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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

 

Day of Atonement

I made my annual appearance at temple yesterday, and though one session is clearly not enough to buy ME a clean slate, it did provide food for (blogging) thought. The somnolent readings have been exacerbated at my family's reform temple by the substitution of sexless nouns and pronouns for the original text's assumption of maleness. So Lord has been replaced by Sovereign, Father has been eliminated, and our forefathers have been joined by our...foremothers, apparently. It reminded me how unpretentious and unconcerned about political correctness the Catholic Church is, feeling no guilt about worshipping the Father and the Son, etc. Of course, in exchange for that delightful innocence, one has to endure all those insipid hymns in major keys. Oh well, it's not as if Gershwin emanates from any pulpit I know of.

Of course, no one thinks much about sexless pronouns in a Temple where the congregation has thrown in its lot with an all female clergy, including an avowed lesbian Rabbi. In effect, there is enough sexual tension already present for any religious establishment.

I guess my favorite religious liturgy will always be that of The Society of Friends (Quakers) where there is only silence, unless any congregant is inspired to break the spell by speaking (on any suitable topic). I always hope for a totally speechless service where after 45-60 minutes of delightful and thought provoking silence, the folks at the front of the room turn to each other and shake hands, signaling the time for everyone's escape. To me, this seems utterly civilized and mature. I only wish I could believe in Quaker principles, then I would be all set. But Christianity has been a tough sell for me, and passivism is not exacly my political persuasion, as can be gleaned by alert readers of my previous posts. So I continue on, a man with a country but no church, which is just as well seeing how most church services represent an intolerable conflict with golf.

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Speaking of homosexuality, I wonder what the Dems and their media friends would be saying if one of their avowed, or even closeted, same sexers was caught sending e-mail come-ons to pages. I can just hear the howls of derision at anyone who would restrict the free speech and lifestyle of the perpetrator. The double standard is always at work (please - allow me my paranoia).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------No one disputed my list of ten favorite guitarists (where ARE the comments anyway?) but I have to admit that I blew it, omitting BB King and James Jamieson, Motown's top bassist. I'll fix the list for the next post. Meanwhile, here come my 10 favorite pianists:

1. Bill Evans - Lyrical member of Miles Davis quintet, leader of his own trios
2. McCoy Tyner - Coltrane's foil in the Classic Quartet
3. Oscar Peterson - The Technician, spiritual descendant of Tatum
4. Art Tatum - Immortal soloist
5. Thelonius Monk - Stylist, Master of dissonance
6. Duke Ellington - Composer, bandleader, underrated on his instrument
7. Bud Powell - Bebop pianist of choice
8. Vladimir Horowitz - Classical virtuoso, cleanest technique
9. Wynton Kelly - Another Mile Davis grad, great with Coltrane
10. Tommy Flanagan - Giant Steps

Honorable Mention - Gerri Allen, Glen Gould, Bill Charlap, Nat King Cole, Vince Guaraldi, Diana Krall, Cyrus Chestnut, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck
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On 9/27, I sold 100 shares of TMO out of my IRA at 39.73. They were purchased on 4/27/98 for 39.25. Talk about a long slog to get nothing. Yesterday, my IRA bought another 100 of PWI at 24.65, but it's already lower today. Anybody think we have hit all time (forever) highs in energy stocks? Not me. A good sign for the market is that no one was throwing a lot of confetti over the Dow's record today. The fact is, however, that the rally has been getting more and more narrow, with the blue chips in the lead. When the generals are out in front of the cannon fodder, that is always a sign of some kind of top in the market.

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