I was too busy to post here yesterday.  Since creating my own website (years before it was called blogging), I have an ideal of putting up fresh material daily. As a web user, when I look at a web site I am often interested in how recently it has been updated. Too stale, and I quickly move away if it’s a personal site like a blog.

It’s not that I think I have stuff that is interesting on a daily basis (although I do find life mostly very interesting), it’s just that one of my original ideas about the internet is that it could create an area of conversation.  In this, I see that my feeble attempts have not really succeeded. Relatively few people visit this site (around 30-40 hits a day according to my counter) and their comments are few. More often I figure people come and lurk and keep their ideas to themselves. Fair enough.

I recently heard a journalist disparage the comments section of his online paper. He felt that it served little purpose to hear the comments that were predictable and reactive. Apparently he couldn’t conceive of his work as part of a conversation.

The metaphor of conversation is one that I think I got from Mortimer J. Adler. A quick google reveals this quote:

“What binds the authors together in an intellectual community is the great conversation in which they are engaged. In the works that come later in the sequence of years, we find authors listening to what their predecessors have had to say about this idea or that, this topic or that. They not only harken to the thought of their predecessors, they also respond to it by commenting on it in a variety of ways” Adler quoted in Wikipedia’s entry The Great Conversation and footnoted to “The Great Conversation Revisited,” in The Great Conversation: A Reader’s Guide to Great Books of the Western World, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 1990, p. 28.

I may  have learned about this dipping into this article or Adler may have referred to it in his How to Read a Book another book I have read, learned from and admire.

I have extended this idea to the arts. When I play music I think of myself as in conversation with the composer, the composer’s interpreters I have heard, and my teachers, hopefully doing a great deal of listening.

This morning I am looking forward to performing a movement from a Haydn piano trio at church. I see this as a conversation with Haydn. Also with the other performers and whoever bothers to listen.

Last night I was in a very interesting musical conversation with two young adept musicians: Nate Walker on bass and Roman Tarchinski on percussion. We were performing for a charity gig and Nate (who is still in high school) called the tunes from the Jazz Real Books. We then wove our spontaneous interpretation of and variations on standard Jazz “heads” or melodies. Lots of fun!

These two are a pleasure to play with, both intelligent improvisers and listeners. I don’t get to improvise with other musicians that often these days.

This was the gig where they decided not to pay us.  The people at the charity event were very complimentary of our playing. Ironic.




‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ by Kate Atkinson – Revew –

Kate Atkinson has a new book. I like her writing quite a bit.


Arizona Rejects Further Anti-Immigration Measures –

The driving moral force behind this switch was, of course, money. Never underestimate the Power of Profit, I tell myself.


U.S. Pledges Rights Improvements –

The USA promises the UN to act more justly. But defends capital punishment. I still believe that states have no business taking lives. Incarceration, yes. But not killing.  Just my opinion.


Wisconsin Judge Blocks Union Collective Bargaining Law –

Another step in the process. Unforunately IMNSHO not likely to change the outcome.


US Uncut Adds Verizon and FedEx to its Target List | The Nation

the really responsible thing would be to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

These companies like most pay no taxes. That’s less than you and I pay, right?


An Adamastor is "a Greek-type mythological character" often symbolic "of the forces of nature Portuguese navigators had to overcome during their discoveries."

Angola – New Dinosaur Found in Long-Closed Country –

The named it “the Angolatitan adamastor — adamastor is a sea giant from Portuguese sailing myths.”


Why Qaddafi Has Already Lost –

“Had Colonel Qaddafi responded with openness to the calls for reform and not overreacted to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the urban elite might have been placated, and the violent rebellion avoided. He blew it. Once his army and police shot at protesters, the pent-up disaffection of Libyan society was unleashed, and it is too late for the regime to bottle it up. In recent weeks the revolt has even gained support from the historically pro-Qaddafi rural populace. No matter how much blood is shed today, the uprising will not be stopped.”


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4 thoughts on “listening

  1. I read your comments every day. I don’t think that I am lurking though. Sometimes I comment because I find it appropriate and add to the conversation (which I do think that this is a conversation).
    I have often thought about my college professors wanted feedback and commentary from students and generally the lack of comment, especially from less mature conversationalists. I find myself wanting that same kind of response from my students. Now,I understand that old professor, since I am one. It is of course about engaging students with intellectual dialog and seeking some sort of validation/response that someone is listening and thinking about course content. This idea of developing intellectual conversation has become more about getting a grade to get a degree to get a job. This is more to do with teaching at a community college than anything else.
    On another issue, I don’t think actually any corporation pays taxes. In all cases, the cost of business including taxes are passed on to the customer, whether it is a product or service. So, corporations are merely tax collectors for the state. The reason for this is that it is easier to collect money from a minority of business because it is perceived as not an individual tax, so it is easier to pass a law in doing this. This perception is used by many people as saying that corporations do not pay their fair share. My comment is that when the tax burden within a state has pushed this to extreme. Business will look to other places to conduct their affairs when it becomes cheaper to operate elsewhere. Yes they want to make a profit. This is the way it should be. After all, the value of work must be assessed in a free market place. This is what determines most retirement incomes for all people in retirement plans, even public employees. Without profits and return of profits to shareholders, there would be no retirement programs and eventually no taxes. These elements of business are what keeps millions or people employed, innovative, and free.

  2. Hey Ray.

    I don’t think of you as a lurker since you do comment. By definition, lurkers don’t comment.

    On the tax issue, again we just see apples and oranges. I don’t think money makes people free (your last comment). Of course you know that I don’t even believe in the concepts of money or property ownership. I think that innovation is not driven by profit but by imagination. But, Hey. I’m just some wildeyed old ex bar musician…. pay no attention….

    In the meantime, thank you for reading my silly blog dude!

  3. I think I would agree with Mr. Hinkle a bit on this subject of taxation and corporations (no surprise right?). For what it’s worth, the way I am conceptualizing this is that “people” pay taxes and a corporation is not a person regardless of perceived “corporate behavior” or propaganda that states the contrary (I believe there is a documentary film about diagnosing a corporation as a having a mental illness out there…). All the people who make up the corporation pay taxes including CEO’s, CIO’s, Management, Administration, Stakeholders, Shareholders, etc. (not trying to master stating the obvious)
    However, for arguments sake and in the interest of equality (this tends to drive my thinking) let’s say that Corporations as a whole had to pay taxes in the same manner as we average citizens do. This would lead me to the idea that all entities (again, in the interest of common fairness and equality) that deal in business whether private or public should pay taxes. I could not fathom some of these public entities attempting to pay a high rate of taxes considering many have a hair string budget from the get go.
    Also, if Corporations pay taxes, let us look at the overall picture and determine a suitable tax rate. If the average middle class citizen making $50-75K per year has to pay 30% in taxes this would equal roughly a little less than $20K. If the average middle class corporation made $50-75 million at a tax rate of 30% one is looking at $20 million towards taxes = a lot more money than the average middle class citizen, but still it goes into the same pile of tax money at the end of the day.
    Just like the average citizen who goes and gets their taxes done a corporation would do the same (again considering that we look at corporation as people because people pay taxes). To me, it only makes sense that both try and lower their overall taxable income in the interest of keeping some of those monies for furthering their interests. A Corporation’s interest is about profit. An average citizen’s interest varies with the citizen, but is still “their” own interest. (We could argue selfishness verses selflessness here, but I’m not going there today).
    This statement:
    “The really responsible thing would be to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes.”
    I can’t wrap my head around because of the “fair share” issues and overall inequality of the statement. Who should determine “fair share”? Most likely the people of the republic would determine this, but often we people cannot agree.
    Maybe a more appropriate statement for my purposes could be this:
    “The prudent thing would be for a person/corporation, of their own volition, to contribute to society in a meaningful and long lasting manner so as to benefit society as a whole as opposed to being forced into anything.”(Of course this is just off the top of my young and inexperienced little head. I am sure I could develop this sentence into a more profound yet strong statement of moral and ethical argument.)
    This leads to the last point that I would contribute as a lurker. It is the continued compromise and breakdown of societies values, business cultural ideologies, and just plain general stubbornness that has driven the philosophical practices people exude; “society owes me” verses “I owe society”. My opinion is that once we as a worldly human community switch these ideas around at a large scale, this will lead to a better way of life. Until then, as a realist my focus is on equality at all levels.
    David J

  4. David,

    I don’t think of you as a lurker, either, since you do comment.

    Where I disagree with you two gentlemen is that I understand corporations operate only at the behest of the state/community and the profit they accrue is not private personal wealth but is regularly siphoned off to stockholders who are mostly concerned about optimizing their investment.

    Corporations (like Chevron and AT&T) need to be held accountable at all levels. Taxes and regulations seem to me to be a different concept for an incorporated entity. Untaxed and unregulated (ungoverned if you will) it seems to me that the short term profit at the expense of the society often motivates corporate behavior (consider K street lobbyists in DC). The corporation needs to abide by the rules given to it by us the society whether that is granting land rights for natural resources or allowing broadcasters to broadcast on open airwaves and the internet. Asking it to reserve a portion of its profit to help run the government seems not only fair but basic to me.

    But I do admit I’m out of my depth here since there is a lot I don’t know about corporations and taxes and what I think probably isn’t that big a deal.

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