Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Austin Powers

It reminds me of Austin Powers.
“I want to do a tableau vivant.”
“An evil tableau vivant?”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Castor & Pollux Overture

One of Tronto's two early music orchestras, the Aradia Ensemble led by Kevin Mallon. Rameau. And a bit from a video production by Rousset.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

World's worst music critic identified!

Lovers of early music will not be surprised.
Listen for yourself.
The Haydn symphonies set is superlative in all respects. It's not complete: 1-75 with a few extras. For anyone who needs the full cycle Fischer is availbale from Nimbus in MP3 format for about $25
Nimbus MP3 sets are also available of the Bowyer Bach organ music and the Lester Scarlatti set -- both are ridiculously cheap and splendid.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Silver errs?

It's dangerous to suggest Nate Silver erred, as he rarely does, but surely in this discussion the relevant population is not all tax payers but the ones Obama mentioned by name?

Saturday, April 20, 2013



This is appalling in so many ways. Just one for now: if this is how you react to a bombing just think of what an incentive it gives to bombers. Crazed over-reactions like this make everyone less safe not more!

UPDATE: Exactly!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Vision and healthcare

A few weeks ago I was sitting at my desk, just before noon, when suddenly a large spidery shape appeared in my vision. I tried brushing it away but could not, it was inside my eye. Shortly afterwards a jet of what turned out to be blood shot across the visual field of the same eye, from one side to another, occluding perhaps a fifth of the surface. It darkened into an archipelago of fine black dots.

I went to my eye doctor, who examined me. She diagnosed the shape as a floater, much the largest she had seen, and the dots as probably blood. She did not detect retinal detachment but wanted me to see a retinologist that day. The office had several on call and I was able to get an appointment over the phone.

They saw me as part of the their normal flow of patients, and he diagnosed the problem as the shrinking of the vitreous causing a hemorrhage. No retinal detachment. Had there been detachment, when prompt surgery is important, he could have done it on site; the retinologist's office had an attached surgery.

Elapsed time -- including travel -- just over 3 hours.

That's pretty damned impressive. In Canada you can wait much longer than that in an emergency room even when you are bleeding and in pain. You can wait weeks to see a retinologist. Of course you won't have to pay much for it when finally you do: you can lose your eyesight on the cheap.

This day will cost me a fair bit, and I am sure when all the bills arrive I will wish I still lived in Canada to have them paid. But at the time, and now, and had there been detachment, I would prfer to get the better care promptly. It will cost me, but in less happy circumstances I might have lost vision had I been in Canada rather than Michigan. That's worth something.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Consider this a place holder. I'll have comments on the thuggish attacks on Steve Landsburg later this week.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Open season

Open season on Coptic Christians continues.

Should we expect world wide riots?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Douwe Eisenga

His piano concerto is available on YouTube, spread over several links. Here is one. Propulsive minimalism at its most appealling.

Plus Nyman for accordion, piano and trombone.

Simeon ten Holt, Canto Ostinato. 90 minutes or so

Update: a section of Canto Ostinato for organ and ... whirling dervish!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Influential Books

David R Henderson linked to some lists of books by econ bloggers I read regularly, including himself.
As interesting as the lists are the different approaches. Bryan Caplan catalogued arguments which convinced him, David mostly books that made an impression at one time, Tyler Cowen somewhere in between. My list is more like David's.

I am either impressed or skeptical at the claims to really know which books influence you; can we really pick apart influence from resonance? To keep it focused I will concentrate just on one aspect: my reaction to the past. Someone said we live in an age impatient with the past. This is true, and I feel the impatience myself often enough. But I am at the patient end of the spectrum, both naturally and deliberately.  

When I first read Homer in high school I expected a jingoistic John Wayne tale of Greeks at war. What I found was startingly different. Homer still surprises every time I read him. Tolstoy’s two big books were important. I am very glad I never met Tolstoy, I fear he would have had too strong an influence over me.

My favorite book is The Decameron by Boccaccio. I read it in first year, and learned that everything I thought I knew about the middle ages was wrong. I also remember Boccaccio’s farewell to specifially his female readers, asking that they remember him. If any book book convinced me that prejudice against the past is foolish, weak, and invidious it is Decameron. Had I read Don Quixote first I think it would be my favorite book, for similar reasons.

De Rerum Natura by Lucretius. This wonderful poem shows that the skeptical, reductionist mind has been around a long time, and can be allied to a poetic soul.

History certainly. I read Shirer’s book on the Third Reich in high school. The Great Terror by Robert Conquest on Stalinism. Tuchman’s Guns of August.

Some books of argument, just not to seem completely woolly:
The Extended Phenotype by Dawkins. Much more convincing than the Selfish Gene.
Darwin’s dangerous Idea by Dennett. More reductionism!
Reflections on the Revolution if France by Burke. Ideas entirely new to me at the time.
Object Oriented Software Construction by Meyer. A geek book.
The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Language.