Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Season's Greetings!

Gingerbread faces: they're like gingerbread people, except you don't have any cookie cutters so you can cut them out with a table glass instead.

These poor guys are going to be unrelentingly squooshed on the train ride to Pittsburgh, but I hope they're still edible. In any case it's not bad to put that extra half-jar of molasses to use (the one I had on hand after making ginger cookies two weekends ago) and to give a little workout to the mixing bowl and cutting board and rolling pin, except I don't have a rolling pin so I rolled them down with a table glass instead. Yeah, bachelor cooking.

Better pack that suitcase now. Expect little to no blogging during late December due to family vacationing!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Titans 31, Steelers 14

Yes, that seems to be what it looks like if you play a tough game on the road and make all the mistakes. Between the missed 33-yard field goal, and Roethlisberger's first fumble at the 3, and whatever unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Titans a first-and-goal instead of a field goal attempt, you've got a ten-point swing right there.

The defensive lapses are a bit worrying, but I think the defense will put things together in the playoffs. And I don't think we learned anything about the offense we didn't know already. (Lots of sacks? No running game?) Good thing they won in Baltimore last week.

Took the train down to Fairfield to check out a different Steelers bar with Stu. Kind of a weird crowd of regulars: loud guy wearing jersey and shoulder pads and KISS-style makeup in black and gold; middle-aged guy who gripes constantly about Bruce Arians; guy who looks vaguely like Steve Buscemi.

Friday, December 19, 2008

One Way of Looking at a Blackbird

It has been evening since late afternoon.

It is snowing

And it is going to have snowed.

The blackbird does not

Actually figure into this poem, sorry, I was way off about that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Glad Tidings & Modernist Ornaments

100% Nutcracker-free radio playlist!
Arnold Schoenberg: Weihnachtsmusik (1921) for string quartet, piano and harmonium
Igor Stravinsky (after J. S. Bach): Chorale Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her" (1956) for chorus and orchestra
George Crumb: A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979 (1980) for piano
Joan Tower: Snow Dreams (1983) for flute and guitar
Poul Ruders: The Christmas Gospel (1994) for orchestra and sampled percussion
Zoltan Kodaly: Advent Song [Veni, Veni Emmanuel] (arr. 1943) for mixed chorus
James MacMillan: Veni, Veni Emmanuel (1992) for solo percussionist and orchestra
Christopher Rouse: Karolju (1990) for chorus and orchestra
Listen to the Schoenberg piece via Kyle Gann's blog -- that is one pretty little piece.

The Ruders piece is a ten-minute soundtrack to a Danish TV movie that tells the Christmas without dialogue and in a blend of live action and animation. Sounds kind of trippy based on the music.

I was really happy with the mic breaks this time -- finally -- but the damn CD-R machine somehow erased all my tracks before I finalized the disc, so unfortunately the show is lost to all time. Well, shoot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Consolation Prize

Ravens fan? Losing the division to the Steelers in Baltimore got you down? Maybe this will cheer you up -- look, Joe Flacco made the cover of Sports Illustrated! Pretty sweet, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dept. of Municipal Vexillology

I'm completely entranced by this rundown of municipal flags of U.S. cities. The website belongs to the North American Vexillological Association, vexillology being the study of flags, which I did not previously know. They published a book including all these images and more information, which sounds like it could be plausibly interesting.

I'm proud of Pittsburgh for having a decent city flag (above): many cities do not, as evidenced by this website.

Chicago has a pretty nice-looking city flag, one that was designed back in 1917 and seems to be gradually accumulating stars. The city flag of Wichita, KS (according to this marvelous little history) has an appealingly modern look, courtesy of a local artist who netted $85 of prize money for it in a 1937 contest, but evidently it remains sadly underused. On the other hand, Milwaukee has such an abysmal city flag (cobbled together in 1955) that the city has tried to replace it twice, only to fail to solicit better designs.

I think some of the most interesting city flags are the ones with designs obviously rooted in the 1960s or 1970s but that manage to be pretty classy anyway. Portland, Oregon, for example, has a mustard-accented yet sharp-looking flag from 1969. The guy who put together the flag of Des Moines, Iowa, in 1974 very cannily abstracted a field-and-stripes design to refer to the city's bridges, which keeps the graphic sensibility a bit fresher. Compare these to, say, Fresno or Salem, Oregon, which I assume are from about the same era.

The flag of Burlington, VT, was designed by eighth graders in the early 1990s and serves no functional purpose. I imagine many of the less impressive city flags in the NAVA survey are similar throwaways, or outdated marketing items developed by the chamber of commerce, or something. I'm still having a hard time figuring out this flag from Provo, Utah, though. What does that symbolize, exactly? Tough on stains?

Anyway, that's enough excitement for one evening. Your call on whether city flags are more or less interesting than, say, state license plates.

Sub-Zero Wins

Since this weekend, the Pacific Northwest (just like, I gather, most of the rest of America) has been hit with uncharacteristically cold weather, with highs yesterday and today in the low 30s and a smattering of snow on Sunday night. On its own the frosty weather is familiar enough, even strangely refreshing. The other transplants from northerly and/or high-altitude climes (the Northeast, the upper Midwest, Idaho, Utah, Washington state, Alaska) with whom I come into contact during my workday find it pretty unspectacular too. But my current homeland, like Northern Virginia, proves to be an area unused to the idea of dealing with ice and snow. For instance, where a city in western Pennsylvania would respond to an evening snowfall of two or three inches with "salt the roads", Portland's response (and that of its more-rural hinterland) is "we do not salt the roads". And while this lack of salt may help to keep all those vintage Volkswagens out on the roads decade after decade -- that and Oregon's notable absence of vehicle safety inspections -- it does mean a few inches of snow can pretty effectively stop most people from driving anywhere.

I spent Sunday in McMinnville with Kyle and the evening there was reasonably lovely -- we walked out into it to buy some bread and wine to go with the chanterelle mushrooms we bought at the last of Portland's Saturday markets that we'll make it to this year -- fresh snowfall; the sounds of the occassional passing cars muffled; Christmas lights above the quaint 3rd Street drag reflected in the ice on the pavement; a comfy scarf wrapped around my neck to keep the wind from knifing mercilessly into my very soul. Yesterday wasn't much worse: The Oregonian's early-morning road report said something about requiring chains on Interstate 5 so, assuming the commute would be treacherously snowbound I hunkered down in Kyle's small but serviceable pad and worked remotely. One thing I've always liked about IT work is that it's generally flexible enough to do from home without any issues, though I did decide it was prudent to switch from my own laptop to the Kyle's when the friendly neighborhood wifi connection I was leveraging disappeared, to be replaced a few minutes later with a similar wireless network named "fuck off".

It's not predicted to get above freezing today but there was no new snow overnight, so I figured on driving up to my place early and getting into the office. The drive didn't take much longer than usual and the car's ABS hardly engaged at all (the big roads being dry and the snow on the smaller roads being at least tamped down), though the cup of coffee I bought at one of McMinnville's many coffee hutches sprung a leak and filled up my cupholders with about half an inch of mocha. This, sadly, seems to have killed the wireless hands-free device for my cell phone that was, like the cup, being held there, though at least the undrained portion of the mocha was recoverable once I got home. Having reached my apartment, it didn't seem like the 14 bus was running along the Hawthorne Boulevard ice-road with anything like its usual frequency, so I opted to work from home again. At least I'm working from my home today; I do feel as though I'm getting closer and closer to reaching the office and barring much additional snow I may in fact get there by midweek. Never mind that my office these days is an offsite location and from there I just remote into a computer at the main office anyway.

Anyway, that's my meandering story about why I get to spend my lunch break in my apartment, sitting directly next to the heater and covered up with various blanket/sweater layers. On balance my commuting needs seem to have bested the weather for now. I guess it's possible for the potentially icy powers-that-be to stymie my holiday travel plans over Friday night but it seems like bad luck to even think about it.

I'm also proud that I cleaned up the spilled mocha in my car right when I got home, rather than following my first impulse to let it freeze in the cupholders overnight and then chip it out tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

End of Flowerblogging

Today the dead flowers were removed from the planter in front of my apartment building. Elapsed time from their installment: 10 weeks.

So now there's just bare dirt. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Look at the Internet I Made!

So, as mentioned in previous posts, I just made an online literary journal for my grad program's literary journal. Check it out. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Olivier Messiaen and His Tricked-Out Interstellar Love Symphony

So at the front end of this somehow charmed weekend was an incredibly good performance, back on Friday night, of Messiaen's Turangalila-Symphony, with the university Philharmonia and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw. The orchestra knocked this performance out of the park, and de Leeuw had a phenomenal control on the piece. Tempos were generally quick, and even in the slower places (like the luxuriously slow 6th movement) there was a sense of the gamelan-inspired rhythmic impulse underpinning the music. Textural contrasts were excellent, even with the concert hall muddying up some of the overlayed music.

So the details were all good; but it was the up-front excitement that made this performance special. Fast, loud, urgent, and possessing an exultant joy in instrumental color and sensuousness. This concert really lit me up; I haven't felt this energized from an orchestra concert for a while, and it's easily the most exciting concert I've heard on campus since moving up here.

Wei-Yi Yang, the pianist, matched the orchestra impressively, with the same intensity and physicality of bold sweeping phrases. He's a friend of my ex-roommate Charlie, and I've met him on several occasions. Actually I met Charlie and a few of his friends for this concert, and we staked out a nice spot at the front of the acoustically satisfactory second balcony together.

Some of the sci-fi moments of this piece made me think of Messiaen himself, off somewhere or other, twirling dials and speaking from the beyond through an orchestral medium. In this the centenary was, I think, successfully observed.

Reinbert de Leeuw is known as a top-notch conductor, and I think this is finally starting to sink in for me. If I'm not forgetting anything, I have heard him conduct three orchestra concerts, and all of them were unforgettably good. (Besides this one, two of the best performances I heard while living in New York: a 2005 Juilliard Symphony concert matching Shostakovich's 15th Symphony with Sofia Gubaidulina's majestically sculptural multimovement symphony "Stimmen . . . verstummen . . ."; and the 2004 Lincoln Center complete concert performance of Louis Andriessen's singularly bracing "De Materie.") And, looking back, one of the first Messiaen CDs I remember really getting into in college was a sharp recording of de Leeuw conducting "Reveil des Oiseaux." So let me advise you to hear Reinbert de Leeuw conduct an orchestra at any such opportunity you are presented with.

Kyle Gann wrote an excellent post last month about generosity in composition. In that meaning of the term, Turangalila is about as generous as it gets: the recurring themes, in development or just dropped in as unexpected familiar moments; the catchiness of the big splashy 5th and 10th movements.

Steelers 13, Ravens 9

Last week I figured, sure, Ben comes up big with the fourth-quarter drive, but they're still winning out of luck (certainly with that Townsend interception). But two weeks in a row? And against Baltimore's D, in Baltimore? Drive of the year. Incredible.

There seems to be some controversy about whether or not Holmes's TD catch should have, in fact, been called a TD, and it sure sounded like the ref was talking about something besides the ball breaking the plane of the end zone. My feeling about this sort of thing remains: You want to keep from being burned by the borderline call, don't give up a 90-plus-yard drive with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter.

Just completely thrilled about this one; I figured on the offense coming up way too short, and 9–6 sure looked like the low-scoring loss everyone was anticipating.

Is there anything better than watching Hines Ward come up with big plays against Baltimore?

Watched this one up in Hamden with Stu and Andrea, so we had a nice little festive time of it. And wings!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday Night Equation

Turangalila-Symphony + party with lots of cookies at it = High marks for subjective well-being

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Radio, but Hey, Cookies!

I postponed my radio show tonight due to a combination of not giving myself enough prep time (I will do a legitimate Carter-themed show sometime post-Christmas, honest) and needing to make cookies for a cookie-themed party a work friend is throwing tomorrow night. I was vaguely planning to do this after 8 pm and then gradually I came to my senses.

They tell you how to make cookies on The Internet, although there's also this step where you realize you don't actually own a cookie sheet, and you have to reserve a Zipcar really quick and drive five exits north on I-91 in the pouring rain to buy one at Target. Later on there's this step where you didn't read the part of the recipe that says you need to chill the batter for an entire hour after mixing it together. This is why I need to set aside an entire evening any time I want to bake anything.

But hey, cookies! Everybody loves cookies. Especially when they're ever so slightly burned, right? . . . . Right? . . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Celebration of Some 100 Years x 150 Zillion Notes

It continues to blow my mind that Elliott Carter is still as active as he is -- 100 years old today! -- and moreover that his recent work has been some of his strongest, most incisive stuff. May we all have such long years, and so filled with atonality.

I don't know for how long, but the Boston Symphony is streaming videos of several Carter performances from Tanglewood last summer -- definitely worth checking out. The short piano concerto "Dialogues" (2003) and the colorful mixed ensemble piece "Luimen" (1997) are both fine examples of recent-period Carter; there's a seven-minute string orchestra piece up there called "Sound Fields" (2007) which is atmospheric and eerie in a distinctly non-Carterian manner. Also, among older works, the fantastic Concerto for Orchestra (1969). And the entirety of Carter's one-act opera "What Next?" (1997), although I can never get into his vocal writing.

OK, I think that's more Carter than you can listen to in the next 45 minutes.

Some ten-month-old Carter thoughts are still posted here.

Poet Laureate of Vice

Taking a break from my second straight day of full-bore computer hacking, I wandered downstairs to get myself some lunch. I was planning on a vegetarian quesadilla from the airport-caliber burrito purveyor that has recently installed itself into recently renovated food court on the ground floor of the shitty building on my campus where my computer hacking office also is, Academic Two. Only mention its name because there are three adjacent buildings here on campus that make up one of its primary structures, Academic One, Academic Two, and the Wolfe University Center. The food court is next to the UC, at the end of AC-II which is furthest from AC-I.

This was about 3:30pm. The food court, unfortunately, according to the hand-written sign taped to its entrance, closed today at 2pm. No reason given. It's raining, so I couldn't bike away from campus to get lunch from the strip mall-caliber burrito purveyor that's just up the road, and resorted to going to the book store for some "snacks."

AC-II is connected to the UC by a single set of double glass doors, the kind that aren't automatic, but do have one of those blue buttons that opens both doors automatically for handicapped, encumbered, or lazy threshold crossers. One of these two glass doors was also not working. This, also, was communicated by a hand-written sign taped to the door. Just on the UC side of the doors, there was another door on the right hand side of the hallway. This door also had a sign on it saying that it was broken, and to please not use it. These broken doors, I'm sure, are mild inconveniences for many, but I don't mind, since I tend to enjoy the outward signs of decrepitude of the campus; rather than just hate on the place, I reckon its better to try and laugh at it.

Our University Center has many TVs, most of which are permanently tuned in to MTV U. This, I suppose is some kind of contractual thing not dissimilar from the TVs which were in every classroom of my middle school which obligatorily played something called "Channel One News" every morning and showed commercials for Pepsi products (where a whole generation learned to love Anderson Cooper). It's the type of thing which I pretty automatically ignore (having learned to automatically ignore such things back in middle school), but as I walked past one such television on my way back towards my computer hacking office from the bookstore, Coke Zero and Rold Gold pretzels in hand, Peanut M&Ms in pocket (traditional hacker-snacks), I happened to notice that the screen was only occupied by a few lines of poetry.

"Odd." I thought, and that feeling multiplied as I noticed that the poet credited for the words there was John Ashberry, who is generally recognized as being America's difficultest poet. The words soon faded away, and rather than, like, showing the next stanza, as I was expecting, instead a link came up that said "read the whole poem at mtvU.com". And it turns out that John Ashberry is the mtvU poet laureate. Who is the ad wizard that came up with this one? It strikes me as a ballsy and interesting move, but at the same time rather completely inscrutable, given Ashberry's status as a writer of oftentimes completely impenetrable verse.

And, well, I'd muse about it more, but I've consumed my snacks and need to get back to work.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Olivier Messiaen, born December 10, 1908.

Some Books

Once my semester hit its crunch-time span of weeks, I pretty well fell off the face of the mild earth, here. But, the semester is rapidly drawing to a close--I'm turning in my workshop portfolio tonight, and that'll be it for class work. All I have left to do is build the online literary journal that my program is putting out. So I'll be around the internet all the time up until its launch date (Monday), and will conceivably, therefore, write more of mild blog posts. Though all this computer hacking really does make me quite thirsty.

This will still involve some amount of figuring out what exactly it is that I have to say for myself. It continues to be one of the oddest things about being in grad school for creative writing, the busy-unbusiness of it. Though, knowing that it's essentially a useless degree (the MFA) unless I publish a book or two is somehow reassuring. If nothing else, it's a license to waste three years of my life and, like, write, or whatever, so therefore I should be, like, writing blog posts, right?

I did read some number of books this semester, some for class, some outside of class. Here are the highlights:

Richard Powers's The Time of Our Singing: As with most of Powers's novels (in the first part of the late-Summer, early-Fall I read any of the remaining Powers novels that I hadn't read yet (except for his first three books), the main characters in this book are a combination of musicians and scientists, but this story has a scope which is perhaps only matched by Goldbug Variations, but I think more "serious" in its thematics, in that it deals with 60 years or so and three generations of a mixed-race couple and their musical genius children. This is some of Powers's strongest writing about music (though I always tend to find it believable). I'm not much of a gauge for his sciencey writing, but I don't know that anyone does it better than Powers, and the science aspect is certainly secondary to the musical one in this book.

W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage: Despite the fact that Maugham has been one of my favorite writers since I read The Razor's Edge in college (I may have read it in high school too, but my experience of reading it in college led me to believe that I must have only skimmed the thing, or read only section of it, in high school English class), I hadn't gotten around to reading Of Human Bondage until last month. It deserves its status as a classic, certainly. Do people still write books that follow a character for 23 contiguous years like this?

I've found it to be the case this semester, one of my classes (plot class) demanded, towards its end, some consideration of what it is exactly that I like in books, and one of the things that came up for me was my notion of "scope." Ranking what it is that I value in books, then, came out something like this:

1) Scope - reach, breadth, scale, etc.
2) Complexity - plot, sub-plots, complications, pattern
3) Structure - form, more pattern, the way the story is woven

And those things, combined with a sense of newness, equalled my sense of the ambitious, which ends up being perhaps the most important--the sense of the author's own ambition (this can, of course, be historically situated as well).

Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union. I'm not sure why I didn't read this when it first came out; I thoroughly enjoyed Chabon's other novels (well, not Mysteries of Pittsburgh, but the other two), but yeah, this book is quite good. Certainly ambitious. I got pretty cynical towards Chabon for a while in the mid-oughts, mostly 'cuz of his association with McSweeney's, but this book gets him back on my good side.

Oh well, and now I'm busy again trying to make this stupid webpage. All for now.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sophisticated Textual Commentary

There is one thing that bothers me about my otherwise fully satisfactory toaster, and that is its Cancel button. You push the Cancel button to make your breakfast item pop back out. There are two reasons I dislike this button:
1. "Cancel" is way too negative. If I am watching my breakfast item and see it reach its optimally toasted state, I do not want to Cancel anything, I want to retrieve it exactly the way it is. Maybe the button should say "Good," or, alternatively, there could be two buttons that say "Good" and "Probably As Good As It Will Get" that perform the same function.

2. "Cancel" is the wrong word anyway. A real Cancel button would either discard your breakfast item or return it in its original untoasted form. Of course, if my toaster could do either of these two things I would be greatly disturbed.
I would avoid using the Cancel button entirely, but it is actually the only way to eject your breakfast item from the toaster.

Are you questioning the word choice of your small household appliances? Did you have a long day at the office?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Steelers 20, Cowboys 13


Did not see that one coming, either Ben's sudden clutch TD drive, or Townsend's interception return. My apartment neighbors must think I'm crazy now, following the amount of shouting my friend Andrea and I let loose with as that went down.

Pete called (in lieu of texting) after that play and just shouted "Holy fuck!!" Excitement ensued.

You gotta love this defense. Unfortunately I missed most of the first quarter (seeing a fortepiano recital with another friend at the university's Collection of Musical Instruments -- also quite satisfying, if less viscerally exciting) and thus did not see Polamalu's most recent interception. Ike Taylor's pick in the first half was a gem, too -- nice to see him actually grab something that well.
* * * * *
Just because it's, you know, funny again, after they won this game, admire the bizarre sequence of events that produced the Steelers' field goal near the end of the second quarter tonight:

1.) Steelers have ball at their own 6; go 3 and out.
2.) Berger kicks awful 28-yard punt into the wind -- but a Dallas player kicks the ball ten yards upfield where Lawrence Timmons recovers it
3.) Steelers, now at their own 41, go 3 and out
4.) Berger punts 44 yards to Dallas 8; Romo's first play is the pass that Ike Taylor picks off nicely at the 22
5.) Steelers appear to go 3 and out, but Dallas is flagged for 12 men on the field
6.) Steelers, now at Dallas 10, go 3 and out
7.) Reed kicks 24-yard field goal

Basically this looks like an ugly parody of an actual offensive drive, if you add it all together.

The whole turnover-haunted first half of this game (3–3 at halftime) was kind of morbidly fascinating.

Elusive Item of Regional Bowling-Related Interest!

As you may know, one of the reasons I don't consider Connecticut to be "real" New England (but rather a kind of bargain-rack Massachusetts) is the general unavailability of candlepin bowling, at least as far as I've been able to determine. So imagine my glee in learning that there is another odd branch of the bowling family tree, duckpin bowling, very close to where I am. I still haven't gone, and in fact I have never been duckpin bowling, which adds to my vague sense of cheerful anticipation about the activity. I bounced the idea off of some work friends but it seems I might need a better angle than "It's like regular bowling but weird and way harder."

I share this mostly so I can share the website of the Woodlawn Duckpin Bowling Center of West Haven, CT, which has a surprisingly well-made mini-documentary about duckpin bowling and describes the sport in phrases along the lines of "redolence of intrigue and mystery." And a logo of a cartoon duck wearing a bowling shirt. If this does not fill you with an urgent desire to go duckpin bowling, then you, sir or madam, are a soulless automaton of the sort hypothesized by certain philosophers of mind.

The only remaining question is whether their snack bar serves beer, but I can't determine the answer from the website.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I Am Now Rooting for These Guys

Have you seen the blog written by the two Indian athletes the Pirates just signed? You need to go read it. They post under their first names, Dinesh and Rinku. Do not miss the post where Dinesh praises Denny's Lumberjack Breakfast but pans the movie Rock n Rolla. (This guy sums up the blog well.)

I know nothing tangible is likely to develop out of this baseball-wise, but it seems to be a refreshingly bright-eyed moment by pro sports standards. And it's good optics, at least, for the Pirates, who so far have managed to have fewer notable accomplishments this year than actual pirates.

(This all comes via Slate's Bruce Reed, who seriously needs to learn that cracking one-liners about the Pittsburgh Pirates is about as impressive as hitting a piñata without a blindfold on. So past it already.)

Elsewhere, Dejan Kovacevic writes about the Pirates' changing attitude in their Dominican scouting program. I haven't read all three of these articles, but Kovacevic writes excellently as usual.
* * * * *
In other sports news, the NFL offices decided that Ryan Clark's hit on Wes Welker last Sunday was not, in fact, an illegal hit. As soon as I read this I went back and watched the clip on YouTube like four times. Does this make me a bad person?

Unfinished Business

Half-playlist 12/4:

Hans Pfitzner, Prelude to Act I of "Palestrina" (1915) for orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven, 11 Bagatelles, op. 119 (1823) for piano
most of Franz Berwald's Sinfonie Singulière (1845)

I'm pretty sure I can now lay claim to the only radio broadcast of Franz Berwald's Sinfonie Singulière that has ever been interrupted partway through by a hockey game. Evidently the station broadcasts all the home men's hockey games. On the plus side, I'm told that this is the only 7 pm Thursday night home hockey game. On the minus side, I was told that at approximately 6:40 pm.

Also, you know what I can't pronounce, is "Singulière." Why this didn't occur to me in the past couple of years, up to the point where I was on the air speaking the word "Sinfonie," I don't know. I'll have another crack at it next week, before I start laying down some mad Elliott Carter jams. I need a French pronunciation guide.

Mike gmail chatted me and said he heard me on the air, online. For about a half second, before the Berwald. He heard the single syllable "--rwald." Hey, I'm just happy to have an audience.

The first two sentences of Franz Berwald's Wikipedia entry are fantastic. Man, I wish people would be able to say this about me some day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Things that I learned at the Frick Mansion

1) Orchestrions are awesome. If he was right about anything, Tom Carnegie was right about this.

2) When rich Americans purchased exclusive, individually manufactured automobiles from Europe, those cars were imported along with a driver. This, as well, is awesome.

3) At least once, Frick hired musicians from the Pittsburgh Symphony to play music at a party at his house. They were hidden behind a screen of palms. Also awesome.