Thursday, September 27, 2007

30 Second Spots - Three Pieces In The Shape Of Chowderhead's Genitalia

At least two of Mixed Meters' three readers think I'm unnaturally fixated on our dog Chowderhead's recent emasculation. (Read all about it.) My response to this criticism is ... yeah, probably.

However MM's third reader (our man at Oxford) wrote to suggest that there ought to be a Symphony for Chowderhead's Testicles. Leslie extended the suggestion: "It should be bouncy."

Taken in Hilo Hawaii - Hilo Guitars (c) David Ocker
So, always sensitive to requests from the readership, while I was in Hawaii I wrote three 30 Second Spots intended to form a larger piece. I entitled them

Three Pieces In The Shape of Chowderhead's Genitalia.

Not a good title. (It refers to this. Another link.)

The three pieces are entitled:
  1. Left Ball
  2. Penis
  3. Right Ball
You'll hear all three by clicking on this little MOG widget.

Meanwhile I've uploaded more of my 3000 Hawaii pictures to Flickr. Click here. They are forming themselves into thematic groups. This group contains pictures of all different varieties of signs and sculptures. For example, here are two sculptures of women:

The red-headed mannequin - near Waikiki beach (c) David Ocker
Above the fire place at Volcano House - Kiluaea Volcano in Hawaii (c) David Ocker

An explanation of 30 Second Spots Be sure to read my update comment.

Dog Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mister Composer Head Talks About Sincerity

I've just posted a new essay by Mister Composer Head, over there on the blog called Mister Composer Head. Mr. C. writes about sincerity in performing music. The story revolves around his own experiences singing a country song in concert and the various reactions it received.

You can read Mister Composer Head Talks About Sincerity by clicking on this sentence.

He also talks about the relative sincerities of Bruce Springsteen and Gloria Estefan and the effect of stardom on them.

Someone painted this on a sidewalk (c) David Ocker
Here's a personal comment: he says a nasty thing about editors. As a some-time editor of music and as Mr. Head's amanuensis-ist I would like to point out that my contribution to his posts is limited to adding a few pictures and highlighting a few sentences in red - sometimes for good reason. Nothing else. All spellings are Mr. C's own. Whatever.

One more thing - he tells a very touching story about singing while thinking about his wife Mrs. Composer Head. I think that bit of the story is actually about the power of music because Composer Head is not someone you think of as having tears in his eyes. Nope.

Sincere Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, September 17, 2007

Going To Hawaii

I read an article (like this one) about medical research showing that people who take regular vacations are healthier and live longer than people (like me) who don't. "Let's go on a vacation." I said to Leslie afterwards.

We decided to spend a week in Hawaii. Afterwards Leslie would join a cruise on the Oscar Elton Sette, a NOAA ship, and I would return home to the cats and the dog and the music copying.

The primary purpose of the cruise is to collect trash - mostly loose drift nets - from the ocean near the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Monument. Leslie was asked to go along to identify little sea critters.

My traytable in its upright and locked position (c) David Ocker
Much of my vacation time involves taking pictures with my new camera. The other travelling pictures are on Flickr here. As I cull my favorite shots I'll be posting them to this page at Flickr in various categories. Check it out. I'll also post a few here as teasers.

So far I've posted pictures from the first day. It began at Los Angeles International Airport, a strange place where toilets flush themselves, bars are open all day and bookstores are crowded at 7 in the morning.

After much sitting and waiting and sitting we arrived in Hilo, Hawaii, a different sort of strange place on the Big Island. We ended the day looking east over the Pacific Ocean.

Someone (like me) who has only seen the Pacific Ocean from California might be surprised to discover himself sitting right in the middle of it looking at it from the wrong direction. They tell me that's a good reason for taking a vacation - to get a new point of view.

Three Hawaiian Airlines airplane tails in Honolulu Airport (c) David Ocker

Travel Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Things Rarely Seen In Pasadena

Through the fault of bad traffic our family breakfast this morning was held in Venice California across the street from this Longs Drug Store.

Long's Drug Venice CA Sept 9 2007 (c) David Ocker
I was able to snap a few shots of things I very rarely see here -- like a huge sculpture of a ballerina with the head of a sad clown.

Ballerina's Head Venice CA Sept 9 2007 (c) David Ocker
This was the view from my seat at the breakfast table. The breakfast food was not very good.

from my breakfast table Venice CA Sept 9 2007 (c) David Ocker
Other typically non-Pasadenan sights: 1) beach parking, 2) a skull and crossbones up a flagpole and 3) an extempore political message.

beach parking Venice CA Sept 9 2007 (c) David Ocker
Jolly Roger Venice CA Sept 9 2007 (c) David Ocker
End Bush Venice CA Sept 9 2007 (c) David OckerThe next Mixed Meters post will originate from a place quite a bit west of Venice. Expect more beach pictures and considerably fewer of genderfuck public sculpture.

Emmet Kelly Tags: . . . . . .

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mr. Composerhead Tells A Cage Story (OR TWO)

A whole month went by during which Mr. Composerhead's overworked amanuensis (that's me) didn't post his writings over on his blog, Mister Composer Head.

But I have just remedied that situation and you are highly encourage to read

Mr. Composerhead Tells A Cage Story (OR TWO)

Behind the purple fence (c) David Ocker
Before he tells his Cage story (or two) Earle Brown's teaching method and pianists Aloys and Alfons Kontarsky are mentioned. Then a number of more or less complementary words are discussed. These words are:
  • nice
  • bad
  • tough
  • tits
  • harmless
  • interesting
The last, of course, is the well-known all-purpose any-meaning complement that composers find ever so tiresome. Mr. Composerhead wisely suggests some ways that "interesting" might find a second life.

A colorful plastic totem pole (c) David Ocker
Finally, after a highly amusing mention about his own spatial orientation to things he has trouble comprehending, Mr. Composerhead tells two John Cage stories.

In my opinion the first one is somewhat strange.

And so is the second.

You can decide for yourself - here again is the complete post at Mr. Composerhead's blog:

Mr. Composerhead Tells A Cage Story (OR TWO)

Anger Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Lieutenant Colonel and the Untersturmfuhrer

The Lieutenant Colonel

Last week I read a news story (in my local Pasadena Star News) saying that the only U.S. military officer criminally charged for the Abu Ghraib tortures had been onvicted on just one of four counts.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven L. Jordan was acquitted of:
  1. cruelty and maltreatment for subjecting detainees to forced nudity and intimidation by dogs
  2. dereliction of a duty to properly train and supervise soldiers in humane interrogation rules
  3. failing to obey a lawful general order by ordering dogs used for interrogations without higher approval.
Lieutenant Colonel Steven L. Jordan
However, he WAS convicted of:
  1. disobeying a general's order not to talk to others about the investigation into the abuse
In other words, Colonel Jordan's only crime was his failture to conceal information about the torture from other people. Ultimately THEY wanted YOU and ME to know as little as possible about what went on.

What was the Colonel's punishment? He was given a reprimand. The most lenient punishment allowed. Case closed

Read about Abu Ghraib torture at Wikipedia (with lots of good links) and at Wikipedia and at Salon (where these torture images came from.) The picture of Colonel Jordan came from Wikipedia also. Read about the person who SHOULD have taken responsibility for Abu Ghraib here.

The S.S. Untersturmfuhrer

The news about Colonel Jordan reminded me of a chapter in the book "The Good Old Days" The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders (editors: Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess). This chapter is about the case of S.S. Untersturmfuhrer Max Taubner (pp.195-207).

I'm not suggesting a correspondence between Abu Ghraib and the Jewish Holocaust. I'm not suggesting a comparison between Bush and Hitler. The U.S. has a long way to go before comparisons with Nazi Germany are germane. (Although we do need to check the truth of that statement rather more frequently lately, I fear.)

I am suggesting, however, a comparison between:
  • the case of Col. Jordan (who was the only officer convicted over Abu Ghraib but only for talking about it, not for torturing anyone) and

  • the case of Untersturmfuhrer Taubner (who was the only officer convicted by the Nazis for participation in the Holocaust but only for taking unauthorized pictures and showing them around, not for actually killing anyone - which he had actually done.)

In 1945 Taubner was given a full pardon. Case closed.

I scanned these pictures of and by Taubner from "The Good Old Days". The book is a reader of primary materials about wartime reactions to the Holocaust by average Germans. It's a very disturbing book. I recommend it. Here and here are reviews of the book.

Not much is available online about Taubner's story. Here's an abstract for an article (which you'd have to buy.) I probably shouldn't have posted the Taubner pictures without permission - so please buy a copy of the book and I won't feel so guilty.

The Killing Fields

Here are two excellent but disturbing pictures taken very recently by Kristina, a friendly barrista at my local Starbucks, on her visit to the Killing Fields in Cambodia.

Cambodian Killing Field skulls picture by Kristina
Cambodian Killing Field skulls picture by Kristina

Torture Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I Can't Believe It's Not Torture

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Paul Horn - A Cosmic Boogie

This 33 year old concert poster flopped out of a pile of Leslie's old papers. September 7, 1974 was about the time I was driving from Iowa to California in my Chevy Vega to enter graduate school. Leslie, who has lived in LA all her life, said she didn't attend the concert; she just liked the image.

Click the picture to make it larger. The full text is below - each name is linked to a Google search if you wonder where they are now. Just click a name and go.

Paul Horn - A Cosmic Boogie (picture Johanna Van Zantwyk)

Cosmic Clinic Tags: . . . . . .