Monday, August 28, 2017

Composer Schoenberg makes cameo in #WomanInGold film

Schoenberg made a cameo in a previous post on Aaron Copland where he's mention in an Encylopedia Britannica article on 12-tone music (a topic I still don't really understand)

The new unifying principle in composition would then arise from the particular order given to a collection of the 12 tones, an order that would be different for each composition. The basic order for any one composition came to be known as its basic set, its 12-tone row, or its 12-tone series, all of which terms are synonymous. The basic set for Schoenberg’s Wind Quintet (1924) is E♭–G–A–B–C♯–C–B♭–D–E–F♯–A♭–F; for his String Quartet No. 4 (1936) it is D–C♯–A–B♭–F–E♭–E–C–A♭–G–F♯–B.
The basic set is not a theme, for it has no specific shape, rhythm, or loudness. It is a backbone, a musical idea that permeates the composition in which it is used. Because of the various principles of composing and manipulating the basic set recognized by Schoenberg and others, it is not often possible nor even desirable to hear the basic set when the composition is performed. This situation has led many people to attack Schoenberg’s method as unmusical and as mathematical madness. Such views seem unjustifiable, because, as Schoenberg pointed out, his method specifies only a tiny fraction of the total nature of a composition—certainly no more than composing with tonality specifies.

The composer Schoenberg, or at least his music, also made a cameo in the film "Woman in Gold" because his grandson, Randol, was a lawyer who defended a family friend who was trying to retrieve a Klimt painting stolen by the Nazis

Specifically Schoenberg's  Verklarte Nacht, Op. 4 was played in the concert scene:

Randol Schoenberg linked to a different version of this piece on his youtube channel, as well as to a piece composed by converting the digits of into  π music posted by Carlos Manuel

There has been many attempts to make a conversion of the digits of Pi to musical notes, but I noticed that the methods used were pretty unrealistic. What they were doing was to convert the 10 digits of the decimal system in 10 notes, and then play them. Of course that doesn't make any sense because our musical notation has 12 notes! So I converted the digits of Pi to the duodecimal system (Base 12), and made a program to play it. Here are the results.

I found the Supreme Court case scene to be annoying because the screenplay writers put the silly words of silly RINO Justice Souter into the totally awesome Chief Justice Rehnquist:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Vandenberg was a guy's name not a town

Even though a shot of the entry sign to Vandenberg AFB with its name spelled correctly is included Perry Mason "The Case of the Misguided Missile"

the people typing closed captions still managed to misspell its name, presumably assuming Vandenberg referred to a town/burgh vs a man's name:

Additionally, Mr. grabby hands is engaging in sexual harassment of his secretary, but that didn't become a thing until Clarence Thomas was nominated for SCOTUS, and stopped being a thing whenever Democrats are accused of it.

A link to SNL's 1991 "CLARENCE THOMAS' PICKUP TECHNIQUE" sketch if player doesn't load

Sunday, June 11, 2017

George Gerswhin reference in Jane Austen #Emma adaptation

"Emma Approved" is an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma" set in 21st Century America where Emma is cast as a matchmaker/lifestyle coach.

The Harriet Smith character in the "Plus One, Minus One" episode

makes a reference to the George Gershwin song "They Can't Take that away from Me" written for the Astaire Rogers film "Shall We Dance":

There's possibly a bit of deliberate or inadvertent misdirection in this scene:

Harriet Smith: I read this book in high school containing love letters written by different presidents. I was thinking we could print out copies and put them on tables for your guests to read.
Caroline Lee: I'm sorry, I thought we were discussing the music?
Harriet Smith: Then we have the DJ play songs inspired by the letters. For example, Roosevelt letters to his wife were all about the little things: her smile, the way she slept, her laugh.
Emma Woodhouse: Romantic, go on
Smith: Then we dedicate a song from Teddy to Alice, and we play the Gershwins' "They Can't Take that away from Me." A classic.

When I thought of Gershwin music and the Roosevelts, I immediately thought of Franklin and Eleanor, since they were in the White House when the song was composed. However, the Democrat Roosevelts had more of a business versus romantic relationship.

Obviously, Theodore Roosevelt possessed a more romantic attachment to his wife than his cousin, Franklin, did to his:

On the topic of mashing up classics with new adaptations, a youtuber pointed out that the choreography to another Gershwin song from the same film "They All Laughed" could be synched up, if you squinted, to Stromae - <<Tous Les Mêmes>>

Unfortunately, the exact video Helen P referenced has been taken down due to copyright violations (those evil greedy corporations :-)

The best I can figure, Stromae's song synchs up from the start of Fred dancing about 2:42 mark:

Warning, the Stromae video depicts godless heathen behavior, so you might have to say 10 Hail Marys after watching it:

And, finally, a reprise of "They Can't Take that away from Me" this time sung by Billie Holiday:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Of Pretzels and Spelling Bees 🙏

I saw a recent hippy comic strip goofing on pretzels, saying they look like snakes:

This annoyed me because as I recalled from Catholic school days, and as KateriofMnisota confirmed on her video, pretzels were made for Lent

Usual interpretation that pretzels represent arms in prayer:

An alternative explanation is that pretzels represent the trinity:

Even the secular humanist History channel confirms

Pretzels were designed to be in the shape of hands in prayers:

So, the stupid comic seems to be either wittingly, or unwittingly, anti Christian. However, the USA is a free country, so Tony Cochran, the hippy comic,  has the right to be a jerk.

One might guess the religious connotations of pretzels if one looked up the etymology  "Pretzel." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 9 June 2017

However, clicking on the link to the kid's explanation of "pretzel" gives a purely secular humanist explanation that pretzels are just shaped like folded arms with no reference to prayer:

If you're obsessed with etymologies, then you also might be obsessed with Spelling Bees and their etymologies:

Ben Zimmer June 2, 2017  "Wall Street Journal" article "Searching for the Roots of Spelling Bees" hypothesizes both a secular ( imitating honey bees) and religious (derivation from Latin "bene" aka "blessing") source for the modern term "bee":

"Etymologists [with an affinity for entomologists - I made a punny!] long assumed that these get-togethers were called 'bees' 'in allusion to the social character of the insect,' as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it. But a sociologist named George C. Homans came up with a different theory in his 1941 book 'English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century.' Homans noticed a striking similarity between the 'bees' of his native New England and what were called 'beans' or 'beens' in the English countryside, likewise involving neighbors sharing in some type of labor. That in turn likely stems from the Middle English word 'bene,' meaning a boon or prayer."

So, in case, Homans' theory is correct, here is Liszt's "Blessing of God in Solitude" for your easy listening pleasure whilst munching yummy pretzels and reading random dictionary definitions:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Battle Hymn of the Republic" 🇺🇸 vs "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory"🙏

I uploaded  a kludgy recording of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." I was doing some Spring cleaning and ran across a shoe box of old audio cassettes, one of which is of  an old LP record I taped many years ago. Unfortunately, I've lost all information about this record. I don't know the artist or the arranger, but I liked the performance, so I thought I'd share. If anybody recognizes the artist, I'd appreciate the feedback so I can update the video:

I noticed when recording that the hippy hymnal I own, Batastini, Robert J, and Michael A. Cymbala. Gather: Choir Book. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1988. Musical score.

listed the title as "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" under the category of the "Second Coming"

The same hippy hymnal listed "My Country Tis of Thee" under the category "Nation"

Conversely, the normal, non-hippy hymnal Alstott, Owen. The Choir Book. Portland, OR: OCP Publications, 1979. Musical score.

Properly lists the song as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" under "Patriotic" songs:

Lastly, a rendition from Classic Arts Showcase:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

For #MemorialDay J. D. Salinger & Julia Child in WWII

A couple of  PBS American Masters documentaries touch on the war time service of two famous Americans.

Novelist Salinger  perhaps, if he wangled his connections, could have obtained an OTS commission since he graduated from the Valley Forge Military Academy:

However, Salinger volunteered to join and fight in the US Army enlisted ranks in WWII

After first being rejected by the medical board, Salinger fought against the Army bureaucracy for the privilege of serving in the ranks:

Salinger's first introduction to combat was in the infantry during the D-Day Normandy landings. Salinger then joined the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) in France.

Watch Full Episodes Online of American Masters on PBS | S26: Salinger's Work in World War II Army Intelligence

J.D. Salinger was part of the U.S. Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) on the ground in Europe during World War II. Salinger formed a strong bond with three other men in the CIC and they dubbed themselves the Four Musketeers. One of them took the only known photo of Salinger writing "The Catcher in the Rye" during his army service.

In case the above links breaks:

Salinger fought in Hurtgen Forest, Battle of Bastogne,  and liberated a sub camp of Dachau:

Salinger suffered a nervous breakdown/combat fatigue/PTSD and was stationed to a military hospital to recuperate. After being discharged,  he worked with the US Army de Nazification program:

Pfc J.D. (Jerome David) Salinger  - Military Timeline

In the Pacific Theater, TV cook Julia nee McWilliams Child and her soon to be husband, Paul Child, served in the OSS

"She found that chance in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Like many Americans her age, she hurried to Washington to work for the war effort, finding a job at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Eventually she volunteered to go to the Near East. In March 1944, she set sail for Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to work for the OSS office in the ancient city of Kandy. Here, far from home, she finally had her chance for adventure – and for love."

And finally, for something completely different


Gordon Ramsay vs Julia Child. Epic Rap Battles of History 

(in case you're offended, Geoffrey Chaucer also used naughty words and discussed adult situations, but he did so in Middle English, so it's not as understandable)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Best Way to Kill Lobsters

There's a lobster killing scene in "Julie & Julia" that debates the merits of killing lobsters either through boiling in water or stabbing with knives:

and in case the link breaks:

FYI, the song in the background of the scene is the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" where the actors replace the word "psycho" w/ "lobster" 

There's also a lobster killing scene in "Annie Hall" where Woody Allen is as inept in killing lobsters as Amy Adams is: 

In case you wondered how Julia Child killed her lobster on her "The French Chef" show, she chose to boil them to death:

However, if you try to boil lobsters in water vs kill them with a knife, you could end up with the negative repercussions faced by the "The Muppet Show" Swedish chef

I guess to be fair, and to engage in plausible deniability wrt lobstercide, you could give knives to the lobsters, let them fight it out, and then eat the loser.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spiders are evil 🕷️🕸️👿

I appreciate the academic exercise that spiders often keep down more harmful pests, but I give into the irrational and emotional conclusion that spiders are just creepy and gross.

I found a giant spider in my apartment which I thought was incredibly evil and gross:

Being that the giant spider was 1. still alive and 2. on the inside of my apartment, I didn't use a dollar bill to scale the size of the evil creature like I did with a cicada who was on the outside of my screen door:

Rather than try to determine its particular species and whether it was  friendly and helpful or not:

I just killed the spider:

So, being that it's universally established that everyone w/whom I communicate hates spiders as much as I do, it's perfectly logical that a film about an evil creepy doll, "The Great Gabbo" would include a scene where people dress up in creepy spider costumes in a weird sing and dance routine:

Clip from "Class Arts Showcase"

"Caught in a Web of Love" (1929) from the film "The Great Gabbo"
Donald Douglas and Betty Compson
Music and lyrics: Lynn Cowan and Paul Titsworth, Donald McNamee, King Zany
Directed by James Cruze
KINO on Video