Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top 100 Living Geniuses

This is an interesting list - I'm surprised at some of the people on it. I love that Matt Groening out ranked Steven Hawking (and that Osama Bin Laden, Bill Gates, and Mohammed Ali are all tied for 43rd place!!)
Full List via ArtsJournal

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Carnival of the Animals

This morning's ear worm is Carnival of the Animals.
(I love this video - they're having so much fun!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Am I the only one who has noticed that the program notes provided to concert goers are, in the main, so badly written as to be embarrassing? To be a program annotator, it seems, one must have passed a course in turgid prose and have demonstrated proficiency in windy, circuitous, elliptical writing. Thirty five years ago, when I was a college undergraduate, I remember complaining to a professor that the program notes regularly provided by the National Symphony Orchestra to the Kennedy Center faithful were appallingly bad. "They are, to paraphrase Anna Russell," he sighed, "written by great experts to impress -- and for the edification of -- other great experts." Not much has changed.
Full Editorial

The Library of Congress is Missing!

An investigation has revealed that 13% of the Library of Congress's collection of books and periodicals cannot be located at the present time. "Officials at the library say they believe most of the missing materials are misplaced, not stolen or lost." Still, the revelation is being called "deeply troubling" by those in charge of the nation's primary print archive.
Full Article via ArtsJournal

Thursday, October 18, 2007

For the VW Siblings

Once upon a time, the VW family visited Fort Bowie in Arizona.
Those who were not there will never understand, but my siblings (and perhaps my parents) will chuckle at this little blurb from the Fort Bowie website The hike in to the fort is part of the Fort Bowie experience

Yeah - it sure is!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fun Diverstion

If you're looking for a 90 second diversion to whatever it was that you were supposed to be doing - you might check out this map on how religions have spread across the world!
Via Questioning Christian

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Random Tidbits of Assorted News

Blame it on the Brothers!
Sons are tough on their mothers. Whether it is heavier birth weights, amplified testosterone levels or simple, hair-raising high jinks, boys seem to take an extra toll on the women who gave birth to them. And by poring over Finnish church records from two centuries ago, Virpi Lummaa of the University of Sheffield in England can prove it: sons reduce a mother’s life span by an average of 34 weeks.

Full Article

Note to Self - Don't Catch Cholera
The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most are good and help digest food. But sometimes the flora of bacteria in the intestines die or are purged. Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix's job is to reboot the digestive system in that case
Learn About the Purpose of the Appendix

Monday, October 08, 2007

Movie Music

As a rule, film score classical music is used as a shorthand: Handel indicates that the snobs have arrived, Mahler that someone is about to die, but not before pouting about it, and Wagner is a sure sign that big trouble's a-brewing. This cultural semaphore system was established in the silent-film era, when no monster worth his salt would dream of making his entrance without the accompaniment of Bach's Toccatta and Fugue in D or something equally theatrical by Liszt. The tradition continues today: Vivaldi's ludicrously overplayed Four Seasons invariably indicates that the stuffed shirts are having brunch; Beethoven's Ode to Joy announces that Armageddon may be just around the corner; and anytime an aria by Verdi, Bellini or Puccini is heard, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone is going to get raped, stabbed, blinded, buried alive or impaled.
Full Article via Arts Journal

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Summer Booklist

I'm late in posting my summer readlist (call it denial - I'm not ready for summer to be over!) And so, without further ado . . .

Dealing with Dragons Patricia C. Wrede
Found while randomly browsing the library. A nice little fairy tale style book (sort of in the style of Shrek)

Searching for Dragons Patricia C. Wrede
The sequel to Dealing with Dragons - there are a few more books in the series and it's light reading. I'll probably go through them all!

The Hound of the Baskervilles Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock holmes of Baker Street
I'm on a little bit of a Sherlock Holmes kick - this is good stuff and future lists will no doubt include more of Mr. Holmes's adventures!

Lions, tigers and bears
Read for work. It left much to be desired!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Really, I had no choice but to love it. Certinaly not the strongest book of the series, but a tidy end to 10 years worth of adventures.

Among School Children Tracy Kidder
This was a great little book that follows the school year of a teacher. Easy read and highly recommended!

A Treasury of Great American Scandals Farquhar, Michael
I found this at the library while searching for audio books narrated by Johnny Heller (because he does a pretty good job reading aloud!) I need to do more searches by reader!

Museum: Behind the scenes at the Metropolitan museum of Art Danny Danziger
Recommended by amazon (and avaliable at the library) this book was a gold mine of information. Basically a series of interviews with people who work at the Met. FASCINATING!

Mindset: Psychology of New Success
Recommended by a friend - interesting book (but if you read the first few chapters, you basically have the whole book).

Poetry in Urban Classrooms
Read for work - this book should really be titled "Poetry in One Urban Classroom"
It was not what I expected (and not very helpful with my work project)

Lewis & Clark The Journey of the Crop of Discovery Dayton Duncan
Audiobook based on the Ken Burns series - one of the readers is they fella who played Adam on Northern Exposure (It drove me crazy trying to figure out how I recognized his voiced!)

Teach like your hair's on fire Rafee
Rafe is recognized as one of the best teachers in the U.S. The book is an easy read and very interesting. (But falls short of making me want to go back into the classroom thankyouverymuch!)

Meet the Austins and A Ring of Endless Light Madeline L'Engle
No surprises here - these have become sort of my funeral books. There is something very comforting about the O'Keefe and Austin families that has a magnetic pull after a funeral. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
To refresh my memory while waiting for book 7!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Brahms & VanHalen

From Rachel Barton's email newsletter . . .
Last month, I had the great honor of spending an evening with Uli Jon Roth (of the Scorpions). At one point, he asked me to play his favorite part of the Brahms Violin Concerto – the end of the exposition of the first movement. When I got to the intense sixteenth-note passage, he pointed out that, years ago, he had started incorporating that lick into some of his guitar solos, and then “Eddie” (meaning Van Halen, of course) had started copying him, and then all of the other guitarists started copying Eddie. I was blown away to learn that this lick which every guitarist plays these days originated from Brahms

Monday, October 01, 2007

Locks of Love

I (finally) got a haircut.
10 inches is a lot more than I thought
(It's almost too short for a popper pony tail!)
And I'm glad I didn't get overly generous and go for 12!
But I'm sensing far fewer tangles in my future and my head feels so much lighter!
(And when I spin around, my hair sorta does that slow-motion-shampoo-commercial thing!)

It's a Boy!

Congratulations to Josh Bell and Lisa Matricardi on the birth of a son - Josef Matricardi Bell!
Read more at the MPR Blog or go straight to the source himself!

While searching for a news article to confirm all this, I came across an interesting piece from the Des Moines Register. Those of you who happen to know of my ::ahem:: dislike of a certain pompous, Des Moines area violin player, might find it interesting. (And don't get me started on the corsets comment - egomaniac).