February 5th, 2023
UD thanks her old buddy Allen for sending.
February 5th, 2023
Martyrdom of the Church at Planned Parenthood.

Their services are held at abortion clinics. “Planned Parenthood” is the name of their denomination. They tithe to abortion providers.

UD‘s a little astonished, but she recalls Katha Pollitt’s words: “Religion is what people make of it.”

I mean. I strongly support abortion rights, but this is really over the top.

*******************

Sing it.

Oh come to the church of Planned Parenthood

Oh come to the church in the mall…

*******************

And by the way – I don’t think all abortion providers are Planned Parenthood affiliated, are they? I think a better name for this denomination would be Church at the Abortion.

February 3rd, 2023
Wang, Rachmaninoff

Virtuosity on this level, in material this ravishing, is elevating to witness — which is why, even after so many hours, I was left at the end feeling an exhilarated lightness. Like many others I saw, I drifted up the aisle and onto the street unable to stop smiling.

Does UD wish she’d been there? Sure. (She tried for a ticket long after it sold out.) Is she sure she would have stayed in her seat (well, there were intermissions) for all four and a half hours? Hm.

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The ravished NYT reviewer offers some nice writing:

[H]er prevailing style is sprightly, which is why the concert didn’t feel like eating five slices of chocolate cake in a row…

Her pillowy chords at the close of the Second Concerto’s middle movement floated quietly into place…

This handful of measures painted a whole situation and personality: vulnerable, strong, searching but not lost...

A shivering hush in the first movement of the Third Concerto was like a snow in which Wang made soft footsteps with the palest chords.

********************************

Gevalt. Financial Times:

[T]icketless crowds … congregated on 7th Avenue, many bearing placards — “I need just one! I’ll pay anything!”

The audience staggered out into the Manhattan dusk, as one, all changed; all humbled; all grateful for that ticket.

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Update: Further thoughts on the Wang phenomenon. For what it’s worth. And I’m only a reasonably informed amateur pianist. And more self-deprecating stuff like that.

I want to suggest that, counterintuitively, it’s Yuja Wang’s LACK of sensibility that lifts her above other pianists, who don’t typically produce crowds of people begging for tickets outside their venues.

When I watched my first Wang YouTube, I relaxed immediately into the knowledge that she simply would never hit a wrong key. Never. Not that I could hear.

I also relaxed in the face of her TOTAL absence of neurotic ego, as in Glenn Gould or V. Horowitz… With Horowitz, for instance, his immense sadness –his ashen features as he played even the most exuberant music — for me, it’s a one-note emotional experience, hearing him. He’s in it too much. Muddies the music.

And it’s not even fair, mentioning Gould.

But consider another, contemporary performer, a great pianist, and one with whom Wang has played duets: Khatia Buniatishvili. Close to the same technical virtuosity, to my ear. And I listen to her a lot. Howsomever…

There’s still the sense she conveys of what a heavy-weight experience it is, playing this stuff. Her features are usually squinched in a private angst as she plays. Which is okay… I mean, of course it’s authentic, and it conveys the poignancy of the sound and the challenge of generating it, etc. But it disallows the thing that allows the NYT critic to note not only Wang’s effortless production of many hours of difficult playing (plus encores); just as importantly, it allows him to say this:

[H]er prevailing style is sprightly, which is why the concert didn’t feel like eating five slices of chocolate cake in a row… Virtuosity on this level, in material this ravishing, is elevating to witness — which is why, even after so many hours, I was left at the end feeling an exhilarated lightness. Like many others I saw, I drifted up the aisle and onto the street unable to stop smiling.

Ungluttonous, elevating, light, drifting… Here is a pianist who generates in her audience, and I don’t want to get too-too about it, transcendence. She literally made an enormous roomful of people transcend the weight of being human (“It’s hard to be human,” as Tommy Raskin put it.), and they naturally craved that and stayed for that and drifted into the streets retaining that for as long as one can in the middle of Manhattan.

And just how does Yuja Wang take them there? She herself transcends the dull stupid particularity of being the human being she is while she plays. She is in the transcendent realm of beautiful complete expressivity and she’s simply really happy and grateful to be there. No complex sensibility at all; just delight. Michael Tilson Thomas

 liken[s] her to a racehorse.

“She wants to run; she wants to show everything she can do.”

People wept when Secretariat pulled away; and yes of course great artists aren’t in competition yadda yadda … But the reality is that the relaxation I felt in the first seconds of encountering Wang is about this insanely rare capacity she has to stand aside and let me inside too.

February 3rd, 2023
A much-nibbled brown-capped whatever…

… appears in UD‘s frigid garden as she takes her first walk in a month — since (almost) recovering from bronchitis.

February 1st, 2023
Cornell, Duke, UCLA: Each one of these schools maintained a dangerous madman on their faculty and/or in their student body. The students in his classes tried complaining and were ignored. His dissertation committee praised him and passed him along. How did this happen?

It took a judge ruling Matthew Harris too insane to go on trial to stop the upward trajectory of this man’s academic career.

 A trail of red flags about his behavior toward women followed him throughout his academic journey to UCLA. In online class reviews, interviews and emails obtained last year by The Associated Press, current and former students at all three universities alleged negligence by the schools for letting Harris slide, despite his concerning conduct.

Here are my posts about him. An extremely obvious crazy person, sending out vile threats to female students, leaps from one great academic job to another. How ’bout that. UD thinks a class action suit might help all of these schools focus productively on their negligence; she also thinks the enthusiastic dissertation chair in the case should be handed a punitive year away without pay, during which he must take a basic criminology/psychology course in the characteristics of psychopathology. The bit where the model student/psychopath whips out his gun and blows away all the women in his class didn’t have a chance to happen in this case, but there may well be other dangerous madmen, and the dissertation chair needs help before getting enthusiastic and passing those along too.

********************

The lad was found with ammunition, but

[Harris] attempted to buy a “bodyguard revolver” at the Silver Bullet Shooting Range in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

The purchase was denied.

So the gun was still a work in progress. But you and I know that, if the law hadn’t come sniffing around, he would have gotten one somehow.

*********************

As for the larger academic village that made the world safe for this madman… oy. UD is currently tossing her hands up in the air. A whole lot needs to change for professors and administrators to acquire the balls to identify and dismiss politically trendy psychopaths.

February 1st, 2023
Wotta shocker: Another mass shooting at a hookah bar down south.

A notorious gunplay destination. Its enraged and frightened neighbors repeatedly beg the city to shut it down. The city does nothing; the place lays on more security.

More security seems to guarantee more gunplay – I mean, all it seems to mean are more people in the hookah lounges with guns, so instead of the classic two-way shootout we get a three-way.

They killed a high school kid. [UPDATE: Two high school kids, both members of the local school football team.]

UD‘s really scratching her head here. All over the country, hookah bars are staging mass killings, and no one in authority does jack. Is it a form of amusement for city councils?

January 31st, 2023
‘The classroom where the shooting occurred will not be open for future instructions anytime soon. The district may use that room for other non-learning purposes.’

Apparently a deal has been worked out with state legislator Amanda Chase that the room will function as a JR-15 outlet, where students will be able to, in her words “purchase a gun that will get the job done.”

January 31st, 2023
Rats.

George Santos Won’t Serve on House Committees

January 29th, 2023
After disbarment, John Eastman will reportedly take a position as George Santos’ Chief of Staff.

If [John] Eastman is ultimately disbarred, it would be a sudden end to an ignominious legal career. He is not very good at reading the Constitution or the law. In 2020, well before he began plotting to overturn that year’s election, he published a widely derided op-ed in Newsweek suggesting that vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris might be ineligible for that office because she was supposedly not a U.S. citizen at birth. You do not need to be a former Clarence Thomas clerk or a former Chapman University law professor, as Eastman is, to Google “Kamala Harris birthplace” and read “Oakland, California,” thus making her a natural-born citizen.

Eastman then suggested, however, that birthright citizenship itself might not be constitutional, a theory that characterizes much of his approach to the law during the 2020 election. The answer to any legal question is whatever John Eastman wants it to be, and if someone as misinformed as, say, the Supreme Court of the United States disagrees, they are also wrong and should correct themselves accordingly. This approach led him to conclude in an infamous set of memos after Election Day in 2020 that the Twelfth Amendment allows the vice president to throw out individual states’ electoral votes at his discretion and personally declare a winner. The point here is not to be right or correct—fortunately for Eastman, because he was neither—but to give a legalistic guise to a coup attempt.

The New Republic

January 28th, 2023
Beverly Crest! O Beverly Crest!

Incessant mass shooting

Is what we do best!

In 2020 we only killed one

2023’s already much more fun.

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 [Two of the women killed were in LA] to attend an album release party for a rapper.

Wotta shocker. Rap music associated with guns/violence.

Add the basically unregulated short term rental market to the mix, and voila.

January 28th, 2023
Oh, What a Lovely War!

Twas on the Crest of Beverly

The battle did commence

Among elite Air B&Bs

Each sparing no expense.

The glistening car, late model!

The air perfumed, and gated!

The party. Scattered bottles.

Late model guns, gold-plated.

*********************************

The kick of upscale killing

On cool Pacific nights

Shall ne’er grow old – too thrilling

To aim Sig Sauer sights.

To watch the brain and vomit

Start pooling ’round your head

While a fine and rare green comet

Goes streaking overhead.

January 27th, 2023
‘She said that at the height of her mastery of a piece, the music emerges so naturally that she feels as if she had composed it.’

Longtime readers know some of UD’s musical enthusiasms: Among singers, Julia Lezhneva; among pianists, Yuja Wang. UD tried to score a ticket for Wang’s upcoming Rachmaninoff blowout but failed.

I love the observation Wang makes in my headline: When a genius is fully inside of a musical piece, it becomes hers.

In my own primitive playing and singing of Purcell’s song Music for A While, I’ve felt something (very distantly) like this: The notes and the emotions and the ideas sometimes flow out of you so spontaneously and deeply — in such a known way — when you’ve played (and in my case sung) a piece so many times, that the fact of a person named Sergei or Henry actually empirically sweating the thing out vanishes completely, and it’s you and this music that your throat and fingers and soul squeeze out. And shouldn’t that be what the geniuses who wrote the stuff want? They didn’t just generate a ditty; they moved a collection of notes and silences into some generous super-artistic realm of universal expressivity.

Think of what James Axton, the protagonist of Don DeLillo’s novel The Names, says about the Parthenon:

 I hadn’t expected a human feeling to emerge from the stones but this is what I found, deeper than the art and mathematics embedded in the structure, the optical exactitudes. I found a cry for pity. This is what remains to the mauled stones in their blue surround, this open cry, this voice which is our own.

In great art (architecture) there is some value-added thing, some permanent, accessible … cry for pity, say; and if you enter and listen hard and vulnerably enough, you can not only hear it. You can reproduce it. You can even feel as if you are generating it anew.

January 27th, 2023
Head of Education Association a Thief. But at least…

she’s illiterate.

January 27th, 2023
‘Former Chapman law school dean faces disbarment’

Helluva distinction for Chapman: How many DEANS are disbarred?

But then – how many deans are credibly accused of treason?

January 26th, 2023
We’ve followed the JR-15 gun, an AR-15 downsized for toddlers-to-six-year-olds, for some time on this blog.

Here’s a primer on it. The Newport News six year old who almost killed his elementary school teacher last week failed in his mission simply because he had to use some random pistol his parents had lying around the house for him. It’s true that his teacher’s mental health has been permanently shattered; plus since surgeons had to leave the slug in her, the student has the satisfaction of having left a permanent souvenir inside his teacher’s body. But killing her – and everyone else in the room, like the better-equipped boys at Columbine – eluded him because of his primitive weaponry. The JR-15 is the solution to all of these problems.

But the deep state can’t keep its hands off of the gun. Big news conference today where demo-rats called the gun disgusting and sick and grotesque and unconscionable blahblah. Blahblahblah.

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