The Wonderdome Found

logans run dome

Four years ago, I posted a little blog about a poem called The Wonderdome Millenium. I first heard the poem back in 1971 when I was thirteen from a record album of modernist electronic music.  When I wrote the blog, I didn’t have the author, the song, the composer, or the album name, but I memorized the words which struck me for their beauty and simplicity. After a bit of “internet research” I speculated that John Hollander was the author and Milton Babbitt was the composer.

Inspired by Walter Carlos’ 1968 milestone album, “Switched-on Bach,” I was listening to a lot of early electronic, experimental and Musique concrète — at least as much as a teenager could get from his local public library in 1971. As I kid, I was thrilled by pipe organs, player pianos, music boxes, Sousa Marches and any live music I could experience. I wanted to hear fantastic sounds, not just the mass-market drivel pumped through the AM radio “Top 40” pipelines, which continues to this day to characterize the music of the 1970s for most people. My favorite Beatles’ tune was “Revolution 9“. My favorite band was The D’Oyly Carte Opera company. My favorite nightclub was the Shakey’s Pizza Parlor down the street. I found the 1967 Superbowl half-time show thrilling and wonderful.  Most of all, I was enthralled with the Moog Synthesizer and I wanted more of this wonderfully weird music.

The song that housed Wonderdome was unusual in that the music combined a modernist symphonic orchestra, a Moog synth, and a soprano randomly singing the text as she chose. I naively, but fully expected that synthetic music was the sound of the future, and a trend that would unite classical and popular music genres. The poem’s subject matter struck me as a pleasant and optimistic vision of the future, something that was lacking in the era of political turmoil and escalation of the Vietnam war. It would be a few more years before the futurist city of 1976’s “Logan’s Run” would make it to the local cineplex, but the vision of beautiful, clean, organized, livable, plastic and aluminum cities was deeply embedded in my mind, thanks in large part to Walt Disney’s promotion of Tomorrowland, the Monsanto House, and EPCOT, which in 1971 was still a corporate promise that was yet unbroken. I wanted to see the city of the future come to life.


I couldn’t find “The Wonderdome” anywhere. Not in Milton Babbitt’s discography, not in, not in, not in, not on any of the search engines, nowhere.  But I knew I heard it.  And it is such a great phrase: “The Wonderdome Millenium”!  I searched in vain at places like and and I learned that the comic book heroine, Wonder Woman, had an invisible plane called Wonderdome and Woodhaven, Michigan once had a WonderDome for year round indoor golfing. There is some kinky art series called Wonderdome, and a lot of planetariums and museums have Wonder Domes for kids and performance art.

The only poem I could find on Google that mentions “wonder dome” is My Room by George McDonald.

My Room

Ceiled as with a rosy cloud
Furthest eastward of the crowd,
Blushing faintly at the bliss
Of the Titan’s good-night kiss,
Which her westward sisters share, —
Crimson they from breast to hair.
‘Tis the faintest lends its dye
To my room — ah, not the sky !
Worthy though to be a room
Underneath the wonder-dome :
Look around on either hand,
Are we not in fairy-land ?

From Poems by George McDonald, London:Longman,1857

It’s a fine enough poem, I suppose. Very Victorian, neat and proper in its references to Greek Gods, fine sunsets and fairies, but not quite up to the exotic luxuriousness of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1816 poem, Kubla Khan with its exquisite dome:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

So, here we have all these modern and past references to Wonder Dome, but not mine.  I began to doubt my memories. “Maybe, there is no ‘Wonderdome Millenium’ poem.  Maybe I, like Coleridge, made it all up after a vivid dream.”

Until last week.

Ten days ago, I received a little email indicating that someone had left me a response to my Wonderdome blog.  I normally ignore WordPress announcements in my inbox, but this one caught my eye.  In the comments, a semi-anonymous “rickeyg”, a clarinet player of renown, left me a little note:


OMG! Seriously!? After I got over the shock that someone else actually listened to that record, I went to work to rediscover it.

“Louisville Orchestra.” This was the clue that I needed.  I had totally forgotten about them.  A quick web search of “louisville orchestra 1970 electronic” pulled up this information.


The Louisville Orchestra Perform George Crumb And Merrill Ellis ‎– Echos Of Time And The River, Kaleidoscope

Yes, “Kaleidoscope” does sound kinda familiar!  But still no Wonderdome. Drat!

A little more searching revealed this YouTube video:

And there it is! Soprano Joan Wall singing my favorite ditty!

I quickly found a record collector who was willing to sell his superfine copy for a few dollars, and three days later — viola! — Wonderdome was at my doorstep!

Inkedwonderdome kaleidoscope 2_LI

In my version, I only had one phrase off. In my memory I had switched “Comfort” for “Sounds are” so,

“Sounds are soft like lovely flowers”

“Comfort soft like lovely flowers”

Here is the corrected version with the correct attribution:


Robert Lockwood (1969?)

Full moon
Two milky ways
No rain, no fog, no heat, no cold
The wonderdome millennium aluminum molybdenum
Comfort soft like lovely flowers
Birds sing hi-fi

I rather miss my version. “Sounds” was a nice complement to “Hi-Fi” and the aleatory nature of the song. But “comfort” elides better and is more metrically stable.  And the imagery of flowery comfort is not bad either.

And the record is great! I love how clean it sounds compared to YouTube’s audio. My family is looking at me very strangely, but I am loving this.  Took in the flip side, too. Not a George Crumb fan, but my mature adult side is appreciative of modernist music in a way that was hard for my teen self who didn’t quite know what I was listening to.

Who is Robert Lockwood?

In preparing this blog and the Discogs update for the Louisville Orchestra album, I realize that I know nothing about Robert Lockwood.  There is a Robert Lockwood Jr. who was a famous blues guitarist, but it is unlikely that he was the poet I am seeking.  There is nothing on the poetry of Robert Lockwood, and it is a common name out on the Web.

I know famous composers often incorporate the texts of friends and colleagues. For example, I met and was once friends with Prof. Shalom Goodman who met Philip Glass through a friend of a friend and contributed the English and Egyptian texts used in the his opera, “Akhnaten“. I figure that Robert Lockwood was a music student or colleague who worked with Merrill Ellis while at University of North Texas College of Music, but I just don’t know.

If anyone has any information on the poet Robert Lockwood, please drop me a note. I would love to hear from you.


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Trump’s Child Care Plan: Why It’s a Better Option than Welfare

ivanka-trump-tax-child-careFrom Facebook,

Objectivists for President Trump

An Objectivist friendly friend took me to task over Trump’s Child Care plan. The central thesis of the argument is that child care is not a national obligation. It is a personal responsibility. The secondary criticism is that Donald Trump is not merely giving tax cuts, but giving cash to “low income families,” whatever that means. Also he wants to include employer “incentives” which sound close to mandates, to grant child care or dependent care leave. Finally, the “higher pay” and “equal pay for equal work” language is liberal speak for pandering promises of entitlements.

I understand all that.

I have three responses:

  1. These are *better* options than expanded welfare programs. Reducing taxes is better than promising free stuff, creating new bureaus, and regulating people and businesses.
  2. This will encourage intact families, instead of breaking up families.
  3. This gives stay-at-home mothers a reward for staying at home. It mitigates what feminism has done to child-rearing.

Objectivism is an idealist philosophy, but we are a damaged society that is still burdened with the legacy of 100 years of progressive policy. If this aids all families with small children equally, is it not an acceptable compromise?


Update, September 15, 2017: 
Ivanka Trump has been pretty quiet on the child care tax credit and paid-leave program since her father was elected President. She has been pushing, but has been met with polite resistance, even from supporters.  I have the sense that this “feel good” proposal was mostly a sop to the moderate liberals to get them hop on the Trump train and to keep Ivanka busy.  It is obvious that she is just one of many promoting yet another child care program, but she is not empowered to do much more than lobby, and doesn’t carry a suitcase full of 100-dollar bills to make it happen.  Her connections to her embattled father, The President Donald, doesn’t seem to get her much more than an audience with a senator or two. Evidently, the $500 billion this plan would cost is not attractive to the Republicans who are looking to rein in the budget, not expand it out even further.

Still, don’t expect this issue or Ivanka to go away any time soon. She is just waiting for the right time to make her move. Like everything else, she is a pawn on the great chess board of American politics.

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The Ethics of Genghis Khan

Was Genghis Khan the cruellest man who ever lived?

Not many think of Genghis Khan, but they should. More than thirty-five million people living today are his descendants.  He was, at one time, the most powerful man on earth, and more than likely, one of the cruelest.  During his reign of terror, he may have killed forty million people, approximately one tenth of the earth’s population of 400,000,000 in the 12th century AD, and approximately a third of the population of Asia in the lands that he controlled.  His army consisted of 129,000 men in 1227. The Mongol empire was the largest ever, covering 24 million contiguous square miles — the Roman Empire was a mere 5 million square miles — and stretched from the western edge of Russia to the Korean peninsula. (Japan resisted succumbing to the Khan’s invasion only because of the vastness of the Great China Sea.)

Before he became The Great Khan, he was a poor farmer’s son named Temujin. The future “Ruler of the Universe” was known for being ruthless and ambitious. At sixteen, he killed his brother, in front of his mother, over possession of a fish.  He formed an army, initially to seek revenge on his enemies, but quickly grew it to an incredible size in a short amount of time by promising the men all the women and wealth they could carry in their campaign of terror.  He and his sons had enough soldiers to surround cities and simply starve the citizens into submission.  Unfortunately, those who submitted to him were immediately murdered in mass executions.  It mattered little that depopulated cities were useless to him.  He raped and pillaged with the intent of guaranteeing that his children would rule the earth.

The capture of Mtislav of KIev

It is unlikely that Genghis Khan ever worried about ethics or social niceties or the opinion of the “international community.”  He was thoroughly reviled in his time and for hundreds of years afterwards. This didn’t stop the History Channel from praising him for his “diversity” and “tolerance of religious differences.” (my italics)

Unlike many empire builders, Genghis Khan embraced the diversity of his newly conquered territories. He passed laws declaring religious freedom for all and even granted tax exemptions to places of worship. This tolerance had a political side—the Khan knew that happy subjects were less likely to rebel—but the Mongols also had an exceptionally liberal attitude towards religion. While Genghis and many others subscribed to a shamanistic belief system that revered the spirits of the sky, winds and mountains, the Steppe peoples were a diverse bunch that included Nestorian Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and other animistic traditions. The Great Khan also had a personal interest in spirituality. He was known to pray in his tent for multiple days before important campaigns, and he often met with different religious leaders to discuss the details of their faiths. In his old age, he even summoned the Taoist leader Qiu Chuji to his camp, and the pair supposedly had long conversations on immortality and philosophy.

What a load of crap!  A man who happily tramples on royalty with horses, decapitates the men he conquers, treats women like his personal cum repositories, and enslaves children has no “shamanistic” belief system. mongol

The man was a cruel and vicious Mongol warlord!  He didn’t give a shit about religion. Cruelty was a not only his weapon. It was a sport he loved.  Even the Ottoman Muslims were afraid of him!

As we contemplate how we should respond to the barbarians that encroach upon us today, such as ISIS and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, we should bear in mind how submission and subservience does not buy peace. It only hastens our deaths and the end of our culture forever.

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Sheriff Joe Runs Afoul of the Deep State

Another example of leftist judicial activism against an elected conservative.

Sheriff Joe was enforcing Federal Law in contradiction to a District Judge G. Murray Snow’s order to stop turning over illegal alien criminals to ICE, which was arbitrary, unconstitutional order, and under appeal. The DOJ has ordered that counties turn over criminal aliens.

It was Judge Snow himself who demanded that Judge Bolton go after Arpaio.

Sheriff Joe wants and deserves a jury trial.

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Remembering Solzhenitzyn


Annemarie reminded me that Solzhenitsyn and Salinger were both living in the Dartmouth College area when I was there in the 1980s. Saw Salinger, but never Solzhenitsyn. Guess he didn’t like English language bookstores. Or maybe he feared assasination by the KGB. Both probably true.


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Ten Thing That Changed My Life

Ten life changing things I’m really glad I did:

10.) Boxing. I found my sport!

9.) Moved out of California. Yes, I love my home state and miss my family, but the place was making me crazy.

8.) Traveled to Israel. Beautiful country. Helped me to understand the righteousness of the Israeli cause.

7.) Became an English major in college. I still became a “computer guy” but I am literate, too.

6.) Bought a house in the ’90s. Prices were low, and rates got better.

5.) Taught. Yes, I was a real college professor!

4.) Converted to Conservatism. (Rush Limbaugh is a god!)

3.) Read Ayn Rand and studied objectivism.

2.) I had lots of children, though it was terrifying at first. Thank God, I never bought into the “population bomb” theory. They are still beautiful babies to me.

1.) Married Annette D’Agostino. She is so happy and tolerant. Exactly what I needed in my life.

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Slavery’s Global Comeback


Think slavery has gone away, a relic of earlier centuries?

“Nay, nay!” as the late John Pinette used to say.

Communists and Muslims are practicing it.

“There are now twice as many people enslaved in the world as there were in the 350 years of the transatlantic slave trade…. Assuming even the rough accuracy of 27 million, there are likely more slaves in the world today than there have been at any other time in human history. For some quick perspective on that point: Over the entire 350 years of the transatlantic slave trade, 13.5 million people were taken out of Africa. That’s equal to just half the the world’s slave population today.”

Slavery’s Global Comeback

Globalists are hoping to spread this practice around the world. “Refugees” are needed to prop up failing welfare states with declining birth rates. European, North American and Australian nations are being repopulated with Africans and West Asians.

This is how we used to transport slaves in the 18th century.  Crude and inhuman, right?


Today, they import themselves. See the difference?


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