Tuesday, April 28, 2020

PROOF! Chopin recording is a BLOODY FAKE

I just received this gem by email, helping solve at least part of the mystery of the Great Chopin Minute Waltz Hoax. Link to the original blog post is here: 

From: Chase White
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2020 3:42 PM
To: magunning@telus.net

Subject: blog Chopin Minute Waltz

I just read your blog from September 2019 entitled HOAX! The musical fossil that fooled the world. Well done. I am a classical musician in Tampa, FL, and I obsess over anything related to Chopin. Today, I was browsing the New York Philharmonic’s on-line digital archives, and I happened upon some scanned pages from a Chopin file kept by musicologist, Edward Downes. One of the pages in the file is a scanned article from the April 1991 edition of Classic CD magazine entitled “The first recording ever.” By the note that Downes scribbled around the article, it appears to have been given him by radio host George Jellinek. Downes uses the word “hoax” in his note from 1991. I thought you might find this article interesting, since in your blog you state you couldn’t find much information in your Google search. Your blog was one of the few references I could find on the topic in my search today. Article is attached. 

Stay safe!
Chase White
Tampa, FL

(BLOGGER'S RESPONSE): Just when I get totally disenchanted with the internet, something like this happens! Well, something like this has NEVER happened. I even thought I was a little nuts for remembering it, because it’s barely on the internet at all. I remembered hearing the supposed Chopin recording on a CBC classical music show called Off the Record. The host was skeptical, even before anyone else debunked it. To me, it sounded like a lot of bumpy noise, barely pianistic, played insanely fast, with a distorted-sounding yell at the end. The host listened to it, compared it to Piltdown Man, and played it again. It did sound less genuine on second hearing. We do hear what we want to hear, I think. 

I forgot all about it for a long time, then when the Leon Scott recordings came to light, I thought of it again because it was the same kind of recording technology. In fact, my first reaction to THAT finding was, “Hoax!”, maybe an extreme form of autotune. But the Chopin thing now seems so howlingly fake: some fellow named Sot (can’t find HIM anywhere), and the marvelling over Chopin’s  technique (you couldn’t hear anything!) and his dexterity in playing it in one minute. Liberace had a big clock up on the stage when he pulled THAT stunt. It would be interesting if one of the CDs actually came to light so you could hear it. Who knows how many of them went out with that magazine, and on April 1, no less. I’ve also heard recordings by Brahms that sounded pretty fake. Forgive me if all this is on my original blog post, I haven’t looked at it in a long time!

Be well, also. This is an insane time!

These are hilarious recordings, I think!
Margaret G.

P. S. I just remembered a little detail in the unmasking of this hoax. Bob Kerr, host of Off the Record, detected a false note in the CD catalogue number, which begins with XOHA. He interpreted the “XO” as “hugs and kisses”, and “HA” as – well, HA!  And on April Fool’s day, yet. Thanks for sending me this, it made the lockdown a little cheerier.

Thanks to Chase White for enlightening me and - at the same time - brightening my very grey day!


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ONE HUNDRED YEARS of film logos!

A lot of people fnd old film logos creepy, or even scary. Not sure why they exude such strangeness. Pathe beats them all in the flapping, crowing rooster design. The accompanying music is nearly as disturbing.

A cormorant on Blakeburn Lagoon!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Coots on Como!

Right now, with the world on lockdown, nature is my only escape. I try to get out every day, and this time I noticed the coots with their weird football-shaped bodies, white triangular bills and head-bobbing motion as they swim. They have most un-ducklike feet, long-legged and spongy. I've never seen a baby coot, a "cootlet", but how I long to! Today I saw our first three Canada goose goslings, so perhaps there is hope for a renewal in these most desperate of times.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Melania rocks the mask!

Just read what I hope is the lowest point of journalism in all this mess:

Melania Trump sports face covering in public service announcement

Melania Trump wore a face mask in a new photo tweeted from the first lady's account Thursday as part of a message urging fellow Americans to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended coronavirus guidelines.

Blogger's notes. I just find this headline completely bizarre. At first I just saw "Melania Trump SPORTS", and I wondered if they had invented a new leisure-time activity/distraction from the two thousand Americans dying of Covid-19 every day.  Then I realized they did not want to use "rocks the new fashion craze", so they used "sports" instead, confusing everyone. Please, guys, things are confusing enough.

Facebook comments:

Note that she is  wearing the kind of mask that should be reserved for healthcare workers. She should write, "I don't care. Do you?" on it.

But hey - she looks so stylish in it! It's so pure, so gleaming, so snow-white, as if a deathly virus has never even been near it. 

And wow, even in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, her gleaming white blouse matches her gleaming white mask!

Actually, she found a nice, pure-white linen napkin in her favorite restaurant (which stays open just for her) and had her private White House seamstress measure her mouth for a custom fit. 

Come to that, hasn't she ALWAYS worn some sort of gag on her mouth? I've always imagined her making those marks on the wall that they do in prison.

And note how very carefully made-up her eyes are. But the longer I look at this (and I think I'll stop now), the more ambiguous her expression seems to be. I am really not so sure that's a smile - actually looks kind of predatory.

Reptilian? Maybe she's one of those reptile people.

COVID-19 presents its bill.

The Troll Doll Channel: Welcome to the family!

My trolls are a great comfort to me now. I'm in my second childhood, which is a damn sight better than the first one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

"What the HELL is going on?" A weird, surreal time

I was going to do a lot of ranting today, mainly because certain people in my life have said things like, "Well, you can't do anything about it" and "it will just have to run its course". And yes, logically, both of those things are true.

But there is this.

To me, the "can't do anything about it", shrugging-off view is kind of like coming up to a weeping person at a funeral and saying, "Crying won't bring him back." To ME, usually out of step with pretty much everything, that only makes it worse, but some apparently believe they are offering a dose of logic and sound advice. Those who weep must just snap out of it, or stand corrected. It's the only view that makes any sense.

Even close friends of mine, or people who WERE close friends of mine, say I am overreacting and it's a waste of energy - in the category of "shrug - let's get on with it", and I do not find that helpful. 

No doubt MANY will say my "approach" is too negative, doomsday thinking, etc. and I should just wait for it to pass. "We're all in this together," people continually say, but I feel profoundly isolated and alone. I'm just not chipper enough, and my sleeves aren't rolled up enough to suit everybody.

And where is the leader of the free world? Not on any known planet. And WHAT is he but a complete idiot with a low IQ, a sociopath who only knows how to make money, a man who contradicts himself wildly every day, a man who campaigned on "How I love the undereducated!" - and WON. But if he rides out the curve of this pandemic without dying, I know he will win again. It's the American way.

I only complain now because the States continues to do appalling things, and no doubt this Easter Sunday will bring the usual public mega-church services, when stats are showing that up to 3/4 of people who go to those mass meetings come back infected. "But that's the STATES, Margaret!" (This is, of course, a separate universe, a separate reality.) "We're relatively safe up here. What are you so concerned about?" 

I've been told it's no good to obsess about statistics, which are just numbers. Why do I do it? It doesn't make my life any better, DOES IT?  But maybe, just maybe, I'd rather die of overreaction than be deadened by a world view that leaves people less than human, and worse than dead.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Cockatoo scene from Citizen Kane

I've always wondered about that cockatoo. But maybe THAT is why people call it "the best movie ever made".

Monday, April 6, 2020

HOLY SHIT! Socio-pastor finally arrested

I was so GODDAMN happy to see that this creep, Rodney Howard-Browne, was arrested for holding his GODDAMN mass church services in violation of every moral law in the human condition. Many of these evangelicals/Pentecostals are giving services practically daily, with anywhere from 500 to 1000 people crammed together in sweaty pews in swampy places like Florida and Louisiana. This guy goes way back (I've posted about him before), back to the Toronto Blessing phenomenon where congregants screamed and flailed and threw themselves on the floor. It spread like a contagion, and this guy was at the forefront before he mysteriously disappeared from Canada. Since then he has popped up again to spread the manure of his beliefs, preaching here, healing there, dancing heavily and clumsily, and generally making an ass of himself, and THAT'S OK, but what he's doing in the States is the most immoral thing I have ever heard of. I would call him a socio-pastor. Below is a brief excerpt of the NBC News article that had me cheering for the first time in an eternity:

(YES, IT’S TRUE! Pentecostal pastor Rodney Howard-Browne (shown here in the throes of the Holy Ghost) has just been arrested for being a crazy, immoral, totally selfish dick-head. Here’s the story:)

“A controversial Florida pastor who refused to stop holding packed church services, in violation of coronavirus restrictions, was arrested Monday by a local sheriff who said the preacher was putting his followers’ lives at risk.
Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was booked on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and violation of public health rules after flouting social distancing orders at The River at Tampa Bay church.
Howard-Browne—an ally of President Donald Trump—has been an outspoken opponent of social distancing requirements, claiming his church has machines that can stop the coronavirus and vowing to personally cure the state of Florida himself.
'His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk, and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week, in danger,' Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at the press conference. Howard-Browne did not respond to an immediate request for comment.”

Thursday, April 2, 2020

You are getting very sleepy.

I would normally use this to drown out the sound of my neighbor's lawnmower, or else the sickening yapping of their trembling little chihuahua as it strains at the leash and makes a sound like a rabid chimpanzee. But it's good for other things, like trying to forget how we feel when we wake up in the morning and realize once again, "It's real".