16 Nov 2009

I finally beat that intensely annoying website virus on rugbyfootball.com. Yahoo suggested deleting the existing ftp connection and creating a new one with a new password. I looked and saw no less than five ftp accounts, only one of which I created. One or more of them were probably how the virus was getting access to the site. So deleting them all and creating a new one and cleaning the website (again) did the trick. Whew.

I am now reading "48 Liberal Lies About American History (that you probably learned in school)" by Larry Schweikart. I'm always attracted to books that attempt to correct historical popular misconceptions. The chapter in this I'm especially interested in is the one about JFK being assassinated because somebody (fill in the blank) was trying to prevent him from getting us out of the Vietnam War. Oliver Stone, one of the most irresponsible filmmakers working today, is directly attributable for this one.

There is no evidence that Kennedy wanted the United States out of Vietnam. JFK was a Cold War Democrat. After JFK was killed, LBJ was very much following the lead and policies of the Kennedy Administration. Meet the new boss/same as the old boss.

There's a hilarious episode of Red Dwarf (a British sci-fi comedy), about the crew of the Red Dwarf mining ship travelling back in time and screwing up the Kennedy assassination. Finally, in order to preserve the timeline (and Kennedy's post assassination reputation) they have to convince JFK to shoot himself from the grassy knoll. Incredible. I don't think any American sitcom would take this one on. A plot element is the canard about his being killed in order to keep the U.S. in Vietnam - so even the Brits don't know any better...

Red Dwarf, by the way, by virtue of being a comedy and not a drama, has taken science fiction to places where even Star Trek dared not venture. One episode featured a planet ("htraE") where everything runs backwards in time compared to the timeline of the Red Drawf crew. (That episode, logically enough, was entitled "Backwards.") Another episode... well, words fail me. Look at this. An amazingly creative television show that worked because if it's a comedy, science-fiction allows you to postulate ridiculous situations that you'd never get away with in a drama.

This weekend I've been working on a "Simple Minuet" by Jean-Nicolas Geoffroy (1633-1694). Simple for better pianists, perhaps, but not me! It's tricky. It's sort of like the piano version of repeating "Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore" really quickly; the left hand seems to noodle downward independently of the right hand. But I'm 90% there. The last time I sat down at the piano I played it straight through correctly with only a slight hesitation at one point. This is cool.

I am still amazed and delighted with how finger memory works. It's weird. The process of learning a piece is staring intently at the music and working out the notes slowly and painfully. Then, once the brain-finger links start to build, it's a matter of playing each note properly and with increasing velocity. At that point you're not really reading the music anymore - the fingers are just sort of allowed to roam the keys in the right pattern, playing the piece. Once it's memorized you're not even thinking about the piece... it's like absent mindedly scratching your wrist or something. It just sort of happens. It's a mental minor miracle.

Old dogs can learn new tricks.


  1. Did you watch the Return to Earth 2009 episodes yet?

  2. I got the Schweikart book last Christmas. Good Civil War chapters there. The one on Prohibition was perhaps the most surprising one for me. You might have seen the chapter already were he points out textbooks are more likely to tell you Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marine than say he was a Communist. (Seems like Oswald should be added to the short list of ones to call "ex-Marine" instead of the honorable "former Marine)

    BTW, are you returning to the Rememberance Day parade with the Regulars?

  3. Nope... haven't seen the latest Red Dwarf stuff yet. I've been watching your films. - Dad

  4. "BTW, are you returning to the Rememberance Day parade with the Regulars?"


    And Oswald was a scumbag.




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