Leany on Life -- July 2017

I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend to the death my right to ridicule it.

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Meanwhile, over in an Alternate Universe

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(Best viewed with a mind not clouded by the Kool-Aid)

Forever Wednesday

Billy Shakespeare once said "There is nothing new under the sun." True it is.

I really don't need to post new material every Wednesday; I've posted enough to show you the correct viewpoint on whatever comes up. But even if the news is always the same, you like to have a fresh clean newspaper with breakfast every day.

Clicking the "Billy's Blog" button to the left will deliver a fresh old post right to your screen. No matter how old it is, it will probably be relevant to what's happening today.

Today's Second Amendment Message

What to do until the Blog arrives

The John Galt Society

It can be discouraging to look around at who's running the show these days and wonder "Where have all the grown-ups gone?"

Take heart. There are still some people who are not drinking the Kool-aid. Here's where to find them. I would suggest going down this list every day and printing off the most recent articles you haven't read to read over lunch.

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin is a feisty conservative bastion. You loved her book "Unhinged" and you can read her columns here.
Ann Coulter

Ann posts her new column every Thursday, or you can browse her past columns.
George Will
What can you say? It's George Will. Read it.
Charles Krauthammer posts every Friday. Just a good, smart conservative columnist.
If you want someone who gets it just as right, but is easier to read, try Thomas Sowell, who just posts at random times.
Jonah Goldberg seldom disappoints.
David Limbaugh carries on the family tradition.

Jewish World Review has all these guys plus lots more good stuff.

Or you can go to radio show sites like
 Laura Ingraham's or Glenn Beck's or Rush Limbaugh's..

If you'd like you can study The Constitution while you wait.

Then there's always TownHall.com, NewsMax.com, The Drudge Report, FreeRepublic.com, World Net Daily, (which Medved calls World Nut Daily), News Busters, National Review Online, or The American Thinker.

For the Lighter Appetite

If you have to read the news, I recommend The Nose on Your Face, news so fake you'd swear it came from the Mainstream Media. HT to Sid for the link.
Or there's always The Onion. (For the benefit of you Obama Supporters, it's a spoof.)

Dave Barry's Column
Daryl Cagle's Index of Political Cartoons
About half of these cartoonists are liberal (Latin for wrong) but the art is usually good. (Fantastic, if you're used to the quality of art on this site.)
Another Cagle Index
Townhall Political Cartoons
In case you want cartoons that are well-drawn and don't make your jugular burst.

Or just follow the links above and to the right of this section (you can't have read all my archived articles already). If you have read all my articles (you need to get out more) go to my I'm Not Falling For It section.

Above all, try to stay calm. Eventually I may post something again.

The Litter-ature novel is here. I update it regularly--every time Rosario Dawson tackles me and sticks her tongue in my ear.

Handy Resources

Understanding the 2012 Election

My Sister's Blog New!

The Desktop Dyno

Salem Gravity Gran Prix

Jordan's Eagle Project.

Duke Boys Car Chase

LoL Cartoons

Logic Primer

Gymkhana Practice

Compass Course Spreadsheet

Complete Orienteering Course Files

Things you may not know about Sarah Palin

Amazing Grace on the Sax

Obama's Magic 8 Ball

What the hell kind of country is this where I can only hate a man if he's white?
        Hank Hill

On This Day in History

Oh, wait . . . that's from an alternate universe

And the blah-blah-blog continues . . .

Refresh to get latest blog entry

Let's start with Dessert

This one got re-made. The last one I think said "He makes me look less crazy" or something.

Recruiting, An Introduction
Mormon folklore holds that J. Golden Kimball claims he once heard the prophet swear. He and President Grant were looking over the drought-stricken cornfields in Southern Utah when Kimball said, "It's a helluva shame, isn't it Heber?"

"Yes. Yes it is," President Grant replied.


Through the open door that connected their offices Frank could hear Carson going on about something. "You know what he is? All he is is a . . . a . . . " Carson paused, then he called to Frank through the open door between their offices. "What's that word? What do you call someone who sells out his principles?"

"I'd call them a prostitute," Frank replied.

"Yeah. Yeah, that's what he is," Carson said, and continued explaining to those in his office why Senator Hatch was a pile of crap. Senator Hatch had cast a vote that Carson didn't agree with, and he was vociferously offering his opinion to anyone within earshot.

At the lunch meeting that day Carson took advantage of the larger audience to again explain why Senator Hatch was not worthy of his support. He said "Frank said it best. Frank said he's a prostitute."

Frank laughed. He looked at Jed and asked "Did I ever tell you about the time I heard the prophet swear?"

Recruting, Office Style
Carson was famous for his "recruiting" techniques, meaning that he was always recruiting people to his idea. He spent more time in his boss Darren's office than he did is his own.

A typical tier 1 engineering meeting would go as follows: Carson would present his view on a topic. "It seems pretty clear to me that the problem is worn fixturing in the finishing cell, don't you think?"

The engineers assembled in Carson's office would say things like "Well, I guess that could be one of the problems, but because it's cyclical it seems more like a supplier quality problem."

Yeah, but that could be a cause, right?

Finally someone would agree that yeah, that could be a possible cause, maybe.

Right after the meeting Carson would run to Darren's office and report. "You know, my engineers think that the problem is worn fixturing in the finishing cell. I think they make a good point. I agree with them.

Next day in the meeting "Darren thinks that the whole problem is worn fixturing . . . "

Okay, so what we know is that Carson and Darren believe it, and the brazing guys, too.

Not so fast there, Recruit. What we really know is that Carson believes it, and he says that Darren and the brazing lab guys are also on board.

Recruiting, One Thug at a Time
Corey had to run to the guidance counselor's office before fifth period. He was at the back door of the administration building and the office he needed was right up the hall from that door. Because he was short on time, he chose to use that quicker route rather than going to the main doors on the other side of the building and looping back.

Geographically that main door route made no sense. But the back hallway of the administration building is where the rowdies hung out during the lunch hour. Maybe they would all be on their way to class.

Corey opened the back door and found himself in the middle of most of the kids in the school who considered themselves bad. Apparently they were less concerned than he was about being tardy to fifth period.

They were milling around but mostly formed two groups, lining the sides of the hallway. A lot of them were leaning against the wall with one foot on the wall (in blatant violation of school policy).

Corey tried to avoid eye contact and just quickly walk through. But Artie ran up behind him and grabbed his cowboy hat.

Corey turned around and forced a chuckle. "C'mon, man, give it back."

Corey and Artie had been in school together since grade school. Artie was okay by himself, but in a group he was anxious to prove that he was as out of control as the best of them.

Corey took a step forward with his hand out. Artie seemed like he was going to give it back, but then threw it across the hall to a kid in a western cut shirt with the sleeves torn off.

"I don't got your hat, man," Artie laughed.

"C'mon, guys!" Corey said. He tried to fake a laugh. Gee whiz, fellas, this is a swell game, but, say, let's not get fresh.

Corey scurried to that kid, who threw it across to the girl in the leather jacket. Oh, good, one of the gentler sex. He beckoned to her to return it, but she just smirked and threw it back across the hall. "Oops. No hat here."

Once a person threw the hat it made no sense to appeal to him. He didn't have what Corey was after. Corey was reduced to running back and forth across the broad hallway saying "C'mon, man, cut me some slack here."

The hat finally ended up with the Mexican kid with the flat face--it looked like it had been run over or something. No one seemed to know his name, but nobody messed with him. Corey was weighing the relative merits of getting beat to a pulp by a gang of kids vs. losing a fairly expense hat that his dad had given him, when a teacher showed up.

"Just messin' witch ya, man," someone said as he walked away.

Nolan was one of Corey's friends, and he had a big cowboy hat, like the rest of their group. But nobody ever took Nolan's hat. Not anymore.

The advantage Nolan had was that he wasn't very intelligent. See, Nolan didn't understand that the person who took his hat and threw it to someone else couldn't help him. He didn't get it. That person doesnt have your hat, man.

No, the one time it had been tried, Nolan proceeded to pound on the kid who first grabbed his hat. He beat him until one of the thugs had run to get a teacher. In the short term it did cost him some damage to the hat and a couple of bruises the next day. But all of that big scary gang weren't much help to their fallen buddy. They never had come across someone dumb enough to not be afraid of their scarinesss; they had no plan to actually deal with a response besides running. For all their lack of scholastic achievement they understood that as a gang they could beat up Nolan, but there was a probability that individually they would get hurt in the process.

Recruiting, International Relations Style
I can't remember the news story that prompted me to re-write this tale a few weeks ago. But the initial one was the Lockerbie bombing. We ran around like a kid chasing his hat trying to find out who was responsible for that act of terrorism. Oddly enough, everyone we asked denied having anything to do with it. Shoot, I guess we'll keep looking.

That's because we're civilized. We understand that you can't punish someone who isn't responsible. That's just not right. It's not who we are (to quote the blessed prophet Obama, praise-ed be his name forever). Which is why people keep trying crap with us.

Israel is a little country surrounded by enemies. Being little, they have to recruit. "Hey, Jordan, we are giving you a job. Your job is to make sure no one attacks us. If someone does, we are coming after you."

But, dude, we ain't got your hat!

Listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth. If anyone attacks us, we are coming after you.

See, a civilized country like Israel is trying to run an economy and all that stuff, and they don't have time to run around tyring to find out which waste of space delusional wife abuser is going to try to blow up a bus this weekend.

But the whacked out loser countries, they know. Even if that particular Trashcanistan isn't the one doing it, they know who is doing it. If they are going to suffer for it they can make sure it doesn’t happen.

So when something happens in Israel, one team goes to clean up the mess and another team runs out to blow up the pre-determined target.

The way this works is the pre-determined target is a bad guy. Sure, maybe he didn't do that particular deed, but he's expressed his desire to harm you, and he's helping those who did. Screw him.

Yeah, yeah, whatever, I understand the complications and political ramifications of implementing that kind of a policy. But nobody messes with the crazy one.

And wouldn't you pay for a front seat to see the country who stole the hat get beat to a bloody pulp?

Wise Guys
I can't remember the movie, might have been Good Fellas or something with . . what's his name, blue eyes, baseball player on Field of Dreams. Anyway, the kid got involved with the mafia and he said he loved being a Wise Guy. Maybe that was the name of the movie. Too lazy to Google it.

He said he loved being a wise guy, 'cause nobody messes with you. Someone who commits a random crime and finds out the victim was a member of the syndicate, knows they are done.

Of course there's all the getting shot up in restaurants and having the mob boss kiss you on the cheek and then kill your family.

But who hasn't wished some swift justice on a punk who has wronged you? For all of the disadvantages of being crazy, no one messes with the crazy ones.

My faithful imaginary readers know that that's the purpose of the Jack Reacher character. He gets to do the stuff in fiction you wish would happen in real life.

In real life if some loser smashes your car in a parking lot and splits, or rips you off at a car dealer, you just walk away with a trail of your testosterone leaking out.

That's why you read Jack Reacher novels. He just takes care of business.

More Trombone
In an earlier Chautauqua we talked about the harmonic series as it relates to the French horn, especially the fingering on a double. Today let's climb on the motorcycle and chat some more about that.

The gadget I put together to visualize that is an aid to why certain fingerings yield certain notes. The danger of laying it out all neat and tidy like that is that it gives the impression that when you hit that fingering in that register you get that note. Like striking a key on the piano.

Well, you can't play the French horn very long before you figure out that's not the case.

The device (gadget, graphic--I need a good word for the dealy flopper) does hint at a couple of reasons that is not the case. First, I've indicated places where the partial (or register) is flat or sharp. So all of the tones down from that will be slightly that way.

Next, notice that there is a partial on the seventh harmonic that's notated as Bb. It's called out as "very flat." But t we just gloss right over it, like it's not there. We can finger Bb as open on the F side, and it follows that we can finger everything down from that partial the same way we do any other.

But we don't. And that's what this Chautauqua is about. Hold that thought.

Every brass player should pick up a trombone and mess with it at some point after they become somewhat proficient and in preparation to being very proficient. The trombone is just a tube; no valves. But it's a tube that changes lengths, so it's a great illustration of what happens when you pipe flow through valves on other brass instruments.

Here's the point (and not a minute too soon!). When you mess with the trombone without knowing the slide positions you have notes you try to play that don't sound any note at all. I'm not saying they sound the wrong note, I'm saying they don't make any note.

Let's illustrate with an example. You're working your way up the scale without consulting a chart, you play, say, a first position Bb, then you want to move up the scale, so you put the slide out there and play what you want to be a C. And it doesn't really make a note.

You hear the note in your head, and you're playing it with your lips, but the slide is in the wrong place. So what you get is a sound that's not a note at all.

There may be a metaphor there . . . a situation that is not right and you know it's not right but you're trying to force things into place . . .

This may be something you have to try on a trombone to visualize. What's happening is that your lips and brain know the note and are trying to force it. It's not like a key on a piano. It doesn't just come out as a note that's wrong. Your lips and your brain won't let the tubing alone determine the note. They are trying to make a certain pitch, and the tubing length is fighting that.

So now we get back to the French horn. Still have that thought I told you to hold?

I said that trying to play a note with the wrong slide position is not like striking the wrong key on a piano. For that matter, it's not like a note on a trumpet, either, where you hit the wrong fingering and (in most cases) you just get the wrong note. But you may have discovered, as I eventually did, that a French horn is not a trumpet.

On a French horn your lips and brain--and your hand in the bell--do a similar thing to what's happening on the trombone and try to force the note. In some cases on the French horn you can actually play a note you're trying to hit with the wrong fingering.

So that's what happens with the deal I mentioned about moving up from C the first time you picked up a trumpet. You picked up the trumpet, looked at a fingering chart, and blew a C. No valves. Open.

Then you saw that D was 1-3, you pushed down the 1 and 3 valves, and you blew a D. That was up one note. Then you blew an E. All this was moving up from C. Then up to an F, faithfully following your trusting fingering chart.

The next open note was G, and you were aware you had to bump up to the next register.

Only you didn't. You were already in the next register starting with D, and didn't realize it. Your lips just automatically took you up the scale because your brain knew the next note was higher.

Isn't that crazy?!

Anyway . . . if I had a point somewhere I've forgotten what it is. I guess that the gadget is a guide. You understand that the pitch of the note on a French horn is kind of a fluid thing.

All right, I'm going to settle back and enjoy the motorcycle ride. You do whatever you're doing.

Isn't That Crazy?
Okay, the "Isn't that crazy" story.

I used to work with a guy who had stories most every morning. He'd get all excited about something that happened after work the day before, and tell you all breathlessly.

"And my girlfriend asked for more casserole, but when my mom gave her more . . . pause for effect . . . she didn't eat it!"

Then he'd say: Isn't that crazy?!

So whenever I realize someone's eyes are glazing over at my fascinating tale, I say "Isn't that crazy?!"

Like my story about why I say "Isn't that crazy?"

Isn't that crazy?

Dead Beatles
That story reminds me of this story.

What does Yoko Ono have in common with the kids in Ethiopia?

They both live off of dead beetles.

Way back in college I told my girlfriend that joke. She thought it was funny, so she wanted to tell her roommate.

"Okay, so, okay, what does Yoko Ono have in common with the starving kids in Ethopia?" (It was the famine in Ethiopia back in the 80s, not in Somalia)

Her roommate didn't know.

Pause for effect (which is why I thought of this story).

"They both eat dead bugs!"

Yeah, she didn't have much upstairs.

But, man, what a staircase . . .

When will they ever learn?
Remember when Bill Maher talked about crying wolf? He said they cried and moaned about George W. Bush being the end of the world, and Mitt Romney being the end of the world. And he actually said that they were crying wolf. He said either one of them was just fine.

But Trump . . .

Whoa, Trump really would be the end of the world. No, really.

He was kind of begging us to give them another chance even though they didn't deserve it because they cried wolf.

Then Trump got elected. You've heard me flap my gums about why Trump got elected. It's not as simple as the protest vote, and we weren't being listened to, but that's close enough.

What you need to remember is it's the democrat's fault.

Did they learn nothing?

Now Hillary's crying wolf. She says that if Obamacare is repealed 685 million people will die in the first six months, and polio will return and the oceans will rise and flood cities and . . . I don't know, maybe I'm getting my left-wing false alarms confused. All I hear when they talk is blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.

You know the deal, when you think something is so serious that you have to bring attention to it by using superlatives, you actually take attention away. You're essentially lying about it, so people figure "Hey, if it's not bad enough that you can just tell me the true facts and I'll think it's bad, it's not bad.

The trick's not unique to demorats. Obamacare is a disaster, that's true, but I get concerned when Republicans play the same games trying to attach loaded terms to things. Not because they don't fit often, but because it sounds choreographed and canned.

There's a 'This is not That' here, as well. You've heard me flap my gums about this--the immunity through absurdity trick. We say that premiums have "skyrocketed." That sounds like emotional rhetoric. But it's true. Much of what happened during the Obama years was so absurd that to accurately describe it made you sound like a nut job.

So the demorats ran off Mitt Romney. Whew! Dodged that bullet!

Which got them Trump. Really, when will they ever learn?

They find themselves in a hole and keep on digging.

Idiocratic Immunity
When the (pretty lame) Republican health care plan was doomed (thank you, Mike Lee. No, seriously, thank you.) Trump twitterpated (or whatever silly eighth grade girls do) that it was fine, just repeal it outright.

That's actually one of the smarter things he's said (even though he said it through his Barbie doll sequined pink cell phone).

Okay, but the segue from the post above is when Trump said something like "Just let Obamacare fail." You know the dangers of analyzing anything Trump says. Trump was just talking . . . or tweeting or whatever. He was kind of just saying the same thing as talking about repealing it outright, but the words sounded like "Just let it implode under its own weight."

See, if the demorats would just shut up, Trump would look silly. They should have learned that from us going after Bill Clinton (pardon my language) in the 90s. If no one is attacking him, no one has to stand up and defend him, and he just kind of collapses under his own stupidity.

But Trump has immunity, because they've screamed about him so much.

Think about the nutty stuff he does. No American President is like that, has ever been like that. Just crazy, nutty, childish stuff. But it's gotten him immunity.

He doesn't have any reputation to protect. "Omigosh, I have to protect my perfect record of no scandals!" Nope. Got that out of the way five minutes into the campaign.

Trump just doesn't care. He says crazy stuff, he does all this crap, but he just plain does not care. It would have been a major scandal for any other President. And a lot of the blame has to do with the media losing their little minds over the guy.

Anyway, yeah, just an outright repeal is best. You've heard me go on and on about this.

If I have a knife in my back I want to "replace" it with no knife in my back.

The Republicans got tricked into talking about "repeal and replace." The demorats kept screaming about the "party of no" (The demorats were screaming this--the ones who are calling themselves "the resistance.") and the dumb Republicans took the bait. What? No! We want to repeal and replace.


I wish one cotton-picking Jello-spined one of them would have gotten in front of a camera and explained how stupid that is. I would have even given him permission to use my brilliant line (If I have a knife in my back I want to "replace" it with no knife in my back, in case you forgot).

If I'm so smart how come I'm so broke?

I gave you the line!
Okay, I'm a total armchair quarterback. As long as I'm playing Michael Savage ("I gave John McCain the line that would have won the election!") I'll talk about this.

I'll often spout off my opinion without checking the sensibilities of my audience. And I've developed a standard response.

Omigosh, those freaking Lakers fans are so stupid.
Uh . . . well, as it happens, I'm a Lakers fan.

So then I'll respond with my prepared answer "Oh, so you know what I'm talking about."

No, seriously, I've been that stupid. Spent an entire day driving down to a campout with a guy talking about how evil democrats are. On the way home I asked him what his experience had been like in the state legislature. He said, you know, it's a little hard being a democrat in Utah . . .

Anyway . . . during the primary debates Ted Cruz was hammering on New York values, as a way of undermining Trump (who is not a Republican by any meaningful definition of the word). Cruz said that everyone understood what he meant talking about that. One of the moderators said "Well, I'm from New York."

Cruz responded "Well, maybe you don't know."

In my head I was thinking say "Oh, so you know exactly what I'm talking about." But I thought, Cruz is smart, that was a good answer.

But the more I thought about it the more convinced I became that my answer was better.

Ted! I gave you the line that could have won you the election!

Locking up the wrong suspect
Okay, back to health care reform. Or, more accurately insurance reform

Because on that topic, you'll remember during the 2000 election Al Gore went after George Bush in a debate, quoting some nonsense about what percentage of Texans didn't have health insurance.

George W. Bush was brilliant. He said "Al, you're asking the wrong question. Every single person in Texas gets health care."

Health care is not insurance.

And what the demorats are after is not that everyone get proper health care. That doesn't benefit them. They want the power and the money from the insurance.

You know that the 22 million people in the CBO estimate are people who chose not to pay for insurance they don't need. You know this.

I'm done.

Russia Collusion
Okay, to continue the crying wolf motif, what Don Jr. did was clearly wrong, but nobody cares.

His defense is that the meeting was a waste of time.

Really? If you buy baking soda from an undercover cop thinking that it's coke, that makes it okay?

But nobody cares. We're so tired of them seeing ghosts that we wouldn't care if they had video of Putin driving people to the polls at this point.

Trump has no virtuous reputation to protect, and the media have achieved the impossible making us think they are more buffoonish than Trump.

Almost Done
The other night at a concert in the park the announcer told a really dumb joke. Not only was the joke dumb, but he told it badly. It was met with tepid laughter.

After which he explained the punchline. No, seriously, he did.

But then he kind of chided the audience. Like it was their fault.

It occurred to me that was like the "Oh, I wish people wouldn't say democrats are evil" deal.

That's not the audience's fault. If you don't want to be seen a certain way, don't be that way.

That's a manipulation tactic you'll see a lot. I can't think of a good example off the top of my head. So you get a bad example. It's like the girl who dresses like a slut, then it's your fault for thinking she looks loose.

I've told my kids that you should . . . what? Welcome? . . . not get upset about criticism. If it's valid you've been given an insight to something you can improve. If it's not, the person making the observation is a schmuck, and that's good information to know.

But if you manipulate someone by scripting the answers you'll accept you deny yourself the opportunity to see the world in a way that might be beneficial.

You correct someone and they come unglued. Well, I guess they're going to miss out on being corrected.

It's kind of the same concept as the M. Scott Beck deal. "Love is not when two people can't live without each other. That's parasitism. Love is when they are perfectly capable of it, but choose not to."

I think I've probably flapped my gums about that a lot somewhere. "Should we ban low-hanging jeans?" Oh, to the hell, no! If someone is a loser I want to have warning of that.

When you dictate behavior you deny yourself the insight of seeing what behavior the person would choose.

The Missing Brass Link
I know you probably think about this as much as I do. Transposing instruments.

So you pick up your Bb trumpet and you look at the fingering chart and you play a C major scale. Cool. But then when you play with the piano you have to have a separate piece of music. 'Cause the C on the piano is a different note than the C on your trumpet.

That's 'cause you've got a Bb trumpet, meaning when you play a C it comes out as a Bb really. Your buddy who plays the Eb alto saxophone blows a C and it comes out as an Eb--a concert Eb (meaning what the piano plays).

Well, it's nice of the guys who write the music to have the elementary kids learning the C scale for their first notes. Save explaining all that sharps and flats stuff in the first lesson. When they blow a note without pushing any valves you just call what comes out a "C."

But the saxophone doesn't have an open note. Yes, but it does have a complete sequence of fingering that makes logical sense that they call the C scale.
But I'm like you. I always just wondered about the possibility of teaching from the get-go that the note you're playing is a Bb. So the new player looks at the music and the scale he's playing when he starts with an open note has two flats in it. If you don't want to teach him sharps and flats you just teach him the concert C scale which starts with a fingering that's not open and is the scale that in the current system has two sharps. But the music he's looking at has no sharps or flats (which is what he's playing, really).

Oh. You mean like the trombone?

The trombone is the missing link in transposing instruments. Because it's not a transposing instrument. The common trumpet or cornet is a Bb trumpet. The most common trombone you see is a Bb trombone. Oh. Just like I explained, right? When you blow an "open" note, it comes out a Bb.

It does, but you call it a Bb.

Isn't that crazy?!

(Maybe I'll tell you the "Isn't that crazy?!" story sometime)

And you notate it as a Bb in the trombone music.

So the first notes a kid learning the trombone learn are a Bb and an F. He's just stuck with the fact that when the slide is all the way in the note he's playing has a flat on it (well, not if it's an F, obviously, but it's still not a C). And even though it's called a Bb trombone, it plays the music in the concert pitch like the flutes and the pianos do.

I guess it's because every note on the trombone is "open" since you don't have any valves. But . . but . . . you still have a standard default kind of position (I forget the musical term—they use it to describe which side of a French horn plays without the thumb valve, maybe base or something).

Next week's question we'll just never know, why did they start on a "C?"

French Horn Harmonic Series and Fingerings
Things I wish I had known when I was learning the French horn

This tool is to help you (or your student) understand harmonics and fingering of the French horn. I've included a pdf file of a movable graphic you can use if you'd like. I have done another graphic for the Bb trumpet, but the French horn is particularly tricky because of the "partials" that occur because the harmonics are so close together in the range the horn is played.

Both of those are available in the Excel file here.

To start it helps to have a basic understanding of the concept of the harmonic series. There are a lot of good resources for this on the net, but I’ll just summarize the basics here as it relates to this tool.

“Harmonic series” isn’t as scary as it sounds. It's just the set of notes an open tube can play.

Imagine the long, straight horns the guards at a medieval castle (or angels) would play. They don’t have valves so they can only play certain notes. You can actually grab any long tube (like the hose on a shower massage—really!) and play those certain notes. If you take that long tubing and roll it up so it’s easier to carry you have a bugle. That bugle can’t play all the notes in a lot of tunes—just some intervals. Think Taps, or Reveille, or the kinds of things you hear a bugle play.

Again, the notes that an open tube plays are called the “harmonic series.”

To play the notes in between those tones they installed valves. All a valve does is to route the air through another length of tube to make the overall tubing longer. The longer a tube is the lower the tone it plays (it basically shifts the harmonic series lower). The middle valve shifts the note 1/2 step lower, the first valve shifts it one step, and the third valve shifts the note 1-1/2 step lower. Combinations of those add up. So, for example, the first and second valve drop the note by 1-1/2 step.

2   -.5
1   -1.0
1,2   -1.5
2,3   -2.0
1,3   -2.5
1,2,3   -3.0

Those steps are represented by the blocks on the center part of the graphics below. The first one is open, then (moving to the left, down the scale) middle valve, first, and so on, as valves are switched to lower the pitch of the harmonic.

For example, with the open (0) block aligned with the E (5th partial), the pitches go down from there with the valve sequences as illustrated below. You know all this. But typically you would start from C and go up. What I didn't take time to understand when I first learned to play (the trumpet) was that when moving from C (open) to D I was jumping up to the next partial and lowering the pitch with the valves (I wasn't raising the pitch from C with the valves).

Next let's jump to the 8th partial, C. You can see how the fingerings go down from there, same as from any other partial. But here's where it gets interesting. If you are playing C and push the thumb key on a double horn, the note doesn't change. But you are in a different partial on the Bb side. With the open index on the 8th harmonic on the F horn you’ll see that it lines up with the “G” on the Bb side.

I hope this helps graphically illustrate what’s happening as you move from one harmonic (partial) to another. By seeing how the Bb side of the horn relates to the F side you can see why the fingerings are the same in that magical area from G#/Ab up to C.

Typically beginning at that Ab you start playing the Bb side of a double horn, and in that register it's easy. The fingerings are the same.

Until you move to C#.

Now notice that you jump up to the next partial, so instead of fingering C# as 1-2, you finger it as 2-3.

With the index aligned at the next harmonic on the Bb side and you’ll see why they aren’t anymore. You’re basically playing the fingerings that you would be if the “C” were a “G.”

I hope this graphic can help to make sense of why certain pitches are coming out of your horn. When I first picked up my double French horn I was lost. I played it in the store and I could get the tones out of it, but the notes made no sense. I could play intervals of a second without changing fingering. I paid for it and left having no idea what notes I was playing.

The first trick with getting your bearings is that the music is notated a fifth higher than concert pitch, so when you're looking at a note on the music you're not playing a pitch you might expect. Then you have the partials. Oh, those partials. Throw in a thumb key that sometimes changes the pitch and other times not . . .

Using the tool
Print the pdf file on card stock.

(Click on image for full size)
Cut out the gray areas and the slider (red dotted lines)

and fold on the lines where it says (heavy black lines). You're folding the envelope (stationary part) around the slider.

Secure the outer envelope with tape or glue.

(Only don't use ugly filament tape like I did)
You might want to trim the ends of the slider and bevel the corners a little.

The notes that are highlighted on the stationary part of the tool are the notes in the harmonic series. Those are C, G, C, E, G, (Bb), C . . . Notice that they get closer together as the notes get higher. We’ll get back to that. F has a block around it because it's the Bb concert tuning not (C is blocked out on the Bb scale).

To use the tool align the “open” block in the sliding scale with a harmonic on the fixed scale. The other blocks will show the fingerings for the notes as they go down from that harmonic.

Now, you’ll notice that as you move the slider up and the harmonics get closer together, the fingerings cross lower harmonics. That’s why a French horn is so tricky. It basically starts on the fourth harmonic whereas a trumpet starts on the second. It’s harder to know exactly which note you’re playing (especially since, as I mentioned, the Horn in F is tuned a fifth off concert pitch so your ear isn’t as helpful to locate where you are).

To save space I’ve only noted one naming of the black keys (Ab, C#, etc.) and I’ve gone with the version that’s closest to C major on the circle of fifths.

I’ve made notations to show which harmonics are flat and sharp. The 7th is extremely flat and the 11th is worse than that. In fact, it falls between F and F# on an equal temperament tuning.

On the back of the fixed scale I’ve put a chart of the frequencies of the concert notes . . . just for reference . . . in case you’re interested. The numbers above the note names indicate the octave. For example, Middle C is “C4” and the 440 Hz A is call “A4.”

I know, I know, I should be putting my effort into putting this all on an app instead of something you cut out of card stock.

If you care you could open the native Excel file that I made the .pdf file from and mess around with the relationships there.

Just Storage
Just sticking this here as storage, since apparently Wikipedia was updated after Hillary did not win the election.
Hillary Diane Rotten Clinton (/ˈhɪləri daɪˈćn ˈrɒtən ˈklɪntən/; born October 26, 1947)
is a corrupt politician and Demorat Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election, graft-taking United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, carpet bagging United States Senator, from 2001 to 2009, First Lesbian of the United States during the presidency of her sham husband Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001.

Born in Chicago and raised in the suburban town of Park Ridge, Illinois, Clinton had serious daddy issues. After growing up as a Republican she discovered her lesbian tendencies, became a demorat and attended Wellesley College to prove to Daddy she had a mind of her own, graduating in 1969. She earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973. After securing her liberal bonafides pursuing the Watergate scandal, the high point of her legal career was portraying a twelve year old victim of violent rape as a stalker. Hillary married Bill Clinton in 1975, whom she saw as a vehicle to power, and moved to Arkansas with him. It was there where she began racking up scandals in earnest.

In 1977, she co-founded Some Blah Blah Blah Advocates for Ya-de-yah Group or Another, the beginning of a lifetime of farcical entities designed to enrich her, give her power, and deflect attention from the fact that she is a heartless hater of all humans. In 1979 she became a partner at Rose Law Firm, employer of Chelsea's father Webb Hubbell as well as another of her lovers Vince Foster. As First Lady of Arkansas, she alienated all of the public servants whose job it was to take care of her as well as offending the vast majority of the citizens of Arkansas with her insufferable personality and despicable radical ideas. During this time she took $100,000 in payoffs from Red Bone under the guise of trading cattle futures and was involved in the Whitewater scandal, in addition to countless others. She also took kickbacks from several corporate boards that used her to get political favors from her husband the governor.

As First Lesbian of the United States, Clinton's primary role was to destroy the lives of the many women Bill was constantly sexually assaulting, while laughably pretending to espouse women's rights. Her attempts to keep the public from finding out about the Lewinsky scandal confirmed to the public she was untrustworthy. Meanwhile she continued her campaign to alienate those assigned to care for her while keeping the secret service busy trying to prevent her from killing Bill by throwing vases and lamps at him.

Upon leaving the White House "dead broke" Clinton stole everything in that national shrine that wasn't bolted down, and several things that were, and immediately bought a multi-million dollar mansion in New York, a state to which she had absolutely no connection whatsoever.

Clinton was elected in 2000 as senator not from New York, in a transparent effort to set herself up to run for President of the United States. This after her opponent, the universally loved Rudy Giuliani suddenly came down with a case of temporary cancer, dropped out of the race, and was replaced by Rick Fazio, who Hillary was able to successfully portray as a bully of weak females for having a debate with her.

Following the September 11 attacks, which her husband brought about by attending to his juvenile sexual needs rather than matters of State, she worked energetically to turn the tragedy into a political advantage. She voted to approve the war in Afghanistan as well as for the Iraq Resolution, a vote she continues to lie about. She pretended to investigate the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders. She even ridiculously lied about how Chelsea was right there when it happened and she was worried sick about her, part of a continuous pattern of lying out of force of habit about everything, like "landing under sniper fire." She voted against the Bush tax cuts, the tax cuts which were universally acknowledged by people of both parties as wise economic policy.. She was re-elected to the Senate in 2006, an indication of her ability to somehow get in office in spite of the will of the voters, a technique Donald Trump would later refer to as "rigging."

Running for president in 2008, she deviated from her track record of miraculously getting into office in spite of voters' wishes, losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, a candidate horrifyingly unqualified for the office who pantywaist voters installed out of fear of being exposed as racist for not voting for the black guy.

As Secretary of State in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013, Clinton created chaos in the Middle East, advocating the U.S. military intervention in Libya which everyone knew was a mistake of epic proportions, and which directly led to the rise of ISIS. After denying the Libyan ambassador the increased security he requested, Clinton slept through the "3:00 am phone call" while terrorists attacked American installations in Benghazi, killing four Americans. She woke up to lead the cover-up, spreading the story that the siege was because of some silly YouTube video, despite hard evidence that she knew from the outset it was a coordinated terrorist attack. This lie continued long after the fabrication was exposed even to the point of her lying to the families of the fallen.

During her tenure as Secretary of State she mainly used her position to grant political favors to foreign nations and multi-national corporations in exchange for obscenely ridiculous bogus speaking fees and contributions to the Clinton Crime Family Foundation. In an effort to conceal these and other atrocities Clinton violated federal statute by conducting her business on an unsecured private e-mail server, exposing state secrets to enemies of America. Leaving office after Obama's first term, Clinton resumed speaking engagements at exorbitant fees in exchange for promises of paybacks as President, which promises she set out to fulfill by announcing her second presidential run in the 2016 election, running on the platform that she is a woman and a grandmother.

Clinton, who has a granddaughter, won the 2016 Democrat primaries, coordinating with corrupt DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shulz and others to shut out all other candidates. She formally accepted her corrupt party's nomination on July 28, 2016, with vice presidential running mate and infamous imbecile Senator Tim Kaine. Clinton, who is a grandmother, faces fake Republican Donald Trump, whom Bill Clinton convinced to run against his wife (who, by the way, has a granddaughter), because Donald Trump may be the only person in the country who could lose an election to the likes of a crooked, depraved, despicable reprobate like Hillary Clinton (who is, I believe, a grandmother).

As part of her 2016 platform, she has emphasized raising taxes, being a grandmother, furthering Socialized Medicine, having a granddaughter, and further destroying the economy by forcing unwarranted mandates on businesses (oh, and having a grandchild). In addition, she pretends to advocate for the downtrodden and disadvantaged, laughably proclaiming that "Every accuser of sexual assault has the right to be heard" in spite of her lifelong efforts to destroy the victims of her husband's sexual assaults. This is done mostly just to prove that truly, as she famously said, it makes no difference at this point. She is the ordained candidate and will be the next President of the United States.

God help us all.

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