Christmas stuff that has nothing to do with the Quail Manor, but just must be mused about...

In the last muse. About the bike. There were many, many, words. More could have been said of course, but your musist showed restraint.

A couple of things have come up that require a muse. The election is not one of them. But Christmas is.

It'll be brief. Your musist is a big fan of gifts. And he understands corporate greed. If you can get people to go spend money, more power to you. People should be smarter than to go spend money because someone ran ads. TW, who has been referenced in previous muses, sent an article about the Deadweight of Christmas. It was in the Financial Times who seems to be very proud of their content and make it very hard to share, or you would here find a link. The net net is the giver pays more to buy the gift than the recipient would ever have been willing to spend on it. The difference between that which was spent and the perceived value is deadweight loss. The article suggests the deadweight loss in the US alone is on the order of $12bn. They suggest wish lists and giving permission to go buy what you want, which is pretty much what we do anyway, but the thesis kind of supported my world view so I approve it! And report it here. Without the permission of the Financial Times, but I also did not really quote them. If I stop musing, they came and imprisoned me.

For grins. I Googled organized joy to see if I could find a funny cynical link. Nothing. What I did find was a couple of Google pages of some company that believes organized joy is an organized house. They will come help you organize and presumably receive compensation more than observing the joy...

Now I don’t have any feeling one way or the other about organized joy the company that turned up in the Google. Those who know this musist know how strongly I favor strong organization. But.

What is truly awesome, for a musist with 5’s of followers, is the amount of effort that has gone into linking every possible social media channel and getting the links onto the first Google page to publicize organized joy. Truly impressive. Every single social media channel. All of them...

Getting back to Christmas, your musist is way not a fan of organized joy. Christmas strikes your musist as organized joy with a lot of gift pressure thrown-in. Kind of ready for it to all be over. Hits every year right after Thanksgiving. Which whilst also organized joy, seems more pagan without the veil of religion to justify a celebration. Your musist likes the heck out of Thanksgiving.

But I digress...back to the couple of things.

Thing 2: Tuba Christmas 

Thing 1 will come later. Be patient.

As we do every year, we went to Tuba Christmas. "We" discovered Tuba Christmas 15 plus years ago. Not sure if by accident or by SWITBO creating an "accident" by walking me in the vicinity of a bunch of folks with tubas. Knowing I would be unlikely to a priori consent to a Christmas concert. Your musist actually played the trombone and a wee bit of baritone at one point. Baritones (I think) usually play the same music as trombones so all I had to learn was which valves to push. Wasn't very good at either, so now play neither.

Dad played baritone, I understand well. His brother, which would make him technically my uncle, played trombone professionally. At his, the uncles, funeral a BUNCH of trombones showed up to play the music. I kind of thought a trombone was a trombone with maybe a few variations. There must have been 20 different trombone types ranging from trumpet sized up to big assed trombones. Who knew. But sounded really really good.

So anyway, I am genetically predisposed to like bass brass instruments.

Turns out Tuba Christmas is freaking cool. The shtick is Christmas carols. Played by on the order of 200 tubas. Only. Now, there is an accepted role for tubas in Christmas carols. And. It's not playing the melody. It turns out they are not particularly good at the melody. But kind of not the point. Frequently takes a while to figure out what is is they ARE playing, but quite fun to listen to the effort. Of the 200ish tubas, I'm sure there are some duffers, but by in large these are professional players or are formally studying tuba. 

Turns out, like trombones, there are a whole bunch of tuba types. An effort has been made in the arrangements for the little ones to focus on melody that has been shifted down into the frequencies a tuba can play. The big guys get a little gussied up, but generally stick to a more traditional tuba part. The big guys generate a lot of vibration and since big and little are in the same general frequency range, the little guys not so much.

The concerts take place outdoors. We've showed up late a time or two. You can't so much hear the music, or at least tell what it is, but you can sure as hell feel it a couple of blocks away. Used to play in a blocked off street, but the last 10 years or so in a park. Being December, frequently the temperature is quite cool. This year the temperature at concert time was around 20 (degrees F). A feature of brass instruments is a spit valve. I'll leave it to the reader to sort why you need a spit valve, but there is a lot of spit in a brass instrument. Particularly a bass brass instrument that needs a lot of air to make a noise. That is now playing some form of a melody that it was not really designed to do.

Brass + spit + 20 (degrees F) = Frozen brass parts = Nonfunctioning brass instrument

In years past, before the park, it was a particularly cold year. As they were playing, tuba players would abandon the effort and retreat into a shop. Get their horn working again, drain the now unfrozen spit, and return to the effort. It was more fun to watch than the music! Very manly, in a nongender specific way, showed a level of commitment I doubt we would see from say a violin player.

This year, either heaters have advanced to keep frozen spit at bay. Or, there are no open shops in the vicinity of the park so there is nowhere to go to melt the spit... And there were a lot of tuba cozies in evidence. No cozies reached the level of the one in the link, but there were no abandons that we saw this year but the potential for frozen spit was high.

Frequently we are joined by usual suspects. You know who you are. This year they claim to have forgotten until too late to actually make the concert. Could be true. But your musist suspects something more along the lines of cold sisification... We lasted until they started talking about all the schools and colleges from whence the tuba players arrived. We've heard that before, they came from a lot of schools and colleges. Your musist was cold. We went for lunch...and a cocktail.

So. For your viewing pleasure, here are two songs recorded after I remembered I had a recording device in my pocket and before I got too cold. You have to listen carefully but you get the point. The second one is a little better, but the first is more typical. Enjoy! If you listen not even a little carefully, you can hear the giggling in the audience better than the music. Everybody has a good time. Including your musist.

And. The Denver Post was in attendance. Here is their story and pictures. They have better access, gear, and skills. If you look at their pictures you will see many decorated tubas and tuba players. Our favorite was a guy right in front of us with a penguin attached some how to his bell. It was really well attached and really funny when he set the tuba down on its bell. The penguin had a real good view of the ground.

If you look very very carefully at the videos, you can see the penguin tuba when I pan to the left at the back of the "orchestra". It is behind the tree. A little move visible in the second video at about the 2:27 mark.

Thing 1: What really prompted this muse. Bacteria Santa.

Frequent readers know SWITBO has a favorite sister. It's her only sister, but it pisses them both off just a little when I say favorite sister. So what am I to do?

This sister is a Vet. Her husband is a PhD Microbiologist. There's some brain matter in play. But that is not the thing.

What IS the thing is they know stuff. Frequently I am of the opinion this stuff is WAY too much about what is going on in our food and drink. Which means they are WAY more careful about what they eat and drink than is any fun at all.

On plus side, husband is a professor. I come to understand that microbiology professors have labs. Labs with all kinds of the stuff that they know WAY too much about that may be in our food and beverages. But this stuff can be used to grow Santa pictures in full freaking color on what I presume is a medium in a petri dish. I survived college chemistry with my life and learned nothing. So I can only presume medium in a peitri dish.


Merry Christmas. 5 more days and it's thankfully over.