Musical Interlude: I got nothin’

October 15, 2014

satire Empty pockets

It’s not that there’s no news today, but plenty of other people are covering it quite well, and, well, it’s been another hectic day (no rat sightings, though) that  doesn’t leave me with time to string three coherent words together. So, maybe something later, but, for now, enjoy one of the great Jazz albums of all time, Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.”

I still think the Hard Bop/Cool periods of Jazz, late 40s to early 60s, were its greatest days. And this, along with Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” its greatest album.


Iran can go on enriching, but music teachers must be stopped

December 7, 2013

music teacher violin

And you guys worry about Iran getting nuclear weapons? Fools! Thank God the FTC is there to protect us from the danger of unregulated violin instructors!

The Federal Trade Commission was created in 1914 in the age of oil barons and rail tycoons to bust the big trusts. Today, it’s busting a smaller enterprise – the Music Teachers National Association.

Last March, the FTC sent notice to the MTNA that it was under investigation for “anti-competitive practices.” At issue: a passage in the trade association’s ethics code that says teachers should not actively recruit from other teachers.

“We feel that that provision not only protects the students but ensures that teachers are going to get along well with their colleagues, ” says Gary Ingle, the MTNA’s executive director. 

Ingle says it’s a method of avoiding the rare conflict, where, for example, an accomplished student pianist may be approached after a competition by a rival instructor who promises to help the student win the next competition.

The FTC sees it as a threat to America’s consumers. 

There’s nothing in the rules that prevents a student from seeking out another teacher on their own, of course, and the FTC hasn’t shown how anyone has been harmed by a rule that prevents teachers from poaching each other’s students, but, apparently some bored bureaucrat decided that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE about this clear and present danger.

The MTNA has removed the rule while it figures out how to respond to the FTC’s investigation. So far, it’s amounted to a waste of member’s dues:

MTNA’s Ingle says that’s already happening. His 12-member staff in Cincinnati, Ohio has had to compile 17 years worth of records, including its by-laws, ethics code, journals, finances and membership to satisfy the FTC’s demands.

Sounds like what the IRS did to conservative groups, no? Beat them into submission by hitting them with burdensome documentation demands — and legal fees, should the group decide it needs representation.

Obama’s America: Where nothing is beneath the Federal government’s notice, except Iranian nukes.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tales of the #Thugocracy: Oh, so that’s why they raided Gibson Guitar

May 26, 2013
"Nice business you got here..."

“Nice business you got here…”

You might recall a bizarre federal raid on legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar back in 2011: they were accused of importing illegally harvested wood from India and Madagascar under a century-old law. The feds showed up with automatic weapons, seized “evidence,” and generally disrupted operations to Gibson’s great cost. After all that, no criminal charges were filed, but Gibson had to agree to pay a $300,000 fine and toss $50,000 to an environmental group as penance for being “careless.”

Weird, right? Why all this attention to Gibson, when rival Martin & Co. used the very same “illegal” wood, yet wasn’t raided?

And, just like that, a light goes on:

Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.

What would have seemed like a crazy conspiracy theory straight out of the fever swamps just a year ago now looks all too plausible, after the IRS scandal and the news that the Obama people had been targeting conservatives since 2008.

The message here to Mr. Juszkiewicz and people like him is crystal clear: “Thinking about making a political donation? Maybe you should think again.

“First Amendment?” What’s that?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rule 5 Friday: Wonderful World edition

March 15, 2013

It’s a slow Friday, news-wise, which is sometimes a signal that it’s time to sit back and contemplate the good and beautiful in this world, those that make life worth living.

Such as Kate Upton in a black bikini:

Rule 5 Kate Upton black bikini.jpg

As the great Louis Armstrong said, “What a wonderful world!”

Happy Friday, folks! :D

Related: Rule 5 explained.


February 28, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Gives a whole new (and loony) meaning to “The Day the Music Died.”

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Gosh, is there anything it can’t do?

People send me stuff. I would not have believed this unless I saw it from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, where I constantly wonder what sort of reality those people inhabit. See the yellow highlight.

View original 72 more words


Of Lenin and Muhammad, or, “Why totalitarians hate Jazz”

February 15, 2013

It turns out Robert Spencer (1), noted critic of Islam and the danger to human liberty posed by the spread of Sharia law, is also, like me, an avid jazz fan. In addition to his own blog and a column at PJ Media, he’s started a new column in PJM’s “Lifestyle” section on the intersection of jazz and Islam. His opening piece examines why totalitarians, whether atheists such as Vladimir Lenin, or religious believers, such as Muhammad, hate music, particularly that most American music, jazz.

I think he nails it in this passage:

It isn’t hard to see why the creators of martial polities and new, aggressively expansionistic political and societal systems such as Lenin and Muhammad would disdain music. For music is an expression of the human spirit – the very thing that these totalitarians were trying to master. And no music so fully expresses the anti-totalitarian impulse, and the dignity and value of every human person, than does jazz.

For jazz is not jazz if it doesn’t contain a considerable element of improvisation, and improvisation is an expression of the individual soul par excellence. A musician who is improvising has nothing to fall back on except his own inner reservoir, and that is why jazz at its best is so immediate, so personal, and so affecting. Miles Davis and John Coltrane improvising on the same piece couldn’t sound more different from one another, not just because one plays trumpet and the other tenor sax, but because they are so very different from one another as human beings, and in their improvisations, one can hear into their very hearts and souls. One may learn their solos note-for-note (as I did back in the pre-9/11 days when I played a bit of saxophone myself), but this is just a musical exercise; the music itself can be copied but never replicated, for their individual expression is inherent and essential to it.

Totalitarian collectivists hate that individual expression. They are only interested in the individual not for the expression of his own soul, but as a cog to fit into his great machine that is marching toward the worker’s paradise, or the Sharia state, or whatever the outcome of their reign of terror is called today. As such, jazz music, a unique product of the nation that has enabled a flowering of the individual spirit unparalleled in human history, is a rebuke to collectivism, and a defiant and joyful reassertion of the one thing that totalitarians fear most: the individual.

Emphases added. And it probably explains why Muhammad hated music’s literary equivalent, poetry. (2) Like jazz musicians, the best poets are individualists, and totalitarian control freaks just hate that.

I look forward to further installments.

Footnote:
(1) Robert’s a prolific author, and I highly recommend his books on Islam. I reviewed his (so far) most recent work, “Did Muhammad Exist”, a few months ago.
(2) Hated to the point that the founder of the Religion of Peace and Tolerance had several poets assassinated for daring to criticize him. If he couldn’t control them, he had to eliminate them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When famous dead economists rap, round two

April 28, 2011

Keynes and Hayek are back, this time rappin’ before a congressional committee about top-down vs. free-market economics. As you might expect, it becomes a knockdown, drag-out brawl.

And yeah, the fight was rigged:

I want a rematch!

LINKS: Here’s part one.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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