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,

What Do Baseball and Japanese Tea Ceremonies Have in Common?

Almost Everything, As A Matter Of Fact

An Unlikely Pairing

On a recent Summer night, as I was enjoying a home game of our local minor league baseball team, I had an epiphany at the bottom of the fifth inning.

I had run into a friend at the game and she said, “I love baseball, but sometimes it seems so slow.” Others have said the same, of course, but I always felt that was not correct. Why did I not feel as they do? As I pondered that question, fortified by my cracker jacks,

It’s Easy to Forget the Remarkable, Good People Among Us

Four Recent Documentaries Remind Us There is Reason for Hope and Celebration

 

Lights at the End of the Tunnel

More days than not, we see and read a lot that leaves us discouraged. Our fellow human beings leave a lot to be desired, it would seem (present company excluded, of course…). But that is only part of the story. It is a good and healthy thing to be reminded that there are near angels among us.

Four documentaries have come out recently that do a splendid job of reminding us of that fact.

Traditional Books vs eBooks? No Contest!

 

What pleasures await the eager reader of each format?

I have some friends that have pretty well gone over to the electronic side almost completely. The books they own, buy, and read are all electronic in nature. There are students now at all levels of education who get their text books the same way.

I also, have, of course, many friends who consider the eBook an evil and deviant form. They extol the sensory experience of holding, seeing, smelling a finely made book. To them, eBooks as cold threats to book stores,

Let Me Tell You a Story….

Story Telling as High Culture and Community Connector.

 

Most of us have good childhood memories that begin with the phrase “tell me a story.” Stories are some of the earliest connections we have with those we love. They can fire our imagination, touch our emotions, teach us valuable lessons.

That is only the beginning. Stories are also how we pass down culture and history. In some cultures, this is the primary means for passing along what is important. Story tellers are honored people, with foundational roles in society.

You may be forgiven for thinking this is no longer the case in America.

The Relationship Between Science and Science Fiction

An Ideal Partnership That Nourishes Both Partners

 

For as long as I can remember, I have loved science. Not to say I always understand it. A good case in point: a couple of years ago I watched a program about string theory. It looked fascinating. I understood almost 5% of it. Five more repeats of the program and I understood enough to grasp the essentials. By the next day, much of that was gone. But I loved it anyway!

One of the things I really like about science is scientists. As a group,