinged with anxiety.

1) A whole lot of people think Sarah Palin is great, just what the country needs and would be a great leader. I see her getting to Washington someday, perhaps replacing Ted Stevens, and gearing up for a White House run. She is loved by the right and they will continue to support her. She has not disappeared yet.

2) The right wing hate machine is gearing up to make Obama's life miserable. Like with Clinton, the unrelenting personal attacks will distract him from more important things. Rush Limbaugh will be out in force, as will Faux News.

3) Large segments of the country still voted to take civil rights away from gays and lesbians. It is likely that gay marriage will be banned in California, after thousands of loving couples took advantage of the right. Gays and other unmarried people can not adopt in Arkansas, marriage is double banned in Florida now, as in many other states.

4) The US is still very polarized. Many harbor barely contained hostility towards the opposition. I know I do. It is still Us and Them.

5) Young people still think playing with an Xbox and texting to each other about nonsense is more important than voting. They have not seen bad times, so they do not care. They stay home and the homophobes, the motivated by issues people come out. Bad times, they is a comin' and is here...y'all.. so better get out and change some things, kids.

6) Bush has fucked the place up so bad that no one can undo his damage in 4 years.

One good thing, at least Obama will have a hand in keeping the Supreme Court from being a totally conservative domain.

So congrats, Barack Obama, and good luck, you'll need it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Don't be like a jerk I knew who voted for Missouri's infamous Boy-Gov saying, "all politicians are jerks, so might as well elect someone cute"..... BARF!

Vote, vote smart, vote for all the issues not just one and be sure you are counted.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Playing With Time

Will this day ever end??? It seems like today has been extra long...wait! Of course it has, we had a Daylight Savings Time change today. We gained an hour, falling back as it were as opposed to springing forward, the cute phrases designed to remind us which way to turn our dials.

I hate time change.

The clock here on the computer, my cable box, my watches and the clock in the Queen Mary all say 8:26 or thereabouts. Damn it.. we all know it is still 9:26. So why do we do this?

Daylight Savings Time is defined as the process of advancing clocks so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less.

Afternoons have more daylight?? So why does it now get dark at 5:15 instead of 6:15? I don't get it.

Neither do a lot of people. Many countries and some states (Indiana and Arizona) get along fine with out fucking up people's schedules. Originally, DST was supposed to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting. But heating and cooling is the biggest user of energy now and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited and contradictory.

DST's occasional clock shifts present other challenges. They complicate timekeeping and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, recordkeeping, medical devices, and heavy equipment. Many computer-based systems can adjust their clocks automatically, but this can be limited and error-prone, particularly when DST rules change. That is for sure, I have a "smart clock" that can't figure out the rules have changed. It made the change a couple weeks ago, when DST used to occur.

As the fall and winter progress, I will get used to it. I will stop getting up at 4AM and going to bed at 9PM. In the meantime, don't be surprised to find me snoring away when you expect me to be up and going. I am not being lazy, just blame it on DST.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What I am Listening to Today

Conlon Nancarrow, Studies for Player Piano Volume I and II

Wergo 6907 part of a 5 CD box. Nancarrow prepared player piano performing.

Imagine a possessed honky tonk piano, out of tune... spitting fire and smoke, inside glowing blood red hot, no mortal soul around to manipulate it.. playing a demonic boogie woogie at supersonic speed.

Get the image?

Fucking loony music... wild, inventive, colorful, awe inspiring, definitely unique. Lucky for us, Nancarrow composed these pieces on piano rolls and his original player pianos still exist, thus we can today experience the otherworldly muse of this unique man.

Nancarrow was born in Texarkana, Arkansas in 1912. In his youth, he was introduced to jazz and played trumpet in a jazz band. He went on to study music with some of the greats of the early 20th century, Sessions, Slonimsky and Piston. As many artists did in the 30s, he joined the Communist Party and eventually went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Upon return, he found himself harassed due to his Communist affiliations and time in Spain so he left New York for Mexico, where he lived in virtual isolation for the rest of his life. His earliest pieces for player piano were jazz influenced, but later works evolved around complex ratios of simultaneous rhythms, resulting in even more dense and intricate pieces. Although he composed for other media, his player piano works have earned him an enduring legacy.