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    • Cambridge Analytica, FaceBook And Inevitable Abuses That Inevitably Happen
      So, you’re probably aware of the furor over Cambridge Analytica. They scraped Facebook’s database, and used the psychological information to craft their campaign. They have also been caught on tape admitting they do dirty tricks like honey traps, and propaganda (knowing lies). And there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. First of all, it […]
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Fear no nightly noises. 

Let’s close National Endowment for the Arts day with one of my favorite ballets. I saw Firebird for the first time in Saratoga during the Stravinsky festival when Balanchine was still choreographer for the NYCB. The sets and costumes were by Marc Chagall. But all that went over my head because I was young. The Balanchine/Robbins version is not available on YouTube. But there are nice Russian alternatives styled after the choreography of Fokine.

The basic story is Prince Ivan is hunting in the woods when he spots the firebird. He captures her and is about to kill her when she offers him a magic feather in exchange for her life. She will come to his aid when ever the prince summons her with the feather. So, he lets her go. The prince goes on to fall in love with one of 12 princesses held captive by the sorcerer Kastchei. Determined to free her, the prince uses the feather to summon the firebird. She uses her magical frenetic energy to make Kastchei’s demon horde do an infernal dance. They dance themselves into a frenzy until finally the firebird makes them all fall asleep with exhaustion. As she keeps them asleep with her magic, the prince finds the box where Kastchei’s soul is hidden inside of an egg. He breaks the egg and releases the princesses from the spell. The firebird shimmers one last time and flies away. The last scene features Stravinsky’s joyous wedding music. The firebird doesn’t attend the wedding. She’s a feral magical creature who has no time or interest in weddings.

In the piece below, the incomparable Diana Vishneva, dances the firebird. I love how with a flick of her wrists she shows how the firebird uses all of her energy to suppress the urge to fly away in order to put the demons to sleep and keep her promise to the prince. The infernal dance of the demons is followed by a soft and dreamy lullaby.

Sweet dreams everyone.


50 Responses

  1. More of these Russians, please! I am not into watching ballet but of course I listen to the music. Speaking of Russians and music, Borodin is my all time favorite and he was a scientist/chemist and writing music was his hobby, imagine that. But if I want something deep and cerebral, I turn to Rimsky-Korsakov, master of orchestration.

    • Love Rimsky-Korsakov. Have you seen The Snowmaiden ballet? There’s a pas that is so lyrical. It’s a Russian ballet that doesn’t get into the repertoire over here. Too bad.

  2. Dems plot ‘constant campaign’ against Trump in war room

    t’s been nearly three months since Election Day. But as far as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is concerned, the campaign against President Trump is far from over.

    While the party hashes out who will be its next leader, a group of two dozen operatives has assembled a party “war room” singularly focused on taking on Trump.

    Zac Petkanas, the former Hillary Clinton campaign rapid response director who leads the project, told The Hill before Trump’s inauguration that he plans to wage a “constant campaign” to keep up the pressure during the early days of Trump’s administration.
    “That’s what it is going to take — a campaign mindset, a campaign effort, campaign operatives who are looking at this administration the same way they would be as if they were still running against him,” he said.

    “That is the mindset that is required right now … to be able to break through in a meaningful way.”

    Donna Brazile, the party’s interim chair, revealed the plans to start its war room in early January in the hope of putting the trove of information compiled during the Clinton campaign to good use as part of the Trump opposition.

    The four initial goals are targeting Trump’s conflicts of interest, researching possible connections to Russia, vetting the incoming administration and protecting former President Obama’s legacy.

    There, campaign veterans who lived and breathed Trump opposition research could reuse that institutional knowledge as the DNC positions itself at the front line of the anti-Trump forces. The war room’s roughly two dozen staffers worked with the DNC during the 2016 campaign, either in Clinton’s camp or for the party itself.

    War room staffers include Petkanas, former Clinton spokeswoman Adrienne Watson, DNC digital director Tessa Simonds and DNC research director Lauren Dillon.



  3. This was posted over at thewiddershins2…

    Kurt Eichenwald ✔ @kurteichenwald
    Trump White House officials are using private server at RNC – the setup that destroyed 22 million emails under Bush. http://www.newsweek.com/trump-emails-rnc-reince-priebus-white-house-server-548191

    • IKR? The irony and chutzpah are stunning.

    • The con men laughing at you and counting their profits in plain view.

      Do you remember the Mamet movie “Wag the Dog?” Where the political operative came up with this nonsense phrase “Old Brown Shoe,” and got everyone to say it and wave their shoes in a mindless show of support? That is what they did with emails; they got everyone to say it over and over; they induced the Hillary-hating media to obsess about the chimera. There was never anything there. The media was supposed to be the entity which pricked these hot air balloons, but they instead inflated them. And now the game is over, and the emails which were invented into a major issue, were nothing at all. Too bad, suckers.

  4. More national parks appear to defy Trump on Twitter

    (Good for them, they know he obsesses on Twitter…)


    • Saw plenty of new parody accounts cropping up today to replace the real ones. Some you can’t tell if real or fake, like the whistle blower (@WhiteHouseLeak). Wouldn’t it be fun if it was real? These and that successful women’s march and all the other marches happening or planned give me hope. This is what I meant when I said it would be difficult to cow this country into surrender or submission. You have to inflict generational trauma on the people first which I hope will never happen. I think I saw this in one of Eric Garland’s tweets that we have economic woes in pockets but majority are worried about getting the next version of iphone. At my dentist appointment today, my Trump voting hygienist could not run away fast enough from talking about the election. She had no response, when I said people made a big mistake and he is mentally ill. Lot of people are already seeing it. At what point does he become toxic to the R party?

      • I agree that there are hopeful signs of fighting back and that he is definitely mentally ill. I can’t believe that R’s are just going along with his dangerous agenda, I guess the idea of being in power is more important to them than ethics or having a respectful commander in chief.

        To them, he seems like the Teflon tangerine.

        The place we used to frequent about 8 months ago has gone completely batshit. Disappointed in the leader of the pack.

        • Stupidity of these Trump voters makes me scream everytime I look at a tweet debunking, disproving, dis this , dis that about what Trump says or does. Right now the wall EO is a sham. Who is surprised? Juliette Kayyem has good stuff on her twitter TL.

  5. Heard on the radio, on the way to work that the ‘wall’ is going to cost between 10-15 BILLION dollars to build. No problem, ending health care and any form of welfare should help. Tax cuts to the rich…

  6. I posted this on the wrong thread.

    Not the elegant firebird but something else… LOL

  7. Electoral college is useless. Every single one of them who voted for Trump should be ashamed of themselves and should be shunned. Period.

    As I have said before, Americans became too complacent, too comfortable in the myth of stability that they forgot to see a wrecking ball heading their way. They didn’t want to make the situation uncomfortable for everybody; they didn’t want to disrupt what they thought was a superbly sophisticated process of peaceful transfer of power that they forgot who they were transferring the power to. They have given it to a dangerous mentally unstable fraud. Act quick at least now to get rid of the lunatic, fraudulent, traitorous poser. American leadership days in the world are over. China will quietly take over and Russia will incapacitate America. These are not good guys.

    oh, BTW, senior management at State Dept. have resigned en masse. For the Trumpbots arguing good riddance, Trump will find replacement, No! He is incapable of doing anything that is meaningful, skilled or competent.

    • Agreed the EC needs to go, it still supports states that had slaves…and still wants to keep working slaves in chains.

      I have no idea why Dems didn’t realize that the fix is in with the EC and start working on it while Obama had the supermajority.

      I have no idea what they can do in Congress when they are in the minority now, without voters kicking R’s out in all the future elections. I don’t know the process of getting rid of the EC.

    • The sad thing is we’re just going to have to muddle through the next two years and hope Trump doesn’t do major damage to the country. It’s the only hope we have because we can’t rely on the GOP to do anything positive for the country.

      • Maybe he’ll front load the major damage and people won’t stand for it. That looks like his current strategy, if you could call it a strategy.

        • It does look that way. I mean they are going overboard on dumping everything. I guess they hope we will forget by the time mid term elections come around.

  8. This is why it’s difficult to get rid of the EC….ugh

    What would be the process of repealing the Electoral College System?


  9. This is great, but add ”It is now illegal to ejaculate, unless it’s for reproduction’ with woman’s consent.

  10. Researchers and grad students be damned, screaming inside.

    After my tenure denial I ended up at a top tier (#13 nationally) school as a research scientist with a healthy funding from DoD (yeah, my tenure deniers were surprised that I landed on my feet like that, if only they had looked at my CV, they would know); anyway, it was like running a research startup of my own with 3-5 students. I did that for nearly 6 years and then came sequestration. I didn’t lose funding but I left academia for good proactively before I was too old to find my next (more stable) job.

    I loathe, loathe this mad man whom the stupid people have elected. Do you know that DARPA was instrumental in bringing so much innovation and technology to this world? We would not have the Internet for fake news for these mfers to use if it was not for DARPA/ARPANet. My heart is bleeding. So much that is unique and exceptional about America is in peril. Come on people, we have to do something here to stop these mfers.

    this note from an EPA staffer. I don’t mind if the new administration puts its own stamp on its agencies and promotes its own policies. But what these neanderthals are doing is unconscionable.

    • Wow, you know the other agencies are being treated the same, the FBI, CIA, etc.

      …and he wonders why people see him as our American Hitler.

      The book burning has already begun.

      Good thing some of our scientists are keeping their research data in places Dumbphuck can’t reach.

  11. Those who have not seen this tweet… a true action item:

  12. ‘countrymen?’ True, no woman in her right mind elected him.

  13. We could have had Hillary, Merkel, and May, wow! What a missed opportunity. America which voted Trump in looks like a country bumpkin hinterland.

    • We didn’t vote him in & we never got an open transparent recount so we’ll never know what really happened

      • I agree that we don’t know if the vote count in the 4 swing states is legit. I didn’t vote for him, you didn’t vote for him but there were a lot of people who voted for him. The bulk of them I saw in the rallies looked like country bumpkins to me.

  14. I don’t know why democrats are mad at republicans for. I don’t not more than before 2016. My beef is with liberals and the left in general. They are the ones responsible for the outcome of this election. That’s where the battle should start and end.

  15. Speaking of foreign languages, Gong Hey Fat Choy!

    Tomorrow begins the Chinese New Year.

    Toshino Kyouko (family name first) of YuruYuri wishes you a happy Year of the Rooster! :mrgreen:

    Click here.

    LOL anime hair colors–she has a classmate with magenta hair. 😆

    • Actually, I have a grim explanation for the hair colors in anime, although I expect many other otaku (fans) have thought of it independently.

      I expect they started appearing after 1945… 😦

  16. Trump’s America. This is in the liberal Democrats stronghold Maryland. If this gets worse, I will be thinking about going back to India. I didn’t sign up to live the life of a second class citizen in this country. I have my pride and dignity still in tact.


  17. Some good news today: Trump admin took back their gag order on EPA, USDA etc. And then said they’d never issued it in the first place! Public pressure worked.

    GOP Congressional leadership were taped at their retreat earlier in the week, freaking out over Trump, fractured, terrified they’re going to lose their seats in 2018 over the ACA repeal. Ryan, in particular,spoke in direct contradiction to his public comments, which claimed they were all unified.

    Dick Cheney said the Muslim ban is “against everything we stand for.” That I feel even an iota of gratitude for this is making my stomach churn.

    And it’s only been ONE WEEK.

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