Monday, November 23, 2015

Fix the Eagles

I am a musician.  I played the cello in many orchestras and in occasional recitals. I see a similarity between orchestra,  and team sports.  In orchestras, all the musicians play together to make a complete sound.  And yet, if one instrument is out of tune, out of time, or out of sync, the entire orchestra ensemble sounds terrible.

Ask any musician if he practices and the answer has to be the familiar one:  if I miss one day, I know it; if I miss two days, the critics know it; and if I miss three days the audience knows it.

The football players have an ironclad contract that limits the amount of group practice.  But, there don't appear to be any restrictions on individual practices.

For instance, musicians practice scales, arpeggios, and finger exercises.  Football players should practice the equivalences:  running, bench pressing, and tackling.  These are the same as scale, arpeggios, and finger exercises for musicians.  The more they practice, the better they will be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paris is still the city of light

Once you get by the blood, explosions, vitriol, death and injuries and can look at the background scenes of buildings, streets, and the streetscapes you can see the Paris that the great Impressionists painted  No wonder they were so thrilled with the settings and it's also no wonder that they wanted to congregate in Paris.  And it is the light.  Not the light of Edison, but the light of nature.  .

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Birthday Breakfast

    I made a special birthday breakfast for myself today - my "Music Man" birthday.  I eat oatmeal to try to control my cholesterol; but, I do not like oatmeal.  I especially dislike the odor that oatmeal emits  when it is cooking; so I figured out a noncooking method that I can tolerate. I pour the raw oats into a bowl (1/2 cup of the oats) and add raisins, unsweetened pure cocoa powder to the bowl and then cook it all, in the bowl, with hot coffee.  I can eat it if I manage to add enough fruit so that every mouthful has at least one piece of fruit - cut up nectarines, peaches, plums, some grapes, sometimes even cantaloupe.  But I still don't like it.  And, I eat this every other morning.  The other mornings, I eat an egg white omelet with cut up mushrooms and peppers.

     This morning. I cut up the veggies the way I usually do, and cooked them as usual but I covered the pan to create some veggie liquid and soften the veggies.  Finally, I put 4 tablespoons of tomato puree in the bowl with the egg whites; added some water to the mixture and 1/2 cup of the raw oats.  I beat it all together, poured it over the veggies, cooked the omelet as usual, and enjoyed it.  I finally found a way I can eat oatmeal.  I will still continue with the oatmeal, chocolate, coffee, and fruit every other day but, from now on, my omelets will be oatmeal too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mauna Kea and the new construction of a telescope

     I think that the people who are protesting modern development and construction on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii are misguided.  Undoubtedly, the land is sacred - but all land has sacred values; not to be misused for pure profit, but for the betterment of all people.

     Surely, the Polynesians who suffered through storms, hunger, floods, and other calamities were searching for a better life for generations and generations to come.  They revered the environment and looked to nature for guidance.

     Now, the modern beneficiaries of their courage and free thinking seek ways to continue the natural progression of life. Building a large telescope on Mauna Kea honors the ancestors. What do you think they would say if their parents and grandparents stopped their daredevil  voyages in the name of progress.

     Building the large telescope with all the implications of discovery would, no doubt, honor the memories of the ancestors.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Donald and Me

    When he descended on that elevator, I was listening for Burt Parks' rendition of "Here She Is, Miss America."  All Trump really needed was a tiara on his pouffy hair and a long, jewel encrusted gown.

     And then he spoke about his dreams for the future, and his xenophobic comments and racist diatribes would have eliminated him from the contest.  He would never win the prize for congeniality.

     Trump reminded me of a person I knew who also had no qualifications and no experience in running for any office, let alone a national one.  This person actually appeared as a viable candidate on the primary ballot.  The calls went out for donations and I was bombarded by questions.  My advice - open your window; picture dollar bills floating down to the street; and determine how much you can afford to throw away.

     The similarities - they both provide conic relief in a tense world.  We need all the comic relief we can get.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

San Quentin prison break

     On one of our trips to San Francisco, we took the ferry to Napa Valley and passed San Quentin prison.  One of the hostesses on the ferry told us that she was babysitting at the time of a prison break and she was frightened.  She said that she armed herself with a bottle of hair spray and a hair brush and didn't move from the front door until the prisoners were caught.

     While she was telling us that story, she got nervous all over again.  Her face paled, her speech became more rapid, and her breathing was heavier.  Then, she got herself a drink of water and sat down with us and became calm again.

     We are reminded of this story because of the prison break in New York - but son't worry, we have our hair spray right at hand,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tiny Bubbles

.,.     Heard a commercial that featured a few seconds of music - tiny bubbles, and that reminded me of one of our 35 trips to Hawaii when a remarkably friendly bus driver serenaded us with the whole Tiny Bubbles song.  What a treat!

     He was quite an amusing driver.  He identified all the famous landmarks on our trip:  Duke Kahanamoku statue, Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha statue.  Various stores and car agencies, owned by several of the movers and shakers in Hawaii.  And then, he stopped the bus, ran out, and took the jacket that his wife was holding out for him.  When he came back in, he said that he had forgotten his jacket in the morning and since it would be a little chilly by the time he was coming home, his wife agreed to meet him with the jacket.

     As we continued on the ride, he complained about the  construction and the tall buildings that blocked his view.  He used to be able to look out his front door, see the ocean, and determine whether it would be a good surfing day.  Now, he said, he could not see a thing.

     He also complained about the Duke Kahanamoku statue - that it was facing the wrong way, with its back to the Pacific Ocean.  Kahanmoku warned all the swimmers and surfers never to turn their backs on the water.  And yet, the statue is erected with his back to the water that he loved so much.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Avoiding another Baltimore

     The rioting in Ferguson and now in Baltimore exemplify the hopeless and hapless attitudes of the rioters.  And yet, police anger and political inaction are linked as causes.  I am suggesting 3 relatively simple procedures that ought to cut down, and hopefully eliminate the causes.

     First of all, every law enforcement person, all over the country, must take a course in anger management every year.  This is not to be seen as a reflection on the person's ability or inability to control his anger.  One could call it a refresher course.

     Second, there must be no more police stops for broken tail lights.  Instead, take a date and time stamped photo of the offending car and mail a ticket to the owner.

     Third, the police must not stop anyone who is running.  Running is a legal activity and, even if running raises suspicions among the law enforcement people, the runner must not be stopped for running.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Social Security

So, Chris Christie is attacking Social Security benefits - he calls them entitlements.  I don't know if the Social Security fund is in trouble or not.  But, assuming that it is, by cutting the money that we old guys get seems cruel and heartless.

I have another idea.  Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the jargon so I will use common sense language.

Workers (and their employers) pay into the fund but only until a maximum level of income has been reached.  Let's eliminate the maximum line and have everyone pay.  And, with everyone paying, the % that would be needed to keep the fund solvent would have to be less than today's rate.  I'm not an expert in economics or finance so those people would have to provide the pertinent numbers.

Now, for the payout.  The maximum that anyone would receive would also be capped at an appropriate level with increases for all based on the cost of living.