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Schefflera Arboricola

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  1. (I am assuming that what you were asking was what the audience here at ObjectivismOnline thinks of the photographs. Forgive the nitpicky side of my nature here.) They look like a happy couple, and they will be treasuring those photographs for years to come. If you are aiming to make the $4,000 per wedding that your local photographers are making, here are some criticisms and suggestions. Criticisms: In a few of the photographs, there are background elements at a tilt (like the gazebo, or the shades of the window). And in the closeup of the bride and the groom where their faces are close together, their faces are very shiny. It makes them look sweaty or oily. I am ignorant of photography and what photographers do to make their pictures come out "picture perfect," but whatever those alterations are, I would want them done if I were paying thousands of dollars. This couple looks like happy young people who are thrilled to get married, and they wanted the pictures to record/commemorate the day. That is great, and they're probably going to be the easiest kind of people to deal with. But there are also going to be people who want that "perfect" look for their money. Suggestions: Can you compile a portfolio of photographs of the local wedding venues, to show brides what your photography is going to look like in the setting they want? Also, there will be local vendors (florists, caterers, equipment/prop rentals) who would probably love to have photographs of their work to show their own prospective clients, but they don't have someone to do that. You could offer to do photographs of their work, and in exchange you would have your name on that photograph they're showing their clients. Since the person finding the florist or the caterer is probably going to be the same person calling around to find a photographer, this could be good targeted exposure for you. Best of luck with that! --Schefflera
  2. I dislike Also Sprach Zarathustra so much that I bumped Strauss down in the queue of composers I'm learning. I like to spend a couple months to a couple years really learning one composer's music, before I spend too much time listening to new music from someone else. I think I have several hundred Schubert lieder committed to memory now, and it is time to move on. I loved the Brahms symphony I heard a concert a few months ago, so I've been gradually shifting in that direction. Tell me more about what you like about Richard Strauss, though, and I could be swayed to try it out. I'd especially like to hear about his vocal music. Danke! --Schefflera
  3. Yes. You have to get a good orchestra, a good conductor, and a good performer. It's not a matter of classical snobbery and fussiness; it's a matter of coherence. There are some classical pieces out there, like The Nutcracker, that are so simple that the main idea will come across no matter what. Even if you're listening to a third-rate Eastern European radio symphony orchestra trying to survive by churning out LaserLight recordings, it still falls together in the ear. But for Rachmaninoff's difficult and complex piano music, there are many variations in tempo and phrasing (just for starters). The artist-interpreter is going to make a huge difference. Martha Argerich is one of my favorite pianists for Rachmaninoff. For his piano preludes, there is a CD available from BMG Classical Music (the buy-1-get-12-free people) featuring Alexis Weissenberg, which I can recommend. My favorite Rachmaninoff piece is the Trio Elegiaque, on a Library of Congress recording with the Budapest String Quartet. Skip the Moscow Conservatory Trio's recording of the same piece; the violin goes flat in the high parts of my favorite passage. I would also caution that piano-heavy music is an acquired taste, like opera, or like much other solo-instrumental music. The first time I heard a violin concerto with double- and triple-stops (a particular way of bowing the instrument so that the violinist is playing more than one note at once), I thought that it was some sort of ghastly mix-up. As a horn player, I can enjoy dozens of Baroque horn concertos that other classical-music-likers just can't stand, because they aren't used to the sound of the instrument and it sounds out of place. The same thing was the case with piano. I couldn't stand the sound of solo piano music until after a few weeks of listening to it. Good listening! --Schefflera It was Isle of the Dead, wasn't it? --Schefflera
  4. In Allan Bloom's book The Closing of the American Mind, he saw students' fondness for Ravel's Bolero as a mark of cultural decay. The single piece of classical music that young people had any affection for, he mourned, was this banal piece of orchestral music that repeats the same figure over and over, louder and louder, to the close. In my book, Allan Bloom can be a nitwit. --Schefflera "Don't Be Cruel" (Elvis Presley) --Schefflera
  5. I enjoyed reading your comments on the techniques used, and their effects. Thank you for sharing them. For me, this poem was somewhat like one of those George Winston tapes my mother has. George Winston is a pianist who records for Windham Hill, a New Age-ish label of sorts. Think "music you'd hear at the massage therapist." There are plenty of moments where you can say, "Oh, that was a poignant Neapolitan 6th chord," or "a clever little turn in the oboe accompaniment," but it doesn't add up to a piece of music. The difference is that with massage-piano music, I don't think it's supposed to add up; the music is intended for background relaxation, not attentive listening. Higher standards apply when our teachers tell us, "Read this. This is one of the greatest poems in Western literature." We may admire a particularly well-turned phrase. If we're a cooperative type, we may warm our imaginative sympathies enough to place the smaller details. We might write well-thought-out, insightful papers explaining how several items in the poem are related to each other. But just the fact that it contained enough layers of imagery to make a passable paper, doesn't make it great. The closest I've gotten to understanding why anything is "great" literature or a "great" poem (according to conventional standards), is: "Because X can kind of mean this, and Y can kind of mean that, and it's all related together in a way, and it ties into a theme that is important to Western literature." --Schefflera
  6. That's like saying that since I use a pen and paper, and you use a calculator, we add differently. (Of course, that's not a precise analogy. There are more differences between pen/paper and calculator than between male/female brains.) --Schefflera
  7. Please be careful. It is wrong to say men and women "think differently" if all you mean is that some researchers have shown statistical differences in what men and women think about, or their style of verbal expression. "Think" is more specific. Men and women do not have different methods of cognition. If men and women do think differently, then I'm transgendered! --Schefflera
  8. I'm not sure if this is the right place, but since this is not about a specific LTE, I think this is the best place to put my questions. I write well, and I follow current events, but I don't connect the two. I write letters-to-the-editor very rarely and keep them very narrow. The first set of questions are for people who write and send letters to the editor, or letters to their elected officials. 1. Were you in the habit you had before you became an Objectivist? How long were you "intellectual" before you became "activist"? 2. What was the first LTE you wrote and sent? What was your favorite? 3. What do you get out of it? The second set of questions are for anyone who reads LTEs. 1. What makes an LTE memorable? Not "good," but something that sticks in your brain? 2. Has an LTE ever changed your mind about anything? (I would say that it has never changed my mind, but I have seen good points that I might not have thought to use otherwise.) Thank you in advance for any answers or help you have to offer. --Schefflera
  9. Not so. I took the test and turned up INFJ. And I am certainly an Objectivist. --Schefflera
  10. You would be hard pressed to convince me that what goes on in strip clubs between men and women is something I would classify as "admiration." --Schefflera
  11. I don't like to suggest something without being available to give a lot more backup, which I can't do right now due to an imminent cross-country move. But I'm reading your post right now, and thinking how it's so similar in some crucial respects to the way I was at university 10 years ago. So let me just say: consider medication a possibility. Talk to a doctor; talk to ten of them if that's what it takes to get one who is knowledgeable and answers your questions. But don't rule it out. Some things cannot be fixed by willpower. I speak from experience. --Schefflera
  12. You take advantage of the distinctive cover art on Ayn Rand's books. It can be spotted from half a mile away. Sit in the park, or on the quad, or the lunchroom, and read Atlas Shrugged. I know someone who got a girlfriend that way, and it was not even intentional on his part. He was reading AS on break at work. "So," said a voice, "is this the first time you read that?" It was. The voice belonged to the attractive co-worker he'd noticed a few days before. Chance favors the prepared mind. --Schefflera
  13. It's great. But you don't get to stop explaining; instead, you find more and more things to explain to each other. I think I understand what you meant, though. You want to stop explaining the basics. And you don't always want to be the teacher or explainer. You want someone else to bring something new to you, too. --Schefflera
  14. So the problem is that it brings out the irrationality in other people? My guess: I think you're frustrated because you feel like you didn't make a good showing, not because the other person disagreed with you. There's something left fuzzy or untangled, and you feel like the debate made things more fuzzy and tangled, not less. You don't feel like you got to say what you really wanted to say. You spent a lot of time talking at cross-purposes with someone who you value enough to spend time with, and that was naturally frusterating. I am not privy to the context, but I think you didn't define the question well enough to have a fruitful debate. "[W]hether or not it helps"--helps what? And what is "the problem" which is either being furthered or solved? If you are trying to debate whether nations with Peace Corps activity are generally helped or hurt by it, you have put yourself in a tough position. You'd have to explain away or dismiss every concrete instance where the Peace Corps did bring some measure of literacy or health to a region. You'd also have to establish that the Peace Corps does give more to people the worse they are. Unless you've already read up on it in detail to make that specific point, it's not something you can do. I'm not sure it's fair to say she refused to accept that possibility. You were saying that the Peace Corps makes problems worse. Not "might" make them worse. And if you didn't have the concretes to back up your ideas, they're going to get dismissed unless you're talking to a person who already shares them. It's never pleasant to feel dismissed. I think you should go back to this friend and say something along these lines: "I owe you an apology. We went out to see a movie, and then you talked about the Peace Corps. I get angry because sometimes these helping organizations cause a lot of damage to real human lives, but it seems like everybody cuts them slack because of their 'good intentions.' But you were talking about something you wanted to do in the future. I let my opinions about humanitarian organizations in general get in the way of asking about your specific plans. What are they?" She's feeling dismissed right now, just like you are. She was expecting some interest and approval. You don't have to approve, but if you call her a friend, you owe it to both of you to dig further before you try to tell her she's doing the wrong thing. She may even surprise you with something interesting. --Schefflera
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