Wednesday, November 12, 2014

5 things from living in the world

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. I think it looks like a dog.
  1. The ESA is landing the Rosetta on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
    Live Feed (via

    Also, it has been discovered that the comet is singing a 40-50 hertz song into space and because the European Space Agency is cool like that, they put it on Soundcloud

  2. Back on Earth, Glenn Beck has explained he is retiring because of illness. I harbor no real love for Glenn Beck, but it is impossible to ignore the effectiveness of his personal invective on the public. I was weirdly moved by his semi-cryptic announcement about his mysterious illness. Basically, he doesn't dream and it is destroying him, causing him to feel searing pains in his hands and feet. He speaks of having his wife check his feet for broken glass and doesn't mention stigmata, so I'll give him points for toning it down here.

    The announcement is a powerful cocktail of vulnerability and ego.

  3. I lost my keys. That will remind you live in the world. If you find them (they have a white plastic bottle opener, an ironically unused green carbiner clip and Hyundai key fob on the ring), drop me a line.
  4. I'm becoming nostalgic, or realizing that I have always been nostalgic despite denying it. My band, the Rakers, has embarked on a monthly River City Rewind project at Chelsea's, where we cover a bunch of old, forgotten Baton Rouge songs from yesteryear. This is one of my current favorites we are doing for the 11/19 show at Chelsea's.

    The Greek Fountains, "Countin' the Steps"

    Come on out! We are doing a Kyper song!
  5. But yeah, nostalgia. My earliest "memory" is of the moon landing in 1969. The story goes that my father held me up to the TV to see it when I was but a few months old and forever I insisted I remember it. Now, I know memory is a selectively curated collage. My ability to remember people is as dodgy at Glenn Beck's but you don't see me comparing myself to Winston Churchill.

    Tashi plays Messiaen Quartet at the End of Time

    My nostalgia is manifesting through my daughter's record player and I just realized that I can check out albums from the campus library. As a student, I would take up residence in the library basement listening rooms and study and smoke and wallow in obtuse classical music, so now I'm checking these records out and doing the same at home, without the smoking.

    I love Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, composed for an odd quartet of musicians imprisoned with him during WWII. From wiki:

    Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered 
    World War II. He was captured by the German army in June 1940 and imprisoned in Stalag VIII-A, a prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz, Germany (now ZgorzelecPoland). While in transit to the camp, Messiaen showed the clarinetist Henri Akoka, also a prisoner, the sketches for what would become Abîme des oiseaux. Two other professional musicians, violinist Jean le Boulaire and cellist Étienne Pasquier, were among his fellow prisoners, and after he managed to obtain some paper and a small pencil from a sympathetic guard (Carl-Albert Brüll, 1902-1989), Messiaen wrote a short trio for them; this piece developed into the Quatuor for the same trio with himself at the piano. The combination of instruments is unusual, but not without precedent: Walter Rabl had composed for it in 1896, as had Paul Hindemith in 1938.
    The quartet was premiered at the camp, outdoors and in the rain, on 15 January 1941. The musicians had decrepit instruments and an audience of about 400 fellow prisoners and guards.
    [1] Messiaen later recalled: "Never was I listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension."[2]

    Brüll provided paper and isolation for composing, and he also helped acquire the three other instruments. By forging papers with a stamp made from a potato, Brüll even helped the performers to be liberated shortly after the performance. After the war, Brüll made a special trip to visit Messiaen, but was sent away and told the composer would not see him.[3]

  6.  But, I also really love Tashi, the string quartet on this recording. Check out that cape!

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