Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hope You're Having a Happy Halloween?

Our next president no doubt


Messa de Requiem

Giuseppe Verdi

I. Requiem aeternam / Kyrie 0:00
II. Dies irae 9:12
III. Tuba Mirum 11:26
IV. Liber scriptus 15:25
V. Quid sum miser 20:49
VI. Rex Tremendae 24:45
VII. Recordare 28:39
VIII. Ingemisco 32:54
IX. Confutatis 37:08
X. Lacrymosa 43:34
XI. Domine Jesu 49:59
XII. Sanctus 1:01:24
XIII. Agnus Dei 1:04:18
XIV. Lux Aeterna 1:09:31
XV. Libera me / Requiem aeternam 1:16:14

Zadek, Klose, Roswaenge, Christoff
Wiener Singverein, Wiener Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan

Recorded live at Salzburg Festival, 14 August, 1949

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The only ghost I ever saw
Was dressed in mechlin, —so;
He wore no sandal on his foot,
And stepped like flakes of snow.
His gait was soundless, like the bird,
But rapid, like the roe;
His fashions quaint, mosaic,
Or, haply, mistletoe.

His conversation seldom,
His laughter like the breeze
That dies away in dimples
Among the pensive trees.
Our interview was transient, —
Of me, himself was shy;
And God forbid I look behind
Since that appalling day!

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Unloining to Tawk 
Like a Noo Yawkuh

If ya evuh knew ennywun who toldja tuh flush de turlet beefaw ya left da batroom, aw dat ya awta go ta choich on Sundays, aw said Octobuh was de toime to put earl in de foinace, you might find dis otticle amusing. It never ceases to amaze me how dese joynalists love to tell us things most of our parents loined beefaw we awl wuh bawn. 

Once upon a toime, most peepull wuh awayuh dat dese low class reejunnul acksents wuh a voitchooal taboo if yuh hoped tuh get anywheah. Loining to shed dem was pawt of being propully edjickayted.

Dat went faw hick suthin’ an’ hayurd-nasal midwusturn twangs too, wharr peepull bayre down hayard on thair airs, have bust frunds, and Burrock Obomma is refoid to as “the pruzzident.” I guess it ain’t a bad ideah to ishoo a reminduh aftah awl. Crappy lowuh class acksents awta be shunned by anyone in public loife. Presoive it if ya wunna, but keep it home wit de famlee wheah it beelawngs. It sets a louzee exampull ta heah it on TV, in da mooveeze, an' espeshully frumm de flaw of de sennit and da house of represennadives. Cheeze Looweeze!

From De Noo Yawk Toimes

(edited and emended by FreeThinke)

Michael Schoenstein always believed it made him more charming, an endearing characteristic integral to his identity. But, finally, after too many people mocked him, he began seeing a therapist.

Patrick Mullin had the same problem. “People were complaining,” he said. He started weekly therapy sessions 11 years ago and still goes about once a month.
Lauren LoGiudice sought help for similar symptoms. “I would have sessions and I started to cry,” she said.
In all three cases, therapists reached the same discomfiting conclusion.
“I was diagnosed with a New York accent,” Mr. Schoenstein said.

The classic New York accent is not as distinct or as prevalent as it once was, but there are plenty of native “Noo Yawkers” who not only have it but consider it a curse.
“It humbled me,” Mr. Schoenstein, a television reporter at WPIX-TV, said of his diagnosis.
Those who seek professional help to conquer their accents make similar complaints, like, “ ‘People don’t understand what I’m saying,’ ” said Sam Chwat, who is considered the dean of speech therapists. “ ‘I’m stigmatized by the way I speak.’ ‘I’m tired of people imitating or ridiculing the way I speak, or saying I sound “cute.” ’ ‘My accent seems to imply negative characteristics.’ ”
Miss LoGiudice’s accent didn’t matter when she was growing up in Howard Beach, a heavily Italian neighborhood in Queens where dropping r’s in words like doctor (doctuh) and water (wawtuh) just happens to be the way many people talk.
“I grew up with people who could be the cast of ‘Jersey Shore,’ ” Miss LoGiudice, 27, said. It was not until she got to Wesleyan University that she realized how much her speech pigeonholed her. And as a young actress who is “tall and Anglican-looking,” she worried her accent would be a roadblock. “If I had looked like Meadow Soprano,” Miss LoGiudice said, “I wouldn’t have had to worry about my accent.”

The accent was rarely an asset but has become more of a handicap in an era of globalization, when people and jobs are more mobile and a more generic identity can be seen as an advantage (think Michael R. Bloomberg shedding his Boston twang).
“A New York accent makes you sound ignorant,” said Lynn Singer, a speech therapist who works with Miss LoGiudice. “People listen to the accent, but not to what you’re saying.”
Another of Ms. Singer’s clients, Alan Steinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn, agreed. He hosts a New Age program on local access cable television channels in New York that is also streamed over the Internet, and he fears his accent prevents him from appealing to a wider audience. “People put you in a category when they hear a particular accent and don’t hear the message,” Mr. Steinfeld, 52, said.
The online Yellow Pages includes more than a dozen listings for “New York accent reduction” specialists, and searching “New York accent” and reduction or elimination on Google generates about 4,000 hits. The process typically takes at least several months, with as many as three sessions a week, and can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Mr. Chwat described his school, the Sam Chwat Speech Center in Manhattan, as the largest practice of therapists specializing in accents, with six licensed speech therapists and more than 100 clients a week.
“I have seen a notable rise in the number of self-referred corporate execs who are trying to retain their competitive edge within their corporations, be clearly understood by customers or clients who typecast or stigmatize them by their speech patterns,” Mr. Chwat said.
Ms. Singer, who runs Voiceworks, starts her sessions by working on the sounds a client finds the most difficult to pronounce. She works with clients on proper breathing, pronouncing vowels that use the back of the tongue and conscious sound substitution that replace “glottal clicks and swallowed vowels” until it becomes routine — a laborious process that takes months, even years.
Some clients also find it unnerving. “I felt if I lost my accent I’d lose part of who I was,” Miss LoGiudice said. “Almost no one thinks I’m from Queens anymore.”
The New York accent – a distinctive amalgam of Yiddish, Italian, Irish, Polish, and German  is now infused with black and Hispanic dialects and a Caribbean lilt — that was identified at least as far back as the early 19th century. In 1896, E. H. Babbitt wrote about “The Language of the Lower Classes in New York and Vicinity.” 

In 1928, when radio became a factor in a national political campaign for the first time, the president of CBS wrote unflatteringly that Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York pronounced the word first as “foist” and toilet as "terlet." A 1940 study by two New York University professors found that the New York accent was the most widely disliked style of speech in the United States. And in 1966, William Labov, a sociolinguist, identified what he called “linguistic self-hatred in New York.”
Of course, plenty of actors still turn to instructors to teach them the accent, and feigning one can sometimes be useful. “Some people fake New York accents when they work on Wall Street because they want to come off as tougher,” said Lynn Bo, a speech therapist in Bayside, Queens.
But Edith Bunker (played by Jean Stapleton), Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) notwithstanding, few New Yorkers these days would take naturally to the chorus of a popular 1946 song by Bobby Gregory: “Who is de toughest goil in dis whole woild? Moitle from Toidy-Toid and Toid.”
“That has vanished without a trace,” said George Jochnowitz, a professor emeritus of linguistics at City University’s College of Staten Island.
That type of stereotypical accent, which survives mostly in black-and-white movies and television reruns, has been diluted by the influx of what linguists describe as Standard American English speakers from across the country, along with a decline in the city’s white working-class population, whose members, along with low-class Jews, tended to have some of the thickest accents.
Still, you don’t have to be a speech therapist to identify New Yorkers by their accents, to hear the dropped “r” in park and car, or the cryptic luncheon invitation “Jeetchet?”
“The accent still exists in places like Staten Island or Bensonhurst or the Rockaways,” says the writer Pete Hamill, one of several New Yorkers interviewed for a documentary by Heather Quinlan called “If These Knishes Could Talk.” “However, it has changed in that it’s no longer the ‘dese, dem and dose’ and the ‘Toidy-Toid and Toid’ that we think of.”
Mr. Chwat, 57, who grew up in Brooklyn and lives in Great Neck, N.Y., said that public speaking used to be part of the public-school curriculum, and that passing a test in oral proficiency was once a requirement to graduate from the city’s public colleges.
Along with a general decline in standards in most areas there is no longer direct instruction for public speaking, good voice production and proper diction. We're not supposed to notice low-class, obnoxiously uncultivated accents today, and unfortunately there is not supposed to be any stigma attached to speaking with an accent anymore. It used to be something ambitious, culturally aware people were ashamed of and sought to shed.
Thankfully, that trend appears to be returning. Ugly is ugly and there's just no running away from it.
Mr. Schoenstein, 26, the television reporter, grew up in Bergen County, N.J., and he said he always thought his New York regional accent was “endearing" because New York is a great place to be from, but if you ever want to work outside New York, it may put you in a box.”
Mr. Mullin, 60, a tax and criminal lawyer who practices in Manhattan and New Jersey, said he grew tired of going to legal training seminars where fellow lawyers complained about not understanding him. “I didn’t want to be boxed in regionally,” he said. “I wanted to be a clear communicator. My accent got in the way.”
Miss LoGiudice said her weekly sessions with Ms. Singer for a year and a half, along with exercises at home, had already produced results — a role as an international model in a film being released next year.
“If I hadn’t done the accent work, I would have never been cast in this film,” she said. “Lynn’s credo is quite accurate: Change your voice, change your life.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

      I took my Power in my Hand –

And went against the World –
'Twas not so much as David – had –
But I -- was twice as bold –

I aimed by Pebble – but Myself
Was all the one that fell –
Was it Goliath – was too large –
Or was myself – too small?

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it's true —
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate, a Throe —

The Eyes glaze once — and that is Death —
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung. 
~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Friday, October 25, 2013

 (Final Chorus from The St. Matthew Passion)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Wir setzen uns mit Traenen nieder
Und rufen dir im Grabe zu: 
Ruhe sanfte, sanfte ruh! 
Ruht, ihr ausgesognen Glieder! 
Euer Grab und Leichenstein 
Soll dem aengstlichen Gewissen 
Ein bequemes Ruhekissen 
Und der Seelen Ruhstatt sein. 
Hochst vergngt schlummern da die Augen ein. 


We sit down in tears 
And call to thee in the tomb: 
Rest softly, softly rest! 
Rest, ye exhausted limbs! 
Your grave and tombstone 
Shall for the unquiet conscience 
Be a comfortable pillow
And the soul’s resting place. 
In utmost bliss the eyes slumber there. 


"... if life had taken hope and faith from me, 

this single chorus would restore all." 

~ Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Need we say more?

My recommendation would be to BOYCOTT the SYSTEM. Don't even TRY to use it. SHUN it. REFUSE to participate. If the vast majority (we'll never get all) would do this the God-damned thing would did aborning. Just DON’T play their rotten game. DON'T get euchred. DON'T get snookered. The best place for you -- and me -- and all of us is UNDERGROUND.
Better for us to die young of untreated symptoms than to live as slaves to The Oligarchs. Deny THEM absolutely EVERYTHING, even if it costs you your life.
The New American Revolution, if it is to happen at all, will have to be fought with PASSIVE RESISTANCE. 
Don't wait till you are so fed up, so frustrated and so filled with hatred and contempt that you become paralyzed.
Go ahead and LET them RUIN your life 
Our lives are ruined anyway –– especially if we don't call a halt to the madness. NOW.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
~ Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Food for Thought 
If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without
a license, but not for being in the country illegally ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.
If the only school curriculum allowed to explain how
we got here is evolution, but the government stops
a $15 million construction project to keep a rare spider
from becoming extinct ...
You might to live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane,
cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book,
but not to vote in a national election ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding
citizens from owning gun magazines with more than
ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy
new leaders in Egypt ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas,
but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a
sugary drink might be injurious to your health ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman can be strip-searched
by the TSA, but a woman in a hijab is only subject to
having her neck and head searched ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government believes that the best way to
cope with trillions of dollars of debt 
is to spend trillions more ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school
for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting 
instructions on how to masturbate in 
grade school is perfectly acceptable ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If children are forcibly removed from parents who
discipline them with spankings while children of addicts
are left in filth and drug-infested home surroundings...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes
and more government intrusion, while not working
is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid,
subsidized housing and free cell phones ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government's plan for getting people back to
work is to incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks
of unemployment compensation and no requirement 
to prove they applied but can’t find work ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.
If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself
makes you more "safe" according to the government ...
You might live in a country run by idiots.

If you feel annoyed or offended by this article, 
I would bet you voted for the idiots who are 
running, and ruining, our once-great country.

~ Junius P. Long

Neither blatherskites nor quidnuncs
are welcome at this blog.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Sparkling Antidote to The Dance of Death

The E-Major French Suite by J.S. Bach

Four Dances to Life, Joy and Vitality

Alicia de Larrocha, pianist

Monday, October 21, 2013

 (Variations on Dies Irae)
by Franz Liszt

Jesus Maria Sanroma, piano soloist

Boston Pops Orchestra, Athur Fiedler, conducting
We solemnly dedicate this spectacular tour de farce, this mighty effort expressing little but piano virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity, meaningless bombast –– a shameless display of self-aggrandizing, grimly determined exhibitionism on the part of M. Liszt –– to the presidential candidacy of HILLARY CLINTON.

[NOTE: Dies Irae means Day of Wrath]

She's Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Our worst nightmare

A face devoid of love or grace,
A hateful, hard, successful face,
A face with which a stone
Would feel as thoroughly at ease
As were they old acquaintances —
First time together thrown.

   ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)    

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Advice for the Day

We should define ourselves by all that we love, cherish, respect, admire, and adore, never by what we dislike, distrust, fear or despise. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Obamacare Tramples Christian Scientists

June 30, 2012

by Ron Meyer [lightly edited by FT]

Should Congress be able to force Americans to buy services that go against their religious convictions?
Under the Supreme Court's radical redefinition of the healthcare law, Congress is "taxing" religious groups who refuse to buy products which violate their religious conscience. 
The two biggest examples are Christian Scientists and Catholics. As Health and Human Services officials recently clarified, Catholic institutions must pay for insurance that includes coverage of abortion and birth control. Now, if Catholics follow their church beliefs, they will be taxed.
Even more starkly, Christian Scientists are instructed by their textbook to use "radical reliance" on Christian healing for all their needs, including health, adhering to Jesus's command to "heal the sick." Yet, if Christian Scientists refuse to buy insurance, they will be taxed. The church doesn't force abstinence from medicine, but requiring Christian Scientists to buy medical insurance runs counter to the tenets of the their faith.
Taxing or penalizing Christian Scientists who choose not to buy insurance for religious reasons is a clear violation of the First Amendment's free exercise clause.
Thanks to Chief Justice Robert's rewriting of this law, a religious challenge to the healthcare law should be in play. Both Christian Scientists and Catholics were left out of the Court's opinions and would be free to challenge the law. Some Catholics already have, and Christian Scientists should join them.
Fittingly, Justices Kagan and Ginsburg have already offered some support for the case.
During oral arguments for the healthcare law, Justice Kagan made it clear that Christian Scientists could have a reasonable religious case: "[T]hat would be different, you know, if you were up here saying, I represent a class of Christian Scientists. Then you might be able to say, look, you know, why are they bothering me?"
In yesterday's opinions, Justice Ginsburg clarified that First Amendment objections would make any mandate unconstitutional:
A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause. -- Nat'l Fed. of Ind. Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. ___ (2012) (Ginsburg, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part).
This bill interferes with Christian Scientists' free exercise of religion, so according to Justice Ginsburg's analysis the law is unconstitutional. Christian Scientists didn't receive a religious exemption and are being taxed for adhering to their beliefs.
It's important to point out, as Justice Ginsburg implies, that if a bill is unconstitutional for one group, it's unconstitutional for the entire nation. The Supreme Court cannot write in new exemptions into the law. Therefore, if the Court decides this law is an infringement on Christian Scientists' religious freedom, the mandate would be unconstitutional.
This broad impact would be a victory for freedom in America -- and not just religious freedom. America is a diverse nation with many different beliefs and practices, so when Congress tries to act universally, it often does this at the price of someone's liberty. That's one reason why we have a Constitution with limited powers.
Chief Justice Roberts’ decision encourages Congress to use more mandates ("taxes") as a means to their ends. Striking down this mandate would send a message to Congress to stop using coercion as their chosen method and to start using reforms that support freedom.
America's Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution were written to protect religious and individual liberty –– both from the tyranny of a monarchy and the tyranny of the masses.
While the current Supreme Court seems to think that individuals can be coerced for "tax" reasons, even the liberals on the Court believe in religious protections. Christian Scientists, Roman Catholics and liberty-loving Americans need to work together to see this law overturned.

[NOTE: Ron Meyer is a program officer for Young America's Foundation and a graduate of Principia College.]