Monthly Archives: January 2022

All About Me! – Book Review

The title of Mel Brooks autobiography is a visual pun. But like most autobiographies it conceals more than it reveals. A better title is All about Me! That I Care to Disclose. When you finish it, you won’t know much more about Brooks than you did on page 1. The man behind the outlandish jokes…


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Rigoletto in HD – 2022

The Met seems to have a problem finding the locale of Verdi’s dark masterpiece. They moved it from Mantua to Las Vegas in 2013. That production didn’t last long; it was replaced this year by one set in the capital city of the Weimar Republic. Why? Who knows? Which site is weirder? Hard to tell….


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On Safety

The current worldwide pandemic of insane terror is an interesting phenomenon. Never in human history has a period of unparalleled safety been accompanied by a rampant sense of florid insecurity. Until about a century ago, life for most people was short, oppressed, and impoverished. Then in a triumph of liberty, science, medicine, and capitalism life…


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Operatic Suicides

An art form that focuses on the extremes of human emotions will certainly have self annihilation as a regular subject. Suicide appears so frequently in opera that I could devote scores of articles to it. It’s such a common event that it’s even stimulated medical journals to comment on it. See Four centuries of suicide…


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Cancer Statistics 2022

Every January the American Cancer Society publishes Cancer Statistics based on the most recent data available. The abstract from the report is immediately below. The entire report is available at the end of this article. Abstract: Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths in the United States…


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Drums

The beat of a drum stirs some ancient center deep in our psyches. Opera presents numerous opportunities for percussionists. Alas, anemic conductors often fail to realize their impact. Here are a few excerpts in which the drum(s) plays an important part. First, three by Verdi. Everybody knows the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore. The struck…


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What Really Happened in Wuhan – Book Review

Australian journalist Sharri Markson has written a book that seeks to find the source of the corona virus that has afflicted the world for more than two years. The subject has been so politicized from the very start such that any attempt to define its source will trouble many readers. Never has a medical and…


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Persistent Physical Symptoms Among French Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Association of Self-reported COVID-19 Infection and SARS-CoV-2 Serology Test Results With Persistent Physical Symptoms Among French Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic is the prolix title of a study just published in the JAMA Internal Medicine. The paper’s abstract is below. Basically, it says that if the patient believes that he has been infected with the…


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The Greatest Musical Composition Ever – V

This one is beyond great. The subject is JS Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C min BWV 582. The autograph manuscript for the piece is lost. The date of its composition is also unknown. Bach was likely in his early to mid 20s when he wrote colossal masterpiece. No one previously had written a variations…


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