Mozart, My Inbox, and Politics

27 Jan 2006

Well, enough about Kanye West. Speaking of musicians, though, did you know that today (January 27, 2006) is Mozart's 250th birthday? [ ...pause in typing to notice ground rumbling ...]Wow, what was that ground rumbling just now?Perhaps it was Mozart rolling over in his grave at my mentioning him comparatively in the same breath as Kanye West. If the Austrians had the Internet and Grammy awards in 1791 (the year Wolfie died), I don't think many would blog about any claims the man might have made about deserving the award for, say, best concerto.

I'm not going to dispute the man's genius.He was probably the world's most important artistic figure since Shakespeare. But, he apparently had some quirks as well. According to the omniscient omnium-gatherum known as Wikipedia ( ), he became a mason in 1784. Now that's creepy. Masons have always creeped me out -- ever since I spent a miserable summer bartending at a Masonic lodge and country club. This was way back in, oh, 1990 or so. I wrote up a short story at the time documenting all of the bizarre stuff encountered there.Maybe tonight I'll do some deep searching through some computer files and see if I can find that to post an excerpt or two here.

In the mean time, it's back to work for me.I'm cleaning out my inbox today. After sorting paper after paper, I finally realized that none of them were very interesting.Many were "important," sure, but they'd been sitting there in my "to do" pile for so long that it probably didn't matter much anymore. So, I just swept the whole thing into my trash can. I figured fuck it. There was one paper left, though, which I thought was interesting.It was a page of notes I'd taken a year ago from talking with some yokel lawyer in Ohio.When the guy first called, he sounded sort of interesting to me.He was helping to dissolve a small S-corporation and needed some assistance with the kind of crap my company does.

So, he's telling me the story in his droning, lifeless, lawyerly way, and I'm doing all I can to remain awake. But, then he lets loose with this real gem that I'd never heard before. He says he's "working to push back the frontiers of ignorance."Suddenly, he's got my attention (well, at least for a few seconds). That's such a weird thing to say, isn't it?But, there is was. He just dropped those words into his normal description of this business' affairs. Well, I didn't listen to much else the guy said.I just wrote "push back the frontiers of ignorance" across the top of the paper in large letters. I really liked that, in some bizarre way.I'd meant to research it (as I was pretty sure this idiot couldn't think up some on-the-fly remark with that much flair), but never got around to it.

Anyway, there it sat, static-clung as paper sometimes does to metal, at the bottom of my in-box for a whole year. I picked it up and looked at it. Seemed like it was only a month or two old -- but no, it was dated January 6, 2005. Time really flies, eh?I figured, "Why not research this now?" So, I Googled the phrase and, as it turns out, it comes from a conservative talk show host.Actually, it comes from * the * conservative talk show host.And, suddenly the whole thing made perfect sense to me. Here's why:

The last thing I want to do is turn this into a political blog. I happen to consider myself an independent, and would assert that there are almost as many complete morons on the far left as there are on the far right. But, not quite. The far right is, in fact, nuttier. If politics were peanut butter, the far left would be creamy and the far right would be chunky. (But, see, it's peanut butter either way, okay?) My point, though, was that the right-leaning ones always seem to parrot conservative talk show hosts. Ever notice that? Their whole lives revolve around these shows. Maybe it's because there aren't any liberal radio shows (aside from Al Franken's sparsely-heard show, which you have to stream over the internet to listen to) for leftists to mimic. And, maybe that's a good thing. At least you get some originality out of the left as a result.

All this reminds me of a story, which maybe I'll post tomorrow if I can't find my 1990 account of working for the masons.

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