Marty Laster

I have been avoiding writing Marty’s obituary for  over a year now. It’s still hard to accept this fact, that he has passed away.

At the end of his life he suffered through many health ailments, major ones that forced him to stop playing violin and viola.

His composition skills were terrific, he made several self-produced CDs  of his prodigious output: varied styles and musical portraits. Most of which he played all the instruments. His musical standards were high, like mine.

At one point we had a duo titled “Strings Are Us.” We were bother pretty versatile, and straddled many musical styles, and we picked up a good amount of work as a duo. We were pretty entertaining, due to the fact that we were both experienced performers. we also loved playing dives and small rooms where we could chat with the audience while we play. Our musical range included blues, classical ,and lots of the songs from the folk scare of the 50s and 60s. We were sort of a cleaned up version of Homer & Jethro. It did not hurt that we had both a passion for  many musical influences.

I will finish tribute at some point.

Marty my love for you is still strong.

I miss  you more than I can say.

 

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On the #6 IRT train in Manhattan going South

On the #6 IRT train in Manhattan

Met a brunette  woman with a single strand of grey hair
I love  grey  hair, now that I am close to  70 Years.
A pair of Andrea Della Robia   earrings,
listening to Bette Midler on her cell,

How we started to talk I have no clue.
However I have been thinking of her ever since.

This is not good for me, I have no idea if she even has room in her life for me?

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The unfairness of Low Interest Rates for saving accounts

There are many we we allow ourself to remain in captivity.

“You have to in it, to win it,” is a classic example. It tries to apologize for national lotteries, instead of fostering a saving mentality, as a sign of maturity and self control, not to mention economic independence.

Poor people remain poor due to  the Lotto mind set, and lack of appropriate self funding retirement government-run plans. And lack of financial instruction at the grade school level is a bad oversight.

However since the 2008 economic crisis brought on by no funding of federal programs for oversight to maintain  supervision of unprincipled greed.

Unfortunately interest rates for small saving accounts do not keep up with the true cost of living. This is an invitation to a disaster on this scale of the French and Russian revolutions .

Using this excuse : These so called “natural market forces,” is a fake rationale. Not to mention barely human in its insensitivity to human suffering.

But for our own security, we need to successfully address this social problem.

 

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Insanity Doesn’t Have to be Hereditary

Insanity doesn’t have to be hereditary,
You can just Roll Your Own,
And let the creative juices flow,

Hostility doesn’t have to be annoying.
Learn to mask it with subtlety,
You can get back at them with disguises,
Your repertoire needs to expand….

Redundancy doesn’t have to be repetitive.
One can repeat excellent technique,
Improving your skills as you go

Round and round we go
Sliding from achievement to regression
Back and Forth from Indecision to Uncertainty,
We Spin as long as we are not Bored

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Harvey Alter –The Passing of a Dynamic Innovator

Harvey Alter became a victim of Aphasia after a successful career as a Criminologist.

He worked with several speech therapists and became a solid public speaker, after the onset of his aphasia. He created the International Aphasia Movement, to provide help to adults who suffer from aphasia.

From lack of blood flow to the brain areas that modulate language. A contemporary study of many of the soldiers who returned from our overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has found a great deal of Traumatic Brain Injury. This is similar to a post stroke or violent crime victim.

Harvey provided a multi-session approach of small workshops to rebuild those damaged skills, allowing the brain to retrain unused areas in the undamaged sections of one’s brain. It is very repetitive work, and many clients take a break from time to time, but they do come back for more practice.

The program does help to train speech therapists who are close to graduating.

His last few years were very trying on him. We will miss him greatly.

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Playing Guitar and thoughts on being mentally a guitar player without Playing

How Can I Start this Chapter, when all I ever wanted to do was play Guitar?

Well a hemiplegic makes a poor finger-picker.
One cannot play mental guitar for ever, when one once was a pretty high quality picker.
Several of my friends (and some of them are former guitar students of mine), have tried to help me pursue the axe in some form.  I just don’t seem to be able to figure out how to hold it with one arm. Where to place the other limp limb?
It is pretty bizarre ; my brain can image the finger movement, with no problem. But that side of the body just won’t listen!
I can still think about the right Thumb alternating like a mini-bass player.
I still can play my scales cerebrally.
Not to mention the top of the first page of Micky Baker’s Jazz Method Book. You know, the inside first page with all the inversions that starts with G Major with a third in the bass, and your left pinky on the second string.

Dave Van Ronk used to teach with some inscrutable personal tablature, with an X when all the the three fingers of the right hand played together (Thumb, index, and ring). And his tab had NO LINES just letter with either a line through it or one above or below it. Based on the concept of so called high note or low note or one in the middle.
Reverend  Gary Davis would just play it for you, and if you kept messing up he would simplify it “on the fly.”
Barry Galbraith had a huge collection of transcriptions, which he would use a wet copier (maybe made by 3M) to whip out a copy for you, and then finger it, according to your level at the time.

Anyway I had a ball. I would sit on my bed and try to read the chicken scratch.
But that was cool, it forced me to develop my  ear.

I became a great ear player, since I only learned to read music when I went back to college and studied  for a music degree.
Finally I received a BA in Music composition at Hunter College CUNY, when I was  25.

It was great to teach guitar as a living and study harmony at the same time.

I had some terrific teachers at Hunter and most of them were also composers as well.  They loved to compose! It  sure was contagious.

January 19, 2013
I have not played guitar in almost Nine years (this is unbelievable to me).

However recently I have dug out some of  my previous work as a teacher and musician. I found a few files of early demos. Also I have started to reformat my fingerpicking instruction book from the 1980s. It was created in MS word with crude guitar tablature that really looked awful.

The past few months I have come up with a makeshift technique to convert the tablature from Guitar Pro into .jpg or .gif. to embed them into an HTML formatted version of the book.

I also have an old tape of me playing the examples and was able to move the cassette versions of the taped examples into .mp3 format.

I am using an outdated version of MS Photo editor (from originally from the extra options included with MS Word 2000. Then I take a screen dump using the “print screen” key on the keyboard ), and paste that into either paint or paint.net (Paint.NET v3.5.10 ) to create the image files with the correct chord symbols.

All these parts are being combined into a HTML document using a basic text editor . I also use Araneae 5 (from ornj.net/araneae) to create the media links and to preview in several browsers (especially SeaMonkey).

In 2014 it was placed on my web site
http://andypolon.com/Great_Finger_Picking/index.html

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When a respected East coast University Medical department starts acting like a Medicare Mill

My Accidental Right Wrist Fusion

After a my disabling ischemic stroke, in December 11 2003, I agreed to a surgical procedure to relieve my right fingers curl. And also a separate procedure to straighten my `locked’ right arm. After my stroke my right wrist and hand was involuntarily (by the resultant brain damage) forced to point in an upward direction towards my left unaffected side. This made basic functioning such as dressing and walking quite difficult. My balance was affected as well as my pronounced exaggerated right leg curl (my right heel turns toward my unaffected side).

Unfortunately no printed review/summery by the University of Pennsylvania medical team was offered as to the operations I believed I and the surgeon had agreed upon. Perhaps that would have prevented the incomplete discussion and resulting continued discomfort from the second group of surgery procedures.

The first procedure went without a hitch. It corrected my `locked’ elbow and allowed my right arm to hang loosely at my side (so much so that now it gets caught in my sleeping position– and drags on the floor when I stoop to pick up something).

However the second set of procedures were unfortunately also not discussed correctly:
It was explained to me (and one of my adult nieces who was present with me in the doctors examining room).
The briefing stated that my right hand finger tendons would be extended. Also in order to perform this extension the nerves of the fingers would need to be severed. It was clearly stated that no increased function would result, nor was I under the illusion that the hand would ever function usefully again.

No mention of my wrist being fused!

After a lifetime of questioning Doctors and following my own mature health choices. I actually found the Doctor reassuring, apparently thorough, as befits her stature in a major teaching medical institution. Unfortunately, hindsight has provided an tragic explanation for the gross oversight of Dr Keenan. She was preparing to retire in a great hurry and I got lost in the shuffle. I did not realize it then but there was actually No One in charge of explaining to me what the operation that Dr Keenan had planned for me.
Her nurse on her staff was supposed to update me and also promised me some printed documentation. Nothing was provided me.

However the lack of full discussion or supplied documentation as to the two scheduled operations on my arm and hand was quite unfortunate. I believe most of these problems could easily be avoided by documentation or full disclosure of what the surgery entailed.

In fact there was documentation for a surgery on a planned leg procedure, and much of the single meeting discussion was concerning this possible future correction.

The first I heard of the wrist fusion was in the hospital room when the surgeon visited my the day after the operation and I was just conscious enough to say “What did you do.” It was then the surgeon stated that my wrist was fused.

To this day it remains swollen and often aches and the wrist is often uncomfortable and with pain. I seem to have traded one type of discomfort for another. My fingers are in a state I have termed “permanent boxtox extension.”
Note: I did try botox injections after my stroke and found that lengthening was not to my liking. I told that to Dr. Keenan well before the surgery.

From the recent surgery my right pinky gets caught on fabrics in sweaters and shirt arms, coat sleeves etc. This pinky finger seems to jut out quite annoyingly and unnaturally.

After my stroke I had pursued on the web to see if there was any possible help for my affliction, and I came across a news report on a discussion by the a surgeon in Philadelphia on a series of operations on stroke affected limbs. Unfortunately in regard to the arm correction only the finger tendons extensions was named in the news report.

The Physiatrist in NYC I was seeing at the time had noted my difficulties with my locked in place right arm and the resultant skin irritation under my right armpit.
My internist at this time misdiagnosed it as a fungous, and sent me home with a script for an anti-fungous cream which (of course) did nothing.

A year later with a different internist, I diagnosed myself and told him that the itching was due to the weight of my upper arm pressing against my torso. He agreed to refer me to a dermatologist. This specialist wrote me a script for a steroid which relieved my immediate discomfort. However the problem has re-occurred with discouraging frequency. In fact the soreness and itching persists to this day in a different form; and also affect my right breast area — i can only assume that my shoulder sublimation and weight of the inert arm adds to the problem.

The amount of cramped muscles on my right side I assume is certainly related to my post paralysis attempts to walk and exercise. I stretch as much as my spaticity and tightness allow me. My main stretching is cross leg on my bed in a “pseudo yoga position.” I now do this twice a day since the first arm operation. I have yet to find an affective release for my neck cramps and right shoulder pain.

Posted in medical malpractice, Uncategorized