Monthly Archives: January 2008

Pavarotti and Presley

For some time after the death of Luciano Pavarotti I’ve been thinking about fame and reputation and how it often doesn’t conform to reality. The reaction to the great tenor’s death reminded me of the reactions to the deaths of Elvis Presley and Maria Callas both of which happened close together 30 years before Pavarotti’s…


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Leonard Warren – The Great Verdi Baritone

Before the sound of Leonard Warren’s great baritone fades from living memory, I thought I’d try to recollect the impression he made on me during the 20 or so times I heard him sing at the old Met. Born Leonard Warenoff in 1911, he was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Like his colleague Rubin Ticker,…


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The Amazing Noncollapsing US Health Care System

The above title is from another NEJM article. It’s interesting from a number of perspectives. It admits that medical care is provided to uninsured patients through a network of public and voluntary hospitals, free clinics, etc. It concludes that this safety net has prevented the collapse of the system that many have predicted over the…


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Everything’s Got a Reason, If Only You Can Find It

Also in Commentary For a decade I’ve been a chairman. Last month I got a new ID card that declared I was now a chairperson. Since I believe in the inexorable march of progress I’m sure that this appellationary alteration will serve a noble end even if I’m clueless as to what it might be….


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Physicians and Execution

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has an editorial with the above title. It takes the position that physicians should not participate in executions. This is hardly a surprising view; one which, I suspect, would be that of virtually all doctors in the US. It certainly is mine. So why write a piece in…


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Watermarking: Is It Torture?

“Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks. At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser.” This is how Wired describes watermarking a technique that the record companies may substitute for…


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Parsifal Redux

Some years ago I wrote about my bout with Parsifal. I had become Parsifal positive. I was only exposed once. Most people can listen to Parsifal many times without becoming positive. What bad luck. After years of treatment I licked it and have been Parsifal negative for more than five years. Obviously, I am not…


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Macbeth in HD

In the third HD telecast of this season (January 12, 2008) the Met finally got around to one of opera’s great masterpieces. Unfortunately Macbeth is not performed as often as its worth merits. In fact it wasn’t first performed at the Met until February 5, 1959 with Leonard Warren and Leonie Rysanek as the Macbeths….


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RIAA Goes After "Personal Use" Doctrine: Are They That Stupid?

Above is the title of an article by gadfly John Dvorak in PC magazine – the part before the colon. Dvorak comments on the possibility that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will start to sue people who rip CDs they’ve bought onto their computers or MP3 players. They would argue that the doctrine…


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Who Uses the Emergency Room?

It’s a given that the growing use of Emergency Rooms across the country for the care of non-urgent medical problems is the consequence of large numbers of uninsured patients who lack access to other types of outpatient care. This belief is often used to justify expansions of government programs which, it is argued, will take…


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