There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Frontiers in Stupidity

We've dealt with stupidity before in these pages, particularly stupidity as it presents itself in the midwest from the belief that you can turn in any direction from any traffic lane to the belief that the number of times the floor buttons are pressed in an elevator determines how many people can get off at a given floor but new examples of new depths of stupidity appear almost daily.

For now we won't belabor the point that the Iowa straw poll indicates that a majority of Iowa republicans are just fine with someone obviously mentally challenged being president of the United States. If this opinion holds across the country then God help us all. Enough said on that topic.

The very latest example of human beings that function at or below the animal level involves children falling out of windows. This summer an epidemic of this has broken out in Des Moines. Every few days on the news we hear that a toddler has fallen from a second story or higher window. Setting aside how this points out that not every human being with working genital organs should be allowed to reproduce, the really mind boggling part is the response of the community. Des Moines is now setting up classes for parents on how to prevent children from falling out of windows. Yes, that's right, you didn't misunderstand - actual classes to teach presumably adult people how not to let their kids take the concrete plunge. What's the curriculum going to be? 101 - Proper use of screens? 102 - Windows, once opened, may be closed - a hands on approach? 103 - Putting down the crack pipe to watch the child - a survey of techniques?

The talking heads on the news seem to be soliciting sympathy for the parents. Sympathy my wrinkled ass! As corrupt and inefficient as Child and Family Services is, seize any kids belonging to these troglodytes and clap mom and dad (if dad is even around) in the slammer until child bearing age is past. The coddling of idiots in our society has got to cease.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Music Therapy

It had been a long tedious work day. Expiring deadlines coupled with unreasonable requests for last minute changes. Members of other departments calling for help rather than solving problems on their own. The ongoing process of new and exciting software bugs appearing requiring fruitless hours of troubleshooting. I was tired. Maybe not physically but certainly mentally fatigued. When I got home the last thing I wanted to do was go out again and exert any effort whatsoever.

But we had a double reed quartet rehearsal scheduled. After a quick frozen pizza refueling (frozen pizza hardly qualifying as food but simply fodder) I packed up the bassoon case, grabbed a stand and crawled into the car. My wife, in much better spirits than I, loaded her oboe and english horn and we headed for the interstate and a thirty minute drive to our second bassoonist's house.

Our double reed quartet is a fledgling effort, as yet gigless and still in search of coherence. We'd not met since the end of our orchestra season in May and I was hoping to make it through the evening with little heavy lifting. All four of us play in the same orchestra. The thirty something accountant second oboe with the blazing technique and amazing sight reading, the mid twenties band teacher second bassoon starting her family and my wife and myself, both of the latter of another generation.

The four of us are good friends and as we assembled instruments and fussed with reeds we caught up with each other. Second oboe was back from a weekend country music festival - wife and I had tales of horrible and amazing experiences playing for a community musical. As we began to rehearse we kept it light playing several tangos, a Gottschalk dance and a Csardas and as we played some of the things that keeps guys like me playing began to happen. When a group like this is formed there is a period when everyone may be playing their parts but the real ensemble, the "oneness" that is the goal of fine performance only comes with time, with familiarity with the other players and learning to feel what the other players will do, how they will form their expression and nuance almost before they do it. And finally, last night after three years of sporadic rehearsals searching for repertoire and a voice as a group, it began to happen. We began to sense how this player would interpret this phrase, that ritard. How two of us should articulate a passage together. How we begin to transcend the written dynamics and shape the rise and fall together. As the two hours came to an end we worked on a Bach prelude and finally for a brief moment we four became one voice - the voice of an organ - the whole much greater than the sum of its parts.

Driving home I was no longer tired. My wife and I didn't speak much - we have been together long enough that we didn't need to. This is why we keep doing it. Because sometimes, sometimes the magic happens.