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Coppelia and the Viennese Hesitation

If you are hardwired with a cultural affliction like mine, if you find yourself with a compulsive affinity for the waltz, I'll wager you will also be a sucker for what's called the Viennese Hesitation. It was just such a hook that led me to a Slav melody that immersed me into a ballet called Coppélia, two days ago, and I still haven't surfaced.   Any fan of ballet, or parent whose child has studied dance, will know about this beguiling comic classic. To the rest of us unwashed, Coppélia or The Girl with Enamel Eyes, draws a blank, likewise even of its composer, Leo Delibes. Most of us outside the world of dance think ballet is all nutcrackers and swans, or the usual literary themes transposed to choreography. What are ballets but silent films to opera's talkies? In today's terms, ballet scores were the first soundtracks, and if you find new film scores overwrought, you might be delighted to alight on Delibes and his clever heroine, yes, Swanilda. The title character Coppélia is actually a doll, the creation of aging Dr. Coppelius in his efforts to fashion his idealized bride. Seated in a window above the square, the mechanical beauty entrances the village boys, in particular Swanilda's suitor Franz, so it falls to the assertive girl to break the spell. Hilarity ensues. Or, beyond the traditional lighthearted reading... You may not recognize the name Delibes, but you know his Mazurka. And I'll bet you can hum his Pizzicato (a divertissement from Silvia) in its entirety. Tchaikovsky said if he'd fully appreciated Delibes' mastery of composing for the ballet, he would not have dared write Swan Lake. If you'd like to share my Coppélia experience, I'd love to curate it for you. Start with the Royal Ballet production available on Youtube, mostly because the entire performance is there, and its intertitles explain the plot. There are more lauded productions, but Youtube has enough of their highlights to satiate without testing your patience with Netflix. That said, you'll want to put the 1994 Lyon Ballet adaptation to the top of your queue now, because we want to save that for last. The 2000 Royal Ballet production provides an ideal example of a classic interpretation of COPPÉLIA on a Disney budget. The comedy is writ large enough for opera glasses in the nosebleed seats. The choreography is traditional with a Sorcerers Apprentice perfection to it. The costumes are precisely Galician, where this adaptation of a Hoffman tale is set, an agrarian village in a region now part of the Ukraine, but in 1870 belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The red boots go to the Hungarian wine makers who dance the Csardas, and the black boots to the Mazurka dancers returning from the wheat harvest. Unfortunately the Royal Ballet appeared satisfied to play to the popular misconception that the story of Coppélia is a trifle. I'll suggest as a rebuttal the 2001 production staged by the National Ballet School of Paris, where the students were clearly able to imbue the

The mouse & the lion, but whose thorn?

Mickey Mouse vs. the Persian Lion. This is the best graphic I've yet encountered, lampooning the US presumption to scold Iran.   Brilliant! Iran as an ancient engraving affronted by a corny shadow.   How fortuitous the two figures are Aesop's mouse and lion. Americans see themselves hoping to help Iran rid itself of thorny Ahmadinejad, but whose thorn is he?

Freezing the elderly to death in America

Most of us have heard about the 93-year-old man in Bay City, Michigan who had the utility company freeze him to death when they turned the power off. He had not paid his utility bill of $1,000 outstanding, but he had a will donating $600,000 to another corporation, the McLaren Health Care Corporation which controls the administration of the local hospital (Bay Regional Medical Center) near by. Poor man. And here is the news that the national media did not report, and that is that this corporation that this poor gentleman donated his money to pays its CEO around $2,500,000 salary per year! That's his picture up there. Around 600 people per year freeze to death each Winter in the US, which is not too bad for a capitalist country when you consider that much smaller Hungary (another country with a capitalist government) loses almost the same number of poor each Winter, too. The info about that number is in this article about the man who just froze to death Michigan Investigates Freezing Death of 93-Year-Old The salary report of the hospital chain's chief where his donation will go can be found here... Philip Incarnati, McLaren Health Care Corp., $2,391,269 Philip Incarnati may actually make much more than the figure quoted though? See Philip A. Incarnati Appointed to Theragenics Board of Directors Notice the connections of CEO Incarnati to a whole bunch of locales other than just the simple looking hospital where poor frozen to death Marvin Schur donated that chunk of money, too? Philip Incarnati is just as much part of this story as the Utility Company is. Do not be misled by these hospital chains that try to hide their real data, and try to make themselves look so saintly that one might want to actually trust them in to Biog money in your will perhaps? They are just not what they seem at all, and the way they treat the elderly in this country is obscene! Not even having $600,000 dollars was enough to save Marvin Schur. That's a picture of Philip Incarnati, CEO of McLaren Health Care Corporation... YES... He's making a killing, but I'm sure he's hoping that nobody will see this info about him and connect the lines together again for poor Marvin Schur! He did not donate to 'a charity' as was mistakenly reported by much of the press, but instead donated to a hospital run by McLaren Health Care Corporation! Marvin Schur leaves 'everything' to Bay Regional Corporate World posing as charity downs WW2 vet...

Obama outed himself as a bigot when he crawled into bed with Rick Warren

Just like Clinton, Obama won't hesitate to throw gays to the dogs if he thinks it will buy him a single vote from the rabid right. I told you he wasn't to be trusted. And just as we saw with Prop 8, most of the black community only wants equal rights for themselves, not anybody else.   Say it out loud: Barack Obama is a coward. Of course, Obama openly declared his bigotry against gays before the election, declaring they did not deserve equal rights in marriage. So this really shouldn't surprise anyone that he would flip off the gay community like this. "Change we can believe in," my ass. During the campaign, I had so many arguments with his supporters, who insisted that he was the miracle that would make everything right with America. When confronted with the reality of his positions (as on gays) they would insist that was only to get elected, but, "just you watch," once he was, then we would see the "real Obama." Well, Ladies and Germs, the election is over, and there it is: the REAL Obama — flipping the bird to his supporters. Only a moron would think his hiring every right winger he can find somehow doesn't mean his is going to be a right wing administration. What, am I the only one who realized what being a Chicago politician meant? It means he's an asshole who can't be trusted. But now I suspect a lot of his supporters are beginning to realize that. Though there will always be those who will defend him, no matter what — just like those Republicans who constantly made excuses for Dubya, or those born-again Christians who spend their entire lives dreaming up excuses for their "god." People are pathetically stupid. Disgraced: 66 nations in the UN have backed a resolution decriminalizing homosexuality. Big hold outs: the USA, Russia, China, and the Vatican. The nations that are more progressive than this dying backwater: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Excerpts from Thomas McCullock's Dec 29 notes, thomasmc.com.

‘Missile shield’, or nuclear war weapon placement in Poland?

It is a sign of the Orwellian double speak of our imperialist capitalist Empire times, that a weapon to wage nuclear war with is now being called a 'missile defence shield'. See Polish President Lech Kaczynski stressed the missile defence shield was purely a defensive system and not a threat Of course it is no such thing, but rather is instead weaponry designed to help win a nuclear war for a US Empire that is straining at its reins to fight one. Seeing how the US has advanced its systems for waging nuclear war into being placed in The Czech Republic and Poland, it is easy to see why the former Soviet Union did what it did in Hungary in 1956. It invaded the small satellite country in Eastern Europe to militarily protect itself from an aggressive empire. Russia today is a capitalist country but that has not stopped the US Empire from continuing to try to militarily dominate it. Like in 1956 Russia has to currently decide just how far it will allow an offensive military system designed to win a nuclear war against it to advance itself toward its borders? Georgia was their limit, and so is Ukraine. We have to ask ourselves though, why is our capitalist economy so intent on 'winning' a nuclear war? Is this written into our for-profit economic system? Ask yourself....?

Can Russians do worse than US soldiers?

I'm listening right now to live alarmist coverage of Russia's occupation of Georgia. Embeds are reporting to analysts about the panicked Georgians, about forced labor, and about marauding Russian soldiers committing atrocities. A cease fire has been signed, and though we don't hear any gunfire, American leaders and media hounds are blustering about the Russian disproportionate use of force. When did our DoD decide to recognize that war crime? It's only been a few days that the Russians have been tasked with restoring order in the belligerent Georgia. They're making Georgians help clean the streets and they're destroying the military facilities which the US-advised Georgian forces just used in their attempt to seize South Ossetia. I'm poised to hear Belgian/Kuwait atrocity fabrications as our talking heads try to prompt Americans to "do something." The Russian move is being likened to Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, where Americans can have nothing but regret about not having acted to repulse the Soviets. But we Americans know something about occupations now don't we? How misbehaved have the Russians been? Are we hearing about Russian Predator Drones zapping unsuspecting civilians? Are we hearing of Russian snipers shooting everything that moves, including toddlers in their back yards? Are we hearing about cars and buses being strafed to a halt at improvised Russian checkpoints? Are Georgian ambulances being shot by helicopters?

The ideal soldier shoots for Beijing gold

The Olympic Games are almost upon us. Which contests are you most looking forward to? I tend to like them all, even the events that aren't immediately understood as sport, like table tennis, rhythmic gymnastics and archery. One event that dates back to ancient Greece is the pentathlon. In its modern incarnation, athletes must excel at five separate sports: horse-jumping, fencing, shooting, swimming and running. All of these are part of the Olympic Games already, so why the odd amalgamation of seemingly random events? Isn't it obvious? The five events paint a romantic vision of a military liaison on horseback. When his mount is brought down behind enemy lines, he must fight with pistol and sword, swim across a raging river and deliver his message on foot. The pentathlete is the ideal soldier. It begs the question, which country can offer the world this soldier? Which military superpower has dominated Aristotle's beloved pentathlon? After a century of Olympic contests, there are two countries in a dead heat, with medal counts that far exceed the nearest competitor. You probably guessed it -- Hungary and Sweden. "The most perfect sportsmen, therefore, are the pentathletes because in their bodies strength and speed are combined in beautiful harmony." Aristotle

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