Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The art of abstracts

My seminar students have written probably their most boring posts (boring for them, not for the reader), developing their skills in synthesizing and condensing articles into 250-word abstracts. I think this is a necessary skill, as it forces them to think about the overview of the article, seeing the forest as well as the trees. The assignment was to pick two articles on music education or music pedagogy, and to compose a short abstract for each article. You may find the topics interesting enough to read the entire articles at your local music library.

The students still need to work on the language, getting the right balance of formality and elegance. Any specific suggestions would be welcomed. Their final project is to rewrite 3-4 of their posts for a portfolio, so they are quite interested in any pointers for improvement.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sempre trivia

My undergraduate school is somewhat famous, or infamous, for being the site of one of the largest trivia contests. Broadcast for 52 hours on the college/NPR radio station, it is celebrating its 40th anniversary this January. When I was a student, I was one of the trivia masters to help run the show for three years. I was therefore excited to find out that someone put together a history of the contest, bringing back fond memories. While my name isn't mentioned on this site, I can lay claim of authorship for one of the Super Garudas. The Super Garuda is the final question of the contest, worth 100 points (typical questions are worth 1 point). My question was used in the 1993 contest, gleaned from a biography of Teddy Roosevelt that I had read for an education class. My friend, Matt Horn, was Grand Master for two years. But more importantly, his question was chosen for the Garuda in 1990, the first trivia contest that he and I worked at. Where indeed was the largest crab fest for bassoonists held?

In the spirit of trivia, what is the translation of the motto for my last year as trivia master? "Conceptus sum nugarua tempore anno MCMLXIX nec quic quam praeter hanc togulam inoptimatis mactus sum!!!"

OCLC top music holdings

Like Tim Rutherford-Johnson, I had seen the mention of the OCLC's top 1000 most popular books at Crooked Timber. Unlike Tim, I hadn't thought to search the list for musical works. Tim comments on some surprising and satisfying things to him. What I notice is the heavy emphasis on vocal works. The first eight items are seven operas and an oratorio. Five orchestral works follow, and then more operas and other vocal works follow (Peter and the Wolf counts as vocal, as far as I'm concerned.) There are 74 unquestioned vocal works (mostly operas and musicals), 54 unquestioned instrumental works, and four that are mostly instrumental: Mahler's 2nd and 4th symphonies, Holst's The Planets, and Mendelssohn's incidental music to Midsummer Night's Dream. Even though the vocal works win the count, only one work was art songs. And there were far fewer piano works than I had expected. One interesting thing is that the Ring cycle and each component opera had separate listings: #65, 67, 68, 72, and 88. This should be a pretty helpful list for some musicology research.

Harmony examples

Tim Cutler has put together a nice database of various harmonic progressions that can be used to supplement music theory textbooks. I've added it to my list of music sites to the left. Music students might enjoy looking up examples of V progressing to IV or Parallel voice leading as means of flustering their theory teachers. "But Brahms moves from V to IV in m. 88 of his Violin Sonata no. 2, 2nd movement. Why can't I?" Interestingly, Brahms wrote a monograph called "Oktaven und Quinten." It was a collection of parallel fifths and octaves that Brahms had found in works of the tonal masters. Heinrich Schenker published an edition of this monograph in 1933, using it to show how his theory of structural levels explains away the parallels as foreground phenomena mitigated by the underlying middleground (deeper structural levels).

You may enjoy looking through and listening to the various examples of the database, especially if you have studied or are currently studying music theory.

Veni, coxi, mandi

Despite the criticisms of pumpkin pie made by some, it was served alongside the traditional family favorite, banana cream pie, and relative newcomer chocolate cream pie. Two brined turkeys were consumed. One I roasted on our outdoor grill, after rubbing it with olive oil and a preparation of rosemary, thyme, sea salt, and pepper. The other was roasted in the oven, with only an onion in its cavity for seasoning. The drippings were turned into gravy with white wine, chopped onion, and chicken broth. There was a cornbread-hot sausage dressing, mashed potatoes, southern-style cranberry jello salad, and a new version of green beans made by my sister that wasn't nearly as heavy as a traditional green bean casserole. Dun buttered muffins and family-grown squash sat alongside bottles of Shiraz and Chardonnay.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, whether two days or five days in length. Now, I must get ready for classes and work on a few research projects. More blogging latter today, I think.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Off for the holiday

Relatives are coming to visit. Turkeys will be grilled and roasted. Potatoes will be mashed. Pies will be baked. Stomaches will be distended. And I've started to actively convert my CDs to MP3s. No blogging until Sunday. Here is a topic to hold you over until then: How should university students be taught to develop various skills, whether lab techniques or sight singing solfège?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Biographies of the Stars

My students have written biographies in their blog this week. Some are not complete biographies, but rather snapshots of some aspect of a musician's life. These include Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, the childhood and death of Miles Davis, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy as a child prodigy, and Julie Andrews' career-ending surgery. The others provide a brief overview of the musician's life: Arnold Schoenberg, Jacques Offenbach (DePauw is producing Orpheus in the Underworld in February), Richard Rodgers, and Luciano Pavarotti.

It is quite pleasurable to see their writing mature over the semester. I plan to change the format of the seminar next year, but I'm definitely keeping the blog as a major component. (With a new title, hopefully!)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

What's in a name?

Alex Ross makes the excellent request that any links to his blog use his name rather than the name of the blog. In making the requested change in my blogroll, I also decided to do the same thing with all other blogs, where applicable. I left the blog title when I didn't know the real name of the author or when the blog has multiple authors.

I also make the same request of the bløgösphère, that blogrolls list "Scott Spiegelberg" rather than "Musical Perceptions". This will both help my Google positioning for my name (and yes, like Tim I also Scholar-Googled myself for a result of two hits) and will remove most confusions whether the link is to me or to a site about the book.

I certainly respect those bloggers who wish to remain pseudonymous, but I think we should embrace authors rather than blog titles. Of course, some people (Steve Hicken) insist on creating multiple blogs, which is just asking for trouble.

In further blogroll news, since it is sooo interesting, I'm thinking about adding a category of book blogs. The negatives would be a longer and unwieldy blogroll, and I would waste even more time reading blogs. I'll ponder for a week.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Chopin Prelude, Op. 28, No. 4

One of my birthday presents was an edition of Chopin's Preludes, op. 28. Playing through these really emphasizes how radical a composer he was. As an example, his fourth prelude in E minor -- the one with a simple oscillating melody over pulsing block chords -- is rife with exotic chromatic progressions, ambiguous chord realizations, and some non-functional progressions. It starts innocently enough with a simple tonic chord, though the E is not in the bass so the chord is slightly unstable. The melody lifts up to an upper neighbor, creating dissonance and signalling a change of harmony to come soon. The next chord is the dominant chord, though with a suspension: the E refuses to let go. When this suspension does resolve, Chopin "misspells" the chord with an Eb instead of a D#. The melody turns this dominant chord into a diminished seventh chord, which resolves as a common-tone chord to a secondary French augmented-sixth chord! By this point, only the third measure, the listener is quite confused as to where tonic is, even though the chords progress by very small steps with many common tones.

The augmented-sixth chord does not resolve correctly, instead shifting to a chord progression that fits best in the key of A minor: iiø43 - viio42 - V7. By half-steps the dominant chord gets transformed, leading us back to the key of E minor. A minor is hinted at several times, and the final cadence of each phrase (there are only two phrases in the 25-measure prelude) includes an oscillation between the dominant B7 chord and the A minor triad.

The second phrase (measure 13) repeats the first phrase for the first 1.5 measures. At that point a subtle shift in the underlying chords, merely by moving the bass note one beat earlier, creates new tensions in the simple melody. These tensions lead to a passionate cry as the melody tries to escape the tyranny of the half-step. It leaps up to a higher register and throws in large intervals of 6ths and 7ths. But the plodding chords rein in the melody, pulling it back to a simple two-note pattern and soft dynamics.

This prelude is all about the tensions between the melody and the harmony, with the harmony clearly winning. But what is so striking is that the exotic harmonies are created by simple means, small little movements of the left hand, and this slow harmonic rhythm creates such emotional intensity. John Sloboda and Andreas Lehmann picked this piece for a study on the perceived intensity of emotion, because it is short yet full of possibilities for interpretation. James Huneker puts it well in the introduction to the Schirmer edition:
The whole is like some canvas of Rembrandt -- Rembrandt who first dramatized the shadow in which a single motive is powerfully handled; some sombre effect of echoing in the profound of a Dutch interior, all gold and gloom. For background Chopin has substituted his soul; no one in art but Bach or Rembrandt could paint as Chopin did in this composition.

For a real brain twister, try to analyze the second prelude!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

How to write a textbook

My First-Year Seminar students have written sections of imaginary textbooks on their blog. You can read about Performance Anxiety, The Swing Era, Wagner's Ring cycle, the Bel canto tenor, Bel canto singing for sopranos, tutti horn excerpts, and The Little Shop of Horrors. There is an interesting discussion going on about vibrato in the bel canto soprano post.

The students are becoming more appreciative of the different styles available for academic writing. They all expressed admiration for the use of pictures and other graphics to break up a reading assignment and to appeal to other learning styles. But they all decided against including any pictures in their blogs (with the exception of the horn excerpts), as it would be a big pain. Now they know why many books, especially academic books, do not have any pictures. The hassles involved in typesetting, getting legal permissions, and finding or making the right kind of picture are very time consuming. Academics would rather spend that time polishing words or starting on new projects. I know that I often visualize various concepts, and therefore I would like to recreate those visuals in print. But I can never seem to physically recreate what is in my mind. A lack of drawing skill is one problem, aggravating the time issue mentioned above. But the other, more prevalent problem, is that when I closely examine my conceptualization, it turns out not to be visual. I think in gestures, but those gestures are often aural, or sometimes abstractions that don't translate to pictures. Maybe I should learn how to create animation, but that is another time sink. I'll stick to polishing my wordsmithing skills.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Buddha met the scientist

Last night I went to a reading by Kim Stanley Robinson on campus. He read from his newest book, >Forty Days of Rain. He is a very engaging reader, in a quiet way. The passage he read reflected the more spiritual side of his writing, though still interlaced with references to scientific theories (in this case, sociobiology). He planned well, stopping on a cliffhanger of sorts. I was impressed enough to buy a copy on the spot (plus that gave me a chance to get it signed and an excuse to talk to him personally). Stan is a very engaging speaker, and seems like a great guy all around. He really knows his science, and gave a fascinating account of the mechanics that could cause an ice age from global warming. From the Q&A and signing: He tends to build his stories around recent scientific advances that he finds interesting, rather than doing research to support a story idea. Stan enjoyed the challenge of writing in the alternate-history setting of The Years of Rice and Salt, but he prefers "the day after tomorrow" and "far in the future" science fiction as it gives him more of a chance to prophesy and it can influence people more powerfully. His favorite science fiction authors are the New Wave: Ursula K. LeGuin, Roger Zelazny, and Thomas Disch were mentioned specifically. Before he started reading science fiction, Stan read "locked door detective mysteries." He reads Science News every week. He grew up in Orange County and is very sad about how it has changed from the farmland he knew as a child. He supports "flexible fuel" technology as a first step in slowing global warming. Stan's mother was a piano teacher, and he tried to write about music before he started science fiction writing.

I've started reading Forty Days, and I'm impressed with how real the characters are. I think his writing has improved since the Mars trilogy (I haven't read Rice and Salt yet), while still recognizable as his style. And who wouldn't like a book that Locus describes as "the best novel featuring the NSF this year?"

Friday, November 12, 2004

The gift of emotional turbulence

Last night my darling wife took me to her church for their regular popcorn-n-theology series. Did I mention it was my birthday? And that I myself am not Christian? Yet I had agreed to this, both because I love my wife, and because I had enjoyed some of the previous movies in the series. Last night's movie was Amen, about the Holocaust and the unwillingness of Christians to speak out against it. As I watched the film I grew angrier and angrier about the way these religious leaders so blithely regarded Jews as subhuman. But I was not only angry because of what happened 60+ years ago. I saw in those leaders' attitudes towards Jews the same attitudes contemporary religious leaders have towards homosexuals.

In 1920, members of the German Nazi Party announced that Jews were not part of normal German society and should not have the same rights. In 1933, Jews were prohibited from government work, restricted in attending universities, and prevented from becoming lawyers or doctors. In 1935 Jews were stripped of citizenship and told they couldn't marry or have sex with non-jewish Germans. Eventually businesses and property were taken away, Jews were barred from all public areas, and requried to add "Israel" or "Sara" to their names to indicate their "racial identity."

Does any of this sound familiar? Religious conservatives in the US have been stripping the legal rights from homosexuals for many years. They have passed laws telling them who they can't marry, who they can't have sex with, and quashed laws that would protect people from being fired for being homosexual. South Carolina's newly elected Republican Senator DeMint said gays and lesbians should not be allowed to teach. Oklahoma's newly elected Republican Senator Tom Coburn has said that high school girls shouldn't be allowed in bathrooms together because "rampant lesbianism is plaguing Oklahoma high schools." Here is a long list of other attacks.

In Germany in the 1930s, there weren't enough good people standing up to say that Jews are people who deserve equal rights. In the United States in the 2000s, will there be enough good people standing up for the homosexuals?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Great moments in history

Eighty-six years ago today, the great powers of the world sat at a table to make decisions which would have major geopolitical effects through the next century. Germany agreed to retreat from all invaded countries, surrender numerous weapons, return prisoners of war and stolen property, and to ensure that within fifty years a trumpeter/music theorist with specialties in cognition and acoustics would be born in an Allied country to be determined later. Because of the unusual characteristics of the last request, hindered in part by the second World War and the Wisconsin milk strikes of 1933, this birth did not occur until exactly fifty-one years after the signing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Great Discussions

There is a genuine debate of good intentions and fact-based responses going on at Electrolite about gay marriage (look in the comments). People have actually been convinced by arguments, no invective has been used, and I think all sides have been learning. I know I have learned a great deal, just from reading all the comments. I still stand by my earlier post, but I also see new arguments for why it needs to be called a marriage rather than a civil union, and I acknowledge legitimate concerns about the equality under law argument as it can affect affirmative action.

Meanwhile, a post about social justice as regarded from liberal and conservative views at Matthew Yglesias' blog has spawned some conversations about foreign policy and how to convince moderates that violence is not necessary. It isn't as focused or respectful as the previous debate, but I still think good points are being made on both sides.

More of this, please.

Tales from academia

I've added several new music blogs to my blogroll. One of them is terminaldegree, by an almost-PhD musician teaching at a Christian liberal arts college she dubs Oxymoron U. Reading her posts about the conflicts between certain religious beliefs and the study of music reminded me of a possible path that I thankfully did not tread.

When I was applying for jobs during my last one-year position, one of the openings for a music theorist was at a large Baptist university located in Texas. It was only a term position, but I was applying for almost anything at that point, as my job had no possibility of renewal. The application process seemed normal enough for the Baptist position, requesting the same sorts of documents as any other search. But then I was sent a Religious Beliefs survey from upper administration, asking me to detail my religious upbringing, habits and beliefs. First, a brief history of my religious beliefs: I was raised in the Congregational church, United Church of Christ, a rather liberal Protestant church. By the time I got to college, I decided that I was agnostic. I then fell in love with and married a woman who had deep beliefs in Christianity, though she had not been an active church-goer. She soon did become active in the Episcopal church, to the point that she is now discerning to become a priest. I attend her church every other week, to show my support for her. About four years ago my agnosticism developed into deism, somewhat from the argument of First Cause, though my thinking is more along the lines that there must have always been something, which can for convenience's sake be called "god." So, my beliefs do not align with the Southern Baptist Church, but I could play a Christian rather convincingly if I so desired.

I could have lied in the survey, labelling myself as an Episcopalian, and moved on to the next step in the interview process. But I did not want to mislead them, or get myself into a teaching situation that I philosophically disagreed with. So I answered truthfully, though I emphasized my respect for Christianity as a reasonable belief based on my regular church attendance and support of my wife (though at this point she was not thinking about a career in the church). I also emphasized that I believed in the existence of "God," though without the scarequotes and with minimal explanation of deism. My answers were too vague for them, so the chair of the search committee phoned me and asked me to clarify my answers. Then I explained my deistic beliefs in full, and answered his questions about when I stopped thinking of myself as a Christian. He was very polite, and I still tried to make the point that I respected the religious beliefs of others. I thought that would be enough, based upon the claim's of this university that its faculty included non-Baptists and non-Christians. But apparently it would not included deists. The chair made clear (nicely) at the end of the phone interview that they would be pursuing other candidates for the position.

In the end, I got a tenure-track job at a liberal arts college that is de jure Methodist, but de facto secular. I am quite happy here, and I know I would not be happy at either the Texan Baptist university or at terminaldegree's Oxymoron U. And I have a good parable supporting moral behavior without reliance upon a higher authority. It's all good.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

De gustibus non est disputandum

I'm experiencing a internal conflict. I believe that some aesthetic values are better than others, but I also believe that all people are entitled to their tastes. I admit, I enjoy a combination of disparate elements. I feel that rock has a place in the concert hall, and toilets can be used with Barbie dolls in a legitimate art piece. But really, does my daughter need to dip her tortilla chips into her strawberry milk?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Strange searches

I am not usually surprised at the web searches that lead people to my little corner of the internet. But one today has me stumped: thelonious monk turtletop. There are only five results, all of which mention John Shaw's uTopian TurtleTop blog. I am not familiar with any piece by Thelonious Monk that involves a turtle, so my sole guess is that the searcher had read something about Monk on John's blog, but couldn't remember the exact name. At least, I hope that's what happened. The other possibilities are too horrible to contemplate.

Fairness, justice, and morality, oh my!

As a musician, it is not surprising that over half of my students, friends and colleagues are homosexual. This stereotype is true, for whatever reason. On Tuesday, I saw eleven states vote to relegate these people to the status of second-class citizens. In Arkansas, the new amendment says that "legal status for unmarried persons which is identical or substantially similar to marital status shall not be valid or recognized in Arkansas," which effectively bans any type of civil union. Georgia's new amendment says that "No union between persons of the same sex shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage. " Kentucky will "not allow legal status identical to or similar to marriage for unmarried individuals, such as civil unions, regardless of where they were performed." Michigan is a little more unclear: "No other relationship shall be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent by the state..." though it is likely that "legal equivalent" will also ban civil unions. North Dakota says that "Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect." Utah says that "no other domestic union may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equal legal effect." Ohio and Oklahoma are even broader: "...This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage." "It prohibits giving the benefits of marriage to people who are not married." Oregon, Mississippi and Montana seem to only ban marriage, not civil unions. So in eight states, homosexual people are denied the right to hospital visitation, the right to plan their partner's funeral, the right to not disclose the contents of confidential communications between the couple in legal cases, Social Security and Medicare benefits, and insurance coverage for a financially dependent partner. All of these are benefits and rights of marriage, which those eight states have said cannot be conferred to anyone other than a heterosexual couple. No legal document can be drawn up to mimic these specific rights (the link I give mentions other benefits of marriage that can be duplicated with wills and other legal arrangements). This means that in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Utah, homosexual people do not have access to the same rights, the very definition of a second-class citizen.

Some people will argue that homosexual people can gain the benefits of marriage by marrying a person of the opposite sex. But this is an un-American thought. The Declaration of Independence states that "We [Americans] hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." (emphasis added) Forcing anyone choose between love and legal rights is to hinder that person's pursuit of happiness.

This institutionalized descrimination against a set of people is not fair or just. What about moral? Most people for these discriminatory amendments cite religious texts to support their cause. Genesis, Leviticus, Romans, and Corinthians are all brought out to show that homosexuality is morally wrong. But this is a religious argument, and the U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1, guarantees the right of all people to the freedom of religion. There are Christian, Jewish, and other religious practices that do not believe that homosexuality is immoral. The freedom of religion gives people the right to disagree with these practices, but it also gives equal legal weight to both beliefs. Given the literal contradictions in the Bible and Torah, any consistent religious belief based on those texts must ignore some passages in favor of others. It is not the job of the government to make the decision of which interpretation is correct, which should be of immense relief to all interested parties. (Protestants, imagine that the government decides that the Pope is a direct inheritor from St. Peter and must be obeyed. Catholics, imagine that the government decides that worshipping saints is akin to idolatry.) So the religious argument of morals cannot stand up to the principles of American democracy: freedom of religion, and the pursuit of happiness.

Some people argue that homosexuality is a mental disease, and that homosexual marriage will lead to polygamy, ruining the social values of marriage. But these arguments are weak at best, particularly as the arguments against polygamy are quite different from homosexuality. Polygamy is banned because it objectifies women and in practice often involved child brides, which is not a concern with homosexual marriage. As for the mental disease argument, it has not been considered so by professional psychiatrists since 1986. Here is a complete history of mental health and homosexuality.

Please, please, please work to reverse the marginalization of homosexuals in our country. Fight against any bans on civil unions, even if your religious beliefs prevent you from accepting homosexual marriage. Pursuade your neighbors that religious beliefs are necessarily separate from legal rights. See homosexual men and women as people, rather than monsters.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Legal rights of composers

Helen asks a question about the posting of her own performances and the copyright of the composer. Tim Rutherford-Johnson says that composers have the legal right to stop uses of their work that is misrepresentative, what he calls "moral rights." I know nothing about British copyright law, and not enough about U.S. copyright law. So I can't comment on either of these posts. But I can offer a related question of my own. Augusta Read Thomas is coming to DePauw for our Music of the 21st Century festival. I offered to perform Gusty's Sonata for unaccompanied trumpet (1986), since I like the piece and I've played it before. But I have been informed she withdrew this piece in 2001, along with many of her other early works. My question is, what are the legal ramifications of withdrawing a piece? Can a composer bar any performances of a work, even if the performer has legally purchased the piece? I certainly can understand respecting the wishes of a featured composer for a festival, but I would like to play the piece for a faculty recital.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Unorthodox listening

Lately I've been choosing six CD's each night to put in my multi-CD/DVD player at home, and listening to them in Track Shuffle mode. This mode skips randomly from disk to disk and track to track, usually only one track from any given disk is played before moving on to another disk. One night I stacked the deck with four Louis Armstrong CD's from a single great album, The California Concerts, balanced by Alphorn Concertos and trumpet virtuoso Sergei Nakariakov. Another night I had another Nakariakov CD with The Essential Basie, Lionel Hampton, and a BBC Classical magazine CD of the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty Suites. (My daughter requested some ballet music. She decided she liked the Nutcracker and has asked for it several more nights.)

Last night I did not want to watch news for a while, so I put on Booker Little, Les Miserables, The Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 2, The New York Trumpet Ensemble, and Bryn Terfel.

With the shuffle mode on, I never know what song/movement/piece is going to be next, so I find myself listening more closely to the beginning of each track than I do during normal play. Because of this, I keep from slipping into "background mode," where the music doesn't register consciously with me. The randomness also creates some interesting transitions. Last night a quiet inner movement of a baroque trumpet concerto led to "Stars" from Les Mis, the harpsichord shifting to the synthesizer yet in a similar timbral space and with nearly identical tempi. I have yet to try this experiment with symphonies or sonatas, multi-movement works that are expected to be heard in order for both emotional effect and long-range tonal closure. But the concerto movements did not seem to suffer from being split apart from their herds. The most disconcerting transition was from a little ditty in the Louis Armstrong collection that was intended as an introduction to a bigger work. But the producers put the little introduction on a separate track, so the CD player jumped away after the intro, never fulfilling the promise.

My kids seem to enjoy the eclectic mix of music styles I subject them to. My son starts to dance anytime he hears jazz or rock, my daughter sings along with any vocal music. I certainly won't always listen in such a random manner, but I find it a refreshing change for now.

Rococo the Vote!

I went to my polling place at 7:00 this morning. The line winded through the clubhouse, out the door, and around the whole side of the building. People waited patiently, even though it was raining. I saw one person leave, but he announced that he would come back later, he had to go to work at the moment. I had to wait for about 45 minutes for my turn to vote, and then was subjected to the evil electronic voting machine. It seemed to work fine, but who knows how well the memory chips well stand up. Given the number of people standing in line so early in the morning, I think turnout will be very high. There is no question that Indiana will go to George Bush, and I think Congressman Steven Buyer will probably stay in office. But I think Governer Kernan has a good chance of winning re-election. And if turnout is so high here in a red state, when only 30% of Republicans think this election is essential, I think turnout in swing and blue states will be incredible, given the 70% of Democrats that are very worked up. At Daily Kos, they predict about 124 million voters, up from 111 million in 2000. I'm going to predict 130 million, based upon reading from the I Ching.

Electoral-vote.com predicts a rather big win for Kerry, 306 to 218 with Colorado and New Mexico too close to call. I made my predictions earlier, and I stand by them, though it seems quite possible that Kerry will take Florida, to make his total 316. I actually think Nader will get less than 1%, that Nader plus Badnarik and Cobb and all the other small party candidates will total about 1%.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Read the reviews

My First-Year Seminar has just blogged their first full writing subject - music reviews. We have two DVD reviews: La Boheme and Stomp!; two reviews of a Guarneri Quartet performance at DePauw; and four reviews of a faculty recital by Barbara Paré, soprano, and John Clodfelter, piano.

I'd particularly invite any reviewers out there to give feedback to the students.