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Rigel

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About Rigel

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  • Location
    U.S.A., too close to the center of power for my tastes
  • Interests
    Music, writing, history, linguistics, American studies
  1. It was wonderful to read this prequel. I finally learned how North got his name--I knew it was a middle name, but until reading this, never knew why he didn't go by his first name. It was wonderful seeing the story through the eyes of a small child--reminding me of the opening of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The only problem was that one thing lead to another, and I lost many hours this past weekend reading the whole Goldendale series over again. It was a great pleasurable time, except for the real-life work that didn't get done because of it--but I'd do it again, to spend a weekend with such well-crafted characters dealing with such weighty issues. It's also amazing to read of a time when men weren't allowed to marry other men or to adopt--not that long ago, and to realize how radical the changes in the past few years have been. --Rigel
  2. When I heard the news, I found my self humming bits from Dmitri Shostakovich's 13th Symphony ("Babi Yar"), which is actually a choral setting of five Yevtushenko poems. I had the great experience of singing in a chorus that performed the symphony, and later had the chance to take the vocal score with me to Kiev and with some good friends and fellow choristers, and sing the opening lines of "Babi Yar" at Babi Yar. "At Babi Yar, there is no memorial," the poem begins. By the time I got there in 1982, there was a memorial, but one that failed to mention the Jews. It was a memorial about, against, and of anti-Semitism all at the same time--like so many things in Soviet Russia, a complex nuanced reality. Those complexities were well dealt with by Yevtushenko in his poetry, laden with all sorts of levels of irony. --Rigel
  3. I am depressed this morning--worse than after 9/11--this time because the destruction is by my country's own hand. It feels like America has committed suicide.
  4. If the Republican Party divides itself over this issue, would we have a Trump Party and a Rump Party? (Sorry, couldn't resist. Insert emoticon for slinking off to wherever wordplay lovers gather.)
  5. I know Courage is a short story rather than a novel, but I think it ought to be moved from Short Stories to under The Goldendale Series on BiJanus's story collection page. It is certainly a worthy part of that series. I re-read it today, and am once again in awe of how many layers of love and care and wisdom and good characterization are inherent in the fairly short tale. --Rigel
  6. Does the "Take Two" in the title imply that this wonderful story has been revised since I first read it many years ago? --Rigel
  7. I loved this novella. (It's a lot longer than just a short story.) What the horse farm setting brought to my mind are all of the great stories by Andrew Todd (http://www.awesomedude.com/andrew-todd/). Cole's tale has such a wonderful flow, and the self-referential plot point near the end that explains why the story is being written in the format it was being written in was amazing (but I won't reveal any more, for fear of spoilers). --Rigel
  8. There isn't a single paragraph of the initiative that isn't unconstitutional. violating everything from establishment of religion through functioning of the branches of government, freedom of speech, and prevention of cruel and unusual punishment. Seems like an early April Fool's joke, except that the proposer might actually be a wacko! --Rigel
  9. A man sees a dog licking his penis. He says: "I wish I could do that!" His friend replies: "Better not; that's a vicious dog and he would bite you if you tried to lick him." A variant: A man sees his own pet German shepherd licking his penis. He says: "I wish I could do that!" His friend replies: "Go ahead; he's your dog."
  10. Regarding run-on sentences--I remember my first encounter with the writings of William Faulkner back in high school. Reading the story the night before class, the three- and four-page sentences seemed absolutely impenetrable. Then my teacher, who was originally from Macon, Georgia, began to read the story out loud in class, and all of sudden, I could hear Faulkner's Southern raconteur narrating the tale. After that, Faulkner was intelligible, and actually enjoyable. I'm not put off by longwinded narrators when it's appropriate to the tale. --Rigel
  11. As I write this on Sunday night, we await Monday morning at 9:00 am (MST) to see if Judge Shelby will offer a stay while his decision is appealed, and if he does not stay the decision, whether the 10th Circuit at large will then decree a stay or not. The decision to allow same-sex marriage in Utah came as a shock and a bombshell, because none of us had been paying close enough attention to realize that the court case was ripe for decision. I read that there are some 20 or 30 other court cases working their way through US federal and state courts in various stages, but how many others are at the stage where judicial decisions are ready to be made? I expect other cases will ensure that other states will join Utah within the next few months or perhaps weeks. While the past year was a time when same-sex marriage was extended largely though legislatures and ballots (Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Hawaii, and Illinois; plus court cases in California [uS Supreme Court], New Jersey [state supreme court], and New Mexico [state supreme court]), the coming year looks more likely to see extension mostly through judicial action. There's the possibility of ballot initiatives in Oregon, Ohio, Arizona, and maybe a couple of other states, but none of that can happen until November election time. So what other court cases have already had hearings? What cases have hearings scheduled this winter and are likely to be decided by early-blossom-time? Is there any website that has aggregated this information? Many thanks to anyone who can direct me to the data (or perhaps we will have to assemble the list here)... --Rigel
  12. Hint: My signature line sounds like a physics question (along the lines of angle of incidence equals angle of refraction, etc.), but it's actually a linguistics question, and the different modalities represented by the opposition pairs of right-left versus up-down. --Rigel
  13. Washington DC was the big city on the way North for all the folks coming out of the mountains. Bill Monroe may have invented Bluegrass in Kentucky, when he took old-timey Appalachian music and sped up the tempo and focused attention on flashy technique. (The traditional mountain style would be to evoke modesty in the face of talent, even if it had to be an ingenuous acting performance.) Bluegrass went commercial in Nashville, thanks in large part to the Grand Old Opry, but it settled in the DC area, thanks to performance spaces like the Birchmere and organizations like CABOMA (Capital Area Bluegrass and Old-time Music Association). Accordions were mentioned earlier in the thread. The old banjo tuning joke: What's perfect pitch? When you toss a banjo into the dumpster and it spears an accordion. --Rigel
  14. The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are very good. It helps that bluegrass is in large part about technique, where lots of practice and nimble fingers supplant the need for an emotional depth that would be difficult for youngsters to convey with any authenticity. They play a couple of speeds--fast and very fast. They don't do any singing that I've been able to hear on their website or YouTube--but given that their voices are either about to deal with the changes of puberty or have yet to get there, investment of effort in vocal arrangements would be short-term at best. (A cappella gospel numbers are a standard of many bluegrass bands, offering a change of texture and speed from the fast plucking of strings.) Jonny, the youngest of the brothers, is an excellent Scruggs-style banjo player--his right hand knows how to pick, and his left hand does a good job using the tuning pegs (as well as fingerings) to change pitch (an Earl Scruggs invention). And the other brothers are accomplished musicians on their instruments, obvious when each takes a solo turn. If you listen to some of the older recordings (such as their earliest appearances on the Letterman show) as well as the most recent stuff, you can actually hear a development of talent. They were okay players when Tommy was nine, but they've gotten better as they've aged (a year or so). Thanks for introducing me to this group. I'm a "folkie," and the Washington, DC area is a hotbed of bluegrass, but somehow I hadn't heard (or heard of) these guys before. Now I'm going to have to make sure they play in my area! --Rigel
  15. The culture wars really must be over! In the past week, two states--Rhode Island and then Delaware--legalized same-sex marriage. Admittedly, they're small states--geographically, they're the 2 smallest of the 50 states. The news was available for those who follow it, and the LGBT press certainly celebrated, but it's interesting to note that mainstream media did not consider these developments headline news. I think that's actually good news, as the normalcy of same-sex marriage takes over American consciousness. We'll see if Minnesota and Illinois generate big headlines in the next few weeks, but the subject is likely to lie low until the US Supreme Court speaks out on its cases. --Rigel
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