Category Archives: Web Development

discovering old music


Image result for american bandstand dick clark 50s

I love new music. I am especially interested in  music that has been written recently.  Even when I don’t know  why, I usually have a visceral reaction when I resonate with something.  I keep looking for cool stuff. Unfortunately, much of the new music I check out ends up not interesting me for one reason or another.

Image result for man looking at books in library

Yesterday found me once again browsing the new book shelf at the library. I have been scouring newly-arrived selections in libraries since I was a young man in Flint, never omitting to check out the new poetry books.  Besides finding a few new books of poetry, my eye fell on Why Bob Dylan Matters by Richard F. Thomas. As intriguing as I found the title, my interest was further piqued by the line under Thomas’s name: “George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics, Harvard University.”

Image result for why bob dylan matters

I checked it out and took it home.

Thomas has been teaching a course in Bob Dylan 2004, a good distance in time from when Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I feel familiar with Bob Dylan. But in reading the first few chapters of this book, I realized there was a lot of Dylan I didn’t know. Looking at a table Thomas provides I discovered that I knew Dylan’s first 8 albums pretty well. But of the following 24 albums he listed, I only knew one or two.

But Thomas makes it clear that he thinks Dylan ongoing opus of material contains a lot of stuff as good as the stuff I knew. He also sees Dylan in the line of Homer and others. Homer, again!

I realized with a certain leap of emotion, that I had 24 new albums to explore and maybe find some music that meant as much to me as the Dylan I knew.

I used Thomas’s list to determine that the album I needed to listen to if I was going to continue in chronological order was called “Shot of Love.”

I have long known of Dylan’s website on which he provides all kinds of information about his work, including lyrics and who is playing what on the track. I cued it all up (Spotify, can i order diazepam online lyrics and all) and listened to the first five songs on this album (there are ten total). Cool stuff. I’ll have to remember when I’m looking for new music to keep listening to Dylan’s work I don’t know.

Image result for ferdinand jelly roll morton smithsonian

Along the same lines, I have loved Jelly Roll Morton’s music for a long time. I even transcribed some of his music for my brass ensemble at Our Lady of the Lake. At one point I purchased the above collection of transcriptions of his work. I haven’t really worked through much of it, mostly due to the awkward page turns and length of the pieces. Yesterday it occurred to me to approach this music as I approach a lot of music these days, that is to play carefully through it, emphasize complete accuracy and to hell with the tempo.

I started at the beginning and played about 70 pages in, remember what a genius this man was. On page 65, I ran into a favorite of mine, “Wolverine Blues.” Here’s the recording of him playing this specific arrangement.

Interestingly, this edition taught me that Morton didn’t think of this piece as a blues. Someone else came up with that and the lyrics (which I know).

Morton had this to say:

“I first wrote the Wolverines in Detroit in the early days. It was one of those things that float around in my head and one day, when I sit down at the piano it comes out of my fingers. The first strain was for trumpet (the basis of on of these new tunes today, Flat Foot Floogie), then the trombone strain, then I made a harmony strain for the trio, then I found that a clarinet strain would be very effective, and in the last strain I put all the instruments in the band together and made the piano sound as much like a band as possible.”

This changes entirely how I see this piece. Also, playing carefully through his musical ideas is extremely rewarding and interesting. There are over five hundred pages in this book. More cool stuff.


mostly about cooking


Still having problems getting my computer to pass on the audio that registers from the tape player. I can see that it is hearing the tape player but I cannot hear the sound and presumably my Audacity recorder (with which I made the sound file I put up yesterday) will not either.

I poked around and found some instruction videos about updating sound card drivers and followed the instructions. Still nothing. Another hour or so wasted. I unplugged the tape player (the on/off button seems to be stuck on) and will look at it another day (tomorrow).

I had an attack of good sense yesterday and decided to give myself another week to learn the Böhm organ pieces I want to perform at church. The problem is not these pieces but rather I am spending a lot of time with this weekend’s pieces, especially Virgil Thomson’s variations on “Shall We Gather at the River?”

These have some tricky parts but the challenge for me is moving from variation to variation in a timely coherent manner, leaving enough time for a pause that helps the listener understand what is happening and also changing the registration each time for each variation. I spent a good hour yesterday on this and will work on it again today. It’s cool music and I enjoy rehearsing it, but by the time I’m done working on it, I don’t have another hour just for Böhm pieces.

So I substituted a lovely piece by Naji Hakim that I have been playing. Here’s a recording of him playing it.

Many thanks to Rhonda Edgington for turning me on to this composer. He reminds me of a 21st century Durufle. High praise.

I found an easy “Procession” by Alan Ridout to pair it with as a postlude for a week from Sunday.

While I was diddling with the tape recorder and the computer, Eileen got up and took off for a breakfast with the other two altos from the choir. This is the second or third Saturday morning they have gathered.

I made a successful souffle yesterday morning. I’m finishing the last of it while blogging. It was quite beautiful.

Eileen took a good pic of it and put it up on Facebooger.



Notice the pills peeking out at the top of the pic. Here’s a link to the recipe:

Cheese Soufflé Recipe – NYT Cooking

There were a few problems with this recipe. The roux (the mixture of butter and flour) did not have enough butter called for. I wasn’t actually using butter since there was none in the house. But I still had to add some to make this mixture usable.

I also didn’t have enough milk in the house, so I found a can of evaporated milk and used that. I omitted 5 of the 6 egg yolks called for to lower the fat and caloric content. I used the reduced fat mozzerella we had in the fridge instead of the Gruyère called for. I calculate that the entire recipe had around 1175 calories in about 392 in a serving of 1/6 of the entire recipe.

As I was calculating the calories it occurred to me to wonder if food in cooked calories had a different caloric count than raw ones. I found this article which gives me pause.

Why Calorie Counts Are Wrong: Cooked Food Provides a Lot More Energy – The Crux (a blog on the Discover site)

This article makes sense to me.

But obviously the jury is out on this question.

I think monitoring diet helps no matter what. I found an interesting recipe that I plan to try out on Eileen and adapt for myself.

Bacon Cheddar Open-Face Tomato Sliders | Devin Alexander 

I was surprised to find the brand name cheese (Cabot light cheddar) at Meijer yesterday.

I also skipped the turkey bacon and bought a center cut bacon instead which was a bit higher in calories and fat from calories. I don’t think Eileen will go for the turkey bacon.

I am thinking of making a veggie version of this for me. Easy enough to do. I will substitute some fakey veggie meat and omit the bacon. I think it will still be tasty.

Devin Alexander – “The Secret of Food” | Welcome to my blog

Devin Alexander posts new recipes regularly on her blog. Excellent.

Roberto Bolaño – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a writer that interests me. I recently heard one of his stories read on The New Yorker Fiction Podcast. He sounds just loony enough to appeal to me.

NYPL Digital Collections

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebooger. He was astounded at what the New York Public Library is making available. Cool beans.

Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility – The New York Times

On the Media has a good episode on the gun stuff. It’s madness for the US to continue the way it is but of course our entire election system is broken. Kudos to the President for giving a shit.