michaelhaydn1

Music Post: Hot hits of the 1780s

I work weeks ahead in preparing “Howard’s Day Off.” It’s not unusual to have shows worked out three months in advance, in part because I record promos a month at a time, so I need to know what I’m doing at least five weeks ahead when I go into the…

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How the writers made “Bull” likable

When I read that Michael Weatherly would be leaving “NCIS” and starring in his own series called “Bull,” I had my doubts. Like most households we watch “NCIS” and think it has held up well all these years. The premise of “Bull,” on the other hand, sounded like it might…

dayoffcartoon

Music Post: My Wild Irish Shows (Part I)

I was listening to a piece of music by an Irish composer and found it not unlike the music of Faure and Debussy and Ravel, the so-called Impressionist composers – they all rejected the term but, to paraphrase Erik Satie, their music accepts it – and this made me wonder…

longform

The real meaning of the birther controversy

Hawaii is not a big place. The population is maybe 1.4 million, and when Barry Obama was born here it was less than 1 million. Furthermore, because of our geographical isolation, more of the population stays put. For me, having grown up in Maryland, it’s a very different scene. In…

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The disaster, the problem, and the solution

In the very early 1980s, my family and I drove to D.C. to New York to take advantage of a great deal on a room in a brand new Wall Street hotel. Maybe it was an Omni. It had just opened. It was a nice weekend. The hotel had free…

dayoffcartoon

Music Post: In a chipper mood

Some genial and jocular people are that way in part to drive away the shadows, and I confess I am one such person. I can’t blame it on an unhappy childhood because mine was otherwise, nor on losing my first wife, because my occasional melancholia predated that, and I feel…

dayoffcartoon

Music Post: Relatively good music

The basic classical canon, the music they learn in conservatories, consists of a fairly full roster of works by grade A giants (Beethoven, Brahms), a large selection from B listers (Dvorak, Copland) and the selected masterworks of one-hit wonders (Holst, Harris). I’m simplifying, but the point is, a composer who…

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Hawaii’s summit tourism

When Hawaii was preparing for APEC, officials assured us a successful APEC conference would bring us years of conference tourism. While we were enduring the traffic disruptions of APEC, viewers asked me if we were sure there would be a long-term benefit. Years after the 2010 event I would get…

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Population shifts and the Electoral College

When you were in school, you were taught that your vote for president did not actually elect anyone; that we are a “representative democracy,” and the Electoral College does the electing. When I was in school, mostly in the 1960s, it seemed a meaningless complication, since it had been a…

dayoffcartoon

Music Post: Embracing changes

As the eldest of six children –boy, girl, girl, repeat – who learned songs by ear – my early exposure to music included the self-taught experience of working out three-part (or more) head arrangements. One sister typically sang lead and another typically filled in the most tasteful harmony, something I…