Archive for September, 2009

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra opens

I attended Saturday night’s Opening Weekend performance by the blogged Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra with H. It was broadcast on KFUO, and the station will carry Saturday night concerts this season. In past years, I had been a subscriber, and I was happy to return. I fell out of the habit. I am too busy to attend regularly. I am happy that I made it this time although I have one disappointment. As in many programs of recent years, the program mixed old and new.

The new was a piece by Osvaldo Golijov, Azul. I am not familiar with him. It featured principal cellist Daniel Lee, two percussionists Jamey Haddad and Keita Ogawa and hyperaccordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman. I was most impressed by the fusion of acoustic and electronic elements, presumably facilitated by the hyperaccordion.

The second act, the old, was Gustav Mahler‘s Symphony Number 5. It brought disappointment, but not from the performance. I fought mightily before surrendering to sleep. It was embarrassing. The music was great to the extent that I could pay attention. The piece itself is filled with dynamic gusto. Only the finale brought me from my slumber.

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Michael M. on September 30th 2009 in General, Live, Music


Saint Louis Regional Bicycle Federation sponsored a showing of the movie Veer last a few Thursdays ago at the Landmark Tivoli. The documentary showed several parts of the cycling community in Portland, Oregon.

A lobbyist from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance helped several bills, including House Bill 3314, through the Oregon legislature. There are multiple cases of motorists who killed cyclist and received only traffic tickets and fines. One new law passed there, the first of its kind in the nation, will lead to a new path in the justice system for cases of accidents involving vulnerable users of the roads.

It showed several other charitable and pure fun groups. Community Cycling Center teaches children about safe cycling Exchange Cycle Tours helps provide equipment and organize rides. Zoo Bombers ride public transportation to the top of a hill and then race down, mostly on modified children’s bikes. The Sprockettes are a bicycle dance team.

The movie was biased and silly. I enjoy my bicycle and use it as my daily primary transportation. Consequently, I liked the movie. The local promoters spoke of how the local community has some parallels. I agree. Bicycles have become much more numerous on local streets in my time here. I look forward to continued growth.

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Michael M. on September 30th 2009 in General, Movies

Toxo brain

The Radiolab episode Parasites echoed an idea I had several years ago. I heard it on KWMU, now St. Louis Public Radio, not too long ago. Toxoplasmosis, the infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii, might be responsible for how involved some cat owners become in their pets’ lives. Toxoplasmosis is well known to cause remarkable changes in rodent behavior, leading them to lose their innate fear of cats. Even though I think I came up with the idea independently, it had been floating around long before it occurred to me. I was exicited to hear it on the radio.

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Michael M. on September 30th 2009 in General

Compton and Grier

Mike Compton and David Grier played a small house concert. I blogged about Compton’s visit a couple of years ago. Compton revisited “Man of Constant Sorrow” along with many classics. My favorite was “How Long” played by Mike Compton. He said that he got it from one of the great Memphis guitarists.

Compton thought it was by “Robert.” It was Frank Stokes, and it is song I love to hear, sing and play, too. This recording is on YouTube. I also really like this version by previously blogged YouTube user IplayBanjoNow. She has posted several great videos of herself singing and playing fingerstyle blues.

Grier is a master of flatpicking. He played many original compositions. He voiced a familiar frustration with picking up his instrument and playing the same handful of songs over and over. He racked his brain for tunes and first came up with “Frère Jacques” and then a Christmas carol. Then he launched into a great medley of “America the Beautiful” and “Yesterday.”

It was a chilly night out on the patio. By the end, I was falling asleep. Such is my life right now. I also regret missing my beloved Folk School class. As grumpy as I was, though, I found enjoyment.

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Michael M. on September 30th 2009 in General, Live, Music

Card catalog

This post on Ramblings by Joe Frank includes a link to his dissertation in the WashU Library catalog. I took a look. Here is mine. Here it is in the new catalog. I do not recommend looking for or at the actual thesis, but I am happy that it is there.

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Michael M. on September 4th 2009 in General

Floating again

I floated two weekends ago. I blogged about floating two years ago. We went to the same place this time, floating the Current River, part of the National Parks Service Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and camping at the Pulltite Campground. It was the sixth float trip for the Program in Neuroscience. I think I have made them all. The cool summer made it even better than usual, and the usual is fun every time. Despite a summer busier than ever, it was my second escape to the Ozarks. After the float, H and I played a few tunes, and unbeknownst to me until a day or two later, a friend shot this video available on Facebook.

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Michael M. on September 1st 2009 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

End of the Rainbow

Waxy Links has this story on NPR‘s Morning Edition about the end of Reading Rainbow. When I was in fourth grade, my language arts teacher showed Reading Rainbow weekly. She showed it on the one day I was never there. I watched it at home.

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Michael M. on September 1st 2009 in General

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.