Tuesday, February 27, 2007


We spent the weekend in the foot-hills of Tucson visiting my favorite uncle and various cousins, along with exploring the cold-creek lower regions of Sabino Canyon.

He was a math teacher; actually, my math teacher in 7th grade, and I got 96% that year. He made me work for it and my grade was probably about 5th or 6th in the class. Robert Short (real name) topped out. He was a brain. I was merely one who took things in well. He had Ovation and Fender Squier guitars that are probably worth tens of thousands of dollars these days.

My 8th-grade math teacher was also very excellent but later on he lost his teaching license due to his irresistable attraction to young boys. Damn. He was a great teacher. But he fucked himself over, I guess. Anyways I hope that's all he fucked, just himself. I suspect that's the case. He was pretty passive.

I recall that back in 1970 or so he brought in his new Texas Instruments "calculator." He'd just gotten it, and it was the size of two shoe boxes set side-by-side, with a small 2"by 3" display screen on the front left panel. It glowed green, like eggs and ham mini-television. With numbers instead of pictures. That's all, folks.

Now we have calculators the size of a credit card that you get for free when you buy $20 worth of junk at Walgreen's. Light-powered. Anyways, the "old days" of proto-technology are long gone and now we have laptops and lawsuits against gay priests. Gay teachers are of course crucified routinely.

Which basically sucks, as long as they do not troll for partners from their classroom rolls. Who cares what they do with consenting adults? If only that were the case...

My uncle gave me an LP of Glenn Gould playing Beethoven piano variations when I was just in junior highschool, intent upon Cream and B.B. King. It opened things up for me. The following year he gave me Steppenwolf's 7th, and he followed that up by loaning me Miles Davis albums as well as Gerry Mulligan.

He had this LP of Segovia playing the Ponce Sonata Romantica that inspired me to immerse myself in the score, and I worship it to this day. I still have a few problems with the Scherzo but basically it's within my fingers. Thanks to my uncle and Segovia. The whole-measure rests in the first movement just slay me emotionally.

He was trying to tell me something that my own parents, musically inept, could not pass on. Though I still have an undeserved admiration for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. An admiration that also makes me puke on myself. It's a mixed emotion.

I heard a snort while I was warming my Sabino Creek-cooled toes. It was a 6-pronged buck. We sat on the dam while it watched us and we watched it. A song went by, then it moved up along the creekbed and disappeared into the brush like a spirit. Which it was. Later we saw a Phainopepla pair. That was a treat for me.I just love those birds with their little headcrests.

While we walked out we coincidentally met up with relatives, cousins and aunts/uncles; we'd partied with them the previous day. The Glenn Gould uncle. Small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Incomplete Communion

It was here, via Pharyngula, where I believe I was first to suggest a way around the conundrum of testing the DNA of Jesus:

Posted by shrimplate
February 25, 2007
"Wouldn't it be rather easy to compare any DNA taken from Jesus' crypt to the DNA that could be derived from a communion wafer after a priest turns it into the body of christ?"

A very serious outbreak of Freeperitis seems to have taken hold amongst a great many posters over at Time-Blog, with the usual symptoms of insane hate, bilious accusations, and poor grammar that go along with this terrible disease.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

From "73 Poems" by e.e. cummings:

(Me up at does)

Me up at does

out of the floor
quietly Stare

a poisoned mouse

still who alive

is asking What
have i done that

You wouldn't have

One can safely assume that George W. Bush and others in his family did not assume their sometimes fractured way with spoken words because of a deep familiarity with the works of e.e. cummings.

Dyslexia has been discussed, and it runs in the family. But this, about "Central Auditory Processing Disorder," also seems to fit the picture.

Couple an otherwise somewhat benign mental/neurological but still serious disorder with psychopathology and the result is naturally appalling. Just listen to the guy. He's evil and he has some difficulty processing and expressing information.

I went to music school with a brilliant violinist who had dyslexia. He could rip through the Paganini Caprices, but he had some trouble with sight-reading. He said this made him a better ensemble player because he'd have to woodshed for hours to learn his part.

Of course he wasn't a sociopath.

Now that internet video is so common and we will be able to see and hear vast amounts of information about candidates rather than just reading what the mainstream media allows to filter through their noise machine, we may never have to suffer the presidential empowerment of such a person again.

If we had internet video in 2000 Gore would be serving out his second term right now.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Huevos y guacamole avec un croissant

We are now a nation in which two languages, not just one, are predominant.

How do I know this? Well, a majority of the people I work with are bilingual. The patient mix is certainly skewed towards bilingualism, and of course I serve a fair share of people who have no English skills.

My own Spanish skills are minimal. To say the least. The less said the better, actually. While in school French was preferred, due to proximity to "au Ca-nada." Mais je ne les croix pas les mots Canadiens, parse qu'ils sont tres difficiles.

Once I had called upon a company translator to assist with discharge instructions with an elderly woman who spoke no English. The interpreter was what you might call "white," and the woman mentioned this. She was not used to gringos who spoke her language. She said so, according to her family members who indicated that she had said that this was the first time she'd been with a "white person" who spoke Spanish.

Imagine that.

There's a first time for everything.

Often when I tell people what I like about being here, I mention the cultural fusion. It's somewhat like Quebec, in which two different languages each with their associated "cultures" are both clashing and melding.

Cannot a single culture encompass various languages?! Yes, I would say.

It's going to happen. Well actually it is happening here now as well as in Quebec. Different kinds of people get together and make new things, like putting rock lobster into tortillas instead of pasta or French puff pastries. That makes me want to put huevos with chorizo and guacamole into a croissant. With jalepenos. Who's up for that?


Perhaps somebody could provide a link for this specific item, but in my admittedly brief searches I couldn't find one so I am copying this from an actual book. Does anybody remember when we actually had those? I think Beaver Cleaver was president back then.


"Are you tired of angels?"

Myra Sklarew

I am tired of angels,
of how their great wings
rustle open the way a curtain opens
on a play I have no wish to see.
I am tired of their milky robes,
their star-infested sashes,
of their perfect fingernails
translucent as shells
from which the souls
of tiny creatures have already fled.

Remember Lucifer, I want to tell them,
his crumpled bat wings
nose-diving from grace.
But they would simply laugh
with the watery sound a harp makes
cascading through bars of music.
Or they would sing to me in
my mother's lost voice,
extracting all the promises
I made to her but couldn't keep.

Linda Pastan

From "Heroes in Disguise" 1991, W.W. Norton & Company, New York.

An introduction to the absolutely cynically stupid Shedegg Memo can be found here.

Why does John Shadegg even have this job? Are there not enough johns cruising Van Buren already?

Arizona is tired of johns.

The above poem is bookmarked in my first-edition hard-cover with a ticket from a 1997 McCoy Tyner concert held at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, Vermont. That's a very nice town and you should go there sometime and get a tattoo.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Is something like this really so controversial?

"Hooray for NBA player Tim Hardaway for saying what's on a lot of people's minds. He would not willingly play ball with a homosexual, and neither would I, nor would anyone I know. "

I'm not so sure about that last part. Chances are there's a few gays and lesbians in that cowboy's neighborhood up in Gold Canyon. Lee A. Prins has surely shook a few gay hands in his life, as have we all. His own family likely has a few members who prefer the company of their own sex. They are just too smart to come out to such a raving bigoted homophobic ignorant jerk.

Lee's numbers are wrong too, and here's why:

"Tom W. Smith's much more recent study, Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Numbers of Partners, Frequency and Risk, conducted among a full probability sample of the adult U.S. household population, reported that "Overall... less than 1% [of the study population] has been exclusively homosexual."

It's a thing with some right-wing religiously intolerant websites to try to downplay the demographics concerning gays. It's psychologically like a nice warm baby-blanket for them to minimize their opposition. The real numbers are likely much closer to the original Kinsey estimates:

"The 1993 Janus Report, the first broad-scale scientific national survey on sexual behavior since Kinsey, concluded that 9% of males and 5% of females had had homosexual experiences more than just "occasionally."

The 1993 Yankelovich Monitor Survey, considered the first nationally representative survey to reflect what percentage of the population identified itself as homosexual, indicated that 5.7% described themselves as "gay/homosexual/lesbian."

The 1994 Sex in America Study Self-identified gay and bisexual men accounted for 2.8% of the surveyed respondents, while 1.4% of the women identified as lesbian or bisexual."

The link does a good job of noting the problems confronted by those who would explore this demographic issue. But despite those difficulties, it's certain that Lee grossly underscores the number of gays as a percentage of the population.

But that's not my point.

Immediately after this LTTE the Arizona Republic editors placed another one to "balance" Lee's paranoid and hateful screed:

"When I pay to see Melissa Etheridge sing or to see John Amaechi play basketball, I really don't consider whether either or both might want me to go home with them.

They aren't interested in what I do and I am not interested in what they do.

Bless them for their talent." - Mike Epstein,

You see, according to the Republic's apparent letter-publishing policy, sane and compassionate sexual mores like Mr. Epstein's cannot be allowed to just stand on their own. They must be "balanced" by the lunatic ravings of a person who seems very overly-concerned about his rectum.

By putting this issue in a tit-for-tat, black-versus-white, my-opinion-is-as-good-as-yours frame, they are quite deliberately legitimizing Mr. Prins' illogical and malignant fears.

This technique works with anything. The craziest position can be legitimized just by "balancing" it with an often weak but at-least-presentable opposition view.

Nancy Pelosi Eats Christian Babies With a Plastic Picnic Fork.

"Hi, I'm Chris Matthews and here with me in the studio today we have Doug MacEachern from Phoenix, and to argue the pig-headed radical-liberal side, Satan is with us from our Kansas City affiliate studios."

"Tell me, Doug, how many babies have the Democrat leaders killed in this way?"

MacEachern: "Well Tim, or Chris, whatever the fuck your name is, we think that any number of babies destroyed in this manner is an affront to American family values."

Matthews: "I'm Chris. Tim has shorter thumbs. That's how you can tell the difference. What say you, Lord of the Underworld?"

Satan: "The facts speak for themselves, Tim, and the facts have a distinct liberal bias. We've examined the financial records of Pelosi's office and have found no invoices for plastic picnic knives, and Pelosi is on record saying that she prefers chopsticks, which are not easily employed in child cannibalism."

Lather rinse repeat. Why do you think they call it "fair and balanced?"

Anyways, isn't it nice to know that the largest newspaper in the state of Arizona is using this "get both sides of the story" frame to maintain the loyalty of its most homophobic readership and advertisers?

Tim Hardaway is the greatest thing to boost the hopes of American homophobes since Pee Wee Herman got caught snacking in a movie theater.

"Snacking" equals cleverly deliberate typographical error.


Of course all this is just my opinion.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Little Kool-Aid Would Be Nice

It shouldn't be this easy, but it is.

When they're not mixing the kool-aid themselves, they serve up a batch of someone else's like this cup 'o swill which I will reply to just about point-by-point, I'm italicized:

A little gratitude would be nice
Feb. 18, 2007 12:00 AM

So 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President Bush!

So, let me see:

• We have not been attacked since 9/11.


• Almost 96 percent of us have jobs (unemployment hovers at around 4 percent).

If you've been unemployed long enough they don't bother to count you anymore.

• More than 7 million jobs have been created during the past six years.

Clinton created 22.7 million new payroll jobs.

• Homeownership is at 70 percent.

Are you writing out your mortgage payment check in Chinese yuan yet?!

• Consumer spending is up.

Consumer savings are less than zero.

• The stock market is up.

But your 401(k) isn't.

• Mortgage rates are low.

So is the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar.

• The Gross Domestic Product increased 3.4 percent during 2006.

Real income for most families has been dropping for years.

So why all the discontent?

This president took us into a war that has not gone smoothly. However, this is the same president who guided us after 9/11, cut taxes and began a robust economy.

I suggest instead of complaining we all count our blessing, freedoms and liberties, which are guarded by the Constitution. If we are not careful, this generation will be known as the most "ungrateful generation," a far cry from the "greatest generation!" - Raymond J.H. Beckingham,

If you visit Chandler please bring your own bottled beverages. And believe me, future generations will have a great many ways of describing the multitude of faults exhibited by the current ones. Certainly, as they are forced to forego luxeries we ourselves have enjoyed and squandered, so that they can pay off the massive debts we've foisted upon them, "ungrateful" will indeed be on the lips of many.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Michael played the recorder and saxophone and I played classical guitar at outside weddings at Yaddo, a reclusive sponsored artists' retreat in the fabled and beautiful town of Saratoga Springs, New York. The ponds, gardens, and statuary there are so beautiful it stretches the boundries of language to describe these. The little city itself is quite nearly a wonderland. I lived many years and met my spouse there.

We also gazed into the very ponds in which children died.

Sylvia Plath spent some time there, and she had a poetic breakthrough which enabled her to give voice to the "Colossus." That was not her greatest acheivement. When the "Ariel" voice came out she, in my humble opinion, gained the strongest poetic voice in late twentieth-century American poetry.


The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

I have read a few biographies of Plath, and I was young when first introduced to her work. My mother was a "book-club" kind of gal, and Plath was a going thing when I was growing up. So her collected poems, which won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1981, were a fixation in our household. I/we grew up with Plath. Funny that. My mother first probably inadvertently introduced me to her, and also the musicality of Ivan Moravec, who was also featured as a book-club artist in those heady days. My mother was also a Third Reich expert, per the book club offerings from that time. My, the dinner-table conversations we all had.

I do not know where she is right now. Another story altogether. When I was an adult she divorced my father and married a man who was younger than me. Ten years later they also divorced and I think she moved to the British Isles afterwards, but I'm unsure.

My god, Moravec could play Debussy as if the piano had no hammers at all, just feathery indicators.

I always read Plath literally and her poems are indeed rooted in moments from her life. That is the essential beauty of her art; she took often-mundane but sometimes critical life-moments and cradled these amongst a sanctuary of words on a page.

When she stuck her head in an oven I honestly think she meant to annhililate her two young children also, as indicated in the poem, but instead she put them in an upstairs room with milk and opened a widow so the gas would not get them. So she had hope at last, just not for herself. The landlord downstairs awoke to the smell and alerted authorities.

In the poem she imagines herself as a peacefully laid out corpse. At some kind of peace. Laid out. Over the edge. The moon rises and sets, having seen the passing of many. It's so simple really.


She ruled her department with the proverbial iron hand in a silk glove.

The emergency department itself would be back-upped beyond all get- out and within seconds of a phone call to her one of the hard-working housekeeping staff would be in the room cleaning it up so we could ready it for the next patient.

There was never a more competent nor user-friendly department manager. Whatever was happening or not-happening was always clearly and rationally defined. We always knew when things would be ready and if there were any hold-ups there was a definition of the time-frame involved.

Clear. Rational. So plain a two-year-old would understand it. I loved working with her. She had things down to the minute. Like wet paint on a bench, but she gave you a drying time-line.

I worked with her for several years and there were never any interdepartmental crapfests, as is expected in hospital culture. She was an angel and we were all, hospital-wide, grateful for her professionalism.

Then one day she disappeared.

As it so happens, she was "not legal."

Though she had worked for the hospital for years, starting out as a floor-mopping housekeeper, she came to head the department, and she lead it for a decade. Damn.

She had a house in Awhuatukee. This is a pretty nice neighborhood here in the Valley and housing there is not inexpensive so I must conclude that she had done well for her family.

Anyways, she was there one day and gone the next. Her legal status came up on some middle-mucky-muck's radar and she was gone like the day-before-yesterday's garbage.

It was never the same after that. All the friendly and well-known-to-us housekeeping staff similarly disappeared and a bunch of unknowns came on board.

We never really got to know any of them because turnover was so great. Once we got to know them by name they were gone. "Randy" stuck around for about six months but he was just about the only one there long enough for us to get to know him a little. Great guy, probably much nicer than the baseball pitcher with a similar name, though I hear that he is nice too.

She probably sold her house to a lawyer or a doctor and moved back to Mexico.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Set to Ignore

There are so many places to start, but this will do nicely, from Beyond Delay:

"In 2003, Rep. Renzi sponsored legislation that dealt hundreds of millions of dollars to his father’s business while, according to environmentalists, devastating the San Pedro River. A key beneficiary of Rep. Renzi’s legislation was ManTech International Corp., a Fairfax, Virginia based defense contractor where Rep. Renzi’s father, Retired Major General Eugene Renzi, is an executive vice president. The company, which has an office in Sierra Vista, Arizona, was the largest contributor to Renzi’s 2002 congressional campaign and the second largest in his 2004 campaign.

If Rep. Renzi accepted campaign contributions from ManTech in exchange for pushing through legislation benefitting the company, he would be in violation of federal bribery laws."

When Ellen Simon brought up such ethical issues in her 2006 campaign against Renzi, he responded with literal finger-pointing and threats to "take the gloves off."

There were indictments from a grand jury ready to go but these were held off until after the election. And now we hear that Paul Charlton, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona who oversaw the investigations into these issues; well, he was asked to resign. Along with many others like him who were investigating corruption among Republican congresspeople.

It was also reported that the FBI had interviewed and presumably wiretapped Renzi.

But all this is of little; or rather no recent interest to the biggest newspaper in Arizona.

I read and re-read this looking for any mention that Paul Charlton was fired most likely to end his embarrassing inquiries into Renzi's alleged misdeeds. No, not that.

Per Senator Kyl:

""My understanding is that Paul Charlton's departure resulted from disagreements with the Department of Justice about some office policies," Kyl added."

Well, that answers everything, not.

Nothing to see here folks. Move along now. Look over there! A dead bunny.

They go on and on about the death penalty, as if that really mattered. It's a red herring. To its credit, the article does mention the rather heinous little loophole in Homeland Security legislation that allows the administration to bypass Senate confirmation for U.S. attorneys by simply firing the ones at odds with the President and his cronies and appointing replacements for undetermined interim periods. Like forever.

I e-mailed the reporter, Dennis Wagner, wondering why he ignored the elephant in the room.

Meet Ostrich Boy

Jobs and grants and conferences, oh my! Some people have a greater fear of actual study and research than they hold for the problem itself.

"Global warming has become an immense international gravy train worth billions of dollars. The subject is now one of the largest beneficiaries of government research money in the world."

Cancer and AIDS, weapons research and international diplomacy, Halliburton and the Carlyle Group are also beneficiaries of government research money. A pox on them all!

As with many such letter-writers, or even rightwing propagandists with professional stripes, logic and common sense fold up like so many lawn chairs and drift off in a parade of absurdity towards hazy conclusions.

After proclaiming that global warming is just a natural cycle and repeating the same old do-nothing anti-enviromental cliches Ostrich Boy smugly stamps away with this:

"Droughts also have a natural cycle. The Hohokams found this out and now we are learning the same lesson."

Well, thanks Mister Ostrich Boy. But... the Hohokams and their entire civilization disappeared. Disappearing is a lesson?!

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Ostrich and the Weasel Puppet Show

I just can't stand it anymore. You don't have to read the science. Just look at the pictures.

Global warming is as real as real as cancer, and all reputable climatologists say that the reason the last fifty years have shown world-wide temperature increases is the release of carbon into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

"The report's authors all agreed that their review of the data showed that the atmosphere was, in fact, warming in ways that generally meshed with computer simulations. The study said that the only factor that could explain the measured warming of Earth's average temperature over the last 50 years was the buildup heat-trapping gases, which are mainly emitted by burning coal and oil."

Yet we still have ostriches not only maintaining some kind of sick denial of that which science is telling us, but also trying to persuade others to ignore the reality of climate change and stick their heads in a hole, too.

One of these stubbornly ignorant voices shows up all too regularly in the local bird-cage liner.

Thus spake MacEachern:

"George Taylor is a climate scientist at Oregon State who is skeptical about the extent of mankind's contribution to global warming."

Ah, the seeds of doubt. Part of the ongoing Republican war against science.

Here's what Taylor really says:

"The issue is not “do humans affect climate?” Clearly there IS a human influence. The question is, “how much?” In my opinion, natural variations dominate the climate system, and will continue to do so. I have NEVER denied the human influence, but unlike Phil Mote I do not believe human impacts dominate the climate system."

Technically MacEachern can weasel his way out in thanks to his peculiar way of inserting terms referring to "skepticism" and "extent," but weaseling it is. I don't think Taylor is anybody's puppet. His own words seem to make that clear.

If anybody is trying to pull strings to manipulate an argument, it's guys like MacEachern that think they can spin concern about the extent of human activity on global warming into actual doubt that it's not all just some natural and harmless cycle that we don't need to be concerned about.

Why? Does MacEachern really have a dog in this fight, or is he just slouching towards extinction at the behest of his own Republican string-pullers?

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Deep

Shorter Dick Cheney:

"Sure my daughter is a dyke, but blow me. You're not a rich mothereffin' bastard like I am. So chew me."

Mary can have a lesbian-fathered test-tube baby and that is just no probelm with Daddie Dick, despite his political party's complete hostility towards non-traditional families. Dick goes on television and quite frankly acts like a total jerkwad in the face of completely understandable questions regarding his peculiar family.

Is this not just wee bit hypocritical?


They want to outlaw gay marriage for everybody in the nation except their own kids, who are apparently outside the realm of questionability.

"We're out of time, but a couple of issues I want to raise with you. Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family:

"Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child."

Do you want to respond to that?


Q She's obviously a good daughter --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."

Gee Wolfie? Are *all* of us happy that yet another Republican lesbian fake blonde is about to toss off a pup? Me, not so much.

I'm not about to pop a cork on a bottle of Moet just for Mary. Got better things to do.

Was the question out of line? Were any dresses stained? Is this a personal issue?


Nothing compared to what her dad has planned for you and your family.

"Including other items, the request will total "a little over $100 billion," according to the Senate aide. That would come on top of $70 billion Congress already approved for the wars this year."

Reach deep into your pockets, dude.



Still deeper.

"Court and police records obtained by The Smoking Gun show that Cheney was convicted of drunk driving twice during an eight-month period in the early 1960s in his home state of Wyoming. The two convictions came when Cheney was 21 and 22 and resulted in fines and a brief suspension of his driver's license."

More here. He's a real piece of cheese, that Cheney dude. Total wack-job. Why is he here, even?

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Why don't you start off with a little bit of Molly today? Or heck, even every day?

"The next person who refers to David Duke as a populist ought to be Bushururued, as they now say in Japan, meaning to have someone puke in your lap." (Mother Jones, May/June 1992)

Hehehe. Bushururued. That is so funny.

There's a few more here. Apart from her earthy witticisms and sharp eye for hypocrisy, she could be such an optimist:

"• Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory."

I've read most of her books and they were so funny I got blisters in weird places.

Next time I'm at the bookstore I'm getting the rest of these. When I'm done reading them I'll put them up for give-away here so if you want you can read her stuff too. Or I'll donate them to the KPHX library.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Next Tenor in a Sling

There's been a real glut of sopranos, a Golden Age. Bartoli, Upshaw, Netrebko, Kozena, and that's just a humble beginning. Hunt-Lieberson, Fleming (with whom I went to Crane), Geneaux, Gens, Cioffi, just to name a few more of my favorites.

These are indeed good times. Great voices. Hearing Bartoli was a peak life experience for me. And thanks again to my Spouse Of The Century for taking me there to hear Bartoli in her Met debut as Despina.

I've got a good spouse.

Thomas Hampson still has the baritone thing locked up. Samuel Ramey is the top bass now, so to speak. Contraltos? None to speak of. Same for altos 'cept maybe Marietta Simpson.

But since the lamented demise of Pavarotti's absolutely once-magnificent vocal instrument, there has been constant speculation about The Next One. That meaning an operatic tenor, of course.

Just going on sheer guts and natural talent alone, my pick is Salvatore Licitra. He's got a busted up rotator cuff so when he does the notable Pagliacci next week with the Metropolitan Opera he will have an arm in a sling. He will kill, he will sing, he will die.

In a sling. That is just so cool.

Friday, February 02, 2007


They took his kid's GameBoy.

They took all the Power Rangers videos.

They took the ramen noodles and the boxes of breakfast cereals. They took the half-gallon of milk out of the refridgerator. They took the half-empty jar of salsa. They took the ketchup.

They took the sheets off his bed.

All while he was in the hospital to get a diabetic foot ulcer treated.

Meth/coke heads. Evil psychopaths.

I'm pretty much a Quaker on the death-penalty issue. Like Cuomo says, "death by incarceration." Death in prison. Good enough.

Unless you swipe a kid's toys. The treatment for such dysfunction is probably nothing less than death.