Further to this,here's one more from The Bridge:
I feel guilty
I'd done something wrong.
At the great confession
I shall speak up as follows:
Among your creatures.
Was that wrong?
I think I may have discovered something that even George Bush and George Galloway have in common: a knowledge that Q and Z are, in English Scrabble, the highest scoring letters – 10 points each – just for getting them on the board.Next come J and X with 8, K with 5 and there unique values end.
In an exercise which has no scientific validity whatsoever for a host of reasons that immediately spring to mind, I decided to test the respective rarity of these letters as first letters of song titles, using my iTunes library as a sample.
Here, with the help of a useful piece of freeware called iTunes Publisher are the results:
|Playlist: Q/Z playlist||Page: 1/1|
|2.||Quality Shoe||Mark Knopfler||The Ragpicker's Dream|
|3.||Que Deus Me Perdoe||Mariza||Fado Em Mim|
|4.||Quoniam tu solus sanctus||Leonard Bernstein||Haydn: "Die Schoepfung", "Harmoniemesse"|
|5.||Zebdi||John Zorn's Masada String Trio||The Circle Maker: Issachar|
|6.||Zhii||The Cool Crooners Of Bulawayo||Blue Sky|
|7.||Zuro Chisara||The Four Brothers||Bros|
Q/Z playlist: 7 songs, 36.3 minutes, 42.3 MB
So, no surprises there. X yielded nothing at all. J and K were relatively fruitful, though I did not discount duplicates where the same song is covered by different artists. Hence we get:
|Playlist: J playlist||Page: 1/1|
|1.||J'ai Deux Amours||Madeleine Peyroux||Careless Love|
|2.||Jack O' Diamonds||Terry Callier||The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier|
|4.||Jazzman||Carole King||The Living Room Tour (Disc 1)|
|5.||Jealous Words||Richard Thompson||The Old Kit Bag|
|6.||Jeepers Creepers||Barney Kessel||Kessel Plays Standards|
|7.||Jelly jelly||Lonnie Johnson||The Living Room Session|
|8.||Jelly Roll||Charles Mingus||Mingus Ah Um|
|9.||Jesus Was An Only Son||Bruce Springsteen||Devils & Dust|
|10.||Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair||Richard & Linda Thompson||Pour Down Like Silver|
|11.||Jim Jones In Botany Bay||Martin Carthy||Signs Of Life|
|12.||Jocky Full Of Burbon||John Hammond, Jr.||Wicked Grin|
|13.||John Brown||Eric Andersen||Waves: Great American Song Series Vol. 2|
|14.||John Henry||Woody Guthrie||The Very Best Of Woody Guthrie|
|15.||John Parfit||Martin Carthy||Signs Of Life|
|16.||Johnny Be Gay If You Can Be||Terry Callier||The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier|
|17.||Johnny Too Bad||John Martyn/Danny Thompson||Brewery Arts Centre Kendal 1986|
|18.||Johnny's Gone to Hilo||Kate & Anna McGarrigle||The McGarrigle Hour|
|19.||Jolly Ploughboys||Kate Rusby||Hourglass|
|21.||Ju Ju Man||Brinsley Schwarz||Original Golden Greats/15 Thoughts of Brinsley Schwarz|
|22.||Jump The Joint||Eugene Bridges||Jump The Joint|
|23.||Jumper On The Line||R.L. Burnside||First Recordings|
|24.||Junk Man - Toni Price||Various Artists - Shanachie Records Blues/R&B||Screamin' and Hollerin' The Blues|
|25.||Just can't last||Natalie Merchant||Motherland|
|26.||Just Like A Bird Without A Feather||R.L. Burnside||First Recordings|
|27.||Just Like A Woman||Beres Hammond||Is It Rolling Bob?|
|28.||Just Like A Woman||Richie Havens||Mixed Bag|
|29.||Just Like A Women [Live]||Bob Dylan And The Rolling Thunder Review||Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5) (Disc 2)|
|30.||Just Like Greta||Van Morrison||Magic Time|
|31.||Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues||Bill Kirchen||Hard Rain • A Tribute To Bob Dylan|
|32.||Just My Imagination||Terry Callier||Speak Your Peace|
|33.||Just My Way||Jorma Kaukonen||Jorma Kaukonen Trio: Live|
|34.||Just One Of Those Things||Rosemary Clooney||Rosemary Clooney Sings The Music Of Cole Porter|
|35.||Just The Other Side Of Nowhere||Johnny Cash||Unearthed Volume I - Who's gonna Cry|
J playlist: 35 songs, 2.4 hours, 158.1 MB
|Playlist: K playlist||Page: 1/1|
|1.||K Twist||Kenny Burrell||Midnight Blue|
|2.||Kadi Kadi||Ali Farka Touré And Toumani Diabeté||In The Heart Of The Moon|
|3.||Kaira||Ali Farka Touré And Toumani Diabeté||In The Heart Of The Moon|
|4.||Kala||Ali Farka Touré And Toumani Diabeté||In The Heart Of The Moon|
|5.||Kaleh Bazetsen||Zev Feldman & Andy Statman||Klezmer Music|
|6.||Kallarash||Zev Feldman & Andy Statman||Klezmer Music|
|7.||Kamaro||The Cool Crooners Of Bulawayo||Blue Sky|
|8.||Kansas City Blues||Paul Rishell And Annie Raines||Moving to the Country|
|9.||Karakoum||Anouar Brahem||Astrakan Cafe|
|10.||Karet||John Zorn's Masada String Trio||The Circle Maker: Issachar|
|11.||Kazalski||David Grisman With Andy Statman||Songs Of Our Fathers : Traditional Jewish Melodies|
|12.||Ke Kgale||Philip Tabane And Malombo||Malombo|
|13.||Kecu Minino Na Tchora||Bidinte||Putumayo- African Odyssey|
|14.||Keep Me In Your Heart||Warren Zevon||The Wind|
|15.||Keep Mediocrity At Bay||Van Morrison||Magic Time|
|16.||Keep On Runnin'||Cat Power||You Are Free|
|17.||Keep Your Hands Off Her||Paul Rishell And Annie Raines||Moving to the Country|
|18.||Kenny's Sound||Kenny Burrell||Midnight Blue|
|19.||Kentucky Moonshiner||Dave Van Ronk||Inside Dave Van Ronk|
|20.||Kentucky Waltz||Doc Watson And David Grisman||Doc And Dawg|
|21.||Kgotso Africa||Moses Khumalo||Mntungwa|
|22.||Khebar||John Zorn Bar Kokhba Sextet||The Circle Maker - Zevulun|
|23.||Khotan||Anouar Brahem||Astrakan Cafe|
|24.||Killing The Blues||Chris Smither||Chris Smither Live At McCabe's Guitar Shop 03/14/2003 (Disc 1)|
|25.||Kind Folks||Kenny Wheeler||Dream Sequence|
|26.||Kind Mama||Blind Willie McTell||The Classic Years 1927 - 1940 (Disc 1)|
|27.||Kindhearted Woman Blues||R.L. Burnside||Acoustic Stories|
|28.||King Harvest (Has Surely Come)||The Band||Greatest Hits|
|29.||King of Hearts||Lucinda Williams||Happy Woman Blues|
|30.||Kingsport Town||Cat Power||The Covers Record|
|31.||Kisofim||John Zorn Bar Kokhba Sextet||The Circle Maker - Zevulun|
|32.||Kiss Me Baby||Ray Charles||The Essential Collection|
|33.||Kiss The Children||Gram Parsons||G.P. / Grievous Angel|
|34.||Klap Hands Here Comes Klezmer||Stewart Curtis K-Groove||Smoked Salmon Salsa|
|35.||Kneeling Down||Tord Gustavsen Trio||The Ground|
|36.||Knockin' On Heaven's Door||David Grisman, Jerry Garcia And Tony Rice||The Pizza Tapes|
|37.||Knockin' On Heaven's Door||Luciano||Is It Rolling Bob?|
|38.||Knockin' On Heaven's Door||Warren Zevon||The Wind|
|39.||Knockin' On Heavens Door||Warren Zevon||Uncut Jan 05 • Tracks Inspired By Bob Dylan|
|40.||Knockin' On Heavens Door [Live]||Bob Dylan And The Rolling Thunder Review||Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5) (Disc 2)|
|41.||Knot of place and time||Jan Garbarek||In Praise of Dreams|
|42.||Knowing Me, Knowing You||Wondermints||Q - Ultimate Songwriters|
|43.||Kochot||John Zorn's Masada String Trio||The Circle Maker: Issachar|
|45.||Kona Hora||Uzca [USA]||A Jewish Odyssey|
|46.||Kulala||Msimang, Aura||Putumayo- African Odyssey|
|47.||Kun li-guitari wataran ayyuha al-maa'||Dawn Upshaw||Ayre|
|48.||Kutambura Chete||The Four Brothers||Bros|
K playlist: 48 songs, 3.4 hours, 229.3 MB
So there you have it. Now what you do with this information...
November 24, 2005 | Permalink
This past Saturday, the Torah portion that was read in synagogues around the world – Vayeira – concerned, inter alia, the aborted sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham. This is generally referred to as the Binding of Isaac. Here are a few different takes on this seminal story:
God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."
You who build these altars now
To sacrifice these children,
You must not do it anymore.
A scheme is not a vision
And you never have been tempted
By a demon or a god.
You who stand above them now,
Your hatchets blunt and bloody,
You were not there before,
When I lay upon a mountain
And my father’s hand was trembling
With the beauty of the word.
(Full lyrics here)
Having acknowledged the voice of God, Abraham commits himself to do God's will.
The true act of acceptance, however, the inception of the Jewish religion, is not Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, but his willingness to accept the command not to do so.
The real hero of the Isaac story was the ram,
who didn’t know about the conspiracy between the others.
November 22, 2005 | Permalink
For a start, there are these guys, who performed at the 2000 Democratic National Convention Welcome Party and are available for weddings, barmitzvahs. etc.
Then there's this place whose mayor has a kid in law school and who spent a year in Nottingham.
If you miss the values of the Hollywood you're familiar with, go here. (I see Michael Gambon's stock has risen [by H$2.50]).
November 19, 2005 | Permalink
Most of Wallace Stevens' successful corporate career was spent in Connecticut, where he worked at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company - rising to the position of vice president. His secretary typed up the drafts of his poems, the best of which he wrote after the age of 50. Apparently, he wrote several articles on indemnity insurance as well, but they haven't achieved quite the widespread reputation of his poetry (though I'm sure they're very good).
The poem below, The Emperor of Ice Cream, was apparently one of Stevens' favourites of his own poems:
The Emperor of Ice-Cream
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
November 12, 2005 | Permalink
Finally...everything you need to know about Franz Kafka's insurance industry expertise in one place:
Kafka was 24 when he went to work for Assicurazioni Generali. Apparently, he wasn't crazy about it. Some nine months later, he moved to the Arbeiter-Unfall-Versicherungs-Anstalt für das Königreich Böhmen in Prag (Workers' Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague). His first trip for the firm was to Tetschen. He was one of two Jews employed by the firm.
According to literarytraveler.com:
He conducted studies of how workplace accidents happen, recommending new safety devices and procedures to prevent on-the-job injuries, particularly in the lumber industry. His work was well respected and he was recommended for a medal.
He was also responsible for handling complaints by companies against the risk rating they'd been given. Nicholas Murray's recent biography provides more detail:
...His first-hand knowledge of industrial injury and the sufferings of workers in factories where employers paid scant regard to safety procedures confirmed him in his natural sympathy for those at the bottom of the pile. 'How modest these men are,' he told [Max] Brod. 'They come to us and beg. Instead of storming the Institute and smashing it to little pieces, they come and beg.'
Although Kafka always claimed that he was not very good at his job, this was not the opinion of his employers, who promoted him several times.
According to Murray, he was also popular in the office.
A 1986 BBC TV movie, The Insurance Man, scripted by Alan Bennett, has a dye worker trying to wade through a bureaucratic bog to establish his entitlement to compensation for a strange rash. He is eventually helped – with mixed results – by Kafka (Daniel Day Lewis).
November 10, 2005 | Permalink
Some of you (probably not very many) may be wondering about the ruckus that is apparently on the verge of tearing apart the main Zimbabwean opposition movement, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). It revolves around whether or not to take part in upcoming elections for the about-to-be-recreated senate.
For arguments about whether or not the MDC should take part in these elections, there is a thumbnail sketch of both sides here.
The argument pits Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, against the majority of his Executive. I am not a member of the MDC, but my own view is that, as a parliamentary opposition, they should take part in the same way that they took part in the parliamentary elections in March, to which similar objections were raised.
In principle, I'd say that if a political party has decision-making processes that are broadly regarded by the membership as fair, then healthy, open debate up until the point of decision-making is a good thing, but once a decision has been made according to fair criteria, members should acknowledge its legitimacy, even if they disagree with it. Any subsequent dissent from that decision should be seen as just that – a dissenting opinion.
The problem for the MDC is that, while the main decision-making body of the party voted narrowly in favour of participation, I suspect that the majority of the party base supports Tsvangirai's position that the whole Senate thing is a fraud. Again, my own view is that a bicameral system is a better inheritance than a unicameral system.
On a (tenuously) related matter, the UN bookshop in New York sells a little item called the World Satistics Pocketbook, which I picked up a few days ago. It has a host of economic and social statistics listed by country. The last two countries in the 2005 edition are Zambia (page 210) and Zimbabwe (page 211).
Here are some comparative statistics:
Exchange rate versus US$
Zambia: 1995=956.13 9/2004=4,906.14
Zimbabwe: 1995=9.31 9/2004=5,616.38
Consumer price index (1990=100)
Zambia: 1995=3,381 8/2004=23,672
Zimbabwe: 1995=335 4/2004=109,280
Industrial production index (1995=100)
Zambia: 1995=100 2003=105
Zimbabwe: 1995=100 2003=80
Food production index (1999-2000=100)
Zambia: 1995=86 2003=107
Zimbabwe: 1995=67 2003=87
UPDATE: Re the last line of this post of Norm's, so do I, even though it appears to be a minority position.
A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
Enriched by the short intros to each poem, sometimes critical, provided by Milosz.
Isaac Deutscher: The Non-Jewish Jew
This was a great help in kickstarting the escalator post and is worth reading even if you aren't interested in escalators.
Louis & Allen Ginsberg: Family Business: Selected Letters Between a Father and Son
This collection of letters illustrates superbly the tensions that inhere in two types of reconciliation: the parental desire to judge and protect; and the filial desire to plough one's own furrow while seeking parental approval for the results.