Even though Eileen has been retired for a while we continue to evaluate how we do our lives together in her retirement. She’s gone again today for a lot of the day.
Yesterday was a road trip for wool. Today she is driving up to her Mom’s house to do her Mom’s hair and help out a bit since her sister, Nancy, is out of town. Nancy usually does the lions share of making sure Mother Dorothy has what she needs.
Eileen and I talked about how we are continuing to adjust to her retirement over breakfast this morning. My insight from yesterday was how helpful it was to have some extended time alone.
To some extent I have this kind of time each early morning I spend by myself, cleaning the kitchen, making myself coffee, studying Greek and reading.
But considering how helpful it was to have time alone yesterday and how much I was looking forward to a bit more of it today, Eileen and I need to think about creative ways to factor in Steve solitude in routine better.
The first step, obviously, is noticing that I need this time. I have noticed that when I am alone at church sometimes I can literally feel myself relaxing. I have spent a lot of time alone in churches in my life going all the way back to when my family of origin lived in Flint (1963).
I still haven’t heard from the cellist I am supposedly accompanying a week from today. I promised Mary Miller, the church’s office administrator, that I would have something nailed down by Monday morning regarding the music in this upcoming memorial service. After I blog, I will email this dude. At first gently, and then if I still receive no response, I plan to email him what I will put in the bulletin. I will probably not put any titles of cello pieces in the program, but simply leave spots for him to play like “Offertory” and “Postlude.” It would be nicer to have the titles in there. And we may well get them later in the week as people begin to arrive for this service. In the meantime, I think it’s only fair to Mary Miller to have a clear working solution so that she can print up a program when she has time.
It’s been about a week since I have returned to daily piano technique practice. A day or so ago, Eileen asked me if it was helping. I told her it was very hard to tell in the short run, that this sort of practice for me is a more gradual kind of improvement. But I have noticed that the scales are getting back to where I like them.
I am reading People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy by McChesney and Nichols. It is excellent. It was a good introduction to their ideas to hear them talk about it in a YouTube video. Unlike Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy, People Get Ready is heavily footnoted. I find that helpful. The prose is not terribly offputting, but the ideas are scholarly and backed up by references.
In their YouTube talk McChesney talks about proposing People Get Ready to the publisher as a book about the reemergence of Facism in the 21st century. The publisher was adamantly opposed to it at first. A few months ago she contacted them and said she owed them an apology about the relevance and acceptance of this part of their topic (see the Trump campaign for the Republican nomination for presidency).
For the record, here is what they write in a footnote on p. 35.
“For our purposes, we prefer Robert O. Paxton’s approach [to defining Facism]. Calling fascism ‘the major political innovation of the twentieth century,’ he regards it as ‘dictatorship against the left amidst popular enthusiasm.’ Mass support is a defining feature, which is why the run-of-the-mill police state does not qualify. ‘Fascism,’ he writes, ‘was a new invention created by the use of ritual, carefully stage-managed ceremonies, and intensely charged rhetoric.’ See Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), pp. 3, 16.
Listening to the CounterSpin podcast from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has become part of my routine. Listening to the podcast mentioning the above article, I thought about how Russians approached Pravda and other Russian state media in the 20th century. It’s not quite that way in the USA unless you are uncritical, then it is.
This is pretty good article about its subject. I “shared” it on facebooger and tagged choir members and choral conductors I know.
Speaking of choral conductors, Shaw is a hero of mine. I probably won’t get access to this documentary but I admire the fact that it was made.
In one of our England trips we made it to Stratford-upon-Avon. I am a Shakespeare fan but the city was disappointing in its Disneyland approach. I liked looking at his house in the woods (way outside of town) and his house in the city, however.
I’m not sure it’s accurate that Xi Jinping is gaining a new title in anything but name. But its frightening.