Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The teen fugue

January 11, 2022

Yesterday’s (1/10) Wayno/Piraro Bizarro revives plays on fugue and minor (exploited in a 2012 Bizarro), plus (in the title FUGUE IN A MINOR) a clunky play on A the name of a musical key vs. a the indefinite article (which are visually identical in all-caps printing):


(#1) The cartoon figure is a version of the classic portrait of the late Beethoven — the Beethoven of the Grosse Fuge — looking stormily rebellious in a Romantic red scarf, tempered by an image of Johann Sebastian Bach — the great master of the fugue as a musical form — in the powdered wig characteristic of the 18th century (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

The word plays are on fugue, musical (“this piece”) or medical (“drifted aimlessly”); and minor, musical (“A minor”) or chronological (“my early teens”, “a minor”).

A look back at the 2012 posting, which had a different play on minor (the minor of music or the minor of significance), and so provided no justification for Wayno’s title for #1, “The First Emo”, with its allusion to emo kids / emos, who stereotypically are sensitive, socially dissociated, rebellious teenagers. And then some reflection on the cartoon composer in #1.

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The Burne-Jones Adoration

January 9, 2022

More for the Epiphany season, following on a section on four artistic representations of the Adoration in my Epiphany posting “Commercial Christmas 2021: DJ’s third quarter”; and on my Epiphany Morrow posting “Royal Melchior”, about a Leonetto Cappiello poster depiction of the Magus Melchior. Assembling these postings led me through famous depictions of the Adoration (by Leonardo, Botticelli, and Rubens), which are enormously crowded, while my interest was in the Three Magi, and (because I’m Arnold Melchior Zwicky) in the Magus Melchior specifically.

So I came to stumble on an idiosyncratic delight, an 1894 tapestry (by Burne-Jones and others) depicting only the central figures of the Adoration scene: the Christ child, Mary, Joseph, and the Three Wise Men, plus (in the actual center of the image, rising in the air above the other figures) the Angel of God (responsible for the Annunciation to the shepherds, who don’t appear in #1), holding the Star of Bethlehem, which guided the Magi from their home in the East (the geographic neighborhood of Persia, Babylonia, and Assyria) to the site of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

To come: the tapestry; the background on this blog; about the tapestry and its interpretation; about Burne-Jones; and about the celebration in song of the Angel of the Lord (with glory all around) proclaiming to the shepherds. (The music of the Star of Bethlehem I leave for another time.)

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Royal Melchior

January 7, 2022

A day late for the occasion — Epiphany, 1/6, the Feast of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) —  an occasion in which I have a personal onomastic stake, as Arnold Melchior Zwicky, named for my father, who was named in honor of his father (Melchior Arnold Zwicky), who was, with two of his brothers, named after a Magus: Melchior, in one tradition king of the Persians, the bringer of gold to the Christ child, and the oldest of the three.

All of this was brought to my attention again yesterday, in a Facebook posting by Bert Vaux, which included this vintage advertising poster:


(#1) The Magus Melchior, roi des Perses, serving as advertising eponym and mascot for Royal Melchior vin mousseux (sparkling wine), in a poster (undated, but from early in the 20th century) by Leonetto Cappiello (sadly, this brand of sparkling wine is apparently no longer produced)

Now: refresher notes on Epiphany; and an appreciation of Cappiello.

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Seasonal gatherings

January 4, 2022

(Some reflections on my life as an old man, disabled, living alone — resolutely and defiantly — in the midst of this endless, constantly morphing, pandemic. Trying to be clear-eyed about all of this, but a certain amount of unpleasant self-pity will no doubt creep into my account, so this posting isn’t for everyone.)

Two occasions on December 19th, together making my social life for the Christmas season: from 10 to 1 (Pacific time), a Zoom gathering of soc.motss folk (a community going back to the Usenet social newsgroup for lgbt-folk and their friends — members of the same sex — a community I joined in 1985); then at 2, an hour’s visit from my entire immediate family: my daughter, Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky (who lives here in Palo Alto), and my grandchild, Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky (visiting for a few weeks from their first year at college, at the University of Pittsburgh).

These two occasions unified by little more than my costume: my in-your-face FAGGOT t-shirt above, and my Swiss-flag gym shorts below.

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Adventures in a balloon

January 2, 2022

In today’s (1/2/22) Bizarro, the Old Balloon Peddler hawks his wares in the park:


(#1) And thought balloons too! Take a word or thought ride in one of these sturdy inflatable delights (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

The Magical Adventure Balloon Ride
— a private basket adventure exclusively for thrill seekers

He gives the kids free samples
Because he knows full well
That today’s young innocent faces
Will be tomorrow’s clientele

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Christmas Eve mussels

December 29, 2021

Warning in advance: this posting will turn to discussions of genitals, mostly female, with symbolic and schematic representations, so it won’t be comfortable for everyone.

But it starts with a culinary celebration of the holiday season, Owen Campbell’s Facebook posting of course 3 of Christmas Eve dinner at his house:


(#1) Seafood moments: mussels here — and then oysters (courses 2 and 4), plus mushrooms stuffed with crab

Why all this seafood? Because it was Christmas Eve, and though Owen and his husband are in wintry Winnipeg and not sunny Sicily (where the seafood is a component of La Vigilia), bivalves and crustaceans are still appropriate for anticipating the arrival of the Child.

So, first: about the Seven Fishes (with fish ‘seafood’). Then specifically about mussels, as food. And then more about mussels, as symbols of the female genitalia (where we will encounter an instructive anatomical diagram cheerily entitled “Meet the Vulva” — note warning above).

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How much myrrh can one man use?

December 23, 2021

(for Christmas Eve Eve)

Not to mention frankincense. The gold can at least be traded for useful supplies, but otherwise it’s bulky and heavy and of little utility to carpenters, shepherds, and fishermen, not to mention itinerant prophets.

All this by way of introduction to today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon in which one such itinerant prophet, Jehoshua (known as Josh to his roadies), is unburdening himself to his therapist, unloading his disgruntlement at  being shortchanged in the birthday gift department because he was born on Christmas:


(#1) Yeshua, That’s My Baby (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 in this strip — see this Page.)

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Pop culture projections

November 18, 2021

In yesterday’s Zippy strip, Rorschach inkblots act as springs releasing elaborate pop culture fantasies from our Pinhead’s imagination:


(1) Dolly Parton appears in the second panel and pretty much takes over; the reference in panel 3 is to Parton’s song “Jolene”

The Rorschach inkblot projective tests have appeared on this blog twice before, both times in Bizarro cartoons. (I sense a theme here.)

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Line 1, doctor, that crazy coconut again

November 17, 2021

And the doctor said to her — everybody join in! — “Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up”.

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro Desert Island cartoon, with Wayno’s title “Coco Loco”:


(#1) The terrible toll of isolation (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

The extraordinarily versatile coconut — the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) — pressed into service as a telephone receiver for a desperate and deranged castaway.

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Men in the air

October 23, 2021

… with showers, gusty winds, and some concomitant masculine property damage, between 2 and 3 p.m., likely tapering off within an hour or two. Then this Karl Stevens cartoon from the 10/25 New Yorker:


(#1) “It’s raining men, every specimen /  Tall, blonde, dark and lean / Rough and tough and strong and mean”

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