Wednesday, January 21, 2009


In my hot tub and watching through the plants and windows as snow comes down thickly on the white lawn .

I wonder how much the current economy will affect the growth of electronic publishing and perhaps energize a move to more activity in this area. The development of the Kindle and the Sony Reader in particular have clearly made a recent difference. But the cost of the reader still is a problem for lots of potential readers. Since the tendency is to add bells and whistles to these devices, I’m not sure we’ll see a substantial reduction in price anytime soon.

Many interesting visual images of yesterday’s Inauguration. For me one of the most intriguing was when Senator Feinstein was introducing President Obama for his address. Behind her, on the left, appeared just the head of the new president. He was looking directly at the outgoing President, George Bush. Just the head of President Bush appeared on the right side of the screen. The two men looked intently into each others faces and were apparently shaking hands although you couldn’t see that. It was only for an instant and then both heads disappeared.

I had the great privilege the other night of hearing the Minnesota Orchestra in a concert of Leonard Bernstein’s serious compositions. All interesting, energetic, fun to hear. Two of the five pieces included a solo by a leading member of the orchestra, Adam Kuenzel, flute and Bert Hara, clarinet. Excellent music., The last piece, titled “Lamentation” was sung by mezzo, Susanne Mentzer. It’s from Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1. I mention this because I was very impressed by the demeanor of the soloist. Ms. Mentzer has a wonderful voice, but she is required to sit through a long passage prior to singing. That seems to be a problem for some soloists with orchestras. They fidget, they shift, they cause small distractions. Ms. Mentzer sat quietly, hands in her lap and slowly surveyed the hall before her. She appeared to be a performer gradually sinking herself into the role, mentally and physically donning the sad robes of an observer of the loss of Jerusalem.

I recently completed Sean Chercover’s second novel, “Trigger City.” Ray Dugeon is an interesting Chicago PI. The plot is fascinating, well thought out and it moves steadily at a useful pace. There are some problems and I wish the author would figure out a better way for his character to decide to reconnect with his sometime lover Julie.

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