Monday, December 30, 2013

For centuries composers have used the theme and variations form to organize musical thoughts and express them in contrasting settings. Good variations derive from clever artistic and imaginative manipulation of the elements of the theme. The variations may be interesting and compelling, but they can never be the theme. A variation cannot usurp the place of the theme, because it was derived from the theme. In a good theme and variations there cannot be just one variation, otherwise it would be set at competition with the theme and could even claim to be the theme.
Same sex marriage by definition has components that derive and deviate from the historic theme of marriage, but no matter how it is manipulated, it can never be marriage, only a variation of it. As a composer of a good musical theme creates interesting variations, so marriage has some intriguing possibilities of variation. Time will tell which variations get accepted by the publisher and are judged worthy of a performance. I wonder what the criteria for their selection might be?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Recently there has been some heartburn in the Mormon Church (and some acid reflux among its critics) over the Wear Pants to Church movement.

Reuters reported:
"Organizers said pants day events were to be held worldwide on Sunday, but there was no official word on how many women turned up at church in pants around the world. Mary Ellen Robertson, director of the Sunstone Symposium, an annual forum on Mormon culture and scholarship, said: 'There has been a lot of movement in the Church this year. Whether those baby steps add up to a bigger step, we'll see.'"
This is a group of women and some men who demand that the Mormon Church ordain women to its Priesthood. In order to draw attention to their crusade, they periodically ask their female legions to wear pants and their male counterparts to wear purple ties to the LDS sacrament meetings (where the Eucharist is celebrated). Whether this meeting is the best place to air your social grievances is debatable, but I have my own take on the issue.

So many really consequential things we face each day, and here we have a group that wants to wear pants and purple ties to church. Go ahead. Wear the pants. Wear the ties.  Express your outrage in sacrament meeting, but is this the best of all possible places to express outrage?

Here's what it sounds like to me:
"If you don't give me the Priesthood, I'm going to wear pants to church and try to break into your meetings!  If you don't give me the Priesthood I'm going to hold my breath until I die!"
Sisters, having had my conscience raised in the 60s and 70s, I recommend real protest if your are serious. Ladies...if you want the Priesthood that badly, break some stuff and hurt some people. Chain yourself to the temple gates. Lie down in front of missionaries' bicycles. Get some real attention. Put something on the line. None of this namby-pamby wear-pants-to-church-purple-ties faux protest stuff. 

Some may say this represents a tiny portion of the Mormon Church, but I am here to say somewhere, some place, in some ward in this vast Church of ours today, a sister wore pants because she wants to be ordained to the Priesthood. She is down for the struggle! Viva la revolution!

And here she is...the one who wore pants. And people talked behind her back! The horror! 

"There are members of my (congregation) that were really unhappy with my choice. They didn't make it known to me, but they complained behind my back," organizer Jerilyn Hassell Pool, of Medford, Oregon, told Reuters. 

But now the movement has manifested itself here on the slopes of Mt. Rainier, making the issue personal for me, in the spirit of my alter-ego Bernardo Gui:

A woman wore pants in our sacrament meeting yesterday. The whole Relief Society was clucking behind her back. She and her husband were investigators attending for the first time. He was in jeans and a work shirt. A member of the bishopric was designated by the High Priests to take him aside and ask him not to come back if he wouldn't wear
gray Dockers, white shirt, and conservative tie. Last night I played in the orchestra for a local stake's sing-along Messiah. It was a good performance, but unfortunately marred by several insensitive women in the audience who chose to wear pants. Something about there not being enough sisters in the viola section.

Seriously, though, what actually occurred was the audience was filled with men wearing purple ties because I was the only man in a viola section of 7 women. I was the odd man out. Well, any man who plays viola is odd and out.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Jamming around the piano tonight, the family orchestra played Walking in the Air from The Snowman by Howard Blake. I really miss preparing for Seattle Center Winterfest and the RHS Orchestra Holiday concert. Probably 50-60 Winterfest performances over the years. Lots of wonderful memories. Feels like I should be doing something.

If you haven't seen it, here is the YouTube HQ full-length version.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


How about them tardigrades, ain't they a hero?
Livin' and lovin' in absolute zero.

Stubby little legs, cute little face.
Crawlin' in the lichens, hangin' out in space, 

Look at them water bears, ain't they stout?
Fry'n them up, wringin' them out.

Them party hearty tartigrades, ain't they creepy?
Soakin' up roentgens don't make 'em sleepy.

How to be a tardigrade?  Don't have to be precocious,
Find yerself some moss, start yer cryptobiosis.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Just change a couple words and it all become relevant & up to date; 

Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Afghanistan.
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun. 

Come on Wall Street, don't be slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Taliban. 

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Now you can go out and get those towel heads
'Cause the only good Islamicist is the one that's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come. 

Come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Afghanistan.
Come on fathers, and don't hesitate
To send your sons off before it's too late.
And you can be the first ones in your block
To have your boy come home in a box. 

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Afthanistan.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Amazing how two people can go through the same experience and come out of it with opposite reactions. I was in the old Mormon SLC mission home for a week in October, 1966, and then in the Language Training Mission (Spanish) in Provo for 3 months. It was an intensely personal time when I wrestled with the Spanish language and the cultures of the countries to which I was assigned, the missionary discussions, my testimony, the scriptures, the dynamics of getting along and working with other young men and women my age, examining my motives for going on a mission, and learning from General Authorities and church leaders that to me had been just voices on the radio and faces in magazines. Gary Pullins (later to be the BYU baseball coach) was our district instructor. He was a top-notch human being and an example to me that endures to today. I was able to play my violin and sing with the missionary chorus in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, visit the Salt Lake City and St. George Temples, get to know companions from Utah, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and Guatemala. We cheered Virgil Carter from the missionary zone when Virgil Carter passed for 599 yards against UTEP. The language training aspect was rigorous and set the stage for further work with Spanish including translating an 18th-century violin instruction book for my Master's degree thesis and teaching Spanish in the public schools. Friends made in the LTM who later served with me in the mission have been live-long companions, including being roommates later in college and one, the best man at my wedding. We laughed, cried, worked, played and studied together with an intensity that was new to me. This was one of the happiest, most challenging and productive periods of my life. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Them Pangolins (nod to Mason Williams)

"Them Pangolins"

by M Jasinski

How about them pangolins,
Ain't they rare?
Rolly polly ant lickers,
Scales instead of hair.

Lickin' up them worker ants,
Ain't they a marvel!
Munchin' on them queeny ants.
Suckin' up the larval.

Look at them pangolins,
Ain't they a bunch?
Excavatin' ant hills,
Lookin' for they lunch.

Them long tongue pangolins,
Strangest dudes alive.
A sippin' up the termites -
Super Glue saliva.

Wanna be a pangolin?
Tell ya what to do,
Sticky up your tongue a bit
And lick an ant or two.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Let's all just agree on this one thing, and then there will never have to be another news story ever written: Everything in the world that has happened, is happening, or will ever happen that is.....evil, disgusting, awful, icky, unfair, objectionable, lamentable, odiferous, off-putting, dangerous, stinky, hypocritical, suspicious, tricky, obnoxious, illegal, intrusive, secretive, costly, despicable, goofy, questionable, disingenuous, perfidious, shocking, under-handed, rude, stupid, ingenuous, ignorant, crappy, abominable, racist, manipulative, nefarious, lamentable, crummy, insensitive, unthoughtful, vexatious, loopy, horrific, rotten, mendacious, offensive, deplorable, two-faced, idiotic, insidious, stingy, shrewish, contemptible, messed-up, f---up, screwed-up, goofed-up, balled-up, thrown-up, mucked-up, stunk-up, gummed-up, gunked-up, beaten-up, dumbed-down, beaten-down,  put-down, turned-down, wound-down, thrown-down, overturned, stupefied, warped, crazy, disturbing, untrustworthy, broken, fumbled, bumbled, crumbled, numb-skulled, asinine, woeful, atrocious, punked, skunked, insincere, unscrupulous, , flunked, junked, disrespectful, puked, nuked, amateurish, incompetent, unflattering, fallacious, unprofessional, indecent, pooey, phony, illegitimate, inexcusable, ridiculous, creepy, rancid, unfathomable, childish, inane, or just plain bad......was thought, conceived, invented, imagined, caused, initiated, instigated, manipulated, promoted, nurtured, whispered, said, or done by George W. Bush. Or, Dick Cheney told him to do it. Now let's get on with life.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Looking for the Cross in All the Wrong Places
We may not know, we cannot tell, what pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there. Hymn 194

Some observers find fault with the supposed LDS neglect of the Christian symbol of the cross because of its intentional absence on Mormon church buildings, clothing, jewelry, art, and iconography.(1) Since most Mormons do not openly use the cross or crucifix, one might mistakingly conclude they do not revere the cross. On the contrary, Mormons celebrate the cross with reverence and devotion in the weekly sacrament meetings.
Elder Dallin Oaks explained the significance of this meeting. “The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church. It is the only Sabbath meeting the entire family can attend together. Its content in addition to the sacrament should always be planned and presented to focus our attention on the Atonement and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”(2)
The paramount reason for attending sacrament meeting is to partake of the sacrament. There are three parts to the sacrament presentation: singing the hymn by the congregation, blessing the bread and water by the priests, and passing the emblems to the congregation by the deacons. It is during the sacramental hymn that the members of the church express their deepest feelings for Jesus and the Atonement. This is a good place to look for the cross in the LDS church.
There are twenty-eight “sacrament hymns” (hymns intended to precede the ordinance of the sacrament) in the LDS hymnbook.(3) The texts may include references to the personal meaning of the Atonement, the sufferings of Jesus, the events that took place, and the gratitude of the Saints for His sacrifice. 

Nine hymns use the words cross or crucified. For example, hymn #184:

Upon the cross of Calvary they crucified our Lord
 And sealed with blood the sacrifice that sanctified his word.
Upon the cross he meekly died for all mankind to see
That death unlocks the passageway into eternity.
 Upon the cross our Savior died, but dying brought new birth
Through resurrection’s miracle to all the sons of earth.
Three use the word “tree” instead of “cross,” as in 185:
Rev'rently and meekly now, let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one; think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain, sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree I have ransomed even thee.
In this bread now blest for thee, emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine, emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done that the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary I have suffered death for thee.

“Calvary” or “hill” (the location of the crucifixion) are mentioned in thirteen hymns. For example, 171:
With humble heart, I bow my head and think of thee, O Savior, Lord.
I take the water and the bread to show remembrance of thy word.
Help me remember, I implore, thou gav'st thy life on Calvary,
That I might live forevermore, and grow, dear Lord, to be like thee.
Hymns that do not explicitly mention cross, crucifixion, tree, hill, or Calvary refer to the sufferings endured by Jesus, such as hymn 187:

God loved us, so he sent his Son, Christ Jesus, the atoning One,
To show us by the path he trod the one and only way to God.
He came as man, though Son of God, and bowed himself beneath the rod.
He died in holy innocence, a broken law to recompense.
Oh, love effulgent, love divine! What debt of gratitude is mine,
That in his off'ring I have part and hold a place within his heart.
This sacrament doth represent his blood and body for me spent.
Partaking now is deed for word that I remember him, my Lord.
And hymn 191:
Behold the great Redeemer die, a broken law to satisfy.
He dies a sacrifice for sin, that man may live and glory win.
While guilty men his pains deride, they pierce his hands and feet and side;
And with insulting scoffs and scorns, they crown his head with plaited thorns.
Although in agony he hung, no murm'ring word escaped his tongue.
His high commission to fulfill, he magnified his Father's will.
For many Mormons, these are the most sacred of all their hymns. During the quiet reverence of the sacrament service, they sing of Jesus, His flesh and blood, His suffering and Atonement, the cross. During the passing of the sacrament they reflect on these things, silently repent and ask forgiveness, and pledge to always remember Him. This is where the cross is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In 3 Nephi 18: 1, Jesus said, “And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”



(3) Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1985, hymns #169-197.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sequestration Effect News: Thousands of salmon are aimlessly wandering the streets of Seattle. Sequestration cutbacks eliminated the jobs of 100 Fishery managers, so the fish have no one to tell them where to go as they migrate in from the ocean.

 Just received my new Broadway at the Paramount season brochure. After purchasing a season package ($168.73-$430.75), I see for an extra ($56.25-$161.25) I can add on a ticket to see "Book of Mormon the Musical." Seems like a lot of money, but it did win a lot of awards. 
So, I wondered why anyone would want to pay this kind of money to see an upgraded South Park episode and hear language heard everyday in a junior high school lunchroom. Irreverently (but lovingly?) skewering religions and the doobs that believe in them is a sure bet for great entertainment, and throwing in a boatload of puerile scatology and obscenity only enhances the experience.
Who wouldn't pay good money to hear words that for us regular folk would get us fired from a job, expelled from school, slapped in the face, or slapped with a lawsuit? Or, in the case of entertainers, showered with awards and rave critical reviews. So, to save you the cost of a ticket (which could more helpfully be donated to a homeless shelter or school scholarship fund), I'll provide a few of the more exciting, edgy, titillating lyrics. Especially entertaining is the oft-repeated use of the F word. This is cutting edge theater. This is entertainment! (WARNING: Graphic language. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In 1976, Clarence Carson wrote "The World in the Grip of an Idea." The idea is that by working together, all people can be happy. Here are the three parts of the idea. What do you think?

1. To achieve human felicity on this earth by concerting all efforts to achieve common ends.

2. To root out, discredit, and discard all aspects of culture which cannot otherwise be altered to divest them of any role in inducing or supporting the individual’s pursuit of self-interest.

3. Government is the instrument to be used to concert all efforts behind the realization of human felicity and the necessary alteration of culture.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some wag said, "One of these days we will wake up and not recognize the country we are living in." I just woke up and realized that:

Our elections are determined by who can spend the most money.
Having your dog ride on top of your car disqualifies you from becoming
President of the United States.
Policies and decisions are decided by pollsters.
News organizations have become fronts for political parties.
Americans are clamoring to be taxed more.
It is a badge of honor to be in debt.
Student loans are owned by the Federal Government.
15% of our population receives food stamps.
1/6 people in America receive government assistance of some kind.
People enter our boarders illegally and then become political pawns.
Federal agents inspect school children's lunch boxes.
The government claims the right to observe and kill citizens with drones.
The military has become another social experiment project.
A man may have children by as many women as he wishes, but may not
marry them legally.
Honored athletes soar to the heights of sports on the wings of drugs.
Gangland slaughter in our cities is given a pass by law enforcement,
but law abiding citizens are targeted by the government for gun control.
We sell guns to foreign terrorists who turn them on our people, and no
one is held responsible.
We fight wars for which we have no intention to win.
The Federal government dictates what is to take place in classrooms.
After 60 years of effort and billions of dollars spent to fix the problems, we still have poverty, ignorance, and racism.
We get more upset over a celebrity lip-syncing a song than over four Americans including an ambassador being killed in a foreign country.
Only 40% of eligible voters actually vote for our presidential elections.
Hardly anyone knows the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
People who go to church or believe in God are considered mentally ill.
Young people gather the news from television comedians.
Etc., etc.,

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Many moons ago, our family sat around the dining table and came up with rock star names that could also be dogs. Here are some, plus a few that I have come up with. Any additions?

Itchy Pupp
Flea 52's
The Beagles 
Rolling Bones
Gladys Knight and the Pups
Def Shepherd
The Cur
Doggy Parton
Collie Minogue
Red Hot Chile Puppers
Miami Hound Machine
New York Dogs
Defetche Mode
Muttely Crüe
Sonny and Hair
Lady Chihuahua
Lady Gnawgnaw
Pet Benatar
Setter, Paw, and Mastiff
Joe Cocker
The Pointer Sisters
50 Scent
Snoop Dogg
The Black Eyed Pekingese
Kennel G
Notorious W.A.G.
Bruce Springersteen
Here Boy George
Wineona Judd
Pupz II Muttz
Runs & Noses
Itchie Valens
Sir Lix a Lot
Nikki Lixx
The Poo
Pette Midler
Mommas and Pawpaws

Classical Dogs:
Johann Sebastian Bark
Wolfgang Muttzart
Pinchers Zuckerman
Edward MgGrowell
Benjamin Britteny
Cesar Franckez
Jules Bassetnet
Dog Cage
John Howland
Dmuttry Shostakovich
Bone Sutherland
Richard Wagger
Bela Barktok
Samuel Barker
Franz Shisztu

Friday, January 18, 2013

I was talking on the phone with one of my children yesterday. She mentioned the new security steps being taken at her children's school in the wake of the Sandy Beach tragedy. I recalled the innocence of my childhood and shared similar memories of hers, and then we compared that with the loss of innocence suffered by our current generation of children. Considering all they are now exposed to, is there any innocence left for them?