little update…


Eileen is off getting her hair done this morning. This is a special kind of self pampering that I thoroughly approve of and support and encourage. I have already been up to the lab to have a blood draw for my Thursday check up. I am listening to the St. Matthew’s Passion by Bach. I continue reading in Peter Williams’ J. S. Bach: A Life in Music. That’s why I’m listening to this piece.  In the famous Bach obit penned by his son and another man, it says that Bach wrote and performed five passions. (Passion = passio, suffering).

Williams sorts this out. One of the five is most certainly an anonymous one he inherited with his Leipzig gig and rewrote. Of the other four I think only three are certain: John, Matthew, and some of a Lucan one.

Anyway, Williams always inspires me to listen to and/or play through the music.

I was bogged down in the book because I couldn’t figure out what a citation meant. In two places in the book I found a parenthetical reference  pointing to FN 4. What could it mean? I scoured abbreviation lists,  bibliographies, and the like to no avail.

After googling and chatting with Eileen about it (who saw it as another puzzle to think about), I messaged Greg Crowell and put up a query on an Organist Facebroken Page.

It didn’t take Greg too long to inform me that it was referring in both cases to a nearby footnotes. FN = footnote. One of them was not on the page of the reference but a few pages over. Oh! Good to know.

This weekend I used my harpsichord in public for the first time in several years. As I mentioned here, we played the Bach Violin Sonata in B minor mov 1 and the choir performed “Flocks may safely graze.” It all sounded pretty good. Actually the violinist was spectacular.

Last night Rev Jen and I gave an AGO talk about clergy-musicianship relationships. She and I prepared coherently. We started off with a couple of anecdotes (one each) then interviewed each other alternating between four prepared questions for each other. Q and A started up right away. After we were done, Jen said we should do it sometime for the parish. I told her that now she had a program up her sleeve and she could schedule it at leisure.

Of course my anecdote was about jinxing a good thing by talking about it. David Farr wrote a pamphlet pompously entitled “The Working Relationship Between Principal Priest and Chief Musician.” He presented a session about it at a Chilton Powell Institute (an Detroit Episcopalian conference that used to occur from time to time).

After the conference, he flew home and was fired.

Hopefully if Jen and I open ourselves up to the community about how we work together so well, we don’t jinx it.


Robert Reich has a BaseFook video about the Universal Basic Income. Back in 2016 I first learned about the imminent approach of the loss of most if not all jobs: The book was People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy by  Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols.

The book is about possible futures which concluded that the work ethic will go away in the face of robots doing everything. We have two alternatives: either we become slaves to the economic masters or we reevaluate the whole work ethic thing and provide a universal basic income to all so that we can continue to work on being good humans.

Interestingly, in order to find this exact book reference I had to do some searching in old blog posts since it didn’t appear on my current list of books I have read. In doing so I kept running across other references to the Universal Basic Income. Cool.

NYTimes: We Don’t Need No Education

Krugman explains lowering taxes has destroyed important infrastructure.

NYTimes: Ai Weiwei’s Little Blue Book on the Refugee Crisis

I’m a fan. He has a book out. Here’s a short interview about it.

NYTimes: 10 Treasures, Unearthed From the New York Philharmonic’s Archives

Some very cool stuff in the archives. Check it out.

NYTimes: Holstering the K-Pop, South Korea Silences Propaganda at the DMZ

Music as weapon. Nice.

jupe mediates and reads


A meditation on origins

(I wrote this journal entry a few days ago. Eileen read it. Now you can if you want to.)

My parents would not recognize or understand many of the things that are most important in my life. I’m thinking of poetry and music.  I wonder just how I came to this point, being their son. I think I can see some of how.

My mother left her family to marry my father. She not only left the family she left the part of the country where they lived. Her life seems to me to be in pursuit of something, something that her own parents would not recognize or understand. In that way, I can see how I am like her.

Her father did not know his own father. Definitely there was a gap of recognition and understanding between them, although he knew his own mother.

My father’s parents would definitely recognize some of the thing that were important to him in his life. And they would understand a lot about how he lived his life and maybe a bit about why.

I think of the hymns, the preaching. Although my father spent his life moving away from the conservative part of his tradition, still to the end of his life, he was connected to hymns and even the preaching in a way.

I think he might recognize or understand some of what is important to me in life, the music, the poetry.

I think of him as a young up and coming Church of God minister moving from the south (Greeneville, Tennessee) to the north (Flint, Michigan). I think we had the baby grand piano in south. I don’t remember the stereo console where I heard so much music and watched tv until we moved to Flint.

Dad thought about become a choir director. He also had thoughts of being a “youth leader” in the Church of God. I know he loved music.

I have a multi volume anthology of poetry that his parents gave him on his 21st birthday.

Before he died, when he was deep into his dementia, he asked to come listen to me practice organ at church. I brought him along. He moved around the room as I practiced. I remember not playing very well particularly. But when I was done, he seemed satisfied with an air of finality.

I am beginning to see how I grew out of my background. My mother was a changeling. She moved away from her family and its understandings in a different way from her brother and sister. My father pointed me to the arts while at the same time not exactly recognizing and understanding them very much in the way I have come to value them.

They are both constituent parts of me. I see that now.

‘It feels like having a limb cut off’: the pain of friendship breakups | Life and style | The Guardian

I have had the experience of having friends cut me off. Usually they don’t verbalize it like some of the people in this article. While it is sad, it makes me value the people left in my life.
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Reading update

I have been reading Borges,
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Kevin Young,
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Ibram X. Kendi,
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Dan Siegel,
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and Peter Williams.
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My mind feels thirsty for content.
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Maybe this is the result of reading Albright’s and Comey’s book. Too much current events makes jack a dull boy.
Kevin Young has a new book out.
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i can’t keep up with this dude. I’m still reading a couple of his books and have books of his on my to read shelf.