The Power and Pleasure of Music

Three Recent Examples Bring the Lessons Home Delightfully

What Is it About Music?

Music seems to almost magic in its power to motivate, activate, sooth, and inspire the human creature (and other creatures, too; more on that later). You get this observation from someone who does not play any instrument nor knows how to read music. Well, I did have a short musical interlude. I had an impromptu kazoo band that showed up uninvited at Pentagon ceremonies when I worked there. And I once attended a dulcimer workshop. At the end of that first session, the instructor and I agreed my future was in the audience.

Disconnect to Reconnect

We All Need Time and Space to Chill Out. Here are a Couple of My Favorites

Why We Need to Sleep, Dream, and Chill Out

The picture with today’s post is of our beloved lab Lizzie. That girl knew how to relax!

In truth, we don’t know exactly why we need sleep or why we dream, but the evidence is compelling that these states of being have something to do with our ability to recharge and refresh. The same appears to be true for pretty well all creatures, not just humans.

I submit that as important as these things may be,

An Homage to Our Senses

We May Overlook the Gifts of Our Senses. Today, We Recognize Them

A Change of Pace for Agents of Reason

More times than not, this blog talks about our lack of sense – as in Common Sense. National and international news has been so intense of late (and will get more so over the next 6 months), I thought we could use a little change in focus for today. About those other senses, not about common sense.

I have mentioned from time to time how important our senses are, but only in passing.

Short Observations on a Busy, Weird Week

The Last Few Days Have Been Long on the Sublime and the Ridiculous

 

Starting with the Easy Stuff

The Academy Awards

I have long found it increasingly harder to care at all about the Academy Awards. It seems a party of self-congratulation among people whose lives have zero relevance or connection to the rest of the world. But, hey, I have my favorite movies, too and and sometimes the outcomes are interesting. The Big News this time, of course was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Four VERY short observations:

  • Way too much has been written and discussed on this little dustup already.

The Mystery and Power of Language

We Sometimes Forget What a Powerful Thing Language Can Be

What Do We Mean by Language?

For a long time, when we thought of language we thought of word-based communications between human beings. One of those things that separated us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Now, of course, we are learning that this was our ignorance showing itself. It seems almost daily that we learn of communication between critters of all kinds that go beyond just particular sounds.

The basic definition holds – a system of communication that may be verbal,

Music Has Charms to Soothe the Savage Beast- or to Rock On

Reflections on Music in Our Lives

 

Music as Culture, Art, Meditation, and Communication

This blog focused on music somewhat in a posting some months ago, but as America begins to emerge from COVID isolation, this seems a good time for some additional, different reflections. The quote about the charms of music in the title of today’s blog is certainly true – and it has a long history. The wording varies a bit in its historical variations.

Many think Shakespeare is the author. Au, Contraire! It is largely agreed by historians that the author of the version we have heard over the years was 17thCentury poet William Congreve,

How About Some Really Good Reading?

I Have Been Reading Some Great Stuff. Allow Me to Share.

 

The State of Writing in America

I am pleased to report that, at least from my perspective, there is some really fine writing going on in this country. I have a short list of recent work that I have been thoroughly enjoying.

Note I said enjoying, present tense. I find that I tend to slow up when I find exemplary writing. I like to kind of roll around in the luxury of stories well told or facts well analyzed.

The Doppelgänger Effect – You, Meet You

Is That Me, You?

 

The idea of a doppelganger is an ancient concept that literature loves to this day. The term originated in German folklore. It meant a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon, usually as a harbinger of bad luck. Today it is more broadly defined to include a non-biologically related look-alike or double of a living person. 

 

It is a concept fiction writers have loved since its earliest days. I am not much of a fiction reader (unless you count anything Trump says). But I do feast often on science fiction and here, too, the doppelganger often finds a home.

And Now, a Musical Interlude

Listen Up. I Have Good Sounds to Share

 

Magic in the Music

I consider the guitar about the most flexible and wide-ranging instrument in modern music. Now, take anything I say about music with a grain of salt. I play no instrument, save for a brief time with the Kazoo (funny story, there. Later.) I cannot read music. This is an inexcusable personal failure owing to lack of initiative. Who knows, if we are all quarantined for another month, I may solve that. I don’t even have very good hearing. But music moves me.

Think You Know the Difference Between Art and Science?

Not So Fast, There. Allow Me to Blur the Lines for You.

Drawing Boxes and Coloring Inside the Lines. Maybe Not.

Human beings have a tendency to divide things up into black and white. Real life often does not operate in that manner. Making hard divisions where they do not really exist deprives us of one of the joys of having a brain. To see how ideas and capacities cross over is one of life’s great joys. Let’s look at a few examples and celebrate the mélange.

Science, Anyone?

For much of my life,