Posted by Hoyt Smith on September 7, 2010

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I’m here at the always-charming San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala!

Live from San Francisco…We’re broadcasting the San Francisco Symphony’s Gala with special guest soprano Jessye Norman.  If you couldn’t make it to Davies Symphony Hall, tune in to 102.1 KDFC and enjoy it on the radio, then check out my blog for updates all night!

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on August 17, 2010

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The way each of us see the world is influenced by  many different things. How you were raised, where and when are just some of them. The headline above is one of the statements that some professors at Beloit College in Wisconsin have applied to the incoming class of 2014. The incoming college freshman have experienced a very different world than many of us “slightly older” folks have.

For instance:

Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail

There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.

Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

It’s a yearly and fascinating exercise that is designed to help the professors understand a little of how their new students see the world.  As this years Mindset posting says of the Class 0f 2014 “They will now be awash with a computerized technology that will not distinguish information and knowledge. So it will be up to their professors to help them.  A generation accustomed to instant access will need to acquire the patience of scholarship. They will discover how to research information in books and journals and not just on-line.”

Read the whole Beloit Mindset list here.

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on August 11, 2010

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Jacquie at the controls.

Just after landing at Nevada City.

I’ve chatted from time to time about my wife and her travels as a flight attendant with United Airlines. One listener, Bruce Bolla picked up on that and got in touch. Bruce works the “front office” on a United Airbus out of  SFO and also picked up on my love of flying. Flying a “bus” is his job, but for the shear fun of flying he has a “sports car”, a dazzling classic in blue and white. It’s a 4-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza and he and wife Karen took us on a little sightseeing and dinner trip to Nevada City on Tuesday the 10th. It’s always fun to get my hands on the controls of a “real” plane rather than my virtual Microsoft one. Here are a few pics from a sweet little tour of our golden state.

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Fun for four.

Flying north over Richmond.

Our Captain, Bruce at the wheel of his "sports car" in the sky

Posted by Hoyt Smith on August 5, 2010

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"Doctor" Mozart

American psychologist Rollo May said “Depression is the inability to construct a future”. It also doesn’t leave you with much of a past either. There have been significant advances in pharmacology aimed at treating depression, but now there may be another, non medical fix. A newly published study from Mexico reports repeated listening to certain classical works — including one by Mozart — helps ease the debilitating symptoms of clinical depression. In a recent study participants from a Oaxaca clinic were divided into two groups. Half the group took part in a 30-minute weekly counseling session with a psychologist; the other half listened to a 50-minute program of classical music each day. Their recorded concert featured two baroque works (Bach’s Italian Concerto and a Concerto Grosso by his contemporary, Archangelo Corelli) and Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos. Each week, participants reported their levels of depression-related symptoms using a standard scale. By the fourth session there was more positive change from the music therapy group that the counseled group. Read the whole article here.

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on July 13, 2010

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While hanging out with family up in the Tahoe area my sister brought up a novel way to access one of our favorite adult beverages if you are caught without the necessary equipment. Open a bottle of wine with a shoe? She described it and I still couldn’t believe it was true.

Here is the proof (en Francaise, naturellement)

Amazing. I haven’t tried it myself, but the video looks authentic. Maybe I’ll experiment on a bottle of Two-buck Chuck.

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on July 1, 2010

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As we head into the annual celebration of our independence from the mother country I came across an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that offers a little more insight into George Washington. He has been deified over the centuries, an almost mythic figure who dodged death on the battlefield, and portrayed as a man as stiff as a statue.  Writer Barrymore Shearer tells of another side of Washington. Although not a musician himself, he had a fine appreciation of music and was more than willing to pay whatever amount to enjoy it.  And it turns out, through an eyewitness account from his step-grandson George Washington Parke Custis, the minuet was “peculiarly calculated for the display of the splendid figure of the chief, and his natural grace and elegance of air and manners.”

Read the whole article here and have a safe and happy 4th of July.

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on June 24, 2010

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An annoyance at sporting contests world wide, the Vuvuzela has leaped into the spotlight since the start of the World Cup in South Africa. Allegedly confined to the key of B flat, it is as loud as a 747 @ takeoff. Is it musical? You be the judge. Here is a new concerto written for the sonic scourge.

Check out the Vuvuzela Trio on our video section of the home page. Even trained horn players can’t master this beast!

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on May 31, 2010

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After our initial three days in Warsaw we travelled down to beautiful Krakow, one of the most charming of central Europe’s old cities. It’s where old and new Poland come together and it’s another of our stops that I’d like to spend more time in.
Here is another video montage of some of the sites and sounds of this jewel of a city.

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on May 20, 2010

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We have been on the road for nearly a week, our intrepid group of KDFC claasical fans. Today we finished up Krakow and are heading to Prague tomorrow. Along the way we have heard the history and visited some of Poland’s most treasured sites,enjoyed glorious live music of Chopin, Bach, gypsy, Klezmer and more. The only challenge has been the weather – rain and cold most of the time, but with travel comes the unexpected. The Polish people are proud of their past and do so much to keep alive their collective accomplishmnets and celebrate their heroes – Chopin, Copernicus, Marie Curie (born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw) and many more.

Here is my video blog from our first moments in Poland.

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Posted by Hoyt Smith on May 7, 2010

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The world was stunned by Thursday May 6th’s stock market activity and so I couldn’t resist poking some fun at it. Humor breaks the tension, right?

Here’s the list:

“It was a wild day on Wall Street Thursday with the Dow losing 347 points. In other financial news:

  • Helium was up.
  • Feathers were down.
  • Beef steered into a bull market.
  • Paper was stationary.
  • Fluorescent tubing was dimmed in light trading.
  • Pencils lost a few points.
  • Hiking equipment was trailing.
  • Elevators rose.
  • Escalators continued their slow decline.
  • Weights were up in heavy trading.
  • Light switches were off.
  • Mining equipment hit rock bottom.
  • Shipping lines stayed at an even keel.
  • The market for raisins dried up.
  • Coca Cola fizzled.
  • Caterpillar stock inched up a bit.
  • Balloon prices were inflated.
  • Diapers remain unchanged.”

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