I’ve Got Mail: Really Scary and Really Cool

I remember reading George Orwell’s 1984 — the year was 1968 and I had not yet turned thirteen years old. Fourteen years away – more years than I had theretofore been alive — seemed like eternity, and I never thought then that any of those things could or would ever happen. In this morning batch of emails, I received this:

Ordering pizza in 2010

This could be scary if it wasn’t funny!?
Be sure that your speakers are on and the volume is turned up.

For a look at what ordering pizza in the year 2010 will be like, click below:


This could easily happen — not in some far off distant future, but right now, today. It might not be legal (yet), but the technology to do this is already exists. Scary, if not downright horrifying.

On the not so scary and kinda cool side of life, a DevraDoWrite reader sent in the following email to share:

You may recall the Charles and Ray Eames short film titled “Powers of
Ten” shown in school science classrooms many, many years ago. Non-Baby
Boomers may have seen the film during an Eames design retrospective or
at a museum. Here’s a link with info about how the film was made:

The link below is a Web-based equivalent of the Eames film,
incorporating modern scientific theories of cosmology and sub-atomic
structure. Like the Eames film, it stops short of illustrating the
more exotic extensions of either “extreme.”

Both the Eames work and the Florida State re-work of the same material
are awe-inspiring.

Jump From Frying Pan Directly Into Fire…

So I correct one mistake and make two more, kind of like taking a step forward and two backward. Geez.

I was just about to close up shop for the weekend when I heared from Just Muttering. My friend who wrote in correcting me did so with “love and laughter” and not in the spirit of perfectionism, but I agree with JM’s philosophy so I am happy to give her the last word:

Although I am a perfectionist, I am trying to get over it and be able to explore thoughts and expression with greater freedom. In particular, I feel that blogs aren’t published for posterity – although they are, in some sense – and that we should suspend some of our extreme critical criticism therefor (which is one of my favorite not-misspelled words). I guess some people live in grass (yes, I mean grass because they don’t break) houses since they can spell “grievous” wrong (or perhaps even say it wrong – eek) but freak out about “mia”. Maybe Mia Farrow had dome something. Shall readers point out every missing word in everyone’s posts (you “blogged bright early” but probably meant you blogged bright *and* early, and the note was undoubtedly “sent by one of [my/your] best friends”). We are all, sadly, regretably, lamentably, human. When someone can show me that perfectionists are more caring and kind human beings than mistake-makers, I’ll let myself care about these things again. Our lives are too short and kindness all too rare….

Haste Makes Waste, But It Was Mia’s Fault

I was in a hurry yesterday morning — it was 9:13 and my appointment was at 9:20 — so with one foot out the door, I clicked on the Publish button that posted my blog entry for all to see. I had that vague gnawing sense that something was not quite right, but there was no time to think. Off I zoomed while self-administering a quick pat on the back for having blogged bright early. The day was full and fruitful, and I never got a chance to check my email until late evening. Here’s a note sent by one of best friends (and the only message I received on this subject):

Please consider my correction of your blog’s headline as honoring the (holy smokes!) spirit of former Vice President Dan Quayle. Mr. Quayle is appropriately disrespected partly for his inability to speak “Latin” in Latin America.

Those of us who grew up Roman Catholic may have a slight advantage when it comes to recognizing famous Latin phrases…but I think the phrase you were praying for was “mea culpa,” not “Mia culpa.” The salient difference is whether you were claiming that “it’s my fault” or “it’s Mia’s fault.”

I don’t know whether Mia is a regular subscriber to your blog or not, but you have to be careful about throwing around unsubstantiated accusations these days. Well, unless you work for a network news department.

Your replacement headline should be, by all rights, “mea maxima culpa,” I think. Not having a Latin dictionary on your bookshelf is indeed a most grevious [sic] error.

Actually, more grievous is having a dictionary and not using it. Double oops.

I hope that Mia is not feeling litigious. As for the rest of you, I pray that you will forgive me too.

I’ve Got Mail: On the Lighter Side

Found this in my mailbox from bassist Bill Crow:

Your reference to country music reminded me of Joel Grey’s nightclub act, which I played at a theater in Rockland County. After his opening number, he would tell the audience, “And now, I’m going to sing some country music.” Then he would rare back and loudly sing, “Rumania, Rumania, Rumania, Rumania, Rumania!” He’d stop, look inquiringly at the laughing audience and say, “Rumania is not a country?”

I’ve Got Mail: Loves Me, Loves Me Not, Loves Me…

The best present a bloggess can get is mail from readers — good or bad, pro or con, it’s great to know that people are out there reading and thinking and talking. Here’s a sampling of recent missives:

Just found your blog. Lots of great info!
I am listening to an interview of Mr. John Levy that my radio partner, Cheryl K. is airing on WMUA and I was directed to lushlife.com and then onto your blog. Great interview, and John is a great guest, so full of charm and fascinating info and anecdotes. Special insight on the late great Shirley Horn. Still can’t believe she is gone. It’s like when Ella passed; some artists create such an emotional bond with you. Through the magic of modern electronics you can just put on their recordings and you once again live that emotional relationship. So I guess, in a way, they haven’t left at all.

That one was from Ken Irwin, Jazz Music Director at WMUA and co-Host of “Java Jazz” (airs Wednesdays). (Note: WMUA can be heard online ands they play jazz from 9 AM to noon, Monday through Friday.)

Here’s one from anonymous who writes to disagree with me:

Hard to say what prompted Wallace to respond as he did to Suzanne Ryan’s question. It certainly wasn’t wisdom. Last time I looked, the President flew jets in the Naval Reserve. That experience must have taught him something about the military. Wallace’s supercilious tone is offensive, frankly. A little humility never hurt anyone. He (and you, based on what I’ve read) may think the country is messed up, but many of us, probably a majority of us, think otherwise. The economy is booming, crime is down, as is the divorce rate, and other important social indicators also are favorable. The Middle East is undergoing a transformation that only a crazy person would have predicted in 2001. Are there plenty of problems? Indisputably. But, contra Pinter, I rather face ours than have to deal with the far more vexing social and political ills (unfavorable demographic trends, sclerotic economies, racial and ethnic segregation etc) staring into the face of our friends in Europe. But what do I know? I haven’t lived as long as Mike Wallace so I suppose I’m still humbled by my ignorance.

Actually, I, too, find Wallace’s tone to be supercilious, and humility is a good thing. Our president might benefit from a dash of humility himself. As for a booming economy — it may be true for the upper middle class and beyond, but all those who have lost their jobs to cheap labor in India and elsewhere, or been laid off due to mega-mergers, are not feelig so flush. My applause for Pinter and Wallace was an endorsement or advocation of open discourse and transparency in government. We are not children and the government is not a parent. In the words of Albert Einstein: “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”

And last for today, words of encouragement from Mike Davis, co-author (with Roger Hunter) of “Hampton Hawes: Bio-discography”

I have just stumbled on to your log – it is very readable, immensely rich with recollection and affection; chock-a-block with sound sense and no little insight. I have logged it on to my ‘favourites’ list. Please keep up this good work and I will be so pleased to keep reading.

I hope that you, too, will keep on reading. Thank you.

I’ve Got Mail: Friends Disagree

My friend who’s Just Muttering disagrees with me about Pinter’s diatribe. She wrote in an email:

About Pinter, I hope you don’t mind if I disagree? I don’t think America is as manipulative nor as heinous nor as nasty as he says. Not to mention who is he to be so smug and all-knowing, anyway. I was surprised by your “bravo” cuz agreeing wouldn’t necessarily mean championing the tone.

I’d agree with her easily if I thought that America was “we the people,” but sadly I don’t think we people have any say anymore. We vote for laws that never get put into practice, and ever since the last two presidential elections I have serious reservations about the process of tallying of votes anyway. George Bush doesn’t act for the good of the majority of the people, so in my view he doesn’t represent us, but the world sees him as “America” and his policies, not to mention his attitudes (talk about smug), have seriously hurt our country’s reputation all over the world. I think it is a good thing for people of stature to speak out when given an international platform. In fact, I think it is absolutely necessary. And that goes double for the media, which is what I was getting at with my post about Mike Wallace.

I’ve Got Mail: A Valid Question

I recently posted a link to a young German guitarist and commented that I found his audio clips “intriguing.” A reader has written to ask:

What does that mean, please? What is intriguing about them? Is that a positive or negative stance?

It’s not only a valid question, but one that I myself would be likely to ask. In fact, back in July I took Don Heckman to task for the same ambiguity. Here’s an excerpt (you can read the whole thing here):

He describes Lesa Terry’s solos as “briskly swinging, jazz-driven” and mentions Cheryl Keyes “inventive flute soloing and dark-toned vocal,” but does that mean they were good? Lori Andrews “demonstrated a remarkable capacity to produce blues-bent improvised lines,” but to what end? Phyllis Battle may have been ebullient, but was she in good voice?

My reader’s question deserves an answer. It’s true that if I had loved it, if I thought it was the greatest music I had ever heard, I would have said so, probably with exclamatiuon marks. I might even have gushed as I have done on rare occassion, such as a review I wrote of Lynne Arriale Trio: Live at The Montreux Jazz Festival for Jazz Improv a few years back. You can read the whole review if you’d like, but here’s a taste of me gushing:

The bossa-tinged ballad “Estate” has all of the complexity and delicacy of a spider web. From the beginning to the end of this nine-minute track, goose bumps ripple through my soul and I am caught in this perfectly formed, beautiful trap. After Ms Arriale proves once again that a beautiful melody can stand alone, she adds layers while twisting and turning the lines as if reflected through a prism. The beautiful melodic bass solo is laden with pregnant notes and again, as is true throughout, Davis’s percussive contributions are so tasteful and delicate at times that I feel I must call your attention to the lyricism in his playing.

Conversely, I don’t like to write bad reviews, so if I had thought the music was really awful I would not have even mentioned it, let alone posted a link to the musician’s web site.

Now you’re still wondering what I thought, and the truth is that I was intrigued because I wasn’t really sure what I thought. The clips are short and without context, but snippets of what I heard were atmospheric, aural paintings evoking a mood. That’s good, and if I were to hear a whole piece, to hear the shape in it’s entirety and take the journey from beginning to end, I might have a clearer opinion…pro or con. But in all likelihood, this is music I would not have “reviewed” because I don’t have a feel for it. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it may be beyond my comfort zone.

My personal tastes are not very adventurous — I like to be able to identify the melody and follow the harmonic changes. Rhythmically, I like to be able to feel “one” and when I get lost, finding it again makes me smile. That’s the joy of listening to a master improviser like Sonny Rollins (or my dad, for that matter) — they take you on trips and if you get lost, they’ll eventually bring you back home. Perhaps my ears are not big enough to adequately follow this young man’s music; I can’t follow Ornette Coleman, either. No, I’m not equating the two, just trying to say that I don’t believe it fair to pass judgement on things I don’t yet understand. But bottom line: to me, intriguing is a good thing. If you arouse my interest and capture my attention, you’ve accomplished something.

I’ve Got Mail: One Buddy Leads To Another

The other day, when mentioning mail and new buddies, I forgot to tell you about Russ. He found his way to DevraDoWrite via a link on Doug Ramsey’s Rifftides blog, which he discovered from reading the Paul Desmond piece at Jerry Jazz Musician. In today’s world where many of use wear multiple hats, it’s not a big surprise (albeit a very pleasant one) to find that we knew one another indirectly.

…in one of those ‘small world’ coincidences; I know of you through my experience as a jazz concert producer. From 1986 to 1992 I produced a summer Jazz series in Mt Gretna, a small mountain resort town in Central Pennsylvania. During those six years I featured, among others, Joe Williams and Jim Hall. Thus, I recognized you from the publicity materials for Jim & Joe.

Back then, I was a publicist for lots of great jazz folks, Joe, Jim, Carmen McRae, Eddie Harris, and Thad Jones, to name just a few.
Russ continues:

In another coincidence, in 1980 I became one of the founders of a regional jazz society, the Central PA Friends of Jazz. One of our regular performers in the early days was Harrisburg resident J.J. Wiggins. In more recent time the Friends of Jazz staged a Father’s Day performance by Gerald and J.J. Wiggins at the annual Central PA Jazz Festival. In fact, I recorded the concert for the local public radio station.

By the way, the juvenile jazz group with which J.J. Wiggins got his start was the Craig Hundley Trio, not Huntley. I recall seeing the group several times when they appeared with Johnny Carson. Here’s a link to the cover art for the album they recorded.

Russ mentions Wig and J.J. because he noticed my bio of Gerald Wiggins, here. He’s the first to have noticed my mistake (even Wig did not catch it), and now I’ve corrected it.

By day, Russ is webmaster for WITF, but recently he has resurrected his weekly radio show via Internet. He explains:

I became a part of the local jazz community through my work as a jazz disc jockey. I produced a weekly show entitled “My Favorite Things” from 1970 to 1992. In 1990 I took over the jazz feature writing slot with the Harrisburg daily newspaper. The writing gig fell victim to the changing economics at the newspaper. Last month, for reasons which still escape me, I decided to revive the radio show online…

So check out My Favorite Things, that’s the name of my new good buddy’s show.

I’ve Got Mail: Buddies and TK

One of the things I love about the blogosphere is that I feel like I’ve got a whole bunch of new colleagues whom I think of as “my buddies” even though I’ve never met them, and in some cases, we’ve never even spoken or corresponded directly. One such good buddy is Carl Abernathy who resides terrestrially in West Lafayette, IN and blogospherically at Cahl’s Juke Joint . Carl was kind enough to write in response to TK:

Newspaper and magazine folks used to intentionally misspell words that were used as instructions for composition folks. A “lead” became “lede,” for example. They did this to avoid confusion when type was still set in hot lead. You wouldn’t want the composition guys to think your instructions were part of a story.
I know that HTK was used for “head to come (kome).” So, I’d assume that TK had the same origin.

Makes perfect sense to me. I guess it got ol’ Carl to thinking, cause he emailed a second time:

I checked a little more on definitions of some of the journalism terms we still use. There’s not a lot of information online, but HTK was an abbreviation for Hed tokum.

Anyone else care to weigh in?

Surfs Up

I got this email from another tech friend:

I got a real kick out of your article of the 26th where you talked about urban legends, hoaxs, and well-meaning friends; you have no idea how much garbage I receive from less technical friends warning me of some impending disaster about to befall me or my computers, and I agree that research as to the truth or fiction of these warning is very important.

I especially enjoyed your closing phrase, “check them out before you flood the ethernet with more garbage”, and chuckled to myself at the thought of all these networked users running amok on the internet with no firewalls in place, allowing their “ethernets” to receive whatever the web dumps onto their systems! “Surfs ’em right”, I say!

And then he took me to task – tongue in cheek, I hope – for one of my made-up words:

What a hoot! In Caveat Lector Dictionaria/Encyclopedia, “Talk about derivated words. I feel betrayed.” Now *that’s* funny!

And he included an online dictionary link to here.