Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Surprise, Surprise

Alrighty Then


Remember all those touching, feel-good stories after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died about what good friends he was with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Really sweet, and lots of people observed that their relationship should be a model for our politics.

But as it turns out, Justice Ginsburg is glad her "buddy" died, so that the political outcomes she desires can be more easily brought about.

There is something about the progressive mindset that brings out the worst in people, and Ginsburg's recent comments leave no doubt that she's a True Believer in the progressive faith.

"Wow. I sure hope the RNC delegates are paying attention."

I'm guessing they're probably too busy wrangling over meaningless platform language to care about the real world...

Favorite Toy

As I have mentioned in this space before, my Mr. Coffee Café Barista machine is one of the best gifts I've ever received, and I continue to enjoy it daily.

Recently it began acting up a bit, and
it turned out I needed to replace the double-shot filter. It only took two days for the new one to arrive.

The cost of the replacement part? Just $2.99. One more reason to love my Cafe Barista.

"That thing makes an ungodly racket, though."

It does no such thing...and it makes great coffee beverages, so a little noise is more than acceptable...

Happy Birthday!

Thoreau in 1856
On July 12, 1817 Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts.

One of the most significant writers in the first half of the 19th century, Thoreau was of course a part of the American Literature curriculum everywhere I ever taught it. Excerpts from Walden and his essay "Resistance to Civil Government" (also known as "Civil Disobedience") were deeply affecting for my students, and I always looked forward to those lessons.

There is still a part of me that finds the idea of living alone in the woods appealing, too.
Woman with Red Hair, 1917

On July 12, 1884 Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born in Livorno, Italy. He spent his youth in Italy, studying the great art produced there, before moving to Paris
at age 22.

As is often the case with artists, his work was not widely popular during his lifetime, but gained in stature after his death at just 35 from tubercular meningitis.

I own prints of a few of his works, and they were always among the paintings that evoked the strongest reactions from my students when hung in my classrooms.
In particular his habit of painting a subject's eyes black was controversial.

Of course, the whole point of having great artwork hanging in my classroom was to facilitate discussions tying in to the study of how language and human communication operate, so Modigliani was one of my better teaching aids over the years.

Everybody Should Have a Hobby

From the delightfully off-kilter webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe, which you should read every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On July 12, 1934 Harvey Lavan Cliburn, Jr. was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He began taking piano lessons from his mother at age 3, after she noticed him imitating some of the students she tutored on the instrument. His family moved to Texas when
he was 6, and Van Cliburn won his first piano competition not long thereafter.

He entered the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City when he was 17, made his Carnegie Hall debut at 20, and achieved worldwide fame by winning the inaugural Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition at just age 23.

1992 compact disc release
A key component of Van Cliburn's enduring popularity was his effort to introduce mainstream audiences to classical music in small doses.
In September 1972, for instance, he released an album called The World's Favorite Piano Music featuring very short pieces by some of the most celebrated classical composers.

It quickly became one of his best- selling recordings. Van would often feature such short pieces on his frequent TV appearances.

In July 1992 the album was re-released on compact disc with some additional selections, and again was a highly popular recording. I enjoyed the album because so many of its pieces were the perfect length for use as journal time music for my students.

Today's send-off is that album's superb recording of Consolation No. 5 in E major,
by Franz Liszt. Enjoy...

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