Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crazy Love

Wow. I just watched Crazy Love, Dan Klores' 2007 documentary about Burt and Linda Pugach.

It was difficult to watch. I watched it alone.

As someone who survived a serious incidence of stalking, I failed to find the outcome cute, or redemptive, or however I am supposed to feel about it. Many people apparently find the story funny.

My stalker did not survive -- and he meant for me not to survive, as well. I didn't come close to smiling as I watched Crazy Love.

The image of Linda Riss' acid-scarred face and burnt out eyes will likely be with me for days, as will the sound of the two of them laughing -- fairly clucking over his familiar threats to harm his secretary, for which he was tried, and mostly acquitted, in 1997.

There at the end, as the two embark on a cruise, aged hipsters in their hipster threads, we are treated to a brief clip of a lounge singer crooning I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine...

It was heartbreakingly apt, and beautiful. Here is Beth Orton's version of the Phil Spector song -- I looked at several videos and somehow preferred this one, even with, and maybe because of, the noise and anonymity of the bar.

Baby do you know what you did today?

Baby do you know what you took away?

You took the blue out of the sky
My whole life changed when you said goodbye
And I keep cryin'...cryin'

Oooh baby, oooh baby I wish I never saw the sunshine
I wish I never saw the sunshine
And if I never saw the sunshine baby
Then maybe...I wouldn't mind the rain

Every day is just like the day before
All alone, a million miles from shore
All of my dreams, I dream with you
Now they will die and never come true
And I keep cryin'...cryin'

Oooh baby, oooh baby I wish I never saw the sunshine
I wish I never saw the sunshine
And if I never saw the sunshine baby
Then maybe...I wouldn't mind the rain
This pain...

And I know there would not be
This cloud that's over me...everywhere I go

Oooh baby, oooh baby I wish I never saw the sunshine
I wish I never saw the sunshine
And if I never saw the sunshine baby
Then maybe...I wouldn't mind the rain
This pain...I wouldn't mind the rain
There wouldn't be this pain
I wouldn't mind the rain
...wouldn't mind the rain

*for b.g.*

Excuse me, have you seen my foot?

I am glad to be able to post the following new CRPS article, published in the journal Pain.

There is a bizarre phenomenon that can occur -- no surprise with such a funky disease, but still, I know I am loathe to talk about it. To do so makes a person sound completely nuts.

Sometimes I cannot help it, though, and have been known to cry out:


It is often one of the first questions I ask of people I meet who have CRPS -- Do you ever lose your involved limbs in space? And lose them in space despite the fact that they are delivering enormous amounts of pain? Do you have to stop and look at your legs in order to have the confidence to try another step?

Of recent evolution in my Rhetorical Question Package is this:


Of course, like other aspects of CRPS, you can turn these little weirdnesses into cheap home entertainment. We haven't had to go to the movies or see a play or any of those boring activities -- for years! Not when you can prop my legs up on soft pillows, covered in that oft-mentioned high-density muscovite cotton weave, and watch them turn red, purple, white, and deep blue. Once spasticity sets in -- don't despair, it might take you a few years -- the color kaleidoscope gains a diverting twisting action that you will want to rate as you might the vault of an elite gymnast.

It's also fun to play "Guess how cold?" but for that you'll need one of those sticky skin thermometers.

And popcorn! Don't forget the popcorn!

PAIN: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain
Volume 149, Issue 3, Pages 463-469 (June 2010)
Authors/Researchers: Jennifer S. Lewis, Paula Kersten, Kathryn M. McPherson, Gordon J. Taylor, Nigel Harris, Candida S. McCabe, David R. Blake

Wherever is my arm? Impaired upper limb position accuracy in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome


Knowledge of the position of one’s limbs is an essential component of daily function and relies on complex interactions of sensorimotor body schema-related information. Those with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) express difficulty in knowing where their affected limb is positioned. The aim of this study was to determine the degree to which experimental data supported the reported difficulty in limb position sense. A controlled experimental design was used to measure upper limb position accuracy amongst those with CRPS of one arm. Position accuracy was individually measured in both arms and compared to a known target position. Video captured each of 36 trials (half with arm in full view and half with vision obscured). The error in degrees between actual and known targets was determined using video analysis software. The Brief Pain Inventory measured pain. A subjective mental image representation of both upper limbs was documented. The CRPS group had moderate pain intensity and were significantly less accurate in positioning both the affected and unaffected limbs compared to controls (p less than 0.001).

You can access the entire article in .pdf here.


‘‘If the pain is very intense, even if I am touching something else I’ve
got no idea where my arm exists” [27, p. 115]. This description typifies
the difficulty that those with CRPS express in knowing where
their affected limb is positioned [27]. Knowledge of the position of
one’s limbs plays an essential role within the motor system – enabling
accurate and smooth movements to be performed [13]
and is a necessary component of daily functioning [18]. This sense
involves a complex interaction of proprioceptive, vestibular,
somatosensory and visual inputs from the periphery that interrelate
with motor systems [13,19,22]. Interpretation of this multisensory
information within the context of a centrally maintained
representation of the limb or ‘body schema’ provides our fundamental
sense of limb position [21,22].

However, subjective perceptual disturbances of the affected
limb are suggestive of distortions in body schema amongst those
with CRPS. Features such as a desire to amputate [8,10,27], perceptual
distortions in size and shape [27,31,32], lack of self-ownership
[12,14,27] and hostile feelings [27] have all been expressed by
individuals about their affected limb. Cortical reorganisation in regions
associated with the body schema (i.e. primary somatosensory
cortex, posterior parietal lobe) have been revealed by brain
imaging, providing further evidence of body schema disruption

Given that limb position sense is integral to performing movements
it is important to note that motor dysfunction is well recognised
in CRPS [4,14,15,23,25,37,44–47]. Brain-imaging evidence of
altered neural activity in motor cortices has also been found [30].
Despite acknowledged changes in body perception and motor
function little is known about limb position sense and performance
in CRPS. As such the aim of this study was to determine the degree
to which objective experimental data supports the ‘sense’ or reported
perception of limb-positioning difficulty. We hypothesised
that there was a statistically significant difference in affected upper
limb position accuracy in those with CRPS when compared to
healthy volunteers. In addition, we wished to determine whether
there was a relationship between limb position accuracy and
self-perception of the affected limb. Given that vision of the limb
plays an important role in updating the body schema [9,11] we
aimed to establish the extent to which vision may contribute to
limb-positioning accuracy. By addressing these aspects we set
out to provide insights into the mechanisms of limb position performance
in CRPS and how this knowledge might inform clinical

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

nekkid vets

Yet another phrase I never thought I'd write:

Check out these nude veterinary students from New Zealand!

Animals, and their welfare, have been heavy on our minds here at Marlinspike Hall for days now. Oh, who am I kidding? We absolutely adore the creatures, great and small, with whose care we are charged. We are honored by the responsibility, and reap innumerable rewards from our interspecies relationships.

Now if we could just cure Sam-I-Am of his otherworldly snores. Not kidding -- he's loud enough to wake the dead. Marlinspike Hall fills to its erstwhile rafters with disgruntled zombies when Sammy hits his sonorous stride.

In Tête de Hergé and its environs, large farm animals are in more often in receipt of the majority of monies left in our last wills and testaments, than are our human compatriots. At the end of our lives, as we lay dying on our high-thread-count, muscovite cotton sheets, whose love is more manifest, the softly mewling Uncle Kitty Big Balls, or that poor-excuse-for-a-cousin, Luigi?

(The last time we left him alone in one of the kitchens, he microwaved an egg. And a fork. "To see what would happen.")

Uncle Kitty Big Balls, on the other hand, daily revels in simply being alive, and spreads his joy with increasing heft and raspy vocalizations. He needs to lay off the cigars and learn to walk away from second helpings of kibble, but he needs no lessons in basic decency, and wouldn't know the Golden Rule if it nipped him on his fluffy booty -- though the boy lives it better than most creatures.

(A free bit of wisdom -- one-a-day here at elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle: According to statistics and polls, those obliged to spout off about treating others as they wish to be treated, themselves, are 73% more likely to be pompous asses.)

Okay, Marmy just sashayed over to *ack*:*ack* at me, so clearly, my train of thought took off without moi, *again*.

One of the blogs I enjoy following is Four Paws and Whiskers, a New Zealand production.

A word about New Zealanders: They're cool. No, I mean, really cool. I know it is a stereotype, so I will jump right into contributing to its spread.

One of my first internet friends was Roberta, a no-nonsense retired nurse from New Zealand whom I met through one of the myriad Yahoo! groups of that era. We shared a diagnosis of avascular necrosis/osteonecrosis -- the dread rotten-like-swampwater bone disease. I had it in all long bones; Roberta was afflicted in her hips, and also, distressingly, in the jaw. She brought much wit and wisdom to the New Zealand medical world through her nonstop carping and quipping.

But what we most enjoyed, of course, was politics. I thoroughly looked forward to hearing about whatever might be getting Roberta's goat and she patiently fielded my frustrations with George Bush.

Maybe it is just me, and the type of people I attract (or repel, or otherwise engage), but it seems like every New Zealander that I get to know is vibrantly active and cheerful, always involved in Thinking Globally, Acting Locally.

Clearly, I am no expert on the region. I've learned a lot about the social and political fabric through contact with another ferocious blogger, Kirsten, who manages not one, but two blogs: Neo-Conduit and New Zealand Healthcare. She experienced what might, euphemistically, be called an "unfortunate experience" at her local Christchurch hospital while under the care of a surgeon for the construction of a neobladder. I stumbled across this former vet nurse over at Happy the Hospitalist's place, where she was busy giving him much deserved hell.

As she blogged her difficulties, Kirsten moved from a position of victimhood to activism. Times are tough, but she is tougher.

Kiwis still champion causes, and do so unselfconsciously, which is a beautiful thing. It's been at least a decade since a person of my acquaintance truly championed anything, and only a few exceptional people have done so without checking themselves out in the mirror first (Does death penalty abolition work make my butt look big?).

Oh, now. That's a lie. I have a dear friend in Wisconsin known to feed and water her neighbor's starving, thirsty horses in the dead of night. She and her eighty-something year old mother would tear down the street in subzero temperatures, with headlights safely off, and skid to a stop in front of the horses' enclosure. After hopping into the bed of the truck, the old lady, in recovery from a recent ankle replacement, would toss a few bales of hay over the fence, then hold on for dear life as my friend burned rubber in the short trip home. I cannot imagine that they fooled anyone, but everyone pretended not to notice.

The day she was trapped with the horses during an unexpected appearance of the ne'er-do-well neighbor is a day that shall live in Thurberesque infamy. If I followed the narrative correctly, she spent a good half-hour perched atop one of the stalls, much as you might climb on to a public toilet in hopes of hiding your feet from view.

Why you are standing on a public toilet so as to hide your feet from view is your own business.

I don't want to know the details. (Call me...)

During my stint at the Gothic Wonderland, my first "boss" became my friend. Unbeknownst to most of her colleagues, she fed and provided vet care for feral and medically fragile cats. She was considered a "cattery," and received a special rate from vets for her caring work. A talented linguist and budding primatologist, she died unexpectedly in a car accident during a Spring Break trip to Portugal. It was a sad time that was lightened by the necessity of finding caretakers for some of the more needy cats -- several had feline leukemia and/or feline AIDS. Her friends found comfort in the task, and from the experience, and a good many dedicated catlovers were born.

So -- in a decidedly all-creatures-great-and-small kind of mood, I was delighted to check in at Four Paws and Whiskers, and to find these delightful veterinary students, all
nekkid as jaybirds, posing nude to raise money through the resultant calendar.

Don't be shocked, as nude calendar fundraising is all the rage. Me, I work via preemptive strike. I threaten to make a nude calendar and people give me money not to.

Remember The Men of Maple Corner? (The often untold story about the vicious backlash given these nekkid gentleman should be a stern moral warning for us all, however.*)

Then there were the Still Magnolias of Aiken, South Carolina, who bared it all for the sake of... who even remembers? Oh, wait, it was that flighty organization known as The Aiken Area Council on Aging (AACOA) -- "a not for profit organization that is a lifeline for many of Aiken's older adults and their families. In addition to being the only provider of coordinated public transportation services for the elderly, it provides a host of other essential services including home delivered meals, respite care for Alzheimer's patients, counseling and home care programs." I know nudity is the first thing I think of when I think social services.

Twenty-six, over-60 year old, church-going Southern Belles took on the cause by taking off their clothes and they inspired the tasteful and picturesque "Still Magnolias" calendar. "Still Magnolias" is a source of encouragement as it reveals the richness of life for women over 60.

Only in Aiken would they characterize the endeavor as "a source of encouragement"!

What finally sold me on the naked calendar fundraiser? Finding an actual Nude Calendar Watch List! At complete random, I copied a section of the Dreaded Purple Master Nude Calendar Watch List. Isn't this just divine?

More Than You Expect from an Orchestra
Myrtle Creek Elkettes
Naked Folk
Naked Gardener
Naked Gardeners
Natalie Gulbis
Nationwide MAAD About The Boy
Nature & Nudes
Netball Uncovered
Newcastle University
North Beach PAWS Pet Pin-Ups
Northeast Kingdom
Red Rompers
Nude BC Gold Rush History
NYC Tea Society "Corset Cuties"
Oberlin College Women's Rugby
Of Mutts and Men
Official Mylf
Orchid Cancer Appeal
Osceola County Council on Aging
Pegswood Footballers
Perfectly Aged
Pink Ladies' Calendar
Cat Club
Real Essex Girls
Real Men of Eston
Red Hat Society "Brady
Red Hat Sooke Sirens
Relay for Life / Hope-full Hearts
Rhode Island Firefighters
Rowing Revealed
Royal Oak Calendar
Rude Riders
Run for the Cure
Sassy Ladies
and Whelley Kidney Foundation
Sheffield Hallan Union Rugby Club
Skilehrerinnen / Skilehrer
Sometimes Life Throws You a
Soul of the Soil
South of Market Bare Chest
Stable Girls
Stevenson High School
Stewardesses Stripped
Stirling County Rugby
Stirling Services
Stone Nudes
Sweeter Side of Nottingham Road
Tempe12 ASU Bikini Calendar
The Bear Pub of Bilton
Timeless Treasures
Uan: Toothill’s Favourite Son
UDSU Sports Teams
University of Central Lancashire's women's rugby union
Vail UnDressed
Victorian Jockeys' Association
VSA Naked
Wightlink Raiders
Women of Purpose
Women's Curling

Half the fun must be in coming up with come hither titles. I vote for "More than you'd expect from an orchestra."

But now we must turn our gaze upon the sweet cheeks of these wonderful New Zealand veterinary students:



Oh! Right!

The cause célèbre here -- and I don't really care what it is, I am suddenly all for it -- is... let's see... ah, yes! PAW JUSTICE.

Paw Justice is an organization that was formed to help deal with the problems of animal abuse and neglect, which has grown at an alarming rate which is stretching the resources of all animal welfare agencies. We have taken upon ourselves to fight for your animal's rights. We love and appreciate the work that is done by all animal shelters but even they could not forsee the rapid increase in animal abuse within our society.

This is why Paw Justice was created, as we believe that there is no excuse for this shocking behavior.

Paw justice is for YOUR pet, this is YOUR campaign to give YOUR pet a voice.

All we ask is that you sign the Paw Justice petition if you share the same belief that we do - people who hurt, torture or kill animals must be brought to justice! The petition is about making amendments to the Animal Welfare Act, to increase the maximum jail sentence to a five year period and to introduce sensible sentencing for offenders that seriously mistreat our animals, as so many offenders have not paid the price for their crimes against our animals.

This is not just another campaign you decided to join, when you join Paw Justice you belong to the campaign, you become a spokesperson and you are a guardian to your pet with a voice that can make a difference. With your voice you can start to enforce a zero tolerance policy and start applying pressure to government departments that will begin inroads to put an end to animal cruelty. You will be able bring offenders who harm our animals to justice.

YOUR pet brings so much unconditional love and happiness to you and to others in your life, do you think your pet would sign a petition to protect you? When you become part of Paw Justice you are making a conscious decision to become a care giver and guardian, not only for your own pet, but for other pets who are not as fortunate to have you as their owner.

Oh, I do loves me people what see the need for change, and *work* to make it happen!And what a wonderful way to celebrate half-way day -- explained here by our featured Kiwi blogger from Four Paws and Whiskers:

Trainee vet students haven't changed much since I did it... at Massey there are plenty of time honoured traditions to mark the passing of the five years.... in my memory most were associated with eating and drinking, copiously!
The acknowledgement of the half way point now involves a bonding trip away for the third year class... and for a number of years, fundraising for it has involved the production of a nude calendar... quite probably a success because the larger half of the class is now female, compared to the mainly male class when I was there.

So if that bare spot on the kitchen wall is calling out for useful decoration, say, something in a nude calendar, check out their effort here, and support the fight against animal cruelty in New Zealand.

If animals are not your local cause du jour, there is still bound to be a worthy effort out there incorporating some flesh and good humor on behalf of whatever makes your heart go pitterpat, raising money, mood, and awareness, all at the same time.


Maple Corner Calendar Fund-raiser not without its detractors. Protest planned.

Calais, Vt. (July 28, 2002) The wildly popular community fund-raiser that raised so much good will in this small Vermont village is now raising the ire of some residents. Organizers of the upcoming 2003 edition have learned of a planned protest by an angry mob in front of the newly renovated Maple Corner Community Center at 6PM Sunday July 28th. "We had no idea that there was so much underlying anger" commented Steve Gallagher, Mr. May 2002 and co-producer for this years effort, adding "I hope the press doesn’t show up, that would ruin everything."

The loosely organized band of grumpy men calling themselves "The Men of Maple Corner for Decency" which made an unscheduled interruption at last winters calendar celebration party, has again planned to bring their bitter message to the people. "Throw the buns out" says Andrew Nemethy veteran mobster, "It’s time to call for a formal dress code in Maple Corner and possibly even a leash law" Nemethy claims that the mob of well dressed whiners will be out in force this Sunday at 6 complete with top hats, pitchforks, and banners for what he calls "The mother of all protest marches."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sandwiched in Cottonwood: Box 3

cottonwood tree, american idyll, by ruuscal

This overcoming of all the usual barriers between the individual and the Absolute is the great mystic achievement. In mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness. This is the everlasting and triumphant mystical tradition, hardly altered by differences of clime or creed... 'That art Thou!' say the Upanishads, and the Vedantists add: 'Not a part, not a mode of that, but identically Th at, that Absolute Spirit of the World.'
--William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

During the night, I came *this* close to killing myself. Don't worry, the flirtation is over. The only reason to grant any status whatsoever to last night's peril is that it was not born of collapse, nor was it a yielding or concession. There was no surrender; There was no giving up. I felt no worse before than I did after.

So why even bring it up?

Because I came away with the realization that I want to cease my dedication to the cultivation and maintenance of the "barriers between [myself] and the Absolute."

Don't worry. That doesn't mean an end to my dedication to verbal foolishness. [Witness the proof before you.]

A box from TW arrived yesterday, out of the blue. If you have been keeping count of these troves from my once-lost, now-found older brother, this is the third such gift.

This is the first gift box, however, to arrive without the contextual benefit of an occasion. The first box came in the guise of a Christmas present, even though he does not celebrate Christmas, himself. The second box was a boisterous January birthday celebration.

It was only after the second gift box that I reciprocated, sending him one in April in honor of his own trip around the sun. The experience of choosing what to pack, and what incantations to chant over the gathered mess, turned out to be an occasion of great angst and small personal growth.

"What is the big deal?" you may be thinking. "So you baked a dozen chocolate chip cookies and tossed in some cup-o'noodle soups, and voilà, an instant care package..."

Actually, that sort of care package is also dear to my heart -- but that is not the type of boxes my brother and I are exchanging.

In the beginning, the beginning being November 2009, it went like this: A few weeks back, thinking it would be a way to save money and be a marvelous gift, I asked my two brother-units for used copies of the two books that had been the most formative to the person they each have become.

Yes, I thought up that Grand Idea and was very proud of myself. Then, Brother-Unit Grader Boob declined by sending a loud and poignant gift certificate, with which I promptly purchased a Wii system with appropriate accompanying loot. Oh well, it was just a thought, I thought.

My pride morphed into sincere doubt and a sense of familiar foolishness. Until, that is, the arrival of Brother-Unit Tumbleweed's first box. It took my breath away, made me weep, and I remain, to this day, a gasping woman drenched in tears.

It's not a simple matter of grabbing a few items you think you might love or like, and packaging them as clear explanations of the person you want everyone to think you are.

Even though it wasn't stated in the rules, the urge to explain the inclusion of an item must be carefully stifled. For instance, in my box to him there was a weaving made by a women's collective in Nicaragua. I could not tell Tumbleweed of its history, about how it formed the basis of a short story that traced the narrative of its hieroglyphic threads. There's no way to divulge, either, how much I hate its color scheme or how I miss the friendship of the woman who gifted it to me.

It tells the story of a farmer defending his corn against crows.

That I am having a hard time is such tired and tiresome news. In some ways, I am managing my sucky health in a healthier fashion, especially in how it impacts the people I love. By keeping their welfare foremost in mind, I am able to speak, in real life, almost none of the pain, discomfort, and hardship with which I live. But this death of pretension has not significantly changed my experience. Not yet, at least. I intend to keep trying.

What scares me is my matter-of-factness.

It makes strange, true things come out of my mouth. I was telling Fred, for instance, of a recent email from a dear friend, an email that was brimming over with affection.

Matter of factly, I turned from the sapling we were admiring to say, "It came at an excellent time, for I have been feeling particularly unloved."

Particularly. Passive aggression. I am angry with myself for claiming it, here, as a matter of fact. But, it is said, done.

Still, it can be shocking, the words that remain in the wake of hyperbole and pity. Thank goodness for the wealth of humor at hand, for ballast's sake -- and to complement my complete grasp of, and dedication to, the truth.

Thank goodness I have such a brother as Tumbleweed.

The third gift box, sent on the occasion of no-occasion, contained:

1. Everyone's favorite: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. Thompson. (Almost as important, to me, are the illustrations by Ralph Steadman.) That was surely a creepy time. I remember being forced into a baby blue Cadillac, driving from Miami to creepy Homestead A.F.B., where I was forced from the baby blue Cadillac onto the runway tarmac to await Air Force One and a limp-wristed, sweaty-palmed, newly-reelected Richard Milhouse Nixon. Pat was with him, but she was quickly subsumed under the dry-like-stale-baby-powder category. I remember thinking that she could barely support one hyphen, much less four, in the search for complex adjectives.

ralph steadman, i shot the sherrif

That's not true. Of course, it also was not a true Tar Macadam runway, those now being exceedingly rare. The ramp/apron area of airports are made of concrete.

I'll reread the book, I guess, and those old names of McGovern, Humphrey, Muskie, Hart, Kennedy. Even though I wrote "everyone's favorite," up above, Hunter S. Thompson isn't really one of mine. A drug-addled smartass, author of Gonzo journalism, a favorite of mine? Sure, it may sound like a match made in heaven, but I cannot rid myself of the fatigue reading him generates (and I don't need help in the fatigue department, thankyouverymuch).

I love the way Thompson went out, though. No, not the bullet to the brain, no -- I mean the ashes shot out of the cannon. I am pretty sure, though, that the creative energy and money necessary to produce a send off of equal quality will be lacking, once I am a stiff. I mean, Johnny Depp is reputed to have bankrolled the affair for Hunter... I've no attendant rich friends gifted in funerial highjinks.

2. passions of a man: Charles Mingus, the complete atlantic recordings 1956-1961. Part of Rhino Records jazz reissue series. I am excited! Another man of... temperament! [I begin to suspect a trend, as I reflect on the totality of TW's boxes. A trend, if he is cognizant. A tell, if he is not. Always remember, and never forget, he supports himself, his friends, and his menagerie with monies from his work in the betting industry.]

I've always appreciated Mingus' firm stance against the romanticization of Charlie Parker and his penchant for self-destruction which figured prominently among the cultivated traits of his pretendants -- If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats, was the entire working title to Gunslinging Bird. It's been described as a blistering "jazz waltz."

I so love form and organization. Together with raucous insanity? It's Eden as it was meant to be, with The Asp held over.

4th track from Mingus "Mingus Dynasty" album. Recorded in New York on November 1 and 13, 1959. Charles Mingus (bass); Booker Ervin, John Handy, Benny Golson (saxophones); Jerome Richardson (saxophone, flute); Donald Ellis, Dick Williams (trumpets); James Knepper (trombone); Maurice Brown, Seymour Barab (cello); Theodore Cohen (vibraphone); Roland Hanna (piano); Dannie Richmond (drums).

--from rogerjazzfan

I am somewhat ashamed at my excitement, as I don't react with such exuberance over all of the music my big brother gifts to me. I am no Deadhead, f]r instance, though I have amassed Big Knowledge around their songs, and seek to understand TW's place in the culture.

[Please note that Gunslinging Bird does not figure among the Atlantic recordings.]

3. Coltrane: The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings

4. Handel, Water Musick, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan

5. Mozart, Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Lest I be accused of recently being bereft of satire, or parody, even:

"A little nightmare music" is a opera in "one irrevocable act" by the eponymous P.D.Q. Bach in which the man behind the alias, Peter Schickele, effectively plunders (or to quote a more politically correct term, "readopts") Mozart's music, most obviously "A little night music", to retell "a dream P.D.Q. Bach had December 4, 1791-- the night that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died and Antonio Salieri didn't."

The narrative is very simple (considering the opera, composed of four musical numbers, runs no more than twenty minutes): Salieri (bass), a successful composer, comments on the beauty of Mozart's music (violin; marked as a "unsuccessful composer") and prophets him world renown; he is quickly brought down to reality by Peter Schläfer (tenor), a mysterious writer, who quickly claims that it is actually Mozart who is the better composer; this point and a quarrel that develops from it makes Salieri so mad that he ponders poisoning the writer but a good kick from P.D.Q. (silent part) leads to the death of Mozart, as Schlafer laments the loss of his best coat. The witty libretto in combination with the varied music of Mozart makes for quite an enjoyable recording (which also presents two of the most hilarious orchestral pieces that one could hope to hear).

Presented here is the setting of the second movement of Mozart's concerto, the Romanza, which in this version becomes a delightful cavatina for the tenor (giving the orchestral piece a logical vocal twist). The basic sonata structure and the delightful music of the Austrian composer are preserved and given a perfectly whimsical text by P.D.Q., as the writer comments on how it is obvious, to him at least, that it is Mozart, and not Salieri, who will be the more famous composer.

A young Bruce Ford sings this adaptation, and, despite the obvious comical element of the whole piece, his handsome delivery of the music is an added bonus.

-- courtesy of LindoroRossini

6. Gregorian Chant:Gregorianischer Choral
Choralschola der wiener Hofburgkapelle, Vienne
Pater Hubert Dopf, S.J.

7. Mozart, The Flute Quartets. Jean-Pierre Rampal, Flute. Isaac Stern, Violin. Salvatore Accardo, Viola/Alto. Mstislav Rostropovich, Cello.

8. Anonymous 4 -- A Lammas Ladymass: 13th and 14th Century English Chant and Polyphony "...a Ladymass for the summer portion of the church year, as it might have been sung around the feast of Mary's Assumption in August."

Bodleian Library, fragment of agnus dei for three voices
Amazon's music sampler

The vocal group Anonymous 4 formed in 1986, originally comprising Johanna Maria Rose, Susan Hellauer, Ruth Cunningham and Marsha Genensky. So named in honor of the designation given by musicologists to the unknown 13th-century Parisian student whose writings detailed the vocal polyphony he heard at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the ensemble's performances also explored medieval chanting and polyphony, combined with elements of poetry and narrative; debuting in 1992 with An English Ladymass, the Anonymous 4 immediately topped Billboard's classical music charts, a feat repeated by their 1993 follow-up On Yoolis Night. Subsequent efforts include 1995's The Lily and the Lamb and Miracles of Sant'iago, 1996's A Star in the East and 1997's 11,000 Virgins. After completing A Lammas Ladymass, Cunningham left the group in 1998 and was replaced by Jaqueline Horner. Legends of St Nicholas followed a year later.

Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

I dare to believe that my brother comes to know me, although my preference is for gruff and tired men, and less perfection. I like the creak of real wood, the sound of something dropped, a cough in the background.

This was immediately added to the bedtime playlist. Thank you, TW.

Uh-oh. In what might be some sort of Perverted Pyramid Ponzi Ploy of a Stockholm Syndrome Plan... I fell prey to lax thinking and forgot what informs the choices for the box. The point is not to please me, the point is to share what has been formative.

Now *that* boggles the mind.

9. Audio tapes: Doc Watson, Vanguard Years I & II; John Renbourn Traveller's Prayer; Grateful Dead, Winterland, SF 3/18/77 * 10/22/78; Grateful Dead, Springfield, Mass 6/30/74.

10. A wrinkled, tattered, and slightly smelly red Grand Canyon National Park bandana, within which are nestled one beaded necklace, a small quartz rock formation, one sea shell, one piece of sandstone, two miniature rubber dinosaurs, and seven rocks.

11. A beautifully stitched, tightly woven, colorful undersea scene -- a placemat? It feels like something I am supposed to know, to recognize, but I do not. It also smells.

12. Bawdy Verse: A Pleasant Collection (The Penguin Poets series) edited by E. J. Burford.

The volume falls open, of its own accord, to page 145:

Have Y'Any Crackt Maidenheads? (c. 1672)
[A broadside ballad]

Have y'any crackt Maidenheads to new leach or mend?
Have y'any old Maidenheads to sell or to change?
Bring 'em to me; with a little pretty gin
I'll clout 'em, I'll mend 'em, I'll knock 'em in a pin
Shall make 'em as good Maids agen,
As ever they have been.

NOTE: From even before the time of James I there had been Quacks who specialized in renewing maidenheads. Midwives were particularly esteemed for this service. The main chemical used was alum, or othere astringents designed to tauten up the vaginal walls to give the impression of virginity. In many cases, however, serious damage was caused and the enraged pimps frequently assaulted the Quacks, who usually fled to the Netherlands or France whence they had come. Dutch Quacks were attacked in the famous petition of the Whores to the Prentices in 1668 after the Shrove Tuesday riots which so upset Charles II and "vex'd my Lady Castlemaine."

13. The River That Flows Uphill:A Journey from the Big Bang
to the Big Brain
by William H. Calvin

You can read it along with me, here! Hmm, a good many of the links are now defective, though the text itself shows up fine.

This Sierra Club Book of 1987 is Calvin's "river diary of a two-week whitewater trip through the bottom of the Grand Canyon, discussing everything from the Big Bang to the Big Brain." Calvin is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, most recently with the University of Washington School of Medicine.

14. Secrets of the Great Pyramid by Peter Tompkins, with an appendix by Livio Catullo Stecchini [Recounts the fascinating discoveries made by explorers, adventurers, and scientists about the Great Pyramid of Cheops, including the stunning recent assertions that the ancient structure was used as a geometric tool to measure the outside world.]

15. Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening: Vegetables

16. Three issues of National Geographic: May 1955, May 1969, July 1978 -- All featuring wonderful articles on the Grand Canyon.

17. Time and the River Flowing: Grand Canyon (abridged), by François Leydet

18. The Hidden Canyon: A River Journey, by John Blausten, including A Journal by Edward Abbey and an introduction by Martin Litton

*** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * ***

I am not sure exactly why, except that I like them, of course, but this post opens and closes with photos taken/snatched/borrowed from TW's blog, American Idyll. Ah, but these were taken, not by Tumbleweed, but by ruuscal, who now shares authorship of that wonderland. TW recently explained in an email replete with references to dirt, manure, and zucchini:

the canyon blog will soon have new shots from exotic locales as some chums are stomping about all last week and the next upcoming. i am rather bluesy at not being able to tag along due to grinding slave obligations, no cat-sitter, and all the tiresome inconveniences of a cumbersome, improbable dead end life. yet, one takes a sliver of solace from having shown them the way and having set up a forum where big views of wilderness are always welcome when they return. but day-yum, i would loved to have joined the expedition. sigh.

More venture forth to walk, and witness, because of him -- than he will ever know.

Twilight songbird, in the Deer Creek Canyon cottonwoods
american idyll, by ruuscal

Monday, May 17, 2010

the life of those who love the missing

This is sad news.

Lindsey Baum, the 11-year-old girl from McCleary, Washington, whose case I have followed in this blog since her disappearance last June 26, is still missing.

You would think, then, that her mother had already experienced her lowest point in what was already not an easy life.

Some self-proclaimed internet sleuths and psychic rumormongers have delighted in vilifying Melissa Baum, mostly, it seems, out of frustration at having no real progress to report in the case. That she should be so caddy as to continue to have actual, real problems in her actual, real life as a single mother with an emotionally challenged child... Well, how dare she muck up the romance of the situation?

Seldom is the reference to good things when we heave a prim sigh and pronounce that "life must go on..."

Should those on the hovering periphery of tragedy opt for life, then life will demand its way.

(Famously, Edna St. Vincent Millay said: “Life must go on; I forget just why.”)

The mother of missing girl Lindsey Baum has new troubles, as not only has she lost her daughter; now she's lost her home.

"I never thought we'd be homeless, and we are," said Melissa Baum. She and her son can't afford another night in the Tumwater motel they've been staying.

"We have truly lost everything," she said.

Paralyzed by pain, Melissa Baum hasn't worked since her daughter Lindsey disappeared from McCleary while walking home last June.

"You feel like you're being suffocated every waking moment," Melissa Baum said.

She's survived on her son's Social Security, but that wasn't enough to remain in the home they rented before Lindsey vanished.

"What if she gets away and comes home... and we're not there?" Melissa Baum worried. "As hard as it was to walk by bedroom and see police tape and not go in there, she still had a room."

But Baum says her son with special needs could no longer cope in McCleary.

"He has horrible nightmares every night," she said.

Josh expresses guilt over fighting with Lindsey before she disappeared and not walking her home. His behavior problems have escalated and Baum says that prompted a relative who took them in to lock them out.

The Problem Solvers have paid for Baum to stay another two weeks at the motel. The extended stay gives Baum time to send her son back East for the summer to stay with his dad while she looks for work, a place to live, and her missing daughter.

"I would live in a hotel or car the rest of my life if it would bring my daughter home," she said.

Baum is working with the housing authority in Thurston County to find a subsidized apartment but says she's told there's little hope of an opening before July

To see all posts relating to Lindsey Baum, click here.