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Tuesday, June 8

Bigger than Beginnings... 

Every year at UC Davis' Picnic Day there is the Battle of Bands featuring marching/pep bands from across the state of California. One of the highlights is the performance of Beginnings by the entire group. It's a 30-minute long romp that is always fun for everyone (even for the flutes and clarinets -- we dance mostly because there isn't parts for us).

That annual event is the closest thing I can think of that compares with this:
930 saxophones playing at the same time. Jazz group The Shuffle Demons organized this world-record attempt last week in Toronto.

Details:
http://www.shuffledemons.com/world_details.php

What's even scarier is the wallpaper:
http://www.shuffledemons.com/images/world/record_photo_800x600.jpg

Seeing so many saxophones is daunting. Note, I was going to make a snide joke about the dangers of combining so many egos in one place, but it seemed like a low blow.

The song they chose to play was "Canada's Second National Anthem" - the theme song to the Hockey Night in Canada telecast. Actually, they played the song on Hockey Night and it sounded surprisingly good considering that nearly 1,000 people are trying to play at the same time.

All and all, it would have been nice to have been there.

 

Sunday, June 6

Rest in peace, President Reagan 

Joshua Marshall has a brief and fitting tribute to Ronald Reagan who passed away on Saturday.

I'm not going to linger long on Reagan's death, simply on the principle that if you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say it at all and because my Web site hasn't dwelled on strong political opinion.

I salute the man for his passage as a human being. Yes, he was a leader of men and his dedication to defeating Communism is probably second to none. And yet I doubt his effectiveness -- in dealing with the communists and with the country as a whole. His legacy is concrete only because the conservatives have made it so.

I lived the first third of my life under the rule of Reagan, but my memories of his administration are less than fond. I believe that Reagan has long been idolized (dare I say overhyped) by those on the right for far-less-than-truthful reasons. I have no reason to dwell on the relative mediocrity of the Reagan administration especially because conservatives are more than willing to prop up his administration upon half -truths and lies. Unfortunately, the conservatives' zeal to place Reagan's name upon practically every edifice across the country won't reveal the truth about his administration.

In particular, I look upon his reputation as a fiscal manager and leader of the democratic free world. While he approved a few tax cuts, his title as a fiscal conservative is laughable when considering such expensive boondoggles as Star Wars and other worthless military build ups that we as taxpayers are still paying dividends. As a leader of democracy, Reagan's actions were often anti-democratic and contrary to U.S. policy and the causes of the free world.

Much of Reagan's legacy is hypocritical and false. Ultimately, I remember a story about his time as California's governor during political unrest at UC Berkeley. Aside from the feckless political meddling that the then-governor attempted to accomplish, during the Free Speech Movement that raged across campus, Reagan purportedly ordered the National Guard to restore order by any means necessary. The commander then ordered shotguns to be fired into the crowd regardless if they were protester or innocent bystander. The result: An innocent was caught in the crossfire and died.

Such is the example of Reagan's reckless leadership that unfortunately spanned from California to across the world.

I pray that Reagan's real legacy is remembered by future generations. My fear is that it won't.
 

 

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Music from the UCSD Pep Band
The music of the UCSD Pep Band

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