Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Classical Cheat Sheet so Asians Won't Think You're Just Another Uneducated American

This probably won't be useful in America because Americans have mostly given up on classical music. The great performers now come out of Korea and China, but you could become attracted to someone from one of those backgrounds and have to show that you're just not another uneducated American.

A couple of years ago I saw a violin competition in Southern California for elementary school children. Every kid was Asian. Asian parents think a child should either learn the violin or the piano. They will make sure their child practices. Whites spend their days extolling the values of Donald Trump.

So here's a quick bit of information that may pull you through what otherwise will be a tough conversation.

The first period of classical music you would be expected to recognize is the Baroque. The two big shots in that period were Johan Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Bach composed a lot of great pieces including two long pieces that look like symphonies (one was used in the movie Love Story). Some of the other famous pieces included the Anna Katerina notebook.  Vivaldi"s most famous composition was the Four Seasons(in fact the Japanese have a marvelous version of it played on the Koto and the Shacuhachi, Japanese instruments. Handel is another guy who composed in this period (Hallelujah).

The next period is the classical. Hadyn wrote 104 symphonies while Mozart wrote 41. Papa Hadyn made it all happen, but Mozart was an even greater talent. He had so many beautiful compositions. I can't begin to name them in the small space I'm given here.

By the time Beethoven wrote his third Symphony (The Eroica) the romantic period was upon us. Beethoven wrote nine symphonies and his last one included a chorus. It is spectacular. I love about everything he wrote except for his string quartets, which mostly confuse me.

Some other great composers In the Romantic period included Johannes Brahms, who wrote four symphonies, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and the Academic Festival overture. That beautiful piece was constructed from German student drinking songs.

Tchaikovsky was great and the Classical period didn't end until the start of the 20th century with the death of Sergei Rachmaninov. Some of the other great composers were Schumann and Schubert, whose Fiorellen (Trout) quintet can brighten the darkest day.

Okay, that's all I can do for you in this short blog. If you screw up, excuse yourself after saying you're Canadian.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Did Apple Lose by Winning?

Did Apple lose by winning? They've been trying to prove they are not really an American company by keeping their money overseas so they won't have to pay US taxes; manufacturing their devices overseas; and lately by telling the Justice Department they refuse to provide a backdoor so the government can read what's on the iPhone of a terrorist who's already gone to Paradise.

I had mixed feelings about the government's request to break in to that specific iPhone. I figure after they let that happen, Xi Jinping would order them to give him the backdoor to the encryption in China.

That wouldn't have been good at all. But here's the funny thing, today the Justice Department says they don't have to meet with Apple. They say they've got a guy who can break-in to that iPhone without destroying the data on it.

Well, so much for  Tim Cook walking around the stage in Cupertino laying down the gauntlet.

If this guy can break-in, soon a lot of people will be able to get data off my iPhone. I wonder what it means for my Apple stock (please, light a candle for me, this stock has not been good for a while)

We will probably find out that he did it with something he got from Legos. From our studies we all know what the result is for those who have hubris. We're watching that now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sell Time Warner to North Korea

I've met a lot of fine people who work for Time Warner cable who have tried to give me assistance over the years. I believe they have been working hard to provide decent services.

The problem is that management is only concerned with one thing. They desperately want to sell the company. If the CEO can sell the company he would make a lot of money. He doesn't seem very interested in running an effective cable service.

Selling the company to North Korea would simplify everything. Time Warner management doesn't really care what happens to its customers, so they can escape with the money without worrying about doing a good job.

Working for Kim Jong-un would provide an incentive for new management to run the kind of company that would make its customers happy. If they didn't, Kim Jong-un  could invite them back to North Korea where he could strap them to the end of an antiaircraft gun and blow them away. (This is how he killed his uncle)

Since Time Warner is the subject of many jokes, this would help their public image. Kim Jong-un has said he can send a missile to Manhattan. Those late night comments about Time Warner's incompetence could be eliminated quickly.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trump calls Sanders a Communist

Given the fact that most Trump supporters don't have the brains that God gave geese, I had counted on this happening. Today, Trump called Bernie Sanders a "communist."

I always figured that the American people didn't understand the difference between "socialist" and "communist," but I was actually selling them short. It seems that when they looked at Denmark and Sweden it didn't  scare them one bit.

So Trump counted on the stupidity of his followers and called Sanders a communist. He did it this morning in an airplane hangar where a lot of us dummies thought he would denounce the violence his hyperbole had launched. So much for the expectations of people who think presidents should be looked up to and admired for their truth and honesty.

Who knows what he'll say next. But it won't be pretty. We haven't encountered this kind of politician since George Wallace said segregation should last forever. In history we've had Father Coughlin and Huey Long who've counted on the stupidity and racism of their followers. Hell, Henry Ford used to hand out this fraudulent protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was a  document that was anti-Semitic to its core. He got away with it and Ford did transactions with the Germans well past the time it was acceptable behavior.

So now we have Trump, who is the incarnation of evil. If someone shoots him the autopsy will show us where the 666 is hidden on his body. But I suppose, even that wouldn't convince the evangelicals they're walking down the path behind the antichrist.

As for me, I've taken Pascal's wager and hope that one fine morning, when this life is over, I'll fly away.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Now Foreigners Have a True Picture of America

Back when there was an Iron Curtain across Europe separating the free nations from those that were communist dictatorships, we had Radio Free Europe. It would provide hope for those imprisoned under Russian rule and talk about America. Our country has had many programs like that spreading the vision of a free America where good things happened.

So for 50 years, people had an image in their mind of what America was like, and many of them longed to start life anew over here. We were a nation of immigrants, a bunch of fair people who wanted others to get ahead.

We have blown those views out of the water with the candidacy of Donald Trump. 20% of the Trump voters in South Carolina believe that slavery should still exist. He called out to those filled with hatred and prejudice and brought them on board. The more we knew about those who followed him, the more we were frightened by what they told the people doing the exit polls. If there was one thing that United them all, it was their belief in authoritarian principles.

We could no longer look at the Germans and wag our fingers at them for producing Hitler and the Nazi party. We can no longer look down at Japan, whose schoolbooks deny that Nanjing massacre, deny the existence of  "comfort women," enslaved by Japanese troops as prostitutes, or the Bataan death March.

The world can see plainly that for all the good people we have who always give money to help with an international tragedy, there are disgusting, bitter Americans who blame immigrants for their problems. The sick side of America is on full view for everyone, from the Mexicans to the French, to shock a world that hoped we were a better place.

I'm a Mayflower descendent who will always love this country, but I am reminded of walking into the "colored" bathroom in Columbus, Georgia. I remember wondering if this was my country? It truly was, and now Trump has shown all nations just how bigoted, evil and nasty some of my fellow countrymen can be.

The next time an embassy holds a Fourth of July party, I wonder what the guests will be thinking about their hosts.