That really is his middle name…

Today the New York Philharmonic performed in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, which is, of course, neither a republic nor democratic. It does have lots of people though – poor ones and oppressed.

The concert featured the music of Gershwin and Dvorak as well as the Korean folk song “Arirang.” I’m not sure what the expectations of today’s concert were but I do think that any exposure to the Western world and its better angels will, however slowly, challenge the PDRK leadership’s demonization of all things, well, not like them. Some in our government are more skeptical. Secretary of State Condi Rice said of the performance: “I don’t think we should get carried away with what listening to Dvorak is going to do in North Korea.”

Now, I like Condi and respect her opinion but come on! It’s Antonin friggin’ Dvorak! And his New World Symphony no less! It rocks like nothing else in the orchestral repitoire.

Music can be very insidious. And I think the choice of Dvorak’s New World Symphony was a good one. Dvorak, perhaps more than any other composer, had a natural gift in composing memorable, lyrical melodies. The New World Symphony is full of them. I find myself humming them for days after hearing a recording. Who knows what sparks this concert might ignite in the hearts and minds of those who heard it?

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Happy Girl Scout Cookie Day

As Zach notes, yesterday was President’s Day and good American’s shouldn’t care. But something else much more profound happened yesterday, and upon futher reflection, I think it deserves a federal holiday.

Yesterday, my Girl Scout Cookies arrived. I look forward to two days a year – Christmas and Girl Scout Cookie Day. The subliminal satisfaction that I derive from eating a whole box of Thin Mints in a single sitting is simply indescribable.

Speaking of Political Change…

Hoosiers are once again embarressed by the self-righteous windbaggery of Indiana’s most grandstanding member of Congress, Dan Burton. Watch Dan “the Kettle” Burton call Brian “the Pot” McNamee, black.

Republicans in the 5th district should know that there is an alternative to Dan Burton. He is Dr. John McGoff; he’s intelligent, humble, and devoted to public service. We need many more politicians like him at all levels and in all branches of government. People of Johnson County (and whoever else is in the 5th district): Send Dr. McGoff to Washington!

Homage to Dave Barry: The Self-Righteous Windbags would be a great name for a rock band.

Trivia

I’m making my way through Gore Vidal’s Burr right now. It’s interesting stuff; though I don’t know much about Aaron Burr to begin with, so I’m assuming Vidal’s portrayal is pretty accurate. Of course, Burr is best known as the man who shot Alexander Hamilton. Aaron Burr was the Vice President of the United States when he did that. I probably knew this at one point and had forgotten because as I read it, I realized that Dick Cheney was not the first sitting US Vice President to have shot a man. Surely this will benefit me on Jeopardy some day.