Tag Archives: Politics

Frightening Precedent

Ronstadt Booted From Vegas Casino

These sort of events remind me of Nazi Germany, or China’s Cultural Revolution. Truly frightening that this sort of fanaticism and obtuse judgement is happening right here in America:

Linda Ronstadt not only got booed, she got the boot after lauding filmmaker Michael Moore and his new movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” during a performance at the Aladdin hotel/casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Before singing “Desperado” for an encore, the 58-year-old artist called Moore a “great American patriot” and “someone who is spreading the truth.” She also encouraged everybody to see the documentary that is highly critical of President Bush.

Imagine that. You call someone a patriot, and you get booed and then fired. These narrow-minded people are in such fear of discovering that their unwavering, unquestioning obediance to the Bush Administration is perhaps all just in support of demagogues and lies.

Something deeply disturbing is taking shape in our country.

Grand Pause

I just remembered this story, so here goes:

I used to play with these guys back at New England Conservatory on Friday nights. We had two violins, a viola, cello, and myself on bass, plus occasional guest artists on piano, clarinet, or whatever.

What we would do every Friday night is grab a bunch of beer, or Uncle Carlo Rossi’s Light Chianti, or maybe some Absolut, and stealthily smuggle it all into one of the practice rooms in the back of the building, lock the door, close the shades, and then play a game of Grand Pause, which is basically a drinking game that we invented for classical musicians. Here is how you too can play Grand Pause with your ensemble:

  1. Ensemble starts playing the chosen piece of music.
  2. If there is a significant amount of rest – one measure for a slow movement or two for a faster one, then you must drink. The basic goal is, if you’re not playing, you’re drinking. Try not to spill your drink on your Gofriller or your neighbor’s Amati.
  3. If you come to a grand pause/fermata, then everyone in the group must shout “Grand Pause!!!”, and then chug-a-lug whatever is left in their glass or bottle.
  4. Keep playing until it is impossible to continue due to laughter/inebriation/security guards.
  5. Once we actually got a gig playing at a Democratic Party fundraiser at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Two words: Free booze. Nuff said – you can guess what happened…

McCarthy and Copland

Here is an excerpt from the recently released secret transcripts from the McCarthy hearings. I found this one particularly funny since they are interviewing Aaron Copland – the composer of “Appliacian Spring” – one of the most profoundly American pieces of classical music from the 20th Century:

May 26, 1953, McCarthy and Cohn questioning classical music composer, professor, and conductor Aaron Copland about his associations with communists.

McCarthy: Have you ever been a communist sympathizer?

Copland: I am not sure I would be able to say what you mean by the word “sympathizer.”

McCarthy: Did you ever attend a communist meeting?

Copland: I am afraid I don’t know how you define a communist meeting…

Cohn: What was your view of the Hitler-Stalin pact – 1939 to 1941?

Copland: I don’t remember any specific view of it…

Cohn: Do you feel communists should be allowed to teach in our schools?

Copland: I haven’t given the matter such thought as to come up with an answer.

Cohn: In other words, as of today you don’t have any firm thought?

Copland: I would be inclined to allow the faculty of the university to decide that.

Now, just replace the word “communist” with the word “muslim” and you have the modern, present-day Ashcroft version.