Monday, March 05, 2007

GNMParents - my home away from home. Sorry for the lack of updating. I may pull the plug on this, I may just change it. Do you know?

Sunday, December 02, 2001

Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 15:01:58 -0800
Subject: Re: FZ in elementary school curriculum
From: Stu Mark
Newsgroups: at wrote on 11/29/01 12:05 PM:

> One school I saw had two pupils in a year 4 class who were performing at
> about year 1 level - eg not being able to read words like 'empty' and
> struggling to form sentences. In reference to one of them, the teacher was
> saying how she'd talk at the front of the class and he'd wander off and
> sharpen his pencils, oblivious to what she was talking about. What I saw was
> that the lesson was about linking two clauses through connectives like
> because and so, and, as it was making absolutely no sense to the pupil
> whatsoever, it was lucky he cared about something enough to keep his pencils
> sharp. In a few years time he may well be stabbing people with them.

First off, thank you very much, sincerely, for being a caring presence for
children. Even the most cynical among you would have to admit that if kids
were supported and nurtured, they'd grow up to be less of a nuisance.

Secondly, I've been studying kids for the past few years (with the intent of
writing a book) and I have a bunch of stuff to say on the topic.
Fortunately, I won't say it now. What I will say is:

Respect is a very useful tool. Kids understand respect very early in life
and focus on it as a path towards choosing their emotions in a give

If you think about it, kids are in a sort of prison. They are constantly
monitored, they get little choice about where they go, or what they eat, or
even their daily schedule. An excellent way to get kids to be cool with this
prison-like experience is to provide them with constant and thorough
respect. Let 'em know that you know that they are in a kind of prison. You
don't have to say those exact words, but let 'em know that it's ok to be
bummed if they can't watch tv when they want or if they have to eat the lima
beans or whatever. Validate their experience before you attempt to alter it.

Give them respect and they will give you respect. Again, I point to Uncle
Frank, who encouraged his little girl to play in the rain.

(who is happy to venture forth into mountains of ratiocination)

NP: The Woman Who Came At 4 O'Clock by Ciro Hertado into Beseme Mucho by The
Beatles into A Thing or Two by The Beach Boys into And Dream Of Sheep by
Kate Bush

Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 21:16:42 -0800
Subject: Re: This newsgroup doesn't make anybody laugh anymore ...
From: Stu Mark

Charlie the Lion Shrew at wrote on 11/23/01 4:54 AM:

> The economy has affected the newsgroup .. the theatre is empty ... a
> the crazed asylum has lost its patients.

In honor of your perception of our lack of funny, here's one of my favorite
pieces of life-as-theater:

MARK: Can I just ask some, any, everybody here, did anybody see me
puke on stage?
GUY #1: What you doin', tourin' the country?)
HOWARD: No, didja?
MARK: I puked on stage
AYNSLEY: We started in San Antonio . . . )
HOWARD: You puked on stage?
AYNSLEY: . . . And then Palo Alto, Orlando, and then Jacksonville,
and then we're doin' Europe . . .
MARK: I did, man. I was sing . . . right in the middle of singin'
"Easy Meat" or somethin', an' all of a sudden I started pukin'
outta my mouth an' I just put my hand over my mouth, an' I had . . .
HOWARD: Ohhhh . . . Outta sight!
AYNSLEY: Ya didn't get it on film? . . . is it in slow motion . . .
MARK: I thought you guys all caught that, man. I got really sick from,
you know, all that jumpin' around and stuff . . . an' all that scotch
and wine. Just weird, I only did it for about a second, y'know?
(GUY #1 Oh!)
MARK: It was just like a little spew. I kinda shoved it back down my throat
and went on singin'
HOWARD: Phew . . . Yeah, that is strange, man. Ratso Rizzo
FZ: He saved it because he might be hungry later.
HOWARD: Eewwww . . . get the big pieces!

Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 08:11:06 -0800
Subject: Re: OT question - what is Kosher salt?
From: Stu Mark

Sam Rouse at wrote on 11/21/01 6:38 PM:

> We've been persuaded by television recipes to brine our turkey this year, and
> it
> seems that Kosher salt is the common ingredient for all recipes. Aside from
> the
> coarser grind (which seems irrelevant to the definition of Kosher), what
> exactly
> allows salt to have the Kosher stamp of approval?

First, here's a look at a Kosher salt molecule:

Secondly, I'm not the Lorax - I don't speak for the Jews. However, I will
tell you that most commercial salt isn't just salt, it's salt and iodine and
drying agents and preservatives. The laws of Kosher require that the salt be
free of such things.

The process is pretty simple. You take pure salt and run it under a
microscope. If it's just salt, it is eligible for a Kosher stamp. If it
stays free of contaminants, which means that the containers and tools used
to get the pure salt into the consumer packaging must be thoroughly and
regularly cleaned and blessed by a Rabbi, or her/his representative, (called
a Mashgiach).

Another interesting example of Kosher is the Hebrew National Hot Dog
commercials from the 70's. In this commercial, Uncle Sam is shown eating a
hot dog, while the voiceover talks about how the government allows hot dogs
to contain fillers and chemical preservatives and so forth. But at Hebrew
National, continues the voiceover, "We have to answer to an even higher

What's cool about this is what they're not saying, which is that United
States government regulations allow for a certain amount of rat feces in
prepared meats. The laws of Kosher forbid even one molecule of such stuff.
So when you eat Kosher, you're really eating clean.

(who is away from his family this Thanksgiving and is glad to have affz for

NP: Don't Put It In Your Mouth by Uncle Bonsai

Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 07:06:23 -0800
Subject: Re: Chord Characteristics
From: Stu Mark

Robert Garvey at wrote on 11/20/01 10:42 PM:

> While cruising the internet at work (lunchtime only, of course) I learned
> that Kandinsky was a musician in addition to being a wonderful painter.
> He had some ideas about music and colors (or colours).

Excerpted from "Kandinsky: Compositions", by Magdalena Dabrowski

Kandinsky and Music
"The term "Composition" can imply a metaphor with music. Kandinsky was
fascinated by music's emotional power. Because music expresses itself
through sound and time, it allows the listener a freedom of imagination,
interpretation, and emotional response that is not based on the literal or
the descriptive, but rather on the abstract quality that painting, still
dependent on representing the visible world, could not provide.

"Kandinsky's special understanding of the affinities between painting and
music and his belief in the Gesamtkunstwerk, or the total work of art, came
forth in his text "On Stage Composition," his play "Yellow Sound," and his
portfolio of prose poems and prints Klange (Sounds, 1913). Music can respond
and appeal directly to the artist's "internal element" and express spiritual
values, thus for Kandinsky it is a more advanced art. In his writings
Kandinsky emphasizes this superiority in advancing toward what he calls the
epoch of the great spiritual.

"Wagner's Lohengrin, which had stirred Kandinsky to devote his life to art,
had convinced him of the emotional powers of music. The performance conjured
for him visions of a certain time in Moscow that he associated with specific
colors and emotions. It inspired in him a sense of a fairy-tale hour of
Moscow, which always remained the beloved city of his childhood. His
recollection of the Wagner performance attests to how it had retrieved a
vivid and complex network of emotions and memories from his past: "The
violins, the deep tones of the basses, and especially the wind instruments
at that time embodied for me all the power of that pre-nocturnal hour. I saw
all my colors in my mind; they stood before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy
lines were sketched in front of me. I did not dare use the expression that
Wagnet had painted 'my hour' musically."

"It was at this special moment that Kandinsky realized the tremendous power
that art could exert over the spectator and that painting could develop
powers equivalent to those of music. He felt special attraction to Wagner,
whose music was greatly admired by the Symbolists for its idea of
Gesamtkunstwerk that embraced word, music, and the visual arts and was best
embodied in Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung, with its climax of global
cataclysm. One can also presume that Kandinsky, philosophically a child of
the German Romantic tradition, was strongly attracted to Wagner's use of
medieval Germanic myths and legends, including those of the world's creation
and destruction, as symbols that allowed for the translation of his
philosophical attitudes toward the world view, religion, and love. For
instance, Kandinsky was enthralled by Tristan and Isolde as an expression of
undying love and spiritual transformation. But in Wagner there is also an
affinity with the philosophy of Schopenhauer, who considered music to be of
central importance in man's emotional life.

"Among his musical contemporaries, Kandinsky admired the work of Aleksander
Scriabin, whose innovations he found compatible with his own objectives in
painting. What especially intrigued Kandinsky were Scriabin's researches
toward establishing a table of equivalencies between tones in color and
music, a theory that Scriabin effectively applied in his orchestral work
Prometheus: A Poem of Fire (1908). These tonal theories parallel Kandinsky's
desire to find equivalencies between colors and feelings in painting:
indeed, one of the illustrations included in the essay on Scriabin published
in the Blaue Reiter Almanac was a color reproduction of Composition IV.

"Kandinsky's conviction that music is a superior art to painting due to its
inherent abstract language came out forcefully in the artist's admiration
for the music of the Viennese composer Arnold Sch÷nberg, with whom he
initiated a longstanding friendship and correspondence and whose Theory of
Harmony (1911) coincided with Kandinsky's On the Spiritual in Art.
Kandinsky's complex relationship to Sch÷nberg's music is central to his
concept of Composition, since Sch÷nberg's most important contribution to the
development of music, after all, occurred in the area of composition.

"Sch÷nberg's innovations, such as discarding chromaticism and abandoning
tonal and harmonic conventions, unleashed a new future for musical
explorations and formed an important turning point for compositional
practice. In particular, two of the composer's innovations radically opened
musical compositional structures. Beginning with his First String Quartet in
1905, Sch÷nberg introduced a chromatic structure that he defined as a
"developing variation," in which there was a continual evolution and
transformation of the thematic substance of the musical piece, rejecting
thematic repetition. This inspired the constant unfolding of an unbroken
musical argument without recourse to the svmmetrical balances of equal
phrases or sections and their corresponding thematic content. As a result of
this practice, Sch÷nberg achieved a musical continuum that was richly
structured, densely polyphonic, and in which all parts were equally

"These new compositional structures led him toward free chromaticism, which
emphasized nonharmonic tones and "emancipation of dissonance" (i.e.,
unresolved dissonance), one of the principal features of atonal music.
Having such constant transformations, rather than the repetition of melodic
pattern, endowed the work with a totally unconventional psychological depth,
evocative power, and emotional strength. Sch÷nberg's innovations, which
permitted any pitch configuration, ruptured traditional conventions of
musical composition.

"The magnitude of this revolutionary change can be compared to the
fundamental transformation in Kandinsky's painting from a figurative idiom
to free, expressive, abstract work. The kinship between Kandinskv and
Sch÷nberg (who was also influenced by the philosophy of Schopenhauer) is a
special example of the intellectual affinity of artists in search of new
vehicles for expressing their inner emotions. These diverse artistic and
philosophical influences were all important for the conception of
Kandinsky's first seven Compositions before World War I.

"Although Kandinsky created Composition I about a year before he became
immersed in Sch÷nberg's new musical concepts, the objectives of his
pictorial search seem nevertheless to coincide with those of the composer.
As Sch÷nberg had done, Kandinsky searched for a free chromatic field,
probably best exemplified in his Composition VII (1913), where richly
structured, polyphonic motifs create spatial and compositional ambiguities,
visual beauty, emotional impact, and intellectual stimulation. The elements
"constructing" Kandinsky's Compositions that are at first glance abstract,
such as in the three pre-war works, Compositions V, VI, and VII, could be
compared to Sch÷nberg's use of unresolved dissonance: one dissonance,
followed by another, and then the next, without completing the expectations
of the musical destination. In Kandinsky's Compositions, numerous
motifs-either abstracted from natural objects as in the first six works, or
more purely abstract as in Composition VII-are organized into visual
structures that can be experienced simultaneously, without expecting a
resolution, and that can exert emotional impact on the viewer on several
physical, psychological, and emotional levels.

"In his conclusion to On the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky again resorts to a
musical metaphor to describe the deliberately cloaked pictorial construction
of form and color. In a passage in which he is primarily concerned with the
issues of composition and where Composition II is reproduced as a reference,
he divides compositions into two groups: "1. Simple composition, which is
subordinated to a clearly apparent simple form. I call this type of
composition melodic. 2. Complex composition, consisting of several forms,
again subordinated to an obvious or concealed principal form. This principal
form may externally be very hard to find, whereby the inner basis assumes a
particularly powerful tone. This complex type of composition I call

"He goes on to discuss diverse elements of the Compositions in overtly
musical terms, clarifying his understanding of a melodic composition as
being that in which the objective element is eliminated to leave only the
basic pictorial form-such as simple geometrical forms or a structure of
simple lines that create general movement. The movement is either repeated
in the individual parts of the painting or is varied by using different
lines or forms. These are compositions that possess a simple inner soul;
their creation and perception occur on a less complex level, where the
perceptual and spiritual elements are fairly simple.

"In Kandinsky's view, melodic compositions were revitalized by Paul CÈzanne
and later by the Swiss Symbolist Ferdinand Hodler. As an example of melodic
composition, Kandinsky illustrated CÈzanne's Large Bathers within the text
of On the Spiritual in Art, stating that the picture represents "an example
of this clearly laid out, melodic composition with open rhythms." Indeed,
one observes a clear rhythm in the arrangement of trees and the figures
gathered under the triangular canopy of rhythmically leaning trees. As in a
musical composition, the rhythms add vitality to the pictorial composition,
inviting the eye to travel from one form to the next according to a
regularly determined motion.

"The section on rhythm in his conclusion to On the Spiritual in Art reveals
much about Kandinsky's philosophical approach, whereby every phenomenon in
nature, not only in music but also in painting, has its own structural
rhythm. He felt that numerous pictures, especially woodcuts and miniatures
from earlier periods, represented excellent examples of "complex 'rhythmic'
composition with a strong intimation of the symphonic principle. Among these
types he included the work of old German masters, of the Persians and the
Japanese, Russian icons, and particularly Russian folk prints. But he
observed that in most of these early works the symphonic composition is very
closely tied to the melodic one, where principally the objective element
underlies the structure.

"For Kandinsky, if that objective element of a painting were taken away, the
building blocks of the composition would reveal themselves to cause a
feeling of repose and tranquil repetition, of well-balanced parts. A similar
feeling is evoked by diverse modes of musical expression, for instance early
choral music or the music of Mozart or Beethoven . However, when the
objective element is in place, especially beginning with Composition IV, all
of the juxtapositions, conflicts, and dissonances are arranged in a manner
that parallels Sch÷nberg's own innovations."

Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 16:19:03 -0800
Subject: Re: No Virginia, there won't be a Zoogz this X-mas.....
From: Stu Mark

TTuerff at wrote on 11/15/01 2:43 PM:

> Well, whether you buy MY CD or not, I plan to stay put in affz.

What's that url again? Why it's
Thanks Johnny! Tell 'em what they've won!

Seriously, for those who aren't hip to the Tuerffster, I urge you to check
it out. A very witty and engaging story-teller.

(who supports the artist in all of us)

NP: Pledging My Time by Bob Dylan

Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 16:28:26 -0800
Subject: Re: dumb question
From: Stu Mark

David Edwards's News at wrote on 11/5/01 2:39 PM:

> Which of the following is most urgently in need of me to buy a copy - One
> Size Fits All, Zoot Allures, Bongo Fury, or Ahead of Their Time?

Maybe it's too late, but what the fuck, eh?

Hands down, considering just the above list, get OSFA. One of my favorites,
as it's compact and dense and accessible. It's also great if you just want
to boogie.

(who thinks that Frank's relationship to boogie-ing is under-discussed)

NP: Blue Jay Way by The Beatles

Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 08:26:26 -0800
Subject: OT: Crazy Be The Lord
From: Stu Mark

So I'm sittin' here, listening to Crazy Be The Lord by Zoogz Rift and I'm
curious. Is anyone else doing this kind of art? 'Cause I'm digging this
stuff and am curious if there's enough of a market for it to cause other
artists to experiment in this way.

I miss Uncle Frank.

(who really does)

NP: Crazy Be The Lord by Zoogz Rift

Saturday, December 01, 2001

Candy Is Good For You

Government Demands Hearings, Children Weep WIth Joy

by Stu Mark

A team of independent researchers revealed today that candy is a viable source of nutritional value. "It's stupefying, really", commented Dr. Frank Crispo, head of the chemistry department at the University of Rhode Island. He, and a team of twelve, have been researching the nutritional value of sugar for the past ten years. After gathering data on over 10,000 children nationwide, the results were made public last night, even though they were first determined well over six months ago. "The results were so shocking", says Dr. Crisp, "we just couldn't imagine they were accurate, so we recompiled the data four more times." And the results, while shocking, are accurate.

The study, conducted by providing questionnaires to 500 children in 20 different cities across America, was produced every year from 1990 to 2000. Dr. Marcia Feinienstein, another member of the team, said "We were really careful with this study. We made sure each child knew that we were trying to determine just how nutritious sugar was, so that they would think carefully about their answers." The questionnaire posed interrogatives on a wide variety of topics, including current diet, related illnesses, and bedtime snacks.

The study further revealed that not only was sugar nutritious, but that, especially in ages 7 to 9, it was actually better for children than broccoli, cauliflower, or lima beans. "Lima beans was the shocker for me", said Dr. Patesh Imintookah, "as we hadn't theorized anything more nutritious than lima beans." "And yet we were wrong," continued Dr. Chilton Wallowsby, "so very wrong."

While the White House refused to comment on the study, Congressional leaders were gearing up for a extended schedule of hearings over the next month, culminating with an entire week devoted to interviewing many prominent grade-schoolers.

Rep. Harold Washburn (R), from Perlitz County, Illinois, was visibly concerned as he led the press conference on Capital Hill. "What about our way of life? We have farmers to think about." "And what about the ranchers?" continued Sen. Jim Cooke (D), Iowa, "Before we undo the very delicate balance of nature, we need to make sure that we're doing the right thing."

Meanwhile, children from all walks of life were uniting in the streets. Some cheered, some wept, some simply held hands and smiled at each other. In Chicago, the youngsters held candle-lit prayer circles in Hyde Park. In Seattle, a small riot broke out at a Stop-n-Go convenience store, but was eventually brought under control. And in New York City, children and candy store owners played stickball and climbed on the monkey-bars.

As for the doctors who conducted the research, they are just happy to have done the best work they could. "Maybe some good will come of this", says Dr. Crispo, "Maybe this is the beginning of something good." Time will tell.