Sunday, November 07, 2004

"From the Top" and other miscellaneous reflections

From the Top – worth a listen
• Driving back to campus from Hume, on Sunday afternoons often gives me the opportunity to listen to ‘From the Top’ ( an NPR program (heard on WETA from 4:00 to 5:00 PM) that showcases some of the finest middle-school and high school age classical musicians in the US. The program often originates from the New England Conservatory of Music, but originated this week from Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra provided back up for a Mendelssohn piano concerto, a Debussy harp concerto, and a Tchaikhovsky (sp?) violin concerto. It played a tone poem, written by an eleven year old boy who has adopted the pseudonym, ‘Blue Jay’ commemorating September 11.
• The musicianship of the young performers is always professional – many have already begun performing on the concert stage. But what particularly interests me is the stories of these young women and men, who, with the support of their parents, have achieved such a high level of musicianship. They have gotten in touch with their talent and are striving to be the very best they can be. All of them must have the self-discipline to practice for two or three hours each day and then the poise to present themselves in the concert hall. I am reminded of one of my very favorite books, Jonathan Livingston Seagull – I looked to see if I could find a copy in my apartment to quote from, but couldn’t. But the text is on line at And definitely worth a read if you are not familiar with the book. Here is a quote.
• What he had once hoped for the Flock, he now gained for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had paid. Jonathan Scagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.
• I have thought about returning to my principal professional skill – computer modeling – with the discipline that daily practice requires, but have not yet achieved the single mindedness and sacrifices that this would require.

Carrying groceries – not my favorite thing
• Carrying groceries from the barrier to my apartment is not my most favorite activity. Friday night the load was heavy, with 20 or more signed up for Lasagna on Sunday night. But God had sent me a miracle in the person of a kind young lady named Colleen. When I expressed concern about the weight of my parcels she said there was nothing to worry about – she was a member of AU’s rugby team. I worried no further. Thank you Colleen. Should any of the rest of you see me carrying in green recycle bags of groceries from the barriers, an offer of assistance would not be refused.

Fire Evacuation
• There was a South Side fire evacuation about midnight. People were in much better spirits than at 3 AM, though I still dispensed a full salad bowl full of candy. Early to bed south siders were back in bed before 1 AM.
• Dinner at the faculty residents apartment
• These seem to be catching on. We had about twenty, help with the dishes and a great evening. This was my first experiment with Lasagna noodles that don’t require boiling – they seemed to work well and were a bit time saver, as advertised.
• I didn’t get to my ironing tonight. 11:30 is late enough for me. Let there be no fire evacuation will be part of my evening prayers.



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