Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Shostakovich Day 2K11

Alexander Pushkin, trans. Laurence R. Richter

A barbarian artist uses his indolent brush
To blacken out a genius's picture
And his own illicit drawing
He traces senselessly over it.

But the alien colors with the passing years
Fall away like decrepit scales.
The creation of the genius under them
Emerges with all its former beauty.

Thus disappear the delusions
From my tormented soul,
And there arise within it visions
Of my innocent primal days.

That's the first of four Pushkin poems set in Dmitri Shostakovich's opus 46, which also happens to be where my Exhaustive Shostakovich project has been stalled out, by now, for longer than I initially had it going regularly. That blog is overdue for a renascence of its own, as indeed is my contribution to this one.

Nonetheless, I wish you all a happy 105th anniversary of the composer's birth. Here's hoping all our souls are less tormented by censorship and compromise than his.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I'm in Mountainous Northern Thailand!

Having moved on from the massive urban climes of Bangkok to the smaller, calmer mountainous region of Thailand's "northern capital," Chiang Mai, it seems only right to keep updating my position, globally, at least slightly on schedule with its movements. So, here we are in Chiang Mai. I've already realized that I'm not the kind of person to take pictures, then put those pictures on a blog (sorry), or, at least not taking pictures that I then use on the blog to assist the narrative. So here's a picture of the sunset in Georgia:

The Sunset in Georgia

If Miami were the size of Bangkok, then Chiang Mai is St. Augustine. Even tho it's currently monsoon season, and therefore not tourist season, there's a sizable population of white people. Students, professional athletes, teachers, and retirees. Some of the old white men are disconcerting, but that's something one has to get rather used to in Thailand, apparently.

In Bangkok, we were always on the beaten path for tourists, but here in Chiang Mai it's a bit more of a free-for-all, except with most of the tourist scene taking place within the walls of the old city (part of the rationale for the St. Augustine comparison (tho, of course, I don't know how many of yinz have even been to St. Augustine)). I just took a walk today to sign up for a situational Thai language class, which I missed the first class of, but shouldn't be too far behind in, since I already learned how to say "Hello," "Thank You;" "Excuse me," and to count to ahundred.

We're staying in a little guest house that's just outside the old city walls, around a corner and down a leafy path. It's quiet and quaint and all around quite nice. Also, earlier this summer, I went to Niagara Falls with Dan and Shelley. Here's a picture of that:

"Slowly I turned, step by step..."

We had hoped to go on the Maid of the Mist, but didn't wind up having time in the end, since we drove all the way to Burlington, VT that day. So this is as close as we got.

Eventually I'll get caught up on the picture front, and have more to say for Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Off Continent

The view from our first digs in Bangkok.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sports-News of the Age

Nate and I allude to this occasionally, but we conduct a hearty and frequently voluminous e-mail correspondence largely consisting of jokes about the Pirates or Steelers, which we generally don't share around since it's a twin humor feedback loop thing. We have the most fun, in our fashion, with minor players whose names suggest a goofy alter ego, like onetime relief pitcher Anthony Claggett or minor-league outfielder Larry Broadway.

Such was the case last year, briefly, for a Pirates pitcher named Dana Eveland, who we agreed had an impossibly womanly name. Eveland wasn't on the Pirates long but is on the Dodgers now, and happened to beat the swiftly tanking Pirates tonight. So with that background, I share with you the following example of Twin Feedback Sports Humor, in the form of an email exchange spanning fifteen months. I continue to be jealous of Nate's command of old-timey-sounding language.


Jack to Nate, June 7, 2010

June 7th --- Spectators of this afternoon's baseball match between the Pirates and the the Cubs encountered an unexpected sight, as the home club introduced to the pitching-mound one Dana Eveland, recently of Canada. Perhaps the Chicago men of more broad-shouldered frame were bearers of the occasional guffaw, and if so their disbelief is easily understood. Allowed several innings of presence upon the diamond, however, Eveland was soon seen to be capable at their sport. The elegant windup of Eveland was prelude to a swift, tapering throw, brought off with style and gracious velocity.

How should the devotee of baseball regard this new development in roster-stocking? Perhaps his eyes turn first to the box-score, where the numbers coolly present an unsympathetic portayal of hits registered, runs scored, and not a win by the hosting club. Nevertheless, in at least one progressive sports-writer's view there is much to be lauded here. Why, it may even be noted that today's thrower received rather more success than many of the men the Pirates had of late written into their lineup cards! No doubt, this sportsman alleges, the competitive spirit shall align with the equality-minded spirit of our age; and more than some several hundred ballpark-visitors shall remember this game as the original appearance of Dana Eveland, first woman base-baller.

CORRECTION, June 8th. Dana Eveland is not a woman base-baller. The Pittsburg Telegraph-Courier regrets the error.


Nate to Jack, September 1, 2011

"Hell hath no fury like a Woman Scorned" — Lady Revenges Pirates Club.
Pittsburg Advertiser-Post, Sept. 1, 1911
Carlson Gillcuddy, sport reporter.

PITTSBURG, Penn. — Brooklyn pitcher Dana Eveland, a woman, today deflated the spirits of the Pittsburg Pirates, the now entirely masculine team that earlier dismissed her services.

The lady Eveland surrendered but one batted run to the rival baseballers while pitching through eight of nine innings. The shamefaced Pittsburg men in attendance attest that the flash of her eye and the red of her cheek betrayed a revengeful mind, and that an unusual aggression showed in her leg-kicks even through the billowing drapery of her hooped skirts.

The mood among the Pirates players themselves as they shifted their uniforms in their changing-pit below the bleachers after their unmanning was even lower.

"It is G———d poor baseball," proclaimed center-fielder Andrew McCutchen, his uncharacteristically coarse language bringing a crimson flush to the Gay Scotsman's face beneath his neatly oiled whiskers. "That such a creature as cannot even achieve a full beard, with all respect to the young Mr. Presley, should even be permitted to take the field is insult enough. But that in the event we could not even meet ball with bat speaks of our wretchedness as athletes as well as members of the male species."

Pittsburg manager Clint Hurdle could be seen upon his dugout-bench sucking a tooth and then twirling his mustaches with a fiery glint in his eye up until the bottom of the sixth inning, at which point he expired of black lung.

Their loss to the delicately wristed female ball-thrower furthered an ignominious season for the Pirates, they having previously lost in Chicago to a trained bear and in Milwaukee to a German.


Well, we think it's funny, anyway.