May rambling: lost in the crowd

Hating what you don’t understand

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UN report details humans have pushed one million species to the brink of extinction

China takes the lead on global climate policy and the U.S. steps back

Why You Can No Longer Get Lost in the Crowd

Physicians Get Addicted Too

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lethal Injections

Southern newspapers played a major role in racial violence. Do they owe their communities an apology?”

Hating what you don’t understand

Riley Howell’s Parents Say He Was Shot 3 Times While Tackling the UNC Charlotte Gunman – eight minutes from my sister’s house

A California teacher on medical leave for breast cancer has to pay for her substitute

What should “electable” mean?

10 U.S. Towns Stuck in Time – I’ve been to 4 of them

The fact that I’m in front of you means that I was here first

Where the US’s Foreign-Born Live Has Changed Over Time

Kid’s ‘Wow’ reaction to hearing Mozart

How I Read and Why

Doris Day dead at age 97

Tim Conway, RIP

May Chris Farley’s memory be a blessing

“Behind the scenes” visit to Sesame Street done by 60 Minutes Australia

Roosevelt Franklin – Muppet of Sesame Street

The Tony awards are June 9 on CBS

Inside the World’s Only Museum Dedicated to Ventriloquism

Tennis star Hans Redl

Albany Patroons basketball game day

Binghamton Rumble Ponies get first no-hitter in 13 years

Afterlife in New Zealand

Now I Know: The Dancing Plague and Why You Shouldn’t Take Advice From a Board Game and Why These Windows Don’t Have Windows and When a Truck Driver Had a Very Delicious Meltdown and The Cars that Karaoke and Why Do I Keep Getting Calls from Slovenia?!

Hyper-Casual Games Gone Viral

Australian $50 note typo: spelling mistake printed 46 million times

She was the ‘queen of the mommy bloggers,’ then her life fell apart

Will this WordPress theme allow me to make money?

Funny goats: screaming like humans; an inside joke from staff training in Ithaca


Que Sera Sera – Doris Day

Mama – Clean Bandit

Believer – Bigfoot & Puddles

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Mackenzie Johnson

Ottorino Resphigi’s The Pines of Rome

Grow – Sabrina Lentini

Danzas de Panama by William Grant Still

StillSane – Carolyne Mas

Alassio (In the South) – Sir Edward Elgar

I Eat Dinner (When the Hunger’s Gone) – Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Coverville 1261: Cover Stories for Billy Joel and Echo and the Bunnymen

The Story Behind The Twilight Zone Theme Song

The Simpsons’ “Upstate New York” song

When TWO bloggers, one who started in 1996 and the other in 2005 post this separately, who am I to argue?

The Beatles off-white album

Music Throwback Saturday: Mozart Requiem

:Mozart’s widow Constanze was responsible for a number of stories surrounding the composition of the work.”

One of the most popular composers in movies and television today is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Pretty impressive for a guy who’s been dead for over 225 years. Check out out his over 1,275 credits in the IMDB.

And of those, more than 100 are for the Mozart Requiem in D Minor K. 626, including The Big Lebowski and Robot & Frank. The movie Lucy used the Introitus: Requiem Aeternam. Life of Brian went with Dies irae. Both Eyes Wide Shut and The Wolverine were fond of Rex Tremendae Majestatis. Here is X-Men 2 using Dies irae.

Of course, the movie Amadeus used several movements, including Dies Irae, Rex Tremendae, Confutatis, and the segment I hear most often, even in car commercials, Lacrimosa. Here is the Lacrimosa scene in Amadeus.

The movie also explains, as does the Wikipedia, that the Requiem was incomplete upon the composer’s death on December 5, 1791 at the age of 35. “Mozart’s widow Constanze was responsible for a number of stories surrounding the composition of the work, including the claims that Mozart received the commission from a mysterious messenger who did not reveal the commissioner’s identity, and that Mozart came to believe that he was writing the requiem for his own funeral.” However, the film took some liberties with the facts.

I love requiems in general, and, as I’ve noted, the Mozart Requiem is one of my favorite pieces of music I was in choirs that have performed it thrice in my life, in 1985 and at some point in the 1990s at Trinity United Methodist Church, and in 2002, with Albany Pro Musica, as part of the commemoration of the first anniversary of 9/11. So I never used Cyberbass to learn the work, though it could be useful for you.

Listen to Mozart Requiem In D Minor K. 626
Arsys Bourgogne live performance


I ordered a CD from Amazon that had two Mozart pieces.

Benny Goodman, 400 Restaurant, New York, NY., ca. July 1946
Benny Goodman, 400 Restaurant, New York, NY., ca. July 1946

The Daughter played the clarinet for about two years. The added benefit was that The Wife took HER clarinet out of retirement – she had played in high school – and started practicing. They even played a brief duet at one of the family reunions.

Unfortunately, when the Daughter quit, her mother did as well. Still, she loves the instrument.

The Wife is a notoriously difficult person to buy presents for. There have been a few things that had been reliable choices for a time. A few Glee TV soundtracks early on. Her “K girls, Diana Krall and Alison Krauss, when they’d put out a new album. The six
seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD.

This year, uncharacteristically, she actually asked for a classical album featuring clarinetist Benny Goodman. I was unaware that he even played in a classical setting, hearing him entirely in the jazz genre.

Nevertheless, I ordered a CD from Amazon that had two Mozart pieces, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A major, K. 622 and Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in A major, K. 581, the former with the Boston Symphony, conducted by Charles Munch, the latter with its String Quartet.

It arrived at work the Friday before Mother’s Day. At church that evening, it was First Friday, and the Capital City String Quartet was playing pieces by Mozart and Brahms with a clarinetist. You can guess that the Mozart piece was the very same K. 581 that had just been delivered to me!

And the K. 622 The Wife had played in a performance in high school, which seems to have been her greatest musical accomplishment.

Happy birthday to my bride, who is turning…some age younger than mine. Hope I have figured what to get you THIS time. In honor of her natal day, listen to Mozart, Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major K. 581.


Nairi-Quartet: Soo-Young Lee (Clarinet), Narine Nanayan (1st violin), Zhanna Harutyunyan (2nd violin), Gohar Mkhitaryan (viola), Vladislav Kozin (cello)

Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major K 622

Cleveland Orchestra. Clarinet: Robert Marcellus Conductor: George Szell

April snow

Lion King

The first time I wore boots in the winter of 2015-2016: April 5, 2016.
The first time I SHOULD have worn boots in that period: April 4, 2016, which ended up generating four inches, about 10 cm. I should have worn them mostly because people seem to have forgotten how to shovel snow. This includes, BTW, the building I work in. With temperatures hitting 70F (21C) in the past couple of weeks, temperatures in the 20s F (just below zero C) are a shock to some.

But it was a non-event winter here, so I’m not complaining about a little April snow. It has snowed in Albany in April before, in 1982 and 2000, two times I specifically recalled. It snowed on May 18, 2002, the year The Wife graduated from grad school, and they had to bring the ceremony inside.

Invasion of the vote seekers
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center, stands with Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., after speaking at a rally at Cohoes High School on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cohoes, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center, stands with Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., after speaking at a rally at Cohoes High School on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cohoes, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Uncharacteristically, New York State matters this year in both parties’ presidential primaries on April 19.

I managed to have gotten invited to see Hillary Clinton when she stopped in Albany County on April 4. I opted against it, in part because The Wife had been home with a sick child all day, and I wasn’t that feeling great myself, certainly not well enough to wait out in the cold to get into the event.

Also, I wasn’t planning on voting for her in the primary. Still, she’s a former First Lady, former Secretary of State, and twice elected U.S. Senator from my state, when I DID vote for her.

Later that evening, I tuned into the CBS Evening News, which I had recorded, and discovered WRGB Channel 6 had pre-empted it to show the intros by Tonko and Gillibrand, plus the first 13 minutes of HRC’s speech, then presumably cut away to a game show. I reckon the Time Warner news probably covered it more thoroughly.

Ted Cruz was in Scotia in nearby Schenectady County yesterday. John Kasich (rhymes with basic) and Bernie Sanders may be in the area soon as well.

Speaking of Bernie: I read about the Message Requests function on Facebook from Mark Evanier this week. Turns out I had five messages there. Four seemed spammy. The fifth, from February 9 asked me to promote a march for Bernie on February 27. I probably would have.

The cringeworthy Donald was looking for an Albany venue for a rally next week. I mentioned to my spouse that maybe I’d stop by, not to participate or to protest, but merely to observe. She, uncharacteristically, scowled, “Be careful. I MEAN it!”



Last month, the family caught The Lion King at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady (near Albany) Maundy Thursday evening; there’s a story about the timing, but it involves someone else. The Wife and I had seen it before, maybe five years ago, but The Daughter had not.

Since then, she played young Nala at church, so we knew she’d enjoy the spectacle, and she did. She could sing along with several songs, notably Chow Down, which she never sang, but heard often as the hyenas practiced their threats to eat Simba and Nala.

Good Friday, our church choir performed Charles Gounod’s Seven Last Words, which was very moving. Even more so, Ah, Holy Jesus, an arrangement by Ferguson, featuring the viola.

I’ve been to the Massry Center at the College of Saint Rose twice in recent weeks, which is within walking distance of our house. Before Easter, I listened to the Mozart requiem, a piece of music I’ve sung thrice in my life and truly love.

This past Sunday, I attended the senior recital of Maria Rabbia, a CSR senior who has been singing at our church choir. There was a large First Presbyterian contingent in the audience.

She performed pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Prokofiev, and Chopin. Scanning the program beforehand, I wondered why she hadn’t put the Chopin before the Debussy, which would have put the music in both alphabetical and chronological order. But Chopin is a barn burner, and thus a more suitable ending.

Maria has been studying piano since she was five. the and organ – she played the postlude at church once, quite well – since she was 12. Mark my words: Maria Rabbia will be a notable musician someday.

Photo of Maria Rabbia (C) 2016 by Tim O’Toole

Fridays in Lent: Mozart Requiem

Some or all the music from the Mozart Requiem appears in at least 70 movies and television episodes.

Mozart-musicI’ve sung the Mozart Requiem in D minor at least thrice, once in 1985, once or twice in the 1990s, and once on September 11, 2002. I LOVE this piece of music.

The one problem singing it is that I have to keep from crying. As was made clear in the movie Amadeus, this is as much about the composer’s own death as Jesus’.

Some or all the music from this work appears in at least 70 movies and television episodes, plus a number of commercials.

Here is a live recording.


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