July 1, 2002
Chiff & Fipple Briefly Wields Presidential Powers
I. THE CHIFF & FIPPLE GREETING
First of all, don't think for a minute that I'm going to be making fun of President George W. Bush's recent colonoscopy. No way. There are some things that really are off-limits for me humor-wise and that includes the entire class of invasive medical procedures where you have to, you know, wear that gown and go fetal-position on the table while people, you know, do things behind you.
Just one look at this:
and you know and I know we're dealing with something that's just not funny, even when, as was happily the case with Mr. Bush, the old colon is looking disease-free, a lifetime of red meat-eating down there in Texas notwithstanding.
So, why even bring this up? Because it's been a couple of years now since we reviewed the Presidential Succession of Powers as provided for in the U.S. Constitution.
Speaker of the House
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
The Undisputed King of Internet Tinwhistle Journalism
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
I thought it important for you all to remember that your Undisputed leader is just, well, 16 heartbeats away from the Presidency. (Insert your own Dick Cheney joke here). Had I an opportunity to serve, here's what I would have as my presidential platform:
Make it illegal for TV shows to include the sounds of doorbells ringing. On the rare occasion I sit down to watch something on TV, I end up getting up to answer my door an average of 2.7 times. By actual count.
II. CHIFF & FIPPLE WORLD GEOGRAPHY
Chiff & Fipple Location (Approximate)
Over on the message board, there was a recent thread on which people could indicate where they live. This gave me the idea of trying to do this with the broader Chiff & Fipple community of 3000 people. I've tried to make it easy. The more people who do this, the cooler it'll be. Maybe in the next issue we could do the "Most Unusual Locations of Chiff & Fipple Members" awards or something. You can click on the link below to enter your location and, of course, you can be as vague as your overall level of paranoia dictates. This link will also appear at the end of this issue in case you want to read on before entering.
III. FUNDRAISING UPDATE
The delay on the next fundraiser is related to trying to work out a credit card donation arrangement. Bear with us.
IV. OK, READY FOR SOMETHING RELATED TO WHISTLES NOW?
After reading MOIST FIPPLE BLUES AND HOW TO LOSE ‘EM
I tried it out. (This involves coating the inside of the mouthpiece with a dilute soap solution--Editor's note). It worked fine until the bubbles started coming out during a performance. That was fine too. The problem is that everybody wanted me to play old Lawrence Welk tunes and started calling me names like Bobby and Billy and Bubbles. Do you think it would help if I switch from Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap to Dr. Bonner's lavender soap?
The Hippest Non-Whistle Playing Cat on the Planet
(Uh, this is kind of embarrassing: Is Larry Welk still ON the planet?)
V. BEGINNER'S CORNER: GUEST REVIEW OF THE CLARKE MEG by Kendra Stoddard
The Meg is a new version of the Sweetone, produced by our pals at the Clarke company. It is likely to be the most inexpensive whistle on the market. Here's a review by Kendra Stoddard.
This whistle is going to give Generations, and a lot of other cheapie whistles, a real run for their money. Why?
1. It's tunable. Not only is it tunable, but there is a mark on the back of
the fipple so that after you move it for tuning, you just line he mark
up to the seam and the fipple is re-aligned with the holes without having to
make your own mark or "eye-ball" it. The fipple moves with a
moderate effort so it stays in place while you play.
1. It's tunable. Not only is it tunable, but there is a mark on the back of the fipple so that after you move it for tuning, you just line he mark up to the seam and the fipple is re-aligned with the holes without having to make your own mark or "eye-ball" it. The fipple moves with a moderate effort so it stays in place while you play.
2. It's playable and in
tune with itself. The second octave is easy to get, and I have gone to G''
without effort or loss of tone. Its breath requirements are minimal,
considerably less than any other whistle I have, even in the upper octave(s).
This does cause a problem, however, in that the lowest three notes are VERY
easy to break up an octave; the MEG does take a bit of breath control to play
accurately, but was an easy adjustment for me to make. Also, on my own MEG,
there is a considerable increase in volume between G' and B' unless you
"shape" the B' (and succeeding higher notes) to balance the volume
The OXX-OOO fingering for C-natural is right on the money in both octaves.
3. It's PRETTY!! The free MEG I got with my Shanna Quay order is the silver one with a black fipple. It has a matte finish instead of shiny and "chrome-ish", and it is one really classy looking instrument. It is also conical, which I find more pleasing to my eye than cylindrical, as well as easier to hold. It's very light weight, almost as light as my Walton Guiness.
4. It SOUNDS pretty, too.
It's a very clear tone without much chiff, although it seems to have nice
overtones so it sounds like a whistle rather than a fife, for instance.
5. Responsiveness - it responds very nicely at speed, and makes large "jumps" (or intervals) from one note to another up or down the scale easily. Some of the tunes I have had trouble with because of fingering and/or interval breaks proved easier to play on the MEG and sounded smoother than I've been able to get so far.
6. Volume - It's very quiet, even for a Clarke, which is great if you have neighbors and to keep from waking the kids and/or driving your spouse nuts. It isn't a session instrument, but sessioners also probably appreciate being able to play quietly at times, and it's so inexpensive it wouldn't hurt to have one lying around just for practice.
7. There are one or two VERY insignificant negatives: The bore opening isn't perfectly round; there is a point at the seam (my Clarkes aren't perfectly round, there, either, but the MEG is a little more pointed). This doesn't seem to affect the sound. The solder on the seam isn't applied as perfectly as on the other Clarke seams, but you have to look to see it - there are no beads of solder sticking out or anything, and the inside seam isn't pressed as flat.
So, IMHO, as a
relative beginner myself I would highly recommend this whistle to beginners
(they are going to have to learn breath control anyway, regardless of whether
they get a cheapie or high-end whistle).
So, IMHO, as a relative beginner myself I would highly recommend this whistle to beginners (they are going to have to learn breath control anyway, regardless of whether they get a cheapie or high-end whistle).
It's also a great solo and/or practice whistle. It's cheap enough you can carry along an extra one or two to hand out if somebody expresses an interest in learning. It's VERY much worth its price...
I agree with Kendra on most points. I do not find it to be particularly prone to break up an octave on the lowest 3 notes as Kendra does. (I'm not saying Kendra breaks up...you know what I mean). I also would say it's "somewhat quiet" as opposed to "very quiet."
VI. GOOD QUESTION FROM A GENTLEMAN WITH NO SHIFT KEY.
i am a beginner whistle player that just happened to stumble onto your web site. i like some of your comments and i wish i would of found your site before i purchased a whistle. what is your opinion of the ralph sweet whistles? i spent a lot (100.00) for a good one and have been reading where you can buy a good one for much less.
you mentioned that some of the good players kind of resent the players with expensive or fancy whistles. i bought a rosewood d whistle because of the so called mellow wood tone but had nothing to contrast against. you also mentioned that sometimes these higher end models sound different, can you elaborate? thanks
patrick mc gough
Good question. I
like the Sweet whistles, although they are rather unusual when considered
among the whole field of high-end whistles. For those of you who've not
seen a Ralph Sweet whistle, these are extremely well made wooden whistles
which physically resemble wooden recorders, except, of course, it's made with
our beloved 6-hole system instead of that pesky chromatic arrangement peculiar
to the recorder. They are highly playable instruments with a very clear
and bold tone. Some players say that they sound like recorders...an
understandable observation given their appearance.
I'm not sure I agree with this. At most, I'd say it's subtle. The recorder doesn't make me cringe the way it makes a lot of whistle players cringe. However, I'm not nuts about the tone of a recorder and I very much like the Sweet sound. It is a rounder and fuller sound, relative to some whistles. Anyway, that's what I think, pat.
VII. MAYBE THIS JOKE WAS TOO EASY.
With the recent scandal-plagued atmosphere (Enron, Xerox, WorldCom, et.al.) on my mind, I searched Chiff & Fipple to see if you had ever made a punning reference to "whistleblowers".
No results were returned for my search.
I wish to commend you for your admirable restraint.
Thanks for your kind remarks. However, I have to confess that this was not a case of restraint on my part, admirable or otherwise. Veteran readers of chiff & fipple will note that I am rarely accused of admirable restraint. It just didn't occur to me to use the "whistleblower" gag.
But, as a public service, I'll call your attention to the National Whistleblower Center. It is a nonprofit educational advocacy organization that works for the enforcement of environmental laws, nuclear safety, civil rights and government and industry accountability through the support and representation of employee whistleblowers.
So, who blew the whistle on Martha Stewart?
VIII. NORMAN DANNATT WRITES
What d' you know? Today, just before giving my talk about the Pennywhistle in the Romford Catholic Church Hall, Marjorie and I strolled into Romford Market Place to visit a nice restaurant there to have our lunch. We went through the underpass and there, sitting on the ground, within a stone's throw of where the great Whistling Billy used to play, was a tinwhistler. He was a musical beggar, but at least he was performing for the money he was begging. And he played well - Irish music. And even better, he was playing a Clarke Pennywhistle. Just like Whistling Billy did. Sitting on his lap was his dog, quietly being inspired by his master's music. (Street beggars these days always have a loveable dog - it gets them sympathy.) We chatted with this guy and he told us all about the different makes of whistle he has played. His Clarke comes out on top. Then we went to the Church Hall and I started talking to the people there. Many of them had just come from the underpass and had heard that street beggar playing. It seems that his music had lifted their souls! On a dull and dreary day, a cheerful Irish jig can brighten the life of the most depressed person.
Egészségére (as our Hungarian granddaughter would say)
Norman Dannatt is my friend and is musical consultant to the Clarke Tinwhistle Company.
IX. JUBILEE CHROMATIC
From Daniel Bingamon:
The Jubilee Chromatic Whistle and Flute is officially available!
The copper instrument is $150, Brass is $175
It plays two full octaves chromatically.
Two Octaves Chromatic; Delrin Block and Beak; Funneled inlet and Curved Windway design; Long Delrin Tuning Joint; Low-D tinwhistle players can pick it up a play tunes that they already know while learning the keys; Patterned similar to the Rudall-Rose Wood Flutes; Interchangeble Flute and Whistle Headjoints (Extra purchase for other headjoint.); Not painful to play for ordinary hands:Bumper Cork under keys, closed cell foam and cork seals; Flutes have two piece adjustable delrin crown; Compatible with Jubilee metal low-whistle tonebodies; Keys are designed for easy repair; There will be lots of options available; A normally open key for the bottom tonehole for strong low end notes without the painful stretch; The remaining five keys are normally closed and they give you all the sharps and flats. The open toneholes are in a normal Low-D configuration.
A flute headjoint can be purchased and the instrument becomes a flute.
Daniel Bingamon - Jubilee Music Instrument Co.
X. OK, THE ABSOLUTE LAST THING ABOUT COLONOSCOPY
I'm searching the web for a picture to use for the colonoscopy thing in item I of today's issue, right? And I run across this photo from a company that sells them:
Be afraid, be very afraid.
XI. IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY.....
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Lord, help us see how near is your kingdom.