(AS GEOCITIES.COM/TBTHO) OCT. 25, 2000
I've been told we shouldn't try to fix something that ain't broke. But that's not the way corporate people think. Their company can't just happily hum along, with contented workers conducting business as usual. The firm must always be growing!
MARCH 6, 2014 GRAPPLING FOR A STATE TITLE
MARCH 5, 2014 SO BARBARINO MESSED UP?
Theo Thompseen here no, I mean Tom Thomas. As I sat watching the Oscars, it didn't ring any of my alarm bells when Idina Menzel was introduced as Adele Dazeem. I'd never heard of either of her, so both names sound equally improbable to me.
MARCH 4, 2014 BRRRDWATCHING
I spotted my first robin of the season yesterday in Pittsburgh. Thats normally a sign of spring. This year, however, were seeing more gulls.
One wouldnt expect seagulls this far from the sea, but its been a very cold winter. The Great Lakes will soon break 1979s record, when they were 94.7% ice-covered. That deep freeze has forced some Lake Erie gulls to migrate south to find a little open water on our Three Rivers. A small flock is hanging out at a nearby mall, perching atop the light poles in the parking lot.
Like our Laridae visitors, we year-round residents have had quite enough of winter. Last night the temperature dropped to three degrees above zero. Theres not a lot of snow on the ground, but almost every day it snows. Almost every day the plows and salt trucks have to clear the roads. Some towns have run out of salt. McKeesport declared a state of emergency yesterday because it could do nothing about its ice-covered streets. More than one commentator has said, I cant stand this any longer!
Fortunately, the forecast is for a sunny 50 degrees by the end of the week. The robin can invite some of his relatives to join him.
MARCH 1, 2014 TWO WAYS TO TELEVISE A BAND
When I made a brief visit to England in August of 1992, I noticed that my hotel in Kensington was within walking distance of the famous London concert venue, the Royal Albert Hall. I had one free hour, so I walked over there.
Of course, I couldnt enter the big round building, but I did walk past the BBC outside broadcast TV trucks, which were parked where I've indicated behind the arch in this 2005 photo. I knew why the mobile units were there: It was the middle of Proms season, when the BBC televises several programmes a week from the World's Greatest Classical Music Festival.
The people who work inside those OB units have a complex and difficult job. Way back in 1970, I had learned how much planning is required for an orchestra telecast. The aim is to show that moment's featured musicians, not the ones who are playing in the background or waiting for their next entrance. Fortunately, all orchestral music is fully scripted. By studying the score in advance, the director and assistant directors can plan every camera shot and pass those plans on to the camera operators.
I tried my hand at this sort of thing using only two cameras in 1974, with mixed results. For the way it should be done, click on the picture for a link to a recent BBC Proms telecast.
This piece was only one portion of that nights live programme. Im awed at how flawlessly the production crew was able to televise it. Okay, lets look at the score, measure number 52 [or whatever corresponds to 1:41]. While the trombones are playing the melody of Ive Got You Under My Skin, the concertmaster plays a four-bar countermelody. Well use Camera 2 on a closeup for the first two bars of this violin solo, and then well cut back to Camera 6 on the trombones for the other two bars.
I was also awed, by the way, at the Fox coverage of the recent Seattle/Denver Super Bowl. During the first half, when I was actually still paying attention, it seemed like every shot and every replay was perfectly executed to show me what was happening on the field, clearly and quickly. And there werent any distracting cutaways to irrelevancies like American Idol contestants.
Of course, theres more than one way to televise a performance. Click the next picture for an example from Scott Bradlees Postmodern Jukebox.
This was recorded with only a single stationary camera. You get the feeling that youre sitting in a single stationary chair, in your own living room, with a New Orleans jazz combo performing just for you. The horns are standing back in the corner near the window; never mind that the vocalist is blocking your view of the trombone. Miche Braden is standing on your carpet, looking you directly in the eye, belting out a Guns N Roses song like Bessie Smith. In high-def this all feels very real, as though youre right there with the band.
Im a fan of both techniques.
FEB. 25, 2014 DON'T BET ON CLEVELAND
FEB. 20, 2014 TEA TIME
At least once a week, I conduct a ritual that Ive come to call my Japanese tea ceremony. I bring out this bamboo serving tray and fill it with all sorts of goodies. The sides of the tray keep things from accidentally escaping. Then I take the tray to my desk, where I will spend several minutes in deep concentration, transferring small objects from one container to another.
Why are my keys also on the tray? For the noon meal I usually find myself at a restaurant. I dont have the colorful plastic box with me, but I do have my car keys.
Notice the aluminum cylinder. Each day I transfer the noon pills into the cylinder and screw it onto its cap, which dangles from the key ring.
Notice the copper coin. Its a 10-yen piece that I brought back from Tokyo. I put it in the now-empty noon compartment to indicate that its pills have been loaded into the cylinder.
Now Im ready for lunch. Kenko!
FEB. 15, 2014 FORTUNATELY, THE WATER WASN'T BROWN
An NBC television graphics specialist at the Olympic Games complained he was misled about the living conditions he'd find there. "The brochure described the accommodations and amenities at the Press Village as equal to or better than that of a hotel. However, the hotel they surveyed was located in Tijuana. The bedsheets in the Press Village are paper, the towels non-existent, safe deposit boxes and closet space inadequate."
Another gripe about Sochi, right? No, this was a quarter of a century ago in Seoul.
FEB. 10, 2014 CLOSE, BUT...
FEB. 5, 2014 THE 969-YEAR-OLD MAN
lived nine hundred years;
preachin this sermon to show
Ira Gershwin in Porgy and Bess
To be precise, we read in the Bible that Methuselah lived 969 years. Apparently some gal did give in to him when he was only 187, because thats when his first son was born.
The ages of the men in Genesis are obviously exaggerated. Can we make sense of them if, for example, we divide the numbers by ten? No, because dividing them all by ten would imply that some of these men became fathers at the age of three. No other simple correction seems to work, either. So how did the Biblical writer come up with these impossible lifespans?
I propose in a new article how the Genesis Years could have been computed.