Music Monday

Fascinating read in the Spectator about Rachmaninov:

Would musical history have turned out differently if Alexander Glazunov hadn’t been smashed out of his wits when he conducted the first performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 1 in D minor? The best of Glazunov’s own neatly carpentered symphonies hover on the verge of greatness. Perhaps if he hadn’t been such a toper — swigging from bottles of spirits during lectures at the St Petersburg Conservatory, where he was director — they would do more than hover. Unfortunately, his drinking didn’t just screw up his own career.

The 23-year-old Sergei Rachmaninov had spent two years working on his first symphony, whose climaxes erupt from melodic cells borrowed from Orthodox chant. Not that Glazunov would have noticed. He barely glanced at the score before the premiere. On that fateful evening in 1897 he conducted ‘like a zombie’, according to one account. The orchestra was all over the place. Poor Rachmaninov hid on a spiral staircase while it was going on and then ran into the street to escape the catcalls.

Bonus Music Monday link to a story about Schubert and his song “Gretchen am Spinnrade,” 200 years on.

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Your Morning Cup of Links

What Shakespeare can teach science about language and the limits of the human mind.

Apparently, drawing runners is hard. Artists have been drawing people running incorrectly for thousands of years.

Now for a couple of pieces on how illiberal our so-called “liberals” have become. Most are really just ghastly little authoritarians at heart. First, this great Peter Berkowitz piece on the illiberal New Republic; here’s an absolutely fantastic Charles C.W. Cooke piece on the illiberal Ezra Klein; and a (rare these days) great blog post from Andrew Sullivan. 

I encourage you to treat Leftist women the way they apparently see themselves: as weak imbeciles who can’t handle normal situations.

Just 3% of public colleges and most private universities require an economics course. Explains a lot.

FDA guidelines prohibited the hospital from using the Ebola screening machine to screen for Ebola.” You just have to laugh at this stuff at this point, guys, otherwise you’ll cry all the time.

This is hilarious. Female goes to Wellesley, decides she’s a man, applies to be “diversity coordinator,” gets rejected because she’s now a white man. That’s right. Wellesley students lobbied against a white female -who identifies as a male – taking a leadership role because it reaffirms the patriarchy. That’s how fucked in the head this dumb generation is.

Some think social issues is what will kill the GOP (and they may be right) but I think the death of the culture of personal responsibility and the rise of a culture of dependency is what will cement Democrats in power. This is a great, depressing, must-read piece by Jazz Shaw. Here’s an excerpt:

For all the lean times and lack of luxury both these generations experienced, there was never any talk in my house of how the government was “failing” them, nor hand wringing over when some distant elected official was going to make things better. It was just a given out in the country during those days. Nobody was going to come to your rescue. You were going to make it on your own, and come hell or high water you found a way to do so. If foreign threats grew so great as to require intervention, you packed your bags, went and fought them, and then returned home if you were fortunate enough to survive the ordeal. And when you returned, you went back to work. That was just life. The government was largely an abstract concept which chiefly focused on taxing whatever cash income you happened to find a way to earn.

My, how times have changed. We now rest our hopes for the future on a generation whose expectations are of a life living in Elysian Fields. The government, in response to these desires, has grown into a behemoth which collects vast sums from the general productivity to satisfy the demand, but is increasingly unable to deliver on even a meager portion of its promises. In the process, these same officials run up bills which ensuing generations will never be able to make good on, all the while shepherding in a deterioration of the standard of living our forebears sought for us. And when the bill collectors finally arrive at the government’s door and can’t be put off by another rubber check, you may rest assured that Uncle Sam will come back to the voters to collect whatever wealth is left. But that doesn’t get the nation out of a hole that deep. The consequences will likely be disastrous.

I’m left to wonder precisely where this carnival ride ends. We are breeding a generation which is increasingly less self-reliant, while ushering in conditions which seem doomed to a disastrous collapse. And what skills will the modern generation draw upon if they are thrust back into a life where the government can do little or nothing to save them? None of the luxurious riches and privileges we enjoy today are guaranteed to infinity and beyond. Empires rise and they fall. Sometimes – with luck, hard work and perseverance – they rise again. But the people who rebuild from such ruins will need the stamina and grit of those who survived the dust bowl, not a knack for rebooting after a bad session of video gaming. Do we have that sort of survival instinct in the 21st century, or has it been bred out of us?

Michael Weiss on America’s strategic meltdown in Syria.

Whatever you do Obama, don’t stop propping up this monster. Would break my heart if he were to experience some sort of horrible, agonizing death.

I don’t know how Obama cultists can defend crap like this and this...but I’m sure they’ll try.

If you ever wonder how Britain has become such an inferior country, this is why: Guy gets HATE MAIL for putting bacon and cheese on his toast.

St. Louis County needs some reforms, to put it mildly. Just terrible.

Some of us told you – loudly and repeatedly – that this is exactly what would happen.

Biker gangs. That’s what the Syrian war was missing.

Very sad.

Northern white rhinos are one step closer to extinction, after one of only two breeding males known to exist was found dead at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. In a statement, the conservancy said Suni, 34, had not been poached, but they had not yet determined why the rhino died…There are now only six northern white rhinos left in the world. Suni was one of the last two breeding males in the world and no northern white rhinos are known to have survived in the wild. Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction.

Yes, there were chemical weapons in Iraq. The NYT is just getting around to reporting it. Unfortunately, they just can’t seem to do a story on the Iraq War without lying about it.

Good to know Harvard still possesses at least a couple dozen professors who have common sense and believe in due process.

A third of the Kurdish soldiers who have been holding off ISIS for over a month now in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane are women. Hell yes, ladies. “When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me…My bravery shames them.”

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Video of the Day

I am not a Chris Christie fan at all, but dear sweet lord this smack down of a whiny pensioner is a thing of beauty.

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Unusually Stupid Primates of the Week

I would just like one week without having to hear from the fucking brain trusts in Hollywood. Just one week. As I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, Ben Affleck put on full display what a pouting imbecile he is on Bill Maher’s show a couple weeks ago. Affleck screamed “RACIST!” at Bill Maher and Sam Harris anytime they mentioned that Islam (which is not a race, by the way) seems to have a problem with violence. Rich Lowry has a good piece on the Affleck-Maher-Harris dust-up. Then, at a fundraiser over the weekend, Gwyneth Paltrow came out for absolute power and slobbered all over the President in a display that would embarrass the most dedicated North Korean. And now, mush-brained idiot Kristen Stewart trashes the military and claims the terrorists at Gitmo are “misunderstood.” Oh, and then there’s this from Eva Longoria, who, as Kevin Williamson gently notes is “not what you would call a rigorous thinker.” This level of stupidity would be nothing more than amusing if these people didn’t have actual influence over how others think…and vote. But they do. We now live in an age where more Americans get their policy positions from Ben Affleck and Lena Dunham than Hayek and Tocqueville. God help this pathetically dumbed-down country.


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Weekly Recipe

Sorry, I know it’s been a looooong time since I’ve done a recipe. But I’m back with…

The Best Tomato Soup Evah


2.5 pounds of different kinds of tomatoes (vine, plum, heirloom, etc…and a few cherry tomatoes for garnish)

Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

6 cloves of garlic

1 large onion (or 2 small ones), sliced

3 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

4 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

1/2 cup chopped basil

3/4 cup heavy cream


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Core the tomatoes and cut them into fourths (leave the cherry tomatoes whole). Spread the tomatoes, garlic and onion in a roasting pan and drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until tomatoes are soft and caramelized.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the tomatoes (except the cherry tomatoes), onion and garlic to a large pot. Add 3 cups of chicken stock, the bay leaves and the butter to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Add the basil to the pot. If you’re cool enough to have an immersion blender, use that to blend the soup, otherwise transfer in batches to a blender and puree until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the flavors come together over low heat for a couple more minutes then ladle into bowls, drop 2-3 of the roasted cherry tomatoes on top as garnish and enjoy!

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Your Morning Cup of Links

Lol. Obamacare website won’t display premiums for 2015 until after the midterms, of course.

Without government who would order a disabled little girl to tear down her backyard playset?

I am so totally surprised that this White House was hiding damaging info from the public before an election. Also totally surprised that the WH staffer suspected of hiring a hooker now works in the Office of Global Women’s Issues. Just so perfect.

A nation of children governed by children.

Awesome! Adios amigo.

ISIS is systematically destroying Northern Iraq and its people, but there’s not a cool hashtag for it so no one cares.

This is pretty much how I feel. I’m pretty “meh” about taking the Senate. I’ll be happy to watch Harry Reid cry, but nothing will really change until we get a new President. He’ll just veto everything because he thinks he’s a king. And I’m not sure much will change with a new President either, actually. The American people, the culture, needs to change and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Good job, everyone.

Putin’s tiger invades China. You can’t make it up.

“They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.”

Why I am skeptical of academic “research.”

Nothing Harris says here is controversial to anyone who possesses a moral compass based in reality and is capable of basic reading comprehension. But the Left is bad at both things so welcome to their lynch mob, Sam Harris.

LOL. Fucking horseshit. The NIH wastes millions of dollars a year on absolute NONSENSE. I link to a nonsense NIH study at least once a month.

Why there may be dozens more genuine Rembrandts in the world.

Was Shakespeare Protestant, Catholic, Atheist? A good piece on the Bard and religion.

How creative writing courses and the ‘professionalisation’ of writers is killing Western literature. I agree with Engdahl who says, “I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions…Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.”

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Weekend Links

In which a small business owner explains how the relationship between labor value and wages works. Amazing to me how many people don’t get this. I’m going to start branding this on people’s foreheads: “The feds can mandate a higher wage, but some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase. If government could transform unskilled entry-level positions into middle-income jobs, the Soviet Union would be today’s dominant world economy. Spain and Greece would be thriving.”


Piss off those allies, Obama administration. Just piss ‘em off, one by one.

Whatever your views on gay marriage, Cruz is absolutely correct on the legal question. As National Review notes, there is no affirmation of federalism (an absurd argument the Left has been making this week) in letting federal circuit courts dictate marriage laws, overriding the votes of the people in the state.

Selfish, EVIL conservatives.

This is so good. Must-read by Kevin Williamson. The Left’s seething hatred for home schooling:

If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living “on tarps in fields or parking lots” and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: “Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants.” The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling — that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state — is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel.

Contrary to all of the sanctimony surrounding them, the government schools are in fact the single most destructive institution in American public life, and they are the bedrock of the Left’s power, providing billions of dollars in campaign contributions and millions of man-hours for Democratic campaigns. But they do more than that: They are the real-life version of those nightmarish incubator pods from The Matrix, and home-schooling is a red pill. We entrust our children to the state for twelve or thirteen years, during which time they are subjected to a daily regimen that is, like the school buildings themselves, more than a little reminiscent of the penitentiary: “bells and cells,” as one of my teachers used to call it. They are instructed in obedience and compliance, as though the most important skill in life were the ability to sit quietly and follow instructions; those children who are more energetic than the authorities care for are given psychiatric diagnoses and very often put on psychiatric drugs: Since the 1980s, the rate of antidepressant prescription for children has increased five-fold, while the rate of antipsychotic prescription has increased six-fold. Locking children up for the largest part of the day, in a dreary room with 20 to 30 other children all born within nine or ten months of each other, is a model that make sense — that is something other than insane — only if you think of children as batches — if you believe, as our president and those who share his views believe, that the children are the government schools’ product rather than their customers.

The Left’s model of society is still the model of Marx and Bismarck: one big factory to be managed by experts. The government schools are an assembly line for human widgets, who are in theory there to be taught what the state requires them to know in order to fulfill their roles as workers, administrators, and other bits of human machinery. That is the assumption behind President Obama’s insistence that “if you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself — you’re quitting on your country.” Students are also there to be instructed in the official, unspoken state ideology: submission to official power.

The Left’s organizing principle is control, and the possibility that children might commonly be raised outside of its control matrix is an existential threat from the progressive point of view. Institutions such as free markets and free speech terrify progressives, because they are the result of arrangements in which nobody is in control…The Left’s war on school choice is mostly about money, but its jihad against home-schooling is about power.

Home-schooling isn’t for everybody, but every home-school student, like every firearm in private hands, is a quiet little declaration of independence. It’s no accident that the people who want to seize your guns are also the ones who want to seize your children. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s desire to imprison people who hold the wrong views on climate change and Harry Reid’s plot to gut the Bill of Rights are not aberrations in an otherwise genuinely liberal agenda; the Left desires to put every aspect of every human life under political discipline, from which history books your children read to what kind of cheese you eat.

“Liberals” can tolerate anything…except people who disagree with them. Charles C.W. Cooke has a good write-up about Scripps College’s shameful George Will disinvite.

The iPhone 6 is sexist because – like anything else – if you rub your made-up face on it, some makeup comes off. Women have it so good in this country that they have to FIND shit like this to complain about.

LOL. Assad just thought of four more chemical facilities that had slipped his mind before.

Terminally self-absorbed, marginally famous mediocrities act foolish in one last attempt to get fools to vote. If you don’t know who the Vice President is and can name more Kardashians than Supreme Court Justices, please don’t vote.

LOL. Andrew Sullivan didn’t actually read the chart he posted but wrote a sneering, arrogant post on it anyway. I give him credit for admitting his mistake though.

Your daily reminder that fun is banned.

Yes, thank you. I’m bored by the whole gay marriage fight at this point. (I would prefer the state got out of marriage altogether, but that’s never going to happen). But the phrase “marriage equality” drives me nuts.

“Wi-Fi is a human right,” says stupid person.

Dear Kurds,
Thanks for all the laughs and good times. Now go fuck yourselves.
Love, Obama

This has to be true.

Next time someone pretends like the only thing between you and a horrible death is government food inspection, mention this:

A food inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture who was suspended for failing to discover that rats had infested a pasta-making plant has won a fight to overturn his punishment and get back pay. Now, a federal labor board has directed an arbitrator to consider whether taxpayers also should reimburse the $67,589-a-year federal worker for legal costs–which his union already covered–even though the food inspector didn’t notice rat feces in a storage room where a bag of flour was ripped open

This is absolutely insane. We all recognize that this is insane, yes?

A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead. “Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools. “Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises. The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.” “Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says…Furthermore, it instructs teachers to interfere and interrupt if they ever hear a student talking about gender in terms of “boys and girls” so the student can learn that this is wrong.

Speaking of the Left embarrassing itself, “feminists” now want the iconic statue of the WWII statue kissing the nurse removed because it’s “sexual assault.” Fucking lunatics.

What. The. Hell. Grand jury for police raid with grenade thrown in crib says innocent family should have lived elsewhere.

In which Damon Linker notices that “liberals” are not actually liberal and that they no longer want a diverse civil society.

You cannot be serious. How embarrassing.

This Peter Hessler profile of a Cairo garbageman is fascinating.

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