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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I mentioned below that the Middle Gel and I are going to a concert this evening.  It’s just a local community orchestra, but I can’t remember the last time I went to a live symphonic performance and am looking forward to it immensely.

The programme is pretty war-horseish, too, consisting of the Overture to Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte,  Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor and Brahms’ Fourth Racket Symphony.  However, I happen to enjoy all of these pieces and it’s good for teh gel to get exposure to them.

As for the Mozart, the use of fugal passages in this – as in many of his other late works – always makes me wonder what direction he would have taken in his development had he lived longer.  Certainly would have changed the face of Western art musick.  (The gel, btw, has noticed that the Kennedy Center is doing the complete opera next spring and has already started lobbying me to take her.  I’m sure this taste will cause that lobbying effort to increase.)

I had a friend in college, a viola player, who used to sneer at Schumann’s orchestral works, insisting that he hadn’t the faintest idea how to write for strings.   I think there’s some merit in this criticism.  I still like this piece, however, in the same way that I like Chopin’s similar attempts:  The lovely keyboard writing in each case makes the relatively poor accompaniments seem, well, rayther touching in a gold-star-for-effort way.

I will be very interested to see how teh gel reacts to the Brahms.  (“Johnny, Johnny, Johnny!”)  I have always loved it myself as being a tragic heavyweight without possessing the slightest bit of twee cloying sentimentality.  On the other hand, I am always reminded of the anecdote about Eduard Hanslick, a Viennese music critic, who remarked of a pre-premiere performance of the first movement arranged for piano four hands:  “Throughout the whole movement I had the impression of two dreadfully intelligent people beating each other up.”

The concert, incidentally, is being billed as an “Oktoberfest”, which really rayther mystifies me.  Of the programme, only the Mozart could really be considered festive (although the final section of the Schumann piece is at least triumphant), and Mozart, of course, was Austrian.    Either I’m missing something subtle or else the organizers didn’t stop to think that one through very carefully.  

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, as of this Friday evening teh buzz on the on-going gub’mint shutdown is that the Establishment GOP has suddenly done a Vichy and is likely to cave very soon.  Personally, I’m shocked.  Shocked!  The practical upshot is that ol’ Robbo probably will get back to work sometime early next week.

Which bring to the fore an interesting grooming issue.

You see, what with the fact that I have spent the better part of the last two weeks loafing about Port Swiller Manor as lazy as one of our cats, I have been less than consistent about shaving.  As a result, at the moment I am sporting a three or four day old beard.  The question is:  If the balloon goes up as I think, do I keep it?

Although, as regular friends of the decanter might know, I’ve often toyed with the idea, I’ve never sported a beard before – a real one, I mean, not just a couple days’ stubble.  Back in my misspent yoot, the follicles didn’t grow thick enough fast enough, and in later years, well, it’s just never really seemed right (i.e., Mrs. R has always kyboshed the idea). 

Yet, when I look at the What Could Be in my mirror, I can’t help thinking that the end result might actually be, well,  rayther handsome.  Sort of academic, don’t you know. 

Then again, teh youngest gel was pointing out most offensively this afternoon how much grey/white there is in teh growth around my chin.   (Interestingly, although there are some grey wisps in my otherwise auburn-ish top, my eyebrows are about 50% grey.  Teh chin seems to follow the latter pattern while the rest of my cheeks go with the former.)  For some reason, she thinks this is funny.  Pff’t.  I’d have thought such coloring would add to a general impression of personal dignity (which, Lord knows, can use all the help it can get).  But like with so many other matters of modern taste, what the heck do I know.

Then there’s the whole grooming aspect, about which I am completely ignorant.  Assuming I don’t want to look like a member of a ZZ Top tribute band,  what exactly am I supposed to do? Common sense says to shave cheeks and throat, leaving a nice, straight growth along the jaw line and under teh nose, but I may be sadly out on this.   And if I do let the durn thing grow out, what am I supposed to do about trimming it?

Well, we shall see.  The Middle Gel and I are attending an orchestral concert Saturday night, and I certainly need to make at least an initial decision before that.  



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October 2013