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For some reason, I just poked into an e-mail folder I have called “Classics and Keepers.” There are not many items in there, and not much I’d label as “classic.” Except maybe the one I’m reprinting below.

But first, some explanation so that you know what the hell prompted me to write such a long (and often historically accurate) “essay.”

In April, 2004, a month before The Wren Forum opened for business, I had sent an e-mail to friends asking them which L.A. Phil concerts they wanted to choose for the second season of Disney Hall. I listed several concerts in detail, but snuck some pieces by a little-known composer named Lekowicz into the list. (They were: Symphony No. 1 “Cake and Cookies”; Symphony No. 3 “Not Too Early in the Morning”; and Hungarian Suite in G “Tchotchke.”) Sven noticed this, and asked for some background on the composer Lekowicz before he could make a decision.

My friends got the following on April 12. Good luck!

* * * * * *

Stephen James Lekowicz was born in 1769 in Englewood, Poland, to the renowned artist and philosopher couple Sletvanya Polisnika Harrison and Trevor Singh. (It is interesting to note that Polish surnames are not passed from parent to child, a practice which was seen as pompous and cruel.) From an early age, it was determined Stephen had a keen musical sense, and was soon encouraged by his parents to develop his musical talents by banging on tins of potted meat product with wooden spoons.

By the age of 5, Stephen had already composed two waltzes, a collection of pond songs, and the now-famous Pirogy Mazurka in F. His parents farmed young Stephen’s talents out for pay, having themselves hit upon hard times during Russia’s Smashing of the Poles into Submission campaign in 1774. Through this public exposure, Stephen’s most well-to-do fan was Glinka Hurdy, who, upon hearing the Danse Macaroni i Ser Stephen composed when he was 7, finally felt the composer had entered into his own. Hurdy and his partner, Spears Britney Gurdy, signed the young prodigy to compose works for their music publishing company, Muzyka Hurdy Gurdy.

During the Hurdy Gurdy years of 1777 to late 1777, Lekowicz’s pieces for intimate royal ballroom extravaganzas, such as “King’s Triptych Danse,” and his more extravagant compositions for intimate social settings, such as “The Lily Pixie and the Butter Bun,” became such gargantuan hits that Hurdy Gurdy could not cope with demand. Their shop and press warehouse were mobbed by enraged music enthusiasts, and Hurdy and Gurdy themselves were killed in the tumult.

Sadly, with the passing of his employers, Stephen and his parents were left to the mercy of poverty, and from 1777 to 1782 they roamed the Polish countryside, dodging Austrian, Prussian, and Russian “liberators” and hoping Stephen would soon be accepted into the Stanislaw August “Augie” Poniatowski National School for Poor But Gifted Musicians and Their Parents and/or Immediate Relatives. Their hope was shown light when, in August of 1782, Poniatowski, recognizing Lekowicz as the composer of his favorite dining hall background piece, “Ham and Polonaise on Bread,” welcomed the emaciated but fiercely passionate Stephen and his family into the school.

This period proved to be one of unstoppable musical growth and enlightenment for Lekowicz, who composed no less than 149 pieces under the tutelage of the well-meaning but mediocre masters of the Augie school. Some of the pieces from this era include the Scherzande in B Minor, Sarabande for Flute and Tuba, “Samba dla Idiotów,” and the now ubiquitous Symphony No. 1 “Cake and Cookies.” This latter work has been hailed since its creation as nothing short of light and fluffy. Taking no more than 12 minutes to play and with nothing more challenging in its theme than that of pure gastrointestinal pleasure, this symphony is a model of the period and a delight to the ear.

While Poland was experiencing a slight resurgence of culture, it was still difficult for musicians to make a living plying their trade. It was for this reason that Lekowicz, at the age of 29 in 1788, became a spy for King Poniatowski. From this time to 1792, Lekowicz composed fewer works, but gained a maturity that was not present in his earlier works. Of these newer style pieces are the Scherzo in A, G, and E, the Ecossaise and Requiem in C Minor, Symphony No. 2 “Shaken Not Stirred,” and the Hungarian Suite in G “Tchotchke.” This last work was composed while Stephen traveled clandestinely in Hungary, collecting information for the Commonwealth and sampling the local cuisine. It is considered one of the most accurate portrayals of Hungarian Gypsy music ever captured by someone disguised as a gypsy while under the command of a puppet regime. The ironic title comes from the early 1800s, when the Spanish composer Falla de Guerno Hispola Fernando Hacienda was heard at a post-concert party in Seville to comment that such a “souvenir” of the Hungarian Gypsies was genius, as the gypsies themselves carried nothing more than they needed to live.

In 1792, Lekowicz was caught up in the confusion surrounding the formation of the Confederation of Targowica. When Russia and Prussia came to the aid of the revolt they started within Poland’s borders, The Commonwealth fell, and Lekowicz was one of the four million citizens annexed by Russia. This embittered Lekowicz, and his works became even more sparse in frequency and more revolutionary in tone. It was then no surprise that he moved his way to Warsaw to join the Uprising of the Soon to Be Defeated in early 1794. This uprising was soon defeated, however, and by 1795, Russia forced the abdication of the King and absorbed the rest of Poland.

Now without a homeland, Lekowicz took to writing more furiously. Pieces from this era include The Abdication Waltz in F Flat Minor, “Mass for Sausage and Cabbage,” Piccolo Concerto No. 4, and Symphony No. 3 “Not TOO Early in the Morning.” While only his third symphony, and this while aged 36, this last remains his masterpiece, a symbol of rebellion and refusal to work within a system that included too many countries ending with the syllables “ussia.” Most notable is the symphony’s lack of a fourth movement. Lekowicz claimed in a letter to his sister, Lara, a figure who was so important in his life that it has been decided to ignore her almost entirely in this essay, that his not writing a fourth movement was, besides being a protest against the dismantling of the country he loved, a wonderful way to save time. “This symphony would have taken me nine more months to write,” he wrote. “Audiences of future regimes will thank me, dear sister, for abolishing the necessity for them to stay seated in the hall an extra 20 minutes.”

Stephen Lekowicz soon after met Jaye Davidson Plotknywscz, with whom he fell madly in love. The couple planned to marry in the spring of 1799, but died in January of that year of Walesa’s Disease, a rare deformity of the facial hair. Jaye’s contraction of this disease, known to only afflict men, was confusing to the doctors of the era. Instead of fighting to get the couple well, the doctors spent their time in conference over the odd case, and Lekowicz and Plotknywscz died, covered entirely in beard, in a hospital in Vancouver, Canada.

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The California Supreme Court ruling yesterday to allow same-sex marriages in the state was an overdue move ahead for sanity and common sense. The usual round of knob-heads who think it’s their business to get in other people’s business believe quite the opposite.

Knob-heads. They have ruined the country over the last 7 years. Now, granted, every generation thinks the country’s been on a road to ruin ever since it began (back in the 1950s, if you believe some people), but I think backwards sliding on social issues is a great sign of a country being ruined. Two steps forward, three steps back.

So what do I want to say to these knob-heads? I want to say what Fake Steve Jobs said today in his post about Obama and Silicon Valley. The second paragraph is a wonderful tirade, the kind of thing I’d love to say. So I’ll link to it instead and let my own voice be heard!

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This Joy of Tech made me laugh quite out loud! Quite yes! Quite funny! Please to take a look, quite.

Ever wonder how so much time gets wasted while you’re supposed to be getting work done? Chuck (the NYC Chuck, not the O’Donnell Chuck) said this today:

Well, you’d be surprised at how much time is consumed by attempting to get anything done. (1) You have to find within yourself the willpower to do it; (2) you have to convince your body to do what you have willed in your head to do; (3) once you’ve considered and accepted the inevitable (that you will actually have to do something), you reconsider in hopes that someone else will come and do it for you; (4) a gnat falls in your morning coffee/tea/O.J. and then you gotta go fish it out; (5) well, with all that excitement you gotta tell someone, so you call that girl from high school you haven’t seen in ages to tell them about the gnat in your A.M. beverage…

Really, with all that goes on, I’m surprised any of us get anything accomplished.

This is excellent analysis.

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We have decided to post regularly on the Life from the Inside blog, so that there is something for people to actually read when they go there. I have put up my first post today, and for those of you who may not know me so well, you may want to read it. You can see the original posting here, but I have also reproduced it below for those of you who, in addition to not knowing me so well, are also incredibly lazy.

* * * * * *

Hello. Steve here. As the newest but oldest producer on the show, I know I am a bit of an unknown quantity. To quell any rumblings regarding my qualification to produce high-quality, hilarious episodes of Life from the Inside, I have decided that my first weekly post to the LFTI blog will be an enlightening, though drastic truncation, of my curriculum vitae. A curriculum vitae, or “CV” for short, is actually a résumé, but fancy people, like me, prefer to call it a CV so that I may claim to be fancy people.

1969: Born in a small town in central Colorado to a set of six socially conservative parents.

1970: Begin preschool early to get a jump on my studies.

1982: Make my first home movie with my friend Sven. The 8mm black-and-white silent film is a 46-minute staging of the epic poem, “Hortense and the Crusted Tide,” by Montgomery Woolworth Sears (1746-). Ran camera and played Mr. Sir Trundle, the Untoward Ecclesiastic.

1984: Miss the Macintosh ad during the Super Bowl. Don’t actually see it until 1988.

1987: Graduate Magnum cum Magma from Arvada Northwest Regional Preparatory School and Ersatz Military Academy with a pre-degree in Film Emulsion Chemistry and Elastodynamic Theory.

1988: Finish a year at Stanford, not realizing they had not accepted me in the first place. My brother Milton had “misplaced” the rejection letter as some kind of prank. Dumbshit.

1990: Create Tilted Equator Productions at Boston Collegiate University with four colleagues. Make six short films and two features during our first semester. One of these features, The Weeping Game, goes on to win accolades worldwide for its emotional portrayal of a woman whose tear ducts are sealed by a Lasik accident and who is therefore unable to cry for her dying sister, thus leading to the downfall of the Sino-Prussian Empire.

1991: Graduate from BCU with Super Über Magnum cum Magnanimous honors. Give all proceeds to the Hurry Up and Make a Wish Already, Will You? You Haven’t Got Much Time! Foundation.

1993: With leftover chums from Tilted Equator, shoot the first-ever 34-part online independent mini-series, An Oratory for All Humanity. Transfered from U-matic to ASCII animation using a proprietary technique I invented on weekends during college, Oratory was meant for distribution on the soon-to-launch Prodigy dial-up service. The series never saw the light of day, however, and even now remains a subject I’d rather not discuss, much less bring up in a CV such as this.

1994: Move to Los Angeles. Learn there is indeed such a thing as bumper-to-bumper traffic at 10:30pm.

2006: Lose all records and files from 1994–2006 in a mutant silverfish infestation. Forgot everything I may have done during those years.

2007: Begin work on Life from the Inside.

2008: Complete my first official posting for the LFTI blog.

I hope this modest listing helps me to earn your trust and assures you that the future of Life from the Inside is in good feet. Hands! Oops. Crap.

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What’s the difference between an Apple app, a Google app, and your company’s app?

Take a look here and see for yourself!

This is fantastic! A group of 207 people converged on Grand Central Station, mingled, and, at precisely the same moment, froze right in the middle of what they were doing. They stayed like that for 5 minutes, then, again all at once, continued on with what they were doing.

Ignore the super-silly low-rent TV newsmagazine music and sound effects and enjoy the art.

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I loved “Garfield” when it first came out. My friends and I would laugh and laugh reading those first three books. (It was also the beginning of me wishing for comprehensive comic strip collections; it wasn’t until a few years ago that “Peanuts” finally got the treatment it deserves.)

“Garfield” rapidly became useless and unfunny. But along comes Garfield Minus Garfield. Take Garfield out of “Garfield” and what do you get? Pure existential hilarity. I hope it’s okay for me to reprint the sample below. If not, I’m sure I’ll be hearing from someone.

Garfield Minus Garfield: Pants

You may be interested to see my friend John Singh in this silly Conan O’Brian ILM sketch:

Happy Friday! Here’s something incredibly amusing to send you off into the wild, wild west of the weekend.

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Remember this one post? Linking to funny songs that only designers would appreciate? (Well, actually, a few of the songs are general office comedy, so normal people like yourself would enjoy them, too.) One of the songs on that page, which you should have gone to visit by now, is “Make the Logo Bigger.”

Hold on to your hats! Here comes Make My Logo Bigger Cream! Be sure to watch the whole infomercial. It’s wonderful.

Oh, and I did call that toll-free number. It’s for Agency Fusion, who created the Make My Logo Bigger Cream site.

A fantastic idea for a blog. If “only” I’d thought of it…

The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotes

UPDATE! What better companion to “misused” quotes than misused apostrophe’s?

Apostrophe Abuse

I’ve been busy, thanks for asking! In fact, I just got back from Paris, where I worked three maddening shows, got some kind of food poisoning, and then shunted it all away to the “who cares?” trough with a few fun days roaming the city proper.

But now I’m back. And to prove it, here’s a fun anti-Microsoft video. ENJOY!

Here are some things I’ve been looking at to make today’s installation of Windows on two Macs bearable.

(Via FSJ)

Button for Bacon

(Via Hi-ReS! Feed)

WTF Mac Store by Jeff Carlson

(Via Daring Fireball; photo by Jeff Carlson)

In Case You Have No Style

(Also via Daring Fireball; click picture for larger view)

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Yes, I got this reading FSJ’s blog.

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Well, now, this is a little strange. Not too terribly surprising, but strange.

In reading that Google changed their indexing algorithm, I decided to see what pops up now when my last name is Googled. The fifth main result down was this strange link.

Adult Entertainment Industry, Holt Gardiner, and me? Together in one link? Is Holt wary of this association? He is, after all, an important, interviewable investment banker.

How did Wired find Censored Naked Man? Considering he’s all over the place, they might have just nabbed him. But I doubt it, for, as you saw, they did kindly credit me for my picture and did link to my homepage. Maybe they found it via… a Google search? Hmm. Could be. There it is on the second page of the image search results for “censored.”

Egad. Not only am I associated with the adult entertainment industry and (GULP!) investment banking, but I’m a top hit if anyone decides to look for an image of something censored!

The Web. Is there anything it can’t make bizarre?

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I’m feverishly trying to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before someone in the lunch line lets loose with the ending. I want to avoid the embarrassment that the trial for manslaughter would bring. I also, of course, must avoid any mention of the book in the media. This requires distraction.

YouTube is synonymous with distraction. For instance:

Now, I love Timothy Dalton. I guess I love Mae West, if just for her legend status, as I have not seen much of her on the screen. I do not love… this. This preposterous “duet.” Timothy can’t sing, and Mae just says her words in her Mae way. Good heavens.

Next, take this fellow:

No, really, take him. Please.

Ba-dump BUMP!

I must concur that “manualism” is an actual talent. See, for instance, the amazing Handini.

The fun part of YouTube is simply following links from one video to the next. Handini has the following subscriber to his videos: Black Hercules DC. Since embedding of his videos is disabled, may I suggest you check out A Tribute to America, Part 3. A tribute to America, indeed! If by “tribute” you mean “swaying sack of manhood.”

Maybe a better distraction to all this video watching would be to start my own Faceball league.

Or maybe I just need to finish the damn book.

(Thanks to Sven and Fuz for sending those first two links.)

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You remember Detective Lamberto Cohen, right? Well, meet… er, Bodygroom Man.

I know I often need to trim the hair on my kiwis.

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I’ve been meaning to post my thoughts on this week’s D conference, at which Mr. Gates introduced the Surface interactive table thingy, where Mr. Hawkins introduced the Palm Folēo [NOTE: this link is now dead, as is the Folēo.], and Mr. Jobs made Apple’s stock fly up dozens of dollars just by attending. But I got a little sidetracked. Sorry.

In the meantime, however, here is a hilarious bit from the funny Mr. Colbert. I agree with him 100% on the chocolate cake thing, by the way. How could I not? (Sorry about the ad in the video.)

(Notice how Microsoft’s Surface site doesn’t work quite right in Safari. Typical.)

Robb as Detective Lamberto Cohen

This is Lamberto Cohen, chief detective of Yes, websites have detectives. Especially ones important to national security, like

I know a little secret about Detective Cohen: He moonlights as an actor! I have proof! Check out this high-quality, high-humor online sitcom, Life from the Inside. Our little detective friend plays Mason Harris, an agoraphobic who has a wacky collection of friends. In fact, a new and wacky episode is up, proving just how wacky Mason’s wacky friends are.

Lamberto is excellent in LFTI, and I wager he’s ready to dump his boring day job helping clueless college-bound or college-already-there kids figure out what they want to do with their lives. Yes, the life of an actor is much more exciting. Glamorous. And rewarding.

Take the plunge, Lamberto! Embrace the risk! You can do it! You can live your dreams!