Friday, February 12, 2016

Fry Day

Thank Ishtar It's Friday!

"It's Presidents' Day Weekend, mortals! Time to get frisky!"


So, there was another "debate" last night between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

To say that it was tedious and boring would be to damn it with faint praise.

Broadcasting the debate on PBS, and holding it in Milwaukee when every political reporter in the country is in South Carolina, seemed like a pretty good way to make sure hardly anyone saw the clash.

Based on the accounts I have read so far, most news organizations are writing their stories based on campaign press releases issued afterward. It isn't clear to me that any of the reporters writing about the debate actually watched it. But then, why should they have to when the rest of us don't?

In most respects, it was a typical Democratic debate. There were no questions about abortion, no questions about evolution, no questions about religious faith, nor any of the other urgent topics "moderators" typically ask about when there are Republicans standing in front of them.

Instead, it was softball after softball on the usual Democrat themes: "systemic racism," "the one percent," "war on women," etc. Most of the action centered around the two candidates scrapping over who was a more ardent supporter of Barack Obama and which of them would be likelier to continue his policies.

"You didn't really expect the moderators to ask hard questions, did you?"

Of course not. Why would they start doing so at this late date in the campaign?

Lenten Tradition

For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite happenings during Lent has been the Friday fish fry.

At this time of year most parishes, and lots of restaurants, have such a feast every Friday until Easter. The best ones are all-you-can-eat, which is a big deal since Catholics are obliged to fast on Fridays during Lent, eating only a single full meal.

Village Inn's fish fry menu

A fish fry sponsored by a parish is likely to be a simple affair, while ones offered at restaurants will typically have lots of options.

I consider myself a fish fry traditionalist, and so I prefer to stick to the Holy Trinity: Deep-fried fish, french fries, and cole slaw.

"Man, the stuff you bipeds put into your bodies..."

Don't knock it unless you've tried it...

Just How Foolish Are Democrats, Anyway?

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

In November 1923, the popular bandleader Paul Whiteman, often called "The King of Jazz" at that time, commissioned composer George Gershwin to write a piece combining elements of classical music with jazz idioms. Whiteman referred to what he had in mind as a "jazz concerto." Genius that he was, Gershwin came up with one of the most celebrated works of his career, Rhapsody in Blue.

Original 1924 sheet music cover
On February 12, 1924 Gershwin himself debuted his composition, playing piano along with Whiteman's orchestra at the Aeolian Hall in New York City.

In 1925, Gershwin recorded a Duo-Art piano roll of an orchestral arrangement of the piece. In an astounding bit of technological legerdemain, that piano roll was used in 1976 as the basis for a recording of Rhapsody by Michael Tilson Thomas and the Columbia Jazz Band.

By playing the roll through a reproducing piano, Thomas and his band were basically able to play along with Gershwin, even though the composer had died nearly 40 years before the recording was made.

Today's send-off is that remarkable recording, easily my favorite version of the landmark composition. Enjoy...


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