Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two Passions

Ex-pres. Bush stepped into his retirement ranch house, kicked aside a chicken, sat down and wept. He wept because he had dodged a mejor Dum-dum bullet, larger than the unravelling of the White-Man-Devil-Medicine financial web or the Iraq monkey trap. He fell to his knees on the cool dirt floor and thanked Christ his plan to tie millions of Americans' retirement to the stock market, instead of that socialist traitor-founded Social Security stuff, failed.

J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, as performed by the Richmond Symphony, with two, count 'em, two choruses filled the air from my radio last night. Regardless of one's religious thoughts, it is great music. It was sung in English last night, a mid-brow solution . My German is non-existent beyond bitte and danke; the translation enhanced understanding of what was going on with all those different voices. Mark Russell Smith conducted and offered many helpful insights during the intermission. I am not a musicologist, so I lack the right words to describe music beyond gut reaction, a rookie crutch.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Over the mountain through the land of Mud Men to the river .

Stopped by to clean up; St. Patrick's day is always exciting around The Shebeen.

Magic Mountain has been removed from the Shelfari widget, left, as I finished reading it. The thing was a wen on the page. I read a chapter or two a night,as I did with Vanity Fair years ago. A rinse in the river of words before lights out. The book has a nice heft. A new translation by John E. Woods, it seemed to flow better than the earlier Lowe-Porter translation; though some sections of text were very similar. I enjoyed every degree of fever, Mann's speculations on time, and the realist style of the novel. Dr. Faustus is out in a new translation by Woods.

I will have to buy it myself, as the whack to public libraries referred to in an earlier screed has landed. Just in time for increased use by job hunters, computer users, and readers. I do not know about other grid coordinates in the Old Dominion, but in our 914 sq.mile service area, relatives of prisoners MUST make an appointment online to schedule a visit. Now let us think about this a minnit, Deputy Bubba. Given the backgrounds of those in jail, do y'all really think there is a computer at home for Grandma to schedule a visit to her grandson? Can you say "Guan-tan-amo, USA"? The library is the place many families of those in prison turn to; we have the statistical and anecdotal proof.

Idiot regulations like the above make me look forward to my rinse in the river. I'm casting about for the next Big Read; maybe another run through Mark Twain's works. There was a pen "warmed in Hell". He appreciated, respected, and knew, as only a River Pilot can, The River.