Various Thoughts About My Work
(and a few other things)
by Bruce Duffie
First posted in March, 2017, with additions
from time to time
On editing my interviews...
As you may or may not be aware, my full-time
employment from 1975-2001 was with WNIB, Classical 97
in Chicago. Except for four hours overnight
during the week, and four hours on Saturday afternoons,
the programming was exclusively classical music
in its great variety. In addition to my regular duties
as announcer, I also gathered interviews with various
musicians for use both on the air and in selected magazines
and journals. In all (through about 2005), I did over
1600 exclusive interviews. A few guests I met twice,
and very rarely even more times. While
it was not the original intent of the management to include
atonal or cutting-edge repertoire, I was able to add that
material on my weekend overnight shifts, and part of those programs
were the interviews with composers and performers of new
Preparing and presenting these interviews on
webpages is very different from editing sections
for use on the radio. What sounds good to the
ear may not look good to the eye. Hence, various
changes need to be made in order for the resulting impact
to be virtually the same.
Let me state here that it is my purpose and
duty to render the thoughts and ideas of my guests
as completely and accurately as possible. It
is also my feeling that I should make the guests look
good. I have a genuine interest and overwhelming
love of my subject, and always tried to solicit ideas
from my guests in response to my own inquires and
proddings. Occasionally, I would ask a question which
was purposely ambiguous in order to allow the guest to
have the freedom to answer in whatever way he or she chose.
This would, however, come after at least a few questions which
would indicate to the guest that I, as the interviewer, knew
what I was talking about, and that I was interested in knowing
what they had to say.
As to the actual editing, when doing it for the
radio, I would always try to select sections that
showed my guest to their best advantage. I would
also make sure to end the section on a positive note.
Let me inject here that when WNIB was going
off the air on its final day, I chose an opera that
ended with a positive sound in a major key
— and the final piece of music at 12 Midnight
— Lyric for Strings by George Walker
— was also a chosen because
of its aural impression, and
the fact that it ended quietly in a major key.
My first thought was to use Adagio for Strings by
Barber, but that piece was so associated with the
movie Platoon and other works
and dates, that I desired something more unique
and somewhat unknown with the same feeling. To read
more about the final broadcast, click HERE.
When editing the spoken words for visual (print)
use, certain mannerisms and repetitions become really
annoying, and when something is annoying, it
detracts from the overall impact. So the phrases
‘you know’ and ‘I think’, and
the interjection ‘well’ were
almost always dropped. I also usually removed the
phrases ‘kind of’ and ‘sort
of’ in most instances since they diminished the thought
and derailed the impact. My guests were
strong and vibrant, and there was no reason to veil them in
any kind of namby-pamby cloak. In speech, sentences would
often begin with the word ‘and’, so I would either
drop the word, or simply connect the thoughts into one sentence.
Parenthetical material, which is meant to amplify or clarify
ideas, makes for tricky reading, so I would often re-order
the sentence to get the thoughts together.
I hope you notice that in all of the instances
I never changed any ideas of my guests, nor did
I put words into their mouths. Their thoughts are
what has come through... at least that has always been
my hope, and what I strive to accomplish. On the
rare occasion that my guest would not answer my question
directly — or at all! — I would change
my question in the print edition so that my guests could
answer in the way they saw fit. If there were
any digressions or extraneous portions, those were usually
omitted, and any glaring errors were either fixed or explained.
Again, those instances were very rare.
I did change English-English to American-English,
but mostly only in spelling. ‘Labour’
and references to a group became singular rather
than plural. ‘The audience don’t
care’ became ‘The audience
doesn’t care’. This adjustment, by the
way, is only in the text of the interviews. The biographical
boxes and reprints of obituaries were almost always left
People whose first language is not English
will often become quite proficient with English
vocabulary, but will continue to use their original
structure patterns. Whereas in English we put
the modifiers first — a lovely blue sky
— others might speak about ‘a
sky blue lovely’. Those
quirks have often been fixed, though not in every instance.
It always was my intention to present these
conversations as something to learn from and
enjoy. The transcripts are not of the ‘legal
stenographic’ kind. My guests
were not on trial. I was a guest at their concert
venue or in their hotel, or they were guests in my home
or studio. I always treated them with kindness and
respect, and allowed them to express themselves without
fear of any kind of accusation or derision.
It is special to be able to do it at all, but
I have managed to do it quite well in both the
audio medium and the printed renditions.
Not to toot my own horn, but most people seem to think
I am pretty good at both. I have found it necessary
to look not only at the big, overall picture, but also
the smallest details. I’m sure there
is nothing new or extraordinary about this, but keeping that
in my mind as I edit goes a long way to strengthening the impact
of each interview.
I know these interviews
are generally long, but they are what I have,
and I want to share what is there. In a radio
broadcast, people have to sit there until it is over...
or go away and miss whatever comes next. On
the printed page, readers can interrupt their journey
and (hopefully) come back at some point to pick it up again
without missing a beat.
Occasionally I will update the pages with new
photos and links. So even though a date
at the bottom might indicate the page was uploaded
before others, that is why later interview links can
appear. I do not do this chore very often, so there
may be links which could be on a page, but are not.
However, as long as there is the possibility of additions
or corrections, things might get improved!
On that thought, it always pleases me to be able
to include links to other interviews within each
new one that is posted. In most cases, these are
names that are brought up by the guest, or appear in
the biographies or obituaries. Only occasionally
have I introduced them in the course of asking questions,
and in each case, the reference was, I hope, relevant
I freely admit to being a cheerleader
for my topic and my guests. This is not
a bad thing since I am not a news gatherer, but rather
a feature reporter. Because my interviews were Features
rather than News, some of the basic rules and formats did
not apply. For instance, the old adage for news
gathering is to ask these questions: who, what, where,
when, why, how, huh? That last one (which I have added)
is usually where I got the best and most interesting responses.
[A brief related addition, posted
on November 5, 2019] Regarding my webpages, several
times I have received requests to place advertisements.
In all cases I have declined, and despite my tight financial
situation, I hope to be able to continue to say a resounding
“NO!” to any
and all inquiries of that sort.
= = = = = = = = = = =
The following list appears on a couple of the
interview pages, but since people continue to
ask, here is the answer . . .
I have done interviews with several
musicians who were born in the Nineteenth Century.
My guest with the earliest birth-date (March
10, 1892) was soprano Dame Eva Turner.
However, composer John Donald Robb
(June 12, 1892), though three months younger than
Turner, was nearly two years older at the time of
our conversation. Hence, a clarification is needed
when I am asked who my oldest guest was! Next in
birth-order is composer Paul Amadeus Pisk (May
16, 1893), followed by composer/pianist Leo Ornstein (December
2, 1893), and lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky (April
27, 1894). Then comes mezzo-soprano
(May 2, 1896), composer/critic Virgil
Thomson (November 25, 1896), and composer Vittorio Rieti (January
28, 1898). The order continues
with composer/pianist Ernst Bacon (May
26, 1898), followed by composer Marcel Dick (August
28, 1898), conductor Werner Janssen (June
1, 1899), and composer Alfred Eisenstein
(November 14, 1899). The remaining
four are composers Elinor Remick Warren
(February 23, 1900), Otto Luening (June
15, 1900), and Ernst Krenek
(August 23, 1900), and finally publisher Hans Heinsheimer (September
The rest of my guests were born in the Twentieth
Century. Perhaps, if I have the opportunity,
I might interview someone born after January 1, 2001,
and thus have conversations with people born in three
different centuries and two different millennia!
Though there is no clerical error involved, and it is
not my intent to pad my statistics, somehow the film Mr. 3000 comes to mind.....
= = = = = = = = = = =
Many of my guests are mostly or completely unknown,
and in an odd way, that pleases me very much.
If someone who is little-known becomes more-known through
my efforts, then I have succeeded in bringing forth
something special to the composite knowledge of mankind.
A lofty statement, certainly, but when one thinks about it,
each of us is asked to push our tiny segment forward, and my
task seems to have been to enrich the musical world through discovery
of interesting items. Yes, I have also presented some
of the best-known and most popular figures, but, as John von Rhein
mentioned in a Tribune
article about the station, he admired my collection of ‘oddball’
composers and performers. Many times, after
doing a program featuring one of them, I would get a
call or two asking why this person was not better-known.
The callers would remark to the effect that the music
or performing artistry just presented could certainly stand
up against the output of the well-knowns.
Editing these interviews from a quarter-century
ago or more, I often find interesting sidelights
and tidbits that either amplify ongoing ideas,
or give new insight into little-explored or un-spotlighted
areas of the subject. It is truly amazing that
these thoughts would be found in the most remote places
and come from such unlikely sources. This is why I
do what I do, and I hope that others both enjoy and are enlightened
by it all.
= = = = = = = = = = =
Despite the fact that my early exposure to great
music was on radio (mostly WEFM, the station sponsored
by Zenith in Chicago), and that I built up a
huge collection of recordings on LP and open reel tape,
and that I made my living at another station (WNIB, Classical
97, also in Chicago), I maintain — and
have said openly many times — that
the real place to hear great music is live in a concert hall
or opera house. The collision of these two worlds becomes
the so-called ‘pirated’
performances. Usually operas, these gained
wide circulation amongst the cognoscenti, and in
my teens and twenties I found a number of people who traded
copies of various things with me. However, once I
became a professional radio announcer, I was very careful
NOT to use any of this material on the air. First of
all, the sound quality was often poor, and even though those of
us who obtained these performances understood this, the
casual listener would not be expected to be aware of the reason(s)
for presenting something in poor sound. Besides that,
broadcast rights were very tricky, and I did not want to involve
the station in anything which could have caused legal problems.
It is a thorny issue, and the musicians I have spoken with have
not come to any kind of consensus about it. Many of them
collect copies — not just of themselves
but of others, both past and current — even
while decrying their use and existence! I remember specifically
one top record executive remarking on the Texaco Opera Quiz
that he does, indeed, collect them, but would immediately bring
suit against anyone who tried to distribute copies of one of the
artists on his label!
These days, though I am not involved in the
day-to-day broadcasting activities, I am posting
interviews with my guests and illustrating the webpages
with photos of the artists and their recordings.
I find things on the internet, but try not to use
any copyrighted material, and I eschew the placement
of images of pirated recordings on my sites. The
commercial recordings are fair game, especially since I
am giving them free publicity, but usually not the broadcasts
and in-house items which seem to abound.
= = = = = = = = = = =
A few random thoughts.............
Whoever named the Butterfly committed a spoonerism.
I think that every time I see one flutter
by, no matter what the articles on its etymology
Technically, I was born in Elmhurst, Illinois,
on March 11, 1951. My mother’s
doctor was at Elmhurst Hospital, so that is where
she went to deliver me. My father, however, always
insisted I was born in Evanston, since that is where
we lived at the time. With the myriad suburbs surrounding
most major and minor cities, I wonder how often
this kind of thing happens... It is pleasing to
me that I am exactly — to the day
— 100 years younger than Rigoletto. Another Verdi
opera, Don Carlos
also had its premiere on March 11, but in a later year
(1867). I also share that date with composer
Carl Ruggles (1876) , and band leader Lawrence Welk
(1903). A quick Google search just now also revealed
many others, including Shemp Howard (1895). [Related
story... I met Michael Fine when he was producing one
of the recordings made by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
I inquired if he was related to Vivian Fine, whom I
had interviewed. He said no. I then asked if he was related
to Irving Fine, another composer, and he said no. Finally, I asked
if he was related to Burton Fine, principal violist of the Boston
Symphony. Once more, the answer was no. He
then volunteered that he was related to Larry Fine of
the Three Stooges.] More March 11 birthdays...
Astor Piazzola (1921), Mercer Ellington (1919), and Henry
Cowell (1897). When I interviewed Geraldine Decker,
we had a great laugh that she, also, was born on March 11 (1931).
They left out the letter ‘D’
from the name Arizona. I’ve
never been there, but I know it’s quite
arid in the South West...
There are three major musical works in three
different languages, all of which the public quite
often mistakenly adds the word ‘the’
before the name. To wit: Messiah, Pagliacci, and Winterreise. Each one is named
as just shown, NOT The Messiah,
nor I Pagliacci, nor Die Winterreise. [Note that the
title of the TV Game Show Match Game also lacks the article.
More about that program later on this webpage.]
What is with this overwhelming compulsion to
cite the excrement of the male cow?
English is not the easiest of languages… It can be
understood through tough thorough thought though.
General observation... Regarding professional sports, we,
in the Twenty-First Century are just like the Ancients.
delight when our city’s hired gladiators
defeat any other city’s hired gladiators.
= = = = = = = = = = =
[September 1, 2017] While there have always
been doomsayers and other prophets predicting
the end of time, in the past twenty years, there have
been three distinct events which many people truly believed
signaled the End of Days. Obviously, they were
wrong, but it is interesting to make note of them...
(1) Y2K. In anticipation of the numbered-year
leaving the 1900s and moving to the
2000s, the hue and cry was heard all over the
world that the computer systems could not handle that
change, and all our electric and electronic grids would
fail, and we would be destroyed. Much time and effort
was put into correcting the problem, which apparently worked.
(2) One version of the Mayan Calendar simply stopped
on December 21, 2012, and many people felt this was to
be the last day of Earth. Another version (which carried
on for many more years) was later discovered, but that did not
seem to prevent a few people from weeping and wailing and gnashing
(3) On November 2, 2016, the Chicago Cubs won the World
= = = = = = = = = = =
[December 26, 2017] A number of people
have asked me about how I selected which interviews
would be used on the air, and when they would be
presented. These days, on the WNUR series
— and also on the late (and hopefully lamented)
series on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio
— there really is no rhyme nor reason for selection.
Programs were prepared, and now the ones which exist
are simply repeated after two or three years, and usually
in a different month. HOWEVER, in my quater-century
at WNIB, I was very careful and rather ingenious about
timing. Fairly early on, I stumbled onto the use of ‘round
birthdays’. This simply meant that when a composer or
performer had a ‘round birthday’
— 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, etc. — they got a show.
Every five years each one would come up, and a few of
the early interviews aired several times. These programs
were in addition to any promotional use — such
as when one of their works was being presented in live performance
in the Chicago area, or in conjunction with a new recording. The
advantages of this system meant I did not have agonize over who
had been done and who might be neglected, and so forth. It
also was completely color-blind and gender-blind. There
are only 366 possibilities, and everyone has one whether they
like it or not. It also suited my style, in that I celebrated
life and not death. Yes, I mourned and eulogized my guests
when they passed away, but I did not, thereafter, mark their dates
of death with special progams.
What brings all this to mind is a brief article
in the newspaper, which is reproduced at right. Since
I am not doing fresh interviews any more, I wondered
just how well I did during the time I was gathering them,
from 1978-2006. So, I counted up just the composers,
and of the 496 names, 62 are women (12.5%), and 15 or 16 are
African-American (approximately 3%). The discrepency
is a man named Roque
Cordero. He was included in the series of recordings
of music by Black Composers issued on Columbia LPs,
but in our interview he told me quite forcefully that he did
not like that label. He insisted he was Panamanian, not
black. There are probably others — both in general
and on my list — who dislike or even disown one
category or another, but that is for another discussion. As
to other minorities, I cannot accurately compute them for various
reasons. First, I am often unaware of their background.
A name might come from a few generations back, or perhaps
have been lost or changed through marriage or assimilation.
Further, I have met a number of composers who belong to countries
other than America. How should I count them? Are they
to be lumped into a vague category of Minority-Citizens? Then,
to discount the entire exercise, it is not my desire nor intent
(nor responsibilty!) to ascertain any kind of pedigree. My
interest is their music, and their ideas about its creation and
presentation. Beyond that, I truly do not care. Their race
or sexual orientation or any other factors are not my concern. As
long as they are part of the Classical Music community, I accept
them as such, and will give them their shot (as I like to say). In
truth, I consider all these kinds of labels both insulting and unnecessary.
We are all people, citizens, musicians, etc. Naturally,
I do not want to purposely include or exclude anyone, and without really
paying much specific attention to the matter, I think I have been rather
fair and equitable. Looking at the numbers mentioned above,
I assume that this percentage also holds for the performers... though
the women will have a higher resulting-number since they account
for nearly all of the sopranos and mezzos! As to conductors
— which are even more neglectful of the distaff side
— there are 14 women in my group of 224 interview
guests, which is 6.25%, plus six African-Americans.
= = = = = = = = = = =
[January 6, 2018] During this Holiday
Season, I was listening to some old favorites,
including The Typewriter, a novelty piece by
Leroy Anderson. It occurred to me that it might not
be too many years until that device, which was once ubiquitous,
would not be even recognized by most of the populace. In
musical terms, it would be like mentioning the Ophicleide
or the Serpent...
Just a note regarding soft timbre... Throughout
musical history, usually the brighter and louder
instruments have won the battle. However, the actual
idea of being ‘loud’
is, ironically, soft-pedaled! There are
two significant instances where the idea (and nomenclature)
of being ‘loud’
was dropped. One of the early hammer-struck keyboard
instruments was the ‘fortepiano’
or the ‘pianoforte’. Forte
means loud, and piano means soft, so it
was literally the ‘loudsoft’ or the ‘softloud’,
indicating its ability to be both, contrasting to
the plucked-instruments such as the harpsichord
and the virginal. Quickly, the name was
abbreviated to simply ‘piano’,
as we know the instrument today. So, the
idea of being ‘loud’ was dropped.
The same thing happened to the box which actually
turns electrical signals into sound, namely the ‘loudspeaker’.
We all know it as a ‘speaker’,
which, again, drops the idea of being loud. [You
may insert here any and all puns involving the word
= = = = = = = = = = =
On the subject of things that are obsolete,
I have wondered for a long time if the slide rule
was the object which went the fastest from being absolutely
necessary to being completely useless. Everyone
who did any kind of mathematical computation needed one, and
relied on it in every instance. But as soon as the electronic
hand-held calculator came out, the slide rule was immediately
pushed aside, never to return to any kind of use... except
as a relic of a bygone age.
Of course, we can always look back even farther
in time to the abacus . . .
Chinese type (5 plus 2) above; Japanese type
(4 plus 1) below
Noting the two different systems shown, today,
one might think of the rivalry between Mac and
PC, and realize that such dualities have existed for
centuries. Recently, there was the debate between
VHS and Beta video tape systems, between 45 rpm and 33
rpm records in the late 1940s, and cylinders vs. lateral-cut
78 rpm discs at the turn of the Twentieth Century. There
was no real problem with the introduction of electrical
recordings in 1925, since reproducers in the home could
accommodate both. The only real need for new equipment
was at the production end, and the record companies invested
in the new system. The same could not be said for the
introduction of stereo in the mid-1950s. There, the home
consumer had to be persuaded to purchase new equipment, and this was
not even a decade after everyone had to abandon their 78 machines
in favor of the LP players. A similar upheaval in the music industry
was seen with the advent of cassettes and CDs.
A story I heard many years ago (and have repeated
in the hopes it was mostly or completely true) involves
the size and playing-time of the compact disc. It
seems that one of the people who were calling the shots
at the time of its creation was a Japanese man who knew
that his countrymen simply adored the Beethoven Symphony #9.
So, to accommodate that piece of music, the CD needed
to hold about 74 minutes of sound. The story may or
may not be true, but it makes a good legend, and I simply choose
to believe it.
[August 31, 2019, and inserted
here to keep the topics together] Thinking again
of 78s, here's the famous image of our old friend Nipper,
and a couple of tidbits about its origins . . . . .
[February 3, 2020, and inserted here to (again) keep
the topics together] I just ran across an interesting
article about the latest in sound reproduction. It is reproduced
His Master's Voice
(HMV) is a famous trademark in the recording
industry, and was the unofficial name of a major British
The trademark image comes
from a painting by English artist Francis Barraud titled
His Master's Voice. It was acquired from the artist
in 1899 by the newly formed Gramophone Company, and adopted
as a trademark by the Gramophone Company's United States affiliate,
the Victor Talking Machine Company. According to contemporary
Gramophone Company publicity material, the dog, a terrier named
Nipper, had originally belonged to Barraud's brother, Mark.
When Mark Barraud died, Francis inherited Nipper, along with a cylinder
phonograph and recordings of Mark's voice. Francis noted the peculiar
interest that the dog took in the recorded voice of his late master
emanating from the horn, and conceived the idea of committing the
scene to canvas. The incident took place at 92 Bold Street, Liverpool.
A different source relates
a cautionary tale for artists about getting and keeping
the copyright for art...
When Barraud painted Nipper
curiously searching for his master's voice in the
phonograph's horn, not only was the artist turned down for
a copyright for the image, but he was also rejected by the Royal
Academy, and various magazines. The Edison Bell company responded
that "dogs don’t listen to phonographs."
Barraud eventually sold
another painting, with a Berliner brass horn, to
one of the company's managers, where it caught the eye of
the Emile Berliner, the company's founder, who commissioned another
copy AND bought the rights to it! The famous image went on to
become the trakemark of the Victor Talking Machine Co. Victor
was Berliner's partner, and the image ultimately survived Victor's
merger with RCA in 1929. It was printed on record labels, letterheads,
novelties, and catalogues for decades, but Barraud, the original
artist, only received two payments of £50 each.
Here are a few more details
about the dog, and the original painting (shown below,
which depicted a cylinder machine, and not the flat-disc
machine we all know)...
Nipper was born
in 1884 in Bristol, England, and died in September 1895.
He was a mixed-breed dog and probably part Jack Russell
Terrier, although some sources suggest that he was a Smooth
Fox Terrier, or "part Bull Terrier". He was named Nipper
because he would "nip" the backs of visitors' legs.
Nipper originally lived
with his owner, Mark Henry Barraud, in the Prince's
Theatre where Barraud was a scenery designer. When Barraud
died in 1887, his brothers Philip and Francis took care of the
dog. Nipper himself died of natural causes in 1895 and was buried
in Kingston upon Thames in Clarence Street, in a small park surrounded
by magnolia trees. As time progressed the area was built upon,
and a branch of Lloyds Bank now occupies the site. On the wall
of the bank, just inside the entrance, a brass plaque commemorates
the terrier that lies beneath the building. On 10 March
2010, a small road near to the dog's resting place in Kingston upon
Thames was named Nipper Alley in commemoration of this resident.
In 1898, three years after
Nipper's death, Francis Barraud, his last owner and
brother of his first owner, painted a picture of Nipper listening
intently to a wind-up Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph. Thinking
the Edison-Bell Company located in New Jersey, USA, might
find it useful, he presented it to James E. Hough, who promptly
said, "Dogs don't listen to phonographs". On May 31, 1899, Barraud
went to the Maiden Lane offices of The Gramophone Company with
the intention of borrowing a brass horn to replace the original
black horn on the painting. Manager William Barry Owen suggested
that if the artist replaced the machine with a Berliner disc gramophone,
that he would buy the painting. The image became the successful
trademark of the Victor and HMV record labels, HMV music stores,
and the Radio Corporation of America, after the acquisition of
the Victor company in 1929. The trademark was registered by Berliner
for use in the United States on July 10, 1900.
Francis Barraud said, "It
is difficult to say how the idea came to me beyond
the fact that it suddenly occurred to me that to have my dog
listening to the phonograph, with an intelligent and rather
puzzled expression, and call it 'His Master's Voice' would make
an excellent subject. We had a phonograph and I often noticed
how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from. It
certainly was the happiest thought I ever had."
The slogan "His Master's
Voice", along with the painting, was sold to The Gramophone
Company for £100 (equivalent to £10,628 in 2018)
– half for the copyright and half for the physical painting itself.
The original oil painting hung in the EMI boardroom in Hayes, Middlesex,
for many years.
The two cartoons below
reflect our 'progress' as we firmly embrace the Twenty-First
Century, and amplify my remarks vis-à-vis the typewriter
. . . . .
[Another observation, from May 11,
2020] Future generations may wonder why something
called a "compact" disc held more material than a "long playing"
[Next is a cartoon from 2017, placed on this page on September 27,
2021] The word for the following item is "retrograde"...
= = = = = = = = = = =
29, 2018] Alert observers might notice that
as of the end of March, 2018, many of the links to my
interviews which appear in Wikipedia articles
have a slightly different format. Specifically,
my name has been removed from the line. For several
years, it was <<<Interview with (name
of guest) by Bruce Duffie, on (date of interview).>>>
Because someone complained that I was spamming,
and felt the only reason for these links was my own
self-promotion, that person urged the removal of all of
these links. A discussion was launched, and several
Administrators weighed in with their opinions. Fortunately,
enough of them saw the importance of the interviews themselves,
and the complainant was admonished to cease the battering,
and even urged to apologize (which did not happen). After
about a week, the discussion was formally closed, and the upshot
was that I removed my name from many of the links, and am not
including it in future postings. However, a number of
the old-style links remain, so there might be a bit of confusion
since they are not uniform. For anyone who cares to read it,
the entire discussion is reproduced HERE.
[Updated information about
the above item] Since I had "corrected" many of
the links (to remove my name), another editor(s) felt this was
wrong, and undid some of those corrections... thus replacing
my name in the link. One editor contacted me about the removals,
and I showed him/her the discussion (linked above). Since
I don't go back to old Wikipedia pages very often, I do not know whether
the changes have been made to a few or many of them. It is unimportant...
as long as the link itself is there, I am satisfied.
= = = = = = = = = = =
3, 2019] In reading some of the comments
about my interviews, a couple people have noted that
a few of my questions tend to pop up with regularity.
While this is certainly true, I do hope that in
each case the inquiries come naturally, and at an appropriate
place in the conversation. I never worked with
a specific list of questions, and always tried to discuss
the specific strengths of each guest. However, since all
were involved in so-called Classical Music, there were bound to
be common points of interest and expertise. To look at it
another way, when you eat at my restaurant, each meal on the menu
will be unique, but many will have some ingredients in common. Since
all are being prepared by myself as chef, there will be some resemblances
and similarities. I hope this does not discourage anyone
from sampling my cuisine.....
It is also interesting to see how various people
respond and react to the same question(s). Continuing
the metaphor, there will certainly be differing opinions
from various people to the same item on my menu. Observing
those reactions should not, necessarily, cause me to
change the recipe. Perhaps having a few condiments on
the table will allow for each person to season the dish to their
own taste, but this can only happen when a certain stability is
built into the process. Once again, my goal with the interviews
is to allow each guest to express their own views, and I trust that
a few similar questions will get a variety of responses.
= = = = = = = = = = =
A few years
ago, I met a fine baritone whom I had known on the
stage for a long time. Warren Fremling has performed
in local and regional productions over the years, and
has had a significant impact each time. Lately, he
has been an invaluable help to me by proofreading my interviews
before they are opened to the public on my website. I
am grateful to him for pointing out not only mistakes (of
which, fortunately, there are few), but also for occasionally
suggesting better ways of expressing the ideas. As
I have mentioned, I never change the focus nor direction of
the words my guests use, but by tightening and sometimes re-gathering
thoughts, their objectives are made more clear to readers. In
several cases, Warren has suggested slight changes which bring
these thoughts into sharper focus, and for that I am eternally
exchanges, he also has provided me with further insights
into the world of professional singing, and his most
recent gift to me was a clear and succinct explanation
of the various voice-types, and how they can be viewed by
experts and novices alike. With his permission, it
is reproduced here...
are two things that decide this. The
first is color. Richness in the middle
voice is revealing. The second, and much more reliable,
is the location of the bridge or passagio. A
mezzo’s bridge is a-kin to a baritone’s. It’s on the
D, a ninth above mid-C (a baritone’s being an octave lower,
obviously). I’ve diagrammed voices according to
their interest and comfort to the listener’s ear – not what
the singer does, but what is natural to the instrument.
A soprano or tenor sound like this: \/ - the bottom is
light and the voice sounds more interesting and easier as the
voice ascends. The mezzo and baritone sound like this:
() – the voice is fattest in the middle. We have some of
the low notes of the contralto/bass and some of the high notes of
the soprano/tenor, but you can’t live there. The middle
is where we’re most at home. The contralto/bass is the
exact opposite of the soprano/tenor – the voice gets fatter and
more beautiful with the descent.
= = = = = = = = = = =
4, 2019] As the the shortest month of the
year rolls around once again, I am reminded of the one word
which I simply gave up trying to pronounce correctly. I
made an effort, but it simply was too awkward to do both
correctly and smoothly at the same time. I could say
Feb-ROO-rary, but it required slowing down the enunciation
to the point where it was simply untenable. [You may
insert any kind of joke here, regarding it not being a ten, or
even a nine, but perhaps a two or three at best...] Imagine,
if you will, a car on the highway, and for some unknown reason
it just slowed to a crawl. It would certainly look strange,
to say nothing about impeding traffic and being hazardous. This
is not to say that an announcer mis-pronouncing a word on the radio
could be hazardous in any way, but you get my drift... So
if any tapes exist of my work where I say the name of the second
month, you will hear a firm and confident FEB-you-air-ee. I
know it is wrong, and I knew it at the time, and I make no excuses.
I am sure I
made other mistakes, and, indeed, I was corrected
on a few occasions. But by and large, I was complimented
by members of the public on my accuracy and stylistic
manners. It was especially nice to hear that I had
pronounced the name of a person or location properly from
someone who was from that particular locale. I want
to say, however, that when someone called to make a correction,
my first task was to ascertain if that person on the telephone
was accurate! There were a few occasions when a caller
would berate me and give a different version of the way to pronounce
a name, and when I checked with a known authority, I found that
my own rendition was correct, and the caller had been wrong. It
reminds me of the sign which famously hung in the City News Bureau
for many years, which screamed, “If your
mother says she loves you, check it out!”
On that particular
subject, I remember one evening when we aired a syndicated
broadcast of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The
announcer (who shall remain nameless) proclaimed the conductor
to be Esa-Pekka Sa-LOH-nehn. Well, I had interviewed the Maestro,
and, as usual, had asked him to do a station break, in
which he said his name. His pronunciation was SAL-oh-nehn.
At some point during the evening, I must have said his
name myself, and pronounced it his way, and immediately
received a phone call screaming at me for my stupidity. “If
the announcer on the Los Angeles Symphony broadcast had
said it one way, that MUST be the accurate way!”
I tried, very calmly, to explain, but the caller simply
slammed the phone down. The next evening, I brought
in my interview tape and played the station break. I have
no idea if that caller from the previous night heard it, but
at least I settled the matter for anyone who was listening . . .
= = = = = = = = = = =
[April 22, 2019]
Consider, if you will, the following scenario...
Bill opens a small restaurant that features Fine
Dining. He is successful, and over the course of
forty-five years, the eatery becomes well-known and highly-respected.
After spending his adult life maintaining this establishment,
he decides to retire. As it happens, the location he
originally chose -- which was, at the time, perfectly good but
not very popular -- had become very desirable. So Bill closed
the restaruant and sold the location to Bonney, who brought in
her own staff and opened a shoe store. It immediately attracted
business, and became very competitive.
Now when one thinks
of the history of the restaurant vis-à-vis
the ongoing story of the shoe store, it should be obvious that
aside from the physical location, there is no connection
whatsoever. Right? Perhaps, the historical
account of each one should have a mention of the other as
being at the same address, but that's certainly all the crossover
interest there would be.
With that in mind,
I ask you to look HERE.
= = = = = = = = = = =
[June 28, 2019]
Following up on my remarks about diversity (above,
with the date of December 26, 2017), much has transpired
in the short time since then. While I do not —
and did not — go into
the political area when conversing with my musical guests,
it has come to my attention that the Music World is, nonetheless,
very much involved in such social matters. For example,
the editorial in Opera Canada of Summer, 2019, discusses
the “central debate about how to keep
the art form relevant for an audience which no longer passively
accepts the racist, misogynist and sexist tropes of yesteryear.”
It goes on to discuss the “challenges faced
by women singers portraying some of the standard repertoire’s
iconic roles... many of which are mired in stereotypes we
find unacceptable in the #MeToo era.”
My reason for bringing
this up is to point out that in several of my interviews
— which date from 1978-2006
— I specifically ask the question of my female
singer guests. To wit: “How
do we keep these Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century characters
relevant to women (and men) today who have gone through world
wars, and social upheavals, and other developments of our
This is not
to just pat myself on the back for being so forward-looking,
but to show that my own curiosity was such that it became
imperative to inquire about these ideas, and to ask how they
resonated with audiences far removed from the original mores
Of course, in the
theater, the production team can (and often does)
re-set the action to a later era, or even to the present
day. That is, again, a discussion for another time
and place, but it does move the ideas in ways that can provoke
or amuse. There is also the need to remember that it
was only in the early Twentieth Century that the classical musical
public abandoned its craving for anything and everything which
was new. Until then, while there were performances of older
pieces, it was the newest and latest symphonies and operas which
were anticipated with genuine eagerness. Once this trend was lost,
the oft-repeated repertoire began to show signs of losing its immediate
contact with concert-goers, and from there it is the famous ‘slippery
In any event, I
just wanted to call attention to my own small attempts
to make inquiry when possible, and to show that my own
feeling is that opera can remain a viable and exciting
living breathing art form.
= = = = = = = = = = =
Music Joke... Question:
What are the names of the Three Bears?
Answer: Smokey Bear, Yogi Bear, Jacques Ibert
Joke... What if we discover that’s
what it really is all about? [Reference: Hokey
Third Music Joke...
Question: What is the voice-range of the
quarter-hour? Answer: People often say,
"It'll be tenor fifteen minutes!"
Fourth Music Joke...
A woman is on trial for beating her husband
to death with his guitars.
The judge asks, “First offender?”
She replies, “No, first a Gibson, then a Fender.”
Musical variation on an old joke...
If Mezzo-Soprano Shirley Verrett
married Tenor George Shirley,
she’d be Shirley Shirley!
= = = = = = = = = = =
[August 29, 2019]
I stumbled upon this item just now, and thought
it would be fun to post it here. For those who do not
read music, or for anyone interested in seeing a nifty connection
between this tune and the main thrust of my website, click HERE.
Lest you think it
is only one or two goofballs at a single establishment
who would make such an error, consider the fact that the
government of the former DDR (East Germany) issued two postage
stamps in 1956 to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of composer
Robert Schumann. They were the same portrait of Schumann,
used for two denominations, but the music in the background was
by Franz Schubert! These are the top two stamps in the illustration
below. Soon, the error was discovered, and a new version
of the stamps (with music by Schumann) was issued, as seen in the
bottom two in the illustration.
There have been other
philatelic mistakes, but most have been caught before
the stamps were available to the public for use as postage.
This is not about printing errors, such as inverted
images, or mistakes in colors or perferations. Rather,
place names have been mis-attributed and people have been
wrongly identified. But those shown below are the only
foul-ups I know which involve music or musicians.
= = = = = = =
= = = =
19, 2019] The following is from an essay about
the (missing?) "A" in Neil Armstrong's famous first statement
when he stepped on the moon, which was posted on the website
"The Conversation" 7/16/19.
When we talk, we formulate a thought, retrieve words from memory
and move our mouths to produce sound. We do this quickly, producing,
in English, around five syllables every second.
The process for listeners is equally complex and speedy. We hear
sounds, which we separate into speech and non-speech information, combine
the speech sounds into words, and determine the
meanings of these words. Again, this happens nearly
instantaneously, and errors rarely occur.
These processes are even more extraordinary when you think more
closely about the properties of speech. Unlike writing, speech doesn’t
have spaces between words. When people speak, there are typically very
few pauses within a sentence.
Yet listeners have little trouble determining word boundaries in
real time. This is because there are little cues – like pitch and rhythm
– that indicate when one word stops and the next begins.
But problems in speech perception can arise when those kinds of cues
are missing, especially when pitch and rhythm are
used for non-linguistic purposes, like in music. This
is one reason why misheard song lyrics – called “mondegreens”
– are common. When singing or rapping, a lot of the speech
cues we usually use are shifted to accommodate the song’s
beat, which can end up jamming our default perception process.
[October 18, 2019] When
I was a teenager in the mid 1960s, I actually did some
work with computers... designing flow charts and writing
code in FORTRAN. The lines were then put onto punch cards,
which then ran through the computer to execute the (very simple)
programs. I didn't stick with it, though, and only came back
to computers via a Memorywriter (a word-processor) which the radio
station had, and used for awhile to publish the WNIB Program Guide
in the late 1980s.
My reason for mentioning this
at all is that some time back then I saw the famous saying
which is reproduced below. Recently I remembered this
saying, and looked it up via a Google search. The many presentations
varied a bit, but had the same basic content. Besides
the signs and posters there was a tee-shirt, a coffee mug, and
even one going so far as to use faux nazi stationery.
In any event, here is one rendition
for your enjoyment.................
In the same Google search, I
spotted the following item, which probably should be
posted in every office................
[March 23, 2021 (yes, a year after the item which follows)]...
This next image actually belongs with both the items above and
= = = = = = = = = = =
[March 24, 2020] During
the coronavirus pandemic, I happened upon this article,
and felt it was significant enough to share. Perhaps it should also
be posted in every office, along with the item shown directly above (about
the rising cost and increase of stupid questions), as an antidote to
the situation . . . . . . . . . (!)
Obviously, there is nothing
funny about the coronavirus, but there is some humor to
be found in the actions of a few individuals . . . . .
[April 22, 2020] Current version
of old joke: Why did the chicken cross the road? To
maintain her social-distancing!
[November 9, 2020, and Covid is still the #1 topic
[April 17, 2021... as it all still drags on] My
local grocery store has gone too far. They’ve put a big X on
the floor to show where to stand in line at the register.
I’ve seen enough Roadrunner cartoons...
I’m not falling for that.
[October 30, 2021] Do we even need Halloween anymore?
I’ve been wearing a mask and eating candy for 14 months…
= = = = = = = = = = =
[June 24, 2020] We owned a Smart Car (shown on
right in the photo) for about five years. It was really very comfortable,
and fun to drive around town. Our other car was a mini-van,
which we used for transporting larger items, and took on longer
road trips. One day, when our Smart Car was parked in
a lot that was full, the owner of the white Smart Car asked if she
could use the ‘other half’
of our space. The result looks as though our cars are kissing!
In the spirit of admonishing a couple who are showing too
much PDA (public display of affection) to “Get
a room!”, a passer-by shouted, “Get a garage!!!”
= = = = = = = = = = =
[September 12, 2020] As
people who have read my interview with Charles
Nelson Reilly know, one of my guilty pleasures is watching
re-runs of Match Game. The ones I like best are from
the 1970s, with host Gene Rayburn, and panelist Richard Dawson, who
was there until 1978. Of course, Reilly was there throughout,
and he truly made the show funny. One of the other regular panelists,
Brett Somers, said that a fan had declared that the program should
really be called Charles Nelson Reilly's House Party, alluding
to another program actually called Art Linkletter's House Party.
One week, Raymond Burr was in the lower-middle position of
the six panelists. My reason for mentioning all of this is that
on one episode that week, there were two questions relating to music!
The first one went something like this... Tough Teddy
said, "Our school was soooooo tough... [audience shouts, "How tough
was it?"] ...it was so tough that the the school orchestra kidnapped
the janitor and put him in the _______." [The panel and contestants
were to fill in the blank at the end of the sentence, and when they matched,
it scored a point for the contestant.] The more popular answer was
"Tuba", given by the contestant and four of the panelists, but Reilly
(and one other panelist) said "Drum". This was what the writers
were going for, since there was a commercial product called "Janitor
in a Drum". The second musical question was, "Pat Pending (!)
invented a juke box for people who hate music. You drop a quarter
in the slot, and it ______s the record." The obvious answer (which
won the game for the contestant) was "breaks" (or smashes).
[November 2, 2020... amazingly this
goes with the Match Game item above!] I continue
to enjoy these re-runs, and now they have added the evening series
Match Game PM. Each week had a stand-alone game which
was edited a bit to get through the entire game in one segment. (The
weekday edition just played for the time allotted, and games spread
over to the next day when necessary - which was most of the time!) Anyway,
there were two music questions in recent PM programs... The first
was "Lawrence _______". The panelists gave Lawrence of Arabia,
and Lawrence Welk, then Reilly chimed in with, "I know this is an old
reference, but Lawrence Tibbett!" Rayburn acknowledged that he
knew of "the famous baritone", and began singing the Toreador Song from
Carmen, but the audience was not impressed. The third response
from the polled audience was Lawrence Olivier. For the record, Lawrence
Welk was chosen by the contestant, and won the top prize. The other
question was more obscure. The question was "_______ foxes." The
panel suggested sly foxes, and, being theater people, Little Foxes
(the play by Lillian Hellman). I don't remember the third choice,
nor which was the winning item. I was engrossed in the fact that
while Somers and Rayburn were trying to remember which actress starred
as Regina on Broadway, and which one was in the film, Reilly screamed,
"AND BRENDA LEWIS STARRED IN THE OPERA REGINA BY MARC BLITZSTEIN."
I was so proud of him at that point. For the record, it was
Tallulah Bankhead on Broadway (1939), and Bette Davis in the film (1941).
The opera premiered in 1949 at the 46th Street Theatre, with Jane Pickens
as Regina, conducted by Maurice Abravanel.
Lewis sang Birdie, but then moved to the title role when the opera
was revived in 1953 at the City Centre Opera.
[December 2, 2020... a couple more related items]
Two more questions come to mind, and both relate to music
in the nude. (!) A well-endowed lady volunteered for the All-Nude
Orchestra. Unfortunately, she played _________. The contestant
responded with Cymbals, and some panelists also said that. But
after all six made their contribution, Rayburn said that his answer
was the Accordion! [Huge laugh from the audience.] On another
episode was this question... A man complains to the conductor
of the All-Nude Marching Band, "I don't mind playing in your ensemble,
but do I have to walk in front of the _________???" Again, the
contestant said Cymbals, but a couple of the panelists said Trombone!
[December 27, 2020... one more item!] This
is from the third version of the program, the Match Game-Hollywood
Squares Hour. This incantation of the program only lasted
one season (October, 1983 - July, 1984). Rayburn returned as
host of the Match Game portions, and Jon Bauman (who had been
Bowzer with Sha Na Na) hosted the Hollywood Squares segment. Bauman
dressed normally, in a suit and tie, with regular hair, not all greased
up. However, he did occasionally refer to his Bowzer character
"from a previous life," and sometimes showed his famous open-mouth fists-in-the-air
pose. Anyway, on one segment, there was this (musical) question:
"When well-endowed Wanda played her accordion, Lady of Spain
became Lady of _______." As it happened, one panelist (Mark
Russell) gave away the punch line by saying that the title became Lady
of Pain, and they had to throw out the question before the contestant
had a chance to respond. For those who are interested, see my interview
with accordionist Robert
On another program, the question was "George was always tired
when he got home from work because he was a ________ salesman." I
don't remember any of the other responses, but Bauman said "Anvil",
and promptly started singing the "Anvil Chorus" from Il Trovatore.
(Remember that Bauman had attended Juilliard!) Rayburn also
joined in, but no one else seemed to respond to their rendition. *sigh*
[January 16, 2021... though the date of my posting is not
really relevant since all the Match Game programs are re-runs
from 45 or more years ago!] Another couple of musical questions...
"George knew his son would be a musician because his head was
shaped like a __________." The contestant said Violin, and the
six panelists said Drum, Grand Piano, Heart - which is an Organ (the
panelist made that clarification!), Triangle, Tuba, and Reilly said
a G-Clef, and drew a very respectable image on his card. The last
panelist (Joyce Bulifant) noted that it was quite an ensemble, and Rayburn
pointed out that there were seven different excellent responses. [The
following was added on November 27, 2021, but placed here for obvious reasons]
On another program, there was a different set of seven responses.
The question was, "Ugly Edna was the center-fold of Musician's Monthly
because her legs looked like a ___________. The contestant said Violin,
and the six celebreties said Baton, Tuba, Piano Legs (Reilly), Cello, Slide
Trombone, and a Pair of Bassoons (Patty Deutsch).
Another question was, "When Joshua wanted to destroy the wall in Jericho,
his trumpet wasn't enough, so he used a _________." The contestant
and one panelist said Tuba, another panelist said Piano, one said Buldozer,
and the other three said Hammer. Rayburn lamented that four of the
six panelists just didn't understand the question! Though there were
no 'right' or 'wrong' answers, he often would gently deride them when there
was one (or more) obvious answer, and the contestant or panelists would
completely miss the joke.
[February 12, 2021] Yet another "Audience Match" question
was, "Bella _______." Dawson rightly said that the audience often
mis-spelled their responses, and that despite his name being Bela,
they might have said "Lugosi," which, indeed was the number-one answer.
Incidentally, other questions on the program often used the character
of Count Dracula, and Rayburn spoke the quote in an accent quite close
to Lugosi's. Again, I forget what the number two response was,
but Reilly's (third position) response was, "Bella figlia dell'amore,"
which is the opening phrase of the Quartet from Rigoletto. Rayburn
then began singing the phrase (correctly). It's just another reason
why I love that show.
[March 21, 2021... yet another one to SPRING up... ! (Sorry
for the pun. I just wanted to SEASON this line.)] Rose phoned
her psychiatrist. She said, "My husband is on the roof! He
thinks he's a ________" The contestant said Cat. Three panelists
said Bird, one panelist said Weather Vane, and another said TV Antenna.
Reilly said FIDDLER ! (Get it? Fiddler on the Roof!)
= = = = = = = = = = =
I am proud to say that a quotation from my interview with Maria
Tallchief was used as the text with the animation in this
To see the video, and read about its creation, click
= = = = = = = = = = =
[December 20, 2020] A couple of images
for the season . . . . . The first one is not new, but does
involve some wonderfully appropriate critters!
On the other hand, it has been a very
tough year . . . . .
= = = = = = = = = = =
The following panel contains two separate jokes.
Do NOT try to make them into one idea. They just happened
to be inspired by the world situation . . . . .
[February 10, 2021] While editing my interview with
my old bassoon teacher Wilbur Simpson, he
said something which led me to find more info about it. To wit: "When
you were a kid, some of the most interesting things that I can remember
real early were when Walter Damrosch was piped into school. We
used to listen to those programs." My research produced the material
shown in the box below...
All of his reminds me of an actual musical chord, concocted by Nicolas Slonimsky,
which he calls The Grandmother Chord (shown immediately below)
From the interview, here is how he explains its derivation...
Technically, it is a mathematical problem because you
have to use all twelve different notes and all eleven different intervals.
It's not so easy; if you start by just trial and error, you won't get anywhere
because you will either repeat a note or repeat an interval! But I
also found that musically it's very easy. Jocularly I say that great
adventures always have very elementary fundamental principles, and this principle
is extremely simple! Using a convergent system of intervallic progression,
the first note of the scale, let's say C, then the last note of the chromatic
scale, B. Then the second note of the chromatic scale, C-sharp and
the one before — the penultimate — B-flat,
then D, A, E-flat, A-flat, E, G, F, F-sharp. So it's convergent, and
when it's expanded [sings, alternating between low and high notes] "da-DAH-dee-DAH-dah-DAH"
and developed throughout seven octaves, then I have my Grandmother Chord.
= = = = = = = = =
Now, ninety years later, what would be the long-term effect
of even a mere five million listeners (and viewers) of similar presentations
on their computers? I hereby "donate" all the interviews which are
posted on my website as research materials to be used as any kind
of compendium or supporting material to a venture such as this.
Walter Johannes Damrosch (January 30, 1862 –
December 22, 1950) was a German-born American conductor and composer.
He is best remembered today as long-time director of the New York
Symphony Orchestra and for conducting the world premiere performances
of George Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F (1925) and An
American in Paris (1928). Damrosch was also instrumental in the
founding of Carnegie Hall. He also conducted the first performance
of Rachmaninov's third piano concerto with Rachmaninov himself as a
Damrosch was the National Broadcasting Company's music
director under David Sarnoff, and from 1928 to 1942, he hosted the
network's Music Appreciation Hour, a popular series
of radio lectures on classic music aimed at students. (The show was
broadcast during school hours, and teachers were provided with textbooks
and worksheets by the network.) According to former New York
Times critic Harold C. Schonberg in his collection Facing
the Music, Damrosch was notorious for making up silly lyrics for
the music he discussed in order to "help" young people appreciate it,
rather than letting the music speak for itself.
= = = = = = = = =
[October 16, 2021] Occasionally, people notice that my name
(DUFFIE) is spelled differently than usual. As a young boy, I asked
my father about it, but he just dismissed it with a shrug and a throw-away
line about an ancestor being a horse-thief. In any event, when heard
and not seen, most people will assume it's DUFFY. That has never bothered
me, except when necessary... like directing people to my website! There,
the name needs to be spelled correctly.
When speaking with composers, or others involved with new music, they
often asked if I was related to John Duffy. A
few even thought I was him! John was a composer himself, who also
founded Meet The Composer in 1974, and ran it until 1996. When John
and I eventually met, I distinctly remember that we both had to carefully
write the other's name when scribbling our contact info. I also interviewed
the violinist Robert MacDuffie, and there is a woman named Duffie Adelson,
who ran the Merit School of Music in Chicago. In college, after we
music students learned about the early Renaissance composer Guillaume Dufay
(or Du Fay, pronounced doo-FYE, or dew-FY, in either case it rhymes with defy)
(1397-1474), I was always called by that name.
What brought all this to my mind recently was watching baseball games
of the Chicago Cubs. (Yes, even after trading away several of their
best players, I will still follow them, as I have since I was a kid.)
After being with other teams, the infielder Matt DUFFY signed with the Cubs
for 2021. It always pleased me to hear the TV announcers say his
name, especially when he hit a home run, or made a spectacular fielding play.
As it happened, there were a couple of Cubs games against the Minnesota
Twins. (They don't play each other very often because they are in
different leagues, but now, with inter-league contests, they do meet every
few years.) Until I happened to hear my family name spoken on the
Twins' roster, I was unaware of pitcher Tyler DUFFEY. Unfortunately,
I didn't pay close enough attention at the time to know if DUFFEY pitched
After the fact, I e-mailed the Cubs to find out, but received no answer.
So, I sent the same e-mail to the Twins. Again, no answer. Finally,
I contacted the Cubs Insider, an unofficial website. Well, you guessed
it, I got no response. That's three strikes, so I'm out. This
is too bad, because it would have been fun to speculate about DUFFIE watching
DUFFEY pitching to DUFFY. Of course, the best would be if I was at
Wrigley Field to catch a homer, or even a foul ball in this situation! *sigh*
Oh well, as they say, "Wait 'til next year . . . . ."
[October 19, 2021] Also regarding names... The Poet and
Peasant Overture by Franz von Suppé is certainly one of the
more popular items on concerts of light music. It's from an 1846
Viennese operetta Dichter und Bauer, to use the original title.
For a long time, my interview with pianist Mischa Dichter has been
posted on this website. Earlier today, I uploaded my conversation
with conductor Harold Bauer.
I just thought it was a nifty happenstance.
= = = = = = = = =
[October 30, 2021] A friend of mine sent me the following
item. It reminds me of Emily Litella, the malaprop character played
by Gilda Radner in the early years of Saturday Night Live.
[November 17, 2021] With all the re-thinking about language
these days, just as we call 8:00 "eight o'clock", perhaps we should call August
is the difference between a thingamajig and a doohickey?
= = = = = = = = =
[November 27, 2021] The cartoon below could have easily been inspired
by my own work-space... *sigh*