Thursday, November 19, 2015

Very, very Slow News Day

Despite the very many things going on right now, here in Canada and around the world, the Toronto Star managed to make one of today's top stories the fact that the Department of National Defense is buying a bassoon.

Could this be the stupidest non-story ever to grace the Star's pages?  Maybe not, but the "reporter", Oliver Sachgau, perhaps trying to obscure the fact that he comes from the land of classical music, manages to open the story with the following:

How much would you pay for a bassoon?

Probably nothing, seeing as you can just buy a fog horn for cheaper, and get more use out of it.

A-Hyuk!  I can just imagine young Oliver, sitting in the Star bullpen thinking "This is it, this is my chance to really make a difference.  We've all heard those stories about expensive screwdrivers - who would pay good TAXPAYER (cue angels) money on a musical instrument for a military band? I'm really going to have to pull out the stops on this one.   Think Oliver, think  -what does a bassoon sound like - a foghorn! And a foghorn is more useful than a bassoon!  This story is going to bring down the entire military musical industrial complex!  I'll be a hero!"

This, my friends, is journalism in the digital age - a mere 5 minutes of research would have revealed to him that actually, a professional bassoons could cost this much money. 

Moreover, why shouldn't a military band have a good instrument to play?  When I was in high school, I was lucky to receive a brand-new professional Yamaha tuba to play on.  The instrument cost $7,000 20 years ago.  Go on, Oliver, go write a sanctimonious hit piece about how the TDSB is wasting money on musical instruments for students.  Hey, you should really look into this - I bet they buy music for the bands too, new music at full price!  What an outrage!

I guess that's why I'm bothering to right about this - this is sanctimonious garbage reporting on the part of the Toronto Star, where they take something that's probably, on balance, in the public good, but turn it into a criticism of government spending.  The underlying message is: the government is wasting your hard-earned money on these things when they should be giving money to "better" causes. 

Here's a novel piece of information  - governments do a lot more then issue you a driver's license every 5 years.  I thought the Star knew this, but playing the arts for laughs doesn't really sit well with me, and they should be ashamed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Relieved but disappointed

That's how I feel today.  About what you may ask?  That's for you to figure out!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jon Vickers

has died.

I know I never write on this stupid blog anymore, but man, I really felt this.  He was 88, so it's not as though there was some tragedy to this, but he was probably one of the most distinct and emotionally powerful opera singers ever, and the fact that he is no longer around is really sad.

Something I spent listening to last year, over and over, was his singing of "So starben wir, um ungetrennt" from Act II of Tristan und Isolde.  So amazing, and really, it's the part of the opera that you need to hear before the Liebestod to really punch you in the gut, because Isolde is there, alone, singing what she and Tristan had been singing together.  I would encourage you to seek it out, to hear that voice of his.