Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day (Observed)

Some music this year:



"The War Was In Color"


I see you've found a box of my things -
Infantries, tanks and smoldering airplane wings.
These old pictures are cool. Tell me some stories
Was it like the old war movies?
Sit down son. Let me fill you in

Where to begin? Let's start with the end
This black and white photo don't capture the skin
From the flash of a gun to a soldier who's done
Trust me grandson
The war was in color

From shipyard to sea, From factory to sky
From rivet to rifle, from boot camp to battle cry
I wore the mask up high on a daylight run
That held my face in its clammy hand
Crawled over coconut logs and corpses in the coral sand

Where to begin? Let's start with the end
This black and white photo don't capture the skin
From the shock of a shell or the memory of smell
If red is for Hell
The war was in color

I held the canvas bag over the railing
The dead released, with the ship still sailing,
Out of our hands and into the swallowing sea
I felt the crossfire stitching up soldiers
Into a blanket of dead, and as the night grows colder
In a window back home, a Blue Star is traded for Gold.

Where to begin? Let's start with the end
This black and white photo don't capture the skin
When metal is churned. And bodies are burned
Victory earned
The War was in color

Now I lay in my grave at age 21
Long before you were born
Before I bore a son
What good did it do?
Well hopefully for you
A world without war
A life full of color

Where to begin? Let's start with the end
This black and white photo never captured my skin
Once it was torn from an enemy thorn
Straight through the core
The war was in color





Writer(s): Terrell H. Clark, Carter Gravatt, Scott Andrew Milstead, Barry Thomas Privett
Copyright: Constant Ivy Music LLC

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Week(s) in Entertainment

The last two weeks have been really, really busy at work, and I've come home not wanting to do anything even the tiniest bit creative. Taking a deep breath this week before a two-week business trip to Anchorage, then another very busy two weeks and then vacation! Yay! Anyway, here's the last couple of weeks:

Live: Last weekend, Dirty Dancing the Musical at the Hippodrome, which was a blast. This weekend up to New York to see On The Twentieth Century with Kristin Chenoweth, who I am unreasonably fond of. It was a terrific show, pure Broadway. See it if you can get up there!

TV: And I realized I'd sort of mixed Dirty Dancing and Flashdance up in my mind, and never actually seen the movie, so I hunted it up on On Demand. It was good.

Read: Finished Traitor to His Class - loved this quote: "Stalin's promise of free elections in Poland might prove hard to enforce; Roosevelt was enough of a Democrat to know the means by which his own party prevented free elections in the American South, and he assumed that Stalin was at least as clever as that... And the mere promise ... was more than Churchill was offering India."Also got several preorders delivered so I devoured Dry Bones, a Longmire novel; Six and a Half Deadly Sins, the latest of the Dr. Siri novels (set in Laos in the 1970s ... how did I manage to miss the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979????), which was quite good and really had me worried about the survival of several characters; Rock With Wings, the latest of the continuation of the Leaphorn/Chee/Manuelito novels by Tony Hillerman's daughter Ann (she's the one who brought Bernadette Manuelito front stage, and I'm glad of it). Also a few short stories in the "Iron Druid" series.

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4 Comments:

At 11:04 PM, May 26, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Did you ever see Chenoweth in the semi-stage production of "Candide" on PBS? Phenomenal!

Will you be able to see Russia from your hotel? ;-)

 
At 6:18 PM, May 28, 2015 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

This is great. I didn't know Tony Hillerman's daughter was continuing his stories. That's good news, because I was worried about what happened to the characters. Now I'm going to look them up.

 
At 10:45 PM, May 28, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Saw a commercial on CBS for the Tony Awards: this year's co-hosts will be Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. Should be brilliant, don't you think?

 
At 11:17 PM, May 28, 2015 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Omg yes. I saw him in Cabaret just before it closed; he was magnificent. And I was glad I hadn't booked tickets to her show on Tony night!!

 

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Week in Entertainment

Busy, busy week. Kind of spent the weekend with TV on while I did some prep for class.

TV: Grimm's next to last episode for the season. They didn't kill Sean, but they did do some terrible things. Next week's ep should be tremendous. Serenity, which I love even though they killed Wash. A marathon of Columbo, which included the first one I ever say (Ray Milland helping Bradford Dillman fake his own kidnapping and then killing him). The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - the new one with Martin Freeman, which I hadn't seen before; it was fine. The Court Jester (with Danny Kaye), which is great fun.

Read: More of Traitor to His Class. Up to his election as president.

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Friday, May 08, 2015

Nice job, Bing. I'd give you a B+

Oh, Bing. Sooooo close.
ПП: Сьогодні український народ та Збройні сили єдині як ніколи.
Ми переможемо, бо добро завжди перемагає зло!

Bing:
PM: today the Ukrainian people and the armed forces are United as never before.
We'll win, because good always overcomes evil!

Google:
PP: Today Ukrainian people and the armed forces are united as never before.
We will win, because good always triumphs over evil
Google is almost completely correct. I'm not at all sure why Bing translated Poroshenko's initials as PM; surely it wasn't recognizing that it was the Prime Minister? I mean, if it's that smart, why did it capitalize United? Also, in a solemn speech such as this, I don't like "We'll win".

But Bing gets something right that Google missed: it's not "Ukrainian people", it's (as Google has it) "the Ukrainian people". Народ (narod) isn't the plural of person, it's the collective, political-or-ethnic group. The people, the nation.

But otherwise, nice job, Bing.

ps: Note Poroshenko's profile picture: a stylized black-and-red poppy, used in Ukraine for VE Day for the first time, since the old George Ribbon is irredeemably tainted by its association with Russian aggression and separatism.

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At 11:26 PM, May 11, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

If programs are inconsistent in their ability to produce accurate translations, they're not worth much (and that's being charitable).

 

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Pronouns... why the trouble?

"У цьому році я мріяв відсвяткувати 9 травня зі своїм внуком лейтенантом Національної гвардії, але він загинув у бою при захисті своєї Батьківщини", - каже 97-річний ветеран.


Bing translated this as: "This year, I wanted to celebrate may 9 with his grandson, Lieutenant of the National Guard, but he died in battle while defending their homeland," says a 97-year-old veteran. 

 And Google was virtually identical: "This year I wanted to celebrate 9 May with his grandson Lieutenant of the National Guard, but he was killed in battle in defense of their homeland," - says 97-year veteran.
 
Why do they both just completely miss how to translate свій? WHY? Its very definition is "one's own" - it always goes to the subject of the clause it's in. It cannot be "his" or "their" if the subject is "I' and "he".It exists to eliminate the ambiguity of "John gave Bob his book". Its entire purpose is totally subverted by both these programs. WHY?
 
MY grandson. HIS homeland.  
 
So very simple. ... So apparently impossible to derive an algorithm for.
 
(There are other issues here, like Google's odd punctuation and  the fact that neither one translated мріяв as "dreamed", but let it go, let it go...)

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At 11:25 PM, May 11, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Google Translate often exhibits similar pronoun problems rendering Portuguese into English. This makes me wonder if there's a wider problem with either translating algorithms or the general nature of languages and their contexts.

 

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

The Week in Entertainment

Live: Un Ballo en Maschera, the last opera of my season. Dmitry Hvorostovsky and Sonja
Radvanovsky, with Ricardo Tamura standing in for the ill Piotr Beczała as the king. An excellent cast in a very iffy production (stark and at the same time over the top - yes, yes, the king is Icarus, we get it. We don't need to see the painting in every scene).

TV: Caught up on Grimm, of which there were quite a few stacked up on the DVR and which is building to a heckuva climax, that's for sure. (If they kill off Sean Renard I shall be pissed off.) (Also, note to production staff: If you end an episode with Nick being forced to shoot Monroe, saying desperately "I can't stop it!", and then go to black and the sound of a gunshot... don't show Monroe hale and healthy in the promos for next week.)

Read: The Forgotten by Bishop O'Connell, a sequel to The Stolen, in his American Faerie series. I like it much better than the first one, which was enjoyable enough. Mitigating Jeopardy, a collection of short stories first published in the 1950s, which was not to my taste though YYMDV; just a kind of humor I don't care for. Also began Traitor to His Class, H.W. Brand's new biography of FDR.

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At 10:43 PM, May 04, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

When you said you'd read a book called "Mitigating Jeopardy," you can guess my initial assumption -- until I saw the date the stories were written. Oh well... ;-)

 
At 6:19 AM, May 05, 2015 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Ha ha that didn't even occur to me!

 

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A few thoughts

For what they're worth...

First, I am sick to death of people saying violence doesn't solve anything. Of course it does. We might not like the solution or the manner of arriving at it, but it does. American Revolution, anyone? Russian Revolution, Spanish Civil War, Viet Nam, Boston Tea Party? For crying out loud, what a stupid thing to say.

And related to that, if the only violence you condemn is the rioters, you support the murders by police officers.

Secondly, following from that, I am amazed at the number of people who qualify their condemnation of the riots by saying that "of course police who break the law will be punished" (sometimes "should"). In what reality? The Wall Street Journal (how's that for sourcing?) says that there were at least 2718 "justifiable homicides" (defined, oxymoronically, as killings that no cop was indicted for) and 41 officers actually charged (they don't say how many were convicted) between 2004 and 2011. In Maryland alone 109 people have been killed in the past four years, more than 30 in Baltimore. (That's "at least" because police forces aren't actually required to keep track and report those killings.) So most cops who kill aren't punished. The overwhelming majority aren't even indicted. Mostly they're barely even investigated, just getting a few days of paid leave suspension.

Thirdly, I'm sickened by the number of people who think that a criminal record - particularly one held by a black man in a deeply poverty-stricken neighborhood - is grounds for execution. Apparently, for some folks, a 12-year-old boy brings on his own death by not obeying a cop fast enough. Running away from cops because you're terrified of a notorious "rough ride" is not grounds for death. (By the way, harking back a paragraph, Baltimore's police chief claims he never heard of "rough rides", aka "screen tests", even though the city's been sued over them in the past. So yeah.

Fourthly, I'm tired of media who spend all their time chasing ratings by emphasizing the reactions and ignoring the causes. "Equating broken windows with broken spines" is harsh but fair, as they say.

Another thing is all the people asking "why do they destroy their own neighborhood?" Well, why do white people destroy theirs to celebrate football games? Unfair? Then ask yourself this: in what meaningful way is Mondawmin Mall "theirs"? This is old, but might be of interest.

And finally, Freddie Gray is just the last straw: Last year "the Baltimore Sun published a searing 2014 article documenting recent abuses that are national scandals in their own rights. ... $5.7 million is the amount the city paid to victims of brutality between 2011 and 2014. And as huge as that figure is, the more staggering number in the article is this one: "Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations." What tiny percentage of the unjustly beaten win formal legal judgments?"

More than that, of course, is in play. It's not just brutal policing to keep people down. It's the place they're being kept down in. From Forbes: "About a quarter of Baltimore residents live below the poverty line. The unemployment rate in zip code 21217, where the riots broke out on Monday, was 19.1% in 2011."

Rioting is never "right". But sometimes - to paraphrase MLK - it's the only voice that people have.

If we don't want riots, we have to stop lying about fixing the system. Because you can only keep the lid on so long before the pot boils over.

....... Okay, so more than a few. Also: note to self: stop reading the comments on Facebook. And newspapers, too, for that matter.

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