Okay, word of the day: formication. No, this is not fornication - I spelled it properly. Definition here. Weird, huh? And how did I stumble across this odd word? I mentioned yesterday that I was considering digitizing Joni Mitchell Lps - I have since started. Using wikipedia to look up the years her albums were released on wikipedia, I came across this bizarre entry for Joni Mitchell's present state of health, from April 2010:
"I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it's from outer space, but my health's the best it's been in a while. Two nights ago, I went out for the first time since Dec. 23: I don't look so bad under incandescent light, but I look scary under daylight. Garbo and Dietrich hid away just because people became so upset watching them age, but this is worse. Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral. Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer — a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year. ... In America, the Morgellons is always diagnosed as 'delusion of parasites,' and they send you to a psychiatrist. I'm actually trying to get out of the music business to battle for Morgellons sufferers to receive the credibility that's owed to them."
"Delusion of parasites" - hence the term formication. I have no idea if Morgellons is legit or not (there are skeptics), and, apparently, neither do the doctors. Weird.
Joni is described as "one of the world's last great smokers"; she's been a smoker since age nine. She is also active in environmental affairs - which raises a question: Should I take advice about the environment from one of the world's last great smokers? Nevertheless, I like her records and have started digitizing them.
Speaking of vinyl, this: Young people prefer vinyl Lps. I like records as much as anyone - in fact, I have about a thousand Lps with no plans to ever give them up - but come on. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a young man at a Guitar Center once. He insisted that vinyl records sounded better than CDs. Perhaps they do to some people with hearing different than mine, but I have never heard an analog-recorded classical piece on a vinyl Lp that compares with a decent digitally-recorded orchestral piece. For one thing, with symphonic music there is nothing to compare with the almost total absence of noise. Symphonic music is all about the dynamics, and if vinyl crackle is competing with the oboe solo, where's the quality?
For another, I've never bought that psycho-acoustical argument that sample and hold digitization techniques degrade a natural sound - I can't hear it. From the article: "Listening to old music remastered to a newer format is almost comical," Sarah said. "They weren't meant to be digitalized. Listening to Jimi Hendrix on my iPod doesn't capture his endlessly deep guitar solos quite like a 33 LP of 'Blues' does." My internal B.S. alarm went off at that one.
I finally got around to watching the rugby film Invictus (2009) last night. When people know you play rugby they always ask if you've seen it. (The same thing happened with Ken Burns' Civil War series and Glory when I did Civil War reenacting. People expect it of you.) It was... okay, but too long. My wife left at the one hour and fifteen minute mark, claiming that it was boring.
And I noticed some odd rugby things in it - stuff that didn't make visual sense. The most curious feature of the film, however, was depicting 1995 South African rugby as being some second rate, come-from-behind effort. The fact is, the Springboks have been and are always a threat and South Africa is one of the world rugby powerhouses. In fact, right now the Springboks are rated as being the third best squad in the world (they are almost always in the top five). So I question this depiction. It's like director Clint Eastwood is trying to pull the wool over Americans' eyes to enhance an already good story. (What sort of a team are the Springboks? Read this.)
The ending is pure Hollywood: the Springboks win, the Rainbow Nation is off to a great start and the future is bright. (It somewhat reminded me of the silly ending to Born on the Fourth of July, where we're supposed to breathe a sigh of relief when Jimmy Carter gets elected president - Har!) While a discussion of South African politics is beyond my interest in this blog, I will encourage anyone curious as to what came next to talk to white South Africans, as I have. In fact, South Africans I have spoken to about this film don't like it because it so simplifies and makes politically correct South African politics.
All of which reminds me... there's a book I once glossed through and want to read: The Hollywood History of the World by George MacDonald Fraser. I wonder if my library system has it...
- ► 2012 (240)
- ▼ March (24)
- ► 2010 (246)
- ► 2009 (256)