Friday, January 24, 2014

notes for a new notebook

1. I received some highly disturbing news today. It must have been disturbing, because I then completely forgot where I had parked my car. On going out to lunch at the usual to have the usual, I ordered the wrong thing.

2. I finally bit the bullet and updated my Firefox, which I'd been preserving in an old form (rapidly becoming more useless) out of fear that an update would disable the features I like and I'd never be able to go back. Part of that was true: I can't revert. But my preferred color scheme works better than on Opera; though it's less convenient to switch back and forth to the default, I have far less need to do so. The ways of dealing with features like bookmarks, which I always preferred on Firefox, are functionally unchanged, and my add-ons still work: AdBlocker even blocks the video ads before Daily Show segments! The only downside to that is that I'll no longer get whatever succeeds "most interesting man in the world" jokes.

3. Remember how the cold temperatures in the eastern US were supposed to prove that there was no global warming? Checked any thermometers in Australia lately? Or how about here in California, where we've been having August-style brushfires and temperatures so warm it's uncomfortable to wear a jacket. What it'll be like by the real August is not to be contemplated.

4. The New Yorker had an article about the decline of Detroit and the concomitant rise of its suburbs. It marked the death knell for the city as the day the flagship of Hudson's department store downtown closed. So then I saw this and thought, "Bye-bye, Chicago."

5. In slightly cheerier news. Slate has been running a series of cooking articles with the theme of "You're doing it wrong." So then I read the one on quesadillas and felt very smug, because I already do everything they suggest.

6. Music dept., part 1: Somebody says that classical music in America is dead. But their source turns out to be Greg Sandow, so it must be thriving, as indeed it was at the Beethoven & Mason Bates concert in the City where all these young people showed up.

7. Music dept., part 2: And here's one who praises Thomas Newman's score for Saving Mr. Banks. I did not think well of the score. It was pleasant rather than outstanding music, and I found its tone, its emotional language, highly ill-judged for its movie. It belonged on a much more warm-hearted picture.

8. Music dept., part 3: A coffee-table book on the subject, borrowed from the library, led me to a website on an entire genre of music of whose mere existence I was barely aware: industrial musicals, musical theater shows, sometimes full-scale, put on by giant industrial corporations between the 1950s and 1970s, during the live big, pre-penny pinching era, at annual conventions to pump up the eagerness of the salesfolk and other personnel. Think How To Succeed In Business Without Even Trying without the tongue in the cheek. Some of them were even recorded, and those are the ones covered here. There's even a page with some sample recordings, but I can't say I was very impressed, even by the ones by Bock and Harnick (later of Fiorello! and Fiddler on the Roof) or by Kander and Ebb (of Cabaret and Chicago).

9. Music dept., part 4: When I was very young, I would see in gossip columns or the like the current doings of some long-forgotten silent film star, and I'd think of how quaint and removed from present-day concerns this was. That must be how young people today react to the news that the Captain and Tennille are getting divorced.

10. Cute item of the week: the trailer for Muppets of the Caribbean.

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