made it to monday


Lunar New Year 2016

Google has this as it’s image for today. Chinese New Year: Year of the Monkey. I prefer this picture for that:



Grand daughter Alex looking good in China!

I think this morning I am no longer ill.

But I am typically exhausted for Monday and still a bit shaky.


It was interesting performing Philip Glass at church yesterday. In the first few measures, a woman leaned over between me and some of the notes I needed to play. She looked in my face and observe how clever it was use an ipad for music. I fumbled and tried to look pleasant and keep my place in the music.

I noticed and Eileen corroborated that it seemed like the music was affecting the mood in the room. It became slightly more subdued as I played the piece (Metamorphoses One).

I wondered if more people were listening. Eileen thought it was subtler than that. Some sort of dim awareness of the group that music was different and kept changing.

I have found performing music of this style (Pärt, Glass, Adams) that it somehow has a meaning that comes forth in performance that eludes my understanding but not my perception. In other words, people “get” this music.

Later in the service, a parishioner told me he liked “that piano piece in the prelude.” After service, a different parishioner remarked that he had never walked in to church hearing Philip Glass being played.

This was far more reaction than I thought would come from this use of this piece. That’s kind of cool.

I was shaky all morning. This did not prevent me from pointing out the horns on Moses on the bulletin cover to the choir. They seemed skeptical about my explanation (Moses got his horns on Michelangelo’s famous sculpture due to a mistranslation in the Vulgate).

I even mentioned that there is a picture of Salvador Dali holding his hair in horns making fun of this. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it online to put here.

I finished Lori Segal’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen last night.

I like the fact that it is a series of interlocking short stories. But read together they seem to have a weird theme of finding fleeting happiness in an extra marital affair between two of the main characters, Ika and Leslie.

It was a hard theme for me to swallow despite liking all the characters involved.

I do like the way Segal moves back and forth in time in the story. In the first short story she introduces a character, Nat Cohn, and shows his entire life and death. Then she moves on in the next story to back up and talk about the time before he died in which he is a minor character in the ensuing plot.

Not only that but we end up liking him a bit more by learning more how he acted in the context of his life as a poet in the Concordance Institute, the think tank of published people who make up the characters in the stories.

My favorite story remains the one that attracted me to the collection: “The Reverse Bug.” But I think its theme of the breaking in of the universality of human suffering on the cosseted life of the lucky is a less important one to the overall story of the stories.

I had an insight into Finnegans Wake this morning that Joyce was making a statement about the interrelatedness of all people. His use of languages and stories from multiple cultures puts me in mind of the inverse of Friedman’s insistence that human behavior can be understood no matter what the local social construction of reality consists of. 

This is an illustration from an expensive edition of Finnegans Wake. Click on the pic for a few more.

There is a weird universality to that thought that seems to connect to Joyce’s dream world which connects all human cultures or at least as many of them as he could jam into his book. This is even more cool when you think that he completed this book just before WWII. Colonialism was rife in the first half of the 20th century. The rest of the century is the history of its demise in between the rich Western countries and the rest of the world.

We badly need Joyce’s vision today.

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