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Posts Tagged ‘record

“oh, it’s a strange magic”*…

A spell for identifying a thief: To find the thief write on a piece of kosher parchment these names [see words at the end of the spell], and hang them around the neck of a black rooster. Then circle around the suspects with the rooster, and it will jump on the head of the thief. And this has been tested.
Kematin kanit kukeiri ve-hikani yazaf

One of the items in our postponed exhibition Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word is a tiny little codex from sixteenth-century Italy. It is entitled The Tree of Knowledge (Ets ha-Da’at) and contains a collection of some 125 magic spells for all sorts of purposes: curses, healing potions, love charms, amulets. There are a good number of such magical-medical manuscripts in the Hebrew collection, but this volume is special for at least two reasons. First, because of its neat layout and accuracy in its execution. Secondly, because it has an introduction in which Elisha the author tells the story of how he collected these spells.

[There follows the story of the compilation and selection of the spells…]

You can certainly see even from this small selection of spells how valuable the Tree of Knowledge is! Elisha’s long journey from Italy to Galilee through the Mediterranean, his painstaking efforts to acquire hidden and ancient knowledge, were not in vain. And you, dear reader, are only one click away from all this treasure!

Disclaimer: We do not take responsibility for the endurance of these spells. Even strong magic can lose or modify its power over the centuries! Please, do not blame us if you turn into a frog. Try these spells only at your own risk…

From the British Library, “The Tree of Knowledge: magic spells from a Jewish potion book

* Jeff Lynne, ELO, “Strange Magic”

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As we contemplate casting, we might recall that it was on this date in 1984 that Dwight Gooden set the record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie– 276 (pitched, in Gooden’s case, over 218 innings). The record, which still stands, was previously held by Herb Score with 246 in 1954.

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Written by LW

September 12, 2020 at 1:01 am

“The piano ain’t got no wrong notes”*…

 

piano tuner

 

Once a staple of middle-class American homes, a piano in the living room has become a less common sight, as fewer people learn to play the instrument. And in a city where square footage (and privacy) are at a premium, devoting space to a 500-pound instrument may seem like a strange choice. Yet Michael “Mickey” Finn, a resident of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, has been working full-time as a piano tuner in New York City for nearly 20 years.

Finn’s first job in the city was as a piano technician for the New York City Opera, before he became an independent tuner, working in private homes, in rehearsal rooms, and for institutional clients…

Finn speaks to Topic about his own musical education, how he started getting clients, and the song he plays to test his own work; illustrated with photos by Gus Powell, who followed him for several days as he tuned his way across town: “He’s Got the Keys to the City.”

* Thelonious Monk

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As we tickle the ivories, we might recall that it was on this date in 1948, three days after an announcement of the innovation at a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria, that Columbia Records began mass production of the 33 1/3 RPM long-playing record.  The format, which allowed for over 20 minutes of music on a side, briskly overtook the 78 rpm format and dominated music sales well into the 1980s.  The popularity of the LP ushered in the “Album Era” of English-language popular music, beginning in the 1960s, as performers took advantage of the longer playing time to create coherent themes or concept albums.

440px-12in-Vinyl-LP-Record-Angle source

 

Written by LW

June 21, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move.”*…

 

In the major leagues this season, batters have been hitting the ball so hard, and so far, that pitchers are suggesting foul play. “There’s just something different about the baseballs,” one veteran reliever complained earlier this summer. “I don’t have anything to quantify it, but the balls just don’t feel the same.” It’s been an unprecedented year for home runs: hitters are on pace to shatter the previous single-season record for them (5,693), which was set in 2000, at the height of the steroid era, when sluggers were making widespread and illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. In June, players hit more home runs than in any previous month in the game’s history (1,101), sometimes in gaudy fashion, as when seven different players hit grand slams in a single day (another record)…

Under the circumstances, it was easy to miss another major-league record being set this week. Granted, it was somewhat obscure. It concerned one of baseball’s most pleasurable and least appreciated feats: the immaculate inning.

Rick Porcello [above], the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, threw one in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays on [August 9]. He struck out the side—three up, three down—on nine consecutive pitches. It was the eighth immaculate inning pitched this season, which topped the previous high (seven), from 2014…

Rarer than a no-hitter: “The ephemeral perfection of the Immaculate Inning.”

And check out The Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s “Treasures from the Baseball Diamond.”

* Satchel Paige

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As we contemplate control, we might consider its opposite, recalling that on this date in 1909, in the first of two games at South Side Park, Dolly Gray of the Washington Senators entered the record book by walking eight White Sox in the 2nd inning, with seven of the walks in a row (each feat a Major League record that stands to this day). The six runs scored were enough for a 6 – 4 Chicago win, although the Sox managed only one hit against Dolly.

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Written by LW

August 28, 2017 at 1:01 am

“That tactile feel of flipping through a stack of vinyl remains one of life’s simple pleasures”*…

 

Nearly everyone interested in records will have, at some point heard the news that there is a Brazilian who owns millions of records. Fewer seem to know, however, that Zero Freitas, a São Paulo-based businessman now in his sixties, plans to turn his collection into a public archive of the world’s music, with special focus on the Americas. Having amassed over six million records, he manages a collection similar to the entire Discogs database. Given the magnitude of this enterprise, Freitas deals with serious logistical challenges and, above all, time constraints. But he strongly believes it is worth his while. After all, no less than a vinyl library of global proportions is at stake…

An interview with master collector Zero Freitas: “Inside the World’s Biggest Record Collection.”

* Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)

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As we drop the needle, we might send harmonious birthday greetings to Jean-Philippe Rameau; he was born on this date in 1683.  One of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era, he replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered (with François Couperin) the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time.

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Written by LW

September 25, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me”*…

 

Although well-known for her massive novels The Fountainhead (about an architectural genius who blows up his own skyscraper) and Atlas Shrugged (about a group of fiercely individualistic anti—union entrepreneurs who band together and go on strike), Ayn Rand was something of a culinary devotee–or so the publication of this hitherto unsuspected book of recipes would suggest.

Written in her trademark “romantic realist” style, this large collection includes recipes unique to its author, such as “I Need No Warrant for Being Green Beans,” “Rational Pumpkin Muffins of the Highest Intelligence,” and “Chicken Baked Only for Itself.”…

More– including a recipe for an old standard, made Objectively better– at “Preparing Eggplant Rollatini With the Highest Competence.”

See also Mc Sweeney’s “Recipes that would be officially approved by the Ayn Rand Institute.”

* Ayn Rand

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As we decide to diet, we might recall that it was on this date in 1992, at 11:00 a.m., that the current world record brown trout was caught on the Little Red River in Arkansas by Howard “Rip” Collins.  At forty-pounds, four ounces, it far exceeded the previous record-holder, a 38-9 brown caught by Mike “Huey” Manley of North Little Rock four years earlier.

Collins and his catch

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Written by LW

May 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

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