The Adam Weblog - 2023<br>

     Welcome to my attempt to keep a weblog, a running sort-of diary on my own web page. There is a tendency to put lots of details of our lives on social media like Facebook or Twitter. I feel there are details of my life of some interet to my community of followers that aren't up to the level of posting on Facebook. So here it is.

     My idea is to have one of these for each year now and going forward, but there were a couple of fun items from 2022 November and 2022 December that I feel belong here.

     Anyhow, let's see how it goes.

    

2022 November 15 - The Vienna Boys Choir

     I take great pleasure in listening to music in my life. Being most human myself I take pleasure in the sound of a human voice or, even more wonderful, an entire chorus of human voices. (That I'm not a big opera fan I attribute to my already-full concert schedule and my even-greater appreciation of ballet. I recently went to a product of "Carmen" that was to die for, the music was terrific, the singing was terrific, and it was physically passionate to the point of pornography, as the story is supposed to be.)

     My most-recent choral performance was the Vienna Boys Choir at the Scottsdale Center of the Performing Arts on 2022 November 15. Twenty-one pre-pubescent male voices blended magnificently into a heavenly, harmonious whole for both classical and more-popular selections. The quality of his performance suggests he spends a lot of his non-performing time practicing his piano playing. If you're ever in Vienna, then they're worth a listen.

     As my natural hearing is no longer what it was, my latest-technology Oticon hearing aids are a joy to me. They allow me to resolve audible differences in music and hifi. As an audiophile weenie they enable me to make sound comparisons, for example between amplifiers and the line-cords to the mains power. I have no trouble aligning a (vinyl) phonograph cartridge by ear. Up until this concert the default Music setting on these hearing aids has been uniformly delightful in the concert hall and this is the first time I had trouble. There was an overloading, distorting effect in my hearing aids that was mitigated by turning their volume down. Once I lowered the sound level of the hearing aids they were fine, but it was amusing to hear something with so much higher frequency content of so much complexity that they were overwhelmed.

     But one thing caught my attention. Here was a group of twenty-one boys, many of whom looked like teenagers, maybe fourteen or fifteen years old. All had pristine high voices, presumably the same pristine high voices for the entire ten-week tour. I don't know a lot of ways to keep twenty-one boys' voices from changing through puberty, in fact I can only think of one. Back in the not-so-good old days choral works had the beauty of a castrato section. I'm told they don't do that anymore, I hope not to these boys. Maybe there's another way to preserve the beauty of these twenty-one voices as I heard them.

    

2022 December - post office box keys

     My house was built circa 1975 and I figure our mailboxes are from the same era. Like our houses it appears these mailboxes were not built to endure. In particular, the keys to the three large boxes don't work very well. It takes several minutes of frustrating wiggling to get the big box open so I can get the treasure inside, often a vinyl phonograph record.

     So here I open my mailbox and there's a key. The letter A, B, or C is long worn off, so I try the key in all three boxes with some vigorous wiggling and more-vigorous complaining. None of these open very well, so no treasure for me. At least it's not summer where I don't want my new vinyl record melting in the afternoon Scottsdale heat, often 45°C (115°F).

     So I decide to take the key to the office. If I'm going to complain, then at least somebody appropriate should listen to me. Holiday season means I had to wait for a parking space and then in a long line with the key dangling from my fingers as I was fuming.

     Finally the quick-service fellow for faster things like stamp purchases sees me without a package and invites me over. I show him the bare key without any indication of which box it's for and describe my frustration. When I ask for another key to the same big box he tells me he doesn't have those keys. "Well who does have them?" I ask and I'm told they're in some compartment with the mailboxes themselves but tomorrow's delivery will resolve my problem. I have a picture of the carrier (who already doesn't like me very much 'cuz I grumbled when he bent one of my records stuffing it into the small box) grudgingly marching my package to my doorstep where he might hope I would be the victim of porch pirates. (I'll point out that my cul-de-sac has never been the victm of that sort of theft, to my knowledge). Instead my mailbox was the short-term home of another key, also worn beyond recognition, but this key actually worked in one of the boxes and I got my package.

     So they managed to solve my immediate problem without doing anything to reduce the likelihood of such a problem recurring. Even the infamous post office is usually better than that.

    

2023 January 3 - Old and New

     I love my old stuff, especially my hifi. My recently-departed friend Mel Schilling sold me his old loudspeakers in 1985 and I figure he listened to them for twenty years before that. My turntable was new in 1979, I manufactured the tonearm in 1980, and the cartridge is from 1969. The electronics are early-to-mid 1980s vintage. My records and tapes are joy to me.

     I also keep an old 22-inch K&E slide rule, way above my pay grade when we were still using slide rules, more for sentiment than practicality. I have my grandmother's dishes in one trophy case next to her trinkets and my great-grandmother's dishes in another trophy case. I have my father's office calendar and my mother's napkin holder. I love my old stuff.

     Unlike one of my older friends Bill I'm not a luddite. I love the new technology alongside the old. I have high-speed Internet and local network so I can watch movies and television shows and I use that network to play the FLAC files (Free Lossless Audio Codec) "ripped" from my compact disks (CDs). There are laptop computers in every room of my house (except bathrooms), I work from home using Internet terminal sessions and Microsoft Teams to communicate, and I rely on my home network to manage photographs when I travel.

     I have lots of gadgets. All of my bathrooms have motion-detector toilet lights so I don't have to turn on the light at night and motion-detector fans for air circulation. Amazon Alexa controls my thermostats so I can turn on more heat or air conditioning downstairs while I'm getting out of bed upstairs.

    

2023 January 8 - Platitudes about Attitude

     We're inundated with annoying exhortations to be upbeat and happy, you know the bit about positive outlook bringing positive results. It's kind of like the karma bullshit, that doing good here and now makes something good more likely to happen somewhere else later. The thing is I find myself believing in it and I find it works for me. I like living in a world where people feel they ought to do good works, but there are reasons why it should be that, "what goes around comes around," and more good things happen to happier people.

     It was -30°C (-20°F) and windy at night, I was driving home and tired, and there were two women on the side of the road alone with a flat tire. So I pulled over and changed their tire with a steady patter explaining what I was doing so maybe next time they would have a fighting chance. Maybe I got home twenty minutes later, but these two might not have gotten home at all, so it's a win all around. Maybe something good happened to me later by karma, but I know I felt better that night. I remember a friend whose car wouldn't start New Year's Eve in a parking lot at Kennedy Airport and he recalled how cheerful and upbeat the fellow was when he came to start my friend's car. Was he happy to be working in the cold on New Year's Eve? Probably not, but apparently he felt he could spread some holiday cheer in a situation not generally cheerful.

     After a few hours of flight delays I finally got to my car at The Parking Spot in Phoenix and the van driver Roger commented that he liked my new car. I had to ask, he sees thousands upon thousands of cars, why would he remember mine? He said he remembers me because I'm so upbeat. Late and tired I wasn't feeling all that upbeat, so I asked him about it. He said, "Your flight was delayed, there are no flights at one-thirty in the morning, and you're still cheerful." I said that six hours from Philly may have turned into nine hours, but it still beats walking. "Well, some people don't have that attitude."

     I was at Hearing Life in Scottsdale, my $8000 Oticon hearing aids were "on the fritz" and I was grateful they could squeeze me in to fix them. Another customer was giving them the third degree howcum I spent $6000 on hearing aids and they don't work. I looked at the beleaguered and besieged clerk and said I'm able to hear what people are saying and to appreciate the beauty of music at a high level 364 days a year, one day I don't get that benefit, and that sounds like a win to me. She said some people don't see it that way.

     There is some rational reason to believe in the platitudes about positive attitude. First, being nice to people makes them happier and more likely to be nice in return. Second, our world is small enough that being overtly helpful may be remembered by somebody in a situation where we need help. Sometimes I ask myself what I did to deserve having good people and good things in my life, but maybe I did do something to make some of that happen.

    

2023 January 10 - Future Shock - Overchoice

     When I was in high school in 1972 taking a course in Sociology we read a book by Alvin Toffler called Future Shock. Mr. Toffler made three assertions I recall. First, facing the future would be as great a source of stress as running into a more-advanced civilization, so his analogy to culture shock was that we would have to deal with future shock. Second, one of the two major stress points was not only change but the rate of change would increase to the point of being a source of personal pain. Third, that we would be inundated with choice, pointless choice, gratuitous choice, choice overload, cognitive impairment that he called "overchoice."

     You know how it is. I dread having people ask me to pick something up at Starbucks. Is it latte or double-latte or mocha with cream and/or sugar and, if so, what kind of cream is it and is it white sugar or brown sugar? Oh, yes, don't forget, small, medium, large, or extra large? No matter how carefully my friend specifies the order I know I'm going to be asked at least one more question where I have to call my friend and ask for more information about the coffee order. Our lives have become an ever-increasing whirlwind of selections upon selections, more and more overchoice.

     The book came in a choice of twelve colors.

    

My Left Knee Story 2022-2023

     Over the latter part of 2022 I began to have pain in my left knee. My usual summer-morning workout is a twenty-mile (32 Km) bicycle ride with a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) run in the middle, but the limited morning light squeezes out the run part and my sensitive knee, therefore, isn't a problem in my mornings. Even though I had some sore-knee mornings I was still able to hike six or even eight miles. The moments of pain come suddenly, like there are two surfaces a hair's width apart and when they touch it hurts, so I had some concerns doing longer hikes with the possibility of limping home in pain, but the pain wasn't that bad when it did hurt while walking.

Patient ADAM ROSENBERG
Exam done on January 7, 2023
Referred by HINCHMAN, GLENN
MRI LEFT KNEE WITHOUT CONTRAST

HISTORY: Several weeks of left knee pain. No injury.

COMPARISON: Radiographs from 02/22/2022. [I got hit by car while running 2022 February 22.]

TECHNIQUE: Multiplanar, multisequence noncontrast images were obtained for the left knee.

FINDINGS

MEDIAL COMPARTMENT
Meniscus: Inner margin tear towards the root ligament, with a small amount of displaced
disc material adjacent to the posterior horn, series 3 image 16. Additional low-grade
undersurface tear/degeneration of the body segment, series 5 image 13. Grade 3 chondral
loss over the mesial aspect of medial femoral condyle, 16 x 8 mm. Mild marginal
osteophyte formation. Grade 4 chondral loss over the nonweightbearing medial femoral
condyle with underlying subcortical degenerative cyst formation, series 3 images 21-22,
series 5 image 8.

LATERAL COMPARTMENT
Meniscus: No meniscal tear. No chondral erosion or wear.

PATELLOFEMORAL COMPARTMENT
Normal patellar alignment. Normal patellar and trochlear cartilage.

LIGAMENTS/TENDONS
* Intact cruciate ligaments.
* Intact medial and lateral supporting structures. Intact popliteus tendon.
* Normal extensor mechanism.

BONES/MUSCLES
No fracture or stress injury. No lytic or destructive lesion. Normal musculature.

EFFUSION/OTHER
No joint effusion. No synovitis or loose body. No popliteal cyst.

IMPRESSION

1. Medial meniscus: Inner margin tear of posterior horn towards the root ligament with a
   small amount of displaced disc material adjacent to the posterior horn on series 3 image 16.
   Additional low-grade undersurface tear/degeneration of the body segment on series 5 image 13.

2. 16 x 8 mm grade 3 chondral defect over the mesial aspect of medial femoral condyle.
   13 x 8 mm grade 4 chondral defect over nonweightbearing medial femoral condyle with
   underlying subcortical degenerative cyst formation.

3. No significant joint effusion. No Baker's cyst formation.

4. Collateral and cruciate ligaments are intact.

Report Electronically Signed by: ADRIAN MOYER
     My
Moab trip changed that where I found myself unable to hike. True to form, the knee started really hurting at the zenith of the Delicate-Arch hike at Arches National Park and it was a painful 2.5-Km (1.5-mile) hike back down the hill. It was time to see my doctor.

     Besides being my doctor coming up on twenty years, Dr. Hinchman is also an athlete himself. I saw him 2022 December 28, he listened patiently to his patient's story and send me for an MRI exam. (I'm old enough to remember when the technology was called "nuclear magnetic resonance" (NMR), but people were afraid of anything "nuclear" and now it's magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instead.) I went to Scottsdale Medical Imaging Lab (SMIL) on 2023 January 7 and got a technical-sounding report that summarizes to something like, "The patient may be a whining crybaby about his sore knee but there's really stuff wrong in there." My medial meniscus has an inner margin tear of the posterior horn, so there is real damage.

     Dr. Hinchman called me and chatted about the report. There is a long and laborious route of physical therapy and healing or maybe there is a surgical route to remove the torn tissue like I did last time with my right knee. He thinks we're a long way from me needing a knee replacement and I'm glad to hear that. I was more than happy with my experience six years ago with Dr. Russo and he is still in business. He is a surgeon and his first response may lean towards surgery, but that's also the way I'm feeling right now. If there's something ripped apart or torn asunder, then a local surgical repair may be the answer. I made an appointment to see Dr. Russo 2023 January 25, Wednesday.

     After weeks of gentle coddling my knee doesn't hurt at all. That gives me license to do whatever I want. I could do jumping jacks or running in place. I decided I want to continue to walk gently and to use hand-support "furniture cruising" when possible, no hiking or running, and sticking to bicycling and upper-body weight lifting for exercise.

     Dr. Russo looked at old x-rays and new MRI scans, poked at my knee, and said waiting for it to heal was my best option. The only part that hurts is the lower-outer "lateral" part of my knee and the only visible or repairable damage is on the inner "medial" part of my knee. So I'm going to be gentle with my knee and take a little bit of Tylenol, and not Advil with my Xarelto blood thinner.

    

2023 January 17 - I Can't Even Palm a Seven-inch Reel

     I remember how cool it was that the professional-league National Basketball Association (NBA) players can "palm" a basketball, pick it up with one hand and hold it. When I want to take a reel off my tape deck with something in my other hand, I feel pathetic that I can't even palm a seven-inch reel of tape. It's kind of like when I see professioal dancers fly through the air making it look so easy and then I go for a run and I have to plan my steps ahead so I don't trip over a curbstone. They say pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff could reach thirteen notes while most of us more-mortal mortals are happy when we can reach nine notes, one more than an octave.

     So I try to reach my fingers around the tape on my deck, realize it's hopeless or, worse, I'm going to drop the reel if I try, put down whatever I'm holding in the other hand, and pick up the reel with both hands to put it back in the box for another day. Maybe, for inspiration, I should have a picture of Wilt Chamberlain holding a reel that looks like a drink coaster in his hand. (He probably could palm a ten-inch reel or even a twelve-inch long-play (LP) vinyl record.)

2023 January 18 - Meeting Others

     I have a whirlwind of concerts, last night, tomorrow night, and the next four nights after that. Last night was at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Jeffrey Siegel, pianist, doing his "Keyboard Conversations" where he talks about each piece before playing it. After five-plus decades doing this he is still on his game and it was both educationallly and musically a wonderful evening.

     When he mentioned Artur Rubinstein something dawned on me. I'm a practicing mathematician, I call myself an "Industrial Mathematician, my advanced degree is in a field called Operations Research, and I've been to several conferences over the years where people in the field gather for professional talks and conversation. I have met many of the famous people in my profession. If I were an academic instead of a practitioner I would have significantly more social intercourse in my professional circles. My friend Forman Acton knew just about every famous mathematician and physicist in the mid-Twentieth Century.

     Jeffrey Siegel was alone on the stage and I believe not one famous classical-music pianist was in the audience. His concert season is busy. A few years ago it was twenty-two venues doing four Keyboard-Conversations concerts for a total of eighty-eight, one for each key on the piano. I joked that if he played a Bosendorfer piano with ninety-two keys he would have to do a twenty-third venue. I doubt he has much time to attend concerts performed by his contemporary piano performers.

     He says he maintained friendships with other concert pianists and I believe he does, but it is an effort he would have to make more than I have to do. I'm glad for him that he's able to stay in touch with his community because it has been a blessing for me to have a professional community where we know each other and, occasionally, see each other.

2023 January 30 - Recent Driving Issues

     Driving and drivers are long-term topics of complaining conversation. Here are a few items that I grumble about more recently.

     Lagging left: One of the positive features of Scottsdale is that left-turn, cross-traffic-flow, traffic-light-green arrows come after the straight-ahead green light. This is good for drivers because it keeps more traffic going straight. This is good for bicycles because it clears out the right-turn lane before the light turns green. This is good for pedestrians because the last traffic going across is confined to just the left-turn lanes. Well, Scottsdale decided to do something about it. They found something worse than switching all the intersections. Instead they changed just some of them so we don't know which way the lights are going to go next.

     Late turn signals: There is something more annoying than drivers not using their blinkers, or "signaling straight" as I put it. There is something more annoying, waiting until the turn is already in progress and flipping on the blinker as if to say, "Yes, I know we're supposed to use blinkers, but I can be more annoying this way."

     A new generation of idiocy has drivers "wolfpacking," as one friends calls it, going out of their way to hang with other drivers. I've made as many as four speed changes only to have a tag-along-in-my-blind-spot driver stay with me.

2023 February 5 - Philadelphia Ballet - Forward Motion

     Last night was a wonderful performance by the Philadelphia Ballet called "Forward Motion." While it's important for ballet to keep its roots intact with performances of "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty," and, of course, "The Nutcracker," it is also important to keep innovating with new choreography, to extend the frontier of ballet as an art form.

     I think it's important to keep ballet faithful to itself. I attend a lot of dance performances that are not ballet, Alvin Ailey, Aljibe Tango (Argentina), Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, Bodytraffic, Carraria Agwa, Merce Cunningham, Diavolo, Dorrance, Forever Tango, Limón, Momix, Dave Parsons, Polobolus, Paul Taylor, Royal Cambodian Ballet, Samhära (India), and a few others whose programs I can't find at the moment. With a few exceptions I have enjoyed these thoroughly. As these are not ballet companies, even if one or two of them have "Ballet" in their titles, I don't insist their dance be true to the art of ballet. On the other hand, in my own humble opinion, a big-city ballet company program should be faithful to ballet.

     I've had people say maybe I should be more open minded. I should think outside the box. I had a cat who would think outside the box and I had to clean it up each morning, so much for thinking outside the box. Sure, if Philadelphia Ballet wants to perform stuff that clearly isn't ballet, then that's their privilege, but I would personally prefer more ballet in the ballet than the last two pieces in this program.

     The first work, "PS," was exactly what I came for, all ballet, aggressively new, definitely not George Balanchine without being obviously, deliberately different. It had ballet's turns and pirouettes with ballerinas on pointe, fewer leaps than most ballet but plenty of pizzazz. This is what I like in a "Forward-Motion" ballet program.

     Other than a few turns en pointe, the others struck me as not enough ballet for what I came for. "ENdure" was too much just walking around for my taste in loose, full-body red and maroon outfits while "Circumstellars" was a terrific, high-energy piece of modern dance, wowie-zowie, lots of fun. The athleticism of the company was well suited for this and I enjoyed it thoroughly. This was a work a modern dance company would be totally proud to perform. I felt a little awkward seeing it from a big-city ballet company.

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

Today is 2023 February 5, Sunday,
22:25:47 Mountain Standard Time (MST).
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