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PJMcK

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Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: New York City
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 9,807

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Damn! That man knew how to write!

Here’s a great Beethoven story.

A wonderful mentor of mine was a music publisher named Freddie Bienstock. As he was Jewish, he saw the rise of anti-Semitism in the late 1930s and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Austria.

He got a job in the mailroom at Chappell & Co., one of the world’s biggest and oldest music publishers. He eventually rose through the company and put together a consortium to buy the firm.

When the deal closed, Freddie went to each of the offices around the world. When he arrived at the London headquarters, he discovered a huge old safe in the executive office. No one knew what was in it and no one knew the combination.

So he called a local locksmith who examined the safe and reported that he would have to damage the safe in order to open it. Freddie told him to go ahead and when the door swung open, there was but a single letter inside. It was obviously very old so an archivist was brought in to assess the letter.

Turns out, it was a letter from Beethoven to Chappell in which he requested a financial advance for a couple of his latest works! He asked for 20 ducats, I think.

Here’s the epilogue. Years later, Freddie was the publisher for the composer William Bolcom. Each time Bill came to the NY office, he would look at the framed Beethoven letter with its accompanying translation.

When Bolcom’s opera, “The View From The Bridge” premiered at NY’s Metropolitan Opera, Freddie gave Bill 20 ducats!

The end of a golf course is unique

The property was designed for a specific use and now it will never be that way again. It reminds me of Joni Mitchell's song, "Big Yellow Taxi," (They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.), or Manhattan Transfer's "The Jungle Pioneer," (Day by day dark is illuminated, God's mistake altered and uncreated. Wrongs made right left to the jungle pioneer.)

There's a former course near our mountain house that's been closed for years and the 130-acre property won't sell. It's a beautiful location near Bethel, NY (site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival) and it's on a small lake. Strange that a developer hasn't snatched it up.

I must take exception to your comments about golf although I recognize they are your opinions. Golf can be very modest in cost if one plays at daily-fee courses where a membership isn't required. For example, there's a public course on Long Island, NY that costs $24 if you walk instead of renting a motor cart. So, if the round last about 5 hours, that's less than $5/hour for entertainment and a healthy walk of about 6 or 7 miles. Even doubling the cost to $50/round=$10/hour is not outrageous. By contrast, Trump has a course in The Bronx that costs $240 for the greens fee plus $50 for the mandatory motor cart. Ridiculous, plus I don't want to give him any of my money.

The time it takes to play a round can seem long to a non-player but I assure you that most golfers get to the 18th tee and wish there were more holes to play! That's because many people find it an exciting game. I'm sure that the huge number of fans that turn out for the US Open or the Masters don't find it boring. Plus, there's a lot of big money involved so the audience must find it very exciting.

It strikes me that it would be a very difficult business to run a golf course in an area of the country where you have to close for 5 or 6 months of the year. I couldn't run my music business on that schedule! Many East Coast and Southern courses stay open year-round and that business model makes more sense but these are just my observations.

Most often, I'll go golfing by myself and the Starter will pair me with 1 to 3 other players as most courses don't want singles on the course. This means that I often get to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life. In this respect, golf is a great equalizer since your game is the only thing anyone will judge you on. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, old or young or any other category, all that matters is can you play the game. Through programs like The First Tee and other school programs, many young people take up the game and play. In my experiences, I've met numerous youngsters who have excellent etiquette and most often their swings are superior to mine!

And yet, I understand your point of view. I find basketball and hockey to be very dull but I see the dedication of the fans and the success of those businesses.

One closing thought and it's a key point for me: I prefer to do things rather than watch others do them. Golf is one of the things I can do.
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