Back to index of "this and that in my life" pages by Donald Sauter.

Conversations with me, no. 27
Email highlights, ca. November 2000

Dedicated to the proposition that every thought that's ever been thunk may be of interest to someone . . .

ME: I found Vina Johnson's "Echoes from the Casino" at LC, right 
where it should be.  I like the piece, a nice variant on the 
Spanish Fandango.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention.  

THEE: I've just spent about an hour looking through your 
evolution webpage.  now I'm no entrenched evolutionary biologist. 
in fact like you (perhaps - lets assume nothing here!) i'm just a 
guy whose was brought up, so to speak, on evolution and remains 
deeply interested in the whys and wherefores and hows and so on.  

there are large gulfs between the islands of certainty in 
evolutionary theory and the natural history of Earth; anyone who 
doesn't acknowledge that or attempts to paper over them with 
conjecture is being, well, conjectural rather than scientific, 
and if they try to rope science into their guff, especially those 
'scientists' who should know better, then they deserve to be 
shown up  - and you do, quite rightly and very well.  

i get the impression that you're not a creationist either, so i 
won't start trying to pull apart creationism (although perhaps 
you'll agree that apart from a scriptural backing and its 
prerogative to explain anything and everything with 'God made it 
that way', or 'God caused it to happen', it doesn't have a very 
solid footing either).  

there's a philosophy in science which goes along the lines of 
'the simplest solution is often the correct one'. if one made a 
precis of the creationism and of evolutionary theory, and 
compared them according to this philosophy, creationism would 
probably come out on top, because it is essentially a very 
simple, easily understood causative paradigm which reflects the 
order and cause-and-effect evident in the human world today.  

evolutionary theory has no obvious cause or order. any dynamic 
basis which it requires or creates is not clearly evident in the 
human experience of the present, or in human history. the methods 
proposed for its propagation (random mutations) appear, as you 
demonstrate, highly unlikely, often contrary to the progression 
of diversification, and theoretically more or less impossible. 
over the time span of human experience, there is no good evidence 
for the continuum of gradual variation required by evolution. 
from a human, or perhaps a biblical perspective, evolution does 
not stand up.  

now leave aside biology and consider the physical world in which 
we live.  the study of the history of the earth and the wider 
universe does not require evolution - although the reverse of 
this statement is not true. the evidence for a very old universe 
is much more solid than the evidence for evolution, whether one 
considers geology, astronomy or cosmology. a creationist would 
dispute this (assuming s/he believed in a 10000yr or 6000yr old 
world) but, isolated points of contention aside, the overwhelming 
physical evidence suggests a very old place indeed (unless one 
argues that 'God made it like that' - in which case I'll stop 
now. You can't beat that one.) 

if one puts the age of the earth at, say 4600 million years 
(fairly sound estimate, based on repeated rock dating, solar 
system structure, possible age of universe, solar chemistry 
etc.), and the first life on earth at maybe 3000 million years, 
and first good fossil evidence for a wide variety of life at 
about 600 million years, and then consider the two precis again, 
some different questions arise 

if all the species currently in existence were created at the 
same time (600 my ago? 3000 my ago?), why aren't they all 
recorded at some point in the fossil record? why don't modern 
marine crustaceans (for example) coexist in the fossil record 
with long-extinct species? why is the recorded history of man so 
short? why do now-extinct species not appear at all stages in the 
fossil record up to their extinction point (e.g. dinosaurs 215My 
- 65My ago - why not before?) why is there apparently a 
progression (no implication intended) from 'low' simple life 
forms to increasingly diverse and complicated ones as the rocks 
in which their fossils are found decrease in age? in fact, given 
the enormous time spans, and the short time between generations 
for most organisms (even humans, with a generation gap of maybe 
20 years, could have had 30 million generations in 600 million 
years), and the fact that single mutations do occur at present 
(is that a fact? I think it is) why HASN'T some significant 
variation taken place?  

from this perspective, the evolutionary theory, whatever its 
actual mechanism, perhaps looks more attractive than the 'fixed 
species' theory.  

i'm sorry i haven't been very specific in my points - its late 
and i'm tired and I think that perhaps people get bogged down in 
specifics when they haven't even worked out a proper framework in 
which to put them yet.  

all i think i'm saying is that from a geological scientist's 
viewpoint (you may have guessed that's more or less what i am) 
biological evolution looks more possible, if not more probable, 
than it does from an ordinary 'human' viewpoint (i'm not implying 
that geological scientists are not human - although perhaps 
that's evolution for you :-) ).  

the arguments will always run on and on because we'll never know 
for sure what went on in prehistory, or even outside each 
individual's direct personal experience. You could swear blind to 
me that you were wearing pink pyjamas when you read this, you 
could even send me a sample of cloth or a picture of you wearing 
them, but I could never be absolutely sure. there's always a 
point beyond which you've just gotta believe. truth, where it 
rests on the experiences of many different people, just can't be 
pinned down.  

I've already mentioned the 'God did it' conversation-killer. 
perhaps its true, but if so then a lot of good scientists should 
pack up now and go home, and the world would maybe be a blander 
and less exciting place to live in.  

so, you see, although I see big gaps in our knowledge of 
evolution, and big problems with our current understanding of it, 
from my viewpoint, God notwithstanding, it seems to fit the 
evidence we have.  

sorry for the unwarranted length of this email; i hope you've had 
as absorbing a time reading it as I did reading your webpage. I'm 
not familiar with the world of internet discussion groups, but if 
you think its worth it then feel free to add this to the debate. I just felt that the debate which you 
presented so well on your webpage was somewhat blinkered - this 
has been an attempt to look at the issue from a different angle.  

PS. You kept on setting challenges for people. Can I do the same?  
Based on the evidence we have, present and (pre)historical, and 
without invoking divine intervention (for reasons explained 
above; is that an unfair condition? why?), outline an 
alternative, better than the concept of evolution, to explain the 
diversity of biological life as seen today.  Alternatively, 
assuming evolution is the best fit solution, is there a more 
likely mechanism than random mutation?  

PPS. :-) re. the evolution of languages [DS: Again, I am trying 
to show how hard the single, huge-jump mutation scenario is to 
swallow. Moreover, I have a very difficult time accepting 
analogies between the evolution of languages and the evolution of 
species. Languages do not have anything at all like DNA, random 
mutations and sexual reproduction.] In reply - (DNA)The written 
or spoken word itself; (random mutations) 'thwory, 'pf', 
'evolytion' - three random mutations easily cured by a spell-
checker; (sexual reproduction) 'igneous', 'francophile', 
'dinosaur' - all examples of two words spliced together to 
produce another which inherits both their qualities.  

ME: [I don't see my response to this thoughtful email.  I presume 
it went along the lines of: Just because a totally impossible to 
swallow "explanation" is the best anybody's come up with so far 
doesn't make it any less impossible to swallow.]  

ME: I bought a record at the local library yesterday.  It's one I 
think you had bought and thrown away - The Hoffnung 
Interplanetary Music Festival from 1958.  It has an almost album-
side opera parody, plus lots of other interesting things.  I need 
a complete Hoffnung collection.  

Did you see Who Wants to be a millionaire Sunday night?  There 
was a question involving Yoko that was definitely lawsuit 

P.S. I suppose you can guess by now, but what do these words have 
in common?  


ME: 'Tween you and me, even though I always pretend to be 
apologetic about my old computer techniques and equipment, I'm 
not really (smiley).  There's something to be said for 
simplicity!  If somebody *gave* me the most up-to-date computer 
system available, it would probably set me back 3/4 of a year 
trying to figure out how to do everything I already do.  My claim 
is that for what the vast majority of people need out of their 
computer (email, a bit of into off the web, and word processing) 
any old 286 pulled out of a trash can would serve them forever 
(or at least until the darn battery goes dead, or they go to 32-
bit ascii.) 

Anyhow, thanks for explaining why on rare occasions people foul 
up my email reader with Microsoft Word 97 riffraff.  Hey, I 
wouldn't send *you* a Wordstar 1.0 document file! 

THEE: Comments, please, on an LP from 1979 called "The Beatles 
Concerto" by Rostal & Schaefer, Ron Goodwin, and the Royal 
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.  

THEE: I wrote you this am about "Echos from the Casino" and lo 
and behold it arrived today after lunch. You do good work! You 
mentioned you played it for a friend recently. I would be curious 
to hear it if you ever take a notion to record it on cassette or 
something.  I have some other early pieces like Sebastapol which 
I want to hear played, because I do not understand the parts 
where they want the guitar to sound like a drum.....know what I 
mean? How are you supposed to drum while also making melody? I 
also get very confused in the ones which tune the guitar to an 
open chord, but instruct you to play the notation as if you are 
still in standard notation. Passages with harmonics are also 
confusing sometimes, so it would be interesting to hear a real 
musician like you play these things. I am an amateur.  

ME: Aguado's Polonaise is one of his Trois Rondo Brillants, Op. 
2.  I think that should be available.  For instance, it's in 
Volume 3 of the Complete works of Aguado, by Chanterelle.  See if 
that's still in print.  It's well worth getting the whole volume.  

THEE: I wrote once before saying this, but can I just say 
again...  You have an excellent site and thanks for putting it on 
the web.  

ME: Thanks again for the kind words.  I enjoyed your work on the 
Beatles and their money, too.  I sent your web address to some 
friends.  I wish there were more fans who'd rather channel their 
energy than just fritter it all away.  

ME: First of all, I'm no "real" musician - just an enthusiastic 
amateur who's been at it a long time.  I heartily suggest giving 
Vina's piece a go.  You'll find it's not too confusing.  After 
you retune to the E major chord, all you have to keep in mind is 
to play 3rd string notes one fret lower (the A is at the 1st fret 
now) and the 4th string notes 2 frets lower (the F# is at the 2nd 
fret now).  But there's only a few instances of that since the 
reason for retuning is to get a lot of open strings.  

ME: I always suggest tuning to E-flat instead of E.  This gives 
about the same overall tension, and even though it involves 
changing 5 strings, tuning goes very quickly because you're not 
changing any string more than a semi-tone, so they don't keep 
drifting back.  

  Tune the 1st string to the 2nd string, 4th fret.  
  Tune the 2nd string to the 1st string, 5th fret.  
  Tune the 6th string down to match the 1st string.  
  Tune the 4th string up to    "        "     " 
  Tune the 5th string up to match the 2nd string.  

Voila!  and good luck.  

P.S.  About the Sebastopol pieces with drumming, I think that 
almost always involves the tambora effect - drumming with the 
thumb near the bridge while holding the indicated notes.  

ME: Thanks for stopping by the other day and getting me out.  I 
searched by record catalog for Romberg, but didn't find the piece 
we heard, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise.  

Search string = Romberg 

*** Complete Operas, Opera Highlights and Opera Without Words *** 
The Desert Song, Romberg (hl): Barr Tozzi Galjour Morgan 
The Student Prince, Romberg (hl): Kirsten Rounseville Warner Harvuot Dalton Rogier Miller Geyans Goss Holland Eckles  Engel 

*** Opera Highlight Sets (maybe only 1 composer) *** 
  The Desert Song, Romberg: Moffo Fredricks Lewis Smith 
  Blossom Time, Romberg Schubert Berte: Pracht Endich Fredricks Lewis Gaynes Rubin Smith 

*** Mixed bag (all opera) *** 
78's - Popular (cassette) 
  My Maryland, Romberg (hl): Victor Light Opera Company 

ME: Great write-up on Stars & Stripes Forever [arr. Henlein]!  It 
would have never occurred to me that there was any more to the 
story than, "some guy wrote a really popular piece for band and 
some guitarist did what he could with it." How do you do it?  
Thanks again.  

THEE: Are you a music teacher? Did you teach in Idaho in the late 
1950's early 1960's 

ME: Nope, I've only ever been a music hobbyist and have always 
lived on the east coast.  Was there a Donald Sauter in Idaho?  I 
know there was one in California who got into some political hot 

ME: Somehow I didn't know, or have forgotten, how serious the 
attack on George was.  

Not real pleased with this nonsense about Beatles vs. current 
teen idols.  

Hself visited on Tuesday and he left right stunned with the 
Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival 1958.  

THEE: I like all that bollocks about today's groups vs. the 
Beatles, because the Beatles still win.  

I just finished watching the official 1995 Abkco "Rolling Stones 
Rock & Roll Circus" video, which a friend at work lent me.  They 
should have released it.  It was good!  I made the appropriate 
audio transcriptions for you.  

THEE: I got a little confused on your instructions for tuning 
into open E flat. I can figure it out if you tell me this: what 
are the resulting open string notes from 6th to 1st? (I 
calculated D# B D# G G# D#, which seems wrong to me).  

Tambora Effects: If you hit near the bridge with just the thumb, 
are you thereby playing the melody simply by fretting with left 
hand fingers so you get a kind of muffled melody muddied up in 
the drum sound?  

ME: Sorry for the confusion about the E-flat major tuning.  The 
notes you end up with are: 

  Eb  Bb  Eb   G  Bb  Eb 

This is the same as: 

  D#  A#  D#   G  A#  D# 

but maybe a better way to think of it is this, since it shows 
what you do with each string starting from its normal tuning: 

  Eb  A#  D#   G  Bb  Eb 

Thus strings 6, 2 and 1 (low string = 6) go down a half step, and 
strings 5 and 4 go up a half step.  

Note that if you just tuned the guitar to E major you'd get 

   E   B   E   G#  B  E 

You only change 3 strings, but they go up a total of 5 half-

THEE: While searching the internet for sheet music for Lichner's 
"Forget Me Not" (a piano piece I heard some months ago on WNIB 
FM, a classical station in Chicago) I came across your great 
page.  I'm going back and study your page carefully.  In the 

I'm interested in transposing the piano version of "Forget Me 
Not" to guitar.  It's such a pleasant melody which seems suitable 
for a guitar rendition.  

If you have any tips you'd care to share as to where copies of 
this music can be found, I'd be greatly in your debt.  

THEE: Much worse, the voice-over narration of "Revolution" is 
almost brain-dead daft. At one point, we learn that "teenagers 
loved how the Beatles looked, but adults were shocked by their 
long hair." Get out, you guys! There's this, too: "The Beatles, 
like the Rolling Stones, started out in small clubs in England, 
but their music had its roots in America." And here's a news 
flash: "The Beatles and Rolling Stones brought African American 
music to a much wider audience." 

ME: I'd say statements 1 and 2 are true and bear restating on 
occasion.  (I'd say only about a percent of the population alive 
at the time remember the uproar over Beatle hair.) Statement 3 is 
a bunch of baloney.  

Statement 1 brings to mind a song I heard today on WMUC.  The 
lyrics went something like, "I don't mean to throw a wet blanket 
on everybody's party, but am I the only one who remembers the 
bomb?"  We are forgetful creatures.  

THEE: Well, I guess you're right.  Some of those truisms do need 
repeating.  At first, I thought no, but then I remembered that 
even five years ago, newscasters were having great fun asking the 
youth to name all four Beatles.  The typical answer was, "John, 
Paul, Elton, Billy?" 

THEE: Thanks, for getting back to me.  Your web site was an 
amusing read. I wish you success.  

THEE: Greetings.  I am a composer working on a tone poem based on 
Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" in which a 
character plays a guitar arrangement of "the last waltz of von 
Weber."  I found your site and the lising -  
Bateman/Reissiger/Weber's last waltz  - under the American 
Collection.  Is there any information you might be able to share 
about this piece?  I would like to add the guitar to the 
orchestra to play this piece during the work, as Poe wrote, "an 
amplified and perverted version."  Are there recordings 
available, sheet music, etc?  

ME: Wow, I never knew Poe mentioned "Weber's Last Thought" in The 
Fall Of The House Usher!  I went right to it.  That's neat, 

What I know about it is that it really was written by Karl 
Gottlieb Reissiger (1798-1859).  Originally titled "Webers 
letzten Gedanke", it was No. 5 in his Danses brillantes pour le 
pianoforte (1822).  I have this on impeccable authority, even 
though I've never pulled up the original piano work.  (I wouldn't 
be able to prove that Reissiger didn't take it from Weber or 
someone else, anyway.) 

I have 3 or 4 versions for solo guitar in my collection, plus 2 
for guitar & piano.  (See my web page.)  I suppose you wouldn't 
need to see these prim and proper version to make your 
"perverted" one, but if you want to see any of them I'd be happy 
to send copies.  

I don't recall ever hearing a recording of any version of the 

By the way, have you ever heard the solo guitar piece "The Usher 
Waltz" by Nikita Koshkin (I think)?  It's pretty demented, 
especially the way a great local guitarist, Michael Bard, plays 
it.  He uses a huge vibrato on big chords that's more like a 
bend.  Recordings, such as by John Williams, should be easy to 

ME: I've got a few editions of "Weber's Last Waltz/Thought" for 
you.  Just send me a complete mailing address and I'll get them 
off.  Might as well tell you now what you'll get.  

About 4 or 5 different arrangements for guitar, some with 
variations that might give you ideas for your treatment.  

Two versions for piano 2-hand.  There were about 30 different 
editions of these in the M1.A13R box at the Library of Congress.  
This is a class for American publications dating from 1820 to 
1860, so these were all the rage in Poe's time.  I intentionally 
copied one of the Baltimore editions since Poe had a connection 
with that town (among others, of course.) Most all of them were 
in A-flat or B-flat, so I got you one of each.  

A 2-piano version in C from the same box.  By the way I found 
another solo guitar version there for my collection.  

Three piano & guitar versions from my own collection (which I got 
from LC.)  Maybe they'll give an idea of what to do with a 
"guitar part".  

I know that's a lot more than you really need, but most of them 
are just 1- or 2-pagers.  I thought you might get a kick out 
seeing so many different editions.  (Only one is a modern 
engraving.) You will shortly be the Weber's Last Thought world 

ME: Here are some web pages that have some interesting info on 
Mattiwilda Dobbs.  See if you can search for "dobbs" in the pages 
that are not exclusively about her.  

  Linkname: Columnists - Ottawa Citizen Online 

  Linkname: Going South: From Chapter One of You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train 

  Linkname: AFROCENTRIC VOICES--Marian Anderson Biography 

  Linkname: History | Atlanta Georgia 

THEE: news....I don't think I've written you since PJ 
[pearl jam] came to town.  I actually made it to 9 Pearl Jam 
shows this year...and of those, I was in the FRONT ROW twice!!!    
I really love the front row!!   Sounds really silly, but I ended 
up with Eddie Vedder's water bottle at one show.  So, I keep it 
in a little display on my dresser.  Silly...but kind of cool.  

ME: Nothing silly about Eddie Vetter's water bottle.  I'm still 
kicking myself for not grabbing the Three Stooges smashed cigar 
that was right in front of me on the stage at Gwynn Oak Park back 
in the late '50s.  I was so afraid that maybe they would need it 
again in their act.  Then a kid near me grabbed it, boo hoo.  
Also reminds me of the time I saw the Monkees in Philadelphia 
back in 1980-something.  The young man on the bus back to the 
hotel asked me, "Would you like to see Petah's towel?"  (He had a 
nice british accent.)  He had scored Peter Tork's sweat towel 
when it was thrown into the seats.  He also told me about the 
time he saw John Lennon's Rolls Royce somewhere in London when he 
was a kid.  

ME: I spent 10 or so minutes trying to find Baron Munchhausen on-
line, without success.  I was wondering if your search techniques 
can turn up something.  

THEE: Oh, there was water in the was about 2/3 full.  
Eddie had tossed the bottle our way, and it fell between the 
barrier and the stage.  The girl with me, Hself, asked a security 
guy for it later in the show.  He gave it to her, but removed the 
cap.  Hself gave it to me.  She loves the Bass player, and she 
knows how I feel about Eddie.  I was also disappointed earlier, 
when Eddie smashed a tambourine, and seemed to be walking right 
to me (he always gives his smashed tambourines away).  I had such 
a rush of adrenalin!!!  But...he ended up giving it to the girl 
to my left...  passing me by.  I was really pretty devastated.   
So, I ended up with a bottle of water...that Eddie had drank out 
of.  So, I drank the water too.  From his lips to mine.  Ok, tell 
me I'm sick.  I know it.   AND, you ate Thanksgiving dinner 
sitting across from a person who drank after Eddie Vedder.   
Makes you'what kind of germs did he give 


I don't usually use the name "Michael Tolson" anymore 
- having long since switched to "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE" 
& a slew of other conceptually significant redefinitions.  
You'll also note that there are a bunch of web-sites 
that keep that not necessarily interested general public 
abreast of my activities 
- particularly as a filmmaker, publisher, 
'performer', & mischief-maker.  
If you have a computer that can support such things 
I think you can even find sound files of mine 
for your irritainment.  

&, indeed, Jack Dean was "Teeny-Weeny Beanie-Brain"; 
I was "Tinsel-Toes" (probably named by Jack 
- who was quite a character - I'm tempted to look 
for him on the web next) & Leo Wurmer was "Worm" 
(big surprise, eh?).  
I suspect Leo's parents might've been 'beatniks'.  
I'd love to be in touch w/ them again.  

"Anything is Anything" 
"No More Punching-Bag Clowns!" 
"Neoism Now! & Then!"; 
"Kill Normality Before It Kills You!" 
"The Revenge of the Impotent is to Try to Neuter the Fertile" 
"Before You Decide Against Biting the Hand That Feeds You, 
      Ask Why It Has So Much Food in the First Place" 


Mad Scientist / d composer / Sound Thinker / Thought Collector / As Been / 
PIN-UP (Postal Interaction Underground Participant) / 
Headless Deadbeat of the Pup tENT Cult / 
booed usician / Low Classicist / H.D.J. (Hard Disc Jockey) / 
Psychopathfinder / Jack-Off-Of-All-Trades / criminally sane / 
Homonymphonemiac / Practicing PromoTextual / 
Air Dresser / 
Sprocket Scientist / headitor & earchivist / 
Sexorcist / 
Professional Resister of Character Defamation / 
Proponent of Classification-Resistant What-Have-Yous / 
Princess of Dorkness's Right Hand Man / 
Human Attention-ExSpanDex Speculum / 

social associations: 

nuclear brain physics surgery's cool founder & graduate 
Krononaut / Church of the SubGenius Santa / Neoast?! / Pregroperativist 
S.S.S.B.ite (Secret Society for Strange Behaviour -ite) 
member of the I.S.C.D.S. (International Stop Continental Drift Society) 
1 time supporter of the ShiMo Underground 
Ballooning One in the Fructiferous Society 
founder & president of the N.A.A.M.C.P.  
        (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples) 
co-founder of the S.P.C.S.M.E.F.  
        (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) 
Borderline Kneelite in the KNEEHIGHS GANG 
emphatic member of the No-No Class 
Street Rat Liberation Front 
Money Against Capitalism 

Here in Pittsburgh (my current home) 
my girlfriend (& some others) publish a magazine called 
"Street Rat" (currently: "Street Rat-Bag") 
that expresses some political views that you might find agreeable.  
I'm certainly with you against the current 
Criminal Injustice System.  
I've also been publishing tapes & CD-Rs 
(the tapes since 1981 & the CD-Rs recently) 
& I have a tape of my guitar stuff called 
"Guitar Running Thru It Like A Rotten Thread".  
Mainly I make Musique Concrete 
(or "Concrete Mixing" as I prefer) 
that I call "Low Classical Usic" 
& guitar is NOT my preferred instrument 
so the title of the tape is a bit derisory 
of my guitar playing but, HEY!, you might find it interesting.  
SO, do you have any recordings of your music 
that you'd like to trade?  
Would you like a copy of my magazine?  
Send me a mailing address & I'll launch the goodies 
in the mail if & when I have a few bucks to do so 
(it takes WKS! sometimes so don't hold your breath).  

All for Now & Now for All! 
Michael "tENT" Tolson 

THEE: Subject: The Chipmunks sing the Beatles Hits 

I was wondering if you knew of any place that sells that 
cd or tape. i loved the tape as i was growing up and i just 
recently found the tape but it has been destroyed due to wear and 
tear and i was wondering if you had any info on how i can get a 
new tape. if you could please write back to me and let me know i 
would appreciate it.  

THEE: Congratulations on your tenacity during your Presidential 
run.  A question: given the closeness of the Presidential 
election, and the attendant controversy that has arisen, have you 
conceded the 2000 election, or do you, at this point, intend to 
continue to press to be installed as President on Inauguration 
Day, 2001?  

Thank you for taking the time to answer this query.  

ME: By the way, LC has misplaced a *whole box* of music for 
guitar and voice that has 5 hefty booklets edited by Trinkaus and 
published by Witmark.  I thought there was a small chance of 
finding something in those by O'Hare arranged for voice and 
guitar.  This is the sort of place that only I would think to 
look - no search of any catalog would lead you there.  Of course, 
there's who-knows-how-many-other little crannies worth looking 
into that would never occur to me.  

ME: Thanks for the vidfest last night.  It occurred to me that a 
comparison with Birth Of The Beatles might also tell anybody who 
cares something about how society has changed over the last 20 
years.  I remember it as being warmer and pleasanter.  

THEE: I'm headed to a friend's Christmas party Saturday (lots of 
musicians in the group:  pianists, singers, and the friend plays 
a saw.  ;-)).  Then Sunday, it's off to Tulsa's ragtime society's 
holiday party.  Pianists there, too, of course!  Should be a fun 
weekend. In the remaining time--between parties and loads of 
laundry, that is--I'm working on an article on hoodooism as 
related to Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha, bringing in cultural 
and literary history from the period.  Seems to be a topic no one 
else has touched, but it suits my literature background.  
Besides, I like odd topics, though you should have seen the looks 
I got from the public librarians in Des Moines when I asked for 
all the voodoo/hoodoo books kept behind the reference desk! Oh, 
well, let them think what they may.  

THEE: I hope this finds you well and happy.  I'm sorry this has 
taken me so long, but I want to thank you for sending "Our 
Director" out to me.  It is quite an enjoyable little piece.  It 
reminds me a lot of the pieces in "Jacobs' Easy Guitar Folio" of 
1899.  I have a full photocopy (minus page one) from the Boston 
Public Library copy.  I was lucky enough to be there when a 
permissive librarian was on duty.  

ME: You've got me curious about "Jacob's Easy Guitar Folio", but 
no need to send it - I'll see if it's at LC first.  Why I'm 
curious is because I thought I noticed a difference between 
Jacobs' work before and after 1900, going from a slightly more 
high-brow classical style to a more pop-style afterward, such as 
the Our Director arrangement.  I wonder where his Easy Guitar 
Folio fits in.  

ME: That instrument [saw] is amazing - who could ever guess 
that sound would come out??  [Sounds like a theremin to me.] 

Regarding Treemonisha, you might read my modest little thoughts 
on the opera at 
  [now at ] 

Keep me up to date, though, on all of your articles and theses on 
O'Hare, hoodoo, ragtime, etc.  I'm impressed.  I mean, what do 
you do, read every book ever published in Treemonisha's era, in 
the hopes that they have a hoodoo reference, and then hold 'em 
all in your head until they slide into place in one big, unified, 
coherent picture?  Authors amaze me.  

ME: Hi Michael! 

Great to hear from you!  You were the first "old friend" I ever 
snagged from that page, after more than a couple of years.  

Sorry for the delay in writing back - been bogged down with other 
things.  Another excuse is that, for me, writing is work!  It's a 
real chore dredging up the next word.  I know this is in complete 
contrast to yourself.  (If you ever got stuck in my quicksand 
brain for a few moments, it'd kill you.) 

Now, don't get all teary-eyed, but I can't imagine being more 
thrilled with any other first-time responder to my old friends 
page.  You've always been a hero in my eyes.  I have it 
somewhere, but can't put my fingers on it despite being organized 
to the teeth, the newspaper clip about you dancing around in the 
train tunnel or whatever.  I know that guy!!!  The proudest 
memory of my life is when you got sent to the guidance counselor 
in 1st grade for smashing Ms. Dill with your lunch box, you 
asked, can I take a friend along - and you chose me!  Do you 
remember the session?  The guidance counselor asked, what do you 
want to be when you grow up; I said "carpenter" (my father's 
occupation); you said "a skippy man".  I've related that story a 
few times over the years.  

Social events were so terrifying for me that I puked on your back 
yard at your birthday party, e.g.  (Your mom tried to put the 
blame on rotten marshmallows.  Nope, it was purely emotional.) 

> & you've become an astronomer or some such?  

Not really.  I went in that direction, having worked at a radio 
astronomy observatory while in college.  I only took it as far as 
1 year of graduate school before throwing in the towel.  By that 
point, the competition was *very* stiff, and the professors made 
sure that they didn't get *too* much across.  I remember one 
physics test where the average score was 18.  I got a 12. 

Math and science will always be a big part of my constitution, 
but if you ramble around my web site, you will see that I've 
reacted against science to some extent.  I claim that scientists 
can say any stupid thing they want and get away with it, because 
there's nobody to police them.  

> Do you ever read George Perec?  The French 20th century writer?  
I was just reading something by him yesterday about memory.  

Like I say, our brains are on 2 different plains.  Sorry, never 
heard of Perec.  Right now I'm reading a children's book from 
1850 called Beechnut by an unidentified author.  I find myself 
drawn to old music and books.  Not a big deal, but probably 
related to a distaste for the modern world.  Before Beechnut, I 
read an 1870 edition of Baron Munchausen, which was written about 
a 100 years before that.  

Did you see my web page on dreams?  People take dreams for 
granted, but I claim there's something *really* bizarre going on 
there.  I can't imagine what the explanation is.  

When you emailed there was, coincidentally, a paper lying about 
my computer with the poem, "The Frog".  Do you remember that?  It 
was one that cracked up Jack Dean.  It starts, "What a wonderful 
bird the frog are - when he stand he sit almost."  That was my 
first introduction in life to the truly weird.  

> Anyway, I've managed to pursue my visions in life w/ tenacity & 
the financial result has been a sort of jet-setting extreme 
poverty (go figger).  

I've finally discovered what I really want to do - tutor 
elementary school kids.  I'm *not* interested in being a 
conventional teacher, for a bunch of reasons.  But working one-
on-one or, better yet, one-on-two, is grand.  In a nutshell, my 
idea is to work one-on-one with *all* the students in a certain 
grade, such as third, with the specific goal of raising scores on 
some standardized test.  So far, I've been thwarted in my efforts 
to get such a position.  It would take a visionary principal.  If 
I could prove the merit of my idea, it would behoove schools to 
add a "home-schooler" for each grade.  (Don't worry - I wouldn't 
quash Michael Tolson-types.)  I recently had a job at an 
elementary school that ended quite disastrously.  

> If you have a computer that can support such things I think you 
can even find sound files of mine for your irritainment.  

I'll have to bug a friend for that.  I use equipment that would 
be considered prehistoric.  That's just like me - resistant to 
change; striving for simplicity. 

Don't know what the problem is - nobody else has mentioned it.  
My stuff is (almost) completely text-only; all the java business 
is what geocities puts on my pages.  

> 3rd, do you ever "ego-surf" & investigate your name-sakes?  

Once or twice.  There's a Donald Sauter politician in California 
who got himself in trouble a few years ago.  There was a Donald 
Sauter little league coach who had to eat his hair or something 
after losing a bet.  

> & I've been arrested for Trespassing when performing my "Poop & 
Pee Dog Copyright Violation Ceremony" in connection w/ the 3rd 
Church of the SubGenius Convention in BalTimOre.  Strange 
Coincidence (ok, I'm stretching it a bit w/ this last one).  

Did you find the SubGenius ref in my quotes page?  I used to 
listen to the Hour of Slack every week, until the U. of Md. 
station stopped running it.  

> I just visited your index & I was pleasantly surprised to find 
you proposal for "Unarchy" & to find that you're a classical 
guitarist, etc..  

Yeah, my bag is to introduce a dose of common sense to this 
insane world.  Of course, who am I to say what "common sense" is, 
but I was totally dumbfounded by what I saw when I served on my 
first jury.  Just unbelievable...  Anyhow, I don't presume that 
you would agree completely with unarchy, but it should at least 
do away with victimless "crimes".  By the way, you're good with 
words - can you come up with something better than "unarchy" 
before it gets implemented (ha ha).  

You'd think my guitaring totally square - and it is!  So square, 
in fact, that it's radical.  I'm the only person on earth playing 
that late 19th C. American guitar music I find at the Library of 
Congress.  Another means of time-travelling for me...  

> Here in Pittsburgh (my current home) my girlfriend (& some 
others) publish a magazine called "Street Rat" (currently: 
"Street Rat-Bag") that expresses some political views that you 
might find agreeable.  I'm certainly with you against the current 
Criminal Injustice System.  

For years, I subscribed to Factsheet Five.  I found some 
politically oriented zines in there that I inflicted my unarchy 
ideas on.  How's the zine scene nowadays, what with the internet?  
I also got a bunch of basement recorded tapes from the music 
review pages of F5.  


> You're more than welcome.  You've got me curious about 
"Jacob's Easy Guitar Folio", but no need to send it - I'll see if 
it's at LC first.  Why I'm curious is because I thought I noticed 
a difference between Jacobs' work before and after 1900, going 
from a slightly more high-brow classical style to a more pop-
style afterward, such as the Our Director arrangement.  I wonder 
where his Easy Guitar Folio fits in.  

Yeah, though I hadn't thought of it before.  The only other 
Jacobs' book I have access to is Vol. 1 of "The Guitar Soloist", 
and the content is much more demanding, with more European 
material in with the American.  Among my favorites there are 
"Love and Beauty; the famous waltzes for banjo by Thomas(?) 
Armstrong" and "Lizotte, Mazurka de Salon".  The Easy Guitar 
Folio repertoire is more American, though not emtirely "easy" by 
modern standards; a couple of trios in Fmajor, for example.  

THEE: My copies have the following covers:  The Czarevitch--an 
eagle crest; The Awakening--a photo of a woman in an exotic 
costume, dedication to Mme. Adelaide Herrmann.  After much 
searching, initially futile searching, I identified Addie & the 
photo as Addie.  I first came across her, or the person I 
suspected, while reading Shreveport papers--advertisements for a 
touring magician named Alexander "Herrmann the Great" Herrmann, 
assisted by Mme. Herrmann, the troupe's dancer.  After futile 
Internet searches early in my research, I eventually found both 
Alex & Addie on the Internet and have since found them in magic 
history books and the New York Times.  They lived on Long Island 
for some time, even had their own theatre for a while in 

While we'll have an extraordinary pianist at the party, who works 
in my college Registrar's office, I'm hoping we can convince Hself 
to play the saw, too.  He's amazing--one of our campus media 
dept. crew, but with knowledge of so many subjects that I marvel 
at him.  

You would have loved it--piano & saw duets--everything from 
"Hungarian Dance" and "Flight of the Bumblebee" to "Memory" and 
"Bali Hai," with a bit of blues and early jazz sandwiched 
between. When Hself finally wore out, we all got a shot at 
getting sound from the saw.  I think I know something I need to 
buy my husband for Christmas.  We already have the violin bows 
sitting around unused since the kiddoes played.  

And, yup, sounds like a theremin.  

Have you read Ed Berlin's King of Ragtime, his bio of Joplin?  If 
not, read it. Good chapter on Treemonisha.  Book as a whole reads 
like a mystery, really fascinating. He also has a Treemonisha 
review on the website of the Center for Black Music Research in 
Chicago. You can find the site address in Ed's recent Treemonisha 
posting at (  Ed has also 
answered 1001 questions for me via e-mail and we've met at the 
Joplin Fest the past two years. Nice guy.  He has helped me learn 
the rigors of music research.  

I stumble across things.  Seem to have many serendipitous 
experiences.  Reading Shreveport papers on one of 3 trips to the 
city, I spotted a voodoo article--fairly long one.  Not wanting 
to waste time reading it while scanning newspaper microfilms for 
material on my ggfather, I copied it.  When I returned home, the 
voodoo article made its way into a general Shreveport history 
file.  Maybe 6-8 months later I read it.  "Wow!" I thought.  
"This parallels Zodzetrick."  In Des Moines during Thanksgiving, 
I hung out at the public library for much of a day. Looking for 
"hoodoo" in a book's index, I spotted the term "goofer dust."  
Eureka again.  Since then, I've turned to black Southern 
literature from the period and have hit paydirt, also some later 
blues lyrics.  

THEE: p.s. Most people don't even get the "Arbeit Macht Frei" 
reference.  How soon they forget, eh?! 

> Another excuse is that, for me, writing is work! 

For me too but I still like doing it.  
My current writing challenge is to write a letter 
to a hospital contesting their truly OUTRAGEOUS 
overcharge of me for a recent emergency room visit.  
I had a severe toothache & couldn't take the pain anymore.  
They gave me a shot of local anesthetic 
& wrote a prescription for penicillin & a pain-killer 
& charged me almost $1,000.  
In 1996 (when I 1st moved to P-Burgh 
& had extreme trouble finding a job) 
that wd've been 1/3rd of my annual income! 
All for about 15 minutes of attention from an intern! 
As it is, that's probably about 1/6th to 1/8th of my income 
for this yr! 
I'm thinking of sending them a bill 
for my letter-writing services - 
claiming that I'm a widely published writer (somewhat true) 
& that they've forced me to produce great literature 
wch'll go down in history 
& is therefore more important than any services 
they're likely to provide.  
Naturally I'll accept all dropping of their charges to me 
for their incompetent & purely mechanical services 
as their 1st payment for my great literature.  
You get the idea.  
I've got better things to work on 
(like my feature-length movie re going to Australia this yr) 
but if I don't do something 
they'll sic the moneyhounds on me 
& that'll stress me out even more.  
The medical industry in this country 
is an utterly unscrupulous industry of greed 
(& the laughingstock of countries like Canada).  

Whew!  That really took me by surprise.  
Of course, we all grow up & lead our lives 
(if we're lucky) 
& grow apart from those that circumstance 
throws us together w/ as children.  
Even though I've lead a public life 
as a filmmaker, musician, performer, writer, 
political activist, & troublemaker, 
I'm still completely obscure 
& basically take it for granted 
that my early friends have little or no idea 
what's happened in my life over the yrs 
(just as I know little about theirs).  
So it takes me by surprise that you even have 
any idea of anything I've been asociated w/! 

> I have it somewhere, but can't put my fingers on it despite 
being organized to the teeth, the newspaper clip about you 
dancing around in the train tunnel or whatever.  

"T he Poop & Pee Dog Copyright Violation Ceremony".  
That was certainly the action I performed 
that garnered the most publicity 
(completely distorted of course 
- including "quotes" from me that I never sd 
from people who never interviewed me!).  
Somewhere I have a tape of a group of the organizers of 
the 3rd SubGenius Convention that that was part of 
sitting around in a planning session 
where I proposed that action 
as a publicity stunt - saying that if I got caught 
doing it it wd make great news anyway! 
Little did I know how true that wd turn out to be.  
If I'd continued beating dead dogs 
I'd be a 'famous artist' today but WHAT A BORE.  
For the next 2 yrs that's just about all I heard about.  
I was glad to move onto something else.  
I made a film in London about 8 mnths later of me 
being a seeing eye dog for a blind girlfriend of mine 
called "Neoist Guide Dog".  
I'll be screening it at the Museum of Modern Art 
in NYC in February.  
The film's not that big of a deal but I like it.  
I showed it once in NYC where an audience tried to 
stop the screening saying I was being a "sadist" 
to that "poor blind girl"! 
If only they knew! 
She was stronger than I ever cd be! 
her name was Gail Litfin.  Did you ever know her?  
She probably went to Woodlawn.  
Anyway, back to the story: 
I showed the film at a party in B-More 
shortly after I made it & a guy who had loved 
the "Ceremony" came up to me afterwards 
& told me he liked the film but thought the message 
was kindof "trite" 
(the film ends w/ me acting as her seeing eye dog 
on all fours walking past a 
"Please Help the Blind" collection box 
in a shopping mall)! 
Apparently, he thought the film was some kind of 
plea to help those poor blind people 
when it was really an attempt to show 
that misery can be turned on its head w/ absurdity 
- something Gail understood very well 
or she wd've probably never 
lived as long as she did.  
She died from diabetes about 5 yrs ago.  

> The proudest memory of my life is when you got sent to the 
guidance counselor in 1st grade for smashing Ms. Dill with your 
lunch box, you asked, can I take a friend along - and you chose 

Egads!  I have a vague memory of hitting Ms. Dill 
but I'd completely forgotten about any aftermath! 
I've always been 'naturally' anti-authoritarian 
&, even though I have no memory of whether Ms. Dill 
'deserved' my attack, 
I reckon that it was a manifestation of my anti-authoritarianism! 
I started rebelling as soon as I was put in Kindergarten.  

> Do you remember the session?  The guidance counselor asked, 
what do you want to be when you grow up; I said "carpenter" (my 
father's occupation); you said "a skippy man".  I've related 
that story a few times over the years.  

A "skippy man"?!  I wonder wht the **** that is?  
A Skippy peanut-butter salesman?! 
I hope I was trying to be funny! 

I was once very shy too.  
I went to a reading by Ed Sanders 
(yippie, member of the rock band "The Fugs", 
& author) 
& someone asked him what to do about being shy.  
He wasn't really much help 
but he sd something like 
"You just have to get over it." 
Even though I didn't find his answer particularly brilliant 
it's stuck w/ me.  
I did get over it - my sex drive saw to that.  
It's never too late you know.  
You're obviously a very smart guy 
w/ a sense of humor, a good memory, & lots of opinions.  
If you can handle being rejected by stupid snobs 
you'll find alotof compatible people out there 
just from getting up the nerve to talk at parties & such-like.  

> Math and science will always be a big part of my constitution, 
but if you ramble around my web site, you will see that I've 
reacted against science to some extent.  I claim that scientists 
can say any stupid thing they want and get away with it, because 
there's nobody to police them.  

Maybe that's part of why we were friends in elementary school?  
I was mainly a mathematician 
but I made the decision around age 9 that 
being an 'artist' would probably be more fun.  
I still have a certain affection for math though 
&, of course, I still use my proclivities in that direction 
in 'music'.  
Science is definitely a religion 
that's just as 'fallible' as any other religions 
& I don't worship at its alter.  
My girlfriend & I were recently hosted by 
a nuclear physicist who was defending the use of 
depleted uranium weapons in Iraq.  
& it was pretty obvious that being an apologist 
for crimes against humanity earns big bucks.  
Needless to say I wasn't very impressed by his arguments.  

> I find myself drawn to old music and books.  

I was in the bookstore business for 8 yrs.  
I was co-owner of "Normal's" in B-More.  
I sold my share 6 yrs ago but the store's still going strong.  
Anyway, my specialty is more the last 115 yrs or so 
in both music & literature 
but I've read & listened to quite alot prior to that 
so my interests aren't so exclusive.  
I love Rabelais, eg, & count him among my 20 most favorite writers.  

I've keep dream diaries off & on over the yrs.  
I kept them at age 15 & destroyed them unfortunately.  
I'm sure they were a remarkable document of adolescent angst.  

> And I can't imagine having left out Leo Wurmer.  

Leo was GREAT.  He turned me on to 
Spike Jones & the City Slickers 
the ONE time I visited his house.  
I didn't hear them again for a long time after that 
but I'm still a Spike Jones enthusiast! 
After I went to your web-site 
I tried searching for him & Jack Dean on the net 
to no avail.  

> "The Frog".  Do you remember that?  It was one that cracked up 
Jack Dean.  It starts, "What a wonderful bird the frog are - when 
he stand he sit almost."  That was my first introduction in life 
to the truly weird.  

Don't remember it.  
I do remember Jack telling me about 
sitting naked in the window of his house.  
That made a big impression on me 
(I've spent alotof time being a public nudist).  
He put together a book called "Lavatory Lore" 
of 'dirty' jokes.  
He was quite a character.  
Love to know what happened to him! 

> But working one-on-one or, better yet, one-on-two, is grand.  
Sounds good to me.  
That sounds similar to ideas I have about mental health care.  
I'm proud that no friends of mine have committed suicide 
or been put away WHILE THEY'VE BEEN CLOSE TO ME.  
I feel like much of the stuff I've been involved in 
that probably seems weirdest to society-at-large 
has very efficiently served the function of satisfying 
'needs' of people who are in extreme pain.  
Naturally, the people in extreme pain understand it just fine.  
The rest wd probably rather see me locked up.  

> I recently had a job at an elementary school that ended quite 
disastrously.  Just remember - Andre Stevenson is no Michael 

I reckon his dad's in jail or dead?  
I doubt that I'd be able to deal w/ Andre either 
but it sounds like you gave it a pretty damn good try.  

> Did you find the SubGenius ref in my quotes page?  

No, but I'll give it a look.  
Truthfully, I HATE web-browsing 
& wdn't blame anyone for not looking at my sites.  
Just by reading your letter re Andre 
I've spent more time reading your stuff 
than I usually wd.  
The personal connection helps motivate.  

> I was totally dumbfounded by what I saw when I served on my 
first jury.  

I can imagine.  
In the time I've spent in court 
I've seen judges as arrogant frustrated performers 
lording it over the 'lower classes' 
obviously showing off 'how smart they are' [NOT].  
I DETEST the legal system.  

> You'd think my guitaring totally square - and it is!  So square, 
in fact, that it's radical.  I'm the only person on earth playing 
that late 19th C. American guitar music I find at the Library of 

I might understand more than you realize.  
Do you know that it's not that uncommon for 'modern' 
experimental classical composers to reuse 
older material partially to pay homage to it?  
Check out Lukas Foss' "Baroque Variations", 
John Cage's "Hymns and Variations" & "Cheap Imitation", 
Mauricio Kagel's "Ludwig Van", etc, etc..  
As a music scholar, I'd like to hear the obscure music you play! 

> For years, I subscribed to Factsheet Five.  

Good old Mike Gunderloy.  
I started getting FF when it was still 2 xeroxed pp 
folded together.  
He & I have long since lost touch w/ each other.  
He had the most incredible capacity for reading 
of anyone I've ever known! 

> I found some politically oriented zines in there that I 
inflicted my unarchy ideas on.  How's the zine scene nowadays, 
what with the internet?  

Still thriving but I don't pay much attention to it.  
I've read a few anarchist 'zines lately 
mainly because my girlfriend is into them 
so I'm back to being surrounded by them again.  

> I also got a bunch of basement recorded tapes from the music 
review pages of F5.  

Did you ever read the "Cassette Mythos" book 
that came out of the hometaper world?  
That was the peak of those times for me.  
They published an article of mine.  

>> "Guitar Running Thru It Like A Rotten Thread".  

>> Would you like a copy of my magazine?  

> Yeah, I'd get a kick out of those things.  The drawbacks are I 
have a tremendous backlog of music and reading material to get 
to, and I don't have anything to trade.  

I'll send them off soon.  You might find 
that the guitar tape represents a violation of everything 
you like in guitar playing.  
I make no claims of being a good guitarist.  
I put that tape together 
just becuase I went on a slight guitar kick 
by teaching my girlfriend how to play in '96 
& that stimulated me to want to edit together 
some samples of my playing.  
I was probably best when I was 19 
& I don't have any recordings from those early yrs..  

> Still, I could reimburse you a few bucks.  

If you like, but a tape of you playing guitar wd be great! 
Either way, don't feel obliged to send anything.  
They're presents sent to show my appreciation 
of how nice it is to touch base w/ you again.  
Of course, I have the highest respect for trading 
so if you do send anything I'd receive it w/ enthusiasm! 

> Keep up the good work keeping the world a little off-balance.  

Back atcha! 

Aloha, your pal, 


THEE: I am looking at your web page when I probably should be 
working.  Nevertheless....  

I found your page following a Google search for Zahr Myron 
Bickford.  I noted that you had recovered music from (presumably) 
original pages in the Library of Congress.  Did you perhaps find 
any MANDOLIN music by Mr. Bickford?  

I am a mandocellist with the Munier Mandolin Orchestra in 
Philadelphia, a mandolin orchestra of long standing.  I would be 
very interested in obtaining a copy (for money, of course!) of 
anything in your collection of a mandolin (mandola mandocello) 
nature by either the aforementioned Bickford, or Rafaelle Calace, 
or Carlos Munier, if you happen to also know those names.  

ME: Subject: inspite of all those spelling tests...  

I got the idea to go back to ebay and search on the word "alot".  
There were 20,487 hits.  

ME: Tell Hself that I heard her friend play in an honors music 
chamber recital at U of M last week.  Her quartet was called the 
Choo Choo Quartet.  I like it, even though I'm still not sure 
whether it's supposed to be humorous or not.  (Is "choo choo" 
Chinese or something?)  Tell Hself to tell Hself that I thought 
they "absolutely sparkled." 

ME: I know that Bickford wrote a 4 volume mandolin method, and my 
understanding is that that is still available without difficulty.  
Would that be something you need?  I know I already have a 3-
movement duet for guitar and mandolin called the "Story of the 
Strings".  Interested?  

ME: I'm going to see Hansel and Gretel at the Baltimore Opera 
tonight (Wednesday).  It's got lots of delightful tunes.  Did I 
mention I went to a Washington Opera production of Il Trovatore 
with a $15 standing room ticket?  Makes you feel like you just 
saved $500 (compared to the expensive seats.)  Heck, take a 
friend and save $1000! 

THEE: Hey, I think I remember Michael Tolson.  Did he have a 
sister named Hself Tolson?  She was in my classes.  Very nice 
girl.  Think I was jealous of her since everyone liked her.   If 
I knew Michael, it was just by sight.  Too funny about his claim 
to fame...ego surfing.  I didn't try to go to his webs though.  

I did read your school story.  I don't understand how you dealt 
with that no-win situation for so long.  Everything you said 
about Andre Stevenson made sense to me.    But, I don't 
understand how they expected you to succeed at all, when they 
didn't give you any power...or support.  

THEE: Mandolin, mandola and guitar parts are usually written in 
treble clef.  Bass or mandobass is usually written in bass clef.  
Mandocello parts are properly written in bass clef too.  HOWEVER, 
it was common practice to draft a mandolinist into playing the 
mandocello.  As a consequence, Gibson and others promoted a 
bastard notation, called Universal Clef, which shows up as a 
treble clef symbol with a line through it for the baritone and 
bass parts.  (It was a transposing clef such that if a 
mandolinist put his fingers where the music told him to for a 
mandolin (though he was playing a mandocello) everything would 
come out fine.)  For me,  it's just a pain in the a**, because I 
am a native bass clef reader.  Nevertheless, anything that you 
find like that please RETRIEVE, because I can easily un-transpose 
it into proper bass clef with the computer.  

By the way, you may also run across common abbreviations like: 
M1, M2 for Mandolin 1 and 2, MA for Mandola, MC for mandocello, G 
for Guitar, B or MB for Bass or Mandobass 

ME:  My most recent trip to LC [the Library of Congress] was last 
night to see the firstreading of a folk comedy play by Zora 
Heale Hurstoncalled Polk County, written in 1944.  It 
brought Treemonishato mind, maybe a little bit.  I wonder 
if Hurston knew of Joplin's opera.  

THEE:  A few months ago, I read _Their Eyes Were Watching God_ as 
a college book club activity.  (We have an on-line discussion 
group, which works out well.  Members come from all areas:  
faculty, staff, students, even members of the community with no 
affiliation with the college.)  Just to keep up on my Hurston and 
Hughes (the latter, one of my favorites), I have a copy of their 
collaborative play, _Mule Bone_, tucked away for my Christmas 
reading.  Looks like fun - about a song & dance team, if you're 
not familiar with it.  One member gets angry and hits the other 
with a mule bone, causing all hell to break loose in the town, 
especially a controversy between the Baptists & the Methodists.  
Too bad, though, that a copyright dispute led to a permanent rift 
in Hurston & Hughes' friendship.  While on the subject of 
Hurston, I've just read some of her anthropological work--an 
early essay on voodoo and segments from _Mules and Men_ 
pertaining to voodoo/hoodoo.  Strange work; the novelist comes 
out in her style even when she's wearing her anthropologist hat.  

A couple of years ago, Theatre Tulsa--in conjunction with a local 
children's theatre workshop--staged _The Wizard of Oz_.  It was 
delightful and included music not in the film.  I've read the 
1903 NY Times reviews of the original production, which must have 
been a hoot. No Toto, but instead a pet cow named Imogene.  
Couldn't put that one in a basket & ride away on a bike, nor 
could the flying monkeys carry it off.  I got interested because 
one of WC's ms arrangements sent to me from the Sousa Archives, 
Univ. of IL, was "Witch Behind the Moon" (a coon song) from the 
original production.  How times have changed!  You can see the 
sheet music (great cover art) on the Lester S. Levy site, Johns 
Hoplins.  I'm guessing you know the URL.  

It's almost time for our big Christmas lunch.  Smaller crowd than 
usual today, though.  Many people have stayed home due to a 
blizzard Tuesday night/Wednesday.  By now, city roads are okay, 
but a lot of people commute from outlying small towns. These 
"Southern" folks are wimps. When I was a kid . . .  we used to 
walk 10 miles to school through 3 feet of snow.  Okay, would you 
believe a mile and a half through 18 inches, with drifts up to 3 
feet?  'Tis true, 'tis true, we all believe it's true.  
[Treemonisha quote there.] 

THEE:  I am a fairly dedicated amateur musician, mandocellist 
(the violincello analogue in the mandolin family).  I play 
regularly with a mandolin orchestra in Philadelphia and I am also 
a member of the Classical Mandolin Society of America, whose 
purpose is to retrieve or create and promote "popular" classical 
mandolin music that was (more common) around 100 years ago.  

Firstly, I'm interested in knowing what the LC holds under the 
headings MUNIER, CALACE and (Zahr Myron) BICKFORD.  Particularly, 
what I am looking for for myself is: *mandocello* sheet music by 
any of these three composers.  My immediate goal is to increase 
my knowledge of the existent mandocello literature (NOT very 
extensive, I'm certain!), then  to retrieve and present some of 
this music for my instrument, since there is very little 
presently available.  

BICKFORD wrote (or arranged) for all stringed instruments is my 
understanding, but I know he created at least one mandocello 
(alternate mandolin) / guitar duet which I'd like to recover as a 
first dip into the archive.  He also created a Mandocello Method 
Book, which I already have, courtesy of Jim Bollman of Music 
Emporium in Lexington, MA (big-time banjo expert, but gathers 
lots of old stuff, like back numbers of Cadenza and other early 
music pubs).  

I have no idea if CALACE or MUNIER wrote for the mandocello, per 
se, since I don't think that's what they called it.  They 
possibly referred to it as the LIUTO, which is a baritone 10-
string (5 course) mando family instrument (in the Neapolitan, or 
bowl-back branch of the family), so anything for that instrument 
would probably be of interest as well.  

Maybe next in priority is MUNIER mandolin orchestra or quartet 
sheet music (this always means score and parts, if available, but 
score alone if not).  I have the ability to scan sheet music into 
the PC and convert to annotated (dynamic marks, etc) MIDI files 
to re-create individual parts, if I can get a readable score.  
(Incidentally, 8-1/2" x 11 to 14" format, if it makes sense, is 
easiest for me to use this way) 

Under this heading, I already have the Munier Quartet in D Major 
(Op 126), and I think I have a line on the CALACE "First 
Concerto" from a (primarily Vahdah-Olcott Bickford guitar) 
archive at Cal State, Northridge (Ron Purcell).  

I play in the *Munier* Mandolin Orchestra, so-named because the 
Orchestra's first conductor, Dr. Joseph Tiracchia's father was a 
student and friend of both Calace and Munier in Italy.  But, the 
Orchestra has only the Quartet that I mentioned, so we'd be keen 
to consider anything else there is.  

As far as CALACE is concerned, most of his work is in fact too 
difficult for most mandolinists I know.  There are exceptions.  
That is, I know of a couple of mandolinists who can passably 
render his "Ten Preludes", like the German mandolinist, Gertrud 
Troester, who recorded them last year or so.  Also, I have been 
told that his "First Concerto" is too difficult, but my plan for 
that work is to give the first mandolin part to a strong soloist 
I know, then get Munier Orchestra to learn the accompaniment for 
presentation in 2002.  And, as stated, anything with a solo 
mandocello or liuto part would be particularly welcome, if such 

I really thank you for the opportunity to search the stacks at 
LC.  The only other person I know who might be able to help this 
way is Neil Gladd, who works there.  He's a well-respected 
mandolinist and scholar in his own right, but dealing with him as 
a librarian has certain "difficulties", shall we say?  
(He is often too busy to correspond and my belief is that he 
tends to hoard up some of the good stuff for his own publications 
which, alas, never seem to appear in print...) 


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Helpful keywords not in the main text: Hself = generic name, male or female (Himself, Herself). LC = LOC = Library of Congress. PJ = Pearl Jam. WC = William Christopher O'Hare.

Parents, if you're considering tutoring or supplemental education for your child, you may be interested in my observations on Kumon.