December 31, 2013

They Say this Won't Happen with Guitars, but...

Boujemaa Razgui, a flute virtuoso who lives in New York and works with many US ensembles, was returning to base over the holiday when Customs officials at Kennedy Airport asked to see his instruments.

Bourjemaa carries a variety of flutes of varying ethnicity, each made by himself over years for specific types of ancient and modern performance. He is a regular guest with the diverse and enterprising Boston Camerata.

At JFK, the officials removed and smashed each and every one of his instruments. No reason was given.
We have been unable to reach the distressed Boujemaa but a swell of outrage is rising among his musician friends.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 10:54 PM

How We Got Here

Fascinating post by Scott Greenfield on the cavalier origins of the Supreme Court decision that ultimately authorized the NSA's invasion of your privacy 30+ years later.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:44 PM

December 30, 2013



Originally I had a link here to Jason Ingrodi's Guitar Shop's photo album of pics of this guitar, but I can't seem to make the link work. Super weird how certain links will work on other platforms like tumblr but not here. But as I've said before, this blog is haunted.

If you want to see the other pictures, go here via the copy/paste express:

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:04 PM

The NSA has deprived us of the luxury of easy satirization of the paranoid.

Andromeda’s father suspected the government of spying on American citizens by implanting surveillance devices in electronic products. All the manufacturers and the governments and the corporations that control them were in on it. He had several boxes of extracted circuit boards and other electronic parts, collected over a lifetime, carefully dated and labeled, evidence for the book he claimed he was planning to write on Surveillance and the State; accordingly, the carport in the back was filled with appliances that no longer worked, alongside all the recording and music equipment he collected from yard sales and pawnshops and never seemed to use for anything.
--Andromeda Klein, p. 63

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:13 PM

Ducks Deluxe

So I watched that duck show, which I'd never heard of before the ginned-up controversy, for the first time last night. I don't know why I expected any different but I found it utterly boring. In fact, I felt baited and switched, like I'd clicked on one of those Upworthy links only to find that the third sentence said by whoever about whatever did not actually blow my mind or make me weep. That all ya got, A&E, a bunch of bearded guys moving furniture and eating dinner? I guess that's a sign of the times, but as with Upworthy, it's only going to work the one time. Let me know when you've got something more offensive than the Big Bang Theory rerun and I'll try again

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:06 PM



Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:00 AM

December 17, 2013

A Trap for the Absent-minded


This has "caught" me on more than one occasion.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:39 PM

This Is No Dream, This Is Really Happening

Just got to see a few typeset pages from King Dork Approximately. Seems so much more real now.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:30 AM

December 15, 2013

Enemies for Life

Megan McArdle explains why she tries not to write bad reviews these days. I can see both points of view in the “snark vs. smarm” argument, but she’s right that mean-spirited reviews, fun as they may be to write, don’t make friends. And when you’re a writer, you need friends. That may be an unfortunate state of affairs from a certain point of view, but it is the state of affairs.

Nicholas von Hoffman reportedly once said he stopped writing book reviews because "it's not worth $250 to make an enemy for life," and it's quite true that no writer ever forgets a mean review, not ever, no matter how obscure the reviewer or venue, and even if -- especially if? -- the criticisms are well-founded. And in these days of google alerts, there's not even the faintest possibility that they won't see it.

I think there's a general perception that a writer should be a good sport about it, and that's probably true, and it's certainly a smart idea for writers to behave as though they are good sports. But they never are. Not ever. (Oh, and also, if you're an aspiring writer yourself and you've trashed someone's book on the internet, you should probably not subsequently email him asking for a blurb or to read your manuscript, or to help you find an agent or whatever.)

(via Instapundit.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:13 PM

Have I Got a Present for You

I played this song (whose actual title is "Have I Got a Present for You") at a solo show around Christmas time last year and my impression was that not one of those in attendance realized it was a cover.


Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:14 PM

December 14, 2013

The Words We Use for the Stuff We Do

I noted this case a ways back (here and here) and now the decision is in, the court reaching, as far as I can tell, the conclusion that always seemed the obvious one to me:

Adultery, including adulterous cohabitation, is not prosecuted. Religious cohabitation, however, is subject to prosecution at the limitless discretion of local and State prosecutors, despite a general policy not to prosecute religiously motivated polygamy. The court finds no rational basis to distinguish between the two, not least with regard to the State interest in protecting the institution of marriage.
Essentially the statute was being applied in such a way as to punish people for their vocabulary when they chose to refer amongst themselves to cohabiting females as “wives” rather than some other term like “lovers” or “girlfriends” or, I don’t know, “concubines,” etc. But of course you can’t criminalize the words people have in their heads and say to each other while they engage in perfectly legal conduct. It’s a spectacularly nutty notion.

Ann Althouse:

Call it a marriage or call it a sandwich. Imagine that God blesses your relationship or imagine that your kitty cats brought you together. It's no proper concern of the government's.
If you’re ideologically mad enough at Mormons and other traditional religionists of that sort to think it’s a good idea to crack down on them anyway — and I know people who think this — imagine the state doing the same to “poly” households, “leather families,” “friends with benefits,” et al. It’s no different. People can call anything a marriage if they like. There’s this lady who “married” the Eiffel Tower, I’ve heard. I've even been known to refer to girlfriends as “honey” even though they're not, so far as I have been able to determine, actually made of bee vomit. Sue me. No, don't.

ADDED: Orin Kerr read the actual opinion and says its reasoning is screwy; David Kopel disagrees, mostly. The bit quoted above seems clear enough to me, but there are evidently abstruse issues in the background, owing to the complex (and I'm sure fascinating) history of the suppression of polygamy in Utah and the legal storms kicked up along the way. I'm surprised that so many of the lawyers and lawyer-ish types over at Volokh's place believe that bigamy, per se, can result from imaginary as well as legal second marriages. I'm sure they know what they're talking about, and it won't be the first time that lawyerly opinion flies in the face of common sense (as determined by me, obviously.)

The notion that pretending to do something is as much a crime as actually doing it still seems profoundly loopy to me, particularly when you restrict your prosecution of the imaginary crime to a single minority. Everyone else gets to play house as much as they want. Why shouldn't they?

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:56 PM

Ruling Wombles Cover

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:32 AM

December 13, 2013

Santa Claus is a Black Man


Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:08 PM

December 10, 2013

Misty Water-Colored Memories


A blast-from-the-past type thing posted by Patrick who writes:

"I was 10-years old in 1988, so I missed the tour, but I picked this poster up at the Homewood Record Swap in the south suburbs of Chicago sometime in the late 90’s. You graciously signed it for me in 2010. Great poster. Take care, Frank."

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:25 PM

December 09, 2013



Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:10 PM

New Vocabulary Word

"wombmyn". Discuss. Except you can't here because the comments are broken. So, here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:58 PM

December 07, 2013

Know Your Rights, so You Can Better Appreciate the Delicate, Whimpering Sounds They Make as They're Being Trampled

The story of the guy who claims police threatened to shoot his dog if he didn’t allow them to search his house without a warrant has been making the rounds, and Volokh has a post on it today.

So, is it or is it not illegal to threaten a citizen with violence in order to coerce him into giving up his constitutional rights "voluntarily"? Seems obvious that it should be illegal, but there seems to be disagreement among the lawyers cited here as to whether it actually is. If it's legal to do that, then the Bill of Rights is effectively optional, seems to me, and that can't be right, can it? Or can it? How can something be simultaneously unconstitutional and legal?

(via Instapundit.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:59 PM

December 06, 2013



Photographer Julie Pavlowski Green posted this on facebook, from the Revenge is Sweet photo shoot. I still have that hand.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:19 PM

December 05, 2013

Great Moments in Law Enforcement

Police shoot at, and miss, unarmed man, who is then charged with "assaulting" the bystanders hit by their stray bullets.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:36 PM

December 03, 2013

San Francisco Urban

From the notes to a US “dialect map” that is making the rounds, on “San Francisco Urban”:

Unlike the rest of California, which in the early twentieth century saw an influx of people from the South and other parts of the West, San Francisco continued to be settled by people from the Northeast and Northern Midwest, and elements of their dialects (North Midland, Upper Midwestern, Inland Northern) can be found. The Mission dialect, spoken by Irish Catholics in a specific part of the city, is very much like the New York City dialect.
My dad grew up in the Irish Catholic Mission, and I noticed a bit of this in his speech and that of his family when I was a kid, but it was mostly in the pronunciation of certain words. And now that I’m trying to list them I realize it was mostly the same sound, the one in “bought” “thought” “dog” “Santa Claus,” etc. Beyond that, I never heard anyone whose overall speech could be mistaken for “New York City dialect.” And it certainly cannot be the case nowadays.

Probably, though, like Wagner’s music, there’s more to a dialect than how it sounds, like vocabulary, turns of phrase, cadence, intonation, that kind of thing. I’d like to know more about these more abstruse similarities, because it’s pretty interesting.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:59 PM

I Dwell in the Tents of Past Humo(u)rists

Penguin Teen asked for "funniest book ever read” on the facebook thing. I answered but realized in writing my list that for the most part everything I like enough to remember is from long, long ago. (I guess I'd include Nick Hornby on the basis of How to Be Good, now that I think of it.) Outside of Mil Millington and Sedaris, who's funny now?

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:31 AM

December 02, 2013

Parody or Self-Parody or Both

The New Statesman comes out against “Movember,” one of those things where people grow mustaches to raise awareness of something or other. Turns out it’s racist.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:47 PM