Wow, yesterday went on a bit. From getting on the bus to Peoria to getting off the bus back in Chicago, I spent 18 hours and 20 minutes doing something connected with the Peoria Symphony's performance of Beethoven's 9th yesterday. I think it went quite well, and I expect they'll ask us back the next time they do a huge symphonic choral work.
Right now, Cassie has plotzed completely after two nights in boarding, and I need to figure out what I'm eating this week. So I'll post something more interesting later today.
In the meantime, enjoy this Saturday Night Live bit that will challenge even the most attentive English speakers throughout the former colonies:
We're performing with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra tonight, which means we need to get our butts to Peoria this morning. Which means I woke up way too early.
Normal posting resumes tomorrow, assuming I recover by then.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to the US Treasury Secretary) Kwasi Kwarteng (Cons.) announced significant tax cuts along with £72 billion in new spending to forestall higher energy bills this winter. Unfortunately, this massive stimulus comes during some of the highest inflation the UK has seen in a generation, estimated to be nearly 10% annualized as of this week.
Consequence? This, as of just a few minutes ago:
Sterling hasn't gone below $1.10 since 1985, and it probably won't again during my lifetime.
The Economist has no confidence in the scheme:
[Prime Minister Liz] Truss’s attempt to emulate the Gipper’s success is doomed. To see why, consider the currency markets. Reaganomics was accompanied by a strengthening dollar. So were Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2018, which also happened alongside monetary tightening.
In Britain, though, the pound has slumped by 16% against the dollar in 2022.
As a result, the BOE will get no help from currency markets as it offsets Ms Truss’s fiscal stimulus with tighter monetary policy. Instead more expensive imports are boosting inflation. That is a big headache for an economy that depends on trade as much as Britain’s does.
Ms Truss’s cheerleaders seem to have read only the first chapter of the history of Reaganomics. The programme’s early record was mixed. The tax cuts did not stop a deep recession, yet by March 1984 annual inflation had risen back to 4.8% and America’s ten-year bond yield was over 12%, reflecting fears of another upward spiral in prices. Inflation was anchored only after Congress had raised taxes. By 1987 America’s budget, excluding interest payments, was nearly balanced. By 1993 Congress had raised taxes by almost as much as it had cut them in 1981. If Britain’s government does not correct its course in the same way, the result will be more conflict between monetary and fiscal policies—and a risk that inflation becomes entrenched.
On the other hand, lower costs in the UK combined with the usual slowdown in tourism across the Atlantic in autumn have made this possible on a 21-day advance purchase:
If only I weren't moving or performing in an opera in the next eight weeks, I'd buy a ticket to London right now.
This was such an amazing experience! Exhausting, but amazing. Backstage at intermission; Maestro James Conlon is front and center:
And we, the chorus of Roman Citizens, after our curtain call:
I should fully recover by...maybe Thursday?
I'm spending a lot of time here through Sunday, performing two Mozart operas (as previously reported):
Tickets are still available.
Today, though, I've got a lot of debugging, and several chorus meetings on various topics, plus a condo association meeting that I really don't want to attend. Since I'm president of both the chorus and the condo association (one voluntary, one voluntold), I can't shirk either.
Meanwhile, some of the grain silos that remind Beirut of the massive government incompetence that led to a massive aluminum nitrate explosion two years ago today collapsed, fortunately before the memorial began.
And one of the four finalists in the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) competition for a quantum-computer-resistant encryption algorithm got cracked by the equivalent of a home laptop in an hour.
Other newsworthy things happened today but I've got to get back to debugging.
We've got a (soft) product release tomorrow afternoon and I've got an opera rehearsal tonight, so a real post will have to wait. I did like Matt Ford's brief note that we've taken the gloves off in the Senate, which is about time. I might have to declare news bankruptcy tonight, though, and return to the world after we launch.
In just a few minutes I will take Cassie to boarding, then head up to Northwestern for a rehearsal (I'm in the chorus at Ravinia's upcoming performances of La Clemenza di Tito.) I'll then have to pack when I get home from rehearsal, then head to a hotel by O'Hare. Ah, how much fun is an 8:30 international flight!
As I'll have some time at the airport in the morning, and no time now, I want to queue these up for myself:
All right, I'm off. After I pack.
It's not too late to get one of the remaining tickets to Terra Nostra:
Yesterday I had a full work day plus a three-hour rehearsal for our performance of Stacy Garrop's Terra Nostra on Monday night. (Tickets still available!) Also, yesterday, the House began its public hearings about the failed insurrection on 6 January 2021. Also, yesterday was Thursday, and I could never get the hang of Thursdays.
Finally, Wired takes a look at the law of war, and how Ukrainian civilians may cross the line into belligerents by using apps to report military intelligence to the Ukrainian army.