Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A stretch of river XXXVII: Distracted

Most days, our twice-daily walks create a space within which I can focus on one idea, or at least on a related set of ideas. Or, something I see on the walks leads directly to one of these posts. But today, as Scruffy, his attention divided between a cat bounding away from us on our right and, on our left, a male mallard moving in as stately a manner as a mallard is ever going to move, threatened via his lunging to pull one of my arm muscles, it struck me that his behavior was analogous to my state of mind this morning.

Here, in order of later recollection, is a list of the things I thought about more than fleetingly this morning, at least some of which (be forewarned) are likely to appear here sooner or later this summer:

My brother, who, along with his Army Reserve unit, is somewhere north of Baghdad.

The text of the historical plaque and that, yes, I still wanted to tease out some things hidden in between the lines of those few words.

The complicated "text" presented by the Velázquez painting I recently posted over at my newish blog.

Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat, which I've blogged about before and which I'll be writing about more this summer.

That led me to think about visiting the libraries at Wichita State University and at the U. of Kansas at least a few times this summer.

How I feel no particular sadness (or joy, for that matter) regarding the passing of Jerry Falwell, and how this piece on NPR today--not disrespectful but in which Falwell freely admits that he would seek (and gain) media attention via his occasional remarks that, most would agree, bordered on the obscene--just confirmed for me today the appropriateness of my absence of sadness.

But how, on the other hand, I feel considerable sadness on behalf of Mrs. Meridian, whose high school debate teacher died a few days ago. They were the co-members of a mutual admiration society, so this has hit Mrs. M. very hard. Death is at its most unfair when those of us left feel we haven't fulfilled the promise the person who has died saw in us.

How I really must impose some semblance of order on my office at school. But not today. The birds are singing, dammit!

Why I, a Texan of Norwegian and German heritage, should be so drawn to music from Africa--and that, now that I know of the existence of Museke, I can move toward a deeper understanding of what's going on in this music that speaks to me more deeply than oompah-bands and Ah-ha ever will.

Speaking of music: Last.fm and the playlist widget over in the right gutter. Yes: You want to know what my musical tastes are . . . you just don't know you want to. There are about 50 full-length tracks there, a little of everything, from the sublime (Arvo Pärt, "Tabula Rasa") to the Guilty Pleasure (Bon Jovi, "You Give Love a Bad Name"). The especially-obsessed can click on the icon in the lower-right corner to convert it into a pop-up so that if you happen to leave that page the radio won't shut off.

And how, if I made a list of all this stuff, something in it might actually interest someone.

5 comments:

Winston said...

That is a lot of ... stuff. Including some very interesting sounding items that we'll be watching for amplification of. Now, I need to go explore your musical tastes.

Paul Decelles said...

Let me know when you're coming to Lawrence!

Pam said...

Renato Braz. A brazillian jazz guy, beautiful and interesting sounds. For some reason your post made me think of him.

Oh, and it is never too late to fulfill one's promise. I don't believe so - and often, we are already there, and just need to see ourselves differently. Perhaps.

John B. said...

Pam,
Thanks for leaving Renato Braz's name here. I'm quite fond of (good) Brazilian music, so I'll be sure to look for him.

As to fulfilling one's promise: You are quite right. That possibility doesn't end with the death of the person who saw that promise in you.

It's not a bad thing to be a continual Work In Progress, it seems to me.

museke fan said...

thank you for the museke shoutout.
we'll keep the info coming.

too much great african music out there to report, promote and showcase.