For more about Arthur Szyk, see www.szyk.org.
Happy Fourth of July!
Chris Squire (March 4, 1948 – June 27, 2015) was the only continuous member of legendary progressive rock band Yes throughout all its many line-up changes.
A church choir singer growing up, his is one of the two backing voices in Yes’s trademark 3-part harmony vocals. But his biggest musical legacy undoubtedly is as one of a handful of innovators responsible for taking the bass guitar out of its ‘harmonic foundation’ ghetto. In Yes (like in more modern bands like Primus, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tool), the bass guitar was effectively a co-equal instrument that took on melody and especially countermelody roles.
Squire’s favorite instrument, the Rickenbacker 4001, was originally bought with an employee discount at the Boosey & Hawkes music store where he worked. Already having learned to play bass earlier, he developed his trademark technique on that 4001. The story goes that, after a bad acid trip, he was so afraid to go anywhere that he holed up in the apartment of his girlfriend for months and did (presumably almost) nothing but play bass, emerging with a unique style. Se non e vero e bene trovato.
More prosaically, he adopted the split-amp technique pioneered by The Who’s John Entwistle, in which the treble of the instrument is sent through a lead guitar amplifier while the low end is routed to a bass amplifier, thus sacrificing neither low-end punch nor high-end clarity. Combined with the already bright sound a Rickenbacker with Rotosound strings produces, and Squire playing with a pick rather than finger style, one obtains an almost harpsichord-like sound that, from deep growls to sweet melodies high up on the G string, never fails to project.
A legion of rock bassists acknowledge his influence: whether you hear Geddy Lee of Rush or Justin Chancellor of Tool (to name just two very different musicians), you hear echoes of Chris Squire. Squire himself cited Jack Bruce (Cream), John Entwistle, and funk bassist Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone) as his primary role models.
He will be dearly missed, but the music he created with Yes contains many timeless classics. Below is posted not one of their marvelous prog epics like “Close to the Edge”, but the sensitive ballad “Onward”. After that, what I regard as Squire’s signature piece, “Heart of the Sunrise”.
Growing up, I couldn’t really hear most bands’ bass players due to the appalling bass response of my little tape recorder. Chris Squire changed all that — the brain will ‘fill in’ the missing fundamental of a tone if enough overtones are there. Thus, for the first time I acquired a sense of what this instrument can do.
Enjoy the great gig in the sky, brother.
This short video produced by FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) is very much worth your time. Steven Pinker has been a longtime target as a ‘deviationist’ to the academic totalitarian Left for some time.
Via Greg Lukianoff, guest-blogging at Instapundit. #Academentia #whileFreedomDies #intellectualDiversity #fauxversity
Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer foresaw she would pass away in the month of Tammuz, which on the Hebrew calendar corresponds roughly to late June – early July (depending on the vagaries of that lunisolar calendar).
The song is performed by Nurit Galron.
Atzuv lamut be’emtza haTamuz
diglei hakaitz nisa’im el `al
al rosh/berosh hatoren tor homeh ve’lo yech’dal
ki al keitzech ve’al k’tzirech heidad nafal
Atzuv lamut be’emtza hatamuz
davka ksheha’afarsekim beshefa
vechol hapri davka tzochek basal
ve’al keitzech ve’al ketzirech heidad nafal
Atzuv lamut be’emtza hatamuz
aval/achshav be’emtza hatamuz amut
el bustanei hapri shehityat’mu
heidad achar heidad nafol yipol
ve’al keitzech ve’al ketzirech ve’al hakol
It’s sad to die in the middle of Tammuz
Summer flags are carried to and fro
On the ship’s mast, a noisy line that won’t stop
For on your summer and your harvest, hurrahs fell
It’s sad to die in the middle of Tammuz
Right when the peaches are plentiful
And just as all the fruit laughs in the basket
And on your summer and your harvest, hurrahs fell
It’s sad to die in mid-Tammuz
But now I shall do so anyway
Upon the fruit gardens that were orphaned
Hurrahs afer hurrahs will surely fall
And on your summer and harvest and on everything
In the comments to a poignant guest post by Cedar Sanderson on marriage, relationships, being denied happiness and finally finding it, “RES” coins what I would call “the negative Heinlein rule”.
Robert A. Heinlein famously defined love as the mental state in which “the happiness of another person becomes essential to your own”. RES instead proposed, “the state where another person’s pain is painful to you”.
This is reminiscent of the distinction between the Positive and Negative Golden Rules.
The Positive Golden Rule states: “Do as you would be done by”. If the person in question is a masochist who enjoys being tortured, I’ll pass.
The Negative Golden Rule, given here in its Talmudic formulation (Shabbat 31a), instead states: “That which is hateful unto you, do not do upon another. This is the whole Torah: the rest is [but] elaboration.”
On Heinlein’s original quote, commenter Wayne Blackburn reflects:
“Basically, the sentence is intended to impute a high, enduring correlation, as opposed to a weak and/or transient one. Once it is perceived that the partner is unhappy, the simple fact of working on correcting that difficulty can actually work to improve the emotional state of both. With a weak or transient correlation, there is not as much impulse to improve the other’s state of mind, as it does not impinge as strongly on your own.”
Originally posted on According To Hoyt:
Marriage is a State of Mind – Cedar Sanderson
I have long been a fan of Dorothy Sayers. I don’t recall when I first read one of her books, but I know that I just recently read one of her essays on feminism and it sparked a thought – several thoughts, really – in my head. I wrote some of it down in Are Women Human? which is a composite of her essay of that title and my own thoughts.
As I was reacquainting myself with not only the fictional romance between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, but the true life of Dorothy Sayers, I was forced to reflect on my own life and relationships. There are some parallels to where I am now, and looking back, I can see clearly in hindsight where my path has taken me. You don’t see it, while you’re walking it. It’s only…
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Compare and contrast:
A molecular biologist who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his work on the proteins that control cell division gives a talk in which he makes a rather tasteless joke about women in the lab and how he would prefer . Instead of a public apology — which would have been reasonable — he finds himself out of a job.
Meanwhile, an idiot journalist who has never produced anything of value in her life called for a year of publishing only female authors. Consequences? None. An art director at the self-proclaimed leading publication house of speculative fiction finds it necessary to accuse writers she dislikes of neo-Nazism and white supremacism — accusations that make about as much sense as calling Elton John a womanizer, except that they are 1000x nastier — and suffers what consequences? None, unless one applies that word to the elder statesman of the house disassociating himself from her statements and having her issue a ‘non-apology apology’.
A society that ostracizes the makers and coddles unproductive critics is indeed “on a downward spiral”. Who is John Galt again?
Guest post at Sarah Hoyt’s place.
Originally posted on According To Hoyt:
Psychological displacement in management, politics, and the culture wars – New Class Traitor
All of us have a number of psychological mechanisms for coping with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Some are adaptive (anticipation, humor, building social support networks, …) while others are maladaptive.
Displacement (a term originally coined by Sigmund Freud) is one such maladaptive strategy: the mind substitutes a “safer” goal, object, or target for one deemed to be unattainable or overly dangerous. Some classic examples of ‘displacement’ are a bully picking on a weak kid in response to being picked upon by a bigger bully, or the abusive mid-level employee who works out pent-up rage at bosses or customers on his underlings. Or, for that matter, the frustrated-at-work husband or wife doing so on their spouse.
Like all of us who have dealt with management (in my case, from both sides of the fence) I…
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No, you did not fall through the looking glass. A half-dozen GOP Senators led by Cory Gardner indeed want to force makers of contraceptive pills to file a request for over-the-counter status with the FDA.
That some hard social conservatives would be opposed is a given, but that the federally subsidizd abortion mill known as Planned Parenthood would do so seems counterintuitive — except of course to inveterate cynics like myself.
Leave it to Steven Den Beste, the retired “USS Clueless” blogger, to hit the nail on the head:
It’s not ideology, it’s rent seeking. PP’s doctors are major sources of doctor prescriptions for birth control pills, and PP gets paid for every prescription. If birth control pills become OTC, PP will lose that revenue
Commenter “Wildoates” clarifies:
it’s not about actually providing conception control to women, it’s about being the gatekeeper to providing conception control (and other so-called women’s health issues) to women, and the many dollars that follow from that. If you own the only ferry on that particular river, you get the tolls. People start building bridges upstream and you’re doomed.
I never was in any doubt as to what PP et al. really were — it is still amusing to see them so blatantly act like it though
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Posted in Fiction
Happy VE-day, and here’s Anne’s weekly summary of good news from my adoptive homeland. Some really good stuff this time.
Originally posted on Anne's Opinions:
After yet another contentious and tense week, thank goodness it’s Friday and time to post another Good News Friday installment.
We’ll start with some entertainment news. Despite US singer Lauryn Hill cancelling her scheduled concert in Israel due to pressure from the BDS bigots, the equally (or more) popular Dionne Warwick has no such qualms and stated that she has no intention of giving in to BDS pressure:
After entertainer Lauryn Hill cancelled her show in Israel for political reasons, American diva Dionne Warwick said Wednesday that she has no plans to cancel her upcoming Tel Aviv performance, saying that “art has no boundaries.”
A statement released to the press read that Ms. Warwick “would never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”
Outspoken Israel critic…
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A pretty good summary on where CAGW skeptics (a.k.a. “climate realists”) agree with climate alarmists (more than you might think), and where they part company.
Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:
Guest essay by Richard J. Petschauer
A skeptic that believes in global warming? How can that be? We have been told that climate skeptics, sometime incorrectly called “deniers”, still believe the earth is flat and disagree with 97% of scientists. Well, first of all, most of us have seen a globe and know what it represents. Second, do you know on what these scientists agree? If not, don’t feel bad. Those making these claims, mostly politicians, probably don’t know either. Actually, a rather poor survey was done looking at a summary of many technical papers. If any one of many climate related points were made, they were put in the 97% camp. This article would probably have qualified too.
But the real question, not covered in the survey: How fast will the earth warm if we do nothing to curtail the growth of man made carbon dioxide emissions? And how…
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Reflecting on Sarah Hoyt’s long and thoughtful article on the Sad Puppies vs. “Social Justice Warrior” fracas at the Hugo Awards:
It is actually a good illustration of the difference between a positive-sum game and a zero-sum game. To the Sad Puppies camp, writing sci-fi is a positive sum game. You have more writers of varying political stripes (or of no discernible stripe at all), you have more and more diverse fiction, which will appeal to a broader range of people, which will get more people to read and buy sci-fi, and everybody is happy.
To the SJWs, however, what they truly care about is a positional good, namely intellectual and moral superior status over others. (Cf. this interesting piece on “Virtue signaling” .) Competition for any purely positional good is a zero-sum game, and the more people participate the less is there to go around. So for the SJWs, throwing up barriers to entry and ostracizing people are rational strategies (in pursuit of an irrational goal).
And as the causes and mascot group they ostensibly champion gradually gain acceptance, their response will of course be to become ever more shrill and radical — because if suddenly everybody at least pays lip service to that particular cause or mascot group (or simply accepts it as part of the landscape) then there is no longer any virtue to be gotten in doing so, except by drastically escalating demands.
The end game, in this case, will be ten people and a dog buying the latest 99.4% pure LGBTQWERTYZ-friendly SJW novel, and them congratulating themselves on being the only people sophisticated enough to understand this transgressive piece of dreck. And then another group comes along saying that 99.4% isn’t pure enough, and ostracizes the first…
There are actually virtue inflation cycles in organized religions as well, with one believer trying to outdo the other in piety. Closest to home in that regard: there were the most extreme ultra-Orthodox who during the recent Passover would not rely on the municipal water supply because somebody might have dropped some bread in the Sea of Galilee and thus contaminated the water with some ppb quantity of leaven (consumption of which is strictly forbidden during Passover). In a country where the majority of people (including yours truly) already keeps kosher to some degree and still more respect the additional stringencies during the week of Passover, simply keeping kosher for Passover may be enough for those who observe these commandments for their own sake — but it will not meet the needs of status seekers (which exist in every culture and every field of human endeavor) as they will only be ‘special’ by going to ever greater extremes precisely when more people adopt the basic strictures.
Coming back to sci-fi: the fact that Sad Puppies not only includes women and minorities (besides being politically much more diverse than the ingroup) — and that authors like Sarah Hoyt even use sympathetic homosexual characters as protagonists — actually means precisely that the SJWs have to become that much shriller to continue to be the ultra-precious moral snowflakes. So expect the more inclusive that “our” side will become, the more hysterical and outré will be the escalation in demands from the SJWs. State-financed species reassignment surgery anyone? (“I am a dinosaur trapped in a human body”)
Originally posted on According To Hoyt:
Years ago on this blog I talked about Technique of The Coup D’Etat by Giovanni Guareschi and I typed the beginning in here. I shall copy that. (Assume typos are mine.)
At ten o’clock on Tuesday evening, the village square was swept with wind and rain, but a crowd had been gathered there for three or four hours to listen to the election news coming out of a radio loudspeaker. Suddenly the lights went out and everything was plunged into darkness. Someone went to the control box but came back saying there was nothing to be done. The trouble must be up the line or at the power plant, miles away. People hung around for half an hour or so, and then, as the rain began to come down even harder than before, they scattered to their homes, leaving the village silent and deserted. Peppone shut himself up in the…
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Sarah Hoyt is back from surgery — and how! This post about “scarlet lettering” of authors (sci-fi, in her case) by SJW “gatekeepers” for having politically incorrect thoughts — and how such gatekeepers fear and loathe indie publishing because it is not “pod nash kontrol” (Russian for ‘under our control’). Long (as usual for Sarah :)) but very much worth reading all the way through.
Originally posted on According To Hoyt:
One of the most interesting things – and by interesting I mean scary – about the reaction to Sad Puppies 3 is that many people who are anti-puppy (always wanted to write that) were mad at Brad for “not telling people you were putting them on the slate.”
Okay. The accusation is not true. Brad actually told people, except for a couple he legitimately forgot to contact.
But let’s not defend Brad on that front, because when we are defending him on that front, we’re already swallowing whole a pretty bizarre assumption of the other side.
Instead, let’s step back and take a deep breath.
What are the Hugos?
They’re awards, right? They’re awards given, supposedly, for the best science fiction and fantasy of the year, right?
In theory, theoretically as it were, who is supposed to nominate: why, Lord love a duck, right? Any reader of science fiction who…
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Originally posted on 9to5Mac:
Tim Cook is scheduled to attend the opening of Apple’s latest offices in Israel early next week, according to a report from Israeli daily business newspaper Calcalist.
The report says the new offices will be located in Herzliya, Israel, and hold around 800 employees in approximately 180,000 square feet.
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Maverick climate scientist Judith Curry (who unlike most, is interested in actually finding out what is going on, rather than fattening up the funding gravy train) is getting exasperated by the politicization of CAGW by the New Class soft-dictator wannabes.
Originally posted on Liberty's Spirit:
Members of the same Islamist terror group that murdered people at Charlie Hebdo have now taken hostages at a Kosher deli in Paris. For security reasons, the police have ordered all Jewish stores, shops and restaurants closed in the Marais, the traditional French-Jewish neighborhood.
If you tweeted in support of CharlieHebdo, #JeSuisCharlie; If you tweeted to remind everyone that the policeman murdered by terrorists in that viral video was a French-Moslem, #JeSuisAhmed, then it is time you tweet in support of the Jewish community in France.
Of course this event should come as no surprise:
No one can say this is a surprise. In July window-smashing rioters stormed thru Paris chanting ‘gas the Jews’ http://t.co/krRNeIst27
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) January 9, 2015
1st they came for the Jews. Then they came for the Jews again & again… then they came for #CharlieHebdo. Then they came for the…
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“This is worse than a banana republic — actual banana republics have more voter security…”
Originally posted on According To Hoyt:
As some of you know, I’m not only American, I’m Coloradan.
Mind you, the South will always be a part of me. It was where I first lived in the US and the place I was naturalized. The voice in my head has a Southern accent, and I love going back to the South East for cons. But Colorado is where I was meant to be. We came into Colorado the weekend before Thanksgiving 1993 (it’s been pointed out to me I had 2003 which is both a bit of wild flattery on my age, and my lacking coffee. I’ve only had one cup), and just ahead of the Thanksgiving Snow Storm TM which dogged our steps all the way, with the gates clanging shut just after we passed. And then we crested a ridge above Colorado, and I saw it for the first time, and I knew it was…
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There is a widely circulating quote by George Orwell stating that “Some ideas are so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” This appears to be a paraphrase of an actual statement by Orwell from “Notes on Nationalism”:
“One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”
Poster boy of the week is some linguist who claims that modern Hebrew does not really descend from Hebrew but instead descends from Sorbian, a basically extinct language whose closest living relative appears to be Polish. (Some further digging reveals that this is part of a campaign to “prove” that today’s Ashkenazi Jews [like myself and, presumably, himself] are impostors of Central European origins and this not really Jewish, therefore have no true claim to the Land of Israel, and similar 21st-century sophisms. You can imagine which types of sites quote this ‘research’ approvingly.)
Full disclosure: I am fluent in Modern Hebrew and understand Biblical Hebrew. Leaving learned linguistic discussions aside: if you speak Modern Hebrew, then Biblical Hebrew is about as comprehensible to you as Shakepeare’s English is to an American of today. (The technical term for what Shakespeake wrote is Early Modern English, or Elizabethan English.)
I asked a native Polish speaker at work who is also fluent in Hebrew about the “Sorbian hypothesis”. He just shook his head.
Yet the Wikipedia article on Hebrew treats this crank as if his theory is worthy of serious discussion. A “compromise” theory offered is that of the controversial Ghil’ad Zuckermann, who argues modern Hebrew is a mixture of Biblical Hebrew with Germanic (via Yiddish) and Slavic elements. Zuckermann hs in fact proposed renaming the language “Israelit” (“Israelish”) rather that “Ivrit” (“Hebrew”).
I may not be a professional computational linguist like Zuckermann, but by his argumentation English should be called a mixed Romance-Germanic language: over 50% of entries in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary descend either directly from Latin, or indirectly via Old French (which accounts for almost a quarter of the vocabulary, thanks to Guillaume le Conquérant/William the Conqueror). Yet mainstream linguists universally classify English as a Germanic language — based on not just historical arguments, but grammar, and the fact that of the 1000 most commonly used words in English, 85% descend from Old English (including Old Norse, itself a Germanic tongue).
True enough, modern Hebrew is replete with borrowings or calques (literal loan translations) from other languages, not just from Latin and Greek (and from the Talmud’s language, Aramaic) but also from Yiddish, Russian, English, High German,… I hate to rain in Dr. Zuckermann’s parade, but the same is true of Dutch and especially of English. German and French are somewhat more protective of their vocabularies’ “purity”, but especially in the colloquial register, both languages are full of borrowings and loan (mis)translations from especially English (not to mention Arabic-derived words in French youth slang). My Russian-speaking colleagues complain that they can no longer understand Russian internet chats thanks to all the borrowing that slipped in.
Zuckermann will argue that in the case of Hebrew it exceeds borrowings and extends to morphology: a well-known example is the word pattern “[something]izatziya” (“-ization”), like “[something]izm”. But come on: does Zuckermann really think similar things don’t occur in, for example, Romance or Germanic languages?!
But I am willing to admit Zuckermann’s theory at least has some basis in reality, however much he resorts to special pleading. In comparison, Wexler’s crank theory does not even pass the laugh test.
“Nightmare on Schocken Street”? Via Israellycool’s survey of English-language Israeli news sites, a fascinating article (in Hebrew) about the ever-increasing financial woes of Haaretz (which sees itself as a Hebrew-language New York Times). A few highlights in translation:
Despite all this, publisher Amos Schocken (3rd generation of the family after the founder, Zalman Schocken and his son, Gershon Schocken) continues to claim that subscriptions actually “are at an all-time high”. A page from the playbook of Baghdad Bob? Aviv Horowitz (in Hebrew) has another explanation: that Schocken counts the sum of print and online subscriptions. He also points out that the online subscriptions sell for about one-seventh of the price of a print subscription.
If you know how to “read between the lies” Haaretz can still offer some good journalism on occasion. And I would much rather have a Haaretz as a sane, critical left-wing voice (however much I disagree with them) than radicalize itself into irrelevance and bankruptcy. However, it seems that the Schocken family decided they:
“Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme
Ain’t nothing I’d rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too…”