Friday, January 1, 2010
(This remains a mystery, except perhaps when you think of the existence of the Europop Festival)
...and some great musicians that most of them don't know about:
They also tend to overrate Oscar Peterson a bit, but I guess there's no helping that. The guy sounds the way you imagine jazz ought to sound if you haven't listened to a lot of jazz. He's just a little too correct and straight-ahead to offer a visionary breakthrough. A virtuoso, but a template.
So spread the word and make some friends.
Oh and they love Bill Evans, which is fine -- but usually the wrong Bill Evans. Turn them on to the earlier stuff, like Sunday at the Village Vanguard, before Scottie LaFaro died.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
It is a misconception to think that someone who makes money in the stock market "understands" something that is missed by someone who loses money.
The simple fact is that we all have incomplete and unreliable information -- even the market players do (though they have the advantage of being able to move the markets with massive amounts of capital, and hence are in a position to "cheat" in the short term -- something they often do at the expense of their own clients).
If you made money sometime as an active investor, then more power to you.
But you were simply lucky. Lucky to have avoided a 1987.
Those who bet short on the 2007 market had a little more vision, but they were also lucky not to have been squeezed out of their shorts by a further year of index inflation, which might easily have happened.
There is little to "understand" about the market; Plato makes the distinction between knowledge and true belief; the latter is the best we can hope for.
There are too many factors influencing the dynamics of a market for it to be understood or predicted by any model. The so-called "professional" portfolio managers do no better than the average Joe in Peoria.
Where does this leave us, then? In terms of the investment component of the capitalist system, it must put us in a position of skepticism regarding one's self-determination, and raise doubts about the value of the application of the mind to this area of economic activity.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Again we ask: Who let the dogs out? A particularly weak and baffling Mark Krikorian piece over at the NRO is getting a lot of play lately. This fellow seems to object to the way Sotomayor pronounces her name, adding this to the pile of presumed outrages the judge has perpetrated against the American public.
The gentleman says she mispronounces her own name, and would impose this (doubtlessly authoritarian) practice on the suffering American public. To quote Randy Newman here: Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Could be, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.
I'll leave most of this discussion to the big boys (Olbermann ranked Krikorian as the world's worst last night), but there's one aspect of the article that has been ignored. As a linguist, I just can't let slide a remark Krikorian makes about his own name:
For instance, in Armenian, the emphasis is on the second syllable in my surname, just as in English, but it has three syllables, not four (the "ian" is one syllable) — but that's not how you'd say it in English (the "ian" means the same thing as in English — think Washingtonian or Jeffersonian).
This is simply not true. The ending "-ian" is exceptionally common in Armenian names. It is a so-called patronymic, meaning "son of" ("-son"), and has counterparts in every language, like "-itch" and its variants in the Slavic language or the "-ez" in "Lopez" and "Fernandez" and so many other Spanish names, or the "Mac-/Mc-" form in Scots and Irish names. I could go on to list counterparts in virtually every language on the planet, but you get the idea.
In other words, Mr. Krikorian offers a misinterpretation of his own name, while insisting on the mispronounciation of another's. For this fellow, the superficial -- pronounciation -- is more important than the substantial -- meaning -- and his ignorance about the meaning of his own name is a springboard for his clinging to the mispronounciation of another's.
It's also touching that the (incorrect) parallels he chooses are the names of two of the most illustrious figures in American history. (I think a powerful self-assimilationism is at work here, something we often see in conservatives that would in the 1950s have been quaintly called "ethnic.") Still, presumably they knew what "-ton" and "-son" meant.
You just can't make this stuff up.
Sunday, April 26, 2009