43 thoughts on “Americans Are Crazy

  1. I agree John, that video really is… batty.

    ::sound of crickets::

    (But not the sound of cricket, which would have produced a differently-shaped instrument, among other things.)

    More seriously; dude’s vibrato sounded pretty good, I thought.

  2. That is not crazy, that’s just cool. Even non-Americans should get a kick out of it.

  3. I was a classically trained violinist as a child, in an era where such things were funded by public schools. I’m all for anything that will encourage kids to take up a musical instrument. Especially with the dirth of music education in the school systems these days.

    The fact that the members of the National Symphony are willing to stretch the boundaries of their own instrumental talents to bring music to areas that might not otherwise get that level of exposure is amazing. As a note: our National Anthem is not any easier to play than it is to sing, and this gentleman made it look easy on a unique instrument.

    And Pam@7, our dog always hated it when I’d practice. Sometimes he’d even sing along from the opposite end of the house!!

  4. We had a local amateur string quartet perform at our library this past week. Turnout was remarkably high; maybe we don’t have such a dearth of culture appreciation after all. Bodes well for the future.

  5. At first I thought for sure this was bogus, like he was playing air-violin with a baseball bat (especially since the strings are really hard to see). But if it’s in the Washington Post, well…

    One thing about air-instrumentalists (or actors pretending to play a real instrument) — they tend to not know that different pitches usually require moving the hands or fingers to different places on the instrument. That’s a dead giveaway when someone is faking it. Since he’s a professional violinist he probably could fake it and make it look real, but I’m leaning towards believing it is real.

    And not just because the WaPo says so… :-b

  6. That is, as the kids say today, awesome with awesome awesomeness, with a generous side helping of awesome.

    They don’t?

    Well, they should.

  7. Somehow when I hear “Bat-violin” my brain pictures a utility belt and an evening at the Wayne mansion…

  8. That’s all very nice. But seriously Mr.Scalzi are you writing any Sci-Fi or you just a blogger now and I should move on?

  9. I write whatever I want to write, whenever I want to write it.

    Not only that, the lucky sumbitch makes a living at it. I probably should be jealous, but I just don’t have the time.

  10. Write whatever you want to write, whenever you want to write it! Turn a bat into a musical instrument!
    If we are going to be crazy, lets be awesome crazy!

  11. Apparently Mr. Scalzi shares your sentiment John H.
    No worries, I’ll find a thicker-skinned blogger to harass.

  12. Hey look at me! I don’t know jack about our host, so I think I’ll spout off at the mouth and, among other things, call the author of “your hate mail will be graded” thin skinned.

    As fail maneuvers go, that one’s epic.

  13. “Don’t drink and post on the Internets” is a lesson that has to be learned the hard way by some, I fear.

    Xopher @12, last time my offspring were not too embarassed to explain current cool thinking to me, apparently the phrase is “Awesometastic”, used alone (one never says “That was awesometastic”).

  14. Atticus: “it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, rather than to speak and remove all doubt.” Should’ve quit after your second post, or else worked harder at being offensive/humorous or whatever it was you were trying for.

  15. WendyB_09 @8: Agreed that unorthodox ways of generating interest in classical music are a great idea.

    As a classically-trained violinist (now mostly fiddler) and choral singer, I don’t find the National Anthem hard to play[1] or sing. I think the main problem for the untrained singer is the range — an octave and a fifth. That’s hard to place in a key which is comfortable for both high and low voices singing the same part. (I wish more Americans had the opportunity for musical training to use their full ranges and/or sing harmony lines.)

    [1] It’s even easier in a fiddle-friendly key like G or D. Not claiming I can play it like the awesome Glenn Donnellan, though!

  16. among other things, call the author of “your hate mail will be graded” thin skinned.

    Not to mention the guy who advocates re-posting your worst one-star Amazon reviews rather than whining about them (And who practices that technique himself).

    Maybe it’s coincidence, but I’ve seen a lot of trollish “why are you blogging” posts on several friends’ blogs in the past few days. Same troll maybe?

  17. Huh. I thought Atticus was making an ironic reference to the “Pissy Fans” post back in February. But, I guess he was serious.

  18. I’m curious to find out what kind of distortion pedal he was running the signal from the pickup through, honestly. Other than that, pretty darn cool.

  19. The beauty of this instrument is that it doesn’t even need strings, not with the right pickups, an adequate resonance chamber, a good knowledge of where the fingerings are… and a bow with a good load of rosin (to create the vibration). It must’ve taken him longer to figure out the fingerings than it did to create the thing in the first place.

    It’s basically a fancy way of making music by running your finger around the rim of a glass to make it hum and then modulating the vibrations by putting your fingers on the glass in the right spots (while still running that beer-soaked finger along the rim of the glass).

    Pretty damn cool and pretty damn hard.

  20. Very cool and yet another way to get kids into music. I had to put this on my facebook page. As for it being on this blog, I come here because it’s an interesting page, and not just about Science Fiction.

  21. As a classical musician, a baseball fan and an American I have to say that this man is freaking AWESOME!

  22. Electing George Bush was crazy. Invading Iraq was crazy. Plunging the world into economic chaos was crazy. Your gun laws are crazy. But a guy playing music on a baseball bat…? Not so much.

  23. Graham, you clearly believe only “bad crazy” counts as crazy. You are just not crazy enough!

    Making a Louisville Slugger into an electric violin is a seriously GOOD crazy thing to do!

  24. Yeah, yeah guess I had it coming, wasn’t drunk and fail at little. Though some may enjoy spending their evenings masterbating the host (P.J….) I’d prefer to read the works of probably the best Sci-Fi writer I’ve come across. So it gets frustrating seeing his effort directed at this blog as opposed to generating more top-notch work. Despite his reaction to my admittedly badly worded comment, I’ll continue to read anything Mr.Scalzi publishes and recommend it to all.
    Flame away heathens.

  25. Atticus Thraxx:

    Like many, you assume that the time I spend writing here is taken out of the time I spend writing novels. Barring weeks like this (when I’m trying to finish a project), it’s just not true, and in fact writing here helps me write my fiction my keeping my brain active and happy and thinking about other things. Likewise, considering I’ve published these many books in six years while also writing daily here, and have two more books coming this year, it’s pretty clear that my writing here doesn’t really keep me from publishing on a regular basis.

    Also to the point, I personally get testy when people suggest, intentionally or not, that they know better than I what I should be doing with my writing time. This is why I say that I write what I write when I want to write it. Because that’s what works for me.

  26. Oddly apropos. All it needs is some way to work an apple pie in there to be completely and utterly American. Either that or a car that nobody will buy anymore.

  27. I’ll back the hell off and be as patient as possible. As for your bibliography, I’ve consumed all but one. Never heard of the “Book of Dumb” (no wisecracks), I’ll pick it up and that will have to do I guess.
    Peace, love and good marksmenship!

  28. Damn. Missed an opportunity there. I should have commented, “What’s so American about To Anacreon in Heaven?”

    Oh, well, probably too pedantic anyway.

  29. The link that explains this most exquisite video appears to be broken. Does anyone have another one? Or perhaps some keywords that I can google?

    BTW, Mr Scalzi, sir, I am at once intrigued and amused that a man who has achieved the exalted position of being able to afford to write what he writes when he feels like writing it STILL gets schtick from others. I thought once you fired the boss, life would be plain sailing. Clearly I thought wrong. Dr Seuss was right. There is no Solla Sollew!

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