indignation and disappointment

Solicitations to improve the search engine performance of A Honey of an Anklet usually get one of two dispositions: skim and toss, or toss. But today’s entreaty from “Mary Smith” has something special about it.

Subject: Do You want to rank in any search engine? ahoneyofananklet.com

Hi, ahoneyofananklet.com

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Mary Smith! (Web optimization Specialist)

Note: Reply back with us “Interested” or engage me to sent you No Obligation Audit Report for your site.

Well, maybe “Mary” is more skillful at SEO than she is at English. I am not sure that I want to encounter her “immense master bunch.” It was “We could chop down that cost and not choose quality!” that won over my Grinchy cynical heart.

Check back in December

I’m going to try Musicology Duck’s Listen Wider Challenge 2020:

Listen to:

  1. A composition of 60 minutes or more in length by a woman or non-binary composer
  2. A country song released in the last 6 months
  3. A chamber piece for 7-12 players written since 1980
  4. The cast recording of a musical featuring a queer character
  5. A miniature composition under 90 seconds long
  6. An opera with a libretto by an author of color
  7. A track by a Native/First Nations/Indigenous hip-hop artist
  8. A work by a student composer
  9. A work from a religious/spiritual tradition other than your own
  10. A composition that won a major award in 2018 or 2019
  11. A classic rock album from the 1960s or 1970s you feel like you should have listened to in its entirety by now, but never have
  12. A piece by a composer from Central or South America
  13. A campaign song for each of the opposing candidates in any election, current or historical
  14. A composition written when the composer was older than age 80
  15. A piece notated using graphic notation
  16. An instrumental work from before 1750 written by a woman
  17. A piece specifically for children by a composer or songwriter who usually writes for adults
  18. A top hit from the year you were born—from a country other than your own
  19. Two different tracks that sample the same song
  20. A song sung by two or more siblings
  21. The soundtrack for a film in a language other than English
  22. An art music composition (broadly defined) that received its premiere in an African country
  23. A classical recording from an independent label
  24. A record by a winning Eurovision Song Contest performer other than their competition song
  25. A protest song by a songwriter who identifies as LGBTQIA+
  26. A song or piece written to memorialize victims of a natural disaster
  27. A song by an artist currently atop Billboard’s “Social 50” chart
  28. A concerto for tuba, bassoon, or double bass
  29. A jazz album recorded since 2015
  30. A song written by or from the perspective of an immigrant

Some of these will be easier than others to find, among them #29, #11, and especially #19, if I count the Amen Break.

The year in review, 2019

A couple of short months, but some nice travelogue. And I made the 100th post under At the park (even if I lose count sometimes). The first sentence (more or less) of the first post for the last twelve months:

  • 1 January: “Jackson [Pollock] had said, ‘I am nature.'”
  • 8 February: Earlier this week, test trains began running on the section of track from Innovation Center to west of the airport, as reported by Max Smith.
  • 2 March: Aziza Barnes’ play is high energy, often played at farce tempos.
  • 2 April: A turn of phrase that has stayed with me over the years, from James Thurber, “The Topaz Cufflinks Mystery,” (23 July 1932).
  • 2 May: From my most recent report: Two boxes hatched (including 13 ducklings from little box #5) and one new nest is started.
  • 2 June: From my report on last Sunday’s monitoring work: Our birds continue to surprise.
  • 2 July: From my final weekly report from Huntley Meadows Park: A somewhat perplexing end to the season.
  • 6 August: Barring new hitches, MWAA has set 16 July 2020 as the opening date for Phase II, according to reporting by Max Smith.
  • 2 September: It’s Labor Day, so it’s time for a walk in the park.
  • 4 October: feather is to plumage as hair is to pelage as scale is to…?
  • 3 November: The most powerful moments in this production come from the no song, no dance passage told by Paul (Jeff Gorti), a honest confession of a story not captured by cast recording albums.
  • 10 December: “This book is the final chapter of, and the summation of, a work conceived and begun in 1925.”

The year in review:

My year in cities, 2019

Overnight stays in 2019:

  • New York, Manhattan County, New York
  • Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia 1 2 3 4
  • Reykjavík, Iceland (2 stays) (and)
  • Brjánsstaðir, Iceland
  • Vík, Iceland
  • Höfn, Iceland
  • Egilsstaðir, Iceland
  • Mývatn, Iceland
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia (Thanks, as always, Charlie!)

My year in hikes and field trips, 2019

Here in the mid-Atlantic:

Plus several trips to my home park, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Va.

And in Iceland:

My iNaturalist and Flickr maps look very unbalanced.

2018’s list. 2017’s list. 2016’s list. 2015’s list. 2014’s list. 2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list. 2010’s list. 2009’s list. 2008’s list.

New venues, 2019

I found some performance spaces around town that I hadn’t yet visited.

  • Anacostia Playhouse
  • Milkboy Arthouse, College Park, Md.
  • Mead Center Kogod Cradle
  • KC Jazz Club
  • Atlantis, Sterling, Va.
  • River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Bethesda, Md.
  • Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village, Columbia, Md.
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, College Park, Md.

Bonus out-of-town space: The Village Vanguard, New York.

2018’s list. 2017’s list. 2016’s list. 2015’s list. 2014’s list. 2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list.

My year in contributions, 2019

‘Tis the season when we are beset by requests for contributions. What organizations are worthy of support? Consider this list as some recommendations from me.

These are the groups and projects to which I gave coin (generally tax-deductible), property, and/or effort in 2019.

On deck: 19

bookshelf December 2019 1/4bookshelf December 2019 2/4My to-read bookshelf has spilled out into an annex of three to-read crates. Free books rescued from work, possibly interesting reads from book exchange, a few things of Leta’s that I might pick up, a good-intentions attempt to review my college calculus text (what’s a Lagrange multiplier, again?) (water-damaged from a small basement flood some years ago), a couple of doorstops for a long train journey, some finds from the AAUW used book sale, time to read Pirsig again.

bookshelf December 2019 3/4bookshelf December 2019 4/4

An assignment

All you have to do is dream up something, anything, that’ll fit in this box, whether a big folded-up sheet, a tiny book, pieces of this or that, a sculpture—whatever—just something that can be produced in multiple form (edition to be determined) and enclosed within.

* * *
…this is extremely important—you will be asked to structure your contribution around a feeling, event, memory, person, imagining or notion that means the absolute most in the world to you… that for which you’d give or sacrifice anything to memorialize, keep alive or somehow make real, since

YOUR TIME ON EARTH IS LIMITED

and if there was one last piece of art you could make or leave behind, what would it be? What if the life you’ve lived so far would you want to make real for those who haven’t yet been born? Or, put another way, what of the art you love most has made your life worth living, and can you do it, too?

—Chris Ware, syllabus for “Comics, Emotional Directness & Self-Doubt,” taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, reprinted in Chris Ware, Monograph (2017), p. 274

A mystery: 19

This is from a Charles Mallison chapter of The Mansion. Page number is from the Library of America edition.

That was last spring, in June when he [Gavin Stevens] and Mother (they had lost Father at Saratoga though he had promised to reach Cambridge in time for the actual vows) came up to see me graduate in Ack. and I said, “What? No wedding bells yet?” and he said:

“Not mine anyway:” and I said:

“How are the voice lessons coming? Come on,” I said, “I’m a big boy now; I’m a Harvard A.M. too even if I wont have Heidelberg.” (chap. 9, p. 517)

The context and the capitalization hints that Ack. is a building on the Harvard campus, but I can find no appropriate edifice on today’s maps. Rather, I suspect that it is part of the ceremony of conferring Chick’s law degree. There is the legal practice of acknowledgement in the sense of making a declaration. Perhaps Charles must make a vow to become a (good?) lawyer?

Perhaps one of my lawyer friends can help me out.

Also, that stray colon at the end of Gavin’s “Not mine anyway:” bothers me.

Faulkner decoded: 3

Two unusual usages in The Mansion, as far as I can tell. Page numbers are from the Library of America edition.

So they would reach that side by side anyway—the vast dim home-made columned loom of her father’s dream, nightmare, monstrous hope or terrified placatement, whichever it was, whatever it had been… (chap. 15, p. 652)

It’s clear from context that placatement is a near-synonym for placation, but an entry for placatement does not appear in my dictionaries.

And:

He didn’t know why; he could not have said that, having had to do without privacy for thirty-eight years, he now wanted, intended to savor, every minuscule of it which freedom entitled him to… (chap. 17, p. 692)

Minuscule is certainly a legitimate noun, in the senses of “script” or “small letter.” But William Faulkner’s use of it to mean a tiny portion is perhaps unique, and quite tasty therefore.