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Music Post: Pieces of eight

Classical music developed in an age when a large number of people who were not professional musicians who nonetheless “blow or scrape a little,” playing instruments well enough to make music together for the pure enjoyment of it. In the 1700s, Bach’s time, and then Haydn’s, regional royal courts as…

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On the Road – at Hawaii’s Plantation Village

It may sound odd from someone working on a TV show that shows pictures of traffic jams every morning would not himself remember just how enervating it is. But, stuck on the H-1 waiting to get past Punchbowl at 8:30 a.m., I was indeed reminded how lucky I am to commute…

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What are the greatest novels in English?

The London Guardian has published a list of the 100 best novels in the English language. Like all good lists, this one has angered a lot of people for its omissions as well as it’s allegedly being skewed to older novels and novels written by men. But I find it…

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The people who bought you the scenery

All over the world, people are making babies, towns are growing, development is expanding, and beautiful vistas are giving way to concrete jungles and suburban savannahs. But not always. This week a grass roots nonprofit called the Ka Iwi Coast Coalition reached a fundraising goal of $500,000, allowing it to…

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Music Post: A famous quintet, the Mighty Five

It was 1867, less than two months after the United States bought Alaska from Russia. The Suez Canal opened that year. America claimed Midway Island. Nobel patented dynamite. Arthur Sullivan, not yet in collaboration with W.S. Gilbert, wrote the music for “Cox and Box.” Johann Strauss premiered “The Blue Danube.”…

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The economic recovery not everyone is seeing

This weekend everyone in Hawaii is watching a tropical depression which could either stay to our south and have little effect on us, or rebuild to tropical storm strength, gather moisture, become a hurricane, and swing to the north like Hurricane Iniki did when it devastated Kauai in 1992. In…

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Amazon: Essence-sucking monolith or fun company?

Everybody’s talking about the New York Times expose on the hard-driving work ethic at Amazon.com, including Jeff Bezos, the company founder, who says he doesn’t recognize the company the newspaper described and urges employees to talk to Human Resources or him personally if they have had the essence-sucking experiences described…

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Music Post: The genius of Thelonious Monk

In 1984, A&M Records released a double LP called “That’s the Way I Feel Now,” in which an astonishing spectrum of musicians interpreted compositions of Thelonious Monk. Knowing Monk was a bebop pianist and co-writer of “”Round Midnight,” I got it, and quickly found it to be one of my…

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Exaltation of the southpaw

It’s National Left-Handed Day. I am lefthanded myself. I do not admit it; I proclaim it. I have always been modest about my drawing ability, with, as viewers know, a great deal of justification, but I draw reasonably well for a lefthanded person whose arm moves across the ink. Which…

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Book Report: “The Luminaries”

On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island is a town called Hokitika, population less than 3,000, founded in 1864 when there was a gold rush along the river of the same name. It is cold, temperatures rarely beyond the mid-60s, and rainy, seven inches in one month being…