Friday, December 27, 2013

Did You Ever Wonder What This Treacle Stuff is All About

I haven't posted any recipes on this blog, that I can remember.  Here are two, the first one shows how to make the golden syrup you need for the second one.

Much better than Karo syrup, though if I ate more than a half a teaspoon full, it's more than enough for me at one sitting.

And with that the Harry Potter world of treacle desserts is open to you.  I made treacle pudding for my nieces last week, there are scores of recipes online.  Here's one that's fun to watch.

Going To Take The Rest of This Horrible Year Off

A day early but here is Giaches De Wert's terrifying setting of the Vox in Rama passage from the gospel according to Matthew

People are always going on about Carlo Gesualdo's chromaticism but he never used it to more worthy effect or less self indulgently than it is used in this humane masterpiece expressing the deepest grief.

Unfortuately, Moderation Will Continue

I've had to keep moderating comments because of trolls and spam attacks.  I try to be careful but if I don't put up a legitimate comment, please try again.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why I Do Not Comment on Charlie Pierce's Blog

"Facebook social plugin" sounds like something you could catch a virus from.  I do not do anything involving Facebook.

Liberals Must Attack Those Creating The AntiChrist

The other day my brother told me that the right-wing attempt to rewrite the Bible to contradict the words of Jesus is ongoing.  Their goal, apparently, goes beyond having Jesus saying that he got it wrong, you CAN serve both God and Mammon, but that serving Mammon is a positive virtue and moral requirement.   It is telling that the fundamentalists are not up in arms over this essential and obvious act of sacrilege, something they apparently are up in arms over is Pope Francis telling Catholics that Jesus really meant what he said.  It's especially amazing in those who turn the King James translation of the Bible into an idol, rejecting all other renditions and editions.  I might have suspicions about the complete accuracy of that House of Stuart effort, but they really believed that those moral commandments and teachings, so inconvenient to their affluence, had the effect of divinity behind them. These latter day distorters of scripture and those fundamentalists who go along with it instead of fulminating against it, obviously don't.

But it is also as telling that the liberal churches and the non-fundamentalist churches aren't loudly calling these latter day Christ-killers out.   It's as if they have lost confidence in their belief, that Jesus said those things BECAUSE THEY ARE TRUE.   And not only Jesus, but the entire Jewish prophetic tradition of which he is a part.  Perhaps if they had not been suckered out of confidently asserting the truth of the teachings of Jesus by secularist and materialist coercion, of developing the counterproductive, not to mention cowardly, habit of suppressing their religious expression, they could find a louder voice with which to condemn this highly financed act to turn Jesus into the AntiChrist.   And that is worse than a tragedy, it pulls out the very basis under which any movement towards a just, equal and good society and government can exist.   It is unpopular to point it out but it is a fact of history that the only proven basis of that kind of change has been a religious one,  in the United States, in Europe, it has been done by those people who really believed the Jewish prophets, including Jesus.  It has been done through a belief in the very teachings that the Mammonist Bible revisers are attacking.  And that is the reason for their highly financed and promoted efforts.

I realize that the title of this piece is provocative, I am anything but a fan of the last book included in the cannon of The Bible.  It has been the source of some of the more unfortunate dogmas and beliefs, a book that even those who advocated its inclusion said should not be read literally, though that is how it is most often cited. But the prediction that there would be false use of Jesus comes from the gospels, Jesus foresaw it and warned about it.  I am not someone who believes that something was true because Jesus said it, I believe Jesus said it because it was the truth.  And there was nothing more true than his warnings about the corruption of wealth, the absolute moral obligation to share wealth till it hurts those giving it.

The Jewish prophetic tradition he was a member of also warned about the consequences of governments that did not do justice to the poor, the dispossessed and the aliens living under them.  That tradition denied the possibility of such a government being legitimate, they called for the destruction of such governments. That, folks,  amounts to some of the most radical talk that has ever been spoken and written, that is no less than a declaration that the Mammonists are drawing down destruction on the United States.   I would think that liberals who believe there is something to the teachings of the prophets, who see the extremely radical call for a just society and government in it, could be bothered to protect it, not only from this right-wing attack on it, but also take the risk of being seen as unfashionable in doing that.   If we are afraid of being socially shunned or blog mobbed over that, the Mammonists have already won so far as we are concerned. I will be going into that a bit in upcoming posts.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Music You Might Have Heard in 19th Century America and The Very Early 20th Century

Old Roman chant - Puer natus est nobis

I don't know what reconstruction this performance is based in, with really early music you've got to use some imagination.  It is rather compelling.

Service: Mesonycticon (Nativity Midnight Mass).
Performers: Ensemble Organum, Director: Marcel Peres
Album: "Chant de l'Eglise de Rome

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Victoria - O magnum mysterium

Maîtrise de l'Académie Vocale de Paris, dirigé par Iain Simcock

These students gave one of the best performances of this motet I've ever heard.

Ok, here are more Daquin Noels

1.Ⅰ.Noël 0:00~
2.Ⅱ.Noël 3:51~
3.Ⅲ.Noël en musette 10:06~
4.Ⅳ.Noël 17:00~
5.Ⅴ.Noël 21:12~
6.Ⅵ.Noël 26:30~
7.Ⅶ.Noël 31:52~
8.Ⅷ.Noël «Étranger» 35:24~
9.Ⅸ.Noël 38:51~
10.X.Noël 46:03~
11.XⅠ.Noël 51:32~
12.XⅡ.Noël «Suisse» 57:50~

Olivier Baumont (orgue :J.Bozard 1714 de Saint-Michel-en-Thierche)
Hugo Reyne
LaSimphonie du Marais

Louis-Claude Daquin - Noël X

"Bon Joseph Ecoutez-Moi"

François Zeitouni, organiste

Grand orgue Guilbault-Thérien de la chapelle du Grand Séminaire de Montréal.

Bela Bartók: Romanian Christmas Carols Sz. 57 Zoltan Kocsis

You Can Add John Lennon to the list of Sinatra, Elvis and Lou Monte

That's the list of people I hope to never again hear singing Christmas music.   NPR just played his dreary Christmas offering again.   I think it's something they do, like Stamburg's cranberry relish thing and David Sedaris giving Christmas his elf job.   You can add them to lists of things I don't need to hear again. 

On the other hand,  I never get tired of Eudora Welty's,  A Worn Path, the best Christmas story I know.   

Monday, December 23, 2013

You Don't Really Want To Go Back To THAT Old Religion, Do You? Also: Internet Christmas Season Traditions In The Making

The Oseberg ship burial tapestry (dating no later than 834 AD, when the ship was buried with its two ladies in Vestfold, Norway). The tapestry shows a scene of apparent human sacrifice – or initiation – where nine males are hanging from a large tree in a grove of serpents. Three ladies (the fates?) hover above. The tapestry may possibly give some archaeological support to the written sources about the Uppsala sacrificial grove where nine males are said to have been hung in a sacred grove.

Granted, neo-Pagans, Wiccans, etc. tend to be nice, nature loving, peaceful folk, but the idea that the Yule had much in common with Christmas is pretty silly.  The sparse documentary evidence is that Yule was marked with a pretty bloody sacrifice of animals, blood being splashed around on statues and the such.  And in some places, Uppsala for example, every nine years or so, those sacrifices would include human beings,  nine of them.  If the sins of the Christians during that period count, surely those of the Pagans aren't excused.  You can hardly say that there is some tenet of the Pagan morality that was being violated at the most basic and fundamental level by those sacrifices, by the priest class, often in the interest of the kings' success, especially in war.   Note that the burial where this tapestry was found included "two ladies".  I assume they were killed by some priestess or priest, as is documented by the rare eye-witness account of Ibn Fadlan, so they could be the concubines of some high up thug in the afterlife.  You can point out that all of the combined sins of priests, hierarchs, "Their Most Christian Highnesses" etc, were violations of the teachings of Jesus and his earliest followers, those who heard those teachings from him.

Update:  While the internet is disappointingly useful for white supremacists, other species of Nazis (quite a number of them fans of the Pagan tradition mentioned above) and fascists, bigots and haters to organize and recruit - and none so much as the commercial merchants in hatred, objectification and enslavement, pornographers - it is also useful to evaluate how truly horrifying the misinformation that all of that relies on is among the so-called educated class among us today.

One of the more innocuous manifestations of that is the widespread belief that Christmas was, as one atheist hate merchant I ran across online put it, stolen by the Xians from those poor put upon Pagans.  It always does my heart good to see the CSICOP set standing up for the witches, astrologers and necromancers, making common, though temporary cause with them before they denounce them as superstitious idiots, as well.  

My friend RMJ has done some explanation of why that is hogwash that was pretty much the invention of, not Pagans, not atheists, but Christians in the form of anti-Christmas Puritans.   Apparently that atheist "meme" was stolen from Christian Calvinsts by the atheists and the online Pagans.   I have mentioned that the internet seems to generate quite a bit of irony.   Since that tripe is a seasonal dish served up this time every year by the history-challenged, research averse Brain Trust of anti-Christian mid-brows, it's refutation is bound to become an evergreen, appropriate to the season.

Read RMJ on the topic, his work is quite good.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Messe de Minuit pour Nöel

It's an eve early but I have no confidence that the lines are going to stay up in the ice storm we're having.   This is some of my favorite Christmas music.

Standardized Spelling One of the Most Controversial Issues I've Ever Written About

I came to writing in public late.  Very late.  Part of the problem was that I have extremely bad hand writing, something I proudly share with several those members of my family who have had the most extensive educational background.   My most academically accomplished relation, who has a PhD from a prestigious university and whose work is often cited and very well known in her field, has an illegible hand which, even with my practice in reading my writing, I couldn't figure out.

Another was that I have a horrible visual memory for the spelling of words. Gradually I developed the excuse that, as a musician, I depended on aural memory and that is an entirely unreliable means of divining the standard spelling of English words.   As I abandoned the futile exercise in hand writing for typing and, thank God, word processing, the issue shifted to punctuation, especially the myriad rules of using commas.  By that time aging eyes added the complication of not being able to see commas on the screen but, also, in never being able to remember if I've typed one or if I've left one in while editing.  I love being able to edit on the screen.

Being a radical democrat, a leveler in all things, it is intolerable that a combination of tyranny of the "good spellers" and the absurdly complex rules of punctuation is an effective bar to all English speakers having their right to the written form of the language.   I think it's a major reason that our educational system is ineffective, it teaches too many that the way of thinking and reflecting on your thinking that writing provides is not theirs by right.   Here is an old post I wrote on the topic, posted at the blog I used to write for.

A Response To A Gentle Commentator (optional reading)

History of the genitive - you mean it's from the strong masculine OE? Or am I missing yet another fun folk legend?

I hate, hate, hate it when the idea of 'more phonetic English spelling' comes up, because people pronounce English words differently. Whose phonetics get the nod? For a lazy example, do those who say 'pe-pul' speak truer, better English than those who say pe(o-kind-of-like-a-stop)-pl? Or Peepl? And so forth. That's why it hasn't been settled, imho. Too many not-quite-dialects, and since we have a common form, no use screwing with it to the logical benefit of only-some.

That's not even starting on how it could suck to have even one altered Am.Eng. spelling, a British English spelling, a spelling adapted for South Asian Englishes that only fits one really, and so forth... okay, I'll stop.

Of course, as one of those visual-memoried individuals, I never really know what words people want changed in the first place. But then, I probably pronounce at least 96% of the letters I see.

The Gauntlet Picked Up 
ear Painini, taking your concerns out of order. This website is an incomplete list of the many irregularities of Standard English Spelling. The site is impressive, though I know for a fact that there are more ways to spell some of the vowels, having come up with more spellings for long e one insomniac night. It also makes at least two untrue assertions. It hasn’t “been this way for a long time”. It’s been the way it is, in theory, for about two hundred years, with many if not most people using non-standard spellings the whole time. There is also no reason to just accept the absurdity, mastered by only a minority which has been allowed to tyrannize rest of us who use the English language. Even the standard system has variants and has had modifications over the years. “Cooky” is how my first grade speller taught the word. Write it that way now and watch the response. Then show them that spelling in the dictionary and have a bit of innocent fun.

You are concerned that some of today’s variant pronunciations of the English language would get left out of a reformed spelling. This is surprising since all of them are left out of the standard spelling systems now, both the British and the American. The pronunciations that control standard English spelling are those of people who have not uttered a single syllable for centuries, some have been silent for at least a millennium. To serve their long dead words the system is made impossible for the majority of people alive today.

You might notice that I support an attempt to make English spelling, “more nearly phonetic,” as no system of spelling in a natural language is exactly phonetic. I’d be satisfied with things like getting rid of unpronounced consonants, pitching such quaint antiquities as use of combinations such as -ough, -igh, ..., coming up with one standard spelling for roughly each of the long and short vowels and making the addition of grammatical suffixes regular. Putting any silent e as a sign of the long vowel either next to the pronounced vowel OR at the end of the syllable would be an immeasurable improvement. Just make a rule that once a silent e is put there, it stays there when the word goes on through inflection or compounding.

Choosing one, widely used pronunciation, coming up with a rational and phonetic spelling for it without the myriad of variant spellings we have now, would essentially solve the problem. For mercy’s sake, think of the children who have to waste their time and lose self-respect for the sake of of middle-aged, would be, etymologists’ vanity.

The alternative to spelling reform is to get used to the reestablishment of non-standard spelling. Those are the choices in spelling. As time wears on, it’s clear that standard spelling is being over run by the rabble. The choices in spending your time are either to get used to the reality that results when the last two centuries of class-based irrationality runs head long into a computer using population that isn’t going to be silent any longer, or to be continually upset that most people are not following the old religion.

As for your worries concerning my footnote about the use of the apostrophe in the English genitive case being based in “folk legend”, I refer you to page 291 of Albert C. Baugh’s “A History of the English Language,” 2nd edition:*

... Until well into the eighteenth century people were troubled by the illogical consequences of this usage, Dr. Johnson (!) points out that one can hardly believe that the possessive ending is a contraction of his in such expression as a woman’s beauty or a virgin’s delicacy. He, himself seems to have been aware that its true source was the Old English genitive, but the error has left its trace in the apostrophe which we still retain as a graphic convenience to mark the possessive.

The error was thinking that the possessives ending in -s were a contraction of the word “his”. This an example of the foolishness of not simply writing a word as pronounced and attempting to weigh down what should be the helpful mechanics of spelling with an attempt at scholarship, showing off. In this case, as even Johnson managed to notice, the erudition was absolutely absurd, the product of rank ignorance. The results are an absurdity endowed with the force of conventional morality. Sinners who forget to place the erroneous apostrophe or who, in an overweening attempt to get it right, commit the sin of wasting one where the cannons of spelling do not place one, ... such heretics are to be cast out from respectable society.

am grateful for your forcing me to reread my old textbook after so many decades. It’s full of interesting insights into some of the folly of grammarians, would be experts on rhetoric etc. I recommend it if it is read in the spirit of generosity and with an open mind. I forgot that Joseph Priestly delved in the language controversies of his day. Got to get to the library soon.

In perfect seriousness, the written form of the language is one of the most powerful tools for looking at ones thoughts and the thoughts of other people. Which of us haven’t come up with clearer ideas while we look over what we’ve written? To have most English speakers alienated from this tool, rightfully theirs, by the dictate of the aristocrats of orthography, is an offense against democracy. It helps explain how the English Speaking People have put up with so much crap from their ruling classes and how easily some of them are manipulated. You take a kid who doesn’t have the knack of spelling and tell him from the earliest grades that he’s stupid, how do you expect him to think about people who think and write for a living?

*  Page 225 in this pdf edition.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jeff Jacoby Has Grabbed More Than His Fair Share of Stupid

There must be a law of nature that if there is something stupid to be said, Jeff Jacoby will say it.   Well, he won't have said it first.  By the time that the Boston Globe's resident conservative crank has said it, it will be commonly said by other right wingers.  His latest column is a "we told you so" about the slippery slope that gay marriage has provided for polygamists.  

Of course the polygamists in question don't want gay marriage, they want more than their fair share of straight marriages, for the man.  For the women, they want less than their fair share, a mere fraction of a marriage to one man.   I hold that there is a fundamental difference between marriage between one eligible adult and one other eligible adult and polygamy, no one should have the chance to make more than one person miserable at the same time and no one person should be allowed the chance to be made miserable by more than one person at a time, within the bonds of matrimony.

So the slippery slope wasn't provided by gay marriage, it was provided by heterosexual marriage, as can be seen, whenever polygamy has been allowed, gay marriage was either unrecognized or banned.   Mormons, for whom polygamy was an actual issue in the United States, leading to the ban on polygamy, there was never any issue of a man being married to more than one man and certainly no lesbian variation on that theme.

Jeff Jacoby has never been a very logical or deep thinker but this is so stupid that I'm surprised that even by the extremely lax standards of the Boston Globe's "opinion journalists"  no one pointed out that this was one of his lazier and stupider columns.  But the Globe ain't what used to be back when a family that valued journalism owned it.  That is especially true under the disgusting quasi-Herald style regime of Brian McGrory.   And I didn't think it could get worse than it was under the ownership and cannibalistic regime of the New York Times corp.