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Sing sing sing

It isn't spring but that isn't stopping the birds out there. Particularly one mockingbird, who sings his heart out from early morning until night and rarely seems to repeat himself.

Today I learned on public radio that mice sing, too. That is, if you define "singing" as a sound that takes some time to finish, has varied syllables and tones, and has a kind of meter of sorts. We can't hear them sing because the sound is higher than the human ear can hear, but when it is brought down four octaves it resembles a bird that is quite experimental and not in love with "melodic".

One of the speakers (this was on SoundCheck) said they don't know why mice sing, but think it relates to sex. That they may sing to attract female mice, and that females tend to hang around singing male mice more than nonsinging male mice.

That wasn't all I heard in that program. They also interviewed the author of Puccini without Excuses, one in a series of books meant to popularize opera by explaining it in a friendly, often funny way. I was taken by the author, who also hosts radio programs of his own, by his sense of humor and understanding of his subject. I immediately went to amazon.com and put that book on my wishlist and read customer reviews of it. It rates highly. The only complaint one non-neophyte opera lover had was that in this book Berger "protests too much". Makes too much of the complaints that Puccini is "too accessible", "too easy". That's probably a valid comment, considering the intended audience.  I have never felt the need to defend my love of Puccini. Good is good, whether it's easy to like or not. Think of Jimi Hendrix, f'instance.

And all this because I was not listening to Sonic Theater, as I am so much of the time. They were playing ZBS recordings and I just don't like those. To me they are overly "cute" and annoying. So I turned to my no. 2 station, XMPR, which features mostly New York City public radio. I am sure I hear more NYC public radio than my daughter does, and she lives there.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
I've been listening to NYC's WQXR-FM a whole lot in the past few weeks--it's preset on my FM band, and when the static gets to be too much to take on the AM station (Air America 1600), I switch. I listen to whatever operas are broadcast on Saturday afternoons--the Live from the Met broadcasts seem to have been lost for the time being, so they've been giving the radio audience the Ring Cycle, and before that, they've been trotting out performances of operas that were recorded over 20 years ago--dandy!

I grew up listening to the Live from the Met performances every Saturday. A couple of years back, I picked up 100 GREAT OPERAS And Their Stories, by Henry W. Simon. Although the anthology doesn't go beyond around 1960, the synopses cover most of the standards, and are brief but informative.

Anyway, I'm glad you get to tune in to NYC public radio. I'd love to have been able to hear about the singing mice! :)
Oct. 27th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
Ah, this is me bragging about having xm satellite radio...after all, I'm in California.
Oct. 27th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
I'd love to get XM! As soon as I am able to get it into the budget, I shall!

You go, girl! :)
Oct. 27th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
I didn't ask for it and I didn't think I wanted it. But I got it for my birthday and I've been willing to pay for it since that ran out. I'm hooked.

I now get AirAmerica on "real time", which can be very good. I like Rachel in the afternoons, for example.

But I really do listen to Sonic Theater most. I love radio plays and there is a lot of variety, from books to sci fi radio plays to re-dos of things like the Twilight Zone. I also listen to the old time radio channel. I didn't think I'd care about that because I'm not that fond of the old comedies but there is a lot more than comedy on there. It's a real kick hearing the Lone Ranger again...
Oct. 27th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
At this point, the only way I'd be able to really listen to AirAmerica would be on XM. I do get the morning show, and Randi, but the static makes it almost impossible to hear anything of the AAR programming after about 530 in the afternoon on weekdays, and since the NYC listening area doesn't get Thom Hartmann on Sundays from 10-1 pm, I have been in serious withdrawal!

We don't get the Young Turks in the a.m. here, either--we get Sam & Armey. I'm something less than thrilled about that. Armstrong Williams (very conservative--the same guy who got $240K to promote NCLB) is someone I'd love to throttle with a bootstrap! AAR dumbed-down the timeslot here in NYC, and I can only surmise that it was a business decision. Still enjoyed hearing Sam Seder during the day when I was home with a bad bug a couple of weeks ago.

I hope I can get XM next year, though. It sounds good to me!
Oct. 27th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
I think most of the air America stations, even NYC, are not big ones. The one here fades out a lot, too. I listened to it almost exclusively before I had XM, so I feel a little bit like I'm a traitor in that I rarely listen to it now. But I do catch AA on XM - but not as often as I listened to it on AM.

I'm not very fond of Sam Seder. I love Rachel Maddow and what I have heard of Thom Hartmann I like a lot. I like Randi but she can drive me crazy at times. I have Thom's latest book on my amazon wishlist. He's quite the scholar. (I like the brains people.)

I suspect you are right, that the changes to "dumb down" some of the shows are to attract new listeners. I have to admit that some of the "personalities" are really for us hard-cores. Jerry Springer is for the neophytes. He even defines terms and explains how one should feel about stuff, but his show is BORING to those of us who know a bit. Is he still on??

I don't begrudge the managers for doing whta they have to do to make it profitable. I do wish they would be more forthcoming and explain their decisions sometimes. Like Mike Malloy? Why kick him off? Because he was a conspiracy theorist? Many of us got that, but liked him anyway. I didn't like that he was married to a woman way younger than he was but that's another story.

I understand AA is in bankruptcy. I went to their site to see if there is anything we can do to help that but I didn't see anything. I can understand why they wouldn't broadcast it but I suspect that many of us would throw in our dimes and dollars to keep them on air.
Oct. 27th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC)
Thom Hartmann is fantastic, and you're right--he really is one of the smartest people talking these days. As for Molloy--I'm still bummed out that AAR cut him loose. I totally love Molloy--his program was my absolute favorite way to end my day! (Screaming). His buddy, Peter Werbe, who had filled in for him, was on in the 10 pm time slot last month & I hope he still is.

I'm also glad that I can still catch Ring of Fire on weekends--that show is excellent.

Randi's show is sort of perfect for drivetime--very lively & confrontational, although Molloy is probably the best at inviting right wing callers to come up and get their asses whupped, Randi has gotten better at doing this. Seder has ventured into that form a few times too.

Different styles, but I have learned a lot from them.

Wish they'd bring back Molloy.
Oct. 27th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
I got a kick out of Malloy because of his unapologetic passion and calling of names. The Bush Crime Family. He did go off on tangents that might seem a little extreme at time but he wasn't nutso. Isn't. He also understands network programming and decisions, but I wonder if he understood that one.

Randi is smart and does a lot of research but she tends to mush things at times - draws conclusions rather broadly. She'll make broad generalizations about Democrats and Republicans and that always bothers me, and she'll extract one piece of a sentence and try to make it say something broader. I don't think in any way she intends to deceive but I think this makes her a target for those who say AAR people are just ranters. It also bothers me that when she has a guest she talks over them, takes over, does more talking than listening. But I like her. I believe her.

I do tend toward the ones who are more careful. Those who have absolute conviction but are very careful in stating the facts - like Rachel Maddow and Thom Hartmann and even Al Franken. I go nuts listening to Franken because of his ahs and ums and his tendency to talk too long himself rather than let his guests talk. (That's a failing of a lot of hosts, though.)

I have thought about what it would be like to host one of these shows. I would not be good at it. I don't retain details of political issues well so I'd be vulnerable. I get the big pic and can understand things quickly but will let the details pass at times. On the other hand, I am a calm and considerate listener who genuinely tries to hear exactly what others are saying. Have you thought about doing this? I think we need more home-grown lefties on the radio! I think you've got the passion for it.
Oct. 29th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
I have some of the same observations about Randi. In the balance, though, I'm glad she's on there, ranting! She's sort of the opposite side of the drive-time coin, and what makes her so much better than the wingers is that she, despite all, does her homework and is far more lined up with the facts, so even when she occasionally misstates a part of a detail, she generally will cop to it and move on, having corrected her error. The wingers never do that, and they continue spinning further out to absurd lengths, compounding lies upon lies. Randi avoids this, and I give her a lot of credit for that, because she has a credibility that her opposite numbers on the right lack.

There's room for the confrontational in the big tent, but she recognizes the importance of pulling the facts together in the final analysis, and I have a lot of regard for that.

You're a sweetie to suggest that I could ever be a host. My heart is in the right place, but I don't have any more confidence that I could "fly at medium altitude" (a la what happened to Icarus) than you do. Unlike Randi, or even the totally brilliant Molloy, I would probably get canned in the first 5 minutes. If not for being profane on-air, then for digressing too much before getting to the point. I can make Randi sound like Hemingway be comparison.

But I appreciate the vote of confidence! *hugs*

Now I have to get going & watch a debate in North Branch. I hope that the entire 7th Congressional District in NJ votes for Linda Stender, and I don't want to miss the opportunity to witness her ripping the incumbent a brand-new one today!
Oct. 29th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Totally agree about Randi and facts. I wish others could see the difference but they don't.

Good on 'ya, as they say. I have not done nearly as much as I could have for this election - I think I got tired out by the last one - but I did see the governor debate (California) with a gang of Dems and I went to see Arianna Huffington, which was great. But I've been not much on the volunteer activities lately. Send money now and then. Well, I figure we do what we do...
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
The debate was good--for Stender. Even though it took place on short notice Ferguson, the Republican, had been reluctant to debate, and finally caved in when a venue in the most Republican part of the district was decided upon. Even with two other candidates participating, even with a number of Ferguson supporters in attendance, the moderator had to admonish the audience to quiet down, because at more than one point, they laughed over him as he was talking about how great the economy was doing! Other than that, he chose to make unsubstantiated allegations against the Democrat, rather than really answer questions about his own record.

And this was with a crowd that was probably friendlier than he'd find in most other parts of the district.

Don't beat yourself up--I haven't been as active this year as last, but I'm doing what I can. I've been ill most of the month, and that has curbed my availability for quite a bit of events. Since I don't have much to contribute financially, all I can give is time & energy when I honestly am able to. *shrugs*
Oct. 27th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
Oh, and cool user pic! And I hope you get xm soon.
Oct. 27th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC)
Thanks--I got the image from a Monty Python site. With some technical guidance from druidheart, I was able to make my first icon!

As far as getting xm soon--it's all about $$$.

Oct. 27th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
I do indulge myself. I do not think I would have gone out to get this because it means a commitment of $13 a month and I am trying to cut back on those monthly debts. But now that it's in my car I find the money - they bill on a quarterly basis, which works well for me. I am not the most careful user of money.
Oct. 29th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
It confounds me when a Capricorn says she isn't financially conservative--that just flies in the face of the conventional astrological wisdom! *grins*

Then again, my coworker, C.J., is a Capricorn, and I have chided her on numerous occasions about her rather grand "money-spending schemes". I keep telling her she has it back-asswards--that she's supposed to be concocting "money-making schemes"!

It's for her own good that I try, time and time again, to get her on the right track, just so my view of the cosmic order is undisturbed!

She likes this, but continues to scheme anyway!

Go figure. :)
Oct. 29th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
...almost makes you think there might not be that much to astrology...
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
Fortunately, I don't bet my life on any of it, although I find it a handy way to remember birthdays.

It's also an interesting system, whether there's a scientifically quantifiable basis to it or not. That's pretty much how I regard it.

Besides--I like it. *g*
Oct. 30th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
I used to be fairly heavily into astrology. INterested in complicated readings and so on. I also thought maybe there would be something that might explain it - for example,maybe babies born in the winter are going to have certain characteristics because of the weather..? Something like that. Now I mostly laugh about it. Think of it as entertainment.

I honestly used to look at the capricorn characteristics as if they mattered.
Nov. 5th, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)
Hee hee hee! Even when I get into reading my astrology and tarot stuff, I have always found that the material on Aries really irritates me.

Part of it is because so much snotty things are written about the Aries personality, and it often seems condescending. *g* This insults the crap out of me, and I don't thing most people really "get" Aries.

But I still enjoy it, just for its own sake. I just don't defend it as an exact science.

It beez what it beez! *g*
Oct. 29th, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
Oh brother. Different computer. Didnt realize I wasn't logged in.
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
Hee hee!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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