Chant & Polyphony

According to the All-Knowing Wikipedia:

In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture, where a texture is, generally speaking, the way that melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic aspects of a musical composition are combined to shape the overall sound and quality of the work. In particular, polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony, or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called homophony.

Within the context of the Western musical tradition, the term polyphony is usually used to refer to music of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Baroque forms such as fugue, which might be called polyphonic, are usually described instead as contrapuntal. Also, as opposed to the species terminology of counterpoint [clarification needed], polyphony was generally either "pitch-against-pitch" / "point-against-point" or "sustained-pitch" in one part with melismas of varying lengths in another. In all cases the conception was probably what Margaret Bent (1999) calls "dyadic counterpoint", with each part being written generally against one other part, with all parts modified if needed in the end. This point-against-point conception is opposed to "successive composition", where voices were written in an order with each new voice fitting into the whole so far constructed, which was previously assumed.

The term polyphony is also sometimes used more broadly, to describe any musical texture that is not monophonic. Such a perspective considers homophony as a sub-type of polyphony.

Friday? 5 O'Clock? Volume Up?

How about some Merle?

Blue Bloods: A Mildly Inebriated Review

To begin, I should note that homemade sangria can be stronger than you might think. That said, I've been thoroughly enjoying this rather unique -- for today -- cop show. It features a family of career NYPD officers who are dedicated to their jobs and to each other.

Granddad is a retired police officer and former police commissioner who has plenty of "Back in my day, we just beat the crap out of them until they confessed" stories.

Dad is the current police commissioner who does an admirable balancing act between the various personalities in his family (see the following). And, you know, running the NYPD, dealing with politicians and the media, that sort of thing.

Older brother is a police detective who takes after Granddad; also, he spent two tours in Iraq with the Marines. He is married with two kids.

Younger brother is a Harvard Law grad who decided to make a career as a cop. He's so by-the-book that he probably writes the editors love letters. (You can imagine the sibling arguments with older brother.)

And, older sister is not quite in the family business: She's an assistant district attorney who always seems to be explaining to older brother why the DA won't press charges (yet). She is divorced and raising a teenage daughter who brings in the youth perspective.

What's unique?

The family is Irish Catholic. Religion doesn't play a big role in the series, but we do see the family praying together before meals, and at times Dad seeks advice from a priest or cardinal (it's NYC).

Granddad is a vet - Korean War. Dad is a vet - Vietnam. And, as mentioned, older brother is a vet.

Balance: Generally, there is a real balance of viewpoints. Not always: There are a few episodes where it's not quite balanced, and one where we get outright preached to (we heathens!). But generally, it's probably the most balanced series I've watched in a long time.

There are six seasons on Amazon Prime for free. I recommend it, if you like cop shows, or family shows.

I'd Just Like to Ask ...

Some Road Music for Grim

This Is Funny

Sanders leaves the Democratic Party

Where will his #NeverHilary supporters go?

A Rebuttal to Those Who Insist We Vote for Trump

David Harsanyi over at the Federalist has penned a good think-piece for those who insist Republicans have to vote for Trump now: If David Duke Won, Wouldn't Republicans Have to Vote for Him?

Beginning with the hypothetical of Duke winning the GOP presidential primary, he asks:

What if Duke promised to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices? Let’s say he drew up an extensive list of Federalist Society-approved justices that conservatives simply loved? Would they then vote for him then? Sean Spicer says no. Please don’t tell me you’re willing to surrender the court to a progressive agenda for a generation. If you don’t vote for Duke, it would be tantamount to abandoning law and order. As pro-Trump Republicans often stress, national elections are a binary choice.

It’s not just about justices, either. Duke would almost certainly build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border to stop the flow of illegal immigration. ...

Duke would also limit Islamic immigration to keep America safe again.  ...

You know elitists would simply hate Duke. Probably because the Klansman refuses to be constrained by political correctness. ...

You get the idea. It's a thoughtful look at the issue.

UPDATE: I gave a taste of Harsanyi's opening above in the expectation that people would read his article for his conclusions. If you want his conclusions without clicking over to read the rest, I've discussed that a bit in the comments. It's the comment at 10:47 PM. Key point: Harsanyi is not claiming Trump is the same as Duke. He's just talking about the arguments often used against #NeverTrumpers.

AND ANOTHER THING: We've argued about who to vote for when both candidates are pretty sketchy, so this is intended to be part of that discussion. I will probably hold my nose and vote for Trump as the lesser evil. But that's me; my values push me in that direction.

Other people, whom I often agree with on the issues, have different values that push them in a different direction, and they can't vote for Trump. I don't have a problem with that. I don't think those people are bad or stupid for voting their own consciences instead of mine. So we vote differently this election; as far as I'm concerned, we're still on the same side.

But right now a lot of Republicans do seem to have a problem with the #NeverTrumpers, and I thought Harsanyi did a good job defending the #NeverTrump position from the conservative side.

Some Snarky Country to Get Your Wednesday Going

And just to chill out, "It's Time to Get a Gun"

Yep. When it's all said and done, someone's gotta walk into the night. That's actually an old Fred Eaglesmith tune. For comparison ...

Come Be PC

From Chris Ray Gun, the guy who brought us "Ain't No Rest for the Triggered." It's kinda like the Disney version of "Ain't No Rest," but not really for kids. Although, that may depend on your definition of kids. Maybe some "kids" need to hear this. I dunno.


A Dem for Trump

A gentleman named Adam Townsend has given his reasons for supporting Trump in some detail. Some of what he says sounds like he would fit in quite well here, but other parts ... well, the unhappy left has its own reasons for being disaffected by some of the same things we are. The whole thing is worth reading, but I've put some tasty tidbits below to whet your appetites. The original is full of links to supporting articles as well.


    When this presidential cycle began I was determined to vote for Hillary.But, I suffer from the double edge of an annoyingly inquisitive nature.


    Hillary and her political enablers and courtiers argue that the Democratic party must come together to defeat the ‘evil’ of Trump, I disagree…

It is far more ‘evil’ and destructive to the United States to permit Hillary to be our president:

    Foreign Policy. Hillary was a horrible Secretary of State that made very poor decisions in Honduras, Libya, Syria and Egypt. 
    Clinton Global (and its related entities) is a department store of political, multinational, corruption. The charity is under investigation, it was the middle man in weapons deals to foreign nations, it brokered a treasonous uranium deal to Russia, it stole money from Haiti and small contributors after the earthquake, it was deeply involved in a larcenous private college, Laureate University, it has allied with some of the worst dictators in the world and it may unravel slowly as the greatest charity fraud in history. 
    Emails: The email ‘issue’ is an open and shut conviction within the Espionage Act.

Free Speech


Free speech is a safety valve. Reducing our language of any possible offensive character is being engineered not to salve, but to create turmoil. Big state (your tax dollars) is manufacturing chaos and then big state (your tax dollars) is coming into legislate and police. Big state is setting the fire and then calls the fire department and becomes a hero.


Miscellany incomplete thoughts


The mechanics of propaganda are bombarding every channel of distribution with an untrue and anachronistic view of our remarkable history, our people and the achievement of our Constitution. There has never been anything like it and it is being eroded, purposefully, by both sides. Each take turns pushing its envelope and each uses the Supreme Court to legitimize the Federal overreach. 

A Jazz Interlude

... to occupy us while awaiting Grim's return.

On the Road

I'm going to be gone for a week. I may post from the road, or not. Keep yourselves entertained.

Why Are Voters So Angry

Myron Magnet, of whom I've not heard before, has a piece in City Journal on the question. He's not wrong, but there is a strangeness about locating the problem as beginning in the Woodrow Wilson administration. If this has been acceptable since WWI, why are voters angry about it now?
What has now largely displaced the Founders’ government is what’s called the Administrative State—a transformation premeditated by its main architect, Woodrow Wilson. The thin-skinned, self-righteous college-professor president, who thought himself enlightened far beyond the citizenry, dismissed the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable rights as so much outmoded “nonsense,” and he rejected the Founders’ clunky constitutional machinery as obsolete. (See “It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More,” Summer 2014.) What a modern country needed, he said, was a “living constitution” that would keep pace with the fast-changing times by continual, Darwinian adaptation, as he called it, effected by federal courts acting as a permanent constitutional convention.
That's an argument readers of the Hall will find quite familiar. Still, that's a hundred years ago.

It's a piece worth reading all the same. Nevertheless, something more is needed to explain why voters are so angry right at this moment.

Of Course the Russians Are Helping Trump

I realize that the impulse is to doubt everything said by Clinton or one of her appointees, and that's a very healthy and good impulse. It will serve you well. But this time, the guy is right. Wikileaks is a Russian intelligence project. Russia Today, which has been leading the broadcasting of this story, is openly Russian propaganda.

Doubtless Putin takes Trump's outspoken pragmatism about NATO to be a good sign for Russian interests. No one really doubts that everyone would be pragmatic in fact, but the secret in diplomacy is you're supposed to pretend that you would be principled instead. This is an old story.

Hillary Clinton, being a former Secretary of State, understands the rules and is playing accordingly. This has led to the highly amusing spectacle of her supporters, many of whom would disband the nuclear forces entirely if they had their druthers, arguing for a week about how important it is to have a strong deterrent against Russian aggression. They are no more serious about nuking Russia than she is, but they're all pretending they are.

The fact is that President Obama has weakened the United States' global position so much that the next president will have no choice but retrenchment. Some concessions will have to be made to Russia, to China, and possibly even to Iran. Clinton will make those concessions if elected in terms of conceding American power to 'international' institutions that happen to favor Russian or Chinese interests -- things like the TPP, which she will of course resume supporting once she's elected (as her VP choice does as well, I notice). Trump, on the other hand, will negotiate some sort of deal directly.

Either way, America's standing in the world will diminish, at least for a time. Even the most hawkish president would have no choice but to drop back and try to figure out what new lines are tenable.