Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Picking the Weeds

One person's weed is another person's wild flower.

Let's dig up all those weeds and build condos.

There once was a famous Ukrainian operatic bass named Alexander Kipnis. He was born into a poor Jewish family in 1891. He got his early musical training singing in the synagogues of Europe. He eventually came to America where he was a featured singer with the Chicago Opera, making his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1940. He was a world class singer.

I worked for a short time at a classical music station in New York. The station owned some very rare recordings that Kipnis had made in Europe. They were old recordings which had made it out of Russia and had been through a lot of rough treatment. They were scratchy, but that magnificent voice was clear. One day I was playing one of the records on the air. The music director had scheduled one of the Kipnis arias for my program.

A short time earlier the station had hired a new general manager. He came into the studio while the record was playing, leaned over to look at it as it was spinning on the turntable, remarked at how scratchy it was and said "That one will have to go."

It was the kind of remark that makes one want to sneak the records away and hide them in a vault somewhere where a man like that couldn't get his hands on them.

Fortunately many of those old records have been cleaned up, remastered and are now on disks. But what about the magnificent old buildings that have been torn down and replaced by aluminum and glass monsters? One day, before anyone realized it, they took down the old Metropolitan Opera House, where Kipnis and many other great artists had sung. True it was an old building and true they have built a newer one, quite majestic in its way, but the gold curtain, the beautiful sculptured balconies and the glorious chandeliers were left lying on the ground for the wreckers to come and take away. Opera lovers in New York were going through that mess trying to salvage as much as they could before it was gone. I don't know what is in that location now but whatever it is is not remarkable.

They also took down the beautiful Penn Station and replaced it with a very pragmatic one which is basically the back door of Madison Square Garden.

They were about to take down that marvel, Grand Central Station, but the lessons had been learned and instead they cleaned it up and reopened whole sections of it that had been closed. And there it sits in its great beauty.

Things change, progress happens, life goes on and the condos must be built. But we should never forget about the little girl out in the field collecting wild flowers for her mom.

DB - The Vagabond

Who are the 2 (two) most important people alive today? Why?

I'll go with President Obama being one of them. He is trying to change things in this country to make it more equitable for all. He definitely is a transformative presence, and we shall see if he succeeds in more of his efforts. He's actually accomplished quite a bit so far...but there is still much to be done. He has done much to repair our reputation and standing around the world.
I'll give the other one to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is a religious fundamentalist who is a Holocaust denier and says there are no homosexuals in Iran. He is on the verge of having a nuclear bomb, and I feel he poses a very big threat to a peaceful existence.
There are other big players, of course, including Stephen Hawking, various medical researchers...but as far as global importance, I'm good with my choices.
2 Most Important People. Hmmm. Angela Merkel because Germany's form of capitalism will survive (ours, doubtful)and she's got a good grasp of the model. Hu Jintao, China, because their state-run version of capitalism is positioned to ride this global recession.
Cindy and me. The reason is obvious.
1. Barack Obama
While he's becoming less important with each passing day of his presidency, he is undoubtedly the most important person alive now because of what he could accomplish if he really started to use his intellect and make the obvious decisions regarding putting America and the world back on the right path.
Decision #1: Admit he made a mistake regarding his current Iraq/Afghanistan policy and then unilaterally declare victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring the troops home ASAP (i.e. everyone out of there by January 1, 2011).
Decision #2: Admit that "Obamacare" as it was passed by Congress is a confusing mess that doesn't immediately address the sky-rocketing cost of health care in America and introduce a voluntary, single-payer, federally run "Medicare for All" along the lines of what I sent to you, Dana, in August 2009 to you review.*
There are many other decisions Obama could make immediately that would revive his failing presidency but he has to lead first, forget about bipartisanship and building consensus and listening to everyone’s opinion, and just tell the citizens and the Democrats in Congress: “This is what I want to accomplish in the remaining two and ½ years of my term. Are you with me or not?”
2. Hu Jintao
“Hu's political philosophy is summarily described as aiming to found a basis for Harmonious Society domestically and for Peaceful Development internationally, the former generated by a Scientific Development Concept, which seeks integrated solutions to tackle China's various economic, environmental and social problems.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Dana, China is now the most powerful nation in the world economically. Whoever leads China has to be my second choice.

Me and you.
Q. Who are the 2 (two) most important people alive today?
A. You and me.
Q. Why?
A. For this question to be asked and answered it requires two people who are willing to listen to each other.
The two most important people alive today in my minds eye are:
1. Myself, for without myself there would be no one else alive that I could choose as my second choice. You must believe in one's self before you can believe in anyone else and feel they are the most important people in the world. So indeed I feel I am most important to my inner self and whom I project to others.
2. Our Lord is the most imporant person alive today, as he lives in the hearts and souls of many in this world today. Without Our Lord, there would be no world and no Trees R Green and indeed no Db to ask the question that I am answering today.
Thank you for your quizzes and your questions and for you and your blog. God bless, Db.
you & I
Thank you all.
Don't miss the AUTUMN QUESTION beginning tomorrow.


pacifica62 said...

I guess you know you are getting older when you appreciate the beauty and history of these old places. Sentimentality will rarely stop "progress" and the younger generation demands and gets new and better facilities. The days of collecting wildflowers out in the field are long gone in most places and certainly in the big cities. All we are left with is memories.

Liz said...

I wait for an explanation from the gardener that deemed this weed sufficient to flower in his garden.

Big Mark 243 said...

Man is the most temporary being on this planet. He has the shortest memory of all and the lessons of history mean little to him.

That is one way to look at it.

Life moves on and as much beauty or creativity of one generation creations my have, it still must give way to the progress of another.

Though I am not familiar with Kipnis, I am wondering if the Director was as well. Should he have been? I think of the great atheltic feats that have been covered and obscured by time... does one's ignorance and underappreciation makes one a 'savage'? Or does it mean that what was once considered great has now lost it luster and history remembers it only as 'good', Mozart v. Saleri.

I am jus' sayin'...