Meet the Beagles


I am flying today to Orlando, Florida, for a weekend of risk-and-insurance jollity with my fellow CPCUs.  If you should find yourself loitering about the Marriott World Center hotel on Sunday morning, you might try sneaking in to the annual Mock Trial, in which I will be fighting the good fight on behalf of my fictional client in a spirited Appellate Cage Match of vasty deepness.

The sign above was photographed in the Orlando International Airport in 2008.  I do not know if it is still there.  Much is communicated by this sign, though but little is revealed.

It is comforting to know that Security Theater, like the vaudeville of old, still has a place for a good dog act.

The promise that I might be permitted to help sniff luggage is intriguing.  

The promise that I will be fined for smuggling if I declare my food, plant, and animal products is dismaying.  

The question of whether the beagles, as animals, must declare their own products is unanswered, as is how best to declare them in polite company.

That said, a little traveling music:

The Handsome Family - All the Time in Airports


Photo by Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, via Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons license.


Equinox Falls

All things being [not quite] equal, this fool wishes a jolly Autumnal Equinox to you all.  By all means emulate the allegorical exemplar of Fall Fashion below, and enjoy the fruits of the harvest.

Autumnus - Hendrick Goltzius

Autumn (Der Herbst), Hendrik Goltzius, ca. 1589.


Max Richter - Autumn Music 1

Max Richter - Autumn Music 2

Seasonally appropriate musical interludes: Max Richter, Songs From Before.





Sweet Outlandish Liberty

For Independence Day, some paisley patriotism.

Virgil Fox (1912 - 1980), the Bach-tripping organ king of the '70s from whom it seems Prince learned all he knows of sartorial restraint, performs Charles Ives' Variations on "America", written ca. 1891 when the composer was a church organist of 17.  Ives premiered the piece, appropriately, in a recital for the Fourth of July, after which it lay unpublished for nearly six decades until 1949.

Play it Loud is my advice.  

And may this be as "Safe and Sane" as your holiday gets.

In his heyday, a number of Virgil Fox's recordings were issued on the Westminster Gold label, which was perhaps better known for its eccentric, sometimes semi-scandalous cover art than for the recordings themselves.  

Fox's covers were relatively restrained

On top of Bach

in comparison to some of the alternatives, such as this,

Westminster nachtmusik

or such as that,

Westminster planets

or such as this other.

Westminster walkure

Ah! the naive charm, and ample white space, of hotshot '70s graphic design.  I rather miss it.  I suspect many an Impressionable Young Person was lured to the classical bins by these covers to browse and to, er, expand the old cultural horizons a bit.  

A largely complete archive of Westminster Gold cover art can be examined at your leisure here.


Seven Years Went Under the Bridge
Like Time Was Standing Still

Number 7 by bdunnette

This blog was launched on July 2, 2003, seven years agone this very day.  

It remains now what it was then: a fool's errand. 

Most anyone who was blogging during that heady period at the center of this century's first decade, roughly years 2 and 3 of this blog's span, can attest to what great fun it could be and to the sense of possibility that danced attendance upon the whole Blogging venture.  This part of the Forest of Tubes has never been particularly well traveled: 1060 posts and seven years in to the project, the stats stand at around 270,000 visitors to the blog, a very large portion of them driven by Google image searches and not by any particular interest in what was being said here.  (That total does not include however many or few folk may be out there following via readers and RSS feeds.  I suspect I have at least a handful of recurring readers evidence for whose presence is a thing unseen.)  

Though the pace has slackened, I am still having just enough fun at this to carry on into the foreseeable.

Lucky 7 by cordey

By way of commemorating the Magnificent Seventh, here are seven posts or collections of posts from the past, skewing toward poetry-related items, with which I am still more or less pleased:

  • My one and only original video, a recitation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, as a PowerPoint slideshow.  (Video version July 19, 2009; the PowerPoint slides themselves date back to April 1, 2005)
  • The entire Double Dactyl category, and particularly the lengthy Epithalamium (first posted February 26, 2004; repeated May 15, 2008)
  • Several runs and variants on Shelley's Ozymandius, including the hip-hop version, "Trunkless But Not Funkless."  (November 22, 2003)
  • My most recent run at poetical pastiche, from June of this year: The Walrus and the Petrol Man
  • Paired posts on a visit to Gettysburg, where my great great grandfather was occupying himself Seven Score and Seven years ago today: a monument to the battle  and a battle over monuments (both from July 3, 2004)
  • It has been a recurring pleasure to double-host the annual April Fool's Day edition of Blawg Review, with the main edition on my sleepy-sibling blog Declarations and Exclusions and the Appendix/Prequel here, in 200920082007, and 2006.  If dear ol' Dec&Excs was a bit more of an active endeavor -- it ostensibly hits its own seventh anniversary on August 5, but the posting there is sporadic at best these past several years -- I would no doubt have done it again this year.  Perhaps in 2011 we will rise to the challenge again?
  • For a seventh: ransack the archives and pick your own if you care to do so.  (Let me know if you have a personal favorite with a comment, won't you?  We bloggers thrive on positive reinforcement and attention.)

Thank you sevenfold, reader.


A concluding musical interlude, on the theme of the passage of seven years:

Suddenly I'm on the street
Seven years disappear below my feet
Been breakin' down
Do you want me now?  Do you want me now?

    -- Freedy Johnston, "Bad Reputation"

Freedy Johnston - Bad Reputation [Daytrotter Session]


Photos: "Number 7" by Flickr user bdunnette, and "Lucky #7" by Flickr user Cordey, both used under Creative Commons license.


Alas, I am Undone

Unfinished Inscription

Composer-critic Kyle Gann, early on in a long and technical post on the process of music composition and whether it is ever a matter of just writing down what the composer "hears in his head", connects the dots between crafting a sonata, say, and crafting a blog:

Take this blog entry, for instance.  I've started it because I've got a bug up my ass, as happens, about some mistaken notion I see myself in a position to correct.  It's been running through my mind for a few days, and the mental form it always takes is that the initial, central idea always comes first, and other related ideas, or apropos phrases, group themselves around it in no particular order, like spokes around the hub of a wheel.  Now I've sat down to write, and all those disconnected ideas must arrange themselves in series, into coherent paragraphs.  Some of them don't link logically.  Transitional ideas must be grabbed out of the air.  I struggle with introspection, because at this exact point in writing my initial idea has been stated, but the other eloquent phrases I'm eager to use don't fit in yet.  Very, very often I find, as I think any serious essayist must, that what I end up meaning as the essay takes shape is not exactly what I expected to say.  I might possibly find myself contradicting the gist of this blog entry and not finishing it. What's given, though, is that the linear format of these paragraphs is not isomorphic to my obsessive musings of the past few days, and that I cannot possibly simply throw the latter down on paper (or screen) as they exist in my head. The impetus is transformed by the process.  In a sense I had something to say and I will have said it, but more accurately, I will have found out by the end of this essay what I think. Which is the value, for me personally, of writing a blog - and would continue to be even were no one reading it.

Yes, it is exactly like that, especially the posts that never quite get finished to satisfaction or that draw near to completion too late to any longer be thought of as "timely."  I suspect many bloggers have, as I do, a collection of incomplete items in draft to which they promise themselves they may someday return, sad little lamps flickering 'neath dusty bushels for years or perhaps for always.  Best put this one up before it shares their melancholy fate.


Photo:  Unfinished Inscription, Kilmuir cemetery, near Hungladder, Scotland:

The stone marks the burial place of Charles MacArthur, one of the pipers to Clan MacDonald.  According to tradition, the piper's son, who had commissioned a sculptor to letter the stone, was drowned while crossing the Minch.  As the sculptor considered he was unlikely therefore to be paid, he abandoned his work, never to return.

Image Copyright Richard Dorrell, reused under Creative Commons license, via geograph.