Hannukah and Farewell to a Friend

We at CatSynth are preparing to celebrate the penultimate night of Hannukah. Our musician-themed menorah is all ready for tonight.

Menorah for 7th night of Hannukah

Luna sits nearby and supervises with her usual indifference.

Luna

She’s continuing to be happy and healthy after her treatments, for which I am truly grateful. Her recent birthday is still mixed into our celebrations. A dear friend of ours sent her this cute birthday card.

Birthday card for Luna

We are looking forward to the last few weeks of this tumultuous year being a bit quieter, with time together and more time for musical projects. At the top of the list is the solo album – apropos of Hannukah, the opening track (composed during last year’s holidays) is called Kislev, named for the current Hebrew month.


Moosey

It is with tears and a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our dear friend Moosey from Animal Shelter Volunteer Life. We have gotten to know him and his humans Kevin and Tracey quite well over the years. And they have all been great supporters of CatSynth, including a lot of love and moral support during Luna’s ordeal. Moosey, too, has been battling health challenges, and this week they caught up with him. He was a shelter cat from PAWS and sweet and gentle soul. We send our deepest condolences to Kevin and Tracey and to the surviving members of his feline family Zoe and Gracie. Please visit their blog to offer your thoughts and sympathies.

GeorgieAnd now we have just learned of the passing of another feeling friend: the beautiful white cat Georgie from Cats of Wildcat Woods. They, too, have been good friends and supporters of this site. We extend them our deepest thoughts and sympathies as well. It is a sad few days indeed for our community.

Ornette Coleman, 1930-2015

Ornette Coleman

By Geert Vandepoele (Ornette Coleman) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

We lost another of our musical heroes today. Orientate Coleman was deeply influential in the development and blossoming of jazz in the era-after bebop, where the music went in different, surprising and (for some) controversial directions. From the seemingly mathematic transformations of bop idioms in songs like Zig Zag to the driving funk of Jump Street from Of Human Feelings (a personal favorite of mine), his music and professional example were inspiring.

In addition to his composition and playing, he was an accomplished band leader, bringing together disparate performers to play complex music that remained rhythmically tight. There was the Ornette Coleman Quartet that cemented his reputation as an experimenter, and later his band Prime Time, which took on electronic elements and fusion idioms while retaining oblique rhythms and counterpoints.

I also find myself identifying the descriptions of him as soft-spoken and taking a deeply intellectual (perhaps bafflingly so) approach to describing music. Many jazz greats are sons and daughters of the South, and Ornate Coleman was no exception – but it is interesting to see him and others transcend that heritage to something of a different time and place, or perhaps no particular place at all. We should follow his example and keep jazz an alive, evolving, and often challenging music.

RIP Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

mrspockgattino-2816-1

Not surprisingly, we at CatSynth have been huge Star Trek fans, approaching the level of household religion. So we were very saddened to read about the passing of Leonard Nimoy today. His character Spock was a great hero, very distinctive, iconic and someone with whom I could empathize. But I also interested in Nimoy’s work as an accomplished art photographer, especially his 2002 book Shekhina; and his dramatic readings on Selected Shorts and elsewhere – he certainly had quite the voice. After the reading the announcement in the New York Times, I was also fascinated to learn more about his Orthodox Jewish upbringing and rediscovery of his heritage. I hope to read more about this.

RIP Mimi the Synth Cat

Mimi and Juno 60

We received some sad news today. Our dear friend and frequent guest on CatSynth Mimì passed away this weekend. She was 19. Mimì had the best synthesizer collection of any cat we knew; and more importantly, she loved a long full life and was very much loved.

mimi-casio-vl1

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Eric Pochesci of polynominal.com for his loss. He has put together this wonderful tribute page for Mimì. You can also see her many appearances on CatSynth here.

RIP Mimì. You will be missed.

CatSynth pic: Korg Mono/Poly and Charlotte the Cat

Some sad news via matrixsynth. One of our frequently featured synth cats, Charlotte, recently passed away.

clear-eye-cat

Charlotte appeared in many photos featured on this site, often showing disdain for the synths. You can see a few examples here and here. She lived a good long life of 18 years, but it is still sad to lose a beloved pet, and our thoughts go out to her family.

The post on matrixsynth also featured some cool filtered images of the Korg Mono/Poly.

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Fun with Highways: the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

Today, we visit the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to mark the passing today of former New York Mayor Ed Koch. The bridge, which carries New York State Route 25 from Queens to its terminus in Manhattan at 2nd Avenue, is known locally at the “59th Street Bridge.” It’s actually over 100 years old, having opened in 1909.

[By Lasse Fuss (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

The Queens side connects to a tangled nexus of ramps that are mixed up with elevated subway structures. And as these structures are all aging, they become interesting photographic subjects. The bridge was named in honor of the former mayor in 2010.

Here is cute video that has been circulating today, in which Mayor Koch welcomes passersby (including the current mayor) to “my bridge”. (You need only watch the segment until about 2:00)

It’s very typical of his style, being a larger-than-life character but also a bit self-deprecating. It is quintessentially “New York”. From the New York Times obituary:

…out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.

I did have the opportunity to meet him twice on visits back from Yale to New York City, as part of the Yale Political Union. Although my colleagues seemed to treat him rather coldly, I was quite happy for the experience.