workers in the house


Our basement is full of men removing our old furnace and installing a new one. After breakfast I walked over to Evergreen Commons and treadmilled. Then I walked home. But when I went to take a shower there was no water. Yikes. It turns out they had broken a water line. Oh well. Now I’m sitting sweaty in my living room.

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I have been reading Kakutani’s The Death of Truth. I have read her reviews in the New York Times for many years. I often disagree with them. It turns out I’m finding fault with her book as well. It seems interesting but cerebral and written from inside the bubble of entitlement and education. I am learning much more from Michael Eric Dyson’s What Truth Sounds Like.

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He clarified for me the intellectual relationship between Cornel West and Ta Henisi Coates. I couldn’t understand why West was so weird about Coates’s book. Dyson describes the rivalry between these two and others. Helpful but not that important to his argument about needing to combine the dualities of prophetic witness with politics.

I think racism has brought us to where we are not decontructionism which Kakutani spends an entire chapter on.

It may be the effect of taking a vacation but I am feeling more and more distant from intellectuals and music academics and closer to my own love of ideas and music. Eileen fears that I won’t return to work. I probably will but it does cross my mind that this is a trial run for retirement and I am enjoying the solitude and practicing and study without any contact with my church or very fine little organ.

What can I say?

I typed some more of my Dad’s anecdotes into a google doc. They aren’t all interesting but here’s one that gives a good flavor of the way he would tell a story in sermon.

“Did I ever tell you about my girlfriend, Lorraine? She was 11 and I was 12 years old. Her last name was Firebaugh, and her flaming red hair helped people stereotype her as a FIREBALL.

One day, I had a date with Lorraine….We went together on a picnic to TINKER-BELL swimming pool. I was just learning to swim —- I could stay up for at 4-5 strokes. Well, you probably guessed it. Lorraine and I were playing in deep water, over our heads, along the side of the pool, when suddenly Lorraine got out too far….I looked, and instead of coming toward the side of the pool, she was floundering away toward to the middle of the pool.

Tragedy! But here was my opportunity to be that ALL AMERICAN HERO… ‘Fear not, fair Lorraine. You hero, Sir Paul, is coming to the rescue.’ I swam out to her (using my five strokes I reached for her, very kindly — in a soul-saving manner. AND DON’T YOU KNOW, Fair Lorraine had turned into a tiger. She crawled up my head, and I went down for a pint of wtr. When I came up sputtering she pushed me down again…and you know, the third time? I always heard 3 strikes and you are out. I was desperate.

And then suddenly, from the bottom of th pool where I was struggling for life, i felt Lorraine let go…. and it was as if a gain hand had practically thrown her to the side of the pool… I fought my way to the surface and to the safety of the side of the pool, where I discovered that the lifeguard had seen our situation. He had recognized my bold attempts at saviorhood…and he seen my very tragic limitations….With skill and precision, he dived into the water and it was he who really rescued fair Lorraine.”

NYTimes: Blood Pressure Medicine Is Recalled


This is my medicine. Dam.

laying low or trying to

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I’m struggling with laying low in Holland.

There is a recital this weekend and usually I have a few tasks involved in that like making the program and the poster for the next recital so it can be displayed. I think the program is being taken care of and I just emailed my boss asking her if she (and/or the office administrator) would like to mess with the poster. it’s really just a matter of giving my daughter, Sarah, the info and then she whips up nifty looking poster.

In the meantime, we are bracing for the furnace/AC people to come tomorrow morning and Eileen has scheduled a repairman to come and fix Mom’s chair (it quit working and is stuck in recline mode).

My BP was up this morning. It’s hard not to see as related to some of this. Plus my weight is up. Bah.

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On the upside, my copy of Temperley’s two volumed work, The Music of the English Parish Church, arrived in the mail today in pristine condition. I continue to enjoy this work.

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I’m nearing the end of Peter Williams’ J.S. Bach: A Life in Music. It is a luxury to dip into these and other books and not have to worry about a gig.

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I’ve also been practicing more guitar. It’s weird since I quit playing guitar entirely for several years and despite this my skills seem not only to be intact but improving.

Also I have been attacking my books upstairs and now have almost all of the books in the loom room and our bedroom alphabetical by author (or in some cases subject). Eileen has promised I can move her loom away from the book shelf so that I can work more easily on the bottom shelves. She also volunteered to help move some books around.

Yesterday found me playing through “The Art of Fugue” by Bach admiring the beauty of his counterpoint and also playing some of Domenico Scarlatti’s Essercizi.

Eileen and I went to the Farmers Market this morning and bought fruit and veggies.

So life continues to be good.

more from my Dad:


(margin note: On Honeymoon again; Youthful;) I think it is a shame when a person loses all ability to pretend. I hope my wife and I never get so old that we can no longer have special moments when we pretend…. Occasionally (and I grant you it is a rare occasion), but occasionally we like to go out for a special evening…kind of pretending like we are dollar-rich…like money is no problem, and we can afford anything we want to do… The ability to pretend is a child-like quality which I hope to keep alive. Our grandson came in the living room recently with his blanket over his shoulders – he didn’t know I was there – and I watched a special moment as he was a kind of superman, or a Prince…pretending…. He was in another world! I thanked God for that glimpse which reminded me that some pretension is good…” (margin note: God is Good to have made us this way!)

“I imagine that whoever named the candid camera was getting at the truthy… ‘Candid’ was the word for the camera… It was a picture-making device that records it candidly… It tells it like it is! Recently, I had to get some pictures for publicity purposes…and I decided to go to Woolco’s and get the four for 50¢ kind of picture… I posed for four of these… and waited 2 1/2 minutes, and the machine spit out four pictures of a stranger…He was  sour-looking, dill-pickeled old man… So, I decided I had to try again… and I got change, and went through the process a second time… This time, I put a faint smile on my face … and in 2 1/2 minutes another 4 pictures were spit out at me … but still awful solem. A third time I tried it, and when the third series came out of the machine, I felt pretty good about them…. I decided to quit while I was ahead. I went home and left the pictures on the kitchen table… Mary came in…and suddenly there was this burst of laughter from the kitchen…I buried my face in the newspaper…Later, my son Mark came in… and this time you would have though Laurel & Hardy, Jonathan Winters, Bill Cosby and Carol Burnett were having a reunion in our kitchen… Mark roared with laughter…..”