Thursday, September 21, 2017

One Alice Munro sentence


Alice Munro, “Runaway,” in Runaway (New York: Vintage, 2005).

Such a great sentence. Nine of its fourteen words form prepositional phrases, but the sentence moves as quickly as the truck, or the air. And notice that it’s air, not wind. The final seams is a bonus.

Fujitsu Mini-Split FTW



Our utility company sends us a monthly page about our energy use. Granted, many variables are at work. Still, the advantage of a mini-split over an air conditioner is clear.

[But they’re houses, not homes.]

Speak, rock


[Zippy, September 21, 2017.]

Three (“some”) rocks, but only no. 2 is talking.

Venn diagram
Nancy posts : Nancy and Zippy posts : Zippy posts

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New glasses (once again)

A new picture with new glasses in the sidebar. The previous new one had begun to look too dour to me, too suggestive of disgruntled silence. I am neither silent nor disgruntled, or at least not often. Though I acknowledge that there isn’t an awful lot to smile about in the larger world these days.

[RSS-ers, you’ll have to click through.]

“Like a leaf sinking in the current”


Stefan Zweig, Angst. 1936. The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig. Trans. Anthea Bell (London: Pushkin Press, 2015).

Related reading
All OCA Stefan Zweig posts (Pinboard)

First-Class Mail Shape-Based
Pricing Template

Is that envelope too long or high or thick to be mailed as a letter? The U.S. Postal Service’s First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing Template has the answer. It’s the cool postal tool with the unwieldy name. If you’re lucky, your post office might have one on hand for you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Roscoe Mitchell,
Bells for the South Side


Roscoe Mitchell. Bells for the South Side. 2 CDs. ECM Records. 2017. Total playing time: 2:07.31.

Here are five pieces for trio performances, with Roscoe Mitchell joined by James Fei and William Winant, Hugh Ragin and Tyshawn Sorey, Kikanju Baku and Craig Taborn, and Jaribu Shahid and Tani Tabbal. And another six pieces, with the musicians (all multi-instrumentalists) regrouped in “new configurations,” as the liner notes put it, leaving the listener to make educated guesses as to who’s playing what and when. The music that results, notated and improvised, is sometimes spare, sometimes dense, with a special emphasis on bells, drums, and gongs.

A few highlights: “Spatial Aspects of the Sound” begins with bells and pianos (keys dampened or struck sharply, strings plucked) and ends with the delicate interplay of glockenspiel, piano, and piccolo. “Prelude to a Rose” (whose title recalls Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss”) begins and ends with sinuous horn ensembles, with free-ranging communication among saxophone, trumpet, and trombone (Mitchell, Ragin, Sorey) in between. “Bells for the South Side” begins with sleighbells, a ringing telephone, and a siren; Ragin’s piercing piccolo trumpet enters against a ghostly thicket of percussion, suggesting a lament for those lost to violence on Chicago’s streets. “Red Moon in the Sky” evokes the Art Ensemble of Chicago in high gear, with horns and percussion blazing. And “Odwalla,” the Art Ensemble’s closing theme, is a final surprise: a slow groove, with Mitchell introducing each musician for a brief solo. These two hours of music travel by in what feels like much less time.

I have heard Roscoe Mitchell in performance with the Art Ensemble of Chicago (five times); with Thomas Buckner, Harrison Bankhead, and Jerome Cooper; with Muhal Richard Abrams and George Lewis; and with Jack DeJohnette’s Special Legends Edition Chicago. And on dozens of recordings. I’m grateful for the chance to open my ears once again.

These performances were recorded in September 2015 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in conjunction with The Freedom Principle, an exhibit marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. As it’s an ECM recording, the sound is impeccable. Full personnel details, samples, and a video clip at the ECM website.

The program:

Spatial Aspects of the Sound : Panoply : Prelude to a Rose : Dancing in the Canyon (Taborn-Baku-Mitchell) : EP 7849 : Bells for the South Side : Prelude to the Card Game, Cards for Drums, and The Final Hand : The Last Chord : Six Gongs and Two Woodblocks : R509A Twenty B : Red Moon in the Sky/Odwalla. All compositions by Roscoe Mitchell except as noted.

Dream commercial

In last night’s sleep, a commercial for The Tonight Show: Johnny was welcoming Angie Dickinson, the United States Marine Band, and “a great deal of thinkers.” Make that a great many thinkers. Mass nouns v. count nouns.

I can fix usage problems, even in dreams. But there’s no ad-blocker to use while sleeping.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Organized squirrels

News from the cute-animal kingdom: “Like trick-or-treaters sorting their Halloween candy haul, fox squirrels apparently organize their stashes of nuts by variety, quality and possibly even preference.”

A related post
KNUT Winter Schedule

Sean Spicer at the Emmys

Spencer Kornhaber, writing about Sean Spicer’s appearance at the Emmy Awards:

The Hollywood establishment, in overwhelming part, likes to present itself as in opposition to the Trump administration. But turning the PR guy for that administration into just another character in the entertainment landscape, a lovable provider of quips and shticks, flattens the moral dimensions of the national debate. It says that, deep down, politics is just sport, just drama. Which then undercuts the anti-Trump stands made on the Emmys stage.
Seeing Colbert and Spicer last night, I had to recall the infamous (to my mind) remarks that CBS executive chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves made during last year’s primaries:
“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” he said of the presidential race. . . .

"Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? . . . The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” he said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” said Moonves.
The Emmy Awards aired, of course, on CBS.