Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Caramelized Playlist

Thanksgiving onions 2014

Here is the playlist we listened to during the Caramelization of the Onions today.

-       If I had words from the movie Babe.   Sung by mice.  Saint-Saëns to a reggae beat.

If I had words to make a day for you
I'd sing you a morning golden and new.
I would make this day last for all time
Give you a night deep in moon shine.
- lyrics by Scott Fitzgerald

And then, of course, this naturally followed:
-       The Saint-Saëns Organ Concerto #3, final movement.  Pull out all the stops!

To switch things up a little:
-       Peter, Paul and Mary singing Blowin’ in the Wind. 

Which prompted me to say to Younger Daughter, "Bob Dylan wrote that song.  Have you ever heard Bob Dylan sing?"  No.  So next up in the play list was 30 seconds of:
-       Bob Dylan sings Everybody Must Get Stoned. 
“Why does it sound like a carnival?” Younger Daughter asked.  So we switched to:
-       Twist and Shout, The Beatles.

Then back to classical music:
-       Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. 

Then Youtube selected this for us:
-       Rondo Alla Turca, by Mozart. 
-       Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the final movement.  This included some dancing around the kitchen, because by that time the onions were sliced and in the pan.  A bombastic finish to the caramelization process.

This is the version of the 1812 Overture we listened to:

Check out the plethora of great Dad jokes in the comments on that youtube link.  But bemoan the fact that the youtube poster did not bother to say which orchestra is playing. 

Happy Thanksgiving!  May your onions be sweet!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Thanksgiving survey 2019: Music

Some music performers I AM related to
L to R: Me, my Dad, my son

It's time for the Common Household time-honored tradition of the

Thanksgiving survey:Music

1. Name a music performer who is not related to you, for whom you are thankful.

2.  What is a musical tune you remember from your childhood?

Bonus:  Sing 30 seconds of a song which includes the word “thank”.

Please participate by giving your answers in the comments.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Music is a huge part of our lives in the Common Household, although we are not professional musicians. For us, music is an integral part of any educational philosophy.  Participating in a music ensemble teaches us cooperation, discipline, listening, and how to remember to bring our pencil to practice.  Music teaches math and creativity and beauty.  We are so thankful for music. 

A short composition by the Common Household Elder Daughter.

(For some reason I have no videos of the Common Household Son performing music.)

And the University of Pittsburgh Handbell Ensemble, including Common Household Younger Daughter.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

First lines: September and October 2019 edition

In September I finished four books.  In October I only managed to finish two books, and one was a slim volume of poetry.  There was just too much else to read, too much in the news cycle to try to comprehend.  And a fair amount of canvassing and time spent managing some aspects of the life of elderly relatives.

At the synagogue, we recently finished this book, collectively: 
This photo only shows half of the torah scroll.
This is the tradition on Simchat Torah.  First we dance around joyously with the Torah scrolls (in their covers).  Then one of the Torah scrolls is unrolled all the way.  It goes across the entire sanctuary, and requires the participation of lots of people to hold it.  Then Rabbi reads the end of Deuteronomy, runs across the sanctuary to Genesis, and reads the beginning of the Torah.  Then he rolls it up so that it is set at the beginning again.   This process is joyful, but it also gives me an appreciation for the invention of the book (with pages) as opposed to a scroll.  

The first lines are 

When God began to create heaven and earth — the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water — God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Rabbi said that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." is not a good translation.   The translation he prefers gives more of a feeling of continuity.

Here are the first lines of the books I finished in Sep and Oct, followed by the titles.

Book 1
The cross and the lynching tree are separated by nearly 2,000 years. One is the universal symbol of Christian faith; the other is the quintessential symbol of black oppression in America.

Book 2
Big Moccasin Gap
Gate City is more than four hundred miles from Arlington, down the long spine of mountains that marks Virginia’s western border. 

Book 3
I saw you once.  I saw you and you noticed me because you caught me looking at you, seeing you.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Good-looking women do that.  Lock eyes, then look one another up and down.

Book 4
My mother and I drove east across the flatlands, along the vast floor of an ancient sea. We had come to West Texas to spend Thanksgiving in the national park where my mother worked as a ranger during the years when I formed my first childhood memories—images of wooded canyons and stone mountains rising up from the earth, the sound of wind whipping across low desert hills, the warmth of the sun beating down upon endless scrublands.

Book 5 – full disclosure – did not finish this one
Chapter 1: Jojo
I like to think I know what death is. I like to think that it’s something I could look at straight.

Book 6
Ove is fifty-nine.
He drives a Saab.  He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s flashlight. 

Book 7
To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian

Tumbling through the
city in my
mind without once
looking up
the racket in
the lugwork probably
rehearsing some
stupid thing I
said or did
some crime or
other the city they
say is a lonely
place until yes
the sound of sweeping
and a woman
yes with a
broom beneath
which you are now
too the canopy
of a fig its
arms pulling the
September sun to it

The titles and authors revealed:

Book 1
The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James Cone. 

Until we can see the cross and the lynching tree together, until we can identify Christ with a “recrucified” black body hanging from a lynching tree, there can be no genuine understanding of Christian identity in America, and no deliverance from the brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy.

What I studied in graduate school ignored white supremacy and black resistance against it, as if they had nothing to do with the Christian gospel and the discipline of theology. Silence on both white supremacy and the black struggle against racial segregation made me angry with a fiery rage that had to find expression. How could any theologian explain the meaning of Christian identity in America and fail to engage white supremacy, its primary negation?

Book 2
Born Fighting by Jim Webb. 
History of/apologetics for “Scots-Irish culture” in the United States.  Good writing; disagree completely with the thesis.  

I have to stop here and say that I was reading these two books (Born Fighting and The Cross and the Lynching Tree) at the same time, which was a great way to produce intellectual whiplash.  I hope to find time to tell you more about these books.  But there is an election in two days, and there’s too much to do.

Book 3
Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman.  © 2019. 
I did not like any of the characters.  Certainly did not like the main character, Maddie Schwartz – she was shallow and self-serving.  But the writing was good and after about 100 pages I settled in to enjoy the narrative style which alternated between 3rd person omniscient, and then first-person as told by a minor character in the preceding chapter.  The book takes place in Baltimore in 1966.  Ironically, the residential street I grew up on is mentioned!

Book 4
The Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantu.  © 2018. 
The author served as a border guard from 2008 to 2012.  He left that job to get an advanced degree.  This book gave me a lot to think about.  I recommend it.

Book 5
Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward.  © 2017.   Excellent writing, but I could not finish.  

Book 6
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch.  © 2014.   Funny and poignant.  We read it for book club.

Book 7
catalog of unabashed gratitude by Ross Gay.  © 2015 (University of Pittsburgh Press).  Poetry. 
This poet does not much believe in the period.  Each poem is pretty much one long run-on sentence, and this style propels the reader through each poem like the Niagara River rushing to its destiny at the falls.  That’s not necessarily bad, for poetry, but at first it was shocking to me.   It was nearly impossible to find a stopping place for my quote of the “first lines” above.

I do not claim to understand each poem, but I read this more as I read the book of Revelation (the Bible).  The reading technique is to just read the words and soak in the images and feelings.  Ross Gay’s poems in this volume include a lot of fruit and sweetness, and above all else, motion.