March 2018 Notebook
Index
Latest

2018
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2017
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2016
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2015
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2014
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2013
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2012
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2011
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2010
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2009
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2008
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2007
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2006
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2005
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2004
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2003
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2002
  Dec
  Nov
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb
  Jan
2001
  Dec
  Oct
  Sep
  Aug
  Jul
  Jun
  May
  Apr
  Mar
  Feb

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Daily Log

Trying to decide between crudités and canapés. Found this list of 50 quick canapé toppings:

  1. Goat cheese, top with chopped canned beets, an orange segment, fresh mint
  2. Fig jam, top with gorgonzola and prosciutto.
  3. Fig jam, top with goat cheese, chopped walnuts.
  4. Butter, top with thin-sliced bread-and-butter pickles.
  5. Hummus, top with olive tapenade.
  6. Sliced figs, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt.
  7. Mash avocado with salt and lime juice; spread, top with shrimp.
  8. Ricotta cheese, top with chopped roasted red peppers, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Rub with garlic clove, top with sliced plum tomatoes; sprinkle with sea salt.
  10. Butter, top with thin sliced radishes, sprinkle with sea salt.
  11. Toss canned tuna with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, chopped parsley and salt; spread.
  12. Gorgonzola, top with sliced pears.
  13. Chopped grapes, wrap with prosciutto.
  14. Pesto and shaved parmesan cheese.
  15. Pesto, crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes.
  16. Pesto and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  17. Mashed avocado, top with crumbled bacon and sprouts.
  18. Ricotta cheese, drizzle with olive oil, add dash of salt and pepper.
  19. Brush with olive oil; add thin slice of manchego, top with chorizo.
  20. Chop rotisserie chicken meat and toss with barbecue sauce, top with chopped pickles.
  21. Mayonnaise with wasabi paste; top with lump crab meat.
  22. Mayonnaise and wasabi paste; toss chopped sushi-grade tuna with sesame oil.
  23. Whip cream cheese and chopped dill; top with thin smoked salmon.
  24. Taleggio cheese, top with candied pecans or walnuts.
  25. Apple butter, top with crumbled blue cheese and chopped fresh sage.
  26. Saute finely chopped mushrooms in butter, season with salt and thyme, top with shaved parmesan cheese.
  27. Saute thinly sliced onions in butter until carmelized; spread with brie cheese, top with apple slices and carmelized onion.
  28. Thinly sliced apples and grated cheddar cheese; broil until melted.
  29. Butter, top with thinly sliced ham and a cornichon slice.
  30. Cranberry sauce, top with thin ly sliced turkey, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  31. Saute thinly sliced fennel and golden raising in olive oil.
  32. Combine cream cheese and chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce; top with thinly sliced smoked turkey.
  33. Fresh tomato pulp; sprinkle with sea salt and fresh basil.
  34. Combine refried beans with chopped green chilles; top with pepper jack cheese and broil until melted.
  35. Combine sour cream and cream cheese with horseradish; top with thinly sliced roast beef.
  36. Halve asparagus tips lengthwise, steam and season with salt; spread egg salad and top with asparagus tip.
  37. Wilt baby spinach, toss with crumbled bacon; top with chopped hard-boiled eggs.
  38. Toss finely chopped romaine with Caesar dressing and grated parmesan; top with anchovy.
  39. Brie cheese, top with thinly sliced ham and a dollop of grainy mustard.
  40. Mascarpone; top with crumbled bacon and chopped grapes.
  41. Whip cream cheese with lemon zest, top with fresh raspberries.
  42. Nutella, top with orange marmalade.
  43. Mascarpone, top with thinly sliced melon and prosciutto.
  44. Orange marmalade, top with thinly sliced smoked turkey and smoked mozzarella cheese.
  45. Saute thinly sliced apples in butter until soft; top with sliced ham.
  46. Creamy peanut butter; top with sliced bananas, drizzle with honey.
  47. Whip peanut butter and marshmallow fluff; top with shaved chocolate.
  48. Cream cheese; top with hot pepper jelly.
  49. Ricotta cheese; drizzle with honey; dash of pepper.
  50. Whip mascarpone and confectioners sugar; brush with espresso, spread, top with shaved chocolate and cocoa powder.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Streamnotes (March 2018)

Pick up source here.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29517 [29490] rated (+27), 367 [378] unrated (-11).

Tough week for me, although next week should be even rougher -- certainly harder to get anything done: memorial service for my sister is Saturday, March 31, and various family and friends will be arriving from Wednesday on. I'm going to try to wrap up Streamnotes early so I won't have to deal with it late in the week. In any case, it will be one of my shortest in many months, probably years. Also the grade curve seems to have slipped severely: A-list currently just two long each for new and old music, with a roughly even break. Possible, I suppose, that my personal malaise is dragging down my grade curve. Also possible I'm just not finding good tips. I will say that I gave Christgau's grade A jazz pick (Mast) four plays before I gave up on it. And I didn't find last year's Monk vault tape, Les Laisions Dangereuses 1960 any better. As for the Ornette Coleman twofer, the two Impulse albums it collects are the only official Colemans I still haven't heard.

By the way, Ram Lama Hull has set up a website for Kathy Hull, including a gallery of some of her artwork. A memorial service will be held for her at 1:00 PM at First UU, 7202 E. 21st St. N., Wichita, KS 67206.


New records rated this week:

  • Heather Bennett: Lazy Afternoon (2018, Summit): [r]: B
  • Chris Dave: Chris Dave and the Drumhedz (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B
  • Caroline Davis: Heart Tonic (2018, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(**)
  • Dogwood: Hecate's Hounds (2018, Nusica.org): [r]: B+(**)
  • Bill Frisell: Music IS (2017 [2018], Okeh): [r]: B+(**)
  • Gwenno: Le Kov (2018, Heavenly): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Heavyweights Brass Band: This City (2018, Lulaworld): [cd]: B+(***)
  • MAST: Thelonious Sphere Monk (2018, World Galaxy): [r]: B+(***)
  • Adam Nussbaum: The Lead Belly Project (2018, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(**)
  • Aruán Ortiz Trio: Live in Zürich (2016 [2018], Intakt): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Bobby Previte: Rhapsody (2017 [2018], RareNoise): [cdr]: B
  • Steve Reich: Pulse/Quartet (2018, Nonesuch): [r]: B+(*)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Kang Tae Hwan: Live at Café Amores (1995 [2018], NoBusiness): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Bill Warfield Big Band: For Lew (1990-2014 [2018], Planet Arts): [cd]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • The Barry Altschul Quartet: For Stu (1979 [1981], Soul Note): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Barry Altschul Quartet: Irina (1983, Soul Note): [r]: B+(***)
  • The Barry Altschul Quartet/Quintet: That's Nice (1985 [1986], Soul Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Paul Bley/John Surman/Bill Frisell/Paul Motian: The Paul Bley Quartet (1987 [1988], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Surman: Such Winters of Memory (1982 [1983], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Surman: Withholding Pattern (1984 [1985], ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • John Surman: Private City (1987 [1988], ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • John Surman Quartet: Stranger Than Fiction (1993 [1994], ECM): [r]: B+(***)
  • John Surman: A Biography of the Rev. Absalom Dawe (1994 [1995], ECM): [r]: B+(***)
  • John Surman/Jack DeJohnette: Invisible Nature (2000 [2002], ECM): [r]: A-
  • John Surman: Free and Equal (2001 [2003], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Surman/Howard Moody: Rain on the Window (2006 [2008], ECM): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Roger Kellaway Trio: New Jazz Standards Vol. 3 (Summit)
  • Otherworld Ensemble: Live at Malmitalo (Edgetone): April 3
  • Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble: Rogue Star (Edgetone): April 3

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Weekend Roundup

With Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster recently purged, Mike Pompeo promoted to Secretary of State, torture diva Gina Haspel taking over the CIA, and veteran blowhard John Bolton given the laughable title of National Security Adviser, the closest the administration can come to a moderating voice of sanity in foreign affairs is the guy nicknamed "Mad Dog." Trump continues to replace his first team of "yes men" with even more sycophantic wannabes, doubling down on his search for the least critical, least competent hacks in American politics. On the other hand, it's not as if delegating policy to the Republican Party apparatchiki was doing anything to accomplish his vision of "making America great again." Over the last few weeks he's not only made major strides at cleaning house, he's pushed out several of his signature trade initiatives. He seems determined to double down until he blows himself up -- and surely you realize by now the last thing he cares about is how that affects anyone else.

I don't say much about trade below, although I've probably read a dozen pieces complaining either about how ineffective his tariffs will be or how they'll lead to trade wars and other mischief that will make us poorer. The first thing to understand about trade is that business has already adjusted to whatever the status quo is, so anything that changes it is going to upset their apple cart, much faster than it's going to help anyone else out. So all restrictions on trade seem bad to someone prepared to shout out about it. On the other hand, business is eager to promote expansions to trade that offer short-term benefits, especially before anyone who's going to be hurt can get organized. So I take most of what I read with a grain of salt: not just because the dialogue is polluted by interested bodies but because it's kind of a sideshow. The question that matters is not whether there's more trade or less, but what is the power balance between capital and labor (and consumers, sure, but they're often touted by capitalists as the real beneficiaries of lower-priced imports, something capitalists wouldn't bother us with if they didn't stand to be bigger winners). The problem with TPP wasn't that it reduced trade barriers. It was that it reduced the power of people to regulate corporations, and that it sought to increase corporate rents through "intellectual property" claims.

Aside from raising tax revenues, the purpose of tariffs is to protect investment by organizing a captive, non-competitive market. However, in a world where there is already more steelmaking capacity than there is market, American steel companies won't make the investments to increase steel production. Rather, they'll reap excess profits while the tariffs last -- which probably won't be for long. Of course, that's not even what Trump's thinking. He thinks he's penalizing foreign misbehavior (like subsidizing investment then dumping overproduction). Maybe the real problem is that Americans aren't doing the same things? But there's a reason for that: we do all our business through private corporations, which workers and citizens have no stake in, so we don't even have the concept of directing investment where it might yield broad benefits.

On the other hand, note that if China decides to impose tariffs on American goods, they're likely to back those up with strategic investments to build competitive industries, temporarily protected behind those tariffs. For an example of the kind of piece I've been ignoring (but spurred some of my thinking above), see Eduardo Porter/Guilbert Gates: How Trump's Protectionism Could Backfire. Somewhat more amusing is Paul Krugman: Trump and Trade and Zombies. Also see Paul Krugman Explains Trade and Tariffs.


Some scattered links this week:

  • Matthew Yglesias: The week's 4 most important political stories, explained: John Bolton will be the national security adviser (replacing H.R. McMaster; quote: "Bolton apparently promised Trump 'he wouldn't start any wars' as a condition for getting the job, so maybe he won't"); Trump switched trade wars (first, the steel tariffs got gutted by carving out exceptions for a bunch of countries which make up a large majority of US steel imports; then Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese goods); We have an omnibus ($1.3 trillion in government spending, including a little for the wall and a lot for the military); Facebook is in hot water over data leaks (above and beyond the mischief they do of their own). Other Yglesias pieces this week:

    • The partisan gender gap among millennials is staggeringly large: "Women born after 1980 favor Democrats 70-23."

    • The case against Facebook: actually, several cases, including that it "makes people depressed and lonely," and that it's poisoning society:

      Rumors, misinformation, and bad reporting can and do exist in any medium. But Facebook created a medium that is optimized for fakeness, not as an algorithmic quirk but due to the core conception of the platform. By turning news consumption and news discovery into a performative social process, Facebook turns itself into a confirmation bias machine -- a machine that can best be fed through deliberate engineering.

      In reputable newsrooms, that's engineering that focuses on graphic selection, headlines, and story angles while maintaining a commitment to accuracy and basic integrity. But relaxing the constraint that the story has to be accurate is a big leg up -- it lets you generate stories that are well-designed to be psychologically pleasing, like telling Trump-friendly white Catholics that the pope endorsed their man, while also guaranteeing that your outlet gets a scoop.

    • Everyone loves nurses and hates Mitch McConnell.

    • The myth of "forcing people out of their cars"

    • Donald Trump's threat to the rule of law is much bigger than Robert Mueller.

  • Fred Kaplan: It's Time to Panic Now: "John Bolton's appointment as national security adviser puts us on a path to war." Bolton may or may not be the most consistent, most inflexible of neocon warmongers, but where he has really distinguished himself is in obstructing any option other than war. If he can't bully the other side into submission, he'll launch an attack, convinced of American omnipotence and oblivious to any evidence to the contrary. The job of National Security Adviser is to offer the president a range of options. Bolton sees no range, and Trump must know that. If Trump's been frustrated by being surrounded by advisers who argued against launching a "preventive" war with North Korea, he won't have any problems with Bolton.

    For more background on Bolton, see David Bosco: The World According to Bolton [PDF, originally from 2005]. More Bolton pieces:

  • Jen Kirby: The March for Our Lives, explained: "Thousands turned out for rallies in Washington, DC, and hundreds of cities across the United States."

  • Nomi Prins: Jared Kushner, You're Fired: "A Political Obituary for the President's Son-in-Law."

  • Matt Taibbi: The Legacy of the Iraq War: Fifteen year anniversary piece of Bush's invasion of Iraq. I would put more stress on Bush's earlier invasion of Afghanistan, and indeed the whole premise that the overbloated US military should be trusted, if not to defend us from attacks like 9/11 at least to avenge them. On the other hand, Taibbi goes the extra step in showing how the misuse of the military in the Global War on Terror is rooted in the much older multi-faceted war the US fought against the workers and peasants of the world, the one we sanitize by calling it the Cold War. He also ends memorably on Trump:

    It was for sure a contributing factor in the election of Donald Trump, whose total ignorance and disrespect for both the law and the rights of people deviates not one iota from our official policies as they've evolved in the last fifteen years.

    Trump is just too stupid to use the antiseptic terminology we once thought we had to cook up to cloak our barbarism. He says "torture" instead of "enhanced interrogation" because he can't remember what the difference is supposed to be. Which is understandable. Fifteen years is a long time for a rotting brain to keep up a pretense.

    We flatter ourselves that Trump is an aberration. He isn't. He's a depraved, cowardly, above-the-law bully, just like the country we've allowed ourselves to become in the last fifteen years.

    Posted before Trump's Bolton pick, but the likeness is pretty glaring. Also looking back on America's recent wars: Andrew Bacevich: A Memo to the Publisher of the New York Times. One thing here is that I don't see how you can complain about the Times' contribution to "having tacitly accepted that, for the United States, war has become a permanent condition," without noting a single thing that the Times has published on Israel in the last, oh, sixty years.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Daily Log

Finally got around to sending out a letter to my various email contacts regarding Kathy's death and memorial service:

By now, I reckon most of you have heard the tragic news that my sister, Kathy Hull, died on March 12, around 4:30 AM. on March 6, around 9:30 AM, she was struck by a car while in a crosswalk between the parking lot and her office at Wichita State University. The car was moving about 15 mph. Kathy was knocked to the ground, and his the back of her head on the pavement, fracturing the skull and causing various internal brain bleeds. She was stabilized and put into the SICU at Wesley Hospital. Her prognosis was never clear, but the bleeding was deemed inoperable. She suffered respiratory complications, and underwent a branchoscopy to clear her lungs. She was mostly conscious, only sometimes coherent, but toward the end seemed to be getting better. The case worker was talking about moving her to a rehabilitation hospital in Nebraska that specializes in traumatic brain injury. Then her heart stopped during a routine respiratory treatment, and they were unable to revive her after 30 minutes.

There will be a memorial service for her on Saturday, March 31, at First UU Church, 7202 E. 21st St. N., Wichita, KS 67206, at 1 PM, with a reception following. There is no cemetery part. She has been cremated, but only after Matt Walston took impressions for molding death masks. There will be a get-together the following afternoon at what is now Ram Lama Hull's house, 2228 S. Main, Wichita, KS 67213 -- the same house my parents bought a year before I was born. I'll be supervising the food for both events.

Mike Hull came to Wichita last week and started photographing Kathy's art and taping interviews with family and friends, so her death may well yield more art. She was a remarkable and very distinctive artist, and had been in a particularly fruitful period -- among other things looking forward to a showing of her massive Sacred Spaces project later this year. We will, over time, make a concerted effort to collect and display her work, as well as remember her life. Over the next few days I'll put up a crude web page at http://tomhull.com/ocston/kathy/index.php with some useful links.

I've rummaged through the address book for names, picking out the few I'm pretty sure who at least met her. Figured I'd bcc to avoid clutter (and accidental reply-alls), but that runs the risk of getting discarded. If you know of anyone who should receive this, please pass it on. If you have any more questions or just want to commiserate, write back or call. Sorry I've been tardy in getting the word out. Even before this it's been a pretty depressing period, and I haven't felt up to much of anything. Perhaps, like my first wife's death, this will be a wake-up call to start living again.

Names I picked out from address book: Pat Baird, Dorlan Bales, Jan Barnes, Dorothy Billings, Connie Bonfy, Janice Bradley, Dan Brown, Devoe Brown, Kathryn Brown, Ken Brown, Max Brown, Susan Brown, Jane Burns, Kyle Burns, Georgia Christgau, Robert Christgau, Leah Dannar-Garcia, Carola Dibbell, Sara Driscoll, Ingeri Eaton, T.J. Edmonds, Gretchen Eick, Jerry Feder, Julian Fleron, Lou Jean Fleron, Barbara Gingrich, Naomi Glauberman, Deborah Gordon, Bart Grahl, Shan Haider, Don Hull[-], Josi Hull, Kirsten Hull, Mike Hull, Rachel Hull, Ram Hull, Steven Hull, Kathy Jenkins, Linda Jordan, Harold Karabell, Jim Lynch, Don Malcolm, Sonia Mayrath, Brenda Metcalf, Susan Moir[-], Bill Morgan, Maher Musleh, Connie Pace, Russ Pataky, Mike Poage, Arthur Protin, Rhonda Pyeatt, Eleanor Roffman, Judy Kay Siler, Frank Smith, Jerry Stewart, Michael Tatum, Rannfrid Thelle, Laura Tillem, Elias Vlanton, Bronwen Zwirner.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29490 [29476] rated (+14), 378 [368] unrated (+10).

Miserable fucking week. I've developed an itch over much of my body, which dermatologist couldn't identify but it treating symptomatically: various steroid and non-steroid creams and lotions. Marginally better today, but on top of everything else has kept me from feeling like doing much of anything all week. One exception was that I did some cooking.

My nephew Mike, his wife Morgan and sister Kirsten flew into town to try to document my late sister's artwork, which they mostly did in my basement. First night they were working late and getting hungry, so I threw together a quick pad thai -- one of the few dishes I always have ingredients for, and takes less than an hour to prep and cook (mostly prep). I was originally hoping to do a more substantial dinner on Monday before they were to leave, but wound up fixing two more smaller dinners in the meantime: Saturday was shakshuka (eggs poached in Tunisian tomato sauce) and pan-roasted potatoes. Sunday was baked fish topped with tomato, olives and capers, along with roasted potatoes. (I had a bag of Yukon golds to work through). Also made an oatmeal stout cake. Those were just 4-5 people.

For Monday I planned on doing Greek, and finally did some shopping. We wound up crowded with ten adults and a two-year-old baby. I made baked shrimp with feta cheese, roasted brussels sprouts and various root vegetables (red potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, fennel, shallots) with a lemon-caper dressing, green bean ragout, fried lamb liver tidbits, horiatiki salad, and saganaki (fried kefalograviera cheese; also made a batch with haloumi). Also leftover cake.

Mostly listened to oldies last week, except for late nights on the computer. Even then, mostly picked pop records from recent Christgau reviews -- but two A and two A- records fell short for me, each getting two (some three) plays. I didn't find the latest Chopteeth album, but checked out two old ones. Only three records from my jazz queue, and they all got multiple chances.

Unpacking includes records I forgot to list last week.

Kathy's memorial service will be March 31, so things will start to get crazy again as that approaches. I'll probably post a Streamnotes early next week to get it out of the way, but it will be much shorter than usual.


New records rated this week:

  • Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy (2018, Matador, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Ezra Furman: Transangelic Exodus (2018, Bella Union): [r]: B+(**)
  • Hal Galper Quartet: Cubist (2016 [2018], Origin): [cd]: A-
  • Sergio Galvao/Lupa Santiago/Clement Landais/Franck Enouf: 2X2 (2017 [2018], Origin): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Lucas Niggli: Alchemia Garden (2017 [2018], Intakt): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive (2018, Merge): [r]: B+(**)
  • Yo La Tengo: There's a Riot Going On (2018, Matador): [r]: B+(**)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Black Panther: The Album (Music From and Inspired By) (2018, Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope): [r]: B+(***)

Old music rated this week:

  • Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band: Chopteeth (2008, Grigri Discs): [r]: A-
  • Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band: Live (2010, Grigri Discs): [r]: B+(***)
  • Walter Norris/George Mraz: Drifting (1974 [2007], Enja): [r]: B+(**)
  • Walter Norris/Aladár Pege: Winter Rose (1980, Enja): [r]: B+(*)
  • John Surman: Upon Reflection (1979, ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Surman: The Amazing Adventures of Simon Simon (1981, ECM): [r]: B+(*)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last two weeks:

  • Chamber 3: Transatlantic (OA2): March 16
  • Johan Graden: Olägenheter (Moserobie)
  • Lauren Henderson: Ármame (Brontosaurus): March 30
  • Monika Herzig: Sheroes (Whaling City Sound)
  • Il Sogno: Birthday (Gotta Let It Out -17)
  • Jon Irabagon Quartet: Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics (Irabbagast): May 15
  • Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Vinyl (Moserobie)
  • Dave Liebman/John Stowell: Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet (Origin): March 16
  • Johan Lindström Septett: Music for Empty Halls (Moserobie)
  • The Maguire Twins: Seeking Higher Ground (Three Tree): March 30
  • Diane Moser: Birdsongs (Planet Arts)
  • Michael Moss/Accidental Orchestra: Helix (4th Stream): March 24
  • William Parker: Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics (Gotta Let It Out): May
  • Sonar With David Torn: Vortex (RareNoise): advance, March 30
  • Joshua Trinidad: In November (RareNoise): advance, March 30
  • Frank Wagner: Floating Holiday (MEII)
  • Håvard Wiik Trio: This Is Not a Waltz (Moserobie)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Started this on Sunday, but too many distractions kept me from wrapping it up in a timely fashion. As I've noted already, my sister, Kathy Hull, died last week. We've had visitors and all sorts of chores to do, and I've been plagued by my own health problems. One thing that I did notice was that the sense of horror I felt on hearing the news was one I had experienced several times before: when, for instance, my first wife died, and most recently when Donald Trump was elected president. A big part of that sensation is the dread of facing a future not of unknown and unimaginable consequences but of quite certain pain and loss. The news since election day has merely born out that expected dread. Numerous examples follow, and I'm sure I'm missing at least as much more. One thing I suppose I should take comfort from is that when we finally have a memorial for Kathy (on March 31), we will have fond memories and a lot of art to celebrate. When Trump's term ends we're unlikely to recall a single shred of redeeming value.

Of course, the two events are not comparable in any regard except personal emotional impact on me. The key point is that the shock of the 2016 election, the immediate apprehension of what the American people just did to themselves, hit me pretty much as hard, with much the same body chemistry. Of course, the grief tracks have been/will be different. We will adjust to the impoverished world without her, but the blow has been struck, both final and finite. On the other hand, Trump and his Congress and Courts have barely started to take their toll, which will only grow over time and won't stop when his term ends. On the other hand, there are things that can be done to alter or even reverse the course Trump has set us on. And there is at least one thing I can take comfort in: I've spent literally all of my adult life in opposition to whoever has held political power, as indeed I would still be had Hillary Clinton won, but since the 1970s I've never been in such large or dynamic company. It's also nice to feel no need to defend Clinton when she says something tone-deaf (like her note that she won the urban areas that had fared best under her party's neoliberal advancement) or any of the other petty scandals she's prone to.

By the way, this week is the fifteenth anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq. I took another look at what I wrote on March 18, and much of what I wrote then holds up; especially:

As I write this, we cannot even remotely predict how this war will play out, how many people will die or have their lives tragically transfigured, how much property will be destroyed, how much damage will be done to the environment, what the long-term effects of this war will be on the economy and civilization, both regionally and throughout the world. In lauching his war, Bush is marching blithely into the unknown, and dragging the world with him.

I probably tried too hard to rationalize the Bush case, and I spent a lot of time fantasizing that Iraqis might wise up and figure out how to play the PR game in ways that might limit the destruction. That didn't happen first because the seemingly easy military victory unleashed an extraordinary degree of American hubris, and partly because it took very little resistance to change the American stance from would-be benefactor to occupier and schemer. My other mistake was in failing to see how much the US failure in Afghanistan, which was already obvious even if less observed, prefigured the very same failure in Iraq. Not that I was unaware of Afghanistan. Indeed, I've always known that the prime mistake Bush made after 9/11 was driving into Afghanistan.

Even though this isn't appearing until Tuesday, I've tried to limit the stories/links to last Sunday. Some later ones may have crept in -- especially on the Cambridge Analytica story.


Some scattered links this week:

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daily Log

Working draft for a short obituary for the Wichita Eagle:

Kathy Hull, 60, died on March 12, 2018, after having been hit by a car on the WSU campus. She was an artist, writer, dancer, musician, and educator, having worked for 27 years in the Art Department at WSU. She was preceded in death by her parents, and is survived by her son Ram Lama Hull -- a notable artist in his own right -- by her brothers Tom and Steve Hull, and by dear friends, many of whom she considered family. A celebration of her life will be held on March ??, ?:?? pm at First UU, 7202 E 21st St N, Wichita. Memorials to Trust Women.

Wichita Eagle ran an article on Kathy today: Nichole Manna: WSU staff member dies after being hit by car:

Kathy Hull, a visual resources coordinator in Wichita State University's art school, has died after being hit by a car on March 6, according to the university's newspaper, The Sunflower.

Hull's death was announced during a Faculty Senate meeting Monday afternoon.

Graphic design professor Kirsten Johnson said Hull had inoperable bleeding of the brain, the newspaper reported. She was hit by a car while crossing between Wilner Auditorium and McKnight Art Center. The newspaper reported Hull had been in the crosswalk at the time of the collision.

Johnson called for the installation of speed bumps on campus.

Hull worked at the university for 27 years. Her son told The Sunflower that Hull had a leadership role in creating an art exhibit in 2002 called Sacred Spaces. It featured paper cranes, mosaics and painted doorways to represent the five major world religions. He said this was one the highlights of her career.

Joe Kleinsasser, spokesperson for the university, said Tuesday morning that the accident is still under investigation. Once complete, that information will be shared with the district attorney's office.

The driver of the car was a student, he said.

The reporting here was obviously mostly derived from the Sunflower article: Jenna Farhat: Staff member hit by car on WSU campus dies:

A staff member who was hit by a car on Tuesday died this morning.

Kathy Hull, visual resources coordinator in the Wichita State art school, went into cardiac arrest this morning as a result of complications from her injury, according to her son.

Kirsten Johnson, a graphic design professor, announced Hull's death during a Faculty Senate meeting Monday afternoon.

Johnson said Hull suffered from inoperable bleeding of the brain after she was hit by a car at a crosswalk between Wilner Auditorium and McKnight Art Center.

Ram Lama Hull said his mother was receiving respiratory therapy when her heart failed.

"They attempted to keep her alive, but after thirty minutes I was asked to make the decision to keep trying or to let her pass," Ram Lama Hull said in a Facebook message.

"In years prior, she had been very clear about what she'd want me to do in this kind of situation so I honored her wish to be allowed to die.

"She remembered the attempts to keep her own parents alive and didn't want that," Ram Lama Hull said.

While addressing the Faculty Senate, Johnson recalled when a history professor was hit by a car on campus about two years ago. The woman survived but "had to go through major rehab." The incident was cited by campus police as a reason when they began issuing traffic tickets last semester.

"I'm sick and tired of this. This is the second time we've had people hit in the crosswalk," Johnson said.

Johnson called for the installation of speed bumps on campus.

"I've never heard anything from administration," Johnson said. "And now Kathy has died."

Johnson said Kathy Hull worked at WSU for 27 years and helped the art history slide library transition to digital formatting.

"She was liked by the students and also by us (faculty)," Johnson said.

Kathy Hull's son said one of the highlights of his mother's career at WSU was her leadership role in creating an art exhibit in 2002, called Sacred Spaces. The exhibit featured paper cranes, mosaics, and painted doorways representing the five major world religions.

He said his mother loved sacred geometry as an art form.

As I understand it, the Sunflower had an article last week on the accident, but it greatly understated the gravity of Kathy's injury. Ram, who used to work on the Sunflower, protested at the time.

As I understand it, Becky Tanner of the Eagle is writing a longer, more personal obituary article. I know that Ram and Mike, at least, have spoken to her.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29476 [29452] rated (+24), 368 [368] unrated (+0).

Nothing to say about music this week. I woke up last Tuesday to the news that my sister had been struck by a car while walking from the parking lot to her work at Wichita State University. The car was not going especially fast, but knocked her to the ground, and she smashed the back of her skull on the pavement. The skull was cracked, and a CT scan showed multiple brain bleeds. The Wesley Hospital ER stapled the skull together, stabilized her, and put her in the Intensive Care Unit. When we saw her, she was conscious, incoherent, agitated, very frustrated. She developed respiratory problems, which they cleared up (mostly) with a 3-hour bronchoscopy operation. After that, she seemed to be improving, becoming calmer and more coherent, although she had bad periods as well. I never got any meaningful review of her brain scan tests. They were mostly described as "unchanged," and the bleeds were deemed inoperable, so they focused on palliative care. There was much discussion of transferring her to a "brain trauma hospital" in Nebraska, possibly early this week.

Last night, around 4AM, Kathy's heart stopped. This occurred during some form of respiratory therapy. Multiple attempts to revive her failed. A friend was staying overnight at the hospital with her, and tells me that they had "about half the floor in her room" and spent about 30 minutes before giving up. I don't know any more than that. The hospital called her son, Ram, who called me about 4:30 AM. Our brother, Steve, had come to Wichita on Wednesday, and planned on going in early morning. He found out when he woke up, and called me. I couldn't go to sleep, so I picked up and we talked about 7 AM.

I sent email to a couple of people before I went to bed. Ram posted something very brief on Facebook. I shared it, then added my own note. He'll be talking to a funeral director tomorrow, so we'll have a better idea of schedule then. I need to call some people, and to catch up with Ram and Steve, but in my current daze I figured I'd knock this out and get it out of the way. I've had a miserable week, with my own problems as well as this. Feeling shocked and helpless now.


New records rated this week:

  • Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra: Live at the Bird's Eye (2012 [2017], self-released): [r]: B+(*)
  • Nubya Garcia: Nubya's 5ive (2017, Jazz Re:freshed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Peter Kuhn: Dependent Origination (2016 [2017], FMR): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Peter Kuhn Trio: Intention (2017 [2018], FMR): [cd]: A-
  • Emma-Jean Thackray's Walrus: Walrus EP (2017, Deptford Beach, EP): [r]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • The Free Spirits Featuring John McLaughlin: Tokyo Live (1993 [1994], Verve): [r]: B+(**)
  • Christof Lauer: Christof Lauer (1989, CMP): [r]: B+(***)
  • Christof Lauer/Wolfgang Puschnig/Bob Stewart/Thomas Alkier: Bluebells (1992, CMP): [r]: B+(**)
  • Christof Lauer: Fragile Network (1998 [1999], ACT): [r]: B+(***)
  • Christof Lauer/NDR Big Band: Christof Lauer & NDR Big Band Play Sidney Bechet: Petite Fleur (2013 [2014], ACT): [r]: B+(**)
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra: Between Nothingness & Eternity (1973, Columbia): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra: Apocalypse (1974, Columbia): [r]: C+
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra: Visions of the Emerald Beyond (1974 [1975], Columbia): [r]: B-
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra/John McLaughlin: Inner Worlds (1975 [1976], Columbia): [r]: B-
  • Joe Maneri Quartet: Dahabenzapple (1993 [1996], Hat Art): [r]: B+(**)
  • Joe Maneri Quartet: In Full Cry (1996 [1997], ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Joe Maneri/Mat Maneri: Blessed (1997 [1998], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Joe Maneri Trio: The Trio Concerts (1997-98 [2001], Leo, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • John McLaughlin: Devotion (1970, Douglas): [r]: B+(**)
  • John McLaughlin: The Heart of Things (1997, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • John McLaughlin/Zakir Hussain/T.H. "Vikkur" Vinayakram/Hariprasad Chaurasia: Remember Shakti (1997 [1999], Verve, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Shakti/John McLaughlin: Shakti With John McLaughlin (1975 [1976], Columbia): [r]: B+(***)
  • Shakti With John McLaughlin: Natural Elements (1977, Columbia): [r]: B+(**)
  • Shakti With John McLaughlin: A Handful of Beauty (1976 [1977], Columbia): [r]: B+(***)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Didn't mean to write much this weekend. Just figured I'd go through the motions, starting with the usual Yglesias links, to have something for future reference, and to check how the update mechanism works on the transplanted website. Guess I got a little carried away.


Some scattered links this week:

  • Matthew Yglesias: 4 stories that really mattered this week: Trump slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum; Gary Cohn says he's quitting: the top White House economic adviser, formerly of Goldman Sachs; Trump will (maybe) do a summit with Kim Jong Un; Red-state teachers are getting angry: in West Virginia, most obviously, with Oklahoma and Arizona in the wings. Other Yglesias pieces:

    • Globalists, explained: Evidently, some people view "globalist" as an anti-semitic term. Today's example: Trump describing the departing Gary Cohn as a "globalist." An older term is "cosmopolitan," although I've found the German more interesting: "weltbürgerlich" -- citizen of the world. Such allusions seem to be endemic with the alt-right, even more so with Trump, but I'm not sure that it's useful at all to dwell on them. Nearly everything that Trump and his ilk say that can be read as anti-semitic is also wrong for other reasons, and people miss that when they get hung up on anti-semitic stereotypes. One word that doesn't appear here is "neoliberal," which is actually a better description of Cohn -- including Cohn's differences from the Trumpian nationalists -- but doesn't seem to be part of their vocabulary.

    • The real danger to the US economy in Trump's trade policy: "It's not the tariffs; it's what happens next.".

    • The DCCC should chill out and do less to try to pick Democrats' nominees: "There's very little evidence that "electable" moderates do better."

    • Trump's trade demand to China is pathetically small: "The US-China trade deficit rose $28 billion last year. Trump is asking for a $1 billion cut." Actually, that understates the plan, as The actual trade deficit is $375.2 billion -- "a drop in the bucket." Moreover, the plan is just an ask: "Trump is asking the Chinese to find a way to cut it by less than 0.27 percent but acting like he's a tough guy."

    • Cory Booker's new Workers Dividend Act, explained: "A Bloomberg analysis shows that of America's $54 billion corporate tax windfall, so far $21.1 billion has been kicked to shareholders in the form of 'buybacks,' almost twice as much as has gone to employees in higher compensation and far more than has been spent on capital investments or research and development." Booker's bill seeks to rebalance that by giving people who work for companies that do stock buybacks a piece of the profit. That's nice for them, but doesn't help anyone else. It is, at best, a tiny step toward equality, piggybacked on a larger step in the opposite direction.

    • The 17 Democrats selling out on bank regulation is worse than it looks. I don't see a list or a vote total, so I'm not sure just who he's blaming, but the bill in question is the Republicans' gift to the industry that sunk the economy in 2008, a more/less significant rollback of the relatively feeble reform package known as Dodd-Frank. For more on the bill, see: Emily Stewart: The bank deregulation bill in the Senate, explained; also Ross Barkan: The rich and the right want to dynamite Dodd-Frank -- and Democrats are helping them do it:

      It's worth considering when bipartisanship can still exist in this deeply polarizing moment. It cannot live where there is a growing national consensus, as over the severity of climate change or the scourge of mass shootings.

      It cannot live in any kind of economic matter that benefits the working class or the poor, even after Donald Trump managed to shred rightwing economic orthodoxies on his way to the presidency -- never mind that he's governing like a Koch brothers pawn.

      Democrats and Republicans can only come together to feather the nests of the rich and powerful. Weakening Dodd-Frank confirms the worst suspicions of any cynical voter -- that the political class really is colluding to screw them over.

    • Trump's tariffs are a scary look at what happens when he actually tries to govern: Good point, but I certainly wouldn't go this far:

      The Trump era has, so far, gone better than anyone had any right to expect. It's true that as problems arise -- flu, drug overdoses, Hurricane Maria, school shootings -- Trump invariably fails to rise to the occasion. And, from time to time, he for no good reason opts to pour salt in America's racial wounds. His immigration policies are making us poorer and meaner, while his health care and tax policies make our economy more unequal.

      But on a day-to-day basis, life goes on.

      Despite the frightening concentration of incompetence in the West Wing, many critical posts -- most of all at the Departments of Defense and Treasury and the Federal Reserve -- appear to be in the hands of basically capable people. Trump's habit of relentlessly deferring to GOP congressional leadership on policy issues is disappointing if you were a true believer in Trumpism, but sort of vaguely reassuring if you found the idea of installing a narcissistic rage-holic in the Oval Office alarming.

      I'd submit that there's a lot more on the negative side of the ledger, and little if anything on the positive. I'll also stipulate that most folks won't understand the negative side until it comes crashing down on them like a ton of bricks, but the number of people who this has happened to already is non-trivial (especially immigrants of various degrees, and most people in Puerto Rico). Policies by their very nature have slow triggers, but that doesn't mean that today's decisions won't catch up with us sooner or later. And while it's true that some of Trump's administrators don't seem to be competent enough to destroy departments they loathe -- Rich Perry, Ben Carson, Betsy De Vos -- others are more than capable -- Ryan Zinke at Interior, Scott Pruitt at EPA, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. That Mattis and Mnuchin lack the same streak of nihilism has more to do with the usefulness of their departments to rich donors than relative sanity.

  • James K Galbraith: Trump's steel tariffs are mere political theater: Points out something I haven't seen noted elsewhere: similar tariffs have been implemented twice before, first under Reagan and again by GW Bush. Neither had any real effect, least of all on rebuilding the American steel industry. Nor did they generate much controversy, as they were mere "political theater" by politicians who were otherwise reliable neoliberals. If Trump's generating more controversy, that's probably because he's ideologically less trustworthy -- not that he actually understands or believes in anything.

  • Jeff Goodell: Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration: "Extreme weather due to climate change displaced more than a million people from their homes last year. It could soon reshape the nation." Key takeaway here: it's already happening, and it's measurable.

  • Jane Mayer: Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier. Long piece, dovetails with and expands upon what I know about the various Russia scandals.

  • Heather Digby Parton: Running for the White House Exits: Who Would Want to Work for President Trump Anyway?

  • Matt Shuman: At Political Rally, Trump Repeats Call to Give Drug Dealers the Death Penalty: Disturbing on many levels, partly because his ego seems to require the periodic stoking, partly because he clearly figures that what would appeal most to his base is public blood-letting. Curious, too, that he actually cites China as his authority on how effective the death penalty is at stopping drug traffic. (Of course, he could just as well have cited the Philippines' Duterte, who like trump believes "act first, due process later.")

  • Matt Taibbi: Trump Is a Dangerous Idiot. So Why Are We Pushing Him Toward War? Provides many examples of people with serious foreign policy credentials (i.e., a track record of having been wrong many times in the past) doing just that: two that especially stick in my crawl are David Ignatius and Kenneth Pollack ("of the American Enterprise Institute").

    Meanwhile, in the States, the only thing about Donald Trump that any sane person ever had to be grateful for was that he entered the White House claiming to be isolationist and war-averse. That soon proved to be a lie like almost everything else about his campaign, but Jesus, do we have to help this clown down the road toward General Trump fantasies?

    We have the dumbest, least competent White House in history. Whatever else anyone in America has as a goal for Trump's remaining time in office, the single most important priority must to be keeping this guy away from the nuclear button. Almost anything else would be survivable.

    Which is why it makes no sense to be taunting Trump and basically calling him a wuss for negotiating with Kim Jong Un or being insufficiently aggressive in Syria.

    To get a glimpse of what passes for thinking in Pollack's brain, take a look at his Learning From Israel's Political Assassination Program, a review of Ronen Bergman's huge (753 pp.) book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations. Israel has undertaken such "targeted killings" throughout its history, but the rate (and indifference to "collateral damage") increased dramatically after 2001. The US has followed suit:

    There have been many who have objected, claiming that the killings inspire more attacks on the United States, complicate our diplomacy and undermine our moral authority in the world. Yet the targeted killings drone on with no end in sight. Just counting the campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Bush administration conducted at least 47 targeted killings by drones, while under the Obama administration that number rose to 542.

    America's difficult relationship with targeted killing and the dilemmas we may face in the future are beautifully illuminated by the longer story of Israel's experiences with assassination in its own endless war against terrorism. Israel has always been just a bit farther down this slippery slope than the United States. If we're willing, we can learn where the bumps are along the way by watching the Israelis careening ahead of us.

    Pollack admits that "targeted killings" are a mere tactic in the larger effort to suppress terrorism, and that there's no reason to think they're particularly effective. He goes on to blather a lot about COIN theory, without recognizing that Israel has never been in the least interested in "winning hearts and minds." Israel's sole goal, at least since Independence and arguably a good deal earlier, has been to establish an ethnocracy and maintain it by overwhelming force. They understand that they cannot convince Palestinians to agree to a debased and subservient status, but they persist in believing that they can maintain their two-tier society by imposing domination and terror.

    Pollack does fault Israel for being unwilling to accept the "land-for-peace" option to actually resolve the conflict, but he fails to understand why. For "land-for-peace" to work, two things have to happen: the reason Israel might be willing to give up land is to rid itself of Palestinians, thus ensuring a stronger Jewish majority; having secured demographic dominance, Israel could then afford to offer its remaining Palestinians equal rights, ending the conflict. It is this latter point, equality, that Israelis cannot abide. They would rather endure perpetual conflict than to give up their superiority.

    I doubt Bergman's book reveals much "secret history." Israel has been bragging about their assassination program for many years, and now that the US is wrapped up in its own murderous program, they must feel little public relations risk. On the other hand, the US does at least go through the motions of presenting itself as "a beacon of freedom and justice" -- a stance which is instantly discredited by its murder program (not that many people outside America still believed it). For a better review of Rise and Kill First, see: "Rise and Kill First" Explores the Corrupting Effects of Israel's Assassination Program.

    Taibbi also wrote The New Blacklist: "Russiagate may have been aimed at Trump to start, but it's become a way of targeting all dissent." He notes the existence of an outfit named Hamilton 68, which tracks everything that seems to be approved by Russia's propagandists (especially through their bots), on the theory that whatever Russia promotes should be opposed. "In fact, unless you're a Hillary Clinton Democrat, you've probably been portrayed as having somehow been in on it, at one time or another."

  • Peter Van Buren: What critics of North Korea summit get wrong: Well, first he disposes of the idea that simply meeting confers legitimacy on North Korea. He also makes a plausible case for starting the diplomatic process with a photo-op of the leaders in general agreement. He doesn't delve into the fact that the shakier of the leaders is Trump, both due to his massive ignorance and his relatively weak grasp on America's military and security establishments -- the clearest evidence there is how cheerfully he concedes policy direction to the generals (e.g., in Afghanistan).

  • Alex Ward: The past 24 hours in Trump scandals, explained: Seems less like a headline than a feature column that could be rewritten each day. This particular one came out on Thursday, March 8, and covers Trump being sued by porn star Stormy Daniels, and Erik Prince lying about meeting Russians in the Seychelles to discuss setting up a back channel between Trump and Putin, and Trump attempting to influence people Mueller has interviewed in the Russia probe. Tomorrow, and next week, and next month, you'll get a slightly different list of scandals, but as long as the media limits them to things Trump actually knows and does, they'll most likely stay at this trivial level. The real scandals go much deeper, but unless Trump tweets about them, how will White House reporters know?

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Daily Log

Every Monday I knock out a Music Week post, with a list of the week's rated records, an unpacking list, and an intro of some sort. I've been feeling especially miserable for a week or more -- a persistent upper back ache, and chronic itching over much of my body, with an odd tingle on the margin between the two complaints -- so I cut my intro short. But when I went to post it, along with the usual website update, I found I couldn't access the server. In fact, the website had vanished.

I've had intimations this might happen. I've used the virtual server at Addr.com since SCO shut down their original OCSTON server -- probably 2001. I've had occasional problems with the server company, where the MySQL server would hang up, or I'd run out of disk space. Around 2005 I started a blog using the Serendipity software, which was built on the MySQL database engine. At one point blog performance got so bad I created a flat file cache of recent posts, something I called my "faux blog." At one point Addr shut me down due to a virus infection in the blog. I managed to repair that and get them to allow me back in. They were never very responsive or supportive, but I managed to hobble along. And in one important respect, I was stuck with them: at some point the blog grew too large to get a proper database dump, so I lost my ability to move it easily.

Last year, when I ran into disk space problems, I found that their support mechanisms -- everything from phone to chat to web forms -- had stopped working. For all practical purposes, there was no one on their end, although the servers remained up and accessible, and they kept billing me. That finally broke on Monday. I suppose it's possible they may get rebooted, but that's starting to look unlikely.

So I went to bed Monday realizing that I would have to rebuild my website somewhere else. The obvious choice for elsewhere is the dedicated server I lease from Hosting & Designs, even though I can't say as I'm any happier with their service than I've been with Addr. I host 6-8 websites on that server, and it's fair to say it's underutilized. Also fair to say I'm not very adept at managing it. In particular, I've put off doing a necessary software update for many months now. I'll need to do that and some general maintenance before I get too involved in adding my website. I'll need either to set up a new account or figure out how to hang a new domain/website under an existing one. I'll have to archive all the flat files on my local machine and transplant them to the server. And I'll have to change the registrar nameserver records as well as my own DNS.

And that still leaves open the question of what to do about the blog. There's no easy way to rebuild that, especially since I haven't been able to get a valid dump for many years. Given those difficulties, I wonder whether it makes sense to continue using Serendipity. I've been using WordPress on all of my current server accounts, so that's the direction I've been leaning in -- just haven't made the jump for my own blog, not least because it's so much larger. Perhaps the best way would be to start a new blog going forward, while going back and trying to restore as many old blog pages as possible using "faux blog" flat files. As I recall, that would come to about 2300 pages, but obviously I don't need them all operational to start.

Anyhow, when I went to bed Monday night, those were thoughts running through my head -- not that I was looking forward to following them. Then I got up Tuesday a little after noon to find out that my sister had been hit by a car and rushed to the hospital. We had very little information at first, finally resolving to go to the hospital and find out what we could. By the time we left, we heard that Kathy was stable and in intensive care at Wesley, and that her son Ram was there.

When we got there, we found out that Kathy had been walking across the street between the parking lot and her job at the Wichita State University art department when she was struck by a car moving about 15 mph. The car knocked her down, and she hit the back of her head hard on the pavement, cracking the skull in at least two places, and causing internal bleeding. At hospital, they stapled the skull back together, and did a CT scan to measure the bleeding. They determined that she had no other fractures, but she had abrasions and they put her in a neck brace. They then moved her to the surgical ICU, where we found her. She was mostly conscious but sometimes incoherent. She had trouble breathing throughout the time I spent with her, and was clearly agitated and uncomfortable, and probably in pain. They didn't give her anything for the pain, as they wanted to be able to assess her cognitive state. They scheduled a second CT scan for 12 hours after the first. I left about that time, so don't know what that scan showed.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29452 [29423] rated (+29), 368 [367] unrated (+1).

Most of what follows, including all of this week's A- ratings, already appeared in February's Streamnotes, posted last Wednesday. After that I guess I slowed down a bit. Damn little more to report.

I suppose I could offer a link to The new (UK) jazz family tree, although I should note that it actually offers only a rather thin slice of jazz in the UK, with nothing avant (aside from Evan Parker), nothing trad, huge omissions elsewhere (some names that leap to mind: Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Howard Riley, Tommy Smith, and John Surman, as well as younger musicians like Neil Cowley and Alexander Hawkins). I haven't tried counting, but offhand I think I recognize about a third of the names, mostly falling down where band members are expanded (e.g., the other three-fourths of Camilla George Quartet). The author notes that she started with Emma-Jean Thackray and Sons of Kemet and worked her way out from there. Thackray didn't ring a bell, although I've heard of her group Walrus. Sons of Kemet have a couple albums I like, especially Lest We Forget What We Came Here to Do (2015).


New records rated this week:

  • Laurie Anderson/Kronos Quartet: Landfall (2018, Nonesuch): [r]: A-
  • Brandi Carlile: By the Way, I Forgive You (2018, Low Country Sound/Elektra): [r]: B-
  • Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band: My Heart Belongs to Satchmo (2018, Blujazz): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Electric Squeezebox Orchestra: The Falling Dream (2015 [2018], OA2): [cd]: B
  • GoGo Penguin: A Humdrum Star (2017 [2018], Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mike Jones/Penn Jillette: The Show Before the Show: Live at the Penn & Teller Theater (2017 [2018], Capri): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Femi Kuti: One People One World (2018, Knitting Factory): [r]: B+(*)
  • Les Filles De Illighadad: Eghass Malan (2017, Sahelsounds): [r]: B+(**)
  • Dave Liebman/Tatsuya Nakatani/Adam Rudolph: The Unknowable (2016 [2018], RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(*)
  • Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas: Sound Prints: Scandal (2017 [2018], Greenleaf Music): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Youssou N'Dour: Raxas Bercy 2017 (2017, self-released): [dl]: A-
  • Amy Rigby: The Old Guys (2018, Southern Domestic): [r]: A-
  • Shakers n' Bakers: Heart Love: Plays the Music of Albert Ayler and Mary Maria Parks (2017 [2018], Little i Music): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Shopping: The Official Body (2018, FatCat): [r]: A-
  • Steve Tyrell: A Song for You (2018, New Design): [cd]: B+(**)
  • U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited (2018, 4AD): [r]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • Marion Brown: Afternoon of a Georgia Faun (1970, ECM): [r]: B
  • Marion Brown: Duets Vol. 1 (1970 [2012], 1201/Black Lion Vault): [r]: B+(**)
  • Dorothy Donegan: Live at the 1990 Floating Jazz Festival (1990 [1991], Chiaroscuro): [r]: B+(**)
  • Chico Freeman: Tradition in Transition (1982, Elektra Musician): [r]: B+(*)
  • Chico Freeman/Mal Waldron: Up and Down (1992, Black Saint): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jelly Roll Morton: The Piano Rolls (1924 [1997], Nonesuch): [r]: B+(**)
  • Original Dixieland Jazz Band: The 75th Anniversary (1917-21 [1992], RCA Bluebird): [r]: B+(***)
  • Original Dixieland Jazz Band: In London 1919-1920 Plus the Okeh Sessions 1922-1923 (1919-23 [2001], Retrieval): [r]: B+(**)
  • Amy Rigby: Live at Cat's Cradle 02/26/2003 (2003 [2011], self-released): [r]: B+(**)
  • Trio-X [Joe McPhee/Dominic Duval/Jay Rosen]: The Sugar Hill Suite (2004, CIMP): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Martin Blume/Tobias Delius/Achim Kaufmann/Dieter Manderscheid: Frames & Terrains (NoBusiness): cdr
  • Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin: Ninety-Nine Years (Libra)
  • Gerry Hemingway/Samuel Blaser: Oostum (NoBusiness): cdr
  • Kang Tae Hwan: Live at Café Amores (1995, NoBusiness)
  • The Doug MacDonald Quintet/The Roger Neumann Quintet: Two Quintets: Live Upstairs at Vitello's (2018, Blujazz, 2CD)
  • Todd Marcus: On These Streets (Stricker Street): April 27
  • Wynton Marsalis Septet: United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas (2003-07, Blue Engine): March 23
  • Erin McDougald: Outside the Soirée (Miles High): March 16
  • Michael Morreale: MilesSong: The Music of Miles Davis (Summit, 2CD)
  • Peripheral Vision: More Songs About Error and Shame (self-released): March 30
  • Barre Phillips/Motoharu Yoshizawa: Oh My, Those Boys! (1994, NoBusiness)
  • Roberta Piket: West Coast Trio (13th Note): April 6
  • Jim Snidero & Jeremy Pelt: Jubilation (Savant): advance, May 4
  • Spin Cycle [Scott Neumann/Tom Christensen]: Assorted Colors (Sound Footing): April 6
  • Dan Weiss: Starebaby (Pi): April 6


A fragment I wrote for this, but ultimately chose not to use:

Something I meant to mention yesterday was the pair of New York Times Book Reviews: Sarah Bakewell: Steven Pinker Continues to See the Glass Half Full, on Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, and Angus Deaton: Getting Better All the Time?, on Gregg Easterbrook's It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear. I had run across Pinker's book during a recent trawl for a Book Roundup post -- my last one was August 2017 -- and had written a bit about the subject then. I'm sympathetic to the premise of these books, in large part because I'm not so far removed from the 19th century that I can't comprehend how much everyday life has changed for the better thanks to reason, science, and engineering.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Once again having to cut this short because I'm running out of time. Didn't even watch the Oscars tonight, as I tried to gather these links. Nothing terribly new below if you've been reading all along, although the Putnam/Skocpol article might help, as well as Yglesias' near-weekly posts on Republican voting setbacks. I suppose one thing that slowed me down is that this has been an above-average week for palace intrigue, even given renormalization after that's been the case for about 50 weeks in the last year-plus-a-month.


Some scattered links this week:


Feb 2018 Apr 2018