Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Maybe "Free" Speech Isn't "Free?"

I have always been taught that freedom of any kind also brings with it responsibility. The old adage that free speech does not cover yelling fire in a crowded theater. That has naturally come to mind a number of times in the past few weeks with the terrorist attack in Paris and all that occurred after it.

The question really arose most clearly when the first edition of Charlie Hebdo after the attack published another cartoon of Mohammed. I gather there were all kinds of rationalizations and justifications for the publication. Many of those were highly philosophical discussions that make sense in some western thinking process. There is also the very basic of freedom of speech. But the magazine knew that the publication of another cartoon would raise the possibility (and high probability) of problems. They published it anyway.

Is this the same as yelling fire? Were the editors being irresponsible and putting innocent lives in jeopardy? Sure it is part of our western ethos (though not always practiced) that freedom of speech is important, but at what cost?

When we are dealing with a different cultural understanding in a time and place of war and danger is it a good idea to inflame the situation putting our values on a people who don't share those values?

They are not easily answered questions, I know, but as our world gets smaller and the great diversity more easily accessed, we need to be looking at them as important questions. We Westerners have often been guilty of cultural imperialism, ignoring and even denigrating other cultures. A certain humility needs to be at work here.

Yes, I know this can feel like censorship. Is it censorship, though, when I decide that I don't need to be as inflammatory as I can because I can care about others? Is it censorship when I find better and less inflammatory ways to say what I want to say?

Those, too, are important questions that can make the difference between life and death for innocent people.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thinking About Movies

Since I am an older white male, I don't see what the controversy is all about.

Yeah, right.

Of course I do.

Actually I think there are several issues.

  • First is the diversity one and the snub of an African-American Woman director- two strikes against her. If she hadn't been both black and woman she might have snuck by. Yes, there have been a couple black directors nominated and a woman, but the old exception proving the rule holds quite true.
  • Second, the problem is made worse by the few number of black actors who are given anything but stereotyped parts or good scripts to work with. Again, the few number show the problem. I don't know whether David Oyelowo's performance is equal to the five nominees since I haven't seen it yet. But nominations for Robert Duvall in a poorly reviewed movie or Meryl Streep (again and again) for a musical that doesn't come up to her normal acting chops, shows part of the issue.
  • Third, and I found this very interesting, four of the seven movies nominated, four of the five best male actor and only two of the five best female actors are based on real people and events. Somehow that, I think, has a limiting factor on the roles and scripts available.
I don't know what all this means in the long run. I would like to see someone be brave and creative enough to give some of our excellent black actors roles that would normally be given to white actors in some of the high-level scripts. Think how that could shake things up. How would people react if you told a story just like the American Sniper story with a black lead. I can hear the screaming about that. Change nothing but the color of his skin and see what happens. What if a Boyhood story happened in an Asian-American family? Or, God-forbid, the drummer under the abusive music teacher in Whiplash was a young Latina girl? Sure it changes the story greatly, but it doesn't mean it would be a lesser quality movie.

None of this is meant to denigrate the quality of the movies presented. This year has been a truly bonus year of great movies. As always to bring the numbers down to the final contenders is not a task I would like. But let's keep working at expanding the opportunities for greater story-telling.

A 70-Year Memory: Liberation from Horror

It is still, 70 years later, the symbol of incredibly inhuman actions. Around 1.1 million people died there. It's name should still bring chills to anyone with a conscience.

Auschwitz.

From Wikipedia:

As Soviet troops approached Auschwitz in January 1945, most of its population was evacuated and sent on a death march. The prisoners remaining at the camp were liberated on January 27, 1945, a day now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the following decades, survivors such as Primo Levi, Viktor Frankl, and Elie Wiesel wrote memoirs of their experiences in Auschwitz, and the camp became a dominant symbol of the Holocaust.
Never again!

Commemorative flowers on the rail track in Auschwitz II-Birkenau

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Wonders of Music

We were watching PBS' Independent Lens program last week to again see the excellent documentary, Muscle Shoals, about the recording studios and musicians there who gave southern soul and southern rock music there unique sounds. When it was finished a short came on about a Tokyo-born musician who fell in love with Bluegrass then Country music through the classic and country roots sound of Jimmie Rodgers. It was called Waiting for a Train, after Rodgers classic signature tune.

It shows the power and wonder that music can cause in people. It causes the mind to explore, expand, and be changed forever. Each of us has a song or two that has done that to us. I went online and found that the whole 20-minute documentary is posted so I here share it with you.

Enjoy- and keep smiling.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Following



I liked this poster the first time I saw it- other than the standard problems I have with most representations of a white Jesus in a robe.

Sure, it's a religious schmaltz.
Sure, it's even tacky.

But I am sure it captures the essence of what Jesus said to his first followers.

It also describes the struggle that any "follower" has. Whether it's the fishermen along the Sea of Galilee 2000 years ago or my answering a "call" to "ministry" 45 years ago, it will be a wrestling match. Such a struggle never goes away. As times change, so can our call.

Just some thoughts.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

In Memoriam: Mr. Cub- Ernie Banks



Ernie Banks
(January 31, 1931 – January 23, 2015)

“There’s sunshine, fresh air, and the team’s behind us. Let’s play two.”

A Wondrous Day

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Powerful Song

Kris Kristofferson has been one of my favorites since the early 70s when I first heard his music. A remarkable singer-songwriter who always showed a very strong social conscience. After all these years of writing, he hasn't lost it. It sometimes gets him in trouble, which is what happens to those with a prophetic voice, since a Biblical prophetic witness is NOT about foretelling the future. It is about calling the powerful to account for their actions.

Here is Kris being a 21st Century prophet in his still powerful voice. Be warned, it is not pretty, but a prophetic witness always makes people cringe or at least stop and think.

In the News


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bet You Didn't Know All This (Me Either)

I was checking out the song "Ring of Fire" and discovered a bunch of uses for the phrase over there on Wikipedia. My kindness led me to want to share it with you. (There are 28 including the first on mentioned.)

Ring of Fire (disambiguation)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ring of Fire is a series of oceanic trenches and volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean.
It can also refer to:

Films, radio, and TV
  • Ring of Fire (1961 film), a 1961 crime drama directed by Andrew L. Stone
  • Ring of Fire (1991 film), an IMAX documentary about the Pacific Ring of Fire
  • Ring of Fire (2013 film), a biographical television film about June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash
  • Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey, 1970s documentary film about Indonesia
  • Ring of Fire (radio program), a syndicated American talk show
  • "Ring of Fire" (Knight Rider episode), 1983
  • "Ring of Fire" (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode), 1993
Literature
  • Ring of Fire (series), a series of alternate history books by Eric Flint and other authors
  • Ring of Fire (anthology), a series of short story collections as a part of the above series. (Ring of Fire II, Ring of Fire III)
  • Ring of Fire (Buffy comic), a paperback collection of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer comics
  • Ring of Fire, one of the Three Rings of Elvenkind in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • Ring of Fire (novel), an Italian young adult fantasy by Pierdomenico Baccalario
Music
  • Ring of Fire (band), American heavy metal group
  • Ring of Fire (Mark Boals album)
  • Ring of Fire (musical), a musical theater production on the life of Johnny Cash
  • "Ring of Fire" (song), by June Carter, first performed by her sister, Anita Carter and later covered by Johnny Cash
  • Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash, an album by Johnny Cash
  • "Ring of Fire" (Duane Eddy song), a 1961 song by Duane Eddy from the movie Ring of Fire
  • "Ring of Fire", a song by The 3rd and the Mortal on their 1994 EP, Sorrow
Natural science
  • Ring of Fire, a sunflower variety
  • Northern Ontario Ring of Fire, a geographic formation and mining exploration area in Canada
  • In atmospheric sciences, thunderstorms that form on the periphery of a high-pressure ridge in summer and can include derechoes

Other uses
  • Ring of Fire (game), a drinking game
  • Ring of Fire (ride), an amusement ride
  • Ring of Fire Studios, a visual effects, animation, and digital post production studio
  • "The Ring of Fire", a nickname of Westpac Stadium, a sports arena in New Zealand
  • "The Ring of Fire", a nickname of the lighting system of the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, a sports arena in the United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's Now Official

A significant symbolic vote. Whatever that means.

Let it be recorded for history that late in the afternoon of January 21, 2015, the United States Senate formally acknowledged that climate change is real.
--Link
They could not agree on what is causing it.

A long way to go, but any journey begins with a single step.

An Observation

Well, isn't that what most writers and bloggers do, make observations? This one occurred in one of my favorite writing locations, a Christian-based coffee shop. They have one of those chalk boards that they post a question on and then get responses.

The question one day was

What is your favorite verse this week?
At the point I was there it had only 14 responses, The observation I made was that of the 14, 10 were from the Hebrew Bible and only 4 from the New Testament. That is just barely over a quarter (28%) of the responses were from the Christian Scriptures.

No, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with quotes from the Hebrew Bible being the favorites. In my own Moravian tradition in our devotional history of "The Daily Texts", the "Watchword for the Day" is to be from the Hebrew Scriptures. The New Testament text is a "doctrinal" text that in some way expands on or enhances the watchword. That's why the "Watchword for 2015" over there on the right sidebar is from the Hebrew Bible. (By the way, the watchwords are chosen by lot. I basically looked at my birthday in the Daily Text for 2015 for my watchword for this year.)

But I found it interesting that the favorite verses were not from the New Testament. A couple of thoughts on that.
  • First, 14 responses is not a large number. Low responses are often not representative of the overall response rate.
  • Second, if the first few verses were from the HB then the thought is placed in the next person's mind and they also pick from the same Testament.
  • Third, it is the same kind of reflection that has, over the years, elevated the Ten Commandments above what the NT strives for. You know, Jesus saying, "You have heard... but now I tell you." Things like thinking evil of someone is as bad as killing them or lusting in your heart is the same as actually doing it.

In any case, That's what I noticed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Good Way To Look At It

I really do like Folk Alley. It introduces me to so much good music that I would never have found otherwise. Here's the lyrics to one I heard last week that made me sit up and take notice. A video of it follows. Chuck Brodsky's version of Nick Annis' In the Beginning.

In The Beginning (by Nick Annis)

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth,
and the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon
the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters."
It's an oral history, passed down, word of mouth, from father to son.
From Adam to Seth, from Seth to Enos, from Enos to Caanan, for 40 generations
a growing, changing story, passed down, word of mouth, father to son.

Till Moses finally gets it down on lambskin.
But lambskins wear out, need to be copied.

So you have a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy
of an oral history passed down through 40 generations.

From Hebrew it's translated into Arabic. From Arabic into Greek.
From Greek into Latin. From Latin into Russian, from Russian into German,
from German into an Olde form of English that you could not read.
Through 400 years of evolution of the English language to the book we have today.
Which is:
A translation of a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation
of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy
of an oral history passed down through 40 generations.

You can't put a grocery list through that many copies, translations and re-tellings
and not get some big changes in the dinner menu when the kids make it back from Superfresh.

And yet people are killing each other over this written word.

Here's a tip.

If you're killing someone in the name of God...
you might be missing the message.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Following the 10th (14): Battle Weary and Ready to Move On

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.


16-18 Jan 1945:
The weary, triumphant Tigers (Combat Command B) take their final ride through Bastogne’s rubble strewn streets. There had just been another blizzard. [Note: There are different dates in different places on the date of leaving Bastogne by CC B and the 10th Armored.]

No matter- the Battle of the Bulge was over and the outcome of the war was pretty much a certainty. It was a bloody and traumatic time. Over 600,000 Americans (and another 120,000 Allied soldiers) were involved. Over 300,000 German troops were active. That means over 1,000,000 soldiers were involved in that small area of northeast France.
  • American Casualties: 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded, 23,000 captured or missing.
  • British Casualties: 200 killed, 969 wounded, and 239 missing.
  • German Casualties: 67,200 – 100,000 killed, missing, captured, or wounded
It is interesting to note that there are no "After Action Reports" for the 80th Medical Battalion for December 1944 and January 1945. In the intensity of the battle, the ongoing uncertainties and the general "fog of war" many papers and records were lost. They will resume in February.

Many times in my reading I have come across the term, "Fog of War" in relation to the Battle of the Bulge. I did some digging and with the help of Wikipedia (naturally) I found that the term goes back to the late 19th Century and is credited to the German von Clausewitz in the early 19th Century. Here's Wikipedia's opening statement:
The fog of war (German: Nebel des Krieges) is the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign. ...
War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.
Carl von Clausewitz
As I have read through many accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and looked at countless pictures of all kinds of armored warfare and medical care in the midst of World War II, I have been struck by the incredible intensity that these men were under. For many the days were almost certainly endless, one day running into the next. Nights being regularly disturbed by artillery, hunger and cold. Days blinded by snow or the intense light when the sun came out and reflected from the ground.

Those in Bastogne had the worst of it- far greater than any of us can ever imagine. The sublimation of fear was a necessity. What does that do to a person psychologically? How does a soldier cope other than to grow emotionally numb? I would think that if you allowed any emotion to break through, the worry would be that all the emotions would break as well. One thing that could not be afforded was that kind of flood.

But even beyond Bastogne itself, the ongoing uncertainty of the direction of the war would have been just as difficult to cope with. Somewhere in the midst of all that was the one medic that I would come to know as my father. I am learning more about his life than I have ever known. I, too, leave the Battle of the Bulge now. I have thought and read about it for months in preparation for these weeks. I will continue to research and read for it is an important part of our American history. But I also feel it had a great deal to do with who my Dad became- and perhaps in some family memory who I have become as well.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17-18 Jan 1945

Sgt. Benjamin B. Barenbrugge wrote a memoir years later that is in the Wartime Memories Project. He tells what happened next, as the 10th Armored returned to its original mission- the clearing of the Saar-Moselle Triangle. He describes in general what the rest of the war would be for the 10th:
Our orders were to push the Germans further back into Germany. The Army engineers literally built our bridges as we moved. They got a good workout. The Germans blew every bridge across each river we had to cross. Our engineers built new bridges made of large rubber pontoons, lashed together and anchored to the riverbed. They placed steel grid channels across the pontoons; spaced far enough apart to accommodate our tank tracks. I really felt sorry for these engineers, as this was a hard and dangerous job. German artillery would blow these bridges up as fast as they built them. Then our artillery had to go to work and knock out their artillery. Sometimes this went on for days. When we could, we would rest up in some little nearby town. We made three major river crossings: the Saar, Rhine and Danube. We took over 150 towns and cities. Some of the major ones were Trier, Kaiserlautern and Mannheim.
--Wartime Memories Project

The rest of the 10th Armored had been in Metz since the end of December. There Nichols describes that they were
able to lick [their] wounds and rest for the long battle journey across Germany yet to come. On January 17, the division moved southward to Faulquemont, France, where it was rejoined by Colonel Roberts' Combat Command B.... For nineteen days the Tigers were engaged in a three-fold program of unit training, providing a counter-reconnaissance screen west of the Saar River, and at the same time, holding part of the Army's front line.
The weather, of course was awful and many vehicles slid off the icy roads into the ditches. They made it, though, and spent the rest of January in the Faulquemont area.

10th Armored (minus CC B) moves from Metz Jan 18

Combat Command B joined the Division at Faulquemont
[Note: Google maps are obviously contemporary. I use them to show distances and locations.]

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ready for Tomorrow

I expect it to be a very tough game. The Seahawks are a strong team and heavy favorites in tomorrows NFC Championship game. But even playing hurt, there's no one like Aaron Rodgers.


Needless to say:

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Taste of the Original

"Cotton Fields" is a song written by blues musician Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, who made the first recording of the song in 1940.

Without further wasting of time, enjoy the real thing.




Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Great Phrase

Let's start with the headline I saw on NPR.org:

How Do We Grow To Like The Foods We Once Hated?
Basically it's an article about food tastes and how they can be changed. Here's the first couple paragraphs:
Why do some of us like to slather hot sauce or sprinkle chili powder onto our food, while others can't stand burning sensations in our mouth?

It probably has to do with how much we've been socially pressured or taught to eat chili, according to Paul Rozin, a cultural psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied attitudes toward food for decades.
Rozin uses as examples how foods native to the western hemisphere, for example, became staples of Europeans who had never had them before.
And that flavor in Mexico is chili and it is on virtually every savory food they eat. Chili pepper, when it came to Europe, tasted so bad. So this terrible-tasting food comes over along with potatoes and tomatoes and all these other relatively good ones, and it becomes a major flavoring in the cuisines of West Africa, of South Asia and a good part of Southeast Asia. And it makes their food taste better to them.

So I got curious about how the hell that happened.
He then goes on to say that the change happens in the brain, not the tongue. The same information is still being sent, it is just received differently. We, as children, don't like many things that we come to learn to like- even truly enjoy- as we mature. So, unless one has a physical allergy to something, it is possible, it seems, to learn to like things that once might have turned us away in horror.

Of course some things don't change- I still don't like liver- and can only take olives in small amounts. Over the years I have come to enjoy many foods. Basically, you have to eat a lot of the foods before you become accustomed to them and enjoy them. Which brings me to the "money quote" that caught my attention:
I call it "benign masochism," which is to say that we learn to like things that our body rejects. And it's benign because it doesn't hurt us.
I love it: benign masochism.

And that's where I will leave it... and pass me more of that hot sauce.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Who Do We Care About?

I know I'm not the first to say this, but I want to add my voice to the discussion, if only in a brief way.

The Headline:

Nigeria's forgotten massacre: 2,000 slaughtered by Boko Haram, but the West is failing to help
Then the story:
Ignatius Kaigama, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos and president of the Nigerian Bishops Conference, spoke as bodies lay strewn on the ground in Baga, in north-east Nigeria, after a surge by Boko Haram fighters who took over the border town earlier this month.

He highlighted the stark difference between the West's willingness to act when 17 people were killed by militants in France and the approach to the slaughter in Africa.

Estimates of the death toll in Baga and surrounding villages, which were razed by fire, have been put at up to 2,000. Most of the dead were women, children and the elderly who could not flee in time, said Amnesty International, which labelled it the group's deadliest massacre yet...

The gulf in the attention between the murders in France and the Nigerian massacre was highlighted Twitter messages yesterday.

Imad Mesdoua, a political analyst at consultants Africa Matters, tweeted: "No breaking news cycle, no live reports, no international outrage, no hashtags." The actress Mia Farrow and Stephanie Hancock, of Human Rights Watch, were among those to observe that there had been "no outrage or headlines" about the Nigerian slaughter.

Harry Leslie Smith, the 91-year-old who electrified the Labour Party conference last year with a speech on the NHS, said on Twitter: "Note to the media and Western politicians that Paris isn't burning but Nigeria is."

--The Independent
Do we even care?

Why not?

Parisian lives matter; African lives do not?

Lord forgive our selfish self-centeredness and lead us to compassion and care.

A 50-Year Memory: An Iconic Day

Fifty-years ago today, Dylan recorded one of his fun and classic songs- Subterranean Homesick Blues." It was became famous for two reasons. First, the last line of the second verse was the founding name of a radical group:

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
And second, the video of the song from a documentary became a template for future videos. Here, first, is the video with a talkover by director D. J. Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth.



But we can't let it just go without hearing the whole thing without extraneous commentary.

Thanks, Bob, for this amazing song.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Still Hidden in the Past

I have been working on some genealogy for a good portion of the past year. Mostly I am looking now for information about the "hidden" part of my family. It's not hidden because they are hiding; it's hidden because there was a disconnect over half a century ago that was never brought back together. So here I sit, all these years later trying to piece things together.

In many ways most of my family history on all sides is somewhat hidden. It's just that one part of it existed where I lived. The other part got lost in the disconnect because I didn't live there. For example, I do not know when my one grandfather died. I have a time period but that's it. It is a period of about 18 months almost 60 years ago. I can't find him in the Social Security Death Index because maybe he didn't have a Social Security number? His name has been spelled many different ways in different records (mostly caused by trying to read the writing and transcribe it) which only makes it more difficult.

I have contacted vital records in New York City but they keep asking me for information I don't have such as his parents' names and the missing Social Security number. They keep sending back my check and the application. I will try again, of course, trying to explain in more death why I don't have the information.

Ancestry.com has been very helpful in many ways but I've hit that dead-end over and over again. I put in his last name and get the death information on everyone in my family with that name- except his. I use wild cards in the searches and still nothing.

I keep going, hoping to have some connections and closures of things I wish I had been more aware of and interested in half a century ago. But when you are a teen to twenty-something there are other things you focus on. You go about your life and working on making it. Then, after deaths and disconnects and many years gone by, you realize that you are more than just an orphan from your parents' deaths over 50 years ago, you are now flowing a stream that has more unknown origins than you ever realized.

Will it be a disaster if I never know? Of course not. But I have learned that in one way or another I would like to find more of these roots so that I can pass them on. I have realized that I am not a self-created individual. I come from families, people and places, events and experiences that have combined in a unique way to make me who I am. It would be nice to know where some of that has come from.

If you have information on yourself and your family, I suggest you get it down on paper or somewhere to pass it on. It may seem insignificant today, but you never when- or who might think it interesting.

Monday, January 12, 2015

When You Stop Listening and Start Listening

I had an ear-opening moment yesterday. Not a great world-changing one, but a quick shift in perception. I was at the healthy living center working out. Due to a change in plans I did not have my iPod with me to be listening to music or radio, or whatever I usually do to help the time pass. So there I was- I rode the bike, did some strength and stretching and then went to do some more cardio.

As I was moving I realized that the place was unusually quiet. It was almost meditative in its silence. They don't play the music loud through the overhead speakers, so that was almost a distant background. What I heard was the constant hum of treadmills, an occasional grunt or weight drop, or my own breath. Not much else.

"That's odd," I thought. I looked around and saw that the place was about as full as it usually is when I am there. It can't be the number of people, I realized. Then it came to me- it was quiet because I wasn't listening to music in my earbuds. It was quiet in the gym because everyone was in their own world, listening with their earbuds to whatever they wanted to listen to. It was an eerie feeling to realize that there were all these people in the area- and it was almost as quiet as it gets at church during silent prayer.

It was, surprisingly, almost relaxing to be working out without the noise in my ears. Admittedly I was not doing long bike or cardio workouts. This was to be an easy day for that. Sure, I also like listening to podcasts or my own music mix from my iPod. But I also discovered a new way to do my workouts- it can be called mindfulness or even meditation.

Always something new.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some Things to Take Note Of

I was on a roll the other day and decided to look up some trivia about my favorite musical instrument- the trumpet. So here goes:

In the Baroque era, trumpeters formed a guild that provided them with privileges above and beyond that of other musicians. The guild had rules regulating who could play trumpet, where they could play, and for whom they could play for. The members guarded their rights jealously and were in constant conflict with unguilded trumpeters.
A trumpet may seem short and compact when compared to larger brass instruments, such as the trombone, but this small instrument contains roughly 6 1/2 feet of tubing. That’s taller than the average human being, yet the instrument can fit comfortably in your hands.
The trumpet may only have three valves, but you can actually play 45 distinct notes by manipulating those valves.
Before 1815, music written for trumpet was intended to be played by the natural trumpet. This ancestor to the modern trumpet had no valves. This meant that the natural trumpet player was limited to about seven notes. However, the comfortable range on a modern trumpet can span almost three octaves (about 18 notes)
I would be remiss if I didn't also include what may be the two most common (and untrue!!) trumpet jokes:
How many trumpet players does it take to change a light bulb?
None, because the world revolves around them!

How do trumpet players traditionally greet each other?
"Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm better than you."

Here's a "video" that features what many consider the first great trumpet solo by Pops- Louis Armstrong- West End Blues



And one of the great solo performances in this video from Mark Baud and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just Sayin'



“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
― Carl Reiner






Conversation about the weather is the last refuge
of the unimaginative.
--Oscar Wilde

To which I admittedly reply:
"Guilty as charged!"



But then, how about this clip from the news, 
thanks to Jimmy Kimmel:

Friday, January 09, 2015

A New Hall of Famer

I mentioned the other day when posting about the All-Star Game that it is a good place to "collect" famous names. One of them became more famous on Tuesday when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pitcher John Smoltz, now a broadcaster was there in both his current and past occupations. So I thought I would post the two pictures I have of him from July.

First is from the "Legends and Celebrities" Softball Game on the Sunday before the Tuesday game. He was, of course, pitching.





Second picture was prior to the game on Tuesday as he was prepping with one of the TV crew.

This was his first year of eligibility and, obviously, a well-deserved honor.

John Smoltz will join three other baseball greats in the Hall of Fame. Two other pitchers were also elected on their first year of eligibility- Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. Joining them is Craig Biggio who fell two votes short last year. It is the first time since 1955 that four players have been elected.