No fiddle recital until spring

My teacher, the amazing jazz violinist James Anderson, put off his studio’s fall recital until spring. Too many of his young students had try-outs and auditions to practice for. For us adult beginners, recitals are just a lark.

Meanwhile I still have LOCO, my mid-week gig as a contra-dance band sideman playing backup for much better fiddlers, along with mandolinists and guitarists. It’s like a free lesson and it’s also fun. I’d forgotten how much I loved ensemble work from my high school and college days as a trumpet player.

For the spring I believe I’m going to work up at least one piece by Duke Ellington, probably Satin Doll, or maybe Prelude to A Kiss. Shoot, I might do both. When it comes to jazz I confess to liking these old ballads the best.

The PC Cult

As seen through the sharp lenses of celebrated Russian writer Victor Pelevin:

“I think political correctness is justified when it allows you to preserve human dignity. When it becomes a fetish and a national cult, it is a bit ridiculous. Nobody wants linguistic He-or-shema, as in America, but in any society where different ethnicities live one next to the other, a certain minimum of politically correct clichés will not hurt. Americans are very pragmatic people. They introduced political correctness because it instantly creates a formal bridge across the emotionally charged quagmire. Call a black person a Negro and you immediately acquire a share of responsibility for the slave trade. Call him/her an African-American, and it will be easy to fire him/her. Political correctness creates clear rules, relying on which you can avoid ambiguity, although by itself political correctness is a very ambiguous thing.”

An ambiguity that facilitates news media witch hunts (and racist-manufacturing machines like Al Sharpton) against anyone the cult disagrees with for whatever reason, narrowing the range of thought and steering it hard Left.

Via Simply Jews.

Hamas rockets resume

The third time was the charm for the Israeli Air Force Friday. Its stretch F-16s carried out air strikes on a Hamas training camp in the southern Gaza strip. The third time was the third rocket fired since the end of last summer’s campaign, this one into Eshkol.

The rocket followed a large anti-Israel Hamas demo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem calling for a resumption of the rocket barrage. And a Hamas delegation’s visit to Iran, one of the terror group’s principal backers, along with Qatar and Turkey. Keep it up schmucks and you’ll get another campaign that could be more devastating than the previous one.

Via Times of Israel & The Jerusalem Post

UPDATE:  The strikes included a cement factory for building more tunnels, Bibi says.

Adios Scott, again

Adios Scott Chaffin, your blog The Fat Guy is no more. We’ll miss it as we have been missing you.

Likewise Sullivan’s Travelers, a spinoff of the rare readers of Alan (The Seablogger) Sullivan—who was one of Scott’s blog friends. At least Alan’s blog remains. Without him, alas. Or his good photos, poetry, novels and memoirs. Pity Alan never did any of them up for sale on Amazon.

Only the long and winding road remains.

Choppers last at Radio Shack

Stopped off at our local Radio Shack the other day for a radio-controlled “toy” for the almost-15-year-old Mr. Boy who has been busy acing his first-semester high school freshman finals. Just for fun. Radio Shack, alas, is going out of business. The retail empire will be missed hereabouts and certainly in its home base of Fort Worth.

Anyhow, the RC vehicles were consequently marked way down, most at 50 percent off, some more. I got him an RC stunt car for $10. It’ll probably break pretty quick. Most of them do. Still be fun for however long it lasts.

Longer, I’m sure, than one of the twin-rotor choppers so popular the last few years. Until people figured out that, however cool they look, they are expensive to buy, hard to fly and easy to break. Mr. B. and I still have the two Mrs. Charm got us last year. Still in their boxes. Cowards, yep.

Likewise the choppers at Radio Shack, almost the last kind of RC toy still on the local shelves despite markdowns of as much as 70 percent. Which still leaves the price at $30 plus.

Back in the day (in the 1980s, when we never used that expression), my first word-processing laptop for work was a Radio Shack Tandy, complete with rubber ear cups for transmitting back to the newsroom over a land-line phone receiver. Which I once did to my own amazement on an assignment in Pennsylvania. Later I got a better one (larger, flip-up screen) of my own, then called a Notebook. Memories.

Bye, bye Radio Shack. Rest in Peace.

UPDATE:  My RIP link turns out to be a slam on the company by a disgruntled employee. I was fooled by the “eulogy” headline. It’s a long gripe about how tough retail is for the cashier-person, the lowest of the low. I remember it well. It was/is low-paid and exhausting. It’s what high school and college kids often wind up with for jobs, until they find something better. When they vow never to go back.

Rule 5: Antoniette Costa


A fantastic singer, as well as a beauty, here with eclectic classical (and “beatboxing”) cellist Kevin “K.O.” Olusola


Happy Hanukkah!


Hanukkah is not for the squeamish. Nor the two-state solution.

It’s not really about kids, gifts, fried potatoes or candles. It’s straight-up militarism, oh yeah, a victory celebration in a multimillenial conflict: “a reminder that Obama’s war on Jerusalem was preceded long before him by Antiochus’s war on Jerusalem.”

More timely news for the eight days from Sultan Knish.

UPDATE:  Then there’s the “humor” version via Heeb.