September 12, 2015 archive


The Breakfast Club (Sweet)

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A set of unrelated and usually short instrumental pieces, movements or sections played as a group, and usually in a specific order.

Key Igor Stravinsky work found after 100 years

by Stephen Walsh, The Guardian

Saturday 5 September 2015 19.05 EDT

Igor Stravinsky composed his Pogrebal’naya Pesnya (Funeral Song) in memory of his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, shortly after Rimsky’s death in June 1908. The 12-minute work was performed only once, in a Russian symphony concert conducted by Felix Blumenfeld in the Conservatoire in January 1909, but was always thought to have been destroyed in the 1917 revolutions or the civil war that followed.

Stravinsky recalled it as one of his best early works, but could not remember the actual music.

Stravinsky was 26 when The Funeral Song was performed and was by no means advanced as a composer. He was completely unknown outside Russia – and barely known even there. Yet in the next four years he would compose The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, transforming himself into the most notorious modernist of them all.

There is a touching postscript to the story. Stravinsky was desperate to have his composition included in one or other of the memorial concerts being planned, and his surviving letters to Rimsky’s widow, to their son, Vladimir, and to the conductor Alexander Ziloti, positively cry out with the insecurity of a young composer who had never quite been accepted at the heart of musical St Petersburg and feared its judgment. They are the first hint of a split that would rapidly widen after Stravinsky’s dramatic successes in Paris. But by then of course, it hardly mattered.

The lost genius of Mozart’s sister

by Sylvia Milo, The Guardian

Tuesday 8 September 2015 09.54 EDT

“I am writing to you with an erection on my head and I am very much afraid of burning my hair”, wrote Nannerl Mozart to her brother Wolfgang Amadeus. What was being erected was a large hairdo on top of Nannerl’s head, as she prepared to pose for the Mozart family portrait.

Maria Anna (called Marianne and nicknamed Nannerl) was – like her younger brother – a child prodigy. The children toured most of Europe (including an 18-month stay in London in 1764-5) performing together as “wunderkinder”. There are contemporaneous reviews praising Nannerl, and she was even billed first. Until she turned 18. A little girl could perform and tour, but a woman doing so risked her reputation. And so she was left behind in Salzburg, and her father only took Wolfgang on their next journeys around the courts of Europe. Nannerl never toured again.

But the woman I found did not give up. She wrote music and sent at least one composition to Wolfgang and Papa – Wolfgang praised it as “beautiful” and encouraged her to write more. Her father didn’t, as far as we know, say anything about it.

Did she stop? None of her music has survived. Perhaps she never showed it to anybody again, perhaps she destroyed it, maybe we will find it one day, maybe we already did but it’s wrongly attributed to her brother’s hand. Composing or performing music was not encouraged for women of her time. Wolfgang repeatedly wrote that nobody played his keyboard music as well as she could, and Leopold described her as “one of the most skilful players in Europe”, with “perfect insight into harmony and modulations” and that she improvises “so successfully that you would be astounded”.

Like Virginia Woolf’s imagined Shakespeare’s sister, Nannerl was not given the opportunity to thrive. And what she did create was not valued or preserved – most female composers from the past have been forgotten, their music lost or gathering dust in libraries. We will never know what could have been, and this is our loss.

Lubec, Maine

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The story that goes with this picture is about Hopley Yeaton, the first officer commissioned (March 21, 1791) under the Constitution of the United States by George Washington into the Revenue Marines.  By most Coast Guarders (of whom Alex Haley is one and I am not but… New London) he is considered the first Commandant.

So in a friendly gesture the Coast Guard dug him up and planted him in New London where you can lie on his grave and think about death.

Now even though his grave was threatened by development, that of his family were not and they remain six feet (more or less, it’s pretty rocky) under the sod in North Lubec, once a bustling industrial center and now a wasteland of corrugated metal strapped around concrete slabs that machines and production lines used to be anchored on.

The libertarian impulse would be to point out the decline in commerce stems from an EPA ruling that it was no longer cool to dump buckets of blood, fish guts, and chicken beaks and feet straight into the water until the bay was red with it.

Scavanger species went into a predictable decline.  Yes, I like lobster and I know what they eat.  Do you like Pollack, Haddock, and Cod?

Seagulls I can do without even if they are agreeable to a close up.

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So Lubec North, South, East, and West is available for about a dime and it is a bustling hub of International commerce.

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I still don’t think grave robbing is an acceptable practice but when in Rome…  It certainly made things easier when I injured myself and had to exchange body parts after the beach amputation with shell edged tools.

What?  I had seaweed to grind my teeth on.  You guys are so effete.

Which brings us to Valhalla, New York and not by way of Wagner (Pfui!).

Family Balks at Talk by Russia to Move Rachmaninoff’s Remains

By JAMES BARRON, The New York Times

SEPT. 6, 2015

Resolutely nationalistic Russians want his body back. His great-great-granddaughter, Susan Sophia Rachmaninoff Volkonskaya Wanamaker, says “nyet.” Or she might, if she spoke Russian, but probably not. In a conversation about where his remains belong, she repeatedly used words like “dignity” and “respect.”

The dispute over his burial place started last month, when Russia’s culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, said that Rachmaninoff’s remains should be exhumed and sent to Russia. “The composer dreamed of being buried in Russia, that’s why returning his remains to his motherland would be a great deed,” he said, according to a report on the ministry’s website.

Ms. Wanamaker said Rachmaninoff had no such dream.

(W)hile he died in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 28, 1943, “the family’s roots in New York were deeper than their roots in Beverly Hills,” Ms. Wanamaker said. Rachmaninoff, who left his homeland to escape the Russian Revolution in 1917, had rented a house on Riverside Drive when he arrived in Manhattan in the 1920s. He became an American citizen eight weeks before he died.

Mr. Medinsky accused the United States of laying claim to Rachmaninoff’s legacy. “If you look at American sources, you’ll see that Sergei Rachmaninoff is a great American composer of Russian descent,” he said. “Americans are presumptuously privatizing the name of Rachmaninoff.”

That idea was echoed by Valery Poliansky, the president of the Rachmaninov Society in Moscow (the group spells his last name with a V). Mr. Poliansky told the Govorit Moskva radio station that “nobody in America needs him,” referring to Rachmaninoff, or his remains. “America doesn’t need anyone, except itself,” he said.

Ms. Wanamaker disputed that. “It’s not possible to privatize a name that’s well known,” she said, also noting that her great-great-grandfather “was always proud to be a Russian, even while he was living in exile in America.”

“There is no separating Sergei Rachmaninoff from Russia,” Ms. Wanamaker said. “His music is the embodiment of the Russian romantic spirit. It’s the embodiment of the Russian soul.”

She added, “I believe the name Rachmaninoff, because it’s recognized and respected, gives Medinsky a platform to spout his nationalism.” She suggested that Mr. Medinsky was “trying to politicize a personal choice” – Rachmaninoff’s decision to leave Russia and never return.

Ms. Wanamaker said that Rachmaninoff, great as he was, was not the only one to think about.

“He rests next to his wife and his daughter,” she said, “and there’s no mention of moving them. So they want to separate his family, one that he fought to keep together through the Russian Revolution, through World War II? It’s simply unconscionable.”

My wishes?  I want to go like El Cid.  Shove a stick up my butt, light me on fire, and give my horse a slap on the ass.

It’s kind of unfair to the horse.

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

On This Day In History September 12

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 12 is the 285th day of the year (286th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 80 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwiese-“Therese’s fields”-in honor of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n.” Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.

Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modelled after the Munich event.

The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasts until the first Monday in October, to mark the 200-year anniversary of the event. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich’s centre.

Visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

First hundred years

In the year 1811, an agricultural show was added to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse race persisted until 1960, the agricultural show still exists and it is held every four years on the southern part of the festival grounds. In 1816, carnival booths appeared; the main prizes were silver, porcelain, and jewelry. The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility for festival management in 1819, and it was agreed that the Oktoberfest would become an annual event. Later, it was lengthened and the date pushed forward, the reason being that days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

To honour the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria, a parade took place for the first time in 1835. Since 1850, this has become a yearly event and an important component of the Oktoberfest. 8,000 people-mostly from Bavaria-in traditional costumes walk from Maximilian Street, through the centre of Munich, to the Oktoberfest. The march is led by the Münchner Kindl.

Since 1850, the statue of Bavaria has watched the Oktoberfest. This worldly Bavarian patron was first sketched by Leo von Klenze in a classic style and Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler romanticised and “Germanised” the draft; it was constructed by Johann Baptist Stiglmaier and Ferdinand von Miller.

In 1853, the Bavarian Ruhmeshalle was finished. In 1854, 3,000 residents of Munich succumbed to an epidemic of cholera, so the festival was cancelled. Also, in the year 1866, there was no Oktoberfest as Bavaria fought in the Austro-Prussian War. In 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was the reason for cancellation of the festival. In 1873, the festival was once more cancelled due to a cholera epidemic. In 1880, the electric light illuminated over 400 booths and tents (Albert Einstein helped install light bulbs in the Schottenhamel tent as an apprentice in his uncle’s electricity business in 1896). In 1881, booths selling bratwursts opened. Beer was first served in glass mugs in 1892.

At the end of the 19th century, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles, large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. They wanted more room for guests and musicians. The booths became beer halls.

In 1887, the Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries took place for the first time. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and symbolises the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration

In the year 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday. 120,000 litres of beer were poured. In 1913, the Braurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests.

I have very fond memories of Oktoberfest. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Europe, do it in late September because this is a must see and experience.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

I’m still traveling. The regular health and fitness will return next week.

Summer Fruit Galettes


As long as there are still peaches, plums, apricots, berries and nectarines to be had, I’m buying them up and making pies and galettes. A galette is a free-form pie, more rustic than a tart. Although they’re usually made with classic buttery pie dough or puff pastry, I’ve been working at developing a dough recipe that is delicate and tasty but not too rich. I decided that a yeasted dough could work, and came up with a formula that yields enough for two galettes but has only 60 grams of butter (about 4 tablespoons). The flavor is nutty and rich because of the whole-wheat flour, but the dough isn’t heavy. The trick is to roll it very thin, then freeze it right away so that it doesn’t continue to rise and become too bready, and also so that it’s easy to work with when you are ready to assemble the tart. The dough works beautifully for these free-form galettes.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Dessert Galette Pastry

This yeasted dough is a cross between a pizza dough and pie crust dough.

Nectarine or Peach and Blackberry Galette

Almond flour spread over the crust before baking adds flavor and absorbs juice to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Apricot, Cherry and Almond Galette

Baking deepens the flavor of even less than perfectly ripe apricots.

Plum, Almond and Orange Galette

The plums’ deep color and the perfume of orange zest give this tart extra appeal.

Mixed Red Fruit, Apricot and Hazelnut Galette

Use whatever stone fruits and berries you like for this delicious odds-and-ends pie.

The Daily Late Nightly Show (Amy Schumer)

Last Day

Football Town

War Games

Cat Park

Twue Wuve


Therapy Part 2

More Therapy

Celebrity Interview

Amy Schumer is as funny as Bill Murray, and I like Bill Murray a lot.

I hope she get the bulk of the time because I don’t much like Stephen King (it’s a jealousy thing, his style is too similar to my own).  The musical guest is Troubled Waters.

This is a minor mystery

According to the New York Times, Troubled Waters is an unknown Paul Simon tribute band, which makes sense considering the iconic singer/songwriter’s track “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” However, the group doesn’t have any social media presence–not a Facebook, Twitter or Soundcloud–so we’re going to wager that this is some elaborate prank. Will it be Paul Simon himself? Will Colbert go the “Fallon” route and do his best Paul Simon impression? Is it some to-be-named supergroup?

Making a new plan, Stan

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has a new plan.

Under a new policy announced yesterday Sheriff Mirkarimi intends to house all inmates in San Francisco County’s jails by their gender identity.

He hopes to have transgender inmates living with their preferred population before 2016.

But transgender inmates who choose to remain in segregated housing or to continue living with other inmates who share the their birth sex can do so, according to Kenya Briggs, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

I carry the perspective forward that the transgender population is marginalized on the streets of America.  Consider how magnified that treatment is inside prisons and jails.