Sunday, August 28, 2016

Stories as Dogma

The very best stories in the collected wisdom of the human race have several important things in common:
  • They always deal with important tribal mores, values and customs.
  • They are frequently told as "children's stories" although the target is the parents and mentors in the audience. 
  • Irony and frequently hyperbole are integral to the mnemonic.
The problem with these stories after they are collected into Holy Writ is that the irony and hyperbole is regarded as TRUTH™ and used by self-serving preachers to manipulate their followers in ways that would be abhorrent to the originators of the stories.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Symphonic Choruses

Community Chorus please, well all right, none of us are paid to sing with the SFCS, but amateur is the wrong description of the performers in the Chorus. 
It is a sad fact of life that symphonic choruses are a luxury that few symphonies can afford to support as fully paid performers.  They must be a large group to carry over the orchestration of most of the repertoire, and much of the repertoire including the Verdi Requiem is technically very difficult. Auditioned community choruses are the only way audiences can hear much of the repertoire and new symphonic works like last fall's Terra Nostra by Stacy Garrop,
Many of the singers are music graduates, and some are soloists in other settings particularly church choirs that have a professional quartet as the core. Hardly amateurs in the sense you beat us up with.  All are accomplished musicians able to work up a thrilling group sound that you and audiences can properly applaud on relatively few one day a week rehearsals.  We put in the time and usually money, because we think Symphonic Choral music deserves a place in the Classical music scene.  For the most part community choruses are the only way you will get it. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Future of Suburban Living

As the top 20% crowd into the cities, voluntarily as that is where all the good stuff is within walking distance including most of the jobs that support the top 20% what happens to the suburbs that they leave?  Property values crater, and it becomes reasonable for the bottom 80% to achieve the American Dream of suburban living.  Rents in the strip malls and local shopping centers crater along with the property values, and become affordable for bodegas, Dollar stores, and other services catering to the lower income groups.  Assuming existing transit is maintained, (roads don't matter) as travel outside the neighborhood is mainly for jobs serving the 20%.  The 20% will insure it is maintained as they don't use it anyway and they need the service people who are gentrified out of the city.  

The current suburban standard of 4-5 bedrooms and 2-3 baths will serve an extended family of many as well as it serves the current family of 3.  The family room or a big downstairs room will be turned into a dorm for the kids and the adults will occupy the 4-5 bedrooms.  The modern luxury kitchen will easily serve dozens as well or better than it serves 3.

One can expect the current suburban developments to become ethnic enclaves, since once the block is busted and prices crater further, friends and families will join the blockbuster and remake the development to serve their needs.  The fences will come down and the large backyards will connect to be a big playground for the neighborhood.

It is happening as we chat, many suburban neighborhoods and cities connected by transit to the urban core are now ethnic enclaves, and the white homeowners are taking the money and running while the money is still there.  The elderly to "Adult communities" and the working ethnics are blockbusting a new community for their ethnic group.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Illnesses of Older People.

I recently had to deal with a diagnosis of serious throat cancer.  The reflexive recommendation of the Tumor Board for cancer of this stage was Radiation Therapy and simultaneous Chemotherapy starting ASAP. Radiation Therapy for throat cancer has a known side effect of damage to the vocal chords, which as a lifelong singer with a concert coming up I could not allow. 

This dilemma caused me to pull together a lot of things that had been in the round tuit box for some time.  First and foremost get the Advanced Directive registered with my health provider.  Secondly figure out what my priorities for the rest of my life should be.  Cancer, like strokes, heart disease, and many other ailments are to old age what head and neck injuries, joint damage, and wounds are to younger people.  If it doesn't kill you, you have to decide what compromises you have to make to continue to live a meaningful life worth dying for.  In other words, get your living priorities articulated in a way that can be discussed with others that are significant in your life including your medical team.  

At 76 I am well aware that life is finite and death will come sooner or later, preferably much later but not at the cost of compromising those things that make life worthwhile.  While alive my priorities sorted out to be 
  1. Don't die.
  2. Live as you have enjoyed living most of your life, in my case keep singing among several other high priority activities that make up my daily life.  
  3. Deal with serious health issues in a way that keep the above in perspective.  
In my case once I convinced the tumor board that radiation was not an option, they recommended an accelerated and dangerous Chemo protocol that would allow me to sing the concert if it didn't kill me. Knowing the risks I elected the protocol which indeed almost killed me, but knowing the risks enabled good choices of emergency treatment which indeed enabled my singing the concert.       

And many more as it turned out the protocol worked beyond most medical expectations and at this point the tumor and metastases are gone according to the usual cancer scans.  There is nothing useful that medicine can do at this point but watch for a recurrence.  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Poe's Law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
Poe's law is an Internet adage which states that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, parodies of extreme views will be mistaken by some readers or viewers for sincere expressions of the parodied views.[1][2][3]


"Poe's law" was originally written by Nathan Poe in 2005, in a post on, an Internet forum about Christianity. The post was written in the context of a debate about creationism, where a previous poster had remarked to another user "Good thing you included the winky. Otherwise people might think you are serious."[4] Poe then replied, "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is uttrerly [sic] impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article."[1] The original statement of Poe's law referred specifically to creationism, but it has since been generalized to apply to any kind of fundamentalism or extremism.[3]  
  • Corollary I:  
  • Parodies of extreme views of belief systems will always be accepted as TRUTH™ by adherents to the belief system.
  • Corollary II
  • Any fundamentalist preaching on a belief system political or religious is indistinguishable from parody.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Choral CV

K-8 choir starting 4th grade.  First solo 4th boy sop.  Voice never broke just moved down through the parts.

Elite Church Choir 6-12.  Various parts.

Elite High School A Capella Choir.  One of two freshmen admitted. 

Highlight: Memorial Day concert ending with Faure Requiem.  Due to intense programming no applause was requested.  At the end the audience filed out in complete science. 

Stanford All University Chorus 4 years undergrad, 2 years Grad.  Good chorus nothing special

Five years not singing due to heavy travel for work but something definitely missing. 

New York Choral Society.  Top non-professional choir in NYC.  Frequent performances with visiting orchestras, Beethoven 9th,  Mahler 2nd , Handel Messiah repertoire pieces.  Chorus 1971 to 1979.  On working board 1972 to 1979. Normal venue Carnegie Hall.  We performed almost all of the Choral Standards including the big 5 Requiems and the usual Masses.


·         Beethoven Missa Solemnis under Roger Wagner, Bob DeCormier, and Robert Shaw.

·         Kodali Kallo Dances and Martinu Military Mass under DeCormier

·         Chorus for the Peter, Paul and Mary Chanukah-Holiday concert which was later televised as a PBS Special.  Look for the guy with the fake snow piling up on his tux.

·         Bernstein Chichester Psalms under Maestro Bernstein.

San Francisco Choral Society.  A top tier non-professional symphonic Chorus in San Francisco Bay area. Bass 1998-2005. Tenor 2006-present.  Performs standard choral repertory with emphasis on newer music.   With an annual warhorse in Davies Symphony Hall


·         David Lang Battle Hymns: W/C Premier with active chorus, dance and children’s choir.

·         Stacy Garrop Terra Nostra: World Premier of her Modern Oratorio.

Started voice lessons for tenor soloist training 2013 with Brian Thorsett, then with Greg Wait. For the past year I have been working with Lee Strawn. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Suggested Life Celebration for J'Carlin

N.B. This post is referenced as part of my Advanced Directive which has not been needed yet (7/2/16.)  It was a hurry-up job under the gun of some grim medical procedures.  Any confusion as to time frame of the celebration is regretted.  For the moment at some time in the future:
As people gather play the Second movement of Bruch's third violin concerto (Arcado by preference) to include sister Janet as part of the celebration.  Encourage the who, what composer, etc speculation. No spoilers from those in the know.  After the third movement resolves the second, someone should tell the story of Janet and I having to leave home frustrated and Janet calling her friend at the radio station for the ID of the out of print vinyl.  J'Carlin kept a long vigil till the CD set we just listened to was reissued ADD.

No podium speeches, but encourage everyone to tell a neighbor a story about J'Carlin that was important for them.  

After a bit of chatter a music break including the Intuit and Kyrie from the Faure Requiem, the Bogoroditse from Rachmaninoff Vespers, and "Don't Stand by my Grave and Weep" from Rob Paterson's Eternal Reflections  If a choir I have been a member of would like to organize a celebratory group for the Faure and Rachmaninoff I would request that the usual gig fee be paid to the director and accompanist.  If Kevin and Alex would sing Amazing Grace for their usual gig fee it would be nice.   A reading from "Thinking on the blue roads" would be nice.  Kevin might read his post #4 from  he speaks for both of us.  Order and breaks ad lib.

When the food and drinks start someone should start a musical wine glass chorus in Celebration of Dorothy's 80th.  That should get enough stories started to make everyone enjoy the party.

I would like to continue Janet's tradition of distributing cremains to people who will take them to meaningful places.  Including the Mist trail at Yosemite. If possible including them in a small bonfire in the Desolation Wilderness and the John Muir Trail.  Scattering them "Leave no trace" with the fire ashes.  Also some blown into the Mississippi from a bridge in Minneapolis to join Mom, Dad Janet, and anyone else who might care to join us.  

Note: Blog is CC3 If anyone wants to use this as a template for a Life Celebration modify at will.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

How to Spend Your Stimulus Payment

From an unknown email meme.  Courtesy Paul Carrubba 
Economics in a nutshell.

Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another 'Economic Stimulus' payment.

This is indeed a very exciting program, and I'll explain it by using a Q & A format:


Q. What is an 'Economic Stimulus' payment ?

A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.


Q.Where will the government get this money ?

A. From taxpayers.


Q. So the government is giving me back my own money ?

A. Only a smidgen of it.


Q. What is the purpose of this payment ?

A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a ; high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.


Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?

A. Shut up.


Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. Economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:


* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will
  ; go to China or Sri Lanka .


* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to theArabs.


* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India , Taiwan or
  ; China ...


* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico , Honduras and Guatemala ...

* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea .

* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .

* If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go  ; to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in America by:

1) Spending it at yard sales, or

2) Going to ball games, or

3) Spending it on prostitutes, or

4) Beer or

5) Tattoos.

(These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S. )


Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard  ; sale and drink beer all day !


No need to thank me, I'm just glad I could be of help.