Sunday, April 29, 2007

You Know You're a Music Major When...

... you try to talk to your non-music major friends about your classes but you give up because they just don't understand. had to convince your parents that your life would be OK if you majored in music instead of business.'re pretty sure you're probably going to be kind of broke for the rest of your life because you majored in something you actually liked.'ve ever had to sing to yourself in class to understand the point the teacher was trying to make.
... someone's cell phone goes off in class and people try to name the interval, including the professor.
... you took more semesters of keyboarding than you can count, and you STILL can't play the piano.
... you're pretty sure it's going to take you more than four years to graduate college.
... everybody in your department knows everyone else, if not by name then at least by face and instrument.
... two people in your department start dating, and it's all anyone can talk about for the next week.
... you've ever turned down a good time because you had to practice
... you actually know what "juries" mean, and no, it has nothing to do with the law.
... recital attendance credit will be the death of you.
... you actually have some classical music and show tunes on your iPod.
... you know the difference in between baroque, classical, and romantic music, and that Beethoven did not write all three.
... you know the beauty of manuscript of paper, one packet can last you for years.

... your reputation has become defined by your instrument or voice part.
... you understand there is a silent war between the vocalists and the instrumentalists.
... you've wondered if God created more than one semester of music theory simply to torture you.
... your classes are randomly interrupted by the sound of someone loudly practicing down the hallway.

... someone says the words "sight-singing and ear training" and you feel a sudden urge to cry.
... even if you try to stay under the radar, most of the professors in your department actually know who you are.
... you decided to skip one of your classes for the day, so you had to skip them all. They were all in the music building and you would get caught by the professor who's class you were originally skipping.
... you have more than one class with the same professor on the same day.
... you've ever turned a pop song into an opera or classical piece.
... you get excited when key modulations occur.
... you know what a key modulation is.
... you've ever had to write a paper that was more than five pages long on a freakin' piece of music.
... you feel like less of a musician just because you'll be getting a B.A. in Music instead of a B.M. in whatever.

... you understood what that just meant.
... you're brave enough to eat lunch in the music building when you're skipping a music class to eat your lunch. You don't know where else to go.
... you've pretty much been in classes with all the same people since your freshman year.
... you would count your private instructor as one of the people who know you best in this world.

... you've been in music history for a few semesters now and you still haven't bought those NAWM cds.
... you know what NAWM means.
... sometimes you pretty much hate making music, but it's such a part of you that you know you're not changing your major.
... you could consider the music building as one of your residencies

... when you tell people you're a music major they give you a skeptical look and ask, "What do you plan on doing with that… teaching?" If you say no, they look kind of sad for you.
... you keep catching yourself randomly conducting music, even if it's
"Money Maker" or "Bye, Bye, Bye".
... you've ever laughed at a really corny joke that used a musical term.
... you've ever MADE a really corny joke that used a musical term, then actually laughed at your own stupid joke.
... meter changes in pop music make you cheer.
... you even realize a pop song just had a meter change.
... you associate Beethoven Symphonies with certain moods during your day.
... you laugh when TV ads come on that have instruments in them and you know that the person is holding it wrong.
... you know that the person on TV playing the music but rather, Joshua Bell, or Yo-Yo Ma dubbed over the person.
... you've ever spent more than an hour in the music reference/musical scores section of the library.
... you know where the music reference/musical scores section is.
... you and your library's local copy machine are very, very good friends.
...there's all kinds of randomly assorted furniture around your department's building.
... you own some type of clothing or accessory that clearly indicates that you are a musician: anything with a musical note or symbol all over it; anything that says, "Rock on;" a guitar T-shirt, and you're a freakin' singer!
... if you're in class and hear a muffled but insistent ticking coming from somewhere. Eventually everyone starts noticing and looking around, and diving for cover screaming, "Bomb!" and you are so used to the noise that it takes long awkward moments for you to finally realize... "Oh yeah, um, sorry guys. That's my metronome in my book bag. It must have been bumped accidentally...." take some empty bottles and make seventh chords out of them. see a sheet music mural and think it is just about the coolest thing ever, but mostly you just sit there trying to figure out composer/piece.
... the only things you can spell are chords. would rather practice piano than go to dinner and eat crappy cafeteria food.
... you get to the music building at the crack of dawn. DEDICATION!
... you and everybody else spends quality time in the lounge between classes, practice, and rehearsals.
...when listening to music as you walk, you automatically fall into step.
... your professors are like a second set of parents.
... you cringe every time somebody says their favorite movie is Drumline.
... you whistle in style brisé.
... you've tried to hum and whistle at the same time. lunch, you and a bunch of other music students grabbed glasses of water, straws, and actually practiced circular breathing.
... you can answer the phone with a real or tonal answer.
... you have had to be forced to stop labeling motives.
... you enjoy the tang of a tri-tone whenever you can.
... you wish you had twelve fingers.

Hat tip: Brother Marco. (On a day when I'm three posts behind and still awash in activities, you'd better believe I'm going to be lazy and let someone else write my post for me.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hey FCC--Don't Mess with 24 or Jack Bauer Will Shoot You in the Thigh

I didn't like the sound of this story when I heard it on the radio earlier in the week:
Congress could regulate violence on cable, satellite and broadcast television without violating the First Amendment, the Federal Communications Commission said in a report released Wednesday.
The report, which had been requested by Congress, contains suggestions for action by lawmakers, but it stops short of making specific recommendations.
A correlation exists between bloodshed on television and violence in real life, the commission said.
Concluding that "exposure to violent programming can be harmful to children," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a statement accompanying the report that, "Congress could provide parents more tools to limit their children's exposure to violent programming in a constitutional way."
Funny--I thought that parents already had a wonderful tool to limit their kids' exposure to violent programming; it's called an off switch. (That's very constitutional, by the way.)

I've said before that I'm only a fan of government when it's as small and limited as possible. Protect our shores and our borders, tweak a few things to help the proverbial trains run on time, and otherwise, just leave us alone...and stop reaching into our pockets every thirty seconds. You want more money? Go earn it in an honest fashion like I did.

Whew, there, I feel better. But seriously, the government doesn't need to be in the censorship business, save for extreme things like keeping porn off the broadcast airwaves. And they don't need to be messing with cable at all, because that's a choice made by the consumer. Yes, some kids see some things that they probably shouldn't see because parents aren't doing their jobs...but that's not for the government to step in and dictate either. And as a member of the "creative element," it alarms me to see them wanting to step in and regulate such things, because who says that music won't be next?

(Incidentally, the title of this post came from a line in the radio story that specificially cited 24 as an example of the type of programming the government might want to regulate.)

Weird hobbies that can pay well, part 1: A 64-year-old New Hampshire man just earned the chance to win $50,000 playing rock, paper, scissors.

Weird hobbies that can pay well, part 2: Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania teenager just won $25,000 in a text-messaging contest.

This hobby is just weird: Citizens of Arkansas are being asked to help the natural heritage commission count the number of box turtles in the state.

Come Hail or High Water

I was none to happy to read the weekend forecast yesterday, seeing as how it called for a chance of rain on Friday night. After all, this weekend is the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, a cool, free outdoor weekend of music that's notorious for attracting bad weather. Let's recap the past few years, shall we?So fast forward to the present, with McCoy Tyner set to headline on Friday night. But first, there's that rain in the forecast. And to make matters worse, Denton got pelted with over five inches of rain in last night's storms. The picture in the linked article shows a stranded person on Bell Place, which is a one-block long street that's but a block away from Civic Center Park (just as this morning's DMN showed a picture of a lady being rescued from her flooded car at Bell and Mingo, which is literally right across the street from the park.

So now we have two wild cards going into the weekend: Will it stay dry from up above on Friday night, and will the ground be dry enough to even spread a blanket on? (While researching this post, I did notice another article that talked about a water-removal company spending quite a bit of time at the Civic Center, so hopefully the situation is well in hand.

This headline would get a lot of laughs in Denton: Riggs Named Most Beautiful Bulldog.

She's obviously not a music major: A 19-year-old student is set to graduate from the University of Michigan after only a year.

Monday, April 23, 2007

On Its Way

The Big Phat Band concert was totally amazing on Saturday night. I'm putting the finishing touches on a review of the show, and I'll have that up in the next day or so. Today was consumed with teaching and playing, and the only thing I've got left in me at the moment is sleep.

And now, on to the news...

Don't Mess with Granny: An intruder tried to steal some items from a storage shed on a Kentucky woman's farm, but the owner, who happened to be Miss America 1944, shot out the tires of the getaway car and used her gun to keep the man at bay until 911 could be called.

No, this isn't a stereotype at all: An Arkansas high school's prom last weekend was serviced by porta-potties, thanks to plumbing problems at the armory where the event was held.

A bad habit gone good: A South Carolina woman can claim that smoking helped save her life, after an oak tree crashed through the roof of her house while she was outside taking a smoke break.

One man's trash is (literally) another man's treasure: A couple picking up trash along the highway found a winning scratch-off lottery ticket. That ticket was only worth $15, but they traded it in for a new one and that second ticket netted them a thousand bucks.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Phat Time Was Had By All

For the second time in seven months, I found myself traveling across several states to hear a jazz concert, and, also for the second time, it was totally worth the trip.

This time, the group that prompted the plane-hopping was Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, a collection of top L.A. studio musicians, who performed at the Univeristy of Missouri-St. Louis Touhill Performing Arts Center last night. While Goodwin is a veteran composer/arranger (known for tunes with quirky titles like "Let's Eat Cactus" and "Mama Llama Samba" (say that ten times fast!), as well as the soundtrack to the admittedly awful movie, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes), he came to prominence back in 2001 with the release of the Big Phat Band's debut, Swingin' for the Fences, which featured such tunes as "Sing, Sang, Sung" (a clever remake of the Benny Goodman classic "Sing, Sing, Sing") and "Count Bubba."

Since then, Goodwin has become a household name in the big-band world, and his charts have sold like hotcakes in the educational world (one of the stories he told during the show concerned a jazz festival where "Count Bubba" was performed by six bands in a row). When the band first started making recordings (there are three in all, with a fourth one about to be started), their only purpose was to document the music and leave it at that. The feasibility of touring seemed unlikely, considering the players' day jobs, but after a few gigs, the band was bitten by the live-performance bug, and the past few years have brought them to places like the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, where they played to an enthusiastic near-sellout crowd, many of whom were young musicians who had played Goodwin's charts.

The band wasted no time getting down to business, opening with the rollicking "High Maintenance" off their second album, XXL. (In one ironic twist, a worker at the "swag table" downstairs was overheard telling a potential customer that they were all out of that particular T-shirt size even before the show began.) For the next two hours, buffeted by only a short intermission, the band played high-energy, totally swinging jazz that was as tight as the recordings, mixing older favorites ("Count Bubba's Revenge," "Hunting Wabbits") with selections from the forthcoming album (which, if the tunes they played last night are any indication, will be a buy-on-the-first-day candidate upon its release).

Even though two of the best-known members of the band, lead trumpeter Wayne Bergeron and lead alto Eric Marienthal, were not able to make this performance, their replacements (ex-One O'Clocker Pete DeSiena, who's recorded with the band before, and second alto Sal Lozano, respectively) did a fine job in their absence--DiSiena nailing the high notes left and right, and Lozano doing a fine job of channeling David Sanborn on "Play That Funky Music."

The Big Phat Band is best-known for two things: lots of energy (as evidenced by Goodwin leaping back and forth from the piano to give cues and fermatas, along with the manic energy of percussionist Brad Dutz; drummer Bernie Dresel was also quite fun to watch) and the uniqueness of Goodwin's writing. Having done extensive film scoring and writing for the likes of Disney Studios, Goodwin brings that orchestral approach to his big-band charts, and the result is a much wider palette than that of many other writers; at times, it's almost as if each tune is its own little movie.

One of the cool things about this concert was that it gave virtually every member of the band his time to shine in some way. I'd have no problem hiring any of these guys for a gig, but the personal favorites were trombonist extraordinaire Andy Martin (whom I'd seen as the guest artist at TCU a few weeks ago), guitarist Grant Geissman (a Chuck Mangione alum from the "Feels So Good" days), and a former schoolmate, tenorman Jeff Driskill.

As a leader, Goodwin is engaging and funny. Sure, there's a lot of shtick involved, and there were elements of the show that could be called cheesy, including a "Big Phat Band trivia" game that featured high school kids from the audience. (Some of the trivia was pretty funny, but I won't ruin the jokes here.) But it was great to hear a high-powered big band that, when all is said and done, is brimming with excellent musicianship.

It was cool to see this band in the very same auditiorium where I'd seen the Maynard tribute back in September, and in a way it was quite fitting; among all the talk of who would take over the Maynard mantle, maybe it won't be a star soloist after all (although Goodwin is no slouch on either piano or tenor); maybe it'll be this exciting big band that packs the house full of young jazzers for years to come.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Travel Advisory

I'm off to St. Louis in just a little bit, taking advantage of the direct Southwest flights once again. This time, I'll be seeing Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, which just seemed like too good a thing to miss (and it's the closest they'll be to here for the foreseeable future). They're playing at the same UMSL performance hall where we saw the Maynard tribute back in September.

Back late tomorrow, with, if not a review, at least the weird news stories that have been sitting in the pipe for a few days.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Oughta Be in Pictures...

...and when I am, I oughta post 'em.

So I finally figured out how to transfer photos from the RAZR to the MacBook (if you're in a similar situation, these two articles were quite helpful to me). This means that I can finally post pictures onto this blog that have been taken with the camera phone, going all the way back to last July. I'm certainly not going to post them all at once, but here are a few posts that have been updated with pictures as of tonight:(The pics of me and well-known jazzers are also posted on my MySpace site.)

Now that I know what I'm doing, I'll have pictures of things on this blog on a much more timely basis.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Mini Restau-Rant of Sorts

Imagine, if you will, this scenario:

You're sitting in a restaurant that, while not exactly in peak hours, has now totally filled up in the non-smoking section where you're located. You're totally done eating (as evidenced by the closed styrofoam to-go box on the table), but you're just chillin', sipping some coffee and reading the paper alone at your four-person table. If you looked up from your paper, it would be easy to see the front of the restaurant, where a group of three is patiently waiting to be seated.

Fifteen minutes later, the three are still waiting, and other customers have bitten the bullet and filled up the smoking section as well. A group of seven comes in shortly after that, but you're still oblivious. You also don't notice the older couple who decided to dine elsewhere because the smoking section had been the only option.

Of course, you're under no obligation to leave, but if you're done with your meal and others are waiting, wouldn't it be a nice gesture to take your paper-reading elsewhere and open up a table for some new paying customers? It sure seems as though both the restaurant personnel and the customers would appreciate it. Sure, it's possible that you're so totally engrossed in your paper that you don't know what's going on outside of your little bubble. But if you do notice, and stay there anyway, are you being selfish?

This really happened this morning; I was part of the group of three. There's no reason to name the restaurant, but if you have to know, it's the answer you'd get if you asked the bunny or the kangaroo how it gets from place to place. The manager felt bad when we left, but we were on a fairly tight schedule. He also said that there was more than one table being occupied in this manner; we could just see the one with the styrofoam-and-paper person. I'm not saying that there should be a policy to deal with this--you can't legislate courtesy, after all--but it's a shame that some people are so caught up in themselves that they're so unaware of what's going on around them.

(This isn't the first time I've encountered selfishness in restaurants; the original Restau-Rant is here. It was written before Blogger comments had been developed, so feel free to chime in on that scenario as well.)

Here comes Peter Cottontail, clogging up the auto trail: Traffic on a major Hungarian highway was snarled when a truck overturned and released 5000 rabbits into the intersection.

He had quite a tail to tell after this: A young whale got lost and ended up in New York Harbor--not exactly something you see every day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another NIght of Madness...and That Was Just the Weather

Last night was the annual Lab Band Madness concert at my alma mater, UNT. In case you're a new reader, Madness is the concert where all nine (count 'em) lab bands perform in one marathon event; they've been doing it now for sixty years. I explained the format of the concert last year at this time, but suffice it to say, a short evening it's not.

Since we had big band rehearsal until about fifteen minutes into the start of the concert, we didn't get there until a tad after eight (and the weather on the way up was absolutely hideous--rain, rain and more rain; I'm guessing there was a point where my car wasn't really touching the pavement at all). Thankfully, KNTU does a live broadcast of the concert every year, so we really only missed listening to the very first band. (I wish they'd done that when I worked there; I would've tried to get involved in the broadcast team, which filled up the time when the bands were changing over with brief commentary. I would've given an insider's view of the thing, taking off momentarily to play in and/or direct my band; woulda been fun.)

I can't stop talking about this concert every year, because it's so unique; I'm reasonably sure that no other school has nine jazz big bands to begin with, and certainly not of the quality of UNT. There were a few more student compositions and arrangements than in previous years, and they were all quite good, and of course, the improvisation is at a very high level (which is to be expected, I suppose, at a school where there are four semesters of undergrad improv classes, with four more prerequisites before Improv I can even be attempted). I'm proud to be an alumnus of such a school; there really is no other place like it.

I'm glad I live in America, part 1: Clerics at a radical mosque accused the Pakistani tourism minister of sinful hugging.

I'm glad I live in America, part 2: As the 2008 Summer Olympics approach, officials in Beijing have forbidden female cab drivers from having red hair.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Day is TAKS-ing, But Not Taxing

Thanks to April 15 being on a weekend, as well as some sort of obscure government holiday yesterday, income taxes aren't officially due until today. But am I sweating? Not at all; for one thing, it's way colder than normal for this time of year in Dallas. But also, my taxes were done by spring break, which has to be a personal record of some sort. Sure, back in the times when I would owe taxes (a.k.a. "The Days When I Was Bad at Math"), I would wait until around "the day of" to actually mail the return (so that I could keep my money for as long as possible before tossing it into the gaping maw of Uncle Sam), but I've just never been able to grasp the concept of waiting until the absolute last minute, driving a good 30-45 minutes to the 24-hour post office just west of downtown Dallas and all that. Never mind the fact that we're supposed to have really crappy weather tonight; I wouldn't want to make the trip anyway. I may be a procrastinator at time, but waiting till quarter to midnight is just too much for me.

But this was a Refund Year, so I was happy to approach tax day with nary a shrug. My accountant (who goes by "Dad" the rest of the year) brought me the finished product on their spring break visit, and I mailed it the following day. As we hit the halfway point of today, my refund has been sitting happily in the bank for over a week now.

Did you get your taxes done early this year? Respond in the comments.

And in Texas, tax week is also TAKS week, the dreaded state standardized tests in the public schools. I"ve ranted about them plenty of times before, so I won't belabor the point here, except to say that this week does get pretty expensive for me once all the missed lessons are taken into consideration. (For example, here's my usual Tuesday lesson total: 9 or 10, depending on whether or not it's an A or B day. Today's lesson total: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing until I get to the college. You get the idea.) So while it's not by any means the important reason to get rid of the TAKS (that would be so that we get back to actually having the students learn something beyond how to take a standardized test), I'll shed no tears if the Legislature does indeed decide to drop it in favor of end-of-course exams. Keep your fingers crossed...

SEA LIONS! SEA LIONS!, part 1: A rogue elephant seal is causing trouble in the waters off California by messing with a kayaker, eating smaller seals and biting people and pets.

SEA LIONS! SEA LIONS!, part 2: Meanwhile, off Australia, a seal has also attacked a surfer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Momentary Pause

In light of the horrible shootings on the Virginia Tech campus earlier today, it doesn't seem right to post any of my usual whimsical material. In fact, it doesn't seem right to post anything else right now. We should all just pause for a moment to think about what happened today, wonder how in the world someone could see fit to treat his fellow human beings so badly, and be very, very thankful for those in our lives who mean something to us.

You've probably read at least one account of the story, but here were the ones that caught my attention:I don't know anyone at VT in person, but I've visited the site of blogger Ryan Harne many times over the past three or four years. Though we've never met off-blog, we've corresponded a time or two, and I was feeling more than a bit of anxiety as I got to my own campus today to check his blog and make sure he was OK. It turns out that he is, but he lost some people today, and there are others who are still unaccounted for. If you're so inclined, please keep Ryan and his classmates in your prayers.

(And on that subject, here's a prayer for the victims by Newsweek columnist, Rabbi Marc Gellman.)

UPDATE: This is ridiculous--despite the fact that today's shootings are still very much in the investigative stages, a Florida attorney has already gone on TV to blame the whole thing on video games.

Blowing out the candles, but quietly: I do want to wish a happy birthday to Mom. Unlike most years, I'm off the hook as far as calling her goes, because she and Dad are vacationing in Egypt at the moment. (I'm glad that I was a "good son" and sent her card a few days early this year--in tandem with that of her sister, my Aunt Nora, whose birthday precedes hers by a year and two days).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Another Way This Test is TAKS-ing to Students

The dreaded TAKS test (the state standardized testing here in Texas) is almost here; from Tuesday through Friday of the week ahead, I'll hardly be doing any teaching at all. Much as I (and the seniors who passed the test last year as juniors) will enjoy the extra sleep--it could almost be dubbed Spring Break II--it also causes this sharp, stabbing pain in my wallet area every year. (I don't even want to do the math on how much income I'll be losing this week.)

So it was quite interesting to read an opinion column on Friday by Linda Duran, a guidance counselor in a local school who points out one more drawback of the TAKS: It may actually hinder students' preparation for college and the real world:
All actions – personal, social, even governmental – have consequences. Many of these consequences are unintended and not originally foreseen. Such is the case with the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test (TAKS) actually lowering the SAT scores of our Texas students and hurting their chances of getting into prestigious college and receiving scholarships.

[...]The state puts so much importance on the TAKS test results that administrators and teachers are pressured into overemphasizing it. Students are drilled and drilled, and since the TAKS test is a power test – meaning, for one thing, it is untimed – teachers encourage students to "take as long as you need." Students take little breaks; they eat a little; they stretch; they put all their answers in the book and go back over each and every one – sometimes several times – and finally put the answers on the scan sheet. Some students will take five or six hours to take a test that at most should last about an hour or hour and a half. I'm not faulting the teachers and administrators for this approach. After all, they are only trying to help these students win at this TAKS game.

But the game is different for timed tests like the PSAT (Preliminary SAT test), which is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (that means big money, folks); the SAT; the ACT; and of course Advanced Placement tests.

And how do our Texas students do on these tests? Just OK. Recently, I have individually reviewed PSAT results with 223 sophomores and juniors who took it in October. At least half of these students didn't even finish the test. They had OK scores, but those scores could have been excellent had these students understood the concept of time management. These lower scores also hurt their chances of getting into prestigious college programs all over the country. And it makes Texas teachers look like we don't teach our children very well – which I believe to be untrue.

All of these college entrance tests have strict time limits for very good reasons. They are predictors of college success.
Despite all my gripes against the TAKS, I had never even thought of that particular angle before, but I think she's dead-on. Read the whole thing.

And in the meantime, it's encouraging to note that a state Senate panel is backing the bill that would replace the high-school-level TAKS with end-of-course exams (as discussed here). Even though this change wouldn't be phased in until 2009's freshman class, it would be great to know that, in just a few short years, the actual process of learning wouldn't grind to a screeching halt every April.

All I can say is WoW: At a Georgia zoo, the orangutans are playing video games.

This driver was no hack: A just-retired New York couple needed to move to Arizona. Being New Yorkers, they didn't own a car, and they didn't want to put their cats in the cargo hold of an airplane. So what did they do? Like all good New Yorkers, they hailed a cab for the entire 2400-mile trip. (The trip was planned in advance, and they did get a break on the fare.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another "Law for Thee, But Not For Me" To Go by the Wayside

Regular Musings readers know that I'm no fan of red-light cameras, and the city of Dallas is doing something about one of the many problems caused by these devices:
Dallas police and firefighters will soon have to pay up if they run afoul of the city's red-light cameras.

Starting Sunday, any Dallas police officer in a marked squad car who is captured on the city's cameras running a red light will have to pay the $75 fine if the incident doesn't comply with state law.

Firefighters who run red lights will have to pay if they're not on an emergency run.
This makes total sense to me. But, as you can imagine, the subjects of this regulation are none too happy:
Many police officers are angry about the proposed policy. The prevailing belief among officers has been that they can run red lights as they see fit.
And there's the problem in a nutshell. People who are charged with enforcing the laws should make sure that they are obeying those same laws themselves. Otherwise we have a double standard, hypocrisy, all that bad stuff.

And after all the deaths of innocent bystanders (by-drivers?) at the hands of speeding or light-running officers who didn't have their sirens or emergency flashers on, there really shouldn't be too many occasions where those flashers and sirens aren't engaged to begin with. You can talk all you want to about losing the "element of surprise" when trying to catch a bad guy, but the minute that such action would endanger someone else, it's time to do something different. And we definitely need to avoid future situations like this one:
Cameras recorded an officer on routine patrol not only running a red light, but also turning left from the center lane rather than from the turn lane. "He is being counseled in an effort to correct his driving," Lt. Lannom said. "We're looking at correcting the driving habits of officers."
I sure hope so.

I've recently before about how our lawmakers shouldn't be exempt from the laws they pass for the rest of us, and I believe that should apply to those who enforce the law as well. In Dallas, at least the Fire Department has the right idea:
"We don't really have a lot of business running lights, period," {Fire Department spokesman] Lt. [Joel] Lavender said. "If you mess up and you're not on an emergency run, you get a ticket. They're subject to the same penalty, in addition to being punished by the fire department."
That's a good policy, guys. I hope the police see the light.

Here's an officer who gets it: A sheriff in Green Bay wrote himself a ticket for making an unsafe lane change. Key quote: "As sheriff, I'm held to the highest standard in law enforcement. How can I hold officers accountable if I don't hold myself accountable?" he said. "I'm satisfied I'm doing the right thing."

And here's a kind-hearted crook: A man robbing a Florida convenience store apologized to the clerk he was robbing and allowed her to call 911 after she began to hyperventilate and thought she might be having a heart attack. (He still fled with $30 and some cigarettes.)

Blowing out the candles: Happy birthday to my Aunt Nora in Indiana!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Build Strong Bodies? Yes, But Not at the Expense of the Arts

The Texas Legislature is in session, and, as always, a lot of the bills before it have to do with education. One in particular looks fairly harmless on the surface:
Flabby schoolchildren would get more exercise under a Senate bill passed Wednesday that sets firm standards for daily physical education in kindergarten through the eighth grade.

The measure by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, would require all school districts to put their students through "moderate or vigorous" physical activity each day for at least 30 minutes – or a minimum 135 minutes per week if daily sessions are impractical because of scheduling conflicts.

The plan is the latest in a longstanding attempt to restore P.E. as a pillar of public education. The subject that made dodgeball a household name has taken a back seat to classes that give students a jump-start on high school credit or boost their chances of passing standardized tests, P.E. supporters say.
So far, so good. But later in the story (as always, read the whole thing), somebody brings up a very good point:
But critics of Ms. Nelson's bill say an expansion of P.E. will push kids to drop music classes at the most formative time of their lives.

"If you wait until they're in college to try and instill a love of the arts in them, you often have waited until it's too late," said Dee Franklin, a retired fundraiser for the arts in Dallas.

Eighth-graders at Renner Middle School in Plano, for instance, have room for two elective classes a year. That would shrink to one elective because of P.E., said Lauren Gould, an assistant band director.

Ms. Gould worries overachievers will cast aside band, choir or orchestra in favor of foreign language classes, which count as high school credit.

"Nobody's going to play in sixth and seventh grade, skip a year and then re-enter band in high school," she said.

Ms. Gould told hundreds of Plano parents in an e-mail that the proposal "would virtually destroy music programs throughout the state."
OK, now you're hitting me where I live. There's no reason to push P.E. at the expense of the arts--especially music, which really needs to be started at the middle-school level in order to achieve a certain level of proficiency by the end of high school. It's not unheard of to start an instrument at the high school level, but, seeing as how one is expected to move around a football field in formations while playing, it would be very, very tough.

I've discussed at length on this blog why I feel that the arts are an important component of a basic, well-rounded education; including them in the curriculum will raise the overall value of an education and it can even help bring about success in the corporate world. Physical activity is important, but let's not throw out an equally important class in the process.

Thinking back to my own middle-school days, it occurred to me that we didn't have that problem. I had to take P.E. during all three years of middle school, save for a one-semester exemption in seventh grade because I was taking both band and a foreign language. We had the same seven-period day that my district has now, so it makes me wonder: What class has been added to the curriculum since then that would cause this logjam, and is that class as necessary as either P.E. or music?

I don't have time to do the research on that question at the moment (maybe some of my teacher friends who read this blog can help me out here), but I would encourage the Legislature to work harder before passing this bill into law. Surely, there's a compromise that won't be as costly as the current legislation.

Triskaidekaphilia: Did you do anything differently today because it was Friday the 13th? And did you encounter anyone named Jason along the way? (The only Jason in my teaching studio had his lesson several days ago.)

Riders of the storm: And how about that huge storm that hit the area today? I trust that all my local readers are OK, and I'm glad that my neighborhood wasn't quite in the path of the tornado that seemed to be going eastward across the Metroplex. Did anyone actually take cover in a closet when the sirens went off?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Musings of Kev is four years old today. Back in 2003 when I started this thing, I had no idea what this would become. I had never read a "professional" blog in my life; the only ones I'd seen were those of individuals who kept a sort of daily online journal for an audience in the single digits. And while The Musings has never enjoyed a wide audience, I have had the pleasure of receiving hits from all over the place, especially thanks to the Maynard tribute review. I've had the opportunity to speak out on a wide variety of issues (I dabbled in journalism in college, and I've always sort of thought of this forum as my regular "column"), and I've even made a few friends through blogging.

This has been a crazy semester for me, and there have been plenty of times when I've started a post but not finished it until a day--or even a week--later. But thanks for hanging in there and giving me a bit of your time. I'll continue to do my best to make it a worthwhile stop for you along the information superhighway.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So it goes.

I just read the news a few moments ago: Kurt Vonnegut has left the building.
Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died Wednesday. He was 84.

Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.

"I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations," Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.
I didn't always agree with his political statements of late, but I really enjoyed his novels; I devoted an entire six-weeks of Comparative Novels, a cool senior English elective, to his work (and received an A for my efforts).

The title of this post refers to what the narrator in Slaughterhouse-Five whenever someone dies, so I thought it fitting to send Mr. Vonnegut off in that manner as well. I'll be back tomorrow with a "blogiversary" post; until then, you can decide whether or not you want to wear sunscreen (the greatest quote that Vonnegut never spoke).

More on the Josh Bell Experiment

I left the previous post at the top for an extra day just to see if more people would read and comment on it. (Oh yeah, and I was busy yesterday as well.)

Anyway, I had meant to add my own take on the situation, since I've certainly been in situations where I've played what I refer to as "wallpaper" music--at wedding receptions, awards ceremonies at the school, private parties, and the like. I'll admit that the first time I ever played for a group that didn't clap when we finished a tune (and sometimes didn't even acknowledge our presence at all), I was a bit taken aback, but after a while, you get used to it. And I'm certainly not saying that I'm as accomplished as Josh Bell or anything, but our performances did have one thing in common with his subway station sojourn: People aren't sure how to respond to something artistic when it's stripped of its usual context.

For that matter, it's not always appreciated when it is in context; most of the "jazz clubs" in Dallas are actually restaurants, so there will always be some people who are there to hear the music and others who are--sometimes rather loudly--doing business deals on their cell phones while someone is in the middle of a masterful solo. This can't be avoided all the time, but the most attentive hosts will at least try to seat the nonlisteners away from the band if at all possible. Still, it amazes me that something that my friends and I would pay big bucks to see in a concert hall is serving as someone else's wallpaper; that's some pretty exquisite wallpaper there, buddy. (I've discussed the concept of the wallpaper gig in a previous post.)

Also weighing in on the Bell story is James Lileks, in this morning's Bleat. He has a cool little gizmo on his page where he can embed a musical selection, so in line with the Bell post, he has a snippet of the coda of Paganini's first violin concerto (not played by Bell, but used to illustrate the passage's difficulty). As you listen, do what Lileks suggests and ponder all of the little minutiae of an impending workday; would you stop and listen if you heard this being played live on the way to work?

UPDATE: LIleks' Friday Daily Quirk column for the Star-Tribune is entitled If Josh Bell read this aloud in the skyways, would anyone listen? It's a clever piece as well, as Lileks imagines the classical-music version of the Def Jam: Icon game.

This idea really stinks: The city of Ogden, Utah is considering setting up a panel to discover and remove bad odors in the city.

Monday, April 09, 2007

If a Tree Falls Violin Plays in the Forest Subway Station...

..would anybody notice?

This is not a hypothetical question, by the way. It happened recently in a Metro station in Washington, D.C. during morning rush hour. The experiment went like this: Would people stop and pay attention to a guy, dressed in jeans, T-shirt and a baseball cap, playing nondescript classics flawlessly on the violin? Would they stop and listen? If his case were open, with a few dollars already tossed inside, how many people would toss in a buck or two?

Here's the kicker: The violinist was the onetime child prodigy Joshua Bell, who's used to wearing all black for his gigs, which can command up to $100 a seat in the nosebleed section. So how many people stopped to listen? Did anyone recognize him in street clothes? And did he even earn as much money in that 43 minutes as someone would pay for a single seat to one of his normal shows?

The people who walked through the station on that January morning faced many other questions as well:
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?
For the answers to these and other questions, read the whole story here. There's some great philosophical stuff in there, as well as some more questions:
  • If a great musician plays music but no one hears...was he really any good?

  • Why would a guy who's played before royalty get somewhat nervous about playing for passersby in a subway station? ("When you play for ticket-holders," Bell explains, "you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I'm already accepted. Here, there was this thought: What if they don't like me? What if they resent my presence . . .")

  • And here's the big one: Does context matter? In other words, to properly appreciate beauty, must the viewing conditions be optimal?
Thanks to Brother Earl on the fraternity listserv for this one; it's one of the best stories I've read online in a while.

IN THE COMMENTS: A reader points to a blog post by a lady who plays musical saw (really!) in the New York subway system; she has a different take on the Bell story.

The Apple has fallen far from the tree, many times over: Congrats to Apple (maker of the wonderful device on which I'm typing this post), for selling its 100 millionth iPod.

If this is true, I must be Imelda Marcos: In a column from last week, James Lileks floats the idea that music collections are a guy's version of a woman's shoe closet.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Bunny Pages

Happy Easter to all of you Musings readers who so celebrate. (And for those who don't celebrate the sacred side of the holiday, enjoy that chocolate bunny on general principle.) I'll take most of today as a holiday as well, but here's some of the funny stuff I've come across recently...

"Ace" trumped "age" for this lady: A California woman scored a hole-in-one in golf at the age of 102. (This reminds me of my grandmother, who broke 200 in bowling--something I have yet to do--in her mid-80's.)

This joke was taxing their patience: It turns out that the announcement that a region in Belgium was about to impose a tax on barbecuing (to offset global warming) was nothing more than an April Fool's joke.

You can play this in the key of P: When I was studying clarinet in undergrad school, I always joked about wanting to turn the instrument into a lamp once I passed my proficiency barrier. But here's someone who turned a baritone horn into a toilet (or was it an alto horn? It's hard to get a sense of scale on this thing). More crazy commodes here.

Stupid criminals of the week: When robbing a restaurant, it's best to make sure that the bag you're taking is actually full of money, and not just leftover bread, like this hapless couple in Australia. To add injury to insult--yes, I meant to state it that way--the man's gun accidentally discharged, wounding his female accomplice in the stomach, as he tried to take the manager's car keys.

Sheep thrills: You've no doubt heard of the tradition of dyeing bunnies and chicks in bright colors so they could be sold as Easter pets. Now a Scottish farmer has dyed some of his sheep red, much to the confusion of passing motorists.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Evidently, They're Dreaming of a White Easter

I have no intention of injecting this blog into the global-warming debate, but, whether it's a trend or a fluke, this winter sure has been colder than usual around here. So while I wasn't completely surprised, it was still rather odd to wake up on the day before Easter (Easter Eve? Good Saturday?) and hear talk of possible snow tomorrow in Amarillo and a chance of flurries today in this area. (A friend told me a little while ago that one of his friends, who lives a few miles south of here, had texted him earlier in the morning to say that there were in fact flurries coming down, but my friend wasn't awake to confirm it, and if there were flurries here, none of them reached the ground.)

Still, the concept of a white Easter is intriguing; imagine the adaptations that would have to be made to the usual traditions:
  • Easter Egg Hunt--The upside? Much easier to hide the eggs. (But the downside is that a lot of them would get stepped on during the hunt)

  • Chocolate bunnies--They won't melt in the car if you take them to lunch with you.

  • Ladies' Easter hats and bonnets--Well, you certainly need to wear something on your head when it snows. Anyone want to start the new tradition of the Easter hoodie?

  • Traditional outdoor sunrise service at church--Umm, no thanks. In a word, brrrrrrr!
UPDATE: By the end of the day, there had been no sign of snow in my neck of the woods, though it was quite odd to, in the midst of my evening errands, be driving around 1) wearing a hoodie, 2) running the heater in the car, and 3) listening to a baseball game on the radio. I felt bad for the die-hards who were out at the Rangers game tonight in what could only be called "great football weather"--the radio team said that the temperature at Rangers Ballpark was 38 degrees in the second inning.

This has been one of the craziest winters on record (even though it's not officially winter anymore). The inevitable warmup will come soon enough, but let's see how long we can hold out here at Casa de Kev before turning on the air conditioner; I almost had to do so at the beginning of the week, but the cold hit the next day. Anyone want to make a prediction on how long I can hold out with ceiling fans alone?

Silly punishment: A student was suspended for coming to school wearing pirate garb; the student said that his reilgious beliefs (he calls himself a "Pastafarian" who believes the world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster) require him to wear "full pirate regalia."

Even sillier punishment: And in California, of all places, a student was suspended from school for wearing Winnie-the-Pooh socks.

But here's a completely sensible punishment: A recent Northwest Airlines flight was canceled after pilot began dropping F-bombs during a cell phone conversation and ranting at passengers as they boarded the plane.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Horn of Too-Much-Plenty?

Here's something you don't hear every day: I think I'm allergic to my own saxophone case at the moment.

I should give you some backstory: We had a gig with the evening combo last night--a private reception for someone running for city council in one of our local municipalities. The reception was held in a beautifully-renovated older house that looked brand-new; whoever was in charge of the renovation had done a bang-up job. (I could also tell, by glancing through the large picture windows out back, that they had some cool stuff; even the TV in the kids' playroom put mine to shame.)

We had been told we'd be playing in a "breezeway," which turned out to be the size of my living room. Said breezeway opened onto a porch with a spectacular view of the nearby golf course, and in the middle of that porch was a circular fire pit; seeing as how the temperature was dropping all night, that pit was in use, so the sweet smell of what I would later find out was pinyon wood was wafting through the area for the duration of our performance.

We played along a side wall of the breezeway, facing the main part of the house, and the horn section stood right in front of a woodpile. Some of us even stored our cases right next to it, but we were never in the way of our host whenever he needed to refresh the fire a bit.

I noticed as we were leaving that my clothes had the distinct aroma of firewood, so I changed right after I got home. But I was quite surprised this morning, while teaching my two lessons (yes, Kev works holidays if someone wants to learn), that the same eau de pinyon wood was also emanating from my alto case over twelve hours after the gig.

The issue here is that, of all the things I'm allergic to, trees, weeds and grasses top the list. I actually found myself sneezing quite a bit during both lessons. So if I'm really temporarily allergic to my horn case today, it's a good thing it's a holiday. I guess I'll air out the case for the rest of the day and limit any further playing to the tenor.

Another blessing of technology: Your iPod can save your life! Or at least it did for this soldier.

Funnies of the day: Murphy's Lesser-Known Laws, by Neal Boortz. (And let's not forget Murphy's Law of Auto Mechanics, as conjured up by my ownself.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'd Vote for This in a New York Minute

I received an interesting email a day or two ago, and it's worth printing in its entirety:



2008 Election Issue!!


This must be an issue in "2008" Please! Keep it going.


(This is worth reading. It is short and to the point.)

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.

Our Senators and Congresswomen DO NOT pay into Social Security and, of
course, they do not collect from it.

You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their
rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for
themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan.

In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it.
After all, it is a great plan.

For all practical purposes their plan works like this:

When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die.

Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living

For example, Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may
expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred
Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275, 000.00 during the last
years of their lives.

This is calculated on an average life span for each of those two

Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more
during the rest of their lives.

Their cost for this excellent plan is $0.00. NADA..! ZILCH...

This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I
pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan
come directly from the General Funds;


From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid)
into, every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our
employer). We can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after

Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000
monthly benefits for another 68 years and one (1) month to equal
Senator! Bill Bradley's benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made.

That change would be to:

Jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and
Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us

Then sit back.....

And see how fast they would fix it.

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted
and maybe good changes will evolve.

How many people CAN you send this to?

Better yet.....

How many people WILL you send this to ?
I'm in total agreement with this. As I said a few months ago, I believe that it's time to return the government to the people, and two effective ways to do that are through term limits and having no special entitlement programs (such as Social Security and health care) for members of Congress that aren't also enjoyed by the average Joe on the street. And unlike some people, I strongly disagree with the idea that there should be a "ruling class" in this country that receives special privileges for the duration of their lives.

Incidentally, here's my response to the "ruling class" guy, in the comments to his post on the subject:
I'm sorry, but this is a complete and utter load of crap. Once there's a "ruling class," they start making one set of rules for themselves and another for "the rest of us." This is exactly why we need term limits for Congress (12 years, max), and have all the members while in office, be subject to the same things we are (i.e. no special Congressional health care plan, etc.). This needs to happen sooner rather than later, so that we can return to the concept of the "citizen-legislator" developed by the Framers.
Again, it would take a lot of courage for Congress to pass legislation that would take away their special perks; the only way to really achieve this is to elect new members who will follow through with this legislation once they're elected instead of getting caught up in the perks and power of Washington. I think this process needs to start sooner, rather than later.

Poorly-written headline of the week: Man Shot by Pistol Thrown in the Trash

Wouldn't this be called HRWI or something? An Alabama woman was charged with DWI...while on horseback.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Think Thelonious Would Approve

I read an encouraging story this week: The Thelonious Monk Institute is moving its performance program from L.A. to New Orleans' Loyola University:
One of jazz's most prestigious organizations is on its way to the genre's spiritual home.

[...]To celebrate the move, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Terence Blanchard - a New Orleans native - planned to join the program's incoming class for a performance at Loyola on Monday.

Only a handful of students are chosen for the graduate-level college program, previously based at the University of Southern California. The selection process lasts for several months and includes several national and regional auditions.

"It's the best out there," said Elizabeth Dalferes, a spokeswoman for Loyola, where the program will be based for the next four years.

Dalferes said several factors led the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to move its jazz performance program to New Orleans. Among them: the city's appreciation for jazz, its mission to preserve jazz music and heritage and the space and programs already available at Loyola, she said.
Read the whole thing. As i noted just over a year ago, when I went there for the Loyola Jazz Festival, there are a lot of things that have come back to life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but the city--and its universities--could still use a shot in the arm. The Monk Institute is an extremely prestigious outfit; its annual competition has jump-started the career of such jazz luminaries as Joey DeFrancesco, Jane Monheit, Marcus Roberts, Jacky Terrasson, Ryan Kisor, and the esteemed saxophonist J.R. Shedroff. (Who's that last one? Well, you may know him as this guy, who uses his first and middle names professionally.) Having the institute's performance program located in the birthplace of jazz will be a boon for all concerned. I applaud this effort, and I bet Monk would do the same.

Another story of musical achievement in the face of hardship: Italian researchers are assembling a library of music composed by people who lived and died in World War II prisons and concentration camps; a set of CD's of some of the music is also being recorded.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Something New I Learned Today...

Would you believe that, at this moment, it's illegal to play the variety of poker known as "Texas hold-em" here in Texas? (You don't see them outlawing Brussels sprouts in the Belgian capital, though I'm sure many people would be in favor of such a thing.)

Fortunately, the Texas Legislature is working to change that situation with a bill that's before a state House committee today. It would only allow such legal games in establishments that already have a gaming or liquor license, but it certainly makes sense to me; as someone on the radio pointed out today, poker is much more a "game of skill" than a lottery, and the police--who have better things to do with their time anyway--have conceded that the current law is difficult to enforce.

I say bring it on, along with a few well-regulated casinos. Why should Louisiana and Oklahoma get all the Texas money in those areas?

The best government decision I've seen in quite some time: The FCC ruled today that airline passengers still aren't allowed to use cellphones when the plane is in flight. Can you give me a "Hallelujah"?

This will be painful for him when they slow-dance: The world's tallest man (a 7-foot-9 tribal herdsman from Inner Mongolia) has married a woman who's five-foot-six. (She's also half his age, not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Speaking of big: Meanwhile, in Austraila, an environmental group last week announced the capture of a giant toad the size of a small dog.

Monday, April 02, 2007

It Requires a Different Kind of "Swing," But I Still Dig It

I've made note of Opening Day in baseball pretty much every year that I've been on this blog (as well as the last day of last season just six months and one day ago), so I tip my (fitted) cap to it again this year as well. My beloved Rangers, they of the new manager and continued unbridled optimism, open on the road in Anaheim tonight (they're playing as we speak), and, as always, I'll be out at many games this season, thanks to the ticket vouchers I get as presents from my sister and her family every Christmas. (As a special bonus, they're playing a game on my birthday for the first time in several years, so there'll be a giant hang on that day for sure.)

Why do I love baseball so much? Well, as I've noted before, I believe that it reflects many of the things that are great about America, and it can even be compared to jazz. (It was also the only sport that I played as a kid in which I wasn't just horrible. In stark contrast to baseball, Kev + playing football = Bad News.)

It is my intention, as I've done for the past few years, to hit the "sleep" button on my alarm clock and listen to the rest of the game until I drift off to dreamland. In that moment, I'll have a sort of connection with every kid in the past century who snuck a transistor radio under the sheets to catch those last few post-bedtime innings, and I'll know that, no matter what else is going on in the world, some things remain timeless classics. Play ball!

A broadcaster's nightmare: Check out this story about the weird names of athletes in Cuba, home of Danger Guerrero, Jokel Gil, and 400 different baseball players whose first names begin with the letter Y.

Better late than never: The Waukesha, Wisconsin police recently received an envelope with payment for a parking ticket written in 1980. The anonymous envelope included $1 for the ticket and a $3 late fee.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This One Deserves Its Own Post

Me and Bob Mintzer. As I've said, he's a first-class player and a top-notch human being, and it was great to have him as our guest artist this weekend. I can't wait to hear the recordings; I'll treasure this experience for the rest of my days.

A Little April Foolishness

Jazz festival is over, and it went very well. The portion where all the schools performed went quite smoothly, the college band did a fine job, and Bob Mintzer is not only a wonderful player, but an extremely nice person to be around.

UPDATE: And I got a picture with him too.

Not a lot of sleep has been had for the past several days, and I have yet another full day ahead. Since it's April Fool's Day, rather than come up with some sort of elaborate prank, I figured I'd just pass on the two funniest jokes I heard all weekend (being around musicians, the jokes have to do with music, but most readers of this blog play or listen to music as it is, so I figure I'm not going too far out of my element here).

JOKE #1: A kid gets a guitar for his fifteenth birthday, and his dad decides to enroll him in lessons. After the first week, the dad comes home from work and asks his son, "So, Son, how did lessons go this week?" The son replied, "Oh, Dad, it was great! I learned the C chord!" He then proceeds to play the C chord over and over again, ad nauseam, driving the whole rest of the house crazy.

After the second week, the dad again comes home from work and asks his son, "So, Son, how did lessons go this week?" The son replied, "Oh, Dad, it was great! I learned the G chord!" He then proceeds to play the G chord over and over again, ad nauseam, driving the whole rest of the house crazy.

After the third week, the dad comes home from work and asks his son the same question. The son replies, "I didn't go to lessons this week." The dad looking surprised, says, "What do you mean, didn't go to lessons? What happened?"

The son replied, "I got a gig."

JOKE #2: Kenny G walks into an elevator and says, "Man, this place is happening!!"

Feel free to add your own (clean) music jokes, or tell me how much you liked/hated those two, in the comments.

They got the jump on foolishness: Eighteen students at a Long Island middle school got sick after some classmates laced their doughnuts with laxatives.