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Against the Vile Maxim

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Mar. 6th, 2010 @ 12:27 am
One of my programming students wrote a wah pedal in Python.

There is grandeur in this view of life.

This is a thing I've been up to this summer: Jul. 31st, 2009 @ 05:28 pm
little comrade annieCollapse )

Illadelphia Jul. 3rd, 2009 @ 12:43 pm
Philadelphia peeps: would anyone be interested in out-hanging on this most anti-colonial of weekends, or in suggesting some spaces or curios of your fair city one ought to see?

Devices I overuse Jun. 21st, 2009 @ 02:12 pm

  • Descending figures ending on the sixth scale degree supported by IV, especially with an escaping tone.

  • Descending lines at large, and general indifference to melodic arches.

  • The place-holding Isus2-I, IVsus2-IV, Vsus4-V and iisus2- or ii7-ii tics that guitar lends itself to.

  • 5 as an inverted pedal. This is another guitar-centric thing.

  • The IV to signal "My chorus. Let me show you it."

  • V-#vo-vi. This is a repeat offender.

I'm sure there are others.

A proposed counterexample to my model of celebrity Jun. 21st, 2009 @ 01:38 pm
I know that I have dumb intuitions about celebrity. I tend to dramatically overestimate the popularity of people like Tim Gowers or Paul Baribeau, and to underestimate the popularity of people that people have actually heard of. So you might think that the celebrity function is a measure of how good someone is at math and how punk rock they are. But if that held I think I would have heard of the Punk Rock OR blog before now, so maybe the model is in need of revision.
Other entries
» The Chaconne
Brahms to Clara Schumann:
On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.

Viktoria Mullova (Part 2)
Itzhak Perlman (Part 2)
Andres Segovia (Part 2)

» And the band played Waltzing Mathilda

The Battle of Gallipoli.
» Lisp
Now that I have the free time to justify it, I've been working through Project Euler in Lisp. It has been exquisite.

attention conservation notice: thinking aloud about things you might find dull or unparsableCollapse )
» Ampersand!
self-absorbed anecdote-like-objects about my dogCollapse )
» Isteism
Per this blog's policy of discussing trivial fake news stories even more trivially, there are some pretty interesting linguistic issues surrounding Arkansas State Senator Kim Hendren's mention of Chuck Schumer as "that Jew." What strikes me as even more fascinating than his sulky apology for having been caught Anti-Semitizing it up is his initial non-denial denial about what he actually said. As best I can remember from a radio segment, (I'm having trouble locating the quote in print) Hendren allowed that he might have called Schumer "a Jew" or "Jewish," but definitely not "that Jew." It's really a thing of marvel, from the comparative linguistic point of view, that an educated adult might not appreciate the problem with calling his political opponents "Jews," while understanding instinctively that using a certain demonstrative adjective (usually "that" or 'that (thing) near you') in a vocative phrase isn't nice. Recall McCain's "that one" remark for a more salient example.

One naturally thinks of iste (originally "that near you (but far from me)") from Latin, employed to great effect in the Catalinarian and Verrine orations. I've heard that the derogative force of the pronoun arose from its legal usage as, roughly, "your client" (i.e. as spoken to an opposing advocate) but the phenomenon seems too universal, and too congruent to the basic in-group/out-group distinction, to have its origin in a single (elite) cultural practice. I'd really like to know if there are analogues in other languages.
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