Saturday, February 25, 2006

Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

I paid for my first Paramount show- boy was it ever worth it. There are not enough superlatives to describe how much I enjoyed the Silk Road Ensemble on Thursday night.
I also volunteered at the school show on Friday afternoon- thanks to Chris I got to see the brilliance of this group twice.

The two programs had all the same performers and similar music but were very different. The first was a beautiful concert with Nicolas Cords introducing songs and other performers. Yo Yo barely spoke except to say "I will be your cellist tonight" in case we had a question about that. The concert started with only the Western instruments: viola, 2 violins, a bass and Mr. Ma. Nick introduced Wu Man (the only female in this show) who played a pipa (a musical instrument from China). Wu Man played the pipa like a rock star. The percussionist and Iranian fellows came out and played some tunes with the assembled group. Iranian fellows are Siamak Aghaei, (santur) Siamak Jahangiri, (ney) and Kayhan Kalhor (composer/kemancheh). Their instruments gave the ensemble a diverse sound. I had never seen most of these instruments but I recognized the sounds. The group played a waltz, concerto and other familiar tunes (with the twist of expanded # of instruments and a Asian, Persian twist to them). In general the performers really seemed to enjoy themselves and the audience got two encores (with three standing ovations).

The school audience was great- they were enthralled. The performers were a lot more relaxed. They played the same songs, but the abridged version AND answered questions from the audience. Everyone in the group spoke at this performance (and I learned the second violin player is from Russia). The questions were really good and I could tell the ensemble could go on all day (the students had to get going though).

I heard two complaints (and I couldnt disagree more)
1) Yo Yo Ma did not play any solos- it is true. The show was an ensemble, the only instrument featured prominently was the pipa. I found Yo Yo's lack of prominence refreshing in the mad egomanic world of musicians. Moreover, the performers brought out the smiling academic in Yo Yo so I felt that the audience got to see a different side of him. Of course, it is called an ensemble for a reason.
2) "we didnt know it would be persian music" um what the ... ? It is called the Silk Road Ensemble- what the heck would people expect?

I attended the folk life festival in DC several years ago that featured the Silk Road (2001?), I really enjoyed it. The festival showcased the culture, economy, food and music of the Silk Road. AS a result of the festival I am particularly interested in the blend of Western and Eastern cultures brought about by this historic passage.

I am so grateful I could go to this event (since the ensemble added a second show, I would not otherwise). My only complaint is about the Friday afternoon show- I ushered on the balcony and the sound did not compare to the great seats I had for the Thursday evening show. Still I loved it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Appeals Court Upholds Jail Sentence

VA Lawyer’s Weekly reports the VA Appeals Court upheld the 27 month jail sentence for parents providing alcohol at underage party in Albemarle.

“Writing for the majority, Judge Humphreys said in Robinson v. Commonwealth (VLW 006-7-033) that private property owners generally are held to have given implied consent "to have members of the general public intrude upon certain areas of their property. . . . Thus, areas of the curtilage that a visitor could reasonably be expected to cross when approaching the front door—for example, the driveway, front sidewalk and front porch—are generally exempted from Fourth Amendment protection."…Because Cox was in that area when he saw the teenagers with the beer bottles, no warrant was required, even if his intent was to investigate the underage drinking rather than to go to the front door under what has been called the "knock-and-talk" exception to the Fourth Amendment. As for the argument that a search warrant was required once Cox saw the teenagers, their flight and the possibility that they would drive after having consumed alcohol provided the exigent circumstances that obviated the need for such a warrant”.

There were two judges who dissented since the officer was there to investigate not just to knock and talk the right to knock and talk “cannot be extended to make a general investigation based on reasonable suspicion…Otherwise, the exception would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections”.

No one cares about Fourth Amendment protections anymore, how quaint of the dissenting judges to bring it up.

Spring is coming...

Pitchers and catchers report to training camp. Cant wait for the rest of the team to start.
Sosa may retire wisely rejecting Nats offer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

training update

As a result of injury I have not been able to keep up with the blistering ten miler training. I am being treated for plantar fasciitis and bone spurs in my feet so the running has not been that good for me. Fortunately I have the elliptical and my mom as an exercise partner so I am able to keep up the good work that the program started.
With respect to my feet- my podiatrist (really did not expect to have to go to one of these doctors in my life) has fit me with some orthodics (yeah I am going to join the AARP next week too). Once I break those bad boys in my feet should get back to normal and run more frequently without pain (one can do that, really?).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tyler Hamilton

Tyler Hamilton's appeal has been rejected. He has officially been declared a cheat.

My favorite quote "Terry Madden, CEO of the USADA, said it had considered all theoretical explanations for the positive test, including an extortion plot by a fan of another team. "The panel considered each of the excuses and found each to be completely without merit. It is sad that Mr. Hamilton resorted to conspiracy theories rather than just accept the consequences of his doping," said Madden."

I have followed Tyler's website closely, I want to believe him. I am not the type of person who can lie easily, or at all actually, so I have a hard time believing others can lie without batting an eye lash (although I have been a lawyer long enough to KNOW better).

Finally, Richard Virenque was caught many years ago cheating, Virenque did come clean after serving his ban and later won seven King of the Mountains titles cleanly. I can only hope Hamilton can do the same in his attempt to redeem himself.

Olympics

I suppose I am a sports fan because I am lovin' the Olympics. I hate the coverage- typical commercials, stupid breaks in the middle of an event and keeping me up soo late even though the event ended HOURS ago.
Wow- those athletes work hard. Zhang/Zhang pairs figure skating silver medal winners were simply inspirational. I understand there has been some controversy- the couple attempted a quad bla bla blah and when he threw her, she spun four times but landed on her knees and was injured. A four minute time out later she wiped the tears from her eyes and skated a four and a half minute long program almost flawlessly. The pair was in second to begin with, the woman was so gutsy, really impressive I am glad I stayed up to watch (darn NBC). They got one point deducted for the fall and the subsequent time out, if the Chinese had not taken second, third and fourth place there may be a complaint. Russians skated well and got first. I disagreed with the announcers assessment that they were holding back.
Great part about the Olympics- the fan becomes an expert in all the sports in a matter of minutes and forgets about it until the next go around. I love the background stories that NBC gets railed on especially when the stories ALSO involve other athletes besides Americans and are kept briefs (to maximize the crying effect).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Democrats- Too passive?

NY Times article today regarding the strategy of the Democratic Party. I usually rail on the dems for their complacency this article says some 'senior' members of the party agree with me.
Frequently I suspect since I am not in the 'know' that the party is actually creating or implementing a strategy to win back the Congress and Presidency. This article confirms my worst fears that the party is not doing anything. I sense that the Republicans are always plotting, planning and no detail is too small to overlook in their quest to retain the majority. Small detail: an article Newsweek last week noted that fundamentalists are training students to debate in huge numbers, any concerted efforts to even find potential party leaders in DP?
Ever since I heard about the Republican Tuesday morning group in Virginia- I wonder if the Dems in VA or national have such a thing- a safe place to debate and strategize. Republicans got into power by taking a page from the Dem playbook, it seems only fair to return the favor.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

PBS

Last night I watched a special on PBS called African American Lives. I really enjoyed it, part 2 is on next week. The show traces the geneology of prominent African American people. This week the show started in the present and went back to right after the Civil War. Next week's show starts at the Civil War and goes back as far as the records will allow, even to Africa for some. Some of the prominent people unraveling their past are Oprah, Chris Tucker, Dr. Ben Carson, and Henry Gates (who is the narrator). I find the show fascinating, I am going to have a hard decision to make next week when Lost isnt a repeat and part 2 is on.