Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Recently updated

A “government handout video" John Shimkus, now with a position, or an evasion, really.

History in P.S. 131

“It began with the discovery of a trove of historic documents long forgotten in the back recesses of an art cupboard”: Susan De Vries writes about how students at P.S. 131 in Brooklyn have been exploring their school’s past (Brownstoner). Represent!

It’s startling to see a class photograph from 1909: my P.S. 131 first- and third-grade class photographs are eerily similar. The desks are not the same ones (different metalwork), but they still share in that now-dated Platonic form of “desk.”

Here’s more on what was in the cupboard: Borough Park’s P.S. 131, a trove of school history (Brooklyn Public Library). But for residents and ex-residents, it’s usually Boro.

Related posts
P.S. 131, 44th Street, Brooklyn (With photos of the school)
P.S. 131 on TV (With a trip back to the school)
Some have gone and some remain (With a photo of the fence)

P.S. 131 class photographs
1962–1963 1963–1964 1964–1965 1965–1966 1966–1967

[If a Platonic form becomes dated, was it ever really a Platonic form?]

Recently updated

A “government handout video" John Shimkus, still missing in action.

A WWII pilot’s pencil

On the original Antiques Roadshow, an RAF pilot’s pencil, hiding a map and compass. Derwent makes a replica.

Related reading
All OCA pencil posts (Pinboard)

“They burnt me, man”

Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz. 1929. Trans. Michael Hoffman (New York: New York Review Books, 2018).

Related reading
All OCA Döblin posts (Pinboard)

Monday, June 18, 2018

A “government handout video”

David Begnaud is a CBS News correspondent:

These images make my heart break. What kind of country are we living in?

My representative in Congress, John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), is missing in action on this matter. When I called his Washington office on Saturday, an aide told me that he’s not aware of Shimkus having any position on the separation of parents and children at the U.S.–Mexico border. To remain silent is to be complicit.


9:00 a.m.: I called again. No, the aide hasn’t talked to him about this issue, no position that she knows of, he’s not in the office today.


3:57 p.m.: I called again. Answering machine. “Mailbox full.”


June 19, 10:16 a.m.: No, the aide still hasn’t spoken to him about this issue. But you must be getting a lot of calls? Yes, that’s why it will take time to get back to people. Truth and logic, defenestrated.


3:14 p.m.: Finally a position, or an evasion, really: the separation of parents and children is an “unfortunate consequence” of a “broken immigration system.” An aide read a short statement over the telephone. I jotted down those phrases. Legislation is pending for later this week in the House. Would Representative Shimkus vote for a narrowly focused bill that prohibits this practice without attaching other provisions? Legislation is pending for later this week in the House.

Calling a policy an “unfortunate consequence,” supporting what I presume will be a bill that puts billions of dollars toward a wall in exchange for ending this practice: you’re a real profile in courage, John Shimkus.

Related reading
All OCA John Shimkus posts

Fifty blog-description lines

I’ll quote from a 2014 post:

The first words of Van Dyke Parks’s song “Orange Crate Art” — “Orange crate art was a place to start” — long appeared on this blog as what Blogger calls a blog description line. In May 2010, I found myself unexpectedly caffeine-free and made a new line, keeping the quotation marks that had surrounded Van Dyke’s words. At some point I returned to being caffeinated, mildly so. And I kept changing the line (and saving to a text file), always choosing some word or words or element of punctuation from a post then on the front page. These lines now look like bits of found language, detached from contexts, amusing, banal, evocative, opaque. I like that.
Here are the latest fifty lines, still mildly caffeinated:
“My, that coffee smells good”
“Now is the time”
“I’ll take the Buick”
“We must be better than this”
“All by osmosis”
“It’s still Mueller Time”
“Proofread carfully”
“We’re excited you’re here!”
“Don’t argue”
“Dig the goners”
“Loaded high and to the brim”
“A stranger to all the passers-by”
“Standard equipment”
“Fluke life”
“Where’s the pen and ink and good paper”
“‘I flossed!’”
“Quilted steel”
“Earl Grey, or Irish Breakfast?”
“‘Buddy, the wind is blowing’”
“Candy and snacks”
“A cheerful companion”
“Enough to build a house”
“Mark the music”
“Many a tame sentence”
“‘Till spring?’”
“That was . . . that”
“Didn’t clap”
“Art, check. Sardines, check.”
“Does your person have facial hair OR glasses?”
“Hints, balloons, a line, the other shoe”
“Sound of thinking”
“Small rooms with doors”
“Start your sharpeners”
“Say, why not write this down”
“‘The inexorable sadness of pencils’? Phooey.”
“Unreasonable to me”
“Not employed in formal writing”
“I suspicioned you weren’t.”
“Notions and Sundries”
“Every letter of every page”
“Always wonder”
“Green type”
Collect them all!
Two hundred blog-description lines : Fifty more : And fifty more : And yet another fifty

[Yes, I think there should be a hyphen in blog description line.]

Sunday, June 17, 2018

NPR, sheesh

From a story about wildfires in the American southwest: “visitors tip well to hear old-timey Western tunes like ‘The Entertainer.’”

I suspect that the reporter confused Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). Butch Cassidy was the western. Marvin Hamlisch adapted Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” for The Sting. But even if Joplin’s composition had been part of Butch Cassidy, that wouldn’t make it a “Western” tune. No more than Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” is a “Western” tune. Category mistake.

Related reading
All OCA sheesh posts (Pinboard)

Music for Father’s Day

I’ve reached the end of the recorded alphabet. Another way of putting it: I’ve listened to my dad’s CDs, 400+ CDs. I started in October 2016, which means that I’ve averaged something like one CD every thirty-six hours or so: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Ivie Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Mildred Bailey, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Joe Bushkin, Hoagy Carmichael, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian, Rosemary Clooney, Nat “King” Cole, John Coltrane, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Matt Dennis, Doris Day, Blossom Dearie, Paul Desmond, Tommy Dorsey, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli, Bobby Hackett, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Dick Hyman, Harry James, Hank Jones, Louis Jordan, Stan Kenton, Barney Kessel, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, Peggy Lee, Mary Ann McCall, Susannah McCorkle, Dave McKenna, Ray McKinley, Marian McPartland, Johnny Mercer, Helen Merrill, Glenn Miller, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Red Norvo, Anita O’Day, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Boyd Raeburn, Django Reinhardt, Marcus Roberts, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Rushing, Catherine Russell, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Artie Shaw, George Shearing, Horace Silver, Frank Sinatra, Paul Smith, Jeri Southern, Jo Stafford, Art Tatum, Claude Thornhill, Mel Tormé, McCoy Tyner, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Venuti, Fats Waller, Fran Warren, Dinah Washington, Ethel Waters, Ben Webster, Paul Weston, Margaret Whiting, Lee Wiley, Teddy Wilson, and, finally, Lester Young.

Here are two (unembeddable) Young recordings. I’ve had them for years on LP. For whatever reason, their CD release — Lester Young Trio, Verve (1994) — retains plenty of surface noise. Listen past the noise for a joyful modernism. Lester Young, tenor sax; Nat King Cole, piano; Buddy Rich, drums. Recorded March or April 1946 in Los Angeles:

“I Want to Be Happy” (Vincent Youmans–Irving Caesar)
“I’ve Found a New Baby” (Jack Palmer–Spencer Williams)

My dad’s LPs shaped so much of my interest in music. Or rather: not his LPs but his playing them for the very young me. No joke: I had baby-talk for “Miles Davis” and “Columbia.” Listening to my dad’s CDs has put me touch in musicians to whom I’ve given only cursory attention — especially Mildred Bailey, Blossom Dearie, and Artie Shaw. Thanks, Dad.

And Happy Father’s Day to fathers.

Also from my dad’s CDs
Mildred Bailey : Tony Bennett : Charlie Christian : Blossom Dearie : Duke Ellington : Coleman Hawkins : Billie Holiday : Louis Jordan : Charlie Parker : Jimmy Rushing : Artie Shaw : Frank Sinatra : Art Tatum : Mel Tormé : Sarah Vaughan : Joe Venuti : Fats Waller : Lee Wiley

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Parents and children and money

Writing in The Washington Post, James A. Coan, a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, considers the long-term effect on children of separation from their parents and concludes that “the Trump administration is committing violence against children”:

At minimum, forced separation will cause these children extreme emotional distress. Most of us know this intuitively. Less intuitive, as Nim Tottenham of Columbia University told me, is that “the sadness is not the thing that really matters here. What matters is this is a trauma to the developing nervous system.”
Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, provided the comprehensive long-term view: As those children grow and develop into adults, the combination of chronic inflammation and behavioral inflexibility will impair their health in at least two ways — through direct weathering of their bodies and less effective problem-solving, impulse control and decision-making.

Just to make sure I’d heard him right, I said: “So psychological trauma is mediating a pathway to brain trauma, and that is affecting behavior down the road, which can affect health and longevity?” He replied: “Yeah, you got it.”
A recent New York Times editorial about the Trump administration’s barbaric policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.–Mexico border listed five groups accepting contributions: Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, The Florence Project, Kids in Need of Defense, The Texas Civil Rights Project, and The Young Center. Hint, hint: tomorrow is Father’s Day. It’s a good time to give something.