Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Great Morgani, Santa Cruz, CA, September.3.2011

A genius with his extraordinarily imaginative and creative costume designs and affable accordion playing, a Santa Cruz Busker Treasure. His face is always concealed. (short clip)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dwight D. Eisenhower just called...

Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks from the past in support of core progressive programs under attack in his day by fringe elements of obscure parties, which are now being seriously challenged by powerful, effective, and determined members of his own party today.

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." ─President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952
The image comes via @TheRiverWanders on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Refudiate, Propulgate, Malaprop, Portmanteau, Art, Life

I realize I make this connection very, very late in the game, but it occurred to me this afternoon just how uncanny it is that Aaron Sorkin*, in The West Wing, prefigured Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's portmanteau malaprop "refudiate".
In the episode titled "Disaster Relief", fictional Vice President "Bingo Bob" Russell uses the word "propulgate" at a conference at the White House in the Roosevelt Room.

Gary Cole as VP Bob Russell in The West Wing

From the West Wing script:

VP Russell (played by Gary Cole): Excuse me, Toby, if I may. You're right, Congressman. If we lower cap gains taxes, we reward the small business owners who took a risk for the economy and I'd be the first in line to pat 'em on the back, but the thing is, the Speaker is trying to "propulgate" a tax bill onto an appropriations package. We start allowing that, we're never going to get budgets passed.
[Leo, Toby, and Will look confused at the VP's word choice.
* * *
Leo and Will are walking through the hallway.]
LEO [con.] (played by John Spencer): ... although I'm pretty sure there's no such word as "propulgate". Maybe he meant "propagate", or "promulgate".
--The West Wing, from the episode titled Disaster Relief

John Spencer, Gary Cole, and Richard Schiff
The fact that the two neologisms rhyme is icing on the cake.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
*Credit for the prophetic malaprop perhaps should go to Alexa Junge, author of the teleplay.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Topical Limericks



There are beasts on some Iowan farms
Which have suffered unspeakable harms,
Though we might like to eat them,
It is wrong to mistreat them,
Let's not bust those who sound the alarms.


Plastic forks now restored to the scene,
Some House members at lunchtime convene,
Their crowing erupts,
Toasting Styrofoam cups,
"Cafeterias aren't meant to be green!"


Were it up to the Haitians to choose,
Aristide at the polls could not lose
But with some trepidation
He returns to his nation
With a woeful aversion to coups.

Story: Plane carrying Aristide takes off for Haiti from South Africa


On war doctrine presidents vary
Some are rash to attack, some are wary,
But without full reliance
On a robust alliance
Things can quickly become very hairy.

Story: The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Libya. What happens next?


Although there is plenty of precedent
Kucinich and others are reticent;
Nay, it makes their blood boil
To attack sovereign soil
With only a nod from the President.


U.S. law unequivocally states,
As per Article I, Section 8
In a pesky proviso:
Launching war or reprisal
Is for Congress alone to mandate.

Story: Kucinich calls Obama’s attack on Libya ‘an impeachable offense’
March 21, 2011


South Dakota has passed legislation
That kicks in at the point of gestation.
To assist with your choice
The state's pro-life voice
Has three days to deter termination.

Source: South Dakota Requires Visit to Pregnancy Center Before Abortion


Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor
Knew that one day her poor heart would fail her,
With the close of the curtain
She may join Richard Burton
While her fans worldwide bewail her.

Story: Elizabeth Taylor, Lifelong Screen Star, Dies at 79

When the news of the world gets to be too distressing, sometimes it's helpful to write limericks. I know that to be true, but I cannot prove it. This post is likely to grow new limericks. As you see, right now there are only eight.


There once was a woman from Libya
Who fractured her leg in Namibia.
A turn for the worse
For the end of this verse
That the bone that she broke was her femur.

March 24, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Endangered Crystal, the Art of the Glass Armonica

Last night Meera, the boys, and I had the pleasure of hearing a glass armonica concert titled "Endangered Crystal" featuring William Zeitler, kicking off the 2011 season of The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Endangered Musics. Ethereal and enchanting.

Previously I had only ever seen and heard glass armonica in the form of wine glasses filled with water. I'd seen photos of Ben Franklin's design, glass bowls lined up concentrically on a rotating cylinder, and was inclined to think perhaps it wasn't practical as far as resonance and amplitude. This concert demonstrated that to be a false assumption. Now I suspect wine glasses are just easier to acquire. The advantage of the Franklin design is that once the glass bells are made, no further tuning is required. Wine glasses with water must be kept in tune by keeping the water levels just so.

Water is required to invoke the tone, and Mr. Zeitler claims that Arrowhead bottled water for some reason produces the best results. He also noted that distilled water doesn't work well at all.

Here he is performing Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy". He played an unaccompanied version of this at last night's concert, the only item on the program that wasn't composed specifically for the glass armonica. We heard chamber and solo music by Mozart, Beethoven, and lesser known composers of the late 18th Century, K.L. Roellig and J.A. Schmittbauer, as well as works by William Zeitler himself.

Here is the wine glass Glass Armonica, the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach, performed by Robert Tiso:

Follow puxxled on Twitter

Monday, January 17, 2011

20 more movies under my belt.

After the death of Tony Curtis, many cited Some Like It Hot and Sweet Smell of Success as his greatest films. Longtime fan of the former, I had never seen the latter. This week I got my chance, and what a tremendous film. Powerful performances make for a powerfully well-told story.

First Men in the Moon, based on the H.G. Wells novel, was a favorite from my childhood. Netflix said it would be difficult to get it to us, but they did. Both silly and imaginative, it was a great delight to see it again after some 40 years. Included on the DVD is an hour long documentary on special effects and stop-motion artist Ray Harryhausen.

I enjoyed the romantic comedy Holiday Affair. Time was taken to develop the romance, the dialogue was allowed to play out at a natural pace. I admire quick and witty dialogue, but it was a nice change to see characters take their time to develop their own thoughts about a confusing situation. Nudged along by fateful repeat encounters, Mitchum becomes the cool yet determined wooer, while Janet Leigh, jarred from her moderately comfortable but unstimulating relationship, is flustered by the sudden dilemma put before her, and demonstrates considerable exertion to make her decision.

Even though I'd never seen or even heard of it before, It Happened on Fifth Avenue felt like a classic old holiday favorite that families watch every year. Character actor Victor Moore carries a lead role in this quirky non-conformist comedy.

I haven't had a lot of opportunities to see silent films, but I got my hands on a collection of Garbo films and found them thoroughly enjoyable. The plots were engaging, the cinematography amazing, and Greta Garbo irresistible. Duh, no wonder she's a Hollywood legend.

Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success

The Chico Hamilton Quintet, including Paul Horn on flute, add authenticity to the night life depicted in Sweet Smell of Success

Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum in Holiday Affair

Victor Moore in It Happened on Fifth Avenue

Gretta Garbo and Gustav von Seyffertitz (what an amazing name!) in The Mysterious Lady (silent)

Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno in The Temptress (silent)

Special Effects by Ray Harryhausen for First Men in the Moon

Lionel Jefferies delightful as the peace-loving scientist in First Men in the Moon

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm a Liberal, by Neal Gladstone

Seemed like a good time to revive this one. This catchy ditty always cheers me up. Sing a long with Neal!