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

Conversations with me, No. 37
Email highlights, ca. Dec 2001 - May 2002

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

There were tremendous problems with my email service during this time, resulting in much lost mail. No doubt all the good stuff.

THEE: Subject: Sorrells Pickard 

Dear Donald, Do you have an email address for Sorrells Pickard? I 
am an old friend of his now living in Minneapolis.  

ME: I don't think Sorrells had email when I was in contact, but 
assuming his gourmet peanut butter company is still in business, 
I would recommend contacting Hself at the company.  He was 
very helpful when I asked if I could call Sorrells.  

Hope that helps.  

THEE: Subject: This is stupid 

Get rid of infield fly. This page is dumb.  

THEE: Subject: Your Data Transfer Status 

Dear GeoCities Member, 

Congratulations, seems to 
be very popular and has been receiving a large amount of traffic.  
Our records indicate that you're using more than the allotted 
amount of data transfer we provide for a free web site, which is 
3 gigabytes per month (measured on an hourly basis). That means 
that during the past few days we had to temporarily turn your 
site off to keep the bandwidth within this limit.  

THEE: I would like the top part of the Guitar orchestra piece. 
Let me know how I can get it.  

THEE: Subject: saw your website 

Donald, your website distracted me from my work much of the day 
today.  Thanks.  I was looking for the spelling of letters 
because there was almost a hostile falling out during a recent 
scrabble game due to contention on that issue.  In that search I 
found your page, and really enjoyed reading.  Nice work.  
However, my reason for writing is not to compliment you, but to 
ask you if you are involved in or know of any DC scrabble circles 
that welcome average joe types (who never memorized any two 
letter word lists, but always meant to because they wanted to 
beat their other average joe friends).  I saw one reference to an 
Invitation to DC Folks page, but couldn't find the page. Let me 
know if you do.  I like words.  

ME: Did I ever respond to your email from last December about 
whether there's a friendly Scrabble club in the DC area?  If not, 
sorry about that.  I've had lots of email trouble for a long 
time, and I've been trying to catch up lately.  I've tried my 
darndest to get such a Scrabble club going, but without luck.  If 
you've got any ideas, for instance, if you're a good organizer or 
know someone who is, how about giving a call?  

THEE: Subject: WGS Guitar orchestra 

I am a new member of WGS and I am very interested in receiving a 
part for the Feb. 8th concert.  

THEE: Re: (email's back) 

We're headed to the great metropolis of Hominy, OK, about 1-1/2 
hours from here.  What's the attraction in Hominy?  A local 
Cherokee artist, father of a friend of our older daughter, has 
been painting murals on the sides of the buildings for the past 
8-10 years.  Last trip I made there was six years ago, and I was 
mightily impressed.  With plans to complete several additional 
murals per year, he should have made plenty of progress since 
then.  Then in addition to the murals, there's the Silver Dollar 
Depot, the old town train station turned restaurant.  

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------- 

>Here's an e-copy of the thing I mailed, which I trust got to 
you by now.  Only thing that jumps to mind since writing the 
email below is that I read and enjoyed tremendously James 
Thurber's "The Thirteen Clocks". 

>Hi, Hself! 

>(When I went to send this off, I found that my email situation 
was completely messed up again.  No telling when you'll get 

>I went down LC yesterday (Monday, Dec 10) for the first time 
since summer, and had some good successes.  One reason I chose 
yesterday was because there was a noon-time lecture by Todd 
Harvey, who just published a book about the origins of 70 of Bob 
Dylan's earliest songs.	 It was a great talk.  I mean, I'm a 
long-time Dylan fan, but everybody there seemed to dig it, too.  
One of his examples was Dylan's "Restless Farewell", which Dylan 
took from the Clancy Brothers' "Parting Glass."  I had stumbled 
on that one myself a few years ago, leading me to believe I was 
some sort of master musicologist! 

>I also checked out and photocopied a few missing pages from one 
of my recent bag-day treasures - "A Treasury of Grand Opera" by 
Henry W. Simon (1946).  It took 2 slips since the first one 
brought up was the 1965 second edition.  That was my mistake, but it 
was interesting to note the differences.  The later edition has 
an extra 100 pages devoted to 2 operas left out of the first 
edition - strictly for reasons of conserving paper for the war 

>I also dug through a few more boxes of mandolin & piano music, 
uncovering a few items involving guitar here and there.  

>I also fired up some microfilm in the newspaper and periodical 
room, but just as I was getting up nerve to punch the print 
button (25 cents was at stake), an alarm (fire alarm? bomb 
threat?) sent us all outside.  No matter - we were eventually 
allowed back in; I hit the button; and out came a copy of notices 
about Emory & Co.'s lottery, Mary Ann Parry's death at 46, and 
Christopher and Ann's wedding.  

>Oh yeah, I also called up 24 Witmark Collections of Male, Female 
and Mixed Quartettes, containing about 40 arrangements by WC.  
These include WFACG, WTRSF, TH, MD, TR, TSMMUTS, ALATWRO, and the 
ever-popular THH, among others.	I didn't do any copying.  I don't 
think I'm up-to-date on your vocal ensemble collection.  Let me 
know how to proceed.  Your suspicion that 10 volumes of Male 
Qtets preceded No. 11 was spot on.  There were also Nos. 12 to 16 
following it (where all the goodies are, except none in No. 16.)  
Not surprisingly, No. 11 itself was missing.  (I'm guessing it's 
in Quanah, OK, right now?) 

>Sadly, a few other titles did not jump out of the title card 
catalog: "Mountains and Forrests" (is that the right number of 
r's?), "Hymn(s) Of/For The Sabbath" and "Songs Of America".  
Sounds like job for a motivated LC librarian (not a common 
breed.)  I didn't get a chance to get up to the copyright office.  

>I've been on the go lately, culture-wise.  The new performing 
arts center at the U. of Maryland is really something.  When they 
were constructing it, I was thinking, what's the big deal?  A 
building's a building.  The old concert and recital halls were 
fine with me.  But their idea was far bigger than just a 
building; they were shooting for one of the leading performing 
arts programs on the east coast, and they might have succeeded.  
Last Sunday I saw a really nice chamber ensemble program of Peter 
And The Wolf, and Leopold Mozart's Toy Symphony (with the 
daughter of a friend of mine who's in 2nd grade, plus the friend, 
herself.)  On Tuesday was an honors chamber recital.  On 
Wednesday was Le Nozze di Figaro.  The opera theater has a 
turntable floor.  My seat was in the center of the 3rd row.	
All in Italian, no surtitles, but I was in heaven!  Saturday 
evening was a "reading" of a new opera called "Pope Joan" - 
"reading" in quotes because the performance was almost fully 
acted.  However, the only stage props were white hankies draped 
from the music stands signifiying the scenes in heaven.  Sunday 
afternoon was the world-renowned Salzburg Marionettes doing the 
Nutcracker.  The schedule of events had said this was supposed to 
be highlights of Die Fledermaus *and* the Nutcracker.  I was 
really disappointed when I saw in the program that it was the 
Nutcracker only.  I had pulled out all my Fledermaus records and 
write-ups to prepare myself, of course.  Before the show began, I 
went to the box office to let them know I was disappointed.  They 
were completely sympathetic.  The lady herself said it was "news 
to me" after she confirmed the peformance was, in fact, to be the 
Nutcracker only.  So they gave me 2 complimentary tickets (70 
bucks worth) to that evening's show - which was the *complete* 
Fledermaus.  Even though by that point I was starting to run down 
a little, I gladly hauled myself back again.	 One of the tix 
went to waste, but that show wasn't a complete sellout anyway.  
My big disappointment was not being able to get the autograph of 
Gretl Aicher, the director of the Salzburg Marionettes.  At one 
of my recent booksale bag days, I got a real neat, old book 
(Salzburg, 1956) about the Salzburg Marionettes.  Gretl is the 
granddaughter of the man who created them in 1913.	The book 
has a picture of her (late 20s?) with her family and father, who 
was the director when the book was published.  

>Keep in mind that each of these shows I've mentioned may have 
been scheduled at the same time as 2 or 3 other shows at the 
center!	I think there are 5 main halls and theaters.  To give you 
an idea of how eager and determined they are to make sure 
everybody's happy, listen to what happened to me and my friend 
Norm.  A few weeks ago, we tried to make it to an open rehearsal 
of the Guarnieri string quartet, which we have done often over 
the years.  But the traffic was horrendous because of one or two 
sporting events at the university.  So we finally got there 20 
minutes late, only to find that the rehearsal was over.  They had 
rescheduled it for 2 hours earlier because of the games.	
Fair enough; nuttin' to get upset about.  BUT... they had 
somebody there to apologize profusely, AND offer free tickets to 
the Guarnieri's real concert next year.  All that for people who 
missed a free event!  And not only that, they were happy to 
accommodate those, like Norm, who wouldn't be able to make it to 
the Guarnieri concert, on a Friday night.  (Norm can only make it 
up from Virginia on Tuesdays.) So Norm got a Tuesday ticket to 
Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea - which coincidentally, I 
already had a ticket to.  

>I came across a sand dance mention in O. Henry's "The Defeat of 
the City":  "He [Robert] turned handsprings on the grass that 
prodded [brother] Tom to envious sarcasm.  And then, with a 
whoop, he clattered to the rear and brought back Uncle Ike, a 
battered colored retainer of the family, with his banjo, and 
strewed sand on the porch and danced "Chicken in the Bread Tray" 
and did buck-and-wing wonders for half an hour longer." 

>>>Also, I finally got myself started on writing a scathing 
letter to a local paper in an effort to destroy that insane MSPAP 
test I've talked about.  

>The local paper couldn't print my MSPAP rant for space reasons, 
which disappointed me.  Anyhow, I put it up on the web at 


>It just occurred to me to ask, Sue, do you know anything about 
writing?  If so, here's the deal: the next 2 dollars worth of LC 
photocopying is on me if you can make the same points with the 
same forcefulness in one third of the space (while NOT editing 
the "me" out of it.)  Sound easy enough?  Feel free to work in 
your Bill Gates joke, if it doesn't put us over the limit.  (Just 
kidding, of course.  Don't waste any of yer time on this.) 

>Right now I am back in email heck.  I thought fer sure that I 
could trust my freenet again, but their disk filled up again just 
like that, and I can't see my mail for the time being.  (So far 
they have been pretty good about not actually losing anything.)  
I might try turning off mail forwarding and just access mail from, although that has driven me crazy in the past.  
Continue to use the address.  

>Please don't write up your student strangulation stories just 
for my reading pleasure, but if and when you do, put me on the 
mailing list.  

>>especially doesn't matter that I consistently get great 
evaluations from my students, 

>I guess they don't even ask 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders.  I bumped 
into one of my former students in a store last month and he said 
all of the kids have been asking, "Where's Mr. Saw... saw... 
sawsta???"  And he's not the sort who would just say something 
like that.  I've left behind little friends at 3 schools now, boo 
hoo hoo.  

>>and somehow manage to have sufficient reserve energy...  

>I've noticed that.  

>>>You wouldn't believe how annoying and horrible the line breaks 
look in your emails on yahoo.  

>>Yours are no picnic here, either.  Sometimes I see all of one 
word on a line  . . .  and the word is "a" at that! 

>Some of your lines are nuttin' but a space - so there! 

>>>About 40 of the books were kids' books for the daughter of a 
friend of mine who's in 2nd grade.  

>>A young friend to have a daughter.  ;-)  Here I thought 
Oklahoma was second only to Arkansas in young mothers, but maybe 
Maryland's got us whooped.  

>I assure you, it is absolutely impossible that I wrote that 
sentence! It was either sabotaged, or an internet data packet got 
out of order on the way to - I swear!  (You gotta 
believe me!) 

>>>Most enjoyable for me is one called "New Orleans Ragtime 

>>Don't think I know the group.  There's a New Leviathan Ragtime 
Orchestra that I know of from Nawl'ans, but on an LP, gosh, these 
folks may be rotting away in the swamps or bayous by now . . . 
or, perhaps, gator bait.  

>The album dates from 1971.  In fact, the NORO violin player was 
only 66, the trumpeter only 60 and the drummer only 55.  No 
reason they couldn't still be kicking...  

>>He [David Reffkin] now has a credit card...  

>I've actually been trying to get one lately.  Of course, I 
can't, because I've never been in debt (which would seem to make 
me the best credit risk, no?)  I've begged, but nobody wants to 
look at my last 20 years of utility bills paid on time.  

>>>A couple of the non-music books were Modern Library editions: 
"Great Modern Short Stories" (ca. 1940) and "The Best Short 
Stories Of O. Henry".  I'm getting a kick out of the O. Henry - 
still chuckling over "From The Cabby's Seat".  

>>Not familiar with that one but will try to look it up soon.  I 
can always use a good story, particularly as I prepare my 
internet reading course next semester.  

>Other faves: "Roads of Destiny", "A Retrieved Reformation", "The 
Renaissance At Charleroi", "The Duplicity of Hargraves" (the most 
guessable ending, but a wonderful story), and "A Blackjack 
Bargainer" (sad).  

>Real interesting about the "World's Fair" story with Annie 
McCune and the possible WC connection.  Your discoveries still 
amaze me.  Did you read the book simply because you had finished 
"Ragtime" and figured you had another 20 minutes to kill?  

>Great job on the Billee Taylor discovery!  I've made a few neat 
little Beatles-related discoveries over the years.  

>>Gonna be a quiet Thanksgiving--just the three of us.  

>Our Thanksgiving was another very good one.  Our tradition is 
for aunts, uncles, and cousins (and their kids) on my mom's side 
of the family to get together at our Aunt Louise's.  They've got 
a sprawling basement.  This year the crowd was 45, which is not 
as large as they come.	Then members of my - meaning my folks' - 
family get together at my folks' house (where we grew up).  That 
was a more intimate gathering of 18.  Had a splendid time both 

>Speaking of Thanksgiving, O. Henry's "The Thanksgiving Day 
Gentleman" is another good one.  Not action-packed, but thought-
provoking - all about tradition.  You'll never guess the ending.  


THEE: Thanks for the marriage item from the Sun, the copy of Trip 
to Rocky Point, the Washington Guitar Society newsletter. 
"Floating Ancillary Ants" sounds intriguing, and I'd love copies 
of these recordings, if possible someday! 

THEE: Falstaff Minuetto 

Just a quick note to let you know that I just got around to 
intabulating the above mentioned piece from the book you sent.  
In my opinion, a real little gem.  Take care and keep playing.  

ME: I agree!  It sounds very faithful to the  original, too.  

THEE: Subject: Web Site Update - Thanks! 

Thanks for the email and the web site update - I saved the 
updated pieces of Carre tablature and will now print them off 
into a booklet. I've already transcribed a few of the suites for 
modern guitar, but it will be nice to have a look at the whole 
breadth of Carre's work.  Again, thanks for all the work you've 
done making this tablature available.  

THEE: The Floating Ancillary Ants 

Hi, I saw your bit about the above-named piece in the latest 
Guitar Society newsletter.  I'd be interested in getting a copy 
of it, if possible - probably all three parts, so my daughter and 
I could practice it together.  

THEE: floating ancillary ants

Finally read the newsletter.  I just hustle and get them out and 
read it later.  

One of my students and his son want to play in the orchestra on 
the 8th.  I'll be there, too.  I don't need a copy, but my 
students asked. My student plays good classical and his son is 6 
but reads and plays beautifully through all six strings.  Can you 
send a copy?  

ME: Like the article said, get me an address by email  or phone 
and I'll send out parts.  A 6-year-old would have to be *very* 
advanced to play the piece.  How come you don't need a copy?  

THEE: Puzzle Stuff 

I was enjoying your brain twister page. Reading over how old Jane 
is, I think I disagree with your result and propose the 

 The ages of Jane and Mary when added together make 44 years 
(j+m=44) (1 
 Now Jane is twice as old as Mary was when		     
(j=2*m1) (2 
 Jane was half as old as Mary will be when		    
(j1=m2/2) (3 
 Mary is three times as old as Jane was when		    
(m2=3*j3) (4 
 Jane was three times as old as Mary.			     
(j3=3*m) (5 
 How old, then, is Jane?                                  

solve for j 
                                   Since we have more 
                                   unknowns than equations, 
                                   we have to note that 
                                   Jane is always the same 
                                   number of years older or younger than mary;    
j-m=j1-m1 (6 
                                   Now we 6 unknowns & 6 equations 

Here's my solution, that does not require any guessing: 

                                   j+(j3/3)=44           from 5 
                                   j+m2/9=44             from 4 
                                   j+2/9*(j1)=44         from 3 
                                   j+2/9*(j-m+m1)=44     from 6 
                            or     j+2/9*(j-m+(j/2))=44 
                                   6*j-(44-j) = 198      from 1 
                            or     j=34+4/7 ('thirty four & four-sevenths) 


        so   j=2*m1 

(Great problem by the way!) 

And here's your answer: 
 Jane is 27 1/2 years old and Mary is 16 1/2.  
 Mary was 5 1/2 years old, Jane was 16 1/2.  
 Now when Mary is three times that age she will be 49 1/2 years old.  
 Half of this is 24 3/4, and when Jane was that age Mary was 13 3/4.  
 Accordingly, Jane's age was twice this, or 27 1/2.  

  J+M=44      yep 
  J=2*M1      if M1=13+3/4 so 
  M2=49+1/2   so 
  J3=16+1/2  but at that time, 
             Jane is supposed to 3 times as old as Mary, isn't she?  

Do you agree or not? In any case, thanks for the entertainment.  

ME: Way back in January of 'aught-two you sent me your solution 
to a brain teaser on my website.  I've had lots of email trouble 
for a long time, and I'm finally trying to catch up.  To refresh 
your memory, you wrote: 

 ...  And here's your answer: 
 Jane is 27 1/2 years old and Mary is 16 1/2.  
 Mary was 5 1/2 years old, Jane was 16 1/2.  
 Now when Mary is three times that age she will be 49 1/2 years old.  
 Half of this is 24 3/4, and when Jane was that age Mary was 13 3/4.  
 Accordingly, Jane's age was twice this, or 27 1/2.  

  J+M=44      yep 
  J=2*M1      if M1=13+3/4 so 
  M2=49+1/2   so 
  J3=16+1/2  but at that time, 
             Jane is supposed to 3 times as old as Mary, isn't she?  

Do you agree or not? In any case, thanks for the entertainment.  

I was very impressed with how clearly you laid the problem out.  
I could follow right along, and was ready to declare the puzzle 
book answer wrong and put your solution on my web page.  But I 
thought I had better understand why the puzzle book answer was 
wrong when it had seemed to check out for me before.  I was 
baffled until I realized you and the puzzle book interpreted the 
very end of the puzzle differently.  You read it as "... when 
Jane was three times as old as Mary is [right now]." 

The puzzle book meant it to be understood as "... [at the point 
in time] when Jane was three times as old as Mary." 

Thus, you need to introduce a new variable, m3, in equation 5) 

5.  j3=3*m3 

Now we need another equation, but we get that easily enough from 
their difference in age at that moment.  

7.  j-m=j3-m3 

Eliminating variables, as you did, back to j yields j=27+1/2, the 
puzzle book answer.  Whew! 

It's also interesting to note that, if one interprets the puzzle 
the way you did, the math works out, but some of the tenses in 
the statement of the puzzle are not consistent with the answer.  
The puzzle would have to be restated (changes in CAPITALS): 

 The ages of Jane and Mary when added together make 44 years 
 Now Jane is twice as old as Mary WILL BE when		 
 Jane WILL BE half as old as Mary will be when		 
 Mary is three times as old as Jane was when		 
 Jane was three times as old as Mary [is right now.] 
 How old, then, is Jane?  

Thanks a million for showing me how to lay the problem out in 
simultaneous equations.  You must have one crystal clear brain!  
I intend to add the solution to my web page, giving you full 
credit.  I was also really glad to see that my own modified 
version of the puzzle worked out to the answer I supplied using 
your method.  (Whew!)  Also, I now feel confident that in both 
cases the answers are unique.  I wasn't really 100% sure before.  

Thanks a million for all the time and effort you put into it! 

ME: joan of arc 

I looked up Joan of Arc in my encyclopedia again and confirmed my 
suspicion that she was not a big deal in 1818.  I forgot to bring 
my jotted notes to school, but she was beatified in 1909 and 
canonized in 1920 or so.  She became a symbol of French 
unification in the 1800s, what with all the upheaval they were 

THEE: Subject: piano-guitar 

I'm from Quebec, Canada and I'm studying at music departement of 
Le College de Sherbrooke and I would like to start a classical 
guitar-piano duet. The problem is to find something to play. We 
already had a little book but I was searching for compositers 
repertory. I don't know if you would like to email me some of the 
parts you said you had but don't want to put it on the site. That 
would be so helpful. I hope you'll accept this demand and I thank 
you right now.  Thank you 

p.s. maybe you can find that english is my second language.  

ME: I was hoping to get people interested in guitar and piano 
music and make a little business of selling the pieces I've 
gotten from the Library of Congress.  That never happened, but if 
you're willing to pay $.50 US per page of music, I'd be glad to 
make copies for you.  I hope that doesn't sound expensive - it 
just about covers the effort involved.  Just go to my web page, 
add up the total pages of *music*, multiply by $.50 and send your 
order to me.  

THEE: collecting monopoly rent 

I just read your "thoughts on Monopoly." Very interesting and a 
couple of good rule changes.  

This part, however, made me want to write: 

[It's been pointed out to me a couple of times that the rules 
now say, "The owner may not collect his rent if he fails to ask 
for it before the second player following throws the dice." This 
is what the 1973 rule-sheet says. Am I crazy, or has the rule 
been changed? No one played like that when I was a kid. The rule-
sheet I found for an older British Monopoly game clearly states 
that the landlord has only until the next player rolls. In any 
case, the new rule is only a slight improvement, is not elegant, 
and is still not realistic.] 

The original 1933 rules state: "LANDING ON OWNED PROPERTY the 
owner collects his rent in accordance to the list printed on the 
TITLE CARD.  If the property is MORTGAGED no rent can be 
collected. If the owner fails to ask for his rent before the dice 
change hands twice, the debt is uncollectable." (See 

It has been that way since the beginning.  


ME: collecting monopoly rent 

After all these years, you're the first to answer my question.  
Thanks a million!  I must say, though, that I am dumbfounded.  I 
can't imagine I would have missed that, even as a youngster.  
I'll eventually work your reply into my page.  Thanks again.  

THEE: collecting rent 

After doing even more reading on the internet I found out that in 
the games that came before Monopoly (The Landlord's Game and 
Finance) the person who rent was owed to had even longer to 
realize that someone was on their property. According to these 
rules the landlord had until the renter left the space on his 
next turn to collect. That rule has a sense of rough justice to 
it. It only makes sense that one would be able to collect rent 
as long as that person was still on the property.  

THEE: Re: rare piece?  

Yes, i finally found it but only the midi file, on so i'll just have to 
listen to it and learn it that way.  thank you and have a great 
playing! wrote: 

>Hi Ilia, 

>The title Corranda is not at all familiar.  Do you remember how 
it started, or any extract from the tune?  

>Donald Sauter 

THEE: "Ants" 

Yesterday I received from Richard Long a photo copy of the main 
page of the WGS newsletter(Jan-Feb) about the guitar orchestra 
doing my composition "The Floating Ancilliary Ants". What a 
pleasant surprise! There have been quite a few performances of it 
but I think this is the first time (I'm aware of) the program 
notes about the flooding water,etc., have been included in a! It really happens...I took a picture of this 
big floating mass of ants in a cow pasture that had been 
flooded...the next day they were still there just as alive as can 
be! I witnessed this more than once. When Steve Robinson of 
Stetson U. commissioned me to write a work for guitar orchestra 
in 1992 this image just popped into my mind and the rest is 
history. I hope you enjoyed doing it. How did you find out about 
it? How did it go? Was it recorded?  I have solo works published 
with Richard(Tuscany/Presser) as well if you're interested.  I 
look forward to hearing back from you and tell me about yourself 
and the WGS.  Thanks! 

Rex Willis 

PS: I'd get a kick out of getting a full copy of the original 
newsletter if you have an extra...

THEE: request 

Been on your site, Like it very much I would just like you to 
post me the On the beautiful blue danube waltzes by 
Hayden/Strauss, tabs or solphage as soon as possible Would 
appreciate if it could it as soon as possible Thank you very much 

THEE: mp3 vs wav

Mike (my friend who converted the DAT to MP3) confirmed it, and 
indeed he elaborated: MP3 files are generally a meg. a minute, 
and this was a 6 meg. file, and it was about approx 5 minutes of 
playing time, more or less.  Wave files are approx. 10 times 
larger than mp3 files - it would have been about a 50-60 meg file 
if it had been a wave file.  Just a FYI.  

ME: PG school board selection 

Dear Mr. South, 

Doreen Riggin from the Governor's office forwarded my offer to 
serve on the prince George's County School Board to you, and 
suggested I get in touch with you if I had any questions.  I just 
wanted to confirm that my communication was received by the State 
Board of Education.  No doubt I am a completely "unknown 
quantity" to you, but I would hope that the promise of following 
the will of the people of Prince George's County in every matter 
sounds highly attractive.  I've seen people expressing concern in 
the local paper about a non-elected school board which does not 
answer to the public.  What I am offering is an even greater 
degree of responsiveness to public will than the ordinary 
election of representatives provides.  

Please get in touch for any reason.  My favored email service, 
the Detroit freenet, is currently out of commission - for how 
long, I don't know.  (I am now using an unfamiliar email editor 
at the local library, so please excuse any strange formatting.) 

ME: PG County school board 

I sent Governor Glendening a letter expressing my interest in 
working on the Prince George's County school board.  You very 
kindly and helpfully forwarded it to the Maryland State Board of 
Education before the closing time for applications.  At your 
suggestion, I emailed Tony South to make sure my application had 
been received and was under consideration.  I still haven't heard 
anything from the State Board, which concerns me.  I am sure that 
my promise of being a voice for the people in every matter would 
alleviate much of the concern citizens have over being 

To be honest, I'm afraid that the anti-MSPAP sentiments which I 
expressed in my original letter may be resented by the State 
Board.  I worry that they might have caused my application to be 
dismissed out-of-hand.  

I understand the Governor's role in the process is to select from 
a list put forth by the State Board, but any help or suggestion 
of what I can do to ensure fair consideration for the final list 
would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks again.  

For your convenience, here is a copy of the original letter: 

Gov. Parris N. Glendening State House Annapolis, MD  21401 

Dear Gov. Glendening, 

I read your commentary, "Rising to the challenge for our 
children's future," in the Gazette newspaper.  Please allow me to 
recommend myself for a position on the Prince George's County 
school board.  Here are some of my qualifications.  

- I have been a resident of Prince George''s County for over 20 

- Over the last 5 years I have worked in eelementary schools in 
the Lanham area as a volunteer; as a one-on-one for special needs 
students; and as a coach working with students, two at a time, in 
preparation for the MSPAP test.  

- I know a lot about what it takes to be aa good student.  I was a 
top student throughout my 12 years of public schooling in 
Baltimore County.  At the same time, I know full well that 
academic achievement is not the only measure of a person's worth.  

- I would offer a voice of "common sense"  on the school board.	
By that, I mean that I would examine every proposal from the 
perspective of, "Will this serve to strengthen the skills and 
increase the knowledge of the students?" 

- I believe public servants should be publlic servants.	I have 
very definite thoughts on the direction public education should 
take, but would never try to force something through over the 
will of the people.  In fact, in issues where there is any doubt, 
my action as a school board member would be based on a poll of 
county residents.  

Regarding my MSPAP coaching mentioned above:  I worked with 
third-graders at Seabrook Elementary School two-at-a-time for 
three months leading up to the 2001 MSPAP.  The performance of 
the third-graders improved enough to raise the composite score 
for the school by a modest amount, in spite of a decline by the 
fifth-graders.  Obviously, I can't claim credit for the improved 
score, since it was a different bunch of students taking a 
different test, but at least no one can argue the opposite - that 
my methods don't work - as one might argue if the test scores had 

Again, about the MSPAP:  Few people, if any, worked as hard as 
myself to have the test eliminated.  My objections to the test 
were many; you can find them detailed on the Maryland Sailor 
system web site by going to: 

That essay was written long before the release of the scores this 
year and the flurry of attention surrounding the event.	I submit 
those thoughts as evidence of a very healthy perception of 
educational issues - indisputably ahead of the state board 
itself, as it turns out.  Although Maryland education officials 
are obliged to put a positive spin on the dropping of the MSPAP, 
it should be obvious to anyone that if it were a good and 
valuable test, it would not be dropped.  My disdain for the 
MSPAP test and my joy of preparing students for it do not 
represent an inconsistency.  How that can be, I leave as an 
exercise for the reader. 

ME: Subject: thornton commission

If at all possible, please don't capitalize tv - I despise "TV".  
If tv won't fly, please substitute "television".  (Assuming you 
can use the letter, of course.) 

Dear Gazette, 

In your article "Glendening signs school board restructuring 
bill, 130 others" (May 9 2002), you discussed the 34-cents-a-pack 
cigarette tax hike which will be used to fund the $1.3 billion 
per year increase in state education spending.  This is all well 
and good, since I don't have a tobacco habit to support, but 
there is one small remaining problem - namely, a $1.2 billion per 
year shortfall.  

Not to worry, I have the solution for that - a $1000 per year tax 
on every tv set you own.  Who could gripe about that?  It works 
out to less than $3 a day for your television fix.  Admittedly, 
this might strain some budgets, but if the tv collection has to 
be downsized in some households, well, there would be that much 
more time for homework!  

I haven't worked out the numbers precisely, but if there is any 
money left over, it can be put toward all-day pre-K, all-day pre-
pre-K, all-day nursery, all-day advanced post-natal, all-day 
early post-natal, and all-day pre-natal, while money supplies 

ME: guitar orch, wgs newsletter submission

[I'd like to make a big deal out of this.  In fact, I'd like to 
see it appear as the the page 1 headline for the newsletter.  If 
a recording on the web doesn't stir up interest for future 
orchestra sessions, then I give up.  I'm not attached to the 
article, so beef it up if you're inclined.  In particular, if you 
wanted listen to the recording and add some glowing review 
comments, that'd be great.  In the name Levesque (it appears in 2 
articles), put a ' right over the first e.] 

          WGS Orchestra Plays for the Whole Wide World! 

In our April meeting, WGS members and friends had a great time 
rehearsing, playing and recording "Tango Estampie" by Luc 
Levesque.  Now that the WGS has a website, the recording has been 
put up on the web in MP3 format.  It sounds pretty darn good - 
you shoulda been part of it! Read about our session elsewhere in 
the newsletter.  We apologize for not taking down full names of 
all 10 players, but here's a list of the WGS guitars "heard 
'round the world!" 

                           THE JULY WGS PROGRAM 
                     Our Guitar Orchestra Keeps Rolling! 

Haul yourself and your guitar to the Friday, July 19, meeting for 
another  fun guitar orchestra session.  It will start promptly at 
7:30 pm at the Chevy Chase Community Center.  (See the Calendar 
of Events for  directions.)  This time we will play four pieces 
by Michael Praetorius from his "Terpsichore" of 1612.  These 
pieces were arranged for guitar ensemble by Gilbert Biberian.  
You probably already know how fresh and lively Praetorius' music 
is.  If not, join in and find out! 

All of the pieces are in five parts, and the parts themselves are 
all single-line.  The good thing about playing single notes in an 
ensemble is that you can shape them up and punch them out in a 
way that just isn't possible in a multi-voiced part.  For 
example, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to play a melody 
and bass line simultaneously with rest strokes.  

All of the parts can be considered "easy".  Only Guitar 1 gets 
near or above the 12th fret.  The relative simplicity of the 
parts makes it possible to fly - L.A. Guitar Quartet, look out! 

If you think you need a part in advance, I will mail it to you.  
See the contact information at the bottom; telephone much 
preferred over email.  If you get my answering machine, or in 
your email, please tell me 3 things: your name; your complete 
mailing address; and whether you want a "high", "middle" or "low" 
part.	Simple as that.  But getting a part in advance is never a 
requirement - and even less necessary for these Praetorius pieces 
- so come on down in any case.  As always,, we welcome everyone, 
whether or not a WGS member.  

As this newsletter goes to press, we don't know who will direct 
the guitar orchestra.  We certainly don't want to burden the same 
people all the time.  How about it, area teachers and performers?  
Here's a chance to join the fun and promote yourself at the same 
time.  Give our president a call.  

We'll record our performance as usual, and I promise we'll do a 
better job crediting the participants this time! 

                          Tango Revisited 

As trumpeted on page 1, our guitar orchestra played and recorded 
"Tango Estampie" by Luq Levesque at the April meeting.	Almost 
everybody reading this missed a chance to be part of something 
that was not only a lot of fun, but much farther reaching and 
longer lasting than the  event itself.  

A very special thanks goes to Phyllis Fleming, D.C. area 
violinist (and tour guide extraordinaire) for directing the 
orchestra.  You're going to have to find a better writer than me 
to describe what a great job Phyllis did pulling us together, and 
how enjoyable she made it for us all.  The recording you hear on 
the web represents only about our third play-through of the 
Tango, if I remember rightly.  Keep in mind that the orchestra 
consisted of players of all levels of ability - no more than two 
or three of whom had seen or played their part before (we'll get 
back to that.) 

Tuning a bunch of guitars always seems to be a problem, but 
Phyllis came up with an effective and efficient method.  The 
first step is for everybody to tune up as well as possible to 
some standard note.  Then, a "concert-master" with trustworthy 
tuning gets the ball rolling by playing his open high E string.  
Then, going up and down the rows of the orchestra, everyone plays 
the same open string in rapid succession - ping, ping, ping, 
ping!  When an out-of-tune note is heard, any keen-eared soul 
calls out "sharp!" or "flat!", and the process is halted for a 
moment while the note is fixed.  The process continues until all 
the open string notes are right on.  It goes quick.  

Rehearsing and playing the Tango was, for me, as fun as the 
guitar gets.  Still, there were some disappointments.  The crowd 
was smaller than for our previous guitar orcestra.  For "The 
Floating Ancillary Ants" in April we had 15 players; this time we 
had 10.  Figuring everybody had had a great time then, I was 
hoping to see that group, plus more.  Actually, I can't 
understand why we don't get numbers in the hundreds - not that we 
could accommodate that many, but if even a tiny percentage of the 
area's thousands of guitarists thought it was a fun thing to play 
with, and for, fellow guitarists, WGS orchestra sessions and 
members' recitals would burst at the seams.  Teachers, this is a 
fantastic opportunity for your students.  

I had distributed parts of the Tango in advance to more than 20 
guitarists, about 5 of whom showed up.  No doubt obligations 
arise that are more important than a guitar society get-together, 
but a better reliability rate would minimize people having to 
switch to a different part at the session.  

We could do a better job getting ourselves set up.  It wasn't 
until 8:00 or so that everybody had finally settled into his spot 
in the orchestra.  There were definite forces working against 
getting going - party types bent on socializing first - but I 
won't name names.  If this was making me a little "uptight", you 
can understand I was having a flashback to the previous, "Ants" 
session, where we had also frittered away the first half hour - 
and got kicked out just as we were starting to pull the piece 
together.  I could imagine - and would like to see - a hundred 
guitarists arriving and setting up within a few minutes.  By the 
way, begging people who show up to pull out their guitars and 
join in is getting a bit wearysome.  

It was unfortunate that the community center was somehow not 
expecting us that evening.  I am very grateful that they wrestled 
a room away from a couple of ping-pongers for our sake, but 
still, it would be nice to have a meeting place where we can 
relax and have a good time, and not always feel like we're 
imposing and on the point of getting thrown out.  Does anyone who 
digs guitar and enjoys entertaining have a ranch-style home with 
a large basement?  

All in all, though, the pluses beat the minuses by a country 

THEE: Subject: Hidden Ball Trick 

What is the official ruling on the hidden ball trick?  How close 
can the pitcher get to the rubber without the ball?  I thought 
that the pitcher can not step on the MOUND without the ball, not 
just the rubber.  


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