A good friend hipped me to this recently, his daughter joyously decided that I need to watch it. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. What a fantastically produced and well-formed piece of art. Excellent.
At a recent after-work get-together, I found myself in the all too common place of having to defend my stance as an ethical vegetarian. At this particular meeting (at a local bar), it was three against one, me being the unfortunate “one”. While I am certainly wiling to share my reasons for being vegetarian, my sharing usually becomes an opportunity for others to attack my reasoning — as the people I share with are most often meat eaters that feel as though they need to justify their choices by attacking mine. This evening was a bit different, as the person trying to “reason” with me proclaimed himself a vegetarian. His reasoning for being one was that he simply didn’t like the taste of meat. I doubt the veracity of his claim, but nonetheless, I must take him at his word without further proof.
Among the common logical fallacies I was forced to discount, the appeal to antiquity / tradition was brought up, as it so often is. This particular logical fallacy was formed thusly: “archeological digs have revealed the charred bones of animals in very ancient cultures”. As amusing as this is, there is no reason to assume meat eating and the slaughter of animals is valid because it’s been happening for so long. If this were true, you could make a reasonable argument for murder, genocide or pedophilia on that same basis. The absurdity of this way of thinking leads a to a great many reasonably smart people making ignorant and misinformed arguments. The other problem with this argument is that it really is difficult to make the person that formed it see the error of their ways. You can tell them that this is a known fallacy, that it makes no logical sense — but in the end, they’re convinced of the validity of this association. This is especially true of people that do their best to defend themselves for taking part in the daily slaughter and mistreatment of millions of animals.
As is often the case, you lose before you begin. As with global thermonuclear war, talking to police or self-surgery — your best move is just not start in the first place. Protect yourself by not engaging in arguments you can never really win. With regard to vegetarianism, people aren’t really concerned with your views on it; they may ask, but this is only so that they can justify their own choices either in their own mind — or by arguing with you about it. This is an important lesson I need to learn.
One misinformed participant then brought up another very common argument: the “honor the animal” line. I’ll save this for another post, but the bullshit only escalated from there. There were more logical fallacies to follow, but the final offered up by our misinformed friend was the agrumentum ad hominem. Yes, there was little logic to be found in this trio of the misinformed.
Your faithful scribe then decided to simply bail out of the argument, as I should have done in the beginning. One of my favorite quotes, “you can’t reason a person out of a position they haven’t reasoned themselves into in the first place”, was entirely applicable here.
As a vegetarian in Texas, I’m often confronted with having to talk about why I am. San Antonio isn’t exactly known for its vegan/vegetarian cuisine. The difficult part is tempering my explanations so as not to offend those with whom I’m talking. The truth of the matter is that this is an inherently offensive act, getting that meat on your plate.
The two fundamental approaches are one based on health, the other on animal welfare ethics. Most people have a difficult time understanding the latter. I submit this wonderful video of a recent debate from the Intelligence Squared 2012 series. If you’d like to see the whole thing, a link below the video will take you there.
Farewell and safe passage to a friend, a true legend. Red Holloway was a monster of a player and a really nice guy to boot.
I’ll never forget the time that he invited me to a party in Los Angeles, and introduced me to his friend Horace. Red brought me up to Horace and said “Horace, this is my friend Ken”. Horace turned out to be none other than Horace Silver. There I stood with these two legends, both treating me as though I was just one of the guys. This is the sort of guy Red was: kind, humble and unassuming.
One time, as he prepared to go on tour, he showed me a bottle of cyan pepper that he packed for the trip. He explained that he’d use it now and again on his food — to “keep things moving along”. Additionally, he explained, you could take a bit in your hand and throw it into the eyes of of a promoter if they failed to pay you after the gig!
The great guitarist Pat Martino tells a story about meeting Red, I believe in Jack McDuff’s band, for one of Pat’s first gigs. Pat stared at the charts for the gig, not knowing how to read a lick of music. Red, sitting nearby, realized Pat was having trouble — so he sat there and taught Pat all of the tunes before the gig.
Although we’ve only chatted sparingly on Facebook over the years, I’ll never forget him. My condolences go out to Sylvia, Tyler and the rest of Red’s family. Red, you will truly be missed.
There are a lot of famous chords in music: Scriabin’s Prometheus chord, Stravinsky’s Psalms or Petrushka chords, Strauss’s Elecktra chord, Wagner’s Tristan chord. In pop music, however, it can hardly be argued that the the most popular chord of all is the opening to the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night”; a beautiful combination of George Harrison’s twelve-string, John Lennon’s six string and Paul McCartney’s bass. The chord is essentially an Fadd9, but it takes on more features, given John & Paul’s contributions. There’s a lot of debate over this chord, but Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation — along with an audio sample.
UPDATE: I’ve since incorporated instapaper into my online reading workflow. This has proven to be the most exquisite combination thus far. Look for a post soon about the entire workflow.
I had the distinct pleasure of attending a performance by The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma last night. This was a magical evening, as the music of this ensemble was comprised of works by modern composers, as well a piece written in the year 900 – found in a Buddhist monk cave in Mongolia. The musicians were exceptional, providing a transcendental pastiche of sound and rhythm that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. The effect of multiculturalism on music is in full flight here, as you experience textures comprised of instruments you don’t often find in the same context. This really is a wonderful concept that I wasn’t hip to previously. Check them out if you get a chance. Amazing.
What made this night even more amazing was that it was a first date with someone I’ve known for some time now. She and I both proclaim it to be the best-ever first date in history. She’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever known, it was a pleasure to share this music with her. Perfect.
Of note was the playing of Wu Man (pictured here). She’s a virtuoso on the pipa, a short-necked, ancient Chinese lute-like instrument going back as far as the Tang Dynasty (618-907 C.E.). She was truly amazing this evening.
I consider either of Glenn Gould’s recordings to be definitive where Bach’s Goldberg Variations are concerned. The “Open Goldberg Variations” project, however, is a great idea. The notion of setting this score free is a great one.
While you’re at it, check out Musescore, I use it and love it.
I have a new family member, straight from the Schertz pound. My cousin was the matchmaker, she called to sell me on the idea; she’s a good salesperson. Bella is at least partially Beagle and all love. She’s a wonderful dog that seems to be around a year old. Thus far, she’s been a delight to be around and certainly has added a great deal to the ambiance of my home and my life. I will never forget my first furry love, but it’s nice to have this little girl around.
If you know me, you know I’m a McIntosh freak. McIntosh is my favorite audiophile pleasure, one I’ve been happily living with for a while now. I just dropped off my MC2105 & MX113 for repairs at Bjorn’s in San Antonio. While there, I checked out the Peachtree Nova. I have to say that it sounded pretty amazing at around $1100, even while being handicapped with a bass/mid-muddy room, and a 192k stream from Rhapsody. I don’t know that you could find that sort of audio goodness in that price range elsewhere. My only real complaint is that the USB port is limited to 24/96. The internal Sabre DAC will up-convert it to 24/192, but I’d by happier if it were simply there to begin with. Seriously considering this piece anyway.
On another note, I have to give Bjorn’s credit, as their staff was professional, knowledgeable and very friendly. I’m looking forward to doing business with them in the future.