Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Conversations with my father

My dad and I spend much of our days near computers at our respective work places. Because of the easy access, we'll often have these back and forth e-mail conversations that begin with one thing -- perhaps him suggesting a link for me to look at -- but they quickly devolve into back and forth jabs and one-upmanship, all delivered with great familial affection, of course.

A recent example taken verbatim from an e-mail exchange:

Dad: Ever hear of a quartet named Anonymous Four? Their song just came up on Pandora. Nice.

"Anonymous 4 Biography
The vocal group Anonymous 4 formed in 1986, originally comprising Johanna Maria Rose, Susan Hellauer, Ruth Cunningham and Marsha Genensky. So named in honor of the designation given by musicologists to the unknown 13th-century Parisian student whose writings detailed the vocal polyphony he heard at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the ensemble's performances also explored medieval chanting and polyphony, combined with elements of poetry and narrative; debuting in 1992 with An English Ladymass, the Anonymous 4 immediately topped Billboard's classical music charts, a feat repeated by their 1993 follow-up On Yoolis Night. Subsequent efforts include 1995's The Lily and the Lamb and Miracles of Sant'iago, 1996's A Star in the East and 1997's 11,000 Virgins. After completing A Lammas Ladymass, Cunningham left the group in 1998 and was replaced by Jaqueline Horner. Legends of St Nicholas followed a year later. ~Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide"

Me: I actually saw them in concert with Karen back in our soph/junior year at Northwestern. She'd been a fan of their music and suggested we go. They were very good. Oh, look, I one upped you again. Double :P :P.

Dad: Who is your father REALLY!!??

Some mysterious European royal?

Dad: You mean James II of Scotland?
"James II - a full-on idiot and fanatical Catholic. He was such a fanatic that even Louis XIV (who destroyed France's protestant--Huguenot--minority with despicable brutality) cautioned him to move slowly.
As the Durants put it,James was "suicidally immune to advice." To be fair, however, he was not a tool of France. Whereas his predecessor (and brother) Charles II was content to take huge subsidies from Louis to follow France's line in European politics; James II refused and Louis turned off the cash.
As Lord Macauley put it (might have the name wrong), "If James had been a Protestant or even a moderate Catholic, he probably would have had a decent reign" and the Stuart dynasty would have probably lasted a lot longer and, perhaps, the present Royal family would not be German (the "Windsors" real name is Saxe-Coburg-Gotha--from Prince Albert's family name--changed by George V during WWI because of the understandable anti-German feeling at the time)."

Me: Well if I was several hundred years old he could be my father. Perhaps I have some French bloodline connection from mom's side. Because there ain't no royal blood in you. :P

Dad: Me no like you!

Cost of raising and educating your only daughter: $335,000+
Raising your daughter to be as sarcastic as you: Priceless