Words and Music

The importance of WORDS and MUSIC:

When the internet started, I was so excited. “I can write something, and within moments it can be in front of my uncle on the other side of the world? That is amazing!”

Now, people are used to texts: Short blurbs, conveying vital or inane information, in under a paragraph. Since the hand-held phone is becoming the ‘go-to’ device for reading ANYTHING sent to you… how many chapters does the average person read ON THEIR PHONE on a daily basis.

Paragraphs are the casualty, and literary expedience is far more important than knowledge or playful alliteration. If it’s long, it’s wrong.

When I was young, I remember my mother would be angry, and she would write A LETTER!

50 years ago, the written word had teeth. Today, when someone spends hours trying to find JUST THE RIGHT words to convey information, it is received thusly:

“Oh. They have words. Yeah, I have them too. We all got words.”

This specific assemblage – which is the entirety of what ANY writer does – doesn’t matter! If you got words, that’s good. If you don’t got em, that’s fine too!

That is what sucks about texts. ‘Texts themselves’ didn’t do it. The advent of texts as the primary communications tool of the 21st century has done it. We may, in fact, be done for. Stay tuned.

I grew up listening to LP’S. I would look at the album cover, read blurbs, or the lyrics… I felt the Bass from my very seat. That is because I WAS SITTING ON THE SPEAKER!!! This size reflected not just volume, but a measure of IMPORTANCE. (I realize they are connected, stay with me here…)

The best thing about going ANYPLACE in your car was – – YOU CHOSE THE MUSIC. Everyone in that vehicle was subjected to what you wanted to listen to, and usually at the VOLUMES you chose!!!

This generation, oh yeah. They sit in the car and text, and listen to their own thing, or play games, or text someone who isn’t present, or someone who is, or… this generation will never know the power of controlling the music for the duration of the car ride.

Then they pull the phone close to you as you strain to make out even chord changes in the tinny little speaker on their phone… “Isn’t it a great song?”

I don’t know. It might be. I can’t really hear it.

BUT… as a mobile recording device it is great. Now, how to find even a small group of people who cares about the assemblage of the high quality musical interaction crisply recorded…

Rant over.

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For Sale By Owner

It is interesting. When I am looking to list someone’s house, and they say to me: “I am going to try to sell it on my own.” I tell them: “sometimes this works. You might as well give it a try.”

There are several critical questions the owner should answer first: How many houses have you sold, compared to the agent? Do you or the agent know more about the market, and the buyers who would be interested in this home? As the owner: how will you make sure those who walk through your house are ALREADY qualified?

As an agent, this is my JOB. I do this – for a living. Selling your house is way more than a simple transaction. This is a REPRESENTATION. Who is going to pay top dollar for something (literally anything) they can otherwise acquire through professional (means and) services?

Let’s put it in perspective: High school students can play Beethoven’s fifth, right? So why would you PAY to go see The Boston Symphony play, when you can head down to the high school and see it for free?

When a FSBO nets the SAME return, (but only after dropping the price by the cost of commission,) what has the seller gained? Still, this is not a loss unless the owner concedes (his or her) time is valuable.

I concur that agents who do a poor job aren’t worth what it ends up costing the SELLER. But if an agent does their job properly, why would a ‘casual fan’ place his bets on the owner yielding a better return than a professional?

Does it happen? Sure. Is it worth it? Far more often than not the answer is no.

I’ve got a basketball in my hands. I am just about to play a game of one on one against LeBron James. Place your bets…

Or just head down to the high school. Would this qualify as your ‘representation’ of Beethoven?

Intolerance will NOT be tolerated!

Tolerance is a buzzword. I am here to be a buzzkill.

If you utilize the definition, you aren’t playing by the rules. If you utilize the rules, you are playing with the definition.

Think of all the things you currently believe deserve ‘tolerance’. Okay. Got your things? Are you sure? Think hard about it. I want you to be certain.

My guess is your list consists of things you already agree with. Is this tolerance?

Tolerance is ‘allowing’ things you don’t agree with, even though you don’t agree with them! So now: What are the things you believe most deserve ‘tolerance’?

Hate speech? Bullying? Molestation? Rape? Terrorism? My guess is that you want ‘tolerance’ of things you already support. I don’t support this view of tolerance. I am intolerant of ‘tolerance’.

On social media I have stated: Intolerance will NOT be tolerated! I have often received acquiescence from unsuspecting oxymoronic adherents. Being intolerant of intolerance is, quite simply, being intolerant. No big mystery there. However, what about my stance: Intolerance of ‘tolerance’? What then?

Surely this palette is much grayer. I am serious, but about what, exactly?

The english language. I just want things to mean what they mean, and not their morphological 2nd cousins once removed. I understand ‘Google’ is a verb. I can accept that because it is a word which is only decades old, at best. It hasn’t removed anything. But I like words to mean what they were intended to mean. Perhaps I expect too much. Maybe I am just a dying generation – that needs to go away – to make room for those who ‘don’t care much for words’.

Take the word ‘save’, for example. The oldest generation alive are the only ones who are even aware of its meaning: to keep money. Everyone else thinks it means ‘to spend’. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! What does that mean? It means to spend, doesn’t it? If it doesn’t mean spend, how are you going to ‘save, save, save’, without funds? Actually, there is an answer: You borrow. That’s right. You can borrow money in order to… save, save, save!

If this word actually meant ‘save’, spending money should make you rich.

But there will be no tolerance for english. There is barely tolerance for words in the 21st century, let alone a collection of them utilized for cohesion.

Could this be a Vast-Winged conspiracy? Some sort of over-arching design? Perhaps.

But I’m not playing.

Where does Hockey stand?

Don’t lament hockey. It has things more right than other sports:

1.) Defense first. This is what hockey is all about. Other sports used to share this mentality, but they found that SCORING is what people wanted, so they made rules designed to create points. I recently watched a Rangers game where the first goal was scored with about 5 minutes left. They lost, but it was a wildly exciting game.

2.) Penalties: Hah!!! IN EVERY OTHER SPORT, penalties suck, both for the team who gets them, AND for the fans watching. How many minutes of a football game are we watching the striped-shirt fellas walk and announce the penalty (they have chosen to enforce) for that play?

I don’t think watching the striped shirts ‘walk and announce’, has made football more exciting. In football, ‘certain contact’ is penalized. In hockey, contact usually penalizes the one who gets hit harder, but I digress…

When there is a penalty in hockey, the game gets MORE EXCITING! Hockey is the ONLY professional sport that can make this claim.

I still like basketball, but it is really hard to watch: If you can toss the ball in from mid court, you are awarded with an additional point. (3 point play.) You can ALSO get a 3-point play if you are slapped, hacked, mauled, and tackled on your way to the basket – and the shot goes in – PROVIDED you make an ADDITIONAL shot from the free-throw line. There is a disconnect here. These don’t seem ‘equal’. That is why basketball has become a ‘huck-fest’. Free throws aren’t exciting, but THE GAME was more exciting when the goal was to get to the basket.

3.) The Penalty Box: What if basketball penalized like hockey? Hmmmm… imagine the 5 on 4 in basketball. Now THAT would be exciting. The same goes for football. 11 on 10 with a penalty.

But I could be wrong. Now let’s imagine striped shirts pacing off 10 or 15 yards on the rink to drop the puck… would that make Hockey better?

I’ll take hockey rules, any day of the week.

The Quest for Meaning

There has been lots of talk recently of doing away with ‘religion’ altogether. This would be the wonderful manifestation of a truly enlightened society. I woke up and thanked God for the day. The ‘enlightened society’ thanks no one.

Methinks the thanks is thwarted heretofore in the process.

What would it look like, if we could actually abolish religion? Would we be a calmer – –  more reasonable species – – intent on furthering mankind?

Why?

‘Truth’ is the casualty of marginalizing religion.

It isn’t that religion is truth, for it is not, but the search for truth is the sole thread searing through all religions. This isn’t a religious stance, but a truthful one. Mine isn’t an argument for religion, but for truth. We can only find what we seek. If we stop seeking truth, what then, will we find?

This has brought us empiricism, and I love empiricists. They adhere to life’s testable, reliable facts. ‘Proof’ is what they seek. They insist: if it isn’t empirical, it cannot be relied upon. Empiricism – for them – is the only viable way to reaching the truth in any matter.

Empiricism: What a concept.

Truth (as we know it) isn’t pliable, but it does change. This is an empirical truth.

Atheists, unbeknownst to them, insist on non-logical processes. Oh, they may say: “Think about it! Be logical…” but they are depending on a non-logical process to bring about a ‘logical mind’. Without a logical predecessor, logic itself is the outcropping of an illogical process.

“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”

-Albert Einstein

There is truth, and it is ‘out there’. In fact, it very well may be ‘out of this world’. If life has meaning, something other than our minds, (and their neighboring cousins,) is responsible. When being brutally honest with themselves, atheists will admit that ‘meaning’ is just a comforting delusion. Barring the quest for ‘ultimate truth’, meaning isn’t just illusory. It is the ultimate illusion.

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We are truly responsible not by abolishing the quest for Ultimate Truth, but through seeking it ourselves.

Try accomplishing that without chafing against religion.

On Gay Marriage

Marriage is a religious institution. Marriage, whether it is mine or someone else’s, has nothing whatsoever to do with our government. Rest assured, though, if there is money to be made from any proposal brought before congress, it will surely pass. There might be resistance, but it will pass.

The conservative right will be all up in arms. This is not because they believe it is a legal issue, but because it goes against their religious beliefs.

The left will claim victory. This is not because their religious beliefs have been substantiated, but because it coddles their political perspective.

But just you wait. The lawyers will rejoice. Champagne corks will be as loud as the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Political expedience will always surpass religious agendas, in congress, every day of the week. Let’s not forget: an enormous conglomerate of politicians have already passed the bar. They know what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

And the gander are flocking to be fleeced by the geese.

Divorce: You just can’t have it without marriage. There is no money to be made on a gay couple who separates. For that you need ‘legality’. Once the courts become involved, the money will flow into the hands of lawyers like oil spilling into the gulf. The environmental impact from the Gulf spill will be nothing compared to the lawyers impact on the bank accounts of divorcing gay couples.

Although nobody gets married to get divorced, the courts cannot benefit until gay marriage becomes a legally sanctioned financial sieve.

Religious practices aren’t governmentally sponsored, condoned, condemned, or restricted. In the United States, laws aren’t supposed to be made which violate any religious practice. From a purely legal perspective, there is no reason gay couples shouldn’t have equal legal rights.

I’m just not so sure they deserve equal rights to the legal fleece.

Hiromi

Last weekend, my friend Win wanted to go see Hiromi in Boston. I had wanted to see her ever since I discovered her – thanks to my friend Andro – about a year and a half ago.

When I saw the video he posted, I immediately thought: “Who is this piano player?”

After that, I began perusing the internet in search for videos of her. The moment my wife got home from work I said, “You have to see this piano player.” In typical fashion, she wasn’t readily impressed. But by the time the video finished, she was hooked.

For my birthday, she bought me 5 Hiromi CD’s. They are all excellent. She is my all time favorite keyboardest, and when I went, Taryn was jealous. She knew I was about to experience something magical, something special… an evening with Hiromi.

Win and I had dinner at the adjoining restaurant, and Hiromi sat at the adjacent table, not 4 feet from me. I was respectful. I didn’t let on to knowing how close I was to immortality. That is what she is. No bullcrap. Hiromi is a world class pianist.

Although I love to be wowed, I reserve that status for the deserving. Few have ever achieved it. I remember King Crimson at The Pier in the 80’s had me wowed for hours. I am sure Frank Zappa achieved that status over the myriad of Halloween shows I saw.

Recently, I was wowed by The Tao of Drumming. This was yet another Win-musical-fest. Win told me about it, and I went with my daughter. That was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time, and gets my highest recommendation for anyone who has ever believed music has the capacity to move them.

Hiromi.

You know when someone tells you you have got to see a movie, because it is the greatest movie you will ever see? You know that feeling of disappointment you feel when it fails to live up to the hype?

Nothing could ever live up to my expectations for Hiromi. She was placed on a pedestal reserved for the best ever. After all, she was a she, and couldn’t, therefore, be worthy of ‘ultimate’ status.

Hiromi failed – – to disappoint.

After seeing the first of her 2 shows, Win and I went to the adjoining bar to imbibe at great cost to our wallets, health and mental well-being. Then we went back in to the second show and caught her last few songs. Win said to me: “You mean we could have been here instead of up at the bar?”

Apparently so.

Hiromi is, in my opinion, the best piano player in the world. I tried to diss her after being wowed, I really did. I thought, ‘well, she is fast, but can she play with feeling and emotion’?

I saw her live. The jury is in, and spent no time on that decision.

It is my hope to treat my wife to an upcoming Hiromi Concert. She deserves it, and I deserve to treat my wife to this event.

I’ll suffer through, if I must.

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