journal
2002

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This is my 2002 journal.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Also available: 2003 2001 2000 1990s 1980s

Everything on this page:
Copyright 1985-2002 by Thane Plambeck, except where obviously not.

27 June 2002
Defining Swing



What is swing? Louis Armstrong's definition
If you have to ask, you'll never know
does not satisfy. The Encyclopedia Britannica can be counted upon to enter a definition quagmire, no matter how messy:
Swing: In music, both the rhythmic impetus of jazz music and a specific jazz idiom prominent between about 1935 and the mid-1940s—years sometimes called the swing era. Swing music has a compelling momentum that results from musicians' attacks and accenting in relation to fixed beats. Swing rhythms defy any narrower definition, and the music has never been notated exactly.
That's probably not any better.


26 June 2002
Marat Safin on the People's Tennis



Howard Fendrich, writing about today's (several) upsets at Wimbledon:
No. 2 Marat Safin also was beaten by a player ranked outside the top 50, Olivier Rochus, who's 11 inches shorter than the 2000 U.S. Open champion.

"Tennis is more or less equal. Any player can beat any player," Safin said after his 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) humbling. "The people, they can play tennis. Short, long, big, fat, whatever."

13 June 2002
Thelonious Monk's Middle Name

Sphere.

As if he weren't cool enough already.


Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982)
© Frank Driggs Collection

12 June 2002
Elias Canetti on 106

From Crowds and Power (1962 English edition):
The modern treasure is the million. The word has a cosmopolitan ring; it is understood all the over the world and can refer to any type of currency. The interesting thing about the million is that it can be reached in leaps and bounds by clever speculation; it dangles before the eyes of all whose ambition is to make money. … The connotation of the word million is twofold; it can refer to both money and people. This is particularly striking in political speeches. The lust of seeing numbers mount up is characteristic, for example, of Hitler's speeches. There the word usually referred to the millions of Germans living outside the Reich and still waiting for their deliverance. After his first bloodless victories and before the outbreak of his war, Hitler had a particular partiality for the mounting numbers of the population of his empire. He contrasted them with the total numbers of all the Germans in the world. It was his confessed aim to bring all these within his sphere of influence; and in all his threats, self-congratulations and demands he used the word million. Other politicians use it more often of money, but the word has undoubtedly acquired some ambiguity. Through being used to express populations, and especially the populations of metropolitan cities which are invariable expressed in millions, the abstract number has become filled with a crowd-meaning contained by no other number today. Since it is counted in the same millions, money and the crowd are closer today than they have ever been.
Who first proposed ranking movies in terms of box-office millions? This was a marketing masterstroke if ever there was one. Had he or she read Canetti? The three movies leading at the moment are The Sum of All Fears ($222 million), Attack of the Clones ($200 million), and Spider Man ($126 million). I don't even know what they're counting—for example, is the popcorn included?


12 June 2002
Statistics on 106

This came from a web site called Sudden Money:
John Jacob Astor once said: "A man who has a million dollars is as well off as if he were rich." Relativity and inflation aside, his comment is prophetic indeed, considering that today, millionaires are a dime a dozen and the wealth of the truly flush finds expression in the nomenclature of the penta- and decamillionaire.

The language is no less exotic than the figures that tell the story of the unprecedented explosion of membership in a once-exclusive club. A recent Merrill Lynch/Gemini Consulting study estimates that there are three million high-net-worth individuals residing in North America holding more than $1 million each in investable liquid financial assets; look for twice that many by 2004. Spectrem Group, a New York-based research firm, notes in a study profiling "active new money" that the legions of millionaire families in the United States jumped from 3.4 million in 1995 to 7.2 million last year. Expect that figure to grow 10% annually for the foreseeable future, the stock market's recent downturn notwithstanding.

The wealth market that advisors are chasing is simply astounding. For example, the number of pentamillionaires - those with investable assets of at least $5 million - is growing like crazy. According to Spectrem, in 1994 there were 90,000 nationwide; today there are more than 590,000, and the firm projects a stupendous 3.9 million by 2004. Some 55,000 Americans, meanwhile, boast assets of $30 million and up. In terms of the overall growth of investable assets in the U.S., Charles Schwab & Co. figures that they jumped from $10.5 trillion in 1995 to $16.9 trillion in 1999. At the projected "normal" growth rate of 10%, these assets will hit $27.2 trillion in 2004, and as much as $43.8 trillion by 2009.

10 June 2002
Partial Solar Eclipse

There was a solar eclipse today [AP news article].

Michael Goldeen pointed out that the trees of Palo Alto were casting thousands of eclipse images all over town (and onto our house). Here's one amazing photo.

And here are some more photos.


7 June 2002
Meditation

It's expanding my mind.


5 June 2002
Settlement Patterns


From an obituary of the American archaeologist John Randolph Willey (1913-2002), by Jeremy A. Sabloff, published in the 30 May 2002 issue of Nature magazine:
Willey's Virú Valley research soon led to the rise of a 'settlement-pattern' approach in archaeology. Although Willey was not the originator of settlement-pattern studies, his Virú work, and the 1953 publication that followed, convinced colleagues around the world that this particular methodology could provide new data that would in turn lead to clearer insight into the functioning of ancient cultures.

Willey's now classic definition of settlement patterns appeared on the first page of his Virú monograph, Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Virú Valley, Peru. It is, he wrote, the study of "the way in which man disposed himself over the landscape on which he lived. It refers to dwellings, to their arrangement, and to the nature and disposition of other buildings pertaining to community life. These settlements reflect the natural environment, the level of technology on which the builders operated, and the various institutions of social interaction and control which the culture maintained. Because settlement patterns are, to a large extent, directly shaped by widely held cultural needs, they offer a strategic starting point for the functional interpretation of archaeological cultures."

This approach became a rallying point for archaeologists who wanted to move beyond the classificatory and typological emphases of the time, in order to understand not just the chronology of potsherds but the nature of whole cultural systems, and how and why they changed through time.

4 June 2002
Earl Warren vs Warren Burger

Earl Warren Warren Burger

See the points of confusion, and also the inaccurate reflection.


4 June 2002
Thurman Munson vs Lobster Thermidor

Thurman Munson Lobster Thermidor

See the points of confusion.


4 June 2002
BMW vs BWV

Bayerische Motoren Werke Bach Werke Verzeichnis

3 June 2002
A stanza

From the children's book Imaginative Inventions, in the section entitled "Wheelbarrow:"




2 June 2002
Dementia Onset or merely Fowler's False Scent?

In today's (Sunday) New York Times, page 20, "Early Alzheimer's Sign Brings New Insight":
A person with mild cognitive impairment is not helped by hints, said Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, "because the memory was never stored."

People with Alzheimer's disease are much more impaired. They may have trouble interpreting what they are reading or writing a grammatically correct sentence.
The final sentence ("reading or writing" vs "reading, or writing") brings to mind the following entry from H.W. Fowler's The King’s English, 2nd ed. 1908:
49. FALSE SCENT

It is most annoying to a reader to be misled about the construction, and therefore most foolish in a writer to mislead him. In the sentences that follow, facilities and excesses are naturally taken as in the same construction, and similarly influences and nature, until the ends of the sentences show us that we have gone wrong. These are very bad cases; but minor offences of the kind are very common, and should be carefully guarded against.

He gloats over the facilities the excesses and the blunders of the authorities have given his comrades for revolutionary action among the masses.—Times.

The influences of that age, his open, kind, susceptible nature, to say nothing of his highly untoward situation, made it more than usually difficult for him to cast aside or rightly subordinate.—Carlyle.
That there is no comma between facilities and the excesses is no defence, seeing how often commas go wrong; indeed the comma after age in the second piece, which is strictly wrong, is a proof how little reliance is to be placed on such signs.

2 June 2002
Two Chalked Bricks






1 June 2002
Two Sculpted Heads

Gloria made the one on the left. Cole made the one on the right.