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The Breakfast Club (Pop Music)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Mack The Knife by Roger Sprung on 1963-64 Folkways LP.

 

 


 

Today in History
 

 

The Chernobyl nuclear accident; John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin, killed; Guernica bombed in the Spanish Civil War; Vermont enacts same-sex civil unions; TV star Lucille Ball dies. (April 26) 

 

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

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The Breakfast Club (Tales of Brave Ulysses)

 

 

Since we were just talking about Homer, his other great work was The Odyssey which was considered by most to be as fictional as The Illiad until Schliemann discovered what he thought was Troy (and was, just not on the level he
identified).  It is certainly peopled with exotic locales and fantasical
monsters which may or may not correspond to actual geography and now
extinct creatures (yes on the first, no on the second for me).

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgOne
thing that is hard in this day of 100 hour wars, instant communication,
and rapid transit to wrap your mind around is that someone could go off
and fight a 10 year war and take 10 years to get home.  To be fair,
Troy was a seige with individual challenges and small unit skirmishes
until Odysseus figured out a way to breach the walls.  We've spent spent
how long in Afghanistan now?  And the Hundred Years War lasted, well, a hundred years more or less (this is not a trick question).

During his return Odysseus only spent 3 years wandering around
(many sea voyages in the Age of Sail lasted as long or longer) and then
another 7 as a captive of Calypso.  I've met people who were locked up
longer than that.

Anyway, the central tale of The Odyssey (after eliminating
all the crypto-zoology and magic) is the return of Odysseus in disguise
to find his wife besieged by many moochers and people looking to steal
his stuff who he then proceeds to kill in a bloodbath of epic
proportions.

Remind me.  What are the Rules of Opera?

The 3 rules of Opera.

  1. It must be long, boring, and in an incomprehesible foreign language (even if that language is English).
  2. The characters, especially the main ones, must be thoroughly unsympathetic and their activities horrid and callous.
  3. Everyone must die, hopefully in an ironic and gruesome way.

Ballet is the same, but with more men in tights and without the superfluous singing.

Why, this is perfect!  As for the wacky excuses?  Well, what would you tell your significant other after 10 years, 7 of them spent shacking up with
someone else, standing covered in gore in the living room among heaps of
dead bodies?

Honey, I'm home?

Montaverdi is considered one of the revolutionaries of Baroque music.  His L'Ofeo is just about the earliest recognizable Opera still regularly
performed.  It was written in 1607 as near as we can tell when he was
about 40.  Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria was written in 1640, 3 years before his death at the age of 76 and with L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642) is considered one of his 3 greatest works.

What distinguished Monteverdi from many other Opera composers of
his generation was the lack of moral judgement (a hold over from the
sacred music that was the money machine of the time) and humanity of his
characters, something I think is captured by this contemporary
performance in casual dress with period instruments and orchestration.

 

 

It little profits that an idle king, by this still
hearth, among these barren crags, matched with an aged wife, I mete and
dole unequal laws unto a savage race, that hoard and sleep, and feed,
and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees!

All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both
with those that loved me, and alone on shore, and when through scudding
drifts the rainy Hyades vext the dim sea-  I am become a name for always
roaming with a hungry heart.

Much have I seen and known.  Cities of men and manners, climates,
councils, governments.  Myself not least, but honored of them all.

And drunk delight of battle with my peers far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch
wherethrough gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades for ever
and for ever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, to rust unburnished, not to shine in use!  As though to breathe were life.

Life piled on life were all too little, and of one to me scant
remains, but every hour is saved from that eternal silence something
more, a bringer of new things.

And vile it were for some three suns to store and hoard myself
and this gray spirit yearning in desire to follow knowledge like a
sinking star beyond the utmost bounds of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus to whom I leave the sceptre
and the isle, well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill this labour, by
slow prudence to make mild a rugged people, and through soft degrees
subdue them to the useful and the good.  Most blameless is he, centred
in the sphere of common duties, decent not to fail in offices of
tenderness, and pay meet adoration to my household gods when I am gone.
 He works his work, I mine.

...

There lies the port, the vessel puffs her sail.

There gloom the dark broad seas.

My mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought, and thought with
me; that ever with a frolic welcome took the thunder and the sunshine,
and opposed free hearts, free foreheads...

You and I are old.

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil.

Death closes all- but something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done, not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks.  The long day wanes.  The slow moon climbs.  The deep moans round with many voices.

Come, my friends!  'Tis not too late to seek a newer world, push
off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows; for my
purpose holds!  To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the
western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down.  It may be that we
shall touch the Happy Isles, and see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Though much is taken, much abides, and though we are not now that
strength which in old days moved heaven and earth; that which we are,
we are-

One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate,
but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses, Tennyson

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The Breakfast Club (TGIF)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
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This Day in History

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

Eight US servicemen killed in Iran; Easter Rising
begins in Ireland; Ottoman empire begins mass deportation of Armenians;
Leftist students hold weeklong occupation at Columbia University;
Barbara Streisand born.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery
materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and
carry desolation in their way.

Fisher Ames

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The Breakfast Club (Clio)

 
breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgDo
you know why the muse of history plays a lyre?  Well it's because in
the western classic tradition the earliest recorded history is the Iliad.
 It's an epic poem, sung rather than spoken, legendarily written by
Homer between 760 - 710 BCE though it's far more likely that it was
assembled out of much older pieces. 

It recounts events of the Trojan War which was generally considered by the Greeks to have occurred sometime
between the 14th and 12th century BCE.  Modern Historians associate it
with Troy VIIa which was destroyed by fire sometime around the 1180s
BCE.

Before the development of writing, songs and poems were the best
way of preserving the accuracy of oral traditions because they are
easier to memorize than prose and errors are recognizable through a
failure of rhyme or meter.  Even after written language a sense of
history, the concept that there is a continuous sequence of cause and
effect and not a random collection of happenings mediated by the random
actions of gods and fortune, can be slow to emerge.

The "father" of history as is commonly taught today (at least in U.S. primary and secondary schools) is Herodotus who in the 5th century BCE wrote The Histories, an account of the Greco-Persian Wars that occurred in the early to mid part of the century.

Thucydides is often labeled the first "scientific" historian and his great work the History of the Peloponnesian War which recounts events of the late 5th century BCE conflict between
Athens and Sparta in which he probably participated or had access to
first hand accounts.  Xenophon,
another early historian, was considered his successor and wrote about
the last stages of the war as well as his own experiences as a mercenary
in Persia.  He was a contemporary of Socrates, Plato, and Aristophanes.

Of course the century long slice of time recorded by these
authors 2600 years ago really represents the parochial views of a single
state, Athens, and as we know today time is much longer than that, even
recorded time.  Egypt, Minos, the Fertile Crescent, the Indus Valley,
and China among others had vast organized civilizations with their own
written language and histories predating the earliest Hellenic efforts
by thousands of years.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.- George Santayana, The Life of Reason

All great historical facts and personages occur, as
it were, twice ... the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.-
Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.― Mark Twain

The great fascination of history is that it's really a study of human
nature.  Because of our underlying psychology and methods of social
organization, tantalizing patterns tend to emerge, different in detail
but often with the same result.  What I think is important to remember
in it's study is that the people were no dumber or inherently primitive
than you or I.  The thought experiment I frequently propose is the
phonograph.

The mechanics of recording and playing back analog sound are not
particularly difficult.  You need a diaphragm and a stylus (one unit), a
recording medium and a method for moving the recording medium at a
constant rate relative to the stylus/diaphragm (another unit).  When
recording the diaphragm vibrates with the air pressure generated by the
sound and the stylus creates an image of those patterns in the recording
medium.  When playing back the stylus follows the pattern recorded in
the medium and generates vibrations in the diaphragm which moves the air
in a duplicate of the original event.  Now there are some minor details
such as amplification but there is no inherent advantage to wax on a
cranked cylinder as opposed to clay on a well regulated potter's wheel.

Where then is the Voice of the Pharohs?

It may in fact exist.  Certain pots with strange spiraling
"decorations" do suggest the surface of a record, the problem may be
that we have lost the knowledge we need to play them back.  Do you think
you could recognize spoken Sumerian if you heard it?  Me either.

And gaps like this are more the rule than the exception.  We can't fix the Iowa because the tools needed to do it have long since been sold for scrap
and most of the craftsmen are dead.  Until the recent revival of vinyl
the future of musical recording seemed to be fast deteriorating magnetic
films in a variety of incompatible formats or optical dots in a whole
different panoply of incompatible formats.

Anyway, many of today's featured stories have to do with history
about which it must always be remembered that it is written by the
victors.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.― Winston S. Churchill

Science and Technology News and Blogs

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think,
the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to
you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with
Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If
it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these
experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found
to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope;
there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

-Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science Oriented Video

 

 

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The Breakfast Club (Earth Day)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
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This Day in History

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

     

Richard Nixon dies, Elian Gonzalez seized by federal agents, Oklahoma land rush begins.

 

 

 

 

 

Zombie Lies - Environmental Edition
    

ou know what, why am I getting excited and bothering?
This was never about facts to begin with. But what is new, is that it's
not even about pandering to voters any more. Even half of Republicans
now want this issue dealt with.

Well good luck, because the zombie lies aren't for the voters.
They're for the donors who make their money killing the planet. The
question is not why today's politicians suck more than ever. It's who
they're sucking more than ever.

The Koch brothers are in the oil business and they're pledging
almost a billion dollars in this election. For that kind of money, Cruz
and Bush and the rest of them will say anything. It's what their fellow
prostitutes in the sex industry call the girlfriend experience.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

     

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

As crude a weapon as the cave man's club, the
chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life-a fabric on
the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough
and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways.

Rachel Carson, The Silent Spring.

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The Breakfast Club (Classical Gas)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

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The Breakfast Club (Clichéd)

 

Well, it's been 10 years and I hope I'm constantly surprising you
with facets of my character I have not yet revealed even when I write
within a restricted format (which is the essence of poetry).

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgI hate Borodin, just because of that commercial.

My therapist is leaving the medical group (oh, don't worry, it's
all related) with which I am associated and in our final session they
asked me-

"Do you answer to ek hornbeck?"

Yes, of course I do.

It's not a common name so it's easily picked out of the crowd
whereas regular names like Robert or Bob have instantly a dozen heads
spinning.

Well, I'm not like that.  Not that my head doesn't spin because
it might be someone I know personally, but because I don't share myself
on the Internet.  Personally I Google rather poorly, ek hornbeck much
better, and my onion layers are part of the fascination-

Is he in Heaven?  Is he in Hell?  That damned elusive Pimpernel.

Except I'm more on the Robespierre side.

Tout institution qui ne suppose pas le peuple bon et le magistrat corruptible est vicieuse.

Yup, one of 500 and ignored on a rainy day.

But by 1833 when Borodin was born the struggles of 1789 were far in the past (hah). and he...

Well, he was an award wining chemist.

He dabbled in music and wrote several things but rarely finished
any of them, still he attracted the attention of the more serious
composers who saw flashes of talent and was considered one of The Balakirev Circle of new wave nationalist Russians because he was so conciously derivitative of popular folk tunes.

The Polovtsian Dances referenced in the commerical above were a part of his (unfinished) opera, Prince Igor, which was about the suppression of native Mongolians (the Polovtsians) by Prince Igor and has all the charms of Opera...

Let's review the rules, shall we?

The 3 rules of Opera.

  1. It must be long, boring, and in an incomprehesible foreign language (even if that language is English).
  2. The characters, especially the main ones, must be thoroughly unsympathetic and their activities horrid and callous.
  3. Everyone must die, hopefully in an ironic and gruesome way.

Ballet is the same, but with more men in tights and without the superfluous singing.

with an admirable mixture of genocide of the culture you are
stealing.  It has all the charm of a musical about Greasy Grass in which
Custer wins.

Oh and it and several other snippets were stolen by Broadway for Kismet.  Someday I'll chat about Nellie Forbush, a thoroughly unsympathetic character.

To his credit Borodin was an early advocate of Women's Rights and
despised by his "revolutionary" contemporaries in 'The Five' for
writing in conventional formats like Quartets, Concertos, and Symphonies
of which I offer you the two that he indesputedly finished all on his
own.

 

 

So what does this say about me (aren't we all the star of our own movie)?  I like this role.  He's exactly like me only more in your face-

I'm not trying to prove anything. All I want
to do is teach my students that man just wasn't planted here like a
geranium in a flowerpot. That life comes from a long miracle; it didn't
just take seven days.

But it's against the law. A school teacher's a public servant. He should do what the law and the school board want him to.
Has the accused have anything to say in his own defense? If not, I
sentence you to life as a public servant. A silent butler in the service
of your school board. Waste baskets for ideas on sale in the outer
lobby.

I don't see anything funny in this Mr. Hornbeck.
Objection sustained. Neither do I.

Then why don't you just leave us alone? You newspaper people have stirred up enough trouble for Bert. What do you want anyway?
I came to tell Boy Socrates here that the Baltimore Herald is opposed to Hemlock and will provide a lawyer.

Who?
Who? I don't know yet but what's the difference? A new lawyer with
old tricks, an old lawyer with new tricks. Wake up Copernicus! The law
is still on the side of the lawmakers and everything revolves around
their terra firma.

Then why bother, you and your newspaper?
Because I know that the sunrise is an optical illusion. My teacher told me so.

Sigh.  I have to break in a new therapist.  I think I'll start with this one-

What do you call a schizophrenic Buddhist?

Someone who is at two with the universe.

And actually, that's multiple personality disorder and I've never been diagnosed as anything except depressed and anxiety prone.

Yet.

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