Archive for Music

Why Should You Care About This Man?

This is Garry Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion. Not only is he a Grand Master chess tactician, as a critic of Russian politics he is also a student of Vladimir Putin’s tactics. He knows Putin is a cagey, calculating, politically savvy, cold-blooded killer. He’s seen Putin’s enemies murdered – Alexander Litvinenko poisoned in London and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov shot four times in central Moscow days before the Russian election.

Kasparov’s is only one voice, but it raises the question of whose voices are worth listening to in the divisive acrimonious debate surrounding Russian interference in the American election. We need to know the truth on both sides, the Russian and the American. How do we go about identifying, sorting, and selecting from all the voices vying for attention in order to get closer to the truth?

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Nashville: Skyline and All

“If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair

Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline

Remember me to one who lived there

For she was once a true love of mine.”

Both Bob Dylan and the Nashville skyline have changed since he wrote those words for the Nashville Skyline album in 1969. I loved the record (yes, it was a record in those days), and I loved his surprising shift from folk-protest to traditional country music including an off-pitch duet with Johnny Cash. Beyond that I didn’t know much about the city except that it was the home of the Grand Ole Opry. I had never been there and neither had M, but a chance meeting with a young couple at a Peter Cetera concert in Seattle got us thinking about a visit to their hometown. So, on impulse, with an Alaska Airlines companion ticket to burn, we booked the flight as just the right destination for an escape from our long wet winter in Seattle.

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Tears in Heaven…

M.C. Escher’s lithograph, Convex and Concave, 1955

In Franz Kafka’s short story Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa, the traveling salesman, wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect. The rest of the story deals with his attempt manage his new condition and explain it to his family.

In The Trial, Kafka’s Joseph K finds himself mysteriously on trial for no discernable reason.“Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.” Traduce is an arcane, seldom used verb, that means “to tell lies about someone so as to damage their reputation.” It should be in current usage, for sure.

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Timing is Everything…

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This came in the mail yesterday. It’s wildly misleading.

Well… I did pay my dues for 50 years. That must have been a factor. “Service” is another matter. Does it count if I only practiced (keyword) for 9 months?

Last week I noticed my old firm’s name roll by in the credits of Woody Allen’s latest film, Café Society. Yep, Loeb & Loeb is Woody’s legal counsel. How fitting. My experience at the firm was like something out of one of his films. On my first day, Goldie Cohen, a secretary for one of the senior partners, told me that as a goy I would never understand what was going on at L&L unless I knew a little  Yiddish. She offered to provide some informal tutoring, so whenever I passed her desk she offered up another Yiddish morsel. Meshuga, eh?

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Bikes, Brews, and the Blues

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It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon along the Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle’s 50-mile-long Rails to Trails bike path. The trail is packed with runners, walkers, young couples on beach cruisers, mothers with strollers, kids bikes with training wheels, and accountants on $6000 racing bikes dressed for the Tour de France.

M and I live on the trail and ride several times a week. Sometimes it’s a maintenance ride to Woodinville (12 miles roundtrip). Sometimes it’s for lunch at University Village (20 miles) and every August it’s down to Madison Park to watch the Blue Angels’ Seafair show (30 miles). Lately, however, our favorite ride ends up late on a Sunday afternoon at the 192 Brewing Co.

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