Monday, April 27, 2009

Sentential Links #167

Click, or the puppy gets it.

:: I think a good case can be made that starting with Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon, moving forward into George H.W. Bush’s use of the pardon power to kill off the Iran-Contra investigation, and now shifting toward the present day when it’s apparently become a fringe left position that the laws of the United States of America should be enforced that we’ve moved through a dangerous cycle of impunity. It seems to me that, in effect, Nixon’s dictum that “if the president does it, it’s not a crime” has been entrenched into American customary law. (Unless, of course, we're talking about a Democratic President receiving fellatio. Then, by God, we're talking Crimes That Threaten The Existence Of Our Country.)

:: Why does she, and her cousin Diego, seem to YELL all the time. "WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE STORY?" And they are so damn earnest, too.

:: It is an interesting thing to contemplate – and as our children are both our imitators and the opposite of ourselves, I see both trends in my children. (The Daughter likes to read, but she doesn't push herself enough, in my opinion. But then, neither did I....)

:: It is surprisingly hard to make a list of favorite fantasy movies. (And yet, he did just that! I will, of course, make my own.)

:: Peter is proud of his work. (Oh, I can't remember who linked this! Lynn, maybe? It's so darkly funny -- reminds me of The Gashlycrumb Tinies.)

:: But for the most part, Shakespeare put all of the stage directions INTO the language. Fascinating. If someone needs a torch to see through the darkness, Shakespeare will have the character say something along the lines of, "I can't see. It's too dark. Hand me that torch." (Why don't I pick up on things like this?)

:: Dammit, I could play it. I could play it just fine. (I had this happen to me once, also in a piano recital. My piano teacher's lessons ran during the school year, and she'd have a recital at the end of the year. One year I was doing Mozart's Sonata in C Major, K 545, first movement (listen here). I loved the piece -- I love it still, actually; to me it's a wonderful summation of Mozart, sounding at first like a friendly little piece of cute classical music but containing some really interesting stuff for those who want to listen deeper -- but there was one passage that I just couldn't get my fingers to make their own, for the life of me, no matter how much I practiced it. I was terrified of that passage when recital time came -- and sure enough, I screwed it up. Horribly. The usual advice music teachers give is "Keep going, since few listeners are astute enough to realize that something's gone awry at all", but when you're a fairly inexperienced performer, it's awfully hard to keep going when you hit a mistake, especially when your mistake is of the "Wow, did that piece ever go off the rails badly" variety. I stopped completely and sat there for a few seconds, until my teacher prompted me to pick up where I'd left off, which I did. On to the end of the piece I went, after which I wanted nothing more than to sprint from the piano into the Sweet Embrace of Death.

So what happened after that? Not much. I went home, licked my wounds, returned for lessons the next year, and a year later, I gave a pretty kick-ass perfomance of "Scotch Poem" by Edward MacDowell (listen here). Believe me, nothing feels better than rocking a performance when the last one was a bad one.

Later, in college, I would become good enough -- and experienced enough -- at the trumpet to be able to commit massive blunders and simply continue on my way as if nothing had gone wrong. I never got that good on the piano, but that wasn't my main instrument anyway. But I never got good enough as to not screw up in performance occasionally, because nobody gets that good. Vladimir Horowitz gave some legendary recitals in which he missed lots of notes. It happens. Learning to accept it and move on is the hardest of all lessons for a budding musician.)

:: And, yeah, that's meant as an opening for someone to come along and make the case for Dances With Wolves. (Well, I was on the case several years ago. Dances With Wolves is a great film which deserved its plaudits at the time, and does not deserve the wicked backlash that's existed against it for nearly twenty years.)

More next week!


Lynn said...

Yeah, I linked to that and I think I got it from Nag on the Lake.

(the verification word is "catide". Hmmmm...)

fillyjonk said...

Wow, thanks for the link (and the commentary. That was my first-ever piano recital and I honestly thought I had banished whatever fear I felt as a kid, doing clarinet recitals. Not so).

I have the "postmortem" with my teacher today. I'm praying that it wasn't actually as bad as I remember it being.

Roger Owen Green said...

Don't know why my own words, taken out of context, sometime seem to crack me up.