Vote for Truth

I usually don’t discuss politics. There’s not a lot of intersection between music and politics, except for matters of copyright, which I do talk about. Copyright has gotten pretty far afield from its intended purpose and there are many difficulties as a result: from bogus social media takedown notices; to DRM protections preventing playback of one’s own original content; to the difficulty of trying to track down the true copyright holder to request permission to use their work; to a song that shares no chords, lyrics or melodies with another but simply similar instruments and arrangement being found as copyright infringement (Gaye vs Thicke “Blurred Lines”); etc. 

I’m a Republican and have been pretty embarrassed about admitting it since the days of Newt Gingrich and President W. (Bush), and of course it’s only gotten worse.

I was surprised and shocked when Trump won in 2016. Not by Trump himself. It was pretty obvious long before the election (before he ran for office really) that Trump was a con artist with no moral integrity of any kind, who cared only about himself. No, the surprise was how many people were fooled by his bluster and clumsy nonsense statements and willing to make excuses for his behavior. But it didn’t make me question the election or claim that Hilary won because she won the popular vote. It just made me disappointed and disheartened that so many people were fooled. And for the first time, provided an inkling of how someone like Hitler had come to power, something that had always been more than a bit mystifying before. 

Now, the Republican Party, with Trump’s “help”, has created a base of supporters with an anti-Utopian view, insistent on believing the worst of any situation: government and institutions are all corrupt; the FBI and Department of Justice are mere tools of the party in power; immigrants villainously take advantage of our system, collectively intent on fundamentally changing our nation; masks and vaccines are attempts to strip us of our right to control our own lives; gun control advocates use mass shootings as an excuse (or even fake them) to try to strip Americans of the ability to defend themselves; knowledge and expertise are merely elitists attempting to dominate us; calling out lies is an attempt to prevent free speech; newspapers and news organizations are just organs of propaganda; Climate Change and even Covid are fake issues designed to make our lives more difficult and needlessly challenging; elections that don’t turn out the way we voted must be rigged; a constant stream of smoke from questionable Trump actions doesn’t mean there’s a fire, it’s clearly a vendetta by people who can’t accept that Trump “won”; anything we don’t agree with is obviously fake news; Democrats and progressives are evil and will stop at nothing to “win”; etc, etc.

It’s a fascinating and bleak world view. And that very bleakness is used to justify ever more extreme “responses” to the world around them. Like any utopian view (positive or negative) their explanation of the world is more real to them than reality. They seem to have an endless capacity to explain away evidence that they are wrong about any one conspiracy theory. Like the Hydra, lop off any one head, and two or three more grow in its place. And it’s the collective weight of the hodgepodge of theories that seems to make it so compelling. Everyone else is working together against them in a vast conspiracy. There are no accidents or coincidences, everything that happens is intentional and by design and focused on making their life worse because they know the truth and that knowledge makes them important and a threat to the terrible status quo around them.

I don’t know how you combat that. You can’t do it with reason. Reason wasn’t involved in their adoption of this world view. It’s like trying to reason with a mental patient. 

It does make you wonder about our education system, that so many people don’t know the difference between being rational and rationalization. Or maybe it’s the constant bombardment of (often exaggerated) advertising claims, or the influence of social media where everything is treated like “news”, or the news organizations themselves who have become increasingly sensational and tabloid-like in a desperate attempt to regain a sliver of our attention. All these things seem to imitate one another to make one homogeneous, undifferentiated pool of content that makes it ever harder to find what’s important, to know who is the source of that content and whether it is reliable. Ironic in our age of instantly available info, don’t you think? Add to that the ever increasing rapidity of the dissemination of that content, whether it be essential news or wild rumor, and some healthy skepticism is vital.

The one ray of sunshine in all this is the Republicans have given us one easy litmus test of truth and sanity this year: is a candidate willing to admit publicly that Trump lost the 2020 election? And will that candidate commit in advance to abiding by the results of the 2022 election? 

How can I vote for someone who doesn’t believe in election results? As hard as it is to believe these candidates hold fascist views, in this one area at least, I think we have to take them at their word (or lack of it).

That means, despite being a registered Republican, this year I can’t vote for any of my Republican candidates at the local or national level because they all fail that pretty simple test. I’ll take a sane candidate who disagrees with me, but who will listen to science and reason and rational argument, over an irrational candidate any day. Who knows what ideas the irrational candidate might get into their head or what they may do? 

Maybe, but sad to say only maybe, if we hold the Republican Party accountable for its continued support of Trump and election lies, and don’t put them in office, the Republican Party might return to being Republican, instead of being merely anti-Democrat and, more importantly, the anti-democracy fascists they seem to think they must be in order to maintain their “base”.

Jacob Collier concert

Saw musician extraordinaire Jacob Collier in concert last week. A lot of fun. Sold out crowd of 1500. I just hope he picks a better venue if he returns. One thing I don’t get about concert crowds though –

At a party, your friend starts telling a joke you’ve heard her tell before. You do which of the following?:

  1. Interrupt repeatedly to tell everyone how good this joke is
  2. Start telling the joke along with her
  3. Enjoy the subtle changes and refinements in this version
  4. vicariously enjoy the first-time experience of those who haven’t heard the joke before

So why shout-out, sing-along-with or otherwise coverup the performance of an artist you (and others) paid good money to see and hear without being invited to do so? Especially when that artist already provides many opportunities for audience participation?

Not too long after I posted this a Jeopardy contestant from Seattle, Washington, Tory Waltrip, related how she was almost thrown out of a Celine Dion concert for singing along because, as she stated “it turns out strangely enough, people went to the concert to hear Celine and not me.”

Store almost ready

So I mentioned earlier that more changes were coming and now the biggest change is almost here!

I’ve added a store! Most of my music scores will be available here for purchase.

While the store isn’t ready to accept payments yet, it is built and the link can be found in the menu. So though it’s not quite usable, you can still see what it looks like etc.

I will announce here when it’s all functional. Stay tuned!

New Website up and running

I’m happy to announce a number of changes and improvements here:
1. a completely redesigned, adaptive website that works well with desktops and mobile devices.
2. all server communications are now secure, encrypted, and confidential (https).
3. now running on a resilient, high performance, high availability, high speed, low latency server.
More changes are coming! Stay tuned!

Veterans Day concerts tickets

Tickets went on sale today for two of the venues performing Veterans Day concerts featuring my music!
The concerts benefit K9s for Warriors, a Florida charity that rescues, trains, and pairs service dogs to returning soldiers who need them.
The performers are:
the Sovereign Brass
and Trinity Prep High School Choir.
Featuring all new music by local composers written especially for these concerts.
The content:

   an opening brass fanfare
   a choral work
   then: a series of poetry readings by local poets
         each followed by a work for brass ensemble
   with a final choral work.

My piece is the 2nd brass work, about Duty, Honor and Sacrifice.
So a great program, for a good cause!!
The first performance is 7:30 PM, Sunday, Nov. 9th, 2014,
at Trinity Prep High School Auditorium, Winter Park.
$20. You can get tickets here.
The 2nd performance is 7:30 PM, Monday, Nov. 10th, 2014,
at USF Concert Hall, Tampa.
Tickets on sale soon.
The 3rd performance is 7:30 PM, Tuesday, Nov. 11th, 2014,
at Community Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville (Atlantic Beach).
$30. You can get tickets here.
Get the word out, share with your friends.
Also a big thanks to our sponsors:
Bryce L West Foundation
Timucua Arts Foundation
Herschel Lasik
Full Sail University

Bad Lip Reading ?

Somehow, I’d missed this earlier.

Ever wonder what the football players are saying in the huddle, or what their coach is screaming from the sideline? Well, watch this and you’ll know:

more web site problems

Well I’m not having much luck. Today, I lost a router.

The short version is, as a result, the website was down for at least 4 hours that I’m sure of, maybe longer. I think I’ve got things cobbled together and everything appears to be working again, but this is sort of a temporary solution to keep me up and running. I’m going to have to give a long term solution some thought.

re: perpetual copyright

Mark Helprin, author of A Solder of the Great War and Winter’s Tale wrote an op-ed in the New York Times two years ago arguing for further extension of copyright protection. He wrote a book, solidifying his argument, called Digital Barbarism: A Writer’s Manifesto.

If Helprin is right, then I can’t share his persuasive arguments with you, because they are part of his book and under copyright. If I thought Helprin was right, my only option, to propagate his ideas and try to gain their universal acceptance, would be to recommend that everyone in the world buy his book. You can see the problem here.

Fortunately, those of us who think some intellectual property is important enough to belong to society at large and that after some limited period of protection all intellectual property should eventually revert to the public, that fair-use plays an important role in society, etc. are not so hampered by our belief system.

See the great discussion at the Lessig Wiki.

Talk about a boring recital

There’s a performance going on of John Cage’s As Slow As Possible in Halberstadt, Germany. BBC’s Steve Rosenberg was there for a rare chord change, the 7th, in the concert that started in 2001.

I’d go, but the good part doesn’t happen for another couple of hundred years. I probably won’t make the ending either, in 2640.

Hear the BBC story here.

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