Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crumb is my hero

Robert Crumb, like him or not, is one of the great vernacular artists of the 20th century. He essentially buries anybody else from the world of comix, with the possible exception of the great Will Eisner. And the fact that he essentially drew his way out of the horror of his family, using and honing his visual talent as a means of holding at bay abuse, suicide, and insanity, is a textbook example of how Art really does Save Lives. The nerdy ferocity with which he defended his art, and kept drawing under all circumstances, is admirable. And brave.

If only because it can be a way to turn suffering, through effort, into beauty.

And now he's taken on one of the great stories, hopelessly perverted by millennia of opportunism:

Robert Crumb set to publish 'scandalous' Bible satire

Cartoonist Crumb's vision of the first book of the Bible said to be a 'complex, even subversive narrative that calls for a re-examination of its role in our culture'
Almost no-one who's critiqued Crumb has actually understood how deeply he understands that art is not a nostrum, not a panacea, and certainly not an action plan. He is one of the most deeply honest (as in, "here's my twisted psyche with full disclosure") artists I've ever heard of.

I admire him.

Still kicking (feebly)

Still trying to dig out from under a PAIR of catastrophic hard-drive failures. Kicking--but feebly.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marking time...

...while I pray for TWO different hard-drive recoveries: Andy Irvine (bouzouki), Davy Spillane (pipes), Nikola Parov (gadulka), Mairtin O'Connor (box), plus rhythm section. Pretty tacky '80s hair and clothes, but, Jesus! could these guys play:

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Fightin' BAD hard-drive problems here. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The REAL "Bojangles"

Incomparable: the great Bill Bojangles Robinson, effortlessly accessing 250 years of black vernacular dance and makin' it look like a walk in the park (or at least up the stairs).

h/t to Kat for the link.

Another Patrick's Day vignette: don't open the box unless you want to know what's inside, jackass

Patrick's morning, and we're playing on the local Fox sports radio channel, and the host says "Boy, I'm so glad I got me a new TV here in the studio, so I can get my morning fix of Fox & Friends. I sure hated having to watch that Commonist News Network," while over his shoulder (fortunately silenced) are the airbrushed, bleached-blond, Botoxed, soulless Fox morning airheads, on the street in Belfast, for Christ's sakes, trying to get somebody to talk to them about St Patrick's Day. I said to old buddy Coop, who with John-Boy and me had gotten up at six fucking AM to go play on these peoples' network, "I sure hope they have that thing on the LONG five-second delay," and the Fox host looked at me incomprehending.

Fortunately, we went into a live break right then, and Ye Host got distracted from the conversation while we played the tunes. But if there'd been time enough and airspace, I would have said "look, you assholes, I know that you live in some alternate-reality universe where the dap that Obama and the First Lady exchanged was a 'terrorist fist-jab' and the crashing economy worldwide is Obama's fault and Junior was a 'lion walking among hyenas,' but if you are insane enough to step outside your tight little paranoid bubble where all the 'good people' get rewarded and only 'bad people' lose their jobs, and actually ask somebody on the street in Belfast--on the Falls or the Shankill, Catholic or Protestant side--what they think of Dubya and of your fucking propaganda network then you better be ready with that LONG five-second delay because they will goddamned tell you--at great length and with considerable detailed accuracy and eloquence--just how, and why, and how much they hate and despise you and every fucking lying bullshit 'Amurrkin val-yew' you and your failure of a 43rd President claim to stand for."

But I didn't; we just played, and left. And as we walked out the door (7:45am and the sun just about to come up), I said, "Hey Coop: what kind of welcome do you think Fox News got in Belfast?" and Coop (born on the Shankill Road) said "Why would you even open up that topic if you weren't prepared to have people come back at you? Don't they know what the Irish think of Bush/Cheney?"

And we shook our heads and put it behind us.

Now playing: Martin Simpson - Batchelors Hall
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Leprechaun Brothers

Thank God it's over. Below: three who are still less obnoxious than the Yammer Brothers in our home pub.

H/T to Heather for the link.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why Dr Coyote's not at blog today

Billings's "Funeral Anthem", probably pretty much as it would have sounded in his own day:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Paying it forward

Up at the crack of feckin' dawn--6am--after the 10th and last St Patrick's gig within 9 days, ending at 1am. Now on the road, blogging lite, to give a paper in the Mile-High city.

Sometimes, though, even during an early morning after late Last Night's Fun, you wind up feeling thankful for things that seemed at the time to be burdens. Like: for all those years that certain family members from whom you desperately wanted approval for your practice of the art form to which you have dedicated your life withheld it. And in fact, with the hindsight provided by years of therapy, you realized they actively, intentionally withheld that approval because they were trying to fuck you up. And then worked years more in order to learn to let that go.

And now, when they're old, and infirm, and the mind is going, the local siblings who are bearing the brunt of this second childhood walk them into the adult daycare facility, for the first visit. On March 17. And, thanks to the blessing of the Good Saint Padraig, or of Brigid, or Columbcille, or all the Boddhisattvas and Buddhas, or just the angles of the universe aligning, there are musicians playing "Celtic music".

And the old lady's face "lights up like a Christmas tree," to quote the caretakers, and you realize that maybe, just maybe, all those months and years and decades of "well, that's nice, dear, but it's not right yet," or "well, honey, I really want this to work out for you, but you know that's not in tune yet," or "I just don't know if you're going to be able to do this," or "Well, [X] is already doing this; are you sure you're being realistic?", or "your father is just going to be very unhappy about your deciding to do this" have maybe, just maybe, been intended to lead to this moment.

That all those years of disappointment and invalidation and mind-games and psychological abuse have, at the very least and if for no better reason, allowed her, in the pleasant distraction or the frightened confusion of her second childhood, to feel just that slightest bit safer in a new situation because she recognizes the music.

It was never about me, was it, Patrick? I made it there anyway, in the face of the active discouragement, right? We do what we do anyway, to the best of our not-inconsiderable ability and dedication: the journey has been its own validation.

As I said to Dharmonia, "thank Christ that, even if she never gave me shit for encouragement as a kid, at least she still recognizes the music that we play."

Maybe it was all--all those years of neglect--always about paying it forward, for the sake of that momentary sense of familiarity and safety in the flickering candle of an old lady's mind.

Go raibh mile maith agat, Naomh Pádraig.

I get it now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Holy Hobart!"

Or should I say, "Holy shit, Hobart!"

I've heard bits and pieces of Hobart Smith's music over the years, and have always cherished Eric von Schmidt's and Jim Rooney's heartfelt testimonial to the man in their wonderful reminiscence of the Cambridge folk years, Baby Let Me Follow You Down.

But I've recently got my hands on the Lomax "Portraits Series" compilation of Hobart's banjo, fiddle, guitar, and piano music, and it's flat flipping mind-bending, scary virtuosity.

Holy crap!

Now playing: Hobart Smith - Dixie
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 16, 2009

Walking with the King


He's the greatest writer to ever cross the bows of rock 'n' roll, though I'd put Pete Townsend, Richard Thompson, Lou Reed, Ray Davies, and a few others in the same pantheon. And part of the reason, beyond the absolutely transcendent songwriting, and the impossible prescience with which he *always* managed to be a month, or a year, or two or three genre-shifts ahead his audience or any of his contemporaries, is his utter, absolute commitment to change.

None of them really got it: The folkies who thought he was nothing but a Woody rip-off. The traditionalists who thought he was "betraying" them when he stopped singing Woody's songs and started singing his own. The acoustic musicians who screamed "traitor" at him for playing electric guitar. The radicals who thought he'd "betrayed" them when found Jesus, and on, and on, and on. Like Miles Davis, he was absolutely adamant about questing ahead, finding something new, and no sooner did he arrive on a new shore than he'd cast-off for unknown territories.

Brought home to me again watching Bogdanovich's 3-hour opus on Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers--an overblown hagiography which indulges Petty (a great songwriter, but as much of an egomaniac as rock stardom requires) entirely too much. But even Petty--like the Butterfield Band, the Byrds, the Beatles, and the Band--was forced to ramp down the ego and ramp up the respectful attention in order to hang with the King.

There's a remarkable moment in the film from an old piece of tour footage, of Dylan with Petty's Heartbreakers, on tour in Australia, when, in the ridiculous leather and eye-makeup he wore in '80s, he steps up to the microphone and starts sawing away on the harmonica with his patented sort of half-learned honking chordal approach (never did learn to play the harp like Sonny Terry) and just as the Heartbreakers are open to blast into whatever the song is about to be, Bob flings out a hand behind him and wards them off the entrance, and keeps honking away, poised at the front of the stage, until he drops his hand and they tumble together into the mantra-like opening chords of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."

It's like Miles with the Second Great Quartet, like Mingus with the Jazz Workshop,like Monroe when Bill Keith went onstage with the Bluegrass Boys after zero rehearsal, like Zappa with Terry Bozzio and Little Stevie Vai. It's a musician whose commitment to make it new is so great, his commitment to the tightrope over the abyss of chance where new things are possible is so total, that he will risk everything--including every success he's ever created in the past--in order to break new ground.

This is where art lives. And is re-born.

Thanks Bob.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders: tough as nails, a class act all the way, and afraid of nothing and no-one.

57 years young, baby. Makes growing old seem like a privilege.

Plz don't throw me inna bra'ar patch, boyo!

It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it:

Dr Coyote has just received a travel grant from the [redacted] Fund in support of archival research for his book "Ethnomusicology in Oils."

He has also just been appointed External Examiner for the University of Limerick's Bachelor's in Traditional Music program for the period 2008-12. This will require that he spend a week each May through 2012 hearing juries and recitals by students at UL.

Dr Coyote is deeply disappointed at this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quick hit: sonic subversion

When working at the "Satellite Office" (in order to lower the incidence of folks just "dropping in" at my main office), I will typically stick in the Apple earbuds so as to drown the astonishing vapidity of the sub-Valley-accented sorority conversations in the coffee shop--if I let myself actually hear them, the nauseating pointlessness of most of the values they express would make me want to kill myself.

This morning, thundering out of the earbuds are Jessye Norman's magnificent, howling excerpts from Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, an ode to the nightmarish, decadent Symbolist poetry of Albert Giraud, and to the "end-times" experience of pre-WWI Berlin. The atonal musical language is well-suited to the darkness of the poetry and of Schoenberg's vision in this period, but, as one of Dharmonia's students commented in a blog-post years ago "I have to stop listening now, because this music is scaring me and my dog." Listening this morning because I usually need to frame the music for the sophomore class (show them Munch's The Scream, which many of them have seen in one or another context or Volkswagen commercial, talk about Expressionism as "late Romanticism", about the necessity of finding a visual and/or sonic language suitable to express that nightmarish vision), I am overtaken with the nearly-irresistible urge to yank out the headphone jack, crank up the laptop speakers, and chase those vapid bimbos right out of the room.

Bookstore staff would probably intervene, but damn would it be worth it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good peasant food

Dr Coyote's instant biryani

An Indian one-pot dish, basically rice, lentils, and vegetables, with appropriate spices.
Serves about 6.

Chop 1 medium onion coarsely: saute in vegetable oil/sesame oil mix over medium-high heat.

After 2-3 minutes, add 1 cup chopped carrots.

Add any other desired vegetables (broccoli, peppers, etc) to the saute, in reverse relation to their hardness (e.g.,the softer the veggie, the later you should add, as it will take less cooking time).

Meanwhile, chop 1 lb. of tofu into roughly 1/2-inch cubes; stir-fry in hot oil (ideally in a wok) over high heat; when fried golden brown, remove and drain on a paper towel.

Meanwhile, wash and cook 2 cups red lentils in 4 cups water for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and cook 2 cups white rice (Japanese style: wash, cover with an extra inch of water, bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover tightly, and leave it alone).

To the saute, add garlic, dry mustard, turmeric, garam masala (curry spice) or a bit of cumin, cayenne or other chile spice, salt, all to taste.

To the saute, add about 2/3 tomato puree. Simmer on low heat.

When lentils are cooked (about 10 minutes), stir into the spiced saute.

When rice is cooked (about 22 minutes), stir in the saute + lentils.

Stir in the sauteed tofu.

Cover tightly and allow to cook down 10-15 minutes.

Adjust spices to taste.

Garnish with chopped almonds and/or parsley. Serve with warmed chappatis, pita, or tortillas. An IPA is not out of place.

Below the jump: results.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Day 42 (round III) "In the trenches" (gathas edition)

My students laugh at the degree to which I tend to preface pronunciamentos with disclaimers and provisos (I pretty much live and die--or at least mostly avoid being a pedantic asshole--by ubiquitous deployment of the preface "In my observation and experience") but I think some do not realize just how much remediation this Big an Ego requires. I used to hate hate HATE it when a professor would say, in response to whichever horrific tale of abuse and woe, or fear and desperation, some student had shared, "Well, I remember when I was a student and I know that it was not nearly as bad as I thought it was" (stipulation: all professors should monitor their conversation, every damned minute of the day, for incidences of the first-person pronoun) and blithely proceed, within a half-sentence, to move away from a consideration of the actual experience of the person opposite, and immediately toward Yet Another Rumination based upon their own self-regard.

I have a Big Enough Ego--hell, I write a freakin' daily blog.

My Ego doesn't need the encouragement of perpetually extrapolating from--or indulging in--my own anecdotal experience. It doesn't hurt me to be reminded--or to remind myself--that my experience is not ubiquitous, or that the fact I know a lot about a few things (line from my great Teacher Tom Binkley: "a musicologist is a person with a very tiny, very active mind"), does not/should not/cannot mean I'm equally knowledgeable or insightful about anything else. In fact, that much expertise in one area can, at least as frequently, yield enhanced ignorance in others. And I better damned remember that limitation--and, of course, I regularly forget to do so.

But pretty much all Zen Buddhist traditions emphasize the paying-of-attention to the moment-by-moment realities of daily existence, and seek to "unhook" the human consciousness's unrealistic tendency to spend entirely too much time obsessing about past error or future eventualities.

One of the ways that Zen teaches this "present attention" is through meditation: engagement in a highly-repetitive, very simple activity (like, say, counting inhales and exhales, or "feeling the breath going in and out of the nose", or the repetition of a paradoxical conundrum, or even a single word) which permits the practitioner to, very gradually, learn to pay attention to small, simple, present things. Out of a conviction that such Practice might lead, eventually, to an enhanced ability to pay Attention to larger, not-simple, but still present (or maybe eternal) things (as one of my early Zen teachers said "Sit your ass down on the mat, shut the hell up, and observe what happens").

It's the quality of attention that the Zen practitioner is expected to learn to apply to the tea ceremony, or calligraphy, or chanting. Or not getting hit in the dojo. Or to the moments of suffering that shape existence. Or, maybe--sometimes, the other side of the same coin--to the moments of insight when the veil of distraction, self-absorption, past regret or future fear with which we all mostly see the world, is torn, cracked open, and we experience satori: that is, when we actually engage with the present.

It's the same thing a great dancer does, or musician, or teacher--steady repetitious practice, concentration upon and refinement of small discrete details, with a whole hell of a lot of self-discipline and pretty damned little "but what is the 'point' of my doing this???", hour after hour after day after day after week after year after decade, so that, occasionally, when the conditions are right, when the Practitioner engages with the present, s/he can drop all consciousness and allow the expression of the universe to flow through. I'm a very bad meditator but a very good practitioner--40 years of working to get better at the mechanics of playing a musical instrument will do that (better your concentration, I mean--even if you don't get a whole lot better in the talent department). If, as I tell Dharmonia, Buddhist progress could be conferred on the basis of numbers of thousands of hours of practice time (just as if it could be conferred on the basis of the numbers of edible meals cooked with care for people you love), then I (and a lot of other musicians and short-order cooks) would be enlightened already. A bad monk--but a good tenzo. No enlightenment (at least not yet)--but thousands upon thousands of hours of some kind of practice.

One other way that we practice attention is through the use of Gathas: small, simple, regular sayings which we attach to daily chores or other activities, and that can serve as a simple mechanical reminder that such "mundane" (really, what else is there in the universe except "the mundane"?) activities are likewise part of the sacred present. So, you tape a slip of paper on the land-line's receiver that reads, "hearing the bell of the telephone, I remind myself to wake up to the sounds of life all around me"; on the cupboard door, "taking down this cup, I remember to empty my own cup of preconceptions so I may be open to learning new things"; or, my own particular construction, before eating "May all beings be fed".

Although it may seem a fairly simple, repetitious, or even automatic/unthinking kind of habit, the gatha is actually a pretty effective (and certainly low-effort--how long does it take to recite "May all beings be fed"?) means of reminding us that the sacred is not separate from the mundane, the future from the present, or our own consciousness from the consciousnesses around us.

So one of my gathas is, before eating, to recite "May all beings be fed", because it reminds me to wake up and pay attention to the fact that some beings are not being fed and that I am both fortunate to have food, and obligated share it.

Likewise another gatha, to remind me me not to extrapolate excessively, unsuitably, or egocentrically from my own personal history. This one takes me outward, reminds me that my experience is neither ubiquitous, authoritative, or independent of others--and teaches me a daily repetitious healthy does of humility: hence, before Dispensing Opinion to a student, always preface with the gatha:

"In my observation and experience..."

Below the jump: Mister Man sacked out in the guest room:

Sunday, March 08, 2009

PBS: Ur doin' it right

When you blast into the local (really not-very-good) PBS television station to "help" them with their Pledge Drive, and the promotions director meets you at the door, and says "our other person left! can you do this next break?!?" and you say "how long 'til the break" and they say "90 seconds!" and you say "sure",

and they snake the lavalier mic into your lapel, and tell you "Camera One!" and the red light goes on, and you just turn on the internal verbal faucet labeled "fund-raise",

and out comes about 90 seconds of reasonably competent improvised pitching, with no "ums" or "ahs" or obvious verbal gaffes.

And the camera guy says "we're clear",

and the old guy behind you, who's the CEO of the local freeze-dried food-processing non-profit company (basically, civilian MRE's) and who over the years have shipped one billion meals to catastrophe areas around the globe, and whose staff are manning the phones tonight, says to you:

"This ain't yer first time at the rodeo, is it?"

And you answer,

"No sir...it ain't even my first time at the dance"

And he nods and says, "That's what I figgered."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Quick hit: posturing high school students

Just back the weekly coffeehouse gig, where old buddy Coop (flute) and I held down the tunes. Music was nice--in fact, we played the 'nads off the tunes tonight--to a mostly oblivious crowd.

In any town without much in the way of other "youth" hangouts, the coffeehouses are bound to get taken over by posturing high-school students, particularly the ones who don't have band practice or parties or dates or church. And that means there's a good deal of odd clothing choices, self-conscious posturing, and more-or-less unconsciousness of anything outside the self-absorbed bubble.

Was getting ready to rant about it on the way back from the gig, but then reminded myself that I've been playing for posturing high-school students since at least 1974--Jesus, thirty-five years!--and so, at the very least, I oughta be used to it. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," right? So ranting about posturing high-school students like it's gonna matter, when it never has before, is a fool's errand at best.

Besides--as occurred to me on the ride home--I don't really have any room to bitch about posturing high-school students...because, in 1974 on the coffeehouse stages, I was one.

Sobering--but at least it deflates the hubris.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Off-topic pop-culture blogging

I've never really gotten or dug the whole Ricky Gervais phenomenon, but The Office (American version) is about as good as network TV gets. Partly it's because most of them are trained in improv comedy, partly it's because they're actually an ensemble (y'know, with story arcs and character development and all that other "archaic" shit that Reality TV made "irrelevant"), partly because the writing is top-notch, partly because this is television obviously aimed at an audience made up of grownups--not Ritalined-out adolescent teenage boys (think The Girls Next Door) or terrified retirees (the entire Fox "News" network).

But mostly it's because of the acting: people standing on a soundstage portraying complex, flawed, likable/excruciating characters.

And, there's this: from a fan-base who obviously have way too much time on their hands:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Day 37 (round III) "In the trenches" (corner-loading edition)

I don't know when I first developed a strong propensity for sitting in public places with my back to a wall: could have been my time as a barroom doorman, or some of the bars I played, or even just reach back to my early-adolescent self-dramatization. At any rate and for whatever reason, and as Dharmonia can attest, I get a little woodgy sitting in a pub or restaurant--or party or concert, for that matter--with my back to the room.

But I don't think it's just self-dramatization...because I've been prioritizing sitting in the corner to play music--usually acoustic music--almost as long as I've been playing music, and that's almost forty years. I learned, close to four decades ago, that the corner of a performance space was a powerful place: not just for what it provided for vision or vantage--the ability to see the entire space and the interactions of pretty much everyone within it within a 90-degree arc--but also because of the acoustic AND semiotic energy that it focused.

There's a beautiful, iconic oil painting which was used for the 1970s reissue of the Robert Johnson blues 78s from the late 1930s; at that time, none of us had ever seen the beautiful couple of posed photos that are the authenticated portraits of Johnson.

http://www.rollingstonesnet.com/images/KingoftheDelta2.jpg The image also picks up on a story that was told by the great recording engineer H. C. Speir about Robert's first sessions in a San Antonio hotel room in 1936--a story that was picked up again in Walter Hill's flawed but evocative Crossroads: Speir told the story that, at that first iconic session, Robert was so nervous that he refused to face the microphone. Instead, he dragged a chair across the room and insisted on playing facing the corner. The way they told the story in the '70s, it was "evidence" of Robert's "tortured shyness" and hence, in the cut-rate Romanticism that blues heads still tried to find in their (preferably deceased and therefore speechless) heroes, of his "greatness."

In fact, as Ry Cooder, music consultant (and guitar soloist) for Hill's film, made clear, it was nothing of the sort: it was evidence of Robert's precise, imaginative, and expert manipulation of available artistic resources. As Elijah Wald argued in his great Escaping the Delta, Robert was anything but "primitive." Though only a generation separated him (born in 1911) from the great Charlie Patton (born in 1891, and the real "King of the Delta Blues"), Robert was infinitely more aware of the big world out there, up to and including the medium of "electrical recording," which was already--by '36--drastically transforming blues singers' sense of their own horizons. Patton played for booze and smokes and fish sandwiches--and for the women who usually wound up supporting him--but Robert, who was probably playing electric guitar, with a full rhythm section, before he died in '38, was carefully crafting an approach to songs and arrangements that was intimately aware of the restrictions, and the possibilities, of the 78-rpm record.

What Robert understood, in his very first recording session, was that facing into a corner would "load" the bass frequencies--compressing, concentrating, and amplifying the sound of his Stella guitar--so that much more of the performance's dynamic range would come out: the complexity of the arrangements, the subtlety of the slide work, and so on. The result was that the records sounded different than almost any previous solo blues performances.

Well, corner-loading works pretty well--and not only for recording. Pretty much every session I've ever led--by chance, intent, request, or coincidence--I've tried to get myself stuck into the corner with my back to the wall. Aside from assuaging my sub-"Aces & Eights" paranoia, sitting in the corner usually means that the sound is a little better focused, that other players can hear me a little better, and that--maybe least obviously but most significantly of all--I can see what's happening.

Sure, there's the simple geometry of facing outward from the intersection of a 90 degree right angle: 1/4 of the horizon, pretty easy to see everything across and around the room. With the players facing inward toward one another in the circle, we can all hear each other.

But it also lets me see beyond the players, and listen past the sound, to what else is going on around the room. When leading a session, I can't move around too much--though I will put down the instrument while the other players continue, and "work the room" like a politician, saying hello, making introductions, hunting chairs for people, and so forth--but even while playing, I can observe what's happening. And only about 1/2 my attention is on the music--and on a good night, it's even less than that.

Instead, and beyond, what I'm paying attention to is the various markers, visual and otherwise, that tend to reveal the social dynamics of the experience that everyone present is having: who's talking? who's listening? which asshole just waltzed into a room where no other person is smoking and fired up his ostentatiously-cool American Spirit cigarette? Is it time to climb on a table right over that asshole and turn the ceiling fan on High? Who's buying drinks for whom? How many are familiar faces? Which ones, of those we know, look like they need a little help or some attention? Who's unfamiliar? Who looks like they just wandered in by chance, and how is that person reacting? Is s/he looking around bewildered, or just happily surprised?

I think about this shit constantly during a session, and even more when the music is going really well and I can split my attention to other things. Because I think the music can heal people. Because I actually think it's possible to pick the right tune at the right moment and make life better for every single person present--at least for that 3:00 minutes--if I'm paying close enough attention and making the right choices based on that moment-by-moment attention.

I believe the music can do that.

This poem has been on my office door since Sept 12 2001:

"Music happens inside you. It moves the things that are there from place to place. It can make them fly. It can bring you the past. It can bring you the things that you do not know. It can bring you into the moment that is happening. It can bring you a cure."
Timothy O' Grady (I Could Read The Sky).
I believe it about the classroom, too.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Why Coyote's not at blog today*

Here's why:

  • 5:30am alarm
  • 6:00am elliptical
  • 7:00am quick breakfast
  • 7:30-8:45am University breakfast for top academic student recruits: talking up Study Abroad and the Ireland class
  • 9:00am race to pick up Dharmonia for her morning meeting
  • 9:15-10:45am edit video of the Celtic Ensemble (still hoping-against-hope for a successful--if costly--recovery of crashed 500gb hard-drive)
  • 11-11:50am teach sophomore music history class, cope with technology glitches, read the riot act to the dozen students who think the Friday TA-led discussion meetings are "optional"
  • 12-12:30pm code, publish, and upload Flash slideshow in aftermath of history class
  • 12:30-1:00pm fine-tune slideshow for upcoming 1:00pm class, print mid-term exam forms
  • 1-1:50pm administer mid-term in Ireland class--realize that I'll have a stack of multi-page essays to grade
  • 2-3:30pm catch up with recommendations, paperwork, weirdo student actings-out in various of our music appreciation classes
  • 3:30-5pm mentoring meeting with tenure-stream colleague
  • 5:15pm race home, feed Mister Man, create some dinner that'll keep for Dharmonia when she gets home after rehearsal
  • 6:30pm down the street to lead monthly Irish ceili dance at neighborhood coffee-shop
  • 7-9:35pm play for/lead dance
  • 9:50pm home to start preparing for next day
And that's why Coyote's not at blog today.

Will try to do better tomorrow.

Below the jump: dawn (and spring blossoms) on the South Plains.

*See "Paddy's Not at Work Today".