Listening to Nico Muhly tonight. Interesting stuff; lots of good use and manipulation of found sound.

I’ve been thinking of going a little more digital on my next piece. As soon as my Variations on a Greek Folk Dance are orchestrated, I might try something for trombone and laptop/stompboxes/effects processing/something.


Since I had a little extra money and a free coupon, I went to a local restaurant for breakfast this morning. There weren’t too many people in the dining area.

About 10 minutes into breakfast, the lone African-American in the dining room left. Not more than two minutes later, two middle-aged white guys started a conversation that I could mostly hear from 10 feet away. From the jargon and whatnot, I gathered they were in sales. One was dominating the conversation and spouting the usual claptrap about how businesses are overtaxed and overregulated. He even pointed out Wall Street as an example.

To quote Homer Simpson, “urge to kill…rising.” But, hey, he’s just some white sales douchebag. No shortage of those on this planet, and this guy is just blather. But then, after he’s secure that the lone black customer is no longer in the restaurant, comes this:

“I hate to say this, but I didn’t used to be racist – Obama made me one.”

I finished up and left. I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as this slackjaw. Had I the guts, I would have said “No, you hate to say it when you think someone might disagree with you. You’ve always been a racist – you just didn’t have the guts to admit it until you could blame it on a black guy.”

As I was leaving, I overheard him say that the President was proof that blacks and whites shouldn’t marry.

It’s a good thing my mother raised me better than that, because it took every ounce of self-control to keep from going back and reading him the Riot Act.

This quote seems appropriate: “I’m not black, but there are times I wish I wasn’t white.” – Frank Zappa.

This also did little to disabuse me of the notion that middle-aged white guys are the most annoying and self-pitying so-and-sos on the planet (and I say that as someone who has every intention of being a middle-aged white guy soon).


The recent appearance of Yuja Wang at the Hollywood Bowl has caused quite a bit of consternation in the classical music world. No one is knocking her performance – she is a monster at the keyboard in the best sense of the word. What is stirring the pot is her choice of concert attire. Go here, here and here for more information.

What do you think?


I just finished a wonderful book of essays by Nicholson Baker, The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber. The man has a gift for thinking about and understanding language. I know I won’t look at the language – or lumber – the same way again. Sometimes the stream-of-consciousness gets a little old if you hear it out loud, but on the page it dances.

Not well-known fact about Nicholson Baker: He attended the Eastman School of Music for a time. What his major was, I do not know.

Whatcha reading?