New Day

Two things of great importance to me happen today:

1. We get a new President.

2. I get to go home and see and my family.

I understand that one of these might be of less importance to you. I’m okay with that.

Enjoy the day, people. Celebrate the possibilities we have, ready yourself for the hard work we have to do, and tell the people you love that you’re glad they’re with you.

I’ll see you all on the other side.

117 Comments on “New Day”

  1. Congrats, you did well.

    Good Luck to our friends in the U.S.. We generally wish you well.



  2. Actually, John, at this point, I care more about you than I do about Obama. You’ve written a number of books and other pieces of fiction that I’ve enjoyed reading, whereas Obama has done pretty much nothing that I like.

    Hope you make it home safely, for, as has been written, “The best part of any journey is reaching home again.”

  3. Just watching the inaugration live on the BBC webcam at work (in the UK).

    Well done, you guys, and good luck.

  4. Going home to family is always awesome.

    So is our new President.

    I can’t say which one is more important. They both seem equal.

  5. I cannot rate one any higher than the other, maybe its just I spent more time in Ohio than DC.

  6. I think he and Chief Justice Roberts should have messed with the crowd’s collective head by starting the oath, “I, William Henry Harrison… [*Cough! Cough! Cough!] Just kidding!”

  7. LOL, he screwed up the oath – Doh! What a way to start.

    Roberts screwed up the oath. Obama corrected him.

  8. 11: you are completely wrong, watch previous presidents oaths. Obama jumped the gun. Now we cannot admit that the Messiah made a mistake?

  9. Sreve@13,

    Some of both- our new President (yay!) started before the Chief Justice finished, but the CJ got the order of the sentence wrong.

  10. Steve@9 and @13

    What exactly is your point?

    I’ve taken the military oath many times, I’ve also administered it, I managed to fuck it up once (In my defense it was on top of a hundred and twenty foot foremast of a moving cruiser while dangling in a safety harness). That momentary flub under stress didn’t prevent me from keeping my word though – and I seriously doubt that Obama’s failure to live up to your standards of eloquence will prevent him from living up to his.

  11. 1: you are completely wrong, watch previous presidents oaths. Obama jumped the gun.

    Ah; I had thought you were referring to the word screwup, which was Roberts.

    As to being eager to get rid of President Bush, I’m pretty sure Obama’s with a majority of Americans in wanting to jump the gun.

  12. My hearing was that they both fluffed it, it’s not especially important, and I don’t care. If that’s the biggest mistake that either of them makes today, they have both had very good days.

    Congratulations, President Obama, and thank you, President Bush.

  13. re #11 “Roberts screwed up the oath. Obama corrected him.”

    As I heard and saw, Roberts misplaced a “faithfully.” Obama did something more impressive than correction. He waited silently until Roberts could correct himself. Then Obama repeated the correct words.

    Roberts is, of course, the first Chief Justice ever to swear in a President who, as Senator, voted against him in a confirmation hearing.

  14. htom@19-

    Second the motion. I wish Obama and the USA and the world well, and hope that we all will be able to live up to the sentiments expressed today.

  15. Re Oath – Obama was too fast at the start and Roberts got the 2nd sentence wrong. Yes, Steve, Obama made a verbal gaffe. We should be used to those after the last 8 years.

    Was impressed that Obama mentioned “non-believers” in his speech – that has to be a first.

  16. Are we seriously debating whether Obama muffed the oath, when there are hundreds of thousands of newly-unemployed workers? When many banks and financial institutions teeter on the brink of insolvency? When tens of thousands of people have lost their homes? When there are troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of whom have been there for years and want nothing more than to get back to a semblance of normal life?

    Obama said it in his speech: it’s time to put childish things aside. Maybe we should get started.

  17. Let’s our big brother next door settles down and works on making life a little better for all Americans and maybe the rest of the world for a while. I for one could use a break right around now.

  18. John – hope you have a warm coat – it’s COLD in Ohio!

    I was listening to the ceremony on the radio (they had just got to introducing Bush) when I realized I could be watching it on the lunchroom TV! (doh!) I got all misty-eyed when I saw Obama walk out to take his place on the stage. I *was* surprised at how few people were in our lunchroom, however.

    Until just before noon – then the room filled up. Many in the room chuckled at the flub, then everyone aplauded after Obama completed the Presidential oath of office. I think everyone was misty at that point – I couldn’t tell, there was something in my eye….

    Did anyone else notice how smooth Biden was when he recited the VP oath? I bet he practiced! ;) oh yeah – did anyone else notice when the TV commentator mentioned the White House website had Obama listed as POTUS at precisely noon? That was cool factoid!

  19. Are we seriously debating whether Obama muffed the oath

    I think we are, yes. I’m not sure that in the few seconds of my life it’s taken me to do this that I could have saved more than one bank, but I’m off to do it now. (Grabs coat, keys, several billion dollars, and cell phone).

  20. Aaron Haynes @ 17,

    We can only hope.

    I kept my kids home today so they could watch everything on TV. They weren’t going to let the kids watch it at school.

    I was so proud to share this with my kids. It’s nice to be proud of our President.

  21. #29: s/once/may once/

    He still has to prove it. I have confidence that he will, but we can not afford to let the proof slide, just because he has a (D) after his name, or even just because his name doesn’t start with B.

    On the other hand, it is a rocky and hard road indeed he and we must travel, with many pitfalls for the unwary. We should not in addition strew caltrops across it; chide when he steps off, light up the steps on the easy, clear, and wrong road that are taken, sure, but do not make his job any harder than it is.

    I may be disappointed in the first. I am sure that perfection will not be attained, in fact. I do not want to be disappointed in the second. Unfortunately, I expect that it will happen.

    Please prove this cynical, professionally-paranoid Canadian wrong, about that expectation?

  22. I find it rather interesting that for 8 years, people joked about every mispronunciation by Bush, but now that its Obama, every seems to have lost their sense of humor.
    I find it…disturbing to think that some of you actually believe Roberts flubbed it in petty spite. Talk about transferrence!
    Obama jumped the gun, and Roberts flubbed some lines. We should be excited! Its the first bipartisan act of Obama’s administration!

  23. but now that its Obama, every seems to have lost their sense of humor.

    Oh Lord, lots of folks on the right were uptight about mocking Bush.

  24. RogerK. @33. Strangely, the first mention of spite I can find on this page is yours.. Perhaps the transference is on your side?

  25. Forget about the oath of office stuff. Very not important.

    Watch Obama’s Speech. Everything we really need to discuss, and yes, do is in that speech.

    Oh and John, remember that the hugs you give your ladies when you get home also come from all of us. Since they help keep you sane, we’re all very grateful to them.

    That makes the day just a slight edge to New President but I’m keenly aware of the importance of family

  26. “Obama said it in his speech: it’s time to put childish things aside. Maybe we should get started.”

    Most libs have been childish for 8 years, why stop now?

  27. “So, so, SO excited about the next four (hopefully eight) years!”

    Sure.. To change and recycle a childish liberal phrase, today is the beginning of a new ERROR.

  28. I think it would be fairly easy to find something dumber to snark about. But, this is the internet, after all…

  29. “Yes, Steve, Obama made a verbal gaffe. We should be used to those after the last 8 years.”

    Difference is that now it is no big deal…..

  30. Steve, I hate to be the voice of reason to point this out and burst your tragic bubble, but people on both sides of the aisle in Congress have put petty childish things ahead of honor, duty and country — and don’t roll your eyes at me, you’re merely proving my point — for a long time.

    As for Obama jumping the gun, I’m sure I’ve seen oaths given as “I, (state your name),” followed by a pause, then continue, rather than trying to cram a whole lot in that first statement. Maybe this longer form is the way that things get done, but it seems to invite flubs on both sides. And as I recall, there was a flub in Charles’ name at the wedding of Charles and Diana, and they pointed out that this sort of thing happened all the time. I’m sure if the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States thought that something was going on that was worth worrying about, he would’ve stopped and started over.

    Dr. Phil

  31. Re: Steve, Roger K., etc. etc.

    Oh, no, not here as well! The Internet seems to be FULL of sour losers these last few days. Are you going to keep whining for long? Please, tell me, if you’re going to regale us with four years of unending and baseless bitching like this I’ll just cancel my DSL once and for all.

  32. Torturing people in my name is an error.

    Starting a war based on a lie is an error.

    Letting a major American city drown is an error.

    Ignoring the science about global warming, politicizing the Justice Department, performing warrantless wiretapping, letting mines and bridges collapse, these were all errors, and they were made by that smug son-of-a-bitch and the rest of his criminally incompetent crew. I can promise you that my anger towards the Bush Administration is not based in anything childish, but comes from a very adult place.

  33. I guess he must’ve done pretty good if the only thing that critics can say about it is oath flubbing nitpickery.

  34. MWT nails it.

    By the way, did y’all know that tomorrow is NATIONAL HUGGING DAY?! Yes indeedy. Which is gonna be my excuse to keep this silly smile plastered on my face that hasn’t left since I first heard the inauguration coverage this morning.

  35. Ah, the pungent scent of sour grapes in the air. A lovely vintage, grown, picked, and bottled in an undisclosed location.

    “Nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”

  36. My favorite moment was right before the oath of office, when Obama joked with his (tall) wife that the riser they were setting up was for her, and they both cracked up a little.

  37. Sour grapes? And who was the vintner?

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
    His truth is marching on.

    And no, I’m not trying to deify Mr. Obama. Be serious.

    Dr. Phil

  38. It was a lovely day. Hope yours was likewise, and that you are happily back with your loved ones.

    And thank you for the musical interlude. A beautiful arrangement of a beautiful song.

  39. Steve, as a fellow Republican, I would like to ask you to please drop the third-grade “you started it” and “nyeah nyeah, I’m going to be childish too” nonsense. As a purely strategic consideration, being an asshole and then saying “but they were assholes TOO-OOO!” does not make you sound correct; it makes you sound like an asshole. When you rise above petty, childish nonsense, then you inspire respect and confidence.

    Mr. Bush was able to hand over the reins of power to Obama in a classy, dignified and statemanlike manner. How about you give his example some meaning, instead of acting like Sadly, No!’s worst caricature of a conservative with a mental age of 8?

  40. “Please, tell me, if you’re going to regale us with four years of unending and baseless bitching like this I’ll just cancel my DSL once and for all.”

    That easy eh? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Simply amazing that so many here can’t take what they have been dishing. I find it funny as hell!

    “When you rise above petty, childish nonsense, then you inspire respect and confidence.”
    One would think, but look at how Bush was treated for 8 years. Am I a asshole, you betcha!

  41. Thanks for that, Mythago. Confirming my opinion of you as someone who its fun to have an argument/disagreement/discussion with, rather than a chore ;). Steve… not so much.

    And yay! President! Family! Hugging!

  42. Steve: Glad we got that cleared up.

    Now then.

    Can we please simply wave goodbye to a former president, and welcome a new one with open arms?

    Congratulations, President Obama. A great many of us are glad you’re the one in that office right now, and we have confidence in you. As for the ones who aren’t glad – I suppose we’ll all have to work pretty hard to change their minds over the next eight years, won’t we?

    I, personally, welcome the challenge. I’m pretty sure the new president does too.

  43. I loved when the crowd was singing to the shrub as his helicopter was lifting off… Na na na na Ha ha Bye Bye.

    Chimpy is at the till now.

  44. Actually, Bill, I thought that was really out of line. This wasn’t a political rally. The repeated “peaceful transfer of power” isn’t just a line in a speech. I wouldn’t piss on Bush if he were on fire, but he deserved to hand over the office of the Presidency and depart with a dignified recognition of the office he formerly occupied. And don’t tell me that Bush deserved it. That just puts you in the “but he STARTED it!” Juvenile Whining Ward with Steve there.

  45. “I wouldn’t piss on Bush if he were on fire” – says alot about your character…. typical…. ;-)

  46. In general I find that those that cry the loudest about the need for tolerance and equality are the ones quickest to shout down an opposing opinion or to attack those they dislike.
    Just read all the comments in this blog. Some are a excitement of someting new, but many if not most involvings bringing down others (Bush).

  47. Oh? Did you renounce your United States citizenship? Because if you are still a US citizen, then Obama is your president.

    That is, if you actually believe in the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States. Given the last administration’s blatant disregard of both, I could understand their supporters’ ignorance in this area.

  48. #64: Well, I have not gone so far as to say “Not my President”. At least not yet. But come now, you certainly don’t deny that the liberal whiners started that whole thing do you? And how many celebs stated that if Bush won the election they would leave the country which unfortunately they never did.
    That this new administrations supporters put so much faith in a inexperienced man and are so easily swayed by the ‘O’pinion of celebs I guess I am not surprised that they have such short term memories or maybe it is a selected memory…

  49. Go Steve Go!
    The next four years are going to be fun the flip flops have already started. I for one am waiting for the government chicken for my pot. Didn’t I hear him promise that? Wait, maybe it was health care…anyway I am sure big brother will take care of us now. I feel safe.

  50. Steve? Really?

    “But come now, you certainly don’t deny that the liberal whiners started that whole thing do you?”

    You say that — – – where were you for the rise of right-wing radio during the Clinton administration or the investigations and the conspiracy theories?? Started what, exactly? I think this particular line:

    “I guess I am not surprised that they have such short term memories or maybe it is a selected memory…”

    Is .. . umm, Ironic, isn’t it?

  51. *sigh* OK, this is a bit music nerdy but I hope whoever paid John Williams for his banal plgiarism of Aaron Copland’s setting of ‘Simple Things’ has stopped the cheque.

    OK, I guess when you’ve got five Oscars and ten Grammys on the mantlepiece, and you’ve scored a good proportion of the biggest films ever, you’re a bit more laid back than most by the kind of exposure most composers would pimp their children to tentacled demons for.

    But, Jeebus, John couldn’t you be bothered making any kind of effort?

  52. Craig, it isn’t like you to avoid offered left/right personality wrangles. Tom Semmens would be very disappointed :P.

    Also, Steve – less than one day – really? ‘Liberal whiners’ at least waited for GWB to start making up WMDs before they got as worked up as you are :D. [I await the link from a nutbar website telling me that the WMDs were actually there, really, and/or that liberation of the oppressed Iraqi people was the original purpose of invading Iraq].

    On another note entirely, I reiterate: Family, President, Hugs, yay!

  53. Eddie:

    Not my fight — and you’ve got to say the peaceful transfer of power in an event that’s equal parts magnificent and absurd, elegantly austere and eye-wateringly tacky is just something to marvel at. Though next time, put Williams and Rick Warren way at the back. Anywhere along the Mexican border line should be about right.

  54. Steve @64,

    Well, I have not gone so far as to say “Not my President”. At least not yet. But come now, you certainly don’t deny that the liberal whiners started that whole thing do you?

    Oh, they did? I distinctly remember quite a few bumper stickers during the Clinton years that proclaimed “My President is Charlton Heston.”

    Pot, kettle, etc.

  55. Steve, and everyone complaining about who got whiny/mean/nasty first,

    You’re really going to let other people’s behavior determine your own? Particularly the people you disagree with? That’s giving them power over you (which is fine, if that’s your thing, but I kinda thought it wasn’t).

    There is only one person on the entire internet whose civility and tone you can possibly control. You own your own behavior; everyone else’s is outside your power.

    So if you want to sneer, go ahead; it’s your choice entirely. But man do you sound childish when you do.

    Welcome home, Scalzi.

  56. Steve:

    You have the conversational skills of a moron, and you no longer get to comment on this thread. In fact, try not to comment at all on this site if you can’t do more than ape the last obnoxious radio talk show host you listened to, because this is two posts in a row you’ve dragged down into pointless. Please do your smug stupid somewhere else. This isn’t about you being a conservative, it’s about you being a troll. Troll some place that’s not here.

    Everyone else:

    For fuck’s sake, I travel for a day and you spend it dancing to the tune of a person with the talking points of an imbecile? What the hell? Have you forgotten the gentle wisdom of the phrase “Do not feed the goddamn troll?”

    Really, now. Do better, please. Starting now.

  57. Scalzi:
    For fuck’s sake, I travel for a day and you spend it dancing

    Yep. And singing. And crying. Might have laughed maniacally a few times too.

    …to the tune of a person with the talking points of an imbecile?

    <small voice>very sorry about that part, sir.</small voice>

  58. Welcome back to chilly old Ohio. Those of us who live where Coyote controls the weather salute you!

  59. [Deleted because Steve appears not to be able to follow directions. Steve obviously hasn’t read the comment policy. Steve obviously loves to troll and then to be shocked, shocked when told to stop being a troll. Why yes, Steve, trolls are censored here. Because trolls suck. And you have exhibited distinct trolling tendencies. Hope that clears this up for you — JS]

  60. Welcome home to cold-assed Ohio.

    Sorry about the snow, but we were kinda tired of it up here in the Glass City.

  61. [Deleted. Steve: stop. Move on to a different thread or you’ll get put into the moderation queue — JS]

  62. Steve, as has been explained here before, for him to cut off a jackass on HIS personal blog is not censorship. It is his refusal to give you his bandwidth to publish your attitude. He has done nothing to stop you from saying what you want, you just can’t say it here.

    The ugly partisanship shown by you and by some of your detractors is going to destroy this country if you can’t all gain a little maturity and learn to at least try to get along.

    Say it together, all of you: “Bush was my president. Obama is my president.” Bush screwed up. Obama will screw up. I voted for both of them. Why? Because I deliberately try to look beyond the idiotic idea that one party is always right, has always been right, and will always be right, whereas the evil other party is always wrong, has always been wrong, and will always be wrong. This is the same stupid mistake whether we are talking about actual political parties or liberal/conservative ideas.

    A chief justice appointed by a republican screwed up the oath. The democratic president taking the oath also screwed it up. They were both caught up in the moment and were nervous. People screw up in cases like that.

  63. JJS:

    I’ve told Steve not to comment in this thread anymore; addressing him directly, thus tempting him to respond and thus earn a trip to the moderation queue, is just mean.

    Let’s all move on from the oath flub, shall we? It is fundamentally immaterial at this point.

  64. C’mon, guys. How come everybody’s going on about the oath business when the Big O made a howling error in the second paragraph of the speech?

    When they list presidents, Obama comes in at #44. But that’s because they count Grover Cleveland twice, owing to his serving non-consecutive terms. That means that only 43 Americans have taken the presidential oath.

    I can’t wait to see how this develops on various blogs: the Hannitistas claiming that this proves that O. is totally ignorant of American history, which they didn’t teach in the madrassa where he got his education; and the Michael Moore fans arguing that it’s no error at all, because David Rice Atchison secretly had The Oath administered to him…

  65. A chief justice appointed by a republican screwed up the oath.

    If that’s the LAST fuckup Chief Justice Roberts makes, I will be perfectly happy to give him a pass on this one.

  66. I like Obama, It’s nice to see people excited about a president and hopeful things will be different. I know only time will tell but for now hope is good.

  67. Best comment I heard yesterday. A friend of mine called me just after the inaguaral speech and asked “Doesn’t Dick Cheney look just like Mr. Potter (from “it’s a wonderful life)”. I said yes.

    I also loved the picture of the Biden’s and the Obama’s waving goodbye to the helicopter with former president George W. Bush. That was exactly how I felt as well.

    I also learned this morning that saying “former president George W. Bush” felt really, really good.


  68. Khalil@5: I think Clinton actually did something like that at some point–he issued a blanket order releasing *everything* that had to do with Roswell, supposedly to give conspiracy theorists less fodder.

    Naturally, their immediate reaction was that Clinton had released everything *except* the REAL story.

  69. Wow, I skip the Whatever for one day and all hell breaks loose!!

    Welcome back John and welcome to the White House, Mr. President.

  70. Craig @68 I disagree. I thought the invocation of both Appalachian Spring and the Shaker source material was beautifully appropriate. And plagiarism? I don’t think Williams could count on Perlman and Ma not to have heard Copeland before. It was an inauguration, not show-off time. I thought it was a respectful, not over-charged, lovely piece. But Simple Gifts is a personal favorite with a lot of baggage and I understand that YMMV.

  71. Craig Ranapia @ 68: Craig, I believe that “Air and Simple Gifts” was introduced as an arrangement of “Simple Gifts” (the old Shaker folk hymn) by John Williams. Yes, Copland did a (justifiably) famous arrangement of the same tune in Appalachian Spring, but Copland wasn’t the only one. Here’s a link to some other arrangements of “Simple Gifts” from over the years since Elder Joseph Brackett (probably) wrote it . . .

  72. I like the “Simple Gifts” melody, but dang, if it’s not the Copland version playing every other day somewhere, it’s some other version. Give the tune a rest!

  73. Peter S @ 94

    Oh, sure, I suppose you’d rather we listened to Pachabel’s canon in every elevator. Oh, wait, we already do. : )

  74. Mary Frances @91: Thanks for the info on that! I thought they’d said it was “arranged by John Williams” first and then “by John Williams” on the screen. Now, I’ve youtubed some versions of it. Lovely song. I wish they’d had a singer for it at the inauguration.

    Peter @94: I’d never heard, or even heard of, the song before yesterday. I don’t know where you live that Aaron Copland and/or Shaker songs are ubiquitous, but it’s not where I live, and it must be a nice place to live. :)

    I just thought it was quite beautiful. The whole day was beautiful. I even watched the whole parade (thank goodness for C-Span’s continued coverage; CNN was annoying).

  75. Hope & Mary Francis:

    I probably didn’t express myself very well, but I’m not putting the hate on ‘Simple Gifts’, or even John Williams — who isn’t my cup of tea, but Steven Spielberg likes him so WTF do I know? And you don’t exactly need to be a classical music geek to know there’s a very long tradition of composers kicking around folk songs etc.

    But did it really need to be so banal? Yes, Hope, it wasn’t “show off time”; but if Obama could show his taste for diversity and outreach by having a hypocritical, lying douchebag bigot deliver the invocation they couldn’t have given a young or minority composer (i.e. not Williams, Philip Glass or John Adams) the platform for something truly fresh?

  76. “The Internet seems to be FULL of sour losers these last few days.”

    Well, it sure has been. They are just a different set before Bush STOLE the election.

    Wait, let me find my eyes, I lost them when I was rolling them after typing that!

    I do not think it takes too much perspective to accept that rancor and insults have become the order of the last 8 years for WAY too many people.

    I do not see it as a party affiliation problem, but as a personal maturity problem. But then I am not a member of either party. And I am sick of it from both sides. A pox on both your houses. And frankly, some on the right feel completely justified to be complete assholes because of their perception of how the left has acted the last 8 years.

    I do not agree as I treasure reasoned discourse. Two wrongs and all.


  77. I noted the error during “Simple Gifts” as well — clearly whoever did the subtitle wasn’t paying attention to the distinction between “composed” and “arranged”. Personally, I quite liked the arrangement. I don’t hear much clarinet + trio music. :) (Although I wish I could have heard the clarinet a bit better.) It doesn’t bother me that John Williams did the arranging, either; he’s someone whose name everyone knows for Big Grandiose Scores and it was an interesting change to hear chamber-size music. And perhaps I just hear Appalachian Spring pretty rarely, all things considered. An American-originating hymn, best known for its use by an American composer and arranged by another American composer (as far as I know for all these things) seems quite appropriate to fit an apparent desire for more traditional, serious music in a very specifically American event.

    Smoked Egg @ 82: My recollection is that there was one man who was president for a day, between the death of one president and the administration of the oath to the vice-president. I don’t remember any further details, including whether this gentleman took the same oath himself, but I do believe it says on his tombstone “President for 1 day”. He’s not in the numbering scheme.

  78. re: choice of “Simple Gifts” – this is a canonically
    American folk tune, which is also in the Public Domain. It
    is also from a religious tradition – Shaker – which is one of
    the homegrown-American religions. There aren’t many of

    re: plagiarism – good grief, every composer has
    ‘improvised,’ borrowed or outright swiped themes over
    the years. Bach would take a drinking song and turn it
    into a hymn, for example. I saw this John Williams’ piece
    as more like “Variations on a Theme By Paganini.”

    I liked it. I liked the whole ceremony. I was impressed and
    relieved that no one got arrested and there were no
    terrorist incidents. I hope this is sign of Things To Come.

    Good Luck, Mr. President, we’re with ya,

  79. Lovely day. Watched it live; then went to friends for dinner and watched again. (And I baked a chadenfreude Pie, which got rave reviews. *grin*)

    As others elsenet have said, now the hard work begins.

  80. Frankly, I’d much prefer to have heard just about anything from Louis Moreau Gottschalk, one of our greatest composers. Grew up in a Jewish family in New Orleans, studied in Paris, composed lots and lots of music that most of us would say, “Hmmm, I know the tune, but who composed it?”, spent the Civil War giving concerts for Union troops (despite having been born in the aforementioned New Orleans) and wore himself out, finally keeling over at a concert in Brazil not long after the end of the Big Unpleasantness. I liked the four Americans from everywhere BUT America, however.

  81. Man, STILL can’t type! It’s bad when you can’t even get your own name right…

  82. Yeff,

    I somehow skipped the entire last sentence of Smoked Egg’s comment. How embarrassing. :/

    Doug: When I saw your comment I thought at first that you were referring to Louis F. Gottschalk, who partnered with L. Frank Baum in the Oz Film Manufacturing Company. Then I realized that a) I was pretty sure that the middle initial of that man was F and b) he’d have been awfully old to be the same person you mentioned. Turns out he was LM’s grandnephew.

  83. Robin #105–

    I’m glad you skipped the last sentence, because I didn’t know about DRA’s tombstone. I figured that it couldn’t be true, went to just to prove that you were wrong– and there it was! Cool…

  84. It was fun reading about the Williams “quoting” of Copland’s quoting of “Simple Gifts”. I can’t comment onn if it fit or not, I was able to watch.

    But reading mentions of Copland makes me think about his
    composition, “Fanfare for the Common Man”. If Williams had chosen to use it or adapt it, I wonder how that would have gone over? And Fanfare seems to be more inline with the typical movie scores that Williams has done.


  85. Robin (105): Small world, ain’t it? There’s a lot of Gottschalk’s music that has jazzy hints long before jazz was known and would have gotten that big crowd out on the Mall bouncing around even more than they were (from the cold, no doubt).

  86. Old Smokin’ Egg #106 — And I didn’t know about, so we all learned something. =) I’m pretty sure it was in a book on epitaphs and tombstones that I read about Atchison, which is probably why I could remember the gravestone but not his actual name.

    I wonder if there would be less fuss (if this counts as a fuss) about the Williams arrangement if they’d just said it was an arrangement of Appalachian Spring for small chamber ensemble. But then people would fuss about that not being the name of the melody (and I’d probably be one of them), so it probably was a no-win situation.

    I bought a CD of Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting his own arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Since it was originally a piano solo piece (also included on the CD), I was interested in hearing how someone other than Ravel had arranged it. As will probably not be a surprise, rather a lot of it sounded rather a lot like the Ravel orchestration, including (I think) some flourishes and such that were original to Ravel and not in the solo piano version. I guess you just can’t get away from the well-known “definitive” version sometimes. I’ve been meaning for years to arrange chunks of it for harp, flute, and cello, and I know I’ll end up doing the same thing even though I’ll be working directly from the piano score. I do wish I could find Mussorgsky’s own orchestration of it, which Ravel’s version effectively superseded, though.

  87. I’ve always thought that you don’t don’t salute the man you salute the rank. Or office as it may be.

    The displays of bitterness and hatred are just pathetic and tacky.

    It’s a new day and a new chance at something different, move on people.

  88. but he deserved to hand over the office of the Presidency and depart with a dignified recognition of the office he formerly occupied.

    I think that President Bush served at the pleasure of the American people, and that they had the right to send him off however they wanted to. Whether they should have or not is different.

  89. Bill wrote: “The displays of bitterness and hatred are just pathetic and tacky.”

    Well said. The last 8 years have been full of that shit. I hope we can get back to serious discussion, but I am not very optimistic. Frankly, I think the Republicans will be more civil than the Democrats have been, but time will test that prediction.


  90. Trey @112:

    Speaking as a Republican, I’m sorry, but it’s been going on for longer than 8 years — more like 16 and I’m sure beyond that. Many Republicans *hated* Clinton.

    I used to think that the sniping and bickering was a recent invention, but I’m now leaning toward the theory that it’s *always* been there, it’s just that with the Internet getting accessible and popular, it’s just become more *visible*.

    I don’t have TV service, so I had to wait to watch the inauguration last night on Xbox Live, but it was worth it. I really hope the details of what Obama does mesh with his speech; that was a seriously down-to-earth and realistic appraisal, if a bit vague at times on exactly what actions it requires from us and from leadership. Based on President Obama’s first day in office, though, I being to let myself be cautiously optimistic that, if he can corral Congress and the rampant corruption there, things might get better enough that even folks such as myself will be happy to admit they were wrong about him.

    I would *love* to have my worries and concerns have all been for naught.

  91. Devin @114 – It hasn’t always been there, but it’s usually been there. It’s always been there when there are big cultural divides on issues like slavery, organized labor, abortion and the meaning of the U.S. constitution after 9/11.

    I think there’s also a technological component: “yellow journalism” flourished in the 19th century as printing presses and typesetting tools were mass-produced (relatively speaking), so every crank with enough money could publish a newspaper. Opinion-biased media has flourished in our times as a result of successive waves of technology including cable TV, desktop publishing and both Web 1.0 and 2.0. Talk radio wasn’t so much a technical innovation as a marketing movement. When people only read media that cater to their own prejudices, you get the echo chamber and group-think effects that infect the wing-nuts on both ends of the spectrum.

  92. Me @115- Turns out I’m mixing up my journalistic eras. Yellow Journalism is documented as at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, but I was thinking of the early 19th century build-up to the Civil War.

  93. You know what I’ve found interesting? The fact that certain people (Republicans, anti-Obama types, whoever) complain about people “putting Obama on a pedestal”, or “idolizing him”, or even “treating him like a rock-star”…

    When did it become wrong to look up to the President of the United States?

    Honestly, it’s like this country has become SO cynical that NOONE is worthy of being looked up to any more. Scientists, teachers, politicians, CEOs… everyone is just another schmuck, and most are WORSE (in their opinion), because they dream to aspire to something better.

    How sad are we, now? Who will be the heroes of our children?

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