Tiësto… A Contemporary Toscanini?

INTRO… Either playback the above vid as you read along or save it for the end to compare it to two traditional versions.

In the music biz, radio airplay can be instrumental to a song’s rise in popularity. Such was the case way back in 1938, when the baton of Arturo Toscanini… the NBC network’s conductor… first brought Samuel Barber’s 1936 classical music masterpiece… Adagio For Strings… to the attention of a goodly portion of our global community.

Ever since, Barber’s strings have become tightly interwoven into the fabric of humanity… mainly because this musical swell has become the Go-To track for mourners. This well-crafted sequence of notes has been heard following the demise of eminent leaders (e.g. Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy), floating amidst the still settling dust of communal tragedies (e.g. 9/11… 2016’s Brussels bombing… 2016’s Orlando, Florida Pulse nightclub massacre)… and whenever our losses literally hit home / involve close family and friends.

I can personally attest to how Mr. Barber’s musical staff… akin to a supportive walking stick… had kept me on my feet… twice walked me through the darkest days of my own mourning process. My description of this twostep phenomenon goes like this. First, his orchestral commiseration helps us cope. Next, just knowing he’s counselled a long line of survivors before us, does offer us hope… i.e., if they could bravely go onward with their lives, so can we.

I’ve dubbed this therapeutic process, “The Adagio For Strings Experience.” End of story?

NOPE, not when a high tech, latter-day Toscanini… DJ Tiësto… has emerged to eagerly accept the inter-generational passage of the (figurative) baton… not when this mix-master has taken “The Adagio For Strings Experience” to a novel, higher astral plane… best described as contemporized, synthesized, beat driven and dance club ready.

Say what? Yep, I can practically hear classical music purists’ group gasp / groan … hear their protestations…

  1. CLASSICAL MUSIC WITH A GOOD BEAT THAT’S EZ TO DANCE TO?
  2. AN ADAGIO?
  3. WOULD SUCH A MASH-UP EVEN BE WORTH LISTENING TO?

Stunningly… the answers to that trio of Qs is YES! YES!! YES!!!

Admittedly, upon first ear-witnessing Tiësto’s mix, I could not help but wonder…

Is our world really ready for such a radical departure from the musical norm?

Well… almost instantaneously… I answered that Q with another Q…

Is not our world facing down its own radical departure from the sociological / political norm?

Even without factoring in the disheartening specifics… the long litany of specific societal ills, which the unwise powers-that-be have inflicted upon us… which typically, disproportionately target / devastate commoners (like me)… how can we not conclude that both fair-minded leadership and civility, itself, are all but dead? Under such glum circumstances, who amongst our decent, worldly citizens would not wind up in deep mourning… in dire need of “The Adagio For Strings Experience”?

More to the point… since the younger generation has so much more to lose than those of us who, at present, have far more days behind us than ahead… they need Barber’s counseling even more. We must consider their hitting the dance floor to Tiesto’s beat akin to group counseling… musical motivational training… their rallying anthem.

Now… I fully realize that DJ Tiesto’s interpretation may not be everyone’s cup of tea… as it were… so… keeping the classical music purist in mind… I’m also including…

 

Adagio For Strings ~ Conductor Arturo Toscanini (NBC World Premiere)

Adagio For Strings ~ Conductor Leonard Slatki (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)

 

 

 

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An Exorcism of Evil Spirits? (Sunday Song Series)

Once-upon-a-time, Prohibition had been the political / theological crusade to “cure” Americans of their drinking problem… an attempted “dry-out” campaign, which [1] had predated (by multiple decades) the eventual, 1920 thru 1933, 18th U.S. Constitutional Amendment and [2] preceded (by nearly one century) this week’s blog topic.

In a sense, week #33 of our Sunday Song Series “re-ushers in” Prohibition and affords us a listen to the Wm. Jerome and Jack Mahoney composed / Edward Meeker performed…

Every Day Will Be Sunday When the Town Goes Dry

A brief rundown of the Prohibition pros and cons…

Eventually, this legislation was credited for reducing a slew of societal and literal ills… e.g., domestic abuse (and other moral / financial bankruptcy), workplace absenteeism / loss of productivity, cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic psychosis, etc.

However, Organized Labor leader, Samuel Gompers, did astutely observe / lament that unlike most previous, federal level legislation, this time individual rights were restricted rather than expanded.

BTW… time permitting… also give a listen to this alcohol-related, British 1568 folk song… John Barleycorn… traditional arrangement and performance by Willow’s Drum…

While I’d like to believe that the 21st Amendment’s repeal of Prohibition had been to purge Democracy of Theocracy… the un- Constitutional mash-up of church and state… it is far more likely the primary motivation had been… what else… Capitalism. After all, Uncle Sam’s taxation of liquor had been… and still is… enriching.

If you’ve found this Sunday Song Series to have been musically / historically enriching, why not make a pilgrimage back to this site each Sunday?

 

 

 

Bully For You? Bull $#!+

 

For an unbearably long time, my homeland’s K-12 schools… and their worldwide equivalents… have been the breeding grounds / training camp sites for bullies. Considering how the inter-generational cycle of abuse tends to kick in (pun intended), what becomes of the once-upon-a-time abused when they become… oh… say… today’s public / private school staffers? Well… in that capacity / incapacity… they oft either practically wink their approval at each new crop of bully bastards… or turn a blind eye to them.

It’s almost as if some educators’ measure of “scholastic achievement” focuses upon how effectively bullies can irreparably scar their victims (both emotionally and physically). Hmmm… instead of the failing grade bullies deserve, do they award them with an A+? Is extra credit assessed if the victims need [1] hospitalization… [2] a shrink… [3] a visit from the undertaker?

Adding insult to the victim injuries… on the rare instances where a tormented student does strike back… almost invariably… school personnel punish ONLY the retaliator (to the further delight of each bully). Hell… were school staffers’ favoritism any more blatant, the playground and hall monitors would be charging admission to the bullies’ verbal and physical attacks.

Perhaps such assessments are too cynical? Too harsh?

Let’s be fair here. Let’s look at this from the teacher’s side of the desk. Many underpaid educators are so overworked and over-stressed, it’s inevitable that they’d become nose-blind to the bully stench… to the point where the victims start falling through the cracks.

And, when victims’ only remaining options boil down to fight or flight… especially if it’s the latter… that’s when further damage kicks in (again, pun intended). Once these kids start feigning illness to avoid going to school… this all but guarantees both academic and developmental stunting / stagnation.

Let’s consider what happens once abused, stunted students eventually enter… no… strike that… DON’T enter grown-up society…

Social isolation… their learned response… to varying degrees… becomes their way of life. Such deep-down emotional stains don’t fade with time, either. And most assuredly, that’s no way to go through life! Hell… that’s not life at all!

Long Sigh….

I’m certain there are hundreds of thousands of bullying victims spanning our entire globe… each one waking up each new day wondering…

“Who might I have become… how much further ahead in life might I have gone… had insensitive school personnel heard my literal cries for help… had they come to my defense instead of enabling my tormentors’ indefensible, socially unacceptable behavior?”

How can I be so certain? Well… did you notice that above blockquote’s beginning / ending punctuation?

That’s me talking. That’s the very question I’ve been asking myself for the past 50+ years!

 

 

Don’t Dig Climate Change? That’ll Dig Our Own Graves!

 

Earth Day 2019 has come and gone… and as far as the UN-American, UN-educated and UN-educable UN-prez is concerned… long sigh… well… let’s just say he’s UN-concerned.

Day in / day out, that steeped in ignorance, know-nothing, know-it-all, pseudo-scientist sits on his “brain”, [1] bogusly flipping off white lab coated, steeped in time-honored science, learned climatologists, [2] erroneously debunking their decades long, studies and [3] inexcusably refuting (with his mere nuh-uh) their data driven, carefully considered conclusion that humans are responsible for life imperiling, climate change / global warming.

How dare he remain headless / heedless re nature’s retaliatory fury… i.e., the exponentially increasing incidents of damaging and deadly freakish heatwaves / droughts / firestorms… the planet-wide arctic blasts / ice and snow storms… the ferocious wind storms, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Of course such a ‘tude can be readily accounted for. After all, (in all likelihood) the fake prez has never read page one of even one environmentally themed textbook… or for that matter… read any book at all… not even the dust jacket blurbs from his own ghostwritten books which, typically, boast a $#!+ – load of his worthless, self-indulgent delusions.

Hell, the closest he’s ever come to wearing a white lab coat is whenever he (figuratively) dons his white KKK hoodie and robe.

What that all boils down to is that we… who are deeply concerned about securing survival for ourselves (for posterity, too) now find we are waging a two-front battle… [1] AGAINST the fake prez’s all too real ignorance and [2] FOR a cleaner greener planet Earth.

One would think that… at the very least… that lazy bum would know when to step out of the way to allow the tireless, genuine experts do his work for him. Of course, the only way that’d ever likely happen is if climatologists gave credit where no credit was due… i.e., stroked his considerable ego by promising him top billing on all of their hard work.

Look… even if anyone could offer conclusive evidence that humans are not causing climate change, just WTF would be the harm in our cleaning up our home world, anyway?

After all we are talking about the only known planet within our vast universe capable of supporting all life on Earth. Even if there were other habitable worlds, they’d be so distant, humankind might not ever survive the long, multiple millions of light-years journey.

For the sake of re-emphasis… we must accept the findings of our climatologist sleuths / CSI investigators… believe them when they tell us that the climate change culprits are none other than you and me.

Our being cast in that lead role… being the climate change villains / heavies means we must also lead the charge. Before it’s too late (if it’s not too late, already), it’s imperative to right out wrongs. To fail to do so? Well…

If the freakish weather doesn’t kill in an instant, we’ll wind up facing down the slow, time-release death of UV incineration, air pollution asphyxiation, polar icecap meltdown inundation / suffocation and non-arable soil / low crop yields starvation. Welcome to our eventual planet-wide graveyard? It does not have to be that way.

For the sake of brevity… let’s now shrink this post down to a more memorable, bumper sticker length catchphrase…

 

Don’t Dig Climate Change?
That’ll Dig Our Own Graves!

 

 

 

Everyday Will Be Sunday (Sunday Song Series)

With Passover and Easter both being observed at this time, I figured a spiritual selection would be an apropos addition to our Sunday Song Series… an ongoing mix tape of sorts that we’ve been experiencing for… counting today… 32 weeks.

The dictionary defines Gospel music as…

“A fervent style of black American evangelical religious singing, developed
from spirituals sung in Southern Baptist and Pentecostal churches.”

Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes not only live up to those above words but also amply prove that the soundtrack to organized religion does not, necessarily, need to be subdued and somber to be uplifting.

Even though I believe that religion primarily, truly, dwells within one’s head and heart… i.e., sans any real need for attending services within a brick and mortar church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc.… well hell… just knowing songs such as Everyday Will Be Sunday are getting sung each sabbath, I could become sufficiently motivated to join such a flock.

And speaking of joining… our Sunday Song Series will be meeting back here seven days from now. I cordially invite you to be part of our ongoing adventure where the phrase… musical diversity… rules supreme.

 

Gun Sick America’s Nearly 200-Year-Old Unsolved Problem

On this 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, my thoughts go back two decades further… to that January 29, 1979 Monday when a not-so-sweet, sixteen-year-old girl [1] wielded the Christmas gift she had received from dear ol’ dad (a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle), [2] trained its cross-hairs on San Diego’s Grover Cleveland Elementary School (located right across the street from her family’s home) and [3] fired off 30 rounds of ammunition.

By siege’s end, amongst the dead were Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Schar… amongst the wounded were eight children and a policeman.

During this stand-off… no less… a San Diego Tribune reporter interviewed the shooter over the phone…  asked her why she was doing it?

Her flippant response…

“I just did it for the fun of it. I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig, I think, and I want to shoot more. I’m having too much fun.”

Oh, btw… this shooter… sentenced 25 years to life… is up for parole this year.

Stunningly, even I can cite a gun incident… one that, c1971, went down within my own small, rural hometown High School. While our principal never made the details public, according to the student grapevine, one of our classmates had brandished a shotgun to hold nearly 30 students hostage for an entire afternoon. Fortunately, no shots were fired.

My web-search results report the deadly incidents go back… WAY. WAY BACK! Indeed, America’s gun-sick society has been the breeding ground for school shooters ever since the first known incident on November 12, 1840!

And be advised… Wikipedia freely acknowledges their lengthy list is far from complete!

That this carnage has been going down for nearly TWO FREAKIN’ CENTURIES… with no end in sight… makes American legislators’ negligence all the more egregious, shocking, appalling, horrendous, frightful, atrocious, abominable, abhorrent, outrageous; monstrous, unspeakable, unforgivable and shameful.

Forgive me for dumping practically the entire Thesaurus entry into this blog, but choosing only one of these words would not even begin to cover my sentiments when it comes down to a nearly 200 year long maiming and killing spree. Come to think about it… the 13 words I did use do not adequately do the job, either.

My God… nearly 200 years!

 

 

 

Two MUST SEE Dress for Regress Videos!

Subtitle: Vid(s) of the Day

A few days ago, while chatting on the phone with my nonagenarian next-door neighbor, we soon discovered how we’ve both been ruminating re the sorry state of our homeland and world. More to the point…

We share the POV that the Trumpian / Dystopian cancer has been rearing its ugly head… indeed taking root… primarily because too many of our compatriots are absolutely clueless regarding what Real American Values actually are / what basic human decency truly involves. I could go into a litany of the particulars, but will reserve such a discussion for another blog… another day.

Anyway… after a few moments of silence… I realized we were both pretty much bummed out. So, to slightly lighten things up, I half joked that… considering our homeland’s plunge into Donny’s bottomless pit of ignorance (e.g., [1] his being all fired up on “clean” coal, [2] his flat-out refusal to respect time-honored scientific principles, etc.) it’d be wise for we, who debunk Donny… to… at the very least… visually fit in with his retrograde society’s motif.

And follks… most assuredly… I’m already on top of that! For starters, I’ve been letting my grey beard grow long and wild.¹ Indeed, I could already easily blend in amongst a gathering of Dark Ages men.

Hey, who knows? That, alone, could easily save my very life. Think about it. You never know when Nazi Donny will start rounding up the scientifically inclined folks, intern us in concentration camps, put us on trial for heresy and burn us all at the stake. Whew… now that’s what I’d call a witch-hunt! Yeah, yeah, I know I’m conflating the Dark Ages / Colonial / WW-II eras, but… that too… serves a purpose… namely… to point out that those who fail to learn from history, stupidly, repeat it!

Naturally, we, who hope to blend in, will also need to conform to a period-consistent dress code… so… to that end…

As a public service… and to further everyone’s assimilation into Donny’s Dark Ages… I’m providing the following two dress for regress videos… based on illustrations in the Luttrell Psalter

Ladies first…

As for the ploughmen…

 

¹ At present my beard measures out somewhere between retired CBS Late Show comedian David Letterman’s… but has not yet attained the ZZ Top range.