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1979: Albert's (in Omaha) is lit!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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[A series of tweets]

Dad once bought a pair of code keys for us. They were wired to each other, and they could click, buzz, or light up little bulbs. I was pretty excited, though I didn't learn Morse Code well enough then, or ever. I could send some, but no way could I receive.

Dad and his little brother, my uncle, had had a set something like them back in their kid days, in the 1930s. Each was proficient at sending “___ IS A SISSY (fill in the other’s name)” and “POOEY TO YOU FROM ME.”

I would think of those when I saw ads in comic books for what was virtually the same toy. The picture shows a kid’s room. Outside, a car accident has occurred! Inside, the kid taps away, looking concerned.

And I’d think: Who’s he sending to? Is the key in his brother’s room even on? Did the batteries already juice up like ours did? Is he just lighting up the bulb on his own unit while the victims of this car wreck are bleeding out?

It seems like a perfect metaphor for something. Probably for my online activity. Oh no! Bad thing has happened! I’d better start clicking the code key!

(Alas, the only thing I know how to send is “POOEY TO YOU FROM ME” anyway.)

Oh, well. Back to clicking, I guess.

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

An Unforgettable Concert

A local orchestra in western Massachusetts had an enticing program of Gershwin—Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F, and the string orchestra version of Lullaby (not the biggest draw in that guise, but not enough to keep me away). 

First up was the Lullaby, and I got a bad feeling. They were pioneering new intervals, the Major Unison and the Minor Unison. The First Viola was quite good, playing competently in tune. If I could have applauded just for him, I surely would have. The Concerto began. I should have left after the Lullaby, but was curious about the soloist. Well, he was no First Viola. He would start each section confidently, get in trouble halfway through, and hurriedly limp to its conclusion, confident that things would work out in the next. (Narrator voice: They didn't.) A couple of minutes from the end, orchestra and soloist were so far from one another that the conductor stopped the music. Unfortunately, he started it again, and I guess they were on the same page when they finished, so thank heaven for small favors. There was a standing ovation from what I presume was an audience of family members. I neither stood nor unlimbered my hands, which remained tucked under the opposite elbows. I slipped out and listened to a good performance of the concerto on my way home.

I skimmed the Springfield Republican with interest the next couple of days, looking for a review, and was rewarded with a brief account of the triumph of the musicians, which did, however, wag its finger briefly at Mr. Gershwin for certain infelicities of orchestration which, in the opinion of the writer, made the piece unnecessarily difficult for performers. Well. That settles that, eh? Everything was just fine, and it's the composer's fault it wasn't.