Howzit Howard

Warning: Howard Dicus thinks for himself and is hard to pigeonhole in our partisan world. Despite blogging, he's been known to spell words properly and use reasonably good grammar. But, more in the blogging spirit, you never know what we'll write about next.

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Music Post: When jazz musicians go longhair

As a self-taught classical music aficionado who came to the classics through jazzed-up Bach, I’ve always been an avid explorer of all attempts to apply syncopation and solos to the classical greats. But from time to time there have also been interesting efforts in what might be termed the opposite…

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What’s next, after NextEra?

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries announced Monday morning they will NOT pursue their merger plan following PUC disapproval. NextEra will pay a $90 million break-up fee plus up to $5 million in merger-related expenses, as previously agreed to. The post below was written over the weekend before the parties…

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Kirk and Peter and Charles, at Mufi’s panel

Today I had the interesting experience of moderating a mayoral candidate forum, organized by former mayor Mufi Hannemann, who now heads the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. We met in one of the rooms at exhibition hall at Blaisdell, Questions came from UH Professor Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now Reporter…

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Music Post: Uncommon Concertos

I am not ordinarily fond of concertos. I am interested in music for music’s sake, and watching one musician show off his prowess on a particular instrument is of no particular interest. There are several “great” concertos where great skill is required but the music itself is not much beyond…

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Music Post: Great classical music stories, part III

There is a famous story about Sergei Rachmaninoff and the world’s worst case of writer’s block, an apparently true story that led to a false belief that a certain piece of music was no good. Rachmaninoff was in his young twenties already famous for “The Rock,” his First Piano Concerto,…

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A Prairie Home transition

Garrison Keillor has done “A Prairie Home Companion” for the last time. Keillor is turning the show over to Chris Thile, 35, a guitarist whose music I’ve played on my own radio show a time or two. Thile has appeared with Keillor a lot and seems nice. New shows begin…

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Music Post: Music for an outdoor weekend

Celebratory holidays like the Fourth of July – and similar occasions in other countries – always bring to mind the free outdoor concert, sometimes involving a symphony orchestra but as often featuring wind orchestras, whether marching bands or “dress casual” longhair musicians anchored to a bandstand. For me, brass music…

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Facebook birthday blasts from the past

I’ve been sick as a dog for a week, and now Bernadette has it, too, so what might have been a nice celebratory birthday weekend has turned out to a marathon of coughing, wheezing, hot showers and long bedrest, in the possibly forlorn hope that we’ll get over this. From…

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Music Post: Pieces neglected in the shadow of hits

The most famous piece Arthur Honegger wrote is the one movement tone poem “Pacific 2-3-1.” It so cleverly depicts a steam locomotive, in a way that is so satisfying musically, most people don’t even know Honegger wrote two other one-movement tone poems. One is called “Rugby” and is, I think,…

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Adieu to the EU: Nobody is a Brexpert

Sick and unable to sleep anyway, I spent the night reading online reports about the surprise decision of the British electorate to quit the European Union, triggering what could be years of negotiations on what trade doors to leave open, and knocking off the government of Prime Minister David Cameron,…