by Unknown | 12/06/2008 04:04:00 PM
Oxford University Press' OUPBlog, one of the better of the academic press blogs (the best in my opinion is Britannica Blog), has a good post by Donald Ritchie on what presidential transitions were like back when they took four months instead of two.

The Wild, Wild Left is starting an internet radio show in the new year. Possible future call-in guests/guest hosts include yours truly.

Pursuant to discussions about the short head/long tail in the history blogosphere, I'd like to start featuring some lesser-known blogs in this space. If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail, and I'll link to your blog in a future Open Thread.

Finally, a vignette I first noted elsewhere (here in slightly expanded form):

True story: in the midst of the Bolero craze, a Hollywood production company actually purchased the rights to Bolero from Ravel for a substantial sum. At some point after that, the hapless agents realized they had bought film rights to a piece of music with no words, no program, and no point. (At the premiere, Ravel had hid in the shadows with a friend while a society matron rumbled past shouting, "The man who wrote that must be crazy!" Smiling, Ravel had turned to his friend and said, "She understands.")

Undaunted, Paramount Pictures went ahead and made it into a movie anyway — a movie that had nothing to do with the actual piece Bolero, except that Ravel’s magnum opus played during the main title sequence.

What's on your mind?

[Update] Forgot to mention this: December 10 is Day Without a Gay, a national one day boycott/work stoppage in protest of Prop. 8 and other anti-gay ballot measures. I can't cut my class on that day, but I'm going to do my damnedest to fulfill the other part of the protest and not buy anything or spend any money.




Blogger mark on 12/07/2008 1:05 PM:

"Ravel had hid in the shadows with a friend while a society matron rumbled past shouting, "The man who wrote that must be crazy!" Smiling, Ravel had turned to his friend and said, "She understands.")"

I am familiar neither with Bolero nor Ravel but from the anecdote I suspect genius.


Blogger Unknown on 12/07/2008 5:06 PM:

You suspect correctly:


Blogger Ahistoricality on 12/07/2008 7:28 PM:

I heard, at one point, that Bolero was written on a dare, to prove that he could write a piece that just had one melodic theme over and over. Wikipedia claims that it was his idea, actually, and it was intended as a sort of industrial ballet. It is a very modern piece of music, kind of a precursor to Philip Glass, but with much more emotion.

One of our prized possessions (we're easy to please) was a Public Radio premium we got a few years back: Ravel's Greatest Hit, ten different renditions of the piece, from the straight orchestral to piano solo, percussion, Bennie Goodman, electronica, etc. I'm kind of partial to the piano four-hands version, and the orthodox fourteen minute orchestral, myself. That reminds me: I need to reload my music player....

It's the calm before the storm. For the next three days, my students will be working furiously while I knock about answering emails and contemplating my career. Then, for the next week, I will be grading vociferously while they study frantically; then, for a half-week or so, I will be grinding through the grading while they toddle off home, free from academic labor until mid-January. I am scheduled to leave for home mere hours after my final grades are due, so I don't even get the privilege of collapse, nor even my traditional post-grading beer (until all the driving's done, anyway). Then I get to spend the break, when not making merry with family, prepping for class, catching up on reading and -- gasp! -- writing, and figuring out how to cast my academic adventures this year in my Annual Report. The start of next semester will be something of a relief....


Blogger Unknown on 12/09/2008 5:26 PM:

If you're interested in the ongoing saga of ENERGIZE Clinton County, my latest diary, complete with donation links, is here.