Back to index of "this and that in my life" pages by Donald Sauter.
Dedicated to the proposition that every thought that's ever been thunk may be of interest to some oddball . . .
There were tremendous problems with my email service during this time, resulting in much lost mail. No doubt all the good stuff.
THEE: Subject: Sorrells Pickard Dear Donald, Do you have an email address for Sorrells Pickard? I am an old friend of his now living in Minneapolis. ME: I don't think Sorrells had email when I was in contact, but assuming his gourmet peanut butter company is still in business, I would recommend contacting Hself at the company. He was very helpful when I asked if I could call Sorrells. Hope that helps. THEE: Subject: This is stupid Get rid of infield fly. This page is dumb. THEE: Subject: Your Data Transfer Status Dear GeoCities Member, Congratulations, http://www.geocities.com/donaldsauter seems to be very popular and has been receiving a large amount of traffic. Our records indicate that you're using more than the allotted amount of data transfer we provide for a free web site, which is 3 gigabytes per month (measured on an hourly basis). That means that during the past few days we had to temporarily turn your site off to keep the bandwidth within this limit. THEE: I would like the top part of the Guitar orchestra piece. Let me know how I can get it. THEE: Subject: saw your website Donald, your website distracted me from my work much of the day today. Thanks. I was looking for the spelling of letters because there was almost a hostile falling out during a recent scrabble game due to contention on that issue. In that search I found your page, and really enjoyed reading. Nice work. However, my reason for writing is not to compliment you, but to ask you if you are involved in or know of any DC scrabble circles that welcome average joe types (who never memorized any two letter word lists, but always meant to because they wanted to beat their other average joe friends). I saw one reference to an Invitation to DC Folks page, but couldn't find the page. Let me know if you do. I like words. ME: Did I ever respond to your email from last December about whether there's a friendly Scrabble club in the DC area? If not, sorry about that. I've had lots of email trouble for a long time, and I've been trying to catch up lately. I've tried my darndest to get such a Scrabble club going, but without luck. If you've got any ideas, for instance, if you're a good organizer or know someone who is, how about giving a call? THEE: Subject: WGS Guitar orchestra I am a new member of WGS and I am very interested in receiving a part for the Feb. 8th concert. THEE: Re: (email's back) We're headed to the great metropolis of Hominy, OK, about 1-1/2 hours from here. What's the attraction in Hominy? A local Cherokee artist, father of a friend of our older daughter, has been painting murals on the sides of the buildings for the past 8-10 years. Last trip I made there was six years ago, and I was mightily impressed. With plans to complete several additional murals per year, he should have made plenty of progress since then. Then in addition to the murals, there's the Silver Dollar Depot, the old town train station turned restaurant. ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------- >Here's an e-copy of the thing I mailed, which I trust got to you by now. Only thing that jumps to mind since writing the email below is that I read and enjoyed tremendously James Thurber's "The Thirteen Clocks". >Hi, Hself! >(When I went to send this off, I found that my email situation was completely messed up again. No telling when you'll get it...) >I went down LC yesterday (Monday, Dec 10) for the first time since summer, and had some good successes. One reason I chose yesterday was because there was a noon-time lecture by Todd Harvey, who just published a book about the origins of 70 of Bob Dylan's earliest songs. It was a great talk. I mean, I'm a long-time Dylan fan, but everybody there seemed to dig it, too. One of his examples was Dylan's "Restless Farewell", which Dylan took from the Clancy Brothers' "Parting Glass." I had stumbled on that one myself a few years ago, leading me to believe I was some sort of master musicologist! >I also checked out and photocopied a few missing pages from one of my recent bag-day treasures - "A Treasury of Grand Opera" by Henry W. Simon (1946). It took 2 slips since the first one brought up was the 1965 second edition. That was my mistake, but it was interesting to note the differences. The later edition has an extra 100 pages devoted to 2 operas left out of the first edition - strictly for reasons of conserving paper for the war effort. >I also dug through a few more boxes of mandolin & piano music, uncovering a few items involving guitar here and there. >I also fired up some microfilm in the newspaper and periodical room, but just as I was getting up nerve to punch the print button (25 cents was at stake), an alarm (fire alarm? bomb threat?) sent us all outside. No matter - we were eventually allowed back in; I hit the button; and out came a copy of notices about Emory & Co.'s lottery, Mary Ann Parry's death at 46, and Christopher and Ann's wedding. >Oh yeah, I also called up 24 Witmark Collections of Male, Female and Mixed Quartettes, containing about 40 arrangements by WC. These include WFACG, WTRSF, TH, MD, TR, TSMMUTS, ALATWRO, and the ever-popular THH, among others. I didn't do any copying. I don't think I'm up-to-date on your vocal ensemble collection. Let me know how to proceed. Your suspicion that 10 volumes of Male Qtets preceded No. 11 was spot on. There were also Nos. 12 to 16 following it (where all the goodies are, except none in No. 16.) Not surprisingly, No. 11 itself was missing. (I'm guessing it's in Quanah, OK, right now?) >Sadly, a few other titles did not jump out of the title card catalog: "Mountains and Forrests" (is that the right number of r's?), "Hymn(s) Of/For The Sabbath" and "Songs Of America". Sounds like job for a motivated LC librarian (not a common breed.) I didn't get a chance to get up to the copyright office. >I've been on the go lately, culture-wise. The new performing arts center at the U. of Maryland is really something. When they were constructing it, I was thinking, what's the big deal? A building's a building. The old concert and recital halls were fine with me. But their idea was far bigger than just a building; they were shooting for one of the leading performing arts programs on the east coast, and they might have succeeded. Last Sunday I saw a really nice chamber ensemble program of Peter And The Wolf, and Leopold Mozart's Toy Symphony (with the daughter of a friend of mine who's in 2nd grade, plus the friend, herself.) On Tuesday was an honors chamber recital. On Wednesday was Le Nozze di Figaro. The opera theater has a turntable floor. My seat was in the center of the 3rd row. All in Italian, no surtitles, but I was in heaven! Saturday evening was a "reading" of a new opera called "Pope Joan" - "reading" in quotes because the performance was almost fully acted. However, the only stage props were white hankies draped from the music stands signifiying the scenes in heaven. Sunday afternoon was the world-renowned Salzburg Marionettes doing the Nutcracker. The schedule of events had said this was supposed to be highlights of Die Fledermaus *and* the Nutcracker. I was really disappointed when I saw in the program that it was the Nutcracker only. I had pulled out all my Fledermaus records and write-ups to prepare myself, of course. Before the show began, I went to the box office to let them know I was disappointed. They were completely sympathetic. The lady herself said it was "news to me" after she confirmed the peformance was, in fact, to be the Nutcracker only. So they gave me 2 complimentary tickets (70 bucks worth) to that evening's show - which was the *complete* Fledermaus. Even though by that point I was starting to run down a little, I gladly hauled myself back again. One of the tix went to waste, but that show wasn't a complete sellout anyway. My big disappointment was not being able to get the autograph of Gretl Aicher, the director of the Salzburg Marionettes. At one of my recent booksale bag days, I got a real neat, old book (Salzburg, 1956) about the Salzburg Marionettes. Gretl is the granddaughter of the man who created them in 1913. The book has a picture of her (late 20s?) with her family and father, who was the director when the book was published. >Keep in mind that each of these shows I've mentioned may have been scheduled at the same time as 2 or 3 other shows at the center! I think there are 5 main halls and theaters. To give you an idea of how eager and determined they are to make sure everybody's happy, listen to what happened to me and my friend Norm. A few weeks ago, we tried to make it to an open rehearsal of the Guarnieri string quartet, which we have done often over the years. But the traffic was horrendous because of one or two sporting events at the university. So we finally got there 20 minutes late, only to find that the rehearsal was over. They had rescheduled it for 2 hours earlier because of the games. Fair enough; nuttin' to get upset about. BUT... they had somebody there to apologize profusely, AND offer free tickets to the Guarnieri's real concert next year. All that for people who missed a free event! And not only that, they were happy to accommodate those, like Norm, who wouldn't be able to make it to the Guarnieri concert, on a Friday night. (Norm can only make it up from Virginia on Tuesdays.) So Norm got a Tuesday ticket to Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea - which coincidentally, I already had a ticket to. >I came across a sand dance mention in O. Henry's "The Defeat of the City": "He [Robert] turned handsprings on the grass that prodded [brother] Tom to envious sarcasm. And then, with a whoop, he clattered to the rear and brought back Uncle Ike, a battered colored retainer of the family, with his banjo, and strewed sand on the porch and danced "Chicken in the Bread Tray" and did buck-and-wing wonders for half an hour longer." >>>Also, I finally got myself started on writing a scathing letter to a local paper in an effort to destroy that insane MSPAP test I've talked about. >The local paper couldn't print my MSPAP rant for space reasons, which disappointed me. Anyhow, I put it up on the web at > http://www.geocities.com/donaldsauter/mspap.htm >It just occurred to me to ask, Sue, do you know anything about writing? If so, here's the deal: the next 2 dollars worth of LC photocopying is on me if you can make the same points with the same forcefulness in one third of the space (while NOT editing the "me" out of it.) Sound easy enough? Feel free to work in your Bill Gates joke, if it doesn't put us over the limit. (Just kidding, of course. Don't waste any of yer time on this.) >Right now I am back in email heck. I thought fer sure that I could trust my freenet again, but their disk filled up again just like that, and I can't see my mail for the time being. (So far they have been pretty good about not actually losing anything.) I might try turning off mail forwarding and just access mail from email.com, although that has driven me crazy in the past. Continue to use the email@example.com address. >Please don't write up your student strangulation stories just for my reading pleasure, but if and when you do, put me on the mailing list. >>especially doesn't matter that I consistently get great evaluations from my students, >I guess they don't even ask 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. I bumped into one of my former students in a store last month and he said all of the kids have been asking, "Where's Mr. Saw... saw... sawsta???" And he's not the sort who would just say something like that. I've left behind little friends at 3 schools now, boo hoo hoo. >>and somehow manage to have sufficient reserve energy... >I've noticed that. >>>You wouldn't believe how annoying and horrible the line breaks look in your emails on yahoo. >>Yours are no picnic here, either. Sometimes I see all of one word on a line . . . and the word is "a" at that! >Some of your lines are nuttin' but a space - so there! >>>About 40 of the books were kids' books for the daughter of a friend of mine who's in 2nd grade. >>A young friend to have a daughter. ;-) Here I thought Oklahoma was second only to Arkansas in young mothers, but maybe Maryland's got us whooped. >I assure you, it is absolutely impossible that I wrote that sentence! It was either sabotaged, or an internet data packet got out of order on the way to grbonline.com - I swear! (You gotta believe me!) >>>Most enjoyable for me is one called "New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra". >>Don't think I know the group. There's a New Leviathan Ragtime Orchestra that I know of from Nawl'ans, but on an LP, gosh, these folks may be rotting away in the swamps or bayous by now . . . or, perhaps, gator bait. >The album dates from 1971. In fact, the NORO violin player was only 66, the trumpeter only 60 and the drummer only 55. No reason they couldn't still be kicking... >>He [David Reffkin] now has a credit card... >I've actually been trying to get one lately. Of course, I can't, because I've never been in debt (which would seem to make me the best credit risk, no?) I've begged, but nobody wants to look at my last 20 years of utility bills paid on time. >>>A couple of the non-music books were Modern Library editions: "Great Modern Short Stories" (ca. 1940) and "The Best Short Stories Of O. Henry". I'm getting a kick out of the O. Henry - still chuckling over "From The Cabby's Seat". >>Not familiar with that one but will try to look it up soon. I can always use a good story, particularly as I prepare my internet reading course next semester. >Other faves: "Roads of Destiny", "A Retrieved Reformation", "The Renaissance At Charleroi", "The Duplicity of Hargraves" (the most guessable ending, but a wonderful story), and "A Blackjack Bargainer" (sad). >Real interesting about the "World's Fair" story with Annie McCune and the possible WC connection. Your discoveries still amaze me. Did you read the book simply because you had finished "Ragtime" and figured you had another 20 minutes to kill? >Great job on the Billee Taylor discovery! I've made a few neat little Beatles-related discoveries over the years. >>Gonna be a quiet Thanksgiving--just the three of us. >Our Thanksgiving was another very good one. Our tradition is for aunts, uncles, and cousins (and their kids) on my mom's side of the family to get together at our Aunt Louise's. They've got a sprawling basement. This year the crowd was 45, which is not as large as they come. Then members of my - meaning my folks' - family get together at my folks' house (where we grew up). That was a more intimate gathering of 18. Had a splendid time both places. >Speaking of Thanksgiving, O. Henry's "The Thanksgiving Day Gentleman" is another good one. Not action-packed, but thought- provoking - all about tradition. You'll never guess the ending. >Donald THEE: Thanks for the marriage item from the Sun, the copy of Trip to Rocky Point, the Washington Guitar Society newsletter. "Floating Ancillary Ants" sounds intriguing, and I'd love copies of these recordings, if possible someday! THEE: Falstaff Minuetto Just a quick note to let you know that I just got around to intabulating the above mentioned piece from the book you sent. In my opinion, a real little gem. Take care and keep playing. ME: I agree! It sounds very faithful to the original, too. THEE: Subject: Web Site Update - Thanks! Thanks for the email and the web site update - I saved the updated pieces of Carre tablature and will now print them off into a booklet. I've already transcribed a few of the suites for modern guitar, but it will be nice to have a look at the whole breadth of Carre's work. Again, thanks for all the work you've done making this tablature available. THEE: The Floating Ancillary Ants Hi, I saw your bit about the above-named piece in the latest Guitar Society newsletter. I'd be interested in getting a copy of it, if possible - probably all three parts, so my daughter and I could practice it together. THEE: floating ancillary ants Finally read the newsletter. I just hustle and get them out and read it later. One of my students and his son want to play in the orchestra on the 8th. I'll be there, too. I don't need a copy, but my students asked. My student plays good classical and his son is 6 but reads and plays beautifully through all six strings. Can you send a copy? ME: Like the article said, get me an address by email or phone and I'll send out parts. A 6-year-old would have to be *very* advanced to play the piece. How come you don't need a copy? THEE: Puzzle Stuff I was enjoying your brain twister page. Reading over how old Jane is, I think I disagree with your result and propose the following: The ages of Jane and Mary when added together make 44 years (j+m=44) (1 Now Jane is twice as old as Mary was when (j=2*m1) (2 Jane was half as old as Mary will be when (j1=m2/2) (3 Mary is three times as old as Jane was when (m2=3*j3) (4 Jane was three times as old as Mary. (j3=3*m) (5 How old, then, is Jane? solve for j Since we have more unknowns than equations, we have to note that Jane is always the same number of years older or younger than mary; j-m=j1-m1 (6 Now we 6 unknowns & 6 equations Here's my solution, that does not require any guessing: j+(j3/3)=44 from 5 j+m2/9=44 from 4 j+2/9*(j1)=44 from 3 j+2/9*(j-m+m1)=44 from 6 or j+2/9*(j-m+(j/2))=44 12/9*j-2*m=44 6*j-m=198 6*j-(44-j) = 198 from 1 7j=242 or j=34+4/7 ('thirty four & four-sevenths) Hence, j=34+4/7 m=9+3/7 j3=28+2/7 m2=84+6/7 j1=42+3/7 m1=17+2/7 so j=2*m1 (Great problem by the way!) And here's your answer: Jane is 27 1/2 years old and Mary is 16 1/2. Mary was 5 1/2 years old, Jane was 16 1/2. Now when Mary is three times that age she will be 49 1/2 years old. Half of this is 24 3/4, and when Jane was that age Mary was 13 3/4. Accordingly, Jane's age was twice this, or 27 1/2. J=27+1/2 M=16+1/2 J+M=44 yep J=2*M1 if M1=13+3/4 so J1=24+3/4 M2=49+1/2 so J3=16+1/2 but at that time, Jane is supposed to 3 times as old as Mary, isn't she? Do you agree or not? In any case, thanks for the entertainment. ME: Way back in January of 'aught-two you sent me your solution to a brain teaser on my website. I've had lots of email trouble for a long time, and I'm finally trying to catch up. To refresh your memory, you wrote: ... And here's your answer: Jane is 27 1/2 years old and Mary is 16 1/2. Mary was 5 1/2 years old, Jane was 16 1/2. Now when Mary is three times that age she will be 49 1/2 years old. Half of this is 24 3/4, and when Jane was that age Mary was 13 3/4. Accordingly, Jane's age was twice this, or 27 1/2. J=27+1/2 M=16+1/2 J+M=44 yep J=2*M1 if M1=13+3/4 so J1=24+3/4 M2=49+1/2 so J3=16+1/2 but at that time, Jane is supposed to 3 times as old as Mary, isn't she? Do you agree or not? In any case, thanks for the entertainment. I was very impressed with how clearly you laid the problem out. I could follow right along, and was ready to declare the puzzle book answer wrong and put your solution on my web page. But I thought I had better understand why the puzzle book answer was wrong when it had seemed to check out for me before. I was baffled until I realized you and the puzzle book interpreted the very end of the puzzle differently. You read it as "... when Jane was three times as old as Mary is [right now]." The puzzle book meant it to be understood as "... [at the point in time] when Jane was three times as old as Mary." Thus, you need to introduce a new variable, m3, in equation 5) 5. j3=3*m3 Now we need another equation, but we get that easily enough from their difference in age at that moment. 7. j-m=j3-m3 Eliminating variables, as you did, back to j yields j=27+1/2, the puzzle book answer. Whew! It's also interesting to note that, if one interprets the puzzle the way you did, the math works out, but some of the tenses in the statement of the puzzle are not consistent with the answer. The puzzle would have to be restated (changes in CAPITALS): The ages of Jane and Mary when added together make 44 years Now Jane is twice as old as Mary WILL BE when Jane WILL BE half as old as Mary will be when Mary is three times as old as Jane was when Jane was three times as old as Mary [is right now.] How old, then, is Jane? Thanks a million for showing me how to lay the problem out in simultaneous equations. You must have one crystal clear brain! I intend to add the solution to my web page, giving you full credit. I was also really glad to see that my own modified version of the puzzle worked out to the answer I supplied using your method. (Whew!) Also, I now feel confident that in both cases the answers are unique. I wasn't really 100% sure before. Thanks a million for all the time and effort you put into it! ME: joan of arc I looked up Joan of Arc in my encyclopedia again and confirmed my suspicion that she was not a big deal in 1818. I forgot to bring my jotted notes to school, but she was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920 or so. She became a symbol of French unification in the 1800s, what with all the upheaval they were having. THEE: Subject: piano-guitar I'm from Quebec, Canada and I'm studying at music departement of Le College de Sherbrooke and I would like to start a classical guitar-piano duet. The problem is to find something to play. We already had a little book but I was searching for compositers repertory. I don't know if you would like to email me some of the parts you said you had but don't want to put it on the site. That would be so helpful. I hope you'll accept this demand and I thank you right now. Thank you p.s. maybe you can find that english is my second language. ME: I was hoping to get people interested in guitar and piano music and make a little business of selling the pieces I've gotten from the Library of Congress. That never happened, but if you're willing to pay $.50 US per page of music, I'd be glad to make copies for you. I hope that doesn't sound expensive - it just about covers the effort involved. Just go to my web page, add up the total pages of *music*, multiply by $.50 and send your order to me. THEE: collecting monopoly rent I just read your "thoughts on Monopoly." Very interesting and a couple of good rule changes. This part, however, made me want to write: [It's been pointed out to me a couple of times that the rules now say, "The owner may not collect his rent if he fails to ask for it before the second player following throws the dice." This is what the 1973 rule-sheet says. Am I crazy, or has the rule been changed? No one played like that when I was a kid. The rule- sheet I found for an older British Monopoly game clearly states that the landlord has only until the next player rolls. In any case, the new rule is only a slight improvement, is not elegant, and is still not realistic.] The original 1933 rules state: "LANDING ON OWNED PROPERTY the owner collects his rent in accordance to the list printed on the TITLE CARD. If the property is MORTGAGED no rent can be collected. If the owner fails to ask for his rent before the dice change hands twice, the debt is uncollectable." (See http://www.adena.com/adena/mo/mo26.htm) It has been that way since the beginning. Cheers! ME: collecting monopoly rent After all these years, you're the first to answer my question. Thanks a million! I must say, though, that I am dumbfounded. I can't imagine I would have missed that, even as a youngster. I'll eventually work your reply into my page. Thanks again. THEE: collecting rent After doing even more reading on the internet I found out that in the games that came before Monopoly (The Landlord's Game and Finance) the person who rent was owed to had even longer to realize that someone was on their property. According to these rules the landlord had until the renter left the space on his next turn to collect. That rule has a sense of rough justice to it. It only makes sense that one would be able to collect rent as long as that person was still on the property. THEE: Re: rare piece? Yes, i finally found it but only the midi file, on http://www.midisource.net/download2.html so i'll just have to listen to it and learn it that way. thank you and have a great playing! firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: >Hi Ilia, >The title Corranda is not at all familiar. Do you remember how it started, or any extract from the tune? >Donald Sauter THEE: "Ants" Yesterday I received from Richard Long a photo copy of the main page of the WGS newsletter(Jan-Feb) about the guitar orchestra doing my composition "The Floating Ancilliary Ants". What a pleasant surprise! There have been quite a few performances of it but I think this is the first time (I'm aware of) the program notes about the flooding water,etc., have been included in a newsletter...cool! It really happens...I took a picture of this big floating mass of ants in a cow pasture that had been flooded...the next day they were still there just as alive as can be! I witnessed this more than once. When Steve Robinson of Stetson U. commissioned me to write a work for guitar orchestra in 1992 this image just popped into my mind and the rest is history. I hope you enjoyed doing it. How did you find out about it? How did it go? Was it recorded? I have solo works published with Richard(Tuscany/Presser) as well if you're interested. I look forward to hearing back from you and tell me about yourself and the WGS. Thanks! Rex Willis PS: I'd get a kick out of getting a full copy of the original newsletter if you have an extra... THEE: request Been on your site, Like it very much I would just like you to post me the On the beautiful blue danube waltzes by Hayden/Strauss, tabs or solphage as soon as possible Would appreciate if it could it as soon as possible Thank you very much THEE: mp3 vs wav Mike (my friend who converted the DAT to MP3) confirmed it, and indeed he elaborated: MP3 files are generally a meg. a minute, and this was a 6 meg. file, and it was about approx 5 minutes of playing time, more or less. Wave files are approx. 10 times larger than mp3 files - it would have been about a 50-60 meg file if it had been a wave file. Just a FYI. ME: PG school board selection Dear Mr. South, Doreen Riggin from the Governor's office forwarded my offer to serve on the prince George's County School Board to you, and suggested I get in touch with you if I had any questions. I just wanted to confirm that my communication was received by the State Board of Education. No doubt I am a completely "unknown quantity" to you, but I would hope that the promise of following the will of the people of Prince George's County in every matter sounds highly attractive. I've seen people expressing concern in the local paper about a non-elected school board which does not answer to the public. What I am offering is an even greater degree of responsiveness to public will than the ordinary election of representatives provides. Please get in touch for any reason. My favored email service, the Detroit freenet, is currently out of commission - for how long, I don't know. (I am now using an unfamiliar email editor at the local library, so please excuse any strange formatting.) ME: PG County school board I sent Governor Glendening a letter expressing my interest in working on the Prince George's County school board. You very kindly and helpfully forwarded it to the Maryland State Board of Education before the closing time for applications. At your suggestion, I emailed Tony South to make sure my application had been received and was under consideration. I still haven't heard anything from the State Board, which concerns me. I am sure that my promise of being a voice for the people in every matter would alleviate much of the concern citizens have over being disenfranchised. To be honest, I'm afraid that the anti-MSPAP sentiments which I expressed in my original letter may be resented by the State Board. I worry that they might have caused my application to be dismissed out-of-hand. I understand the Governor's role in the process is to select from a list put forth by the State Board, but any help or suggestion of what I can do to ensure fair consideration for the final list would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again. For your convenience, here is a copy of the original letter: Gov. Parris N. Glendening State House Annapolis, MD 21401 Dear Gov. Glendening, I read your commentary, "Rising to the challenge for our children's future," in the Gazette newspaper. Please allow me to recommend myself for a position on the Prince George's County school board. Here are some of my qualifications. - I have been a resident of Prince George''s County for over 20 years. - Over the last 5 years I have worked in eelementary schools in the Lanham area as a volunteer; as a one-on-one for special needs students; and as a coach working with students, two at a time, in preparation for the MSPAP test. - I know a lot about what it takes to be aa good student. I was a top student throughout my 12 years of public schooling in Baltimore County. At the same time, I know full well that academic achievement is not the only measure of a person's worth. - I would offer a voice of "common sense" on the school board. By that, I mean that I would examine every proposal from the perspective of, "Will this serve to strengthen the skills and increase the knowledge of the students?" - I believe public servants should be publlic servants. I have very definite thoughts on the direction public education should take, but would never try to force something through over the will of the people. In fact, in issues where there is any doubt, my action as a school board member would be based on a poll of county residents. Regarding my MSPAP coaching mentioned above: I worked with third-graders at Seabrook Elementary School two-at-a-time for three months leading up to the 2001 MSPAP. The performance of the third-graders improved enough to raise the composite score for the school by a modest amount, in spite of a decline by the fifth-graders. Obviously, I can't claim credit for the improved score, since it was a different bunch of students taking a different test, but at least no one can argue the opposite - that my methods don't work - as one might argue if the test scores had declined. Again, about the MSPAP: Few people, if any, worked as hard as myself to have the test eliminated. My objections to the test were many; you can find them detailed on the Maryland Sailor system web site by going to: http://www.sailor.lib.md.us/free/space.html That essay was written long before the release of the scores this year and the flurry of attention surrounding the event. I submit those thoughts as evidence of a very healthy perception of educational issues - indisputably ahead of the state board itself, as it turns out. Although Maryland education officials are obliged to put a positive spin on the dropping of the MSPAP, it should be obvious to anyone that if it were a good and valuable test, it would not be dropped. My disdain for the MSPAP test and my joy of preparing students for it do not represent an inconsistency. How that can be, I leave as an exercise for the reader. ME: Subject: thornton commission If at all possible, please don't capitalize tv - I despise "TV". If tv won't fly, please substitute "television". (Assuming you can use the letter, of course.) Dear Gazette, In your article "Glendening signs school board restructuring bill, 130 others" (May 9 2002), you discussed the 34-cents-a-pack cigarette tax hike which will be used to fund the $1.3 billion per year increase in state education spending. This is all well and good, since I don't have a tobacco habit to support, but there is one small remaining problem - namely, a $1.2 billion per year shortfall. Not to worry, I have the solution for that - a $1000 per year tax on every tv set you own. Who could gripe about that? It works out to less than $3 a day for your television fix. Admittedly, this might strain some budgets, but if the tv collection has to be downsized in some households, well, there would be that much more time for homework! I haven't worked out the numbers precisely, but if there is any money left over, it can be put toward all-day pre-K, all-day pre- pre-K, all-day nursery, all-day advanced post-natal, all-day early post-natal, and all-day pre-natal, while money supplies last. ME: guitar orch, wgs newsletter submission [I'd like to make a big deal out of this. In fact, I'd like to see it appear as the the page 1 headline for the newsletter. If a recording on the web doesn't stir up interest for future orchestra sessions, then I give up. I'm not attached to the article, so beef it up if you're inclined. In particular, if you wanted listen to the recording and add some glowing review comments, that'd be great. In the name Levesque (it appears in 2 articles), put a ' right over the first e.] WGS Orchestra Plays for the Whole Wide World! In our April meeting, WGS members and friends had a great time rehearsing, playing and recording "Tango Estampie" by Luc Levesque. Now that the WGS has a website, the recording has been put up on the web in MP3 format. It sounds pretty darn good - you shoulda been part of it! Read about our session elsewhere in the newsletter. We apologize for not taking down full names of all 10 players, but here's a list of the WGS guitars "heard 'round the world!" THE JULY WGS PROGRAM Our Guitar Orchestra Keeps Rolling! Haul yourself and your guitar to the Friday, July 19, meeting for another fun guitar orchestra session. It will start promptly at 7:30 pm at the Chevy Chase Community Center. (See the Calendar of Events for directions.) This time we will play four pieces by Michael Praetorius from his "Terpsichore" of 1612. These pieces were arranged for guitar ensemble by Gilbert Biberian. You probably already know how fresh and lively Praetorius' music is. If not, join in and find out! All of the pieces are in five parts, and the parts themselves are all single-line. The good thing about playing single notes in an ensemble is that you can shape them up and punch them out in a way that just isn't possible in a multi-voiced part. For example, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to play a melody and bass line simultaneously with rest strokes. All of the parts can be considered "easy". Only Guitar 1 gets near or above the 12th fret. The relative simplicity of the parts makes it possible to fly - L.A. Guitar Quartet, look out! If you think you need a part in advance, I will mail it to you. See the contact information at the bottom; telephone much preferred over email. If you get my answering machine, or in your email, please tell me 3 things: your name; your complete mailing address; and whether you want a "high", "middle" or "low" part. Simple as that. But getting a part in advance is never a requirement - and even less necessary for these Praetorius pieces - so come on down in any case. As always,, we welcome everyone, whether or not a WGS member. As this newsletter goes to press, we don't know who will direct the guitar orchestra. We certainly don't want to burden the same people all the time. How about it, area teachers and performers? Here's a chance to join the fun and promote yourself at the same time. Give our president a call. We'll record our performance as usual, and I promise we'll do a better job crediting the participants this time! Tango Revisited As trumpeted on page 1, our guitar orchestra played and recorded "Tango Estampie" by Luq Levesque at the April meeting. Almost everybody reading this missed a chance to be part of something that was not only a lot of fun, but much farther reaching and longer lasting than the event itself. A very special thanks goes to Phyllis Fleming, D.C. area violinist (and tour guide extraordinaire) for directing the orchestra. You're going to have to find a better writer than me to describe what a great job Phyllis did pulling us together, and how enjoyable she made it for us all. The recording you hear on the web represents only about our third play-through of the Tango, if I remember rightly. Keep in mind that the orchestra consisted of players of all levels of ability - no more than two or three of whom had seen or played their part before (we'll get back to that.) Tuning a bunch of guitars always seems to be a problem, but Phyllis came up with an effective and efficient method. The first step is for everybody to tune up as well as possible to some standard note. Then, a "concert-master" with trustworthy tuning gets the ball rolling by playing his open high E string. Then, going up and down the rows of the orchestra, everyone plays the same open string in rapid succession - ping, ping, ping, ping! When an out-of-tune note is heard, any keen-eared soul calls out "sharp!" or "flat!", and the process is halted for a moment while the note is fixed. The process continues until all the open string notes are right on. It goes quick. Rehearsing and playing the Tango was, for me, as fun as the guitar gets. Still, there were some disappointments. The crowd was smaller than for our previous guitar orcestra. For "The Floating Ancillary Ants" in April we had 15 players; this time we had 10. Figuring everybody had had a great time then, I was hoping to see that group, plus more. Actually, I can't understand why we don't get numbers in the hundreds - not that we could accommodate that many, but if even a tiny percentage of the area's thousands of guitarists thought it was a fun thing to play with, and for, fellow guitarists, WGS orchestra sessions and members' recitals would burst at the seams. Teachers, this is a fantastic opportunity for your students. I had distributed parts of the Tango in advance to more than 20 guitarists, about 5 of whom showed up. No doubt obligations arise that are more important than a guitar society get-together, but a better reliability rate would minimize people having to switch to a different part at the session. We could do a better job getting ourselves set up. It wasn't until 8:00 or so that everybody had finally settled into his spot in the orchestra. There were definite forces working against getting going - party types bent on socializing first - but I won't name names. If this was making me a little "uptight", you can understand I was having a flashback to the previous, "Ants" session, where we had also frittered away the first half hour - and got kicked out just as we were starting to pull the piece together. I could imagine - and would like to see - a hundred guitarists arriving and setting up within a few minutes. By the way, begging people who show up to pull out their guitars and join in is getting a bit wearysome. It was unfortunate that the community center was somehow not expecting us that evening. I am very grateful that they wrestled a room away from a couple of ping-pongers for our sake, but still, it would be nice to have a meeting place where we can relax and have a good time, and not always feel like we're imposing and on the point of getting thrown out. Does anyone who digs guitar and enjoys entertaining have a ranch-style home with a large basement? All in all, though, the pluses beat the minuses by a country mile. THEE: Subject: Hidden Ball Trick What is the official ruling on the hidden ball trick? How close can the pitcher get to the rubber without the ball? I thought that the pitcher can not step on the MOUND without the ball, not just the rubber.
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