Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Damien Atkins - Good Mother

Adapted for Radio from the world premier production at the Stratford Festival In Canada 2002.  What would you do if suddenly your mom wasn’t your mom anymore.  The Driver family struggles to come with an accident that robs them of a mother and leaves them to care for her as she struggles to regain her memory.

Seana Mckennam 
Damien Atkins  
Walter Best  
Michelle Graff  
Jane Spider  
Ron Horsman  
Andrew Dodd

Directed by Miles potter
Produced by Barbara Worthy

In Contrast To The Below

Image result for janet mills

Gov.-elect Janet T. Mills hugs singers Shy Pace, 11, (left) and Natalia Mbadu, 10, after the duo sang "Girl On Fire" in honor of Mills before she took the oath of office in Augusta on Wednesday night.  Bangor Daily News:  Troy R. Bennett

Enabling the telling of lies, especially in the mass media, is not only something a liberal has absolutely no moral obligation to do out of some flaky notion of fairness, it is an immoral act of enabling the destruction of egalitarian democracy

The stinking, racist hypocrisy of Maine Republicans' Paul LePage, elected, twice, with less than the support of a majority of voters is far deeper than I knew last Wednesday when I wrote about his pardon of Jeff Pierce, a felony drug dealer who was also charged with multiple other crimes before and after,  who Republicans put in the legislature to support Paul LePage.  And, it was reported that the Clemency Board in Maine had recommended the Pierce, who has a record of continuing to break the law, EVEN AS A STATE LEGISLATOR, not be pardoned.  To top it off,  as Rachel Maddow points out, LePage refused to pardon a family man in Maine who was deported by the Trump regime on the basis of an old drug conviction EVEN THOUGH HE HAD AN OTHERWISE CLEAN RECORD.   I hope Governor Janet Mills pardons him and works to restore him to his family here in Maine.

The idiocy of laws passed as an experiment by flaky lefties in Maine* not only made it far more likely that the last choice of the majority of voters would become governor, they also adopted laws that allowed a scumbag like LePage to hide most of the pardons they issued so we don't know what other scum Lepage has given a pardon to.  Lots of the laws passed on the basis of liberal flakiness of the past should have been looked at, hard, to see what opportunities those chuckleheads were giving to fascists like LePage and scum like Pierce because a good percentage of their success was based in some of the dumbest of "reforms" and theories of fairness and niceness of the 60s and 70s. 

Liberal politics that has being fair to fascists and nice to Nazis and standing up for Stalinists and mushy for Maoists is the wrong kind of liberal politics. 

Liberal politics should, always, be about the protection of egalitarian democracy against all of the forces and all of the people who would destroy it.  Whether those are Trumpian-LePagian fascists and Nazis, or billionaire oligarchs, or the corporate media or some pseudo-lefty ideology.  Unfortunately, given how much the America left has been suckered by the "free speech - free press" contingent who controls the ACLU and the "civil liberties" industry, one of the things it has to fight against are such duped and suckered liberals and lefties. 

Fairness to fascists, providing them an even playing field, providing them with the ability to push their poison into the minds of those they can sucker is not and never has been a legitimate goal of any liberalism. 

Enabling the telling of lies, especially in the mass media,  is not only something a liberal has absolutely no moral obligation to do out of some flaky notion of fairness,  it is an immoral act of enabling the destruction of egalitarian democracy.  America's left got sold a huge load of bull shit when it bought that line from the likes of the ACLU and the "civil liberties" industry.   All  of the bull shit laws of easing ballot access that enabled Paul LePage to win election, twice, and which has helped him hide his pardons given to his buddies and cronies were part of that same program of idiotic "fairness" that took advantage of liberals who are more ruled by their easily swayed emotions than by a clear-eyed evaluation of the consequences for the one and only legitimate form of government, egalitarian democracy adopted by a majority of informed voters acting out of good will.

Maine Republicans should have to wear the stink of Paul LePage, the worst governor in our history.   Ranked-choice voting should be extended to every election in Maine AND IT SHOULD BE LAW THAT NO ONE CAN BECOME GOVERNOR OR A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE WHO ISN'T AT LEAST THE SECOND CHOICE OF A MAJORITY OF VOTERS.

Gov. Janet Mills said she is now considering a similar change to Maine’s new private pardon law. Mills was not available for an interview, but a spokesperson said in a statement that she generally believes that the public has a right to know about pardons granted by her or other governors.

Not all Democrats are in agreement on the issue.

“Shame isn’t the tool we should be using,” said Rep. Charlotte Warren, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. “People deserve second chances, and when the governor is saying you’ve done your time and I’m going to pardon you, or shorten your sentence through another process, you know, that’s saying you’ve paid your debt to society.”

Well, if that's the case,why not just grant all people who have served their sentence with the equivalent instead of leaving it to the whims of whoever happens to be the governor?   

The power to grant pardons is an extraordinary power that is extraordinarily open to abuse by a governor who, in that function, is pretty much free and unanswerable for what they do with it.  Making who he pardons secret is one of the stupidest things Maine legislators have done in criminal reform.   Considering who isn't covered under that secrecy rule - including people who were convicted of consensual sex when teenagers decades ago -  Warren is an idiot.

Democrats Unleash GROUNDBREAKING Bill After Taking Back House



Friday, January 4, 2019

Dusan Bogdanovic - Tombeau de Purcell

Dusan Bogdanovic, Tombeau de Purcell, Eden-Stell Guitar Duo.
Recorded in 2005. Published by

1. Overture, Grave doloroso, 0:00
2. Var.1, Lamentoso, 1:24
3. Var.2, Risoluto, 2:19
4. Var.3 Adagio trasparente, 3:06
5. Var.4, Espressivo e ritmico, 4:09
6. Var.5, Allegro non troppo e ritmico, 5:28
7. Passacaglia, Grave doloroso, 6:11

Image: Henry Purcell by John Closterman.

Already Feeling Cleaner In The New Year

I have given up trying to clean out the Spam file of this blog.  The program that does that allows you to delete 100 spam messages at a time.  I've done it over and over again and I'm still not out of the backlog for 2018.  Looking at them, most of them are old hate-mail that was too stupid and useless for me to do anything else with but junk them.  A few were attempts at scams, probably less than 1%.  I do know that when I decided that I'd moderate comments because I didn't want this to turn into the kind of open comment food-fight that those usually turn into AND THAT I WOULD NOT KNOWINGLY CARRY LIES TOLD ABOUT NAMED PEOPLE I didn't realize what a high percentage of comments that would turn out to be.  I wish I'd just deleted those.  I wonder where they reside.  Will they ever disappear or will they always be there in a way that could be opened and read?   I do know I've given up trying to empty it out.  I must have deleted a couple of thousand of those people have tried to post since last March.   The ones I read were mostly just stupid stuff, the stuff from "the left" as stupid as the stuff from the right.  I think stupid people probably lie more.  It's a symptom of stupidity.

I Love That The Fascists Attacking AOC For Being Young, Happy and Female (or is it Latina?) Backfired

For the Republican-fascists who installed a guy who was a regular and violent drunk who smeared a Woman as a slut in his high school yearbook claiming, apparently falsely and without her knowledge (until after the dope supported him), that he'd screwed her, who is very credibly accused of sexually assaulting and two Women, one in front of witnesses, the other trying to rape her with a drinking buddy, and which totally supports a confessed, serial sexual assaulter as the president*  to try to shame the young,wonderful and brilliant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a video in which she does a very chaste and clean dance while she was in college is more than disgusting.

I have never been much on dancing but even I smiled when I saw AOC dancing on the rooftop - dancing very well - in the college video.   It made me happy.

This is part of a clear Republican game plan of vilifying, especially, Women, to create a vague negative feeling about Democratic Women with an effective percentage of the largely uninformed population. I wish I had kept a list of younger people who knew they didn't like Hillary Clinton but, when you asked them why, they couldn't tell you why, they just knew it. It has been an ongoing effort with Hillary Clinton, now that we know the criminal acting-AG is continuing the smear campaign at taxpayers expense over her e-mails.  I would love an accurate accounting of how many tens of millions of dollars Republicans have spent trying to find something they could indict Hillary Clinton on because it's going into its third decade now and they've found nothing.  The last figure I recall was $40,000,000, and that was a long time ago. 

Hillary Clinton is, certainly, the most certifiably INNOCENT American citizen in the history of the country.  Certainly the most investigated and they have yet to indict her on anything.  

The Republican Smear-The-Women campaign has targeted Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters,  Frederica Wilson * . . . . and now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

It's time to call this what it is, an organized, planned use of misogyny in exactly the same way that Republicans have used racism all along.  It is time to shove it in the face of all Republicans but, especially, Republican Women as Black Republicans should have to answer for their remaining in a party which is the foremost vehicle of racism in the United States.   I think the Democratic Party should research this because I'm sure they have some kind of planning, probably doing market-style research to see who to target and what lies and lines to use.   I'm sure scum like the Mercers and Murdochs finance it and there are probably hints as to which firms are doing the research for them.  Expose this as the media campaign that it is.

*  That lying scumbag John Kelly should never appear on the media without someone asking him if he's ready to admit he lied about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.  He is, I'm sorry to say, typical of a kind of Boston Irish racist and a coward.   A real man of substance wouldn't have lied and even one of marginal honor would have apologized after being exposed as a liar, especially in the context in which he lied about her.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dusan Bogdanovic - Furioso

Dusan Bogdanovic, Winter Tale, guitar duo with Miroslav Tadic
Recorded in 1995 at the Gallery of frescos (Galerija fresaka) in Belgrade.

Published by

"they don't realize that this Book is their enemy" Put The Meaning In The Christmas Narratives Back Into It And FOX Will Declare War on Christmas

Afterwards we read how Joseph was informed by an angel of the death of Herod and he returned to Israel:

But when Joseph heard that Archelaus was governing in Judea in place of his father Herod,  he was afraid to go there;  and having been warned in dreams, he went to the province of Galilee.  When he reached there, he went to live in the town of Nazareth.

WILLIAM: "They were practically in the underground."

Another boy:  They were right to stay in hiding, because even if Herod was already dead, there was another dictator there;  just as if a Somoza dies and somebody else is in power,  you're still always afraid. 

I said that this Herod Archelaus that was left governing Judea was the cruelest of the sons of Herod and was even crueler than his father;  his government was inaugurated with a riot by the people and he killed more than three thousand demonstrators who were asking for freedom for political prisoners and for tax cuts.  In Galilee Herod Antipas ruled, who was less dreadful,  even though he was the one that killed John the Baptist and was governing at the time of the death of Christ. 

My brother FERNANDO said:  "The old dictator died and the angel tells Joseph that they can come back now, but that doesn't mean that now there wouldn't be more people that would want to kill the child.  In fact his life continued in danger and that's why they were in that insignificant little town of Galilee,  and part of his public life he also spent half in hiding, until they finally killed him.  And the same thing will happen to anyone who gets involved with liberation.  He'll get out of one danger only to fall into another.  And this you always have to keep in mind.  The angel informed that one danger had ended . . . for the moment."

ALEJANDRO:  "And Mary was screwed from the very first, right?  It was thirty years of fighting right back beside her son, risking herself just like him from when he was a child until he died.  That seems to me a good lesson for every mother.  And another lesson as Joseph."

And OLIVIA,  Alejandro's mother:  " What Alejandro says is quite right,  and fathers and mothers ought to think a lot about it.  That mother went with her son until his death and willingly.  But nowadays many times mothers are the first to be opposed to their sons fighting for freedom.   Some of them don't even like the boys and girls to come to the meetings, so they don't get involved.  I, when I heard that some young people were taking over at the cathedral,  I wanted to be close to them,  I wanted to be able to go and see them, help them in some way.  And even take the microphone and talk also."

FERNANDO:  "I don't understand how you can read the Gospels and get spiritual lessons for your life out of it and not get involved in the Revolution.  This Book has a very clear political position for anyone that reads it simply, as you read it.  But there are people in Managua who read this Book, and they are friends of Herod;  and they don't realize that this Book is their enemy.

So that what the prophets said could be fulfilled;  that Jesus was going to be called a Nazarene.

I said that Nazareth was a place so humble that it is not mentioned even once in the Old Testament, and we don not know exactly what prophecies Saint Matthew is referring to.  It is believed that he may be punning with a Hebrew name of similar sound that has been given to the Messiah that means "sprout".   One thing seems certain, that this is what the name "Nazarene" that Jesus had was a nickname given to him by his enemies to make fun of his humble origins."

GLORIA:  "To say 'from Nazareth' might be like saying 'from Nindiri' . . . or worse, 'from Solentiname.' "  

JOSE,  Mariita's husband, said:  "His nickname meant that he was a man of the people, and he was a man of the people, including even that his parents hadn't been married, were engaged to be married and she was pregnant, as so often happens with the poor, with that problem of the poor, then, the Messiah was born, son of an unwed mother."

WILLIAM (smiling):  "And they didn't know who the father was. . . "
MARIITA:  "But he married her because he loved her."  

That is the last part of this chapter from The Gospel in Solentiname.  As RMJ pointed out during Advent, far from being fairy tales and children's books both accounts of the Birth of Jesus are dark and troubling stories of a child being born and a mother giving birth in dangerous and primitive and, as everyone who first heard the stories would know, filthy conditions, as humble as could be had.  And if that weren't enough, the king wants to hunt him down and kill him, willing to kill lots of baby boys in order to kill him - as in an earlier passage they pointed out the American supported dictatorship in Nicaragua killed a bunch of farmers to kill the one who was a union organizer. 

Back when I was a kid there were a lot of people who liked to talk about "putting the Christ back in Christmas".   I remember my mother wondering when Christ got taken out of it but, then, she was seriously Catholic. 

If FOX had any idea what REALLY reading the stories of Christmas meant, as Fernando Cardenal said, they'd be the first to declare war on it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

J.S.Bach - Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue, BWV 903

Wim Winters, clavichord

Wim Winter's Youtube channel which deals mostly with the clavichord but also historical pianos and performance practice, based on extensive reading and research of primary documentary evidence along with well reasoned and informed speculation is wonderful.  I'm intending to post more of his work this year.

This one in which he documents that Beethoven! was apparently using a clavichord as late as 1825 was really astonishing.  Considering the  profundity of his  hearing loss it's as puzzling as it is interesting.

His ideas on how the use of the metronome seems to have changed are really important but more of that later.

I Listened To Kanye West's Shitty Music This Time

My question is why anyone would listen to him before he became the biggest asshole in the country not named Trump?   

I also read his bio.  Is he the worlds biggest and oldest asshole of a faculty brat in history or what?  

Deal With It, Bunky AOC Is A Catholic

I have said that I'm worried that the ever fickle secular left will turn on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as soon as she fails to fulfill their entirely unrealistic pipe-dreams that her very impressive but quite atypical win in a rather atypical congressional district means the great lefty millennium (which ever version of that the deluded play-lefty wants) is at hand.  There has already been anger at her refusal to take futile and stupid stands on things like Nancy Pelosi's leadership which are as counter-productively stupid as they are childish.  The large majority of seasoned Democratic office holders support Nancy Pelosi BECAUSE NANCY PELOSI IS THE BEST DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE HOUSE IN MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS, AND ARGUABLY THE FARTHEST LEFT IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY. 

But that's not enough for play lefties in the secular lefty bubble of NYC or San Francisco or in Madison or other college towns or scribblers for the lefty mags and podcasters who live in a lefty la-la-land and are quite atypical of the real left in the United States.

I had a feeling this would turn into a problem for AOC because I read this short but brilliant article she wrote for America: The Jesuit Review last June.  Heck, forget the link, risking a cease and desist I'm going to post the whole thing. 

Christ came to me emblazoned on the upper arm of my beloved cousin Marc. The blue-black ink danced between the bullet scars and stretch marks that graced my cousin’s upper body. Atop this crown-of-thorns depiction was a tattooed banner with the phrase “Only God Can Judge Me.”

I have never known Marc as a criminal. I have only known him as the largest and funniest member of my family. As a child, I saw this tattooed arm over and over again. It appeared at family cookouts turning a lechón (roasted pig) in its fifth hour, it held me steady on Marc’s broad lap, and it was revealed during the wintertime, when our pipes would hiss until the relentless heat would force us all to roll our sleeves as far up as they would go.

I remember reading his tattoo each time I saw it, trying to understand what it meant: Only God Can Judge Me. Innocence, in its mercy, partly excuses us from having to fully reckon with the spiritual gifts of forgiveness, grace and redemption at the heart of the Catechism: I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

Marc—like several men in my family—had been caught in the webbed threads of poverty, geography and lack of opportunity during the fever pitch of 1990s mass incarceration. Baggy-pant boys like him fit the descriptions of “super-predators” and “thugs” that dominated our national discourse at the time. Marc served his time, and has been out of the system ever since—a miraculous feat, given that over 75 percent of released state prisoners in the United States are rearrested within five years. Today he is a union worker and a happily married father of three successful children.

The still imprisoned are not so lucky. By virtually every measure, the United States incarcerates more of its people than any other nation in the world. When we look at the fuller picture of who we imprison, for how long and why, it may not be a stretch to conclude that our criminal justice system could very well benefit from a rite of penance of its own. There is overwhelming evidence that mass incarceration evolved as an outgrowth of Jim Crow laws, which itself was a system rooted in the subjugation of former slaves. According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander, there are more African-Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850—that is, before the Civil War.

When it comes to Latinos, the numbers are more confusing. While 40 states track race in their arrest records, only 15 states in the nation track ethnicity. This means that most states have little to no data on Latinos in the criminal justice system. We must also look at what imprisonment entails. Criminal justice reform must take into consideration factors including increasingly punitive Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations and the black-box detainment of immigrants and separated families; the ethics of solitary confinement; parole and probation; protecting due process; and the effects of incarceration on motherhood and mental health.

Discussions of reforming our criminal justice system demand us to ask philosophical and moral questions. What should be the ultimate goal of sentencing and incarceration? Is it punishment? Rehabilitation? Forgiveness? For Catholics, these questions tie directly to the heart of our faith.

Solutions are already beginning to take shape, which include unraveling the War on Drugs, reconsidering mandatory minimum sentencing and embracing a growing private prison abolition movement that urges us to reconsider the levels at which the United States pursues mass incarceration. No matter where these proposals take us, we should pursue such conversations with an openness to change and an aim to rehabilitate our brothers and sisters wherever possible and wherever necessary. By nature, a society that forgives and rehabilitates its people is a society that forgives and transforms itself. That takes a radical kind of love, a secret of which is given in the Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And let us not forget the guiding principle of “the least among us” found in Matthew: that we are compelled to care for the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick and, yes—the imprisoned.

What a different view of what atheist-secularist lefties might champion as the "lumpenproletariat" who were seen by Marx and Engels as useless dross and by later Marxists and Maoists as a raw resource that could be harnessed by the right leaders - really not much different from how Hitler saw them.   If "Democratic Socialists" are to ever amount to anything except yet another counter-productive leftist cult, they will have to adopt the, frankly, Monotheistic view of such people as People who are more than "the masses" more than an exploitable resource or the social-political equivalent of trash.   That later point of view is entirely compatible with materialism of all kinds, Nazi through Marxist, which are all forms of gangster government.  The only alternative to that is egalitarian democracy and that is incompatible with materialism.   Democratic Socialism, if it rejects that materialistic view of People, is quite compatible with AOC's Catholicism.  It says so in The Jesuit Review, after all.

Wipe Out Government By The Majorities Last Choice

Paul LePage, the 38% governor of Maine, product of the idiotic laws adopted by flaky Maine liberals in the 1970s to loosen ballot access for never-will-ever be elected flakes and, later, Greens, will be gone from the Blaine House.   He told the state that we would miss him when he's gone.  Well, I'd love to see him move to Florida to escape Maine's income tax, as he announced he would and stay there.  Either there or - after he's investigated - in prison.

On his way out the door, the lying hypocrite is doing things like pardoning his supporters who committed crimes for which LePage had advocated the death penalty and, after he was convicted, he illegally owned and carried guns.

Pierce was among a core group of House Republicans who were loyal to LePage during his two terms as governor.

LePage’s final day in office is Wednesday. He will be succeeded by Democratic Gov.-elect Janet Mills.

Pierce was convicted of felony-level drug trafficking in 1983 after selling cocaine and marijuana to an undercover police officer. He has other misdemeanor offenses for the years between 1980 and 2006.

State and federal laws bar convicted felons from possessing firearms. It is also unlawful for a felon to obtain a firearms hunting permit, and applications expressly ask people seeking licenses to state whether they have been convicted of a crime.

LePage has taken a tough approach on drug traffickers in particular. He supported tougher sentences for drug traffickers and pushed for more law enforcement resources to combat the Maine opioid crisis.

His position has caused controversy, first for joking during a radio interview that convicted traffickers should be executed by the guillotine, and later for falsely suggesting that the majority of people arrested for drug trafficking are black or Hispanic.

Pierce says he has long since moved on from his checkered past. He told Maine Public Radio that he was upset when Democrats publicized his criminal record during the campaign.

Pierce lost his re-election bid to Allison Hepler. He said he planned to release a full statement about his pardon sometime on New Year’s Day.

Which can stand as a typical example of the unequal justice under law that always comes with Republican fascism. 

Janet Mills, who will be our first Woman as governor, is sworn in at six tonight.  One of her goals is to change the stupidly written Maine Constitution to have ranked-choice voting in all Maine elections, which will be necessary to protect us from having the last choice of a majority of voters as governor.  The stupidity of the old system under which someone who couldn't gain the support of a majority of voters was always obvious, that it has lasted this long proves that habit can overcome reason almost every time.

The Republican Party in Maine deserves to die for what it did to us in imposing Paul LePage, the filth that stained my state for eight years.   So does the old system that let fewer voters decide who was going to hold office.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Brahms Seven Fantasias Opus 116 - Mieczysław Horszowski

Mieczysław Horszowski, piano

A few years back I posted Emil Gilels playing these, Horszowski takes a far different approach to them.  I love Gilels' playing but I'm finding these quite convincing too, more poetry along with the power.

Firmly Resolved

I made one public resolution yesterday, something I should have done years ago and I did it in public which means I'm too proud to go back on it.  We'll see in a year if I kept it. I'm counting on my readers to keep me from backsliding.  

There are several others which I made and which are private.  Maybe I'll let you know if I kept those next year.  Maybe.  

I did get a pair of those Perfect Push Up things because doing push ups makes my wrists hurt and one of my resolutions was that I'm not buying any heavier dumb bells than I've got and I really don't want to end up in the kind of shape I'd get in if I didn't exercise.  So, I'm doing body-weight exercise.  It seems kind of unfair that you need to do more exercise as you get older to maintain your health but apparently fairness has nothing to do with it.  Hope to be able to dig my garden without getting a backache in a few months. 

I won't be buying anything online.  My debit card number got stolen - luckily my credit union caught it right away so I didn't lose any money.   I decided to not ask for another one.  Which, since I used it mostly to buy used books at ABE will also help with the perennial resolution to not buy any more books till I've read all the ones I've got.  I'm a real sucker for books.  

La Bolduc - Jour De L'An

Being Irish, I didn't know our family was following a traditional Quebec tradition by having our family Christmas party on the First of January until someone told me.    I love La Bolduc's music.  Though it sounds like our party's a bit more staid than the ones she went to.   Maybe I'll post more of La Bolduc after I get home from it.  

Monday, December 31, 2018

Something To Take Along With The Alka-Seltzer

Imagine no "Imagine" 
I know that's hard but try
No boring  chorus
Or words that only lie
Imagine all The People, singing something new.

Imagine there's a song line,
One that goes somewhere,
And chords that don't lie static,
And words that move, those too.
Imagine all the people, singing what they knew.

You don't really need a dreamer,
Or even more than only one,
All you need's to try it,
And you just might come up with one.

I don't believe in memes, though when people say "meme" they aren't talking about memes.   Anyway,  I'm going to start one that "Imagine" is the "Little Drummer Boy" type song to hate hearing for the coming decade.  I encourage everyone to make fun of it and we can crush the thing back into the past. 

Why The Left Of The Future Will Be Religious Or It Will Flop

As good an example as I can think of, off hand, to show how some Evangelicals have learned and thought and grown in ways that I've seldom seen secular lefties grow,  you could listen to the two male hosts of The Bible For Normal People talking with the Womanist theologian Wil Gafney

A lot of what she and Peter Enns and Jared Byas talk about at the very beginning about how the ways in which different theologians read the Bible is necessary to understanding what it means and that that kind of reading is necessary for reading other things and coming to more than a limited, partial, inadequate reading from one perspective is enormously important.  History is only one area in which taking multiple points of view into account is essential.  Economics is certainly another.  Even science, in the 20th century has had to deal with that reality as opposed to the mythical monolithic "objective" hard truth superficial people believe science produces.  

I would trust a left that came out of these peoples' engagement with the Bible more than I would any secular materialist orthodoxy up to and including Marx.  Which basic framing is more likely to inspire people to change, one which comes from the idea that we are all beloved creatures of God or one that says we're all just collections of molecules who have an illusion of consciousness and free will but whose ever action is a pure and temporary result of the recombination of atoms and molecules determined before we were born and which will just continue after our illusory consciousness has ended?   

I will put my bets on the Bible readers as the left of the future.  Some of them are already way ahead of the secularists. 

People I Hope To See In Leg Chains On Their Way To Prison In The Coming Year: Kirstjen Nielsen: Stephen Miller With Better Hair

I hate that criminal.

Last Stupid Mail - Leaving The Home Of The Old Folks At Home Behind With 2018

It being the last day of 2018, maybe it's getting into the swing of things to take the plunge in a way that is irrevocable.  

Eschaton, a blog where the geezers who couldn't handle the challenge of learning how to use Twitter gather.  Even a lot of the stupider, younger regulars left it for newer forms of social media, "Trademark Dave," never goes there, or so I understand.   What they say there is of limited unimportance to a very limited audience of lazy, bored, unchanging old folks for whom it is always 1965 or, among the younger geezers, something like 1983.  

It's not important.  Changing minds, changing thinking is the only thing that makes media important, changing minds and thinking was supposed to be why, when blogging was young, it was alleged to be important.   Well,  as Anne Sexton described being stuck in a bad frame of mind,  "there are no prayers here, here there is no change."   Their house ideology, scientistic, materialist, atheism, leads to stasis, not change.  It is low on producing any motivation other than self-satisfied conceit.  It occurred to me while I was listening to the people coming out of Evangelical religion at The Bible for Normal People, they changed radically for the better, secular lefties don't.   They don't even learn from decades of futility, doing the same thing over and over again. 

I would bet the number of people who have ever had their minds changed by what is said at Eschaton might not have reached a hundred in its entire duration.   Being one of those people who can point to how they were changed by it, I can say that when it changed my mind about things, I left.  It only taught me what was wrong with the left, not what to do to change that.  

If I make the public resolution never to mention it again I'll be too embarrassed to give into any temptation to be pulled back in, so here goes.  This is the last time I will mention Eschaton or Simps, Tlaz, Thunder Boy, JR, Skeptic Tank, or the Baby Blue blog. . .   

I already feel cleaner. 

"one time I even ate salt. I tell them, just salt, I tell them"

The next text that the peasant theologians of Solentiname took up was the cries of the mothers of the slain children.  While I was reading it slowly and typing it out I kept wondering about how the mostly men who are quoted seemed to steer the passage away from children being murdered, certainly by men, soldiers, police power, and how it was women who were lamenting the deaths of their sons.  As I typed it out, though, I realized they understood things about the text that I couldn't see.  Their lives provided a deeper hermeneutical lens through which to see deeper meanings than life as a white male living in the United States could provide me.  That the violence of Herod murdering a number of babies to get at the one he believed was a threat to his wealth and power was part of the wider continuum of violence, including hunger caused by economic injustice is a commentary on this text I've never heard of before.  It makes the quibbling of scholars trying to estimate the number of male babies in that village,at that time seem, especially in the typical 20th-21st century academic debunking mode, repulsively frivolous.  So much in the culture, popular and academic, of ripe, ruling empires turns to such stuff.

That said, what Natalia the mid-wife said about her work, the terrifying situation she was in when things in a labor were going wrong and she didn't have any ideal what to do, seems to have been too uncomfortable for the men to deal with.  I'd have liked to hear more from her.

In this way was fulfilled what was written by the prophet Jeremiah:  "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great lamentation;  it is Rachel who weeps for her children, and she will not be comforted for they are dead."

LOREANO:  "I remember what happened in Chile, where they killed thousands of people, just because freedom was being born there;  many people were taken up in airplanes and thrown out into the sea.  But they can't put freedom down, just as Herod couldn't put Jesus down."

FELIPE:  "And as I see it, Ernesto, we are taught here that to be powerful isn't necessary to have money, because Christ was born very poor (Herod could not distinguish him from the other children of that village) and Christ was very powerful, so powerful that they were afraid, and they tried to kill him, and afterwards they did kill him but even after his death he was even more powerful.  So we are taught that we, even though we're very poor, must not feel humiliated, unfit, as they say, as though we had no right to live."  

ELVIS:   "The importance of the birth of Christ is that it was the birth of the Revolution, right?  There are many people who are afraid of the word as they were afraid of Christ because he was coming to change the world.  From then on the Revolution has been growing. It keeps growing little by little, then, and it keeps growing and nobody can stop it."

I:  "And it has to grow here also, doesn't it?"

PANCHO: "We hae to get rid of selfishness and do what Christ said and go on with the Revolution, as ou socialists say.  I' not a socialist, I'm not a revolutionary,  I like to hear the talk and grasp what I can but really I'm nothing.  Although I would like to see a change in Nicaragua."

MANUEL:  "But if there's going to be a change you have to cooperate with it,  you'e got to cooperate."

PANCHO:  "But how do you do it!  I'd like somebody to tell me:  'That's the way it's going to be done.'  But you can't!  When we rise up they kill us."

ALEJANDRO:  "But look, they killed him too."

PANCHO:  "Correct, but he was Christ and we're never going to compare ourselves with him."

MANUEL:  "But I heard there have been other men, like Che, who have died for freedom."

PANCHO:  "Right.  You can die, you, and tomorrow we'll all be dancing and we'll never think that you died for us."

WILLIAM:  "Then you think that those deaths are useless?"

PANCHO:  "They're useless.  Or they're almost useless!"

Young MYRIAM:  "I say that when there's someone who will free our country there will be another Christ."

My brother FERNANDO (to Pancho);  "When you say, ' What can I do?  Nothing!' I agree with you.  But when you ask another 'What can we do?'  I would say everything.   And that day when you ask each  other 'What can we do?' you'll already know what you are going to do.  And the poeple all united are the same Jesus that you see in this manger scene, against whom Herod couldn't do a thing."  (Fernando pointed to the clay manger scene, made by Mariita,  that we had put at the foot of the altar during the Christmas season.)

A young man from Solentiname who now lives elsewhere but who occasionally comes back:  "I who have been away notice that the child is being born in this community.  And I see the difference between this and the people who live in other places up the mountains.  Of course, up in the mountains it's different.  If I sing a song there, they tell me I'm a communist.  The way it is up there where we are,  if anybody says anything against the government, they say:  'Go and find out who the communist is so they can come for him.'"

And his brother, who lives in Solentiname;  "Ernesto, I'm going to tell you now about my brother.  My brother, he knows what a Nativity scene is.  We're brothers, after all.  I'm going to say a little more.  Since he went away,  he always has the idea of clearing his conscience, he talks and talks there.  Many farmers say,   'communist!' and they don't know what a communist is.  Now he talks to them a lot, because he's told me, he talks up there to the young people.  My brother has told me that some of them agree with him, others don't.  He says he's not making much progress.  I tell him; Don't be afraid, say what you know, even if it's only a little,  I tell him, I know you'll get to them."

NATALIA, who is a midwife and has been present at the birth of so many children in Solentiname, said:  "Well, as I see it, the birth of the child Jesus is also all of us,  this unity that we have here.  Because in ourselves we are seeing things clearly.  But we must all help with this birth of Christ.  Like when a baby is being born, and maybe you don't know anything, and they say to you:   Come help me.  Well, you go, not because you know anything,  you don't know anything, right?  But because a poor child is being born.  See, I grabbed my petticoat, or if I have on my apron I put it on him!  Because he's being born in need."

I:  "That must be difficult,  the birth of a child . . . "

NATALIA:  "Oh yes, of course it is.  Horrible, isn't it, terrible to see yourself in a fix like that, and maybe you want to know more, know something more, and you see the fix that your friend is in.  But you tell her (even though you're dying),  'Don't worry!  Even though I was trembling,  if y friend was trembling,  I said,  'Don't worry.  Don't worry, you'll be okay.'  And you see the problem, and you're covered with cold sweat.  This has happened to me.  A friend calls me because maybe she thinks I know,  and I don't know anything, or nothing more than what her faith puts into me, something."

OSCAR:  "Ernesto,  I want to say something.  Do you know how I understand birth as I'm listening to Natalia?  Very important, the birth of a child and even more to raise a child (I feel this deeply as the father of a family),  but that's not the birth that this Gospel is telling us about.  Do you know what I understand by a child here?  It's the poor people!  They are children with respect to the rich.  I mean we, then, since we're poor, we're children, we're always beneath the rich, and we feel maybe;  'I'd like to be like that one who's taking it easy over there.'  Enjoying what I'd like to enjoy, and I can't because they don't let me, understand?  It seems to me, then, that's what this birth means,  a little child who suffers.  We ourselves, even though we're adults, are like children:  the poor.  But I say,  the child is not always going to be tiny.  I say to my brothers, my comrades:  Hell, they're screwing us!  We're giving them everything we have!  Let's fight!  That's what Christ did.  He suffered, but he conquered.  It's true that he died, as they say, on the cross, but for me he didn't die.  And he's talking to us in parables;  I understand them so I'm relying on that.  I think he's telling us to fight and establish justice.   We ourselves are going to give justice to the earth,  we the children, to those who are imposing injustice on us.  Don't you believe that the child is always going to be crushed and hungry.  I mean the birth that the Scripture tells us about here is not like the birth of one of these kids romping around the church.  No, this child is me, you, everybody.  But the rich have always tried to crush us like we crush the snake,  by the head, wham!

ALEJANDRO:  "And as I see that Jesus who was born in a manger, like a child is born here in the mountains,  in a farmhouse or in a boat, is the liberation that's also being born here, in a humble form.  And even in those kids who are still so young, who are playing there, and who have been born like this, inside them, even though they don't know it, something is being born:  freedom."

Another young man:  "They're learning.  The child laughs and makes noise and racket,  but inside him freedom is being born."

After a pause:  "Since I was a small boy I've realized that.  I don't know anything about politics.   I don't know anything about other things either.  I'm not a reader or anything.  I understand all right but I can't express myself.  It bothers me and I want to express myself but I can't.  Some people tell me I ought to be happy with this regime because we haven't had wars.  You're a young man they say,  and since you were born you've never seen a war and you don't even know what war is.  Hell, I say to the,  I don't know about those wars, but do you know what war is for me?   Hunger,  I tell them, because I've suffered hunger,  I tell the, together with my mother;  one time I even ate salt.  I tell them, just salt, I tell them."

The deaths of children under the negligence, perhaps worse under the United States Department of Homeland Security - I wonder if the name wasn't so Nazi-like if it might have inspired better behavior - was the inspiration for meditating for several days on what that  text reads like for people who, first, have direct, first-hand experience of the modern equivalent of such state violence, now violence through the rule of their neighborhoods, villages and country by gangsters.  Second because the United States, the Rome of their experience, had a direct hand in creating the conditions of violence they are fleeing.  They might know that life for them in the imperial "homeland" will be difficult but they also know that, as opposed to the economic colonies they live in with direct violence, violence is somewhat quelled within the "homeland" for reasons of safety of the oligarchs here and for administrative efficiency.   We are Herod to the extent we participate in and tolerate that being done with our country, in our name.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Bernard Herrmann Rehearsing Carl Ruggles' Angels And An Interview

Now this makes my researching Bernard Herrmann worth it,  I came across this old BBC video yesterday but didn't listen to it till this morning.  I'll give Herrmann credit, he was an damned effective rehearsal conductor.  The difference from the beginning point to the end of it was notable.  

It's the all-muted trumpet version of Ruggles' Angels, not the one with the lower voices played on trombone.  What he says about having met Ruggles through Charles Ives is fascinating to hear.  I think some of what he says is somewhat inaccurate but there is other stuff I hadn't heard.  I never said Bernard Herrmann was an inferior musician, he was clearly very skilled, even brilliant.  It's just that his music apart from the movie music IN THE CONTEXT HE WROTE IT FOR is sort of a letdown.  

Here's the recorded performance of the piece directed by Gerard Schwartz, perhaps the greatest trumpet player of his generation, now a very fine conductor:

Here's the version with muted trumpets and trombones and the score

And here's a version for piano

You'll notice they are all different in details.  My dear late teacher,  Marilyn J. Ziffrin, Ruggles' friend and biographer said when she wrote a paper about this piece in the 1960s, she wanted to discuss it with Ruggles and as soon as they started going over the score, he wanted to start making changes to it - the piece had already been published for more than 40 years.   I'll dedicate this post to her memory, she died last spring

Here's her Suite for Piano.

Max Lifchitz, piano

"That government was also set up by the Empire"

When Herod understood that the wise men had tricked him he got very furious and he ordered the slaughter of every child two years or under who lived in and around Bethlehem. 

A girl said:  "The same thing happened up north when Catalino appeared:  Since they didn't know him well or even which one he was, they killed all the farmers around there."

Old THOMAS PENA:  "Herod ordered the kids killed since he wanted to reign forever and didn't want a liberator.  Of course, when he heard 'There was a king'  he said: 'There's no king but me, I better kill him.'  And then he tried to figure how to kill him,  but as Jesus Christ was more powerful than he was, he couldn't kill him."

Young OSCAR:  "That Herod was a coward.  It was because he was a coward that he committed all those murders.  A lousy coward."

Young ALEJANDRO:  "It's the same thing nowadays:  As soon as they see the first signs of anything new, they get scared and begin to murder, as happened with this child.  It's because these people are cowards,  and it's cowardice that makes them kill defenseless people like Herod who didn't kill armed soldiers but poor children."  

A Protestant who had come from the coast opposite:  "They persecuted Jesus, but he wasn't in opposition to any government."

FELIPE:  "He came as the king of the Jews.  What more opposition do you want?"

Another young man:  "Herod, of course that millionaire, with his power he had everybody crushed.  And the same thing happens here and in other places, wherever they're screwing the people.  The innocent.  Because the ones they're killing are the innocent, the ones who are dying, like that boy in the mountains up north. In all these cases they're killing the child that they don't want to see grow up.  Back then something like that occurred.  Herod was the Somoza of that region,  and when he heard that that child had been born, he went after all the children.  As soon as they glimpse a sprig of liberation anywhere, they do what Herod did."

LAUREANO:  "And not only that, because Herod killed them after they were born;  now they kill them before they're born with all their famous Family  Planning;  they kill the children before they're born for fear that later there'll be a people that they won't be able to control." 

I said that was very true, and that there are clinics set up through the country where they sterilize women without their consent.  This is a campaign that the United States is waging throughout Latin America.  They have population experts throughout Latin America, in charge of seeing that the population doesn't increase.  President Johnson once said in a speech that bringing up a Latin American cost the United States two hundred dollars, while stopping him from being born cost only five dollars.  And as an economist has said:  If births decrease, funds for investment will increase.

Another young man:  "Herod was less cruel than these people."

WILLIAM:  "That government was also set up by the Empire."

I said that in fact Herod had been put in power by the Roman intervention, and Rome allowed him to call himself "king,"  although he had very little power.  I said also that this slaughter of the innocents, although it seems unlikely, was not so in the case of Herod who slaughtered many families, and even his own children and his favorite wife.  An historian of the period says that his anger was boundless.  And it is said that he tried to arrange on the day of his death children would be slaughtered in Jerusalem so that there would be lots of mourning.  The slaughter of children in a village, that could have been like our little town of Belen, in Rivas, or like Colon, or San Miguelito (there were probably not many children),  it wouldn't be a cruelty very worthy of attention for historians, especially if Herod was involved.  But those children under two years of age in that village (there might have been twenty of them) represent all the innocents that have died for the cause of Jesus, for liberation, in the whole world. 

It is impressive how many things about this in 1972 are relevant to 2018, how many of the things they said about Herod they could say about Trump, though then there was no complication of the American administration being vassals of the Putin regime or the other regimes that Trump and his gangsters have sold out the United States to.

It's also instructive to see how, from the point of view of these recipients of North American wisdom in the form of family planning, out of their wider experience of North American foreign and military policy saw that as part of the same thing.  How Lyndon Johnson's appealing to the monetary interests of American tax-payers sounds a lot different to people who have every right to consider it to mean that Americans could save $195 if they had prevented them from being born.  Especially as the American government was financing and sponsoring their slaughter, their enslavement, maintaining a school to train Central American terrorists to carry out that economically advantageous slaughter.  Americans might miss such things said by American presidents, swamped in the news stream and entertainment that swamps us, the people who American presidents say such things about hear it and pay attention, knowing it could very easily become their reality, especially in small countries where people have brown skin.

Who can blame them for being skeptical of the motives of those American sponsored programs?  It reminds me of the problems the CIA cause for the program of  trying to eradicate polio when they decided to use a vaccination campaign as cover in the hunt for Osama bin Ladin. 

Hate Mail Shorts - I read the tiresome invective for you so you don't need to.

- Once I understood that in every Pauline letter and the ones that are attributed to him he was addressing small groups of beleagured converts, churches, set in an overwhelming pagan majority and that, like his ancestors in the Children of Israel he was trying to maintain them in their distinctive moral practice and identity, a lot of the troublesome passages became clear as could be.  Read in that context it makes sense to tell a slave to return to their master AND TO TELL THE MASTER TO TREAT THE SLAVE AS HE WOULD HIMSELF, to council wives to obey their husband AND TO URGE THEIR HUSBANDS TO RESPECT AND LOVE THEIR WIVES.  I think some of those things made complete sense as an attempt to live lives in which the earthly differences between  Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male and Female, ethnic differences, gender differences, difference in economic, legal and other worldly measures of status were still not only in effect, legally, they were the basis of the societies and habits of even the convinced converts.   In the context of a modern, would-be egalitarian democracy, they don't make as much sense unless you understand them in the contexts Paul wrote them to address.

In a context in which one man having penetrative sex with another one happened mostly if not always in a context in which the one being penetrated was socially, economically and legally in an inferior position - in the context of Roman law in a radically inferior position a slave, a child, a social inferior being used by a wealthy aristocrat - that Paul would have condemned that form of sex.  I don't know, maybe they also associated anal sex with the diseases that can be passed on through it.  If you look at gay porn and straight porn you see that would be being recreated in that context, the act of a man penetrating someone else often happens in a situation in which sex becomes an act of domination and subjugation and harm and destruction, certainly of contempt and derision and mental oppression.   Such things, if not given up, if indulged in turn sex into a sin. I think anal sex, with all its opportunities for using people without regard for their welfare and status as equals inevitably turns into at least a very high likelihood of becoming sinful.  I think the male gay population would be a entirely better off if it practiced only sex that was safe and an expression of love.  Committed love, promiscuity also opens people up to all kinds of risks.

The more I read Paul the more wisdom I find in him.  I'm convinced his conversion experience was not only something that happened, I think it was real and I think it was informed by the earlier Hebrew experience that he, as a Pharisee knew, well.

- Naw, I am not going to be bothering with Eschaton in the coming year, I looked around from what you sent me and it's obvious that it's turned into mostly a nostalgia blog for geezers entering into senescence.  It's both my experience and my observation that when the aging process is matched with secularism, that's what being a lefty descends into.   I'd rather try to make the future better than wallow in the foolish paths of least resistance already gone down.  It's kind of unattractive to see a bunch of geezerly play-lefties doing that.  It's such a waste of time to do it, commenting on it is also a waste of time.

Update:  -  Paul saying women were to be quiet in church is certainly a problematic text, as Elizabeth Johnson pointed out, since he said it one thing we can be certain of is that Women in the Corinthian church were not keeping silent, they were testifying and prophesying and could well have been celebrating Eucharist and that for some reason Paul didn't like it.  It's quite possible that this was Paul backsliding into previous habits from before his conversion, holding a difference between males and females that left Women in an inferior position.  Perhaps he wrote that before his understanding of how radical the transformation of Jesus Christ was complete.  The dating of the Epistles isn't certain so we don't know when he wrote his radical formula of equality in Galatians 3:28 as compared to the clearly contradictory passage in  1 Corinthians 14:34-35.  And as Elizabeth Johnson points out, we don't know how the Women of Corinth responded to Paul.  It would certainly be interesting if they had access to both epistles to know how they might have argued the contradiction between the two statements. 

-  I don't think there would be any negative effects if gay men, everyone gave up anal sex.  It's a form of intercourse that cannot be made safe.  Even when condoms are used, apparently.  That study done in Montreal that carried the supposedly great news for straight men that having sex with 20 or more women warded off prostate cancer also carried the news for men who were receptive partners in anal sex that their data indicated it was likely something that put them at greatly enhanced risk of prostate cancer.   Having read the study I'm skeptical of it, as, in fact, I am about most of the allegedly scientific study of sexual behavior but if you're going to use it to claim one thing, you don't get to pick and choose its conclusions.  But prostate cancer, perhaps caused by trauma to the prostate resulting from anal sex, who knows, is hardly the only risk factor.  The list of diseases that are easily contracted from contact with shit, especially shit of your own species, is long and dangerous.

I'm not sure which day of the week it was but I know it was the week of October 2, 2011 that as Ken Burns' Prohibition was on PBS I outraged some of the Eschatots when I blasphemed against what turns out to be an atheist-secular Higher-Power* by saying the only thing wrong with prohibition was that it didn't work.  I knew it was heresy but how angry that made some of the play-lefties there surprised me. 

Since we're about to go into the most boring of all holidays, New Years Eve and since during the tediously forced merriment of the Ball Drop they'll probably have some adenoidal adolescent intone John Lennon's stupid and hypocritical atheist hymn. imagine a world with no alcoholism, no drunk drivers, no drunken, violent boyfriends or girlfriends or husbands or wives or parents, no drunk or alcoholic children to worry parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts, etc.  Imagine all of that money spent on booze going to something healthy and productive . . . I imagine the likely bogus studies lauding the (often quite modest) health effects of drinking would be overshadowed by the health benefits of abstinence by a factor of thousands to one.   

Well, imagine what the world would be like if sex had always been a responsible, honest expression of love instead of a means of oppression and selfishness.

*  I have had to confront yet another beloved relative developing alcoholism this year.  It seems to be a familial trait.  This one hasn't yet used the "I don't believe in a "higher power" line on me as two others have but it's clear that atheist-invented attack on AA is a lie as every alcoholic makes the ethyl alcohol molecule into their higher power, a power that they give total control of their lives, the power to destroy them and whoever they might, through accidents, etc. take with them.  I will admit that realizing that and researching the atheist-"Humanist" attack on AA using that slogan has made me a lot more hostile to atheism than I might have been.  I don't apologize for that.