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Friday, March 28, 2008

Best Days

A short time ago I asked friends for some song recommendations. Some I had heard, some I hadn't. And that's where the fun comes in. To me, it seems as if we spend so much of our youth listening to music, having it be a very important part of our lives (who doesn't have memories that revolve around music?) and then have a time when it seems we separate from that part of ourselves for a brief time only to find it again. Perhaps it was "growing up" (whatever that term really means) when we go through a musical change.

I went through a stretch of time when music didn't hold much appeal, mostly I think because the radio stations in the place I was living were going through changes and played what seemed like weird music. Finding music again was a joy. And while I don't claim to be on top of the "latest" music today, I know I can ask people to give me some recommendations and I'll get music I haven't heard, some of which I'll like, and some not so much, but the newness is inspiring.

The constant changing, updating, next-new-thing keeps everyone somewhat unsettled, and yet music can be a unifying experience. As we grow we find our musical nitch, those songs, genres that speak to us, that we put on in the wee hours of the morning when we can't sleep, or when despair rears its ugly head. And yet new songs, new sounds find us, and take hold when we're not looking. Thank goodness for friends who say,"try this" or "here's a song you might like." I know I don't listen to the radio like I used to as a kid. I know the songs I like and am more likely to put on a cd, or listen to my iPod. But I've found new songs in ways I never used to before. Through this music, I've truly found the best days.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Don't Know Much About History

I guess I've always had an interest in history. I remember watching a repeat showing of Ken Burns' The Civil War back in 1991 at the same time the U.S. was bombing Bagdad at the beginning of Gulf War I. It provided a very unique view of the war we were just beginning, juxtaposed with a war from 130 years earlier.

During the just concluded quarter in my Writing and Intellectual Property in the Digital Age class, Shaun Slattery kept referring to a biography of Benjamin Franklin he was reading. He brought up the history of copyright, and the change in technology since Franklin's time.

Tonight, HBO is beginning a seven-part adaptation of David McCullough's John Adams. I watched a "Making of..." special they ran which discussed the authenticity the producers tried to bring to the production. They wanted people to know what it was really like in 1775, how difficult a choice rebellion was for the colonists.

I am currently reading Benedict Arnold's Navy by James L. Nelson and I just bought McCullough's book today. I need to read more history, learn more about our country's history, and world history, and understand how we got to where we are. I don't want to be one of those people who know more about popular culture than about what's going on in the world. I'm always horrified at the "man in the street" segments Jay Leno does, with the stupidity of people almost a badge of honor.

Can we afford not to be informed, whether it is current events or historical events? Is it true that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The historical perspective presents a vastly different view of an event, a period. Discovering our own history will give us a perspective on today's world and may help us better understand the world and times we live in.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Winter Rant

Today is the first day of meteorological spring. and for once, it doesn't feel too bad. It's been a winter of snow, and cold, and ice, that has turned into a late winter of snow, and cold, and ice, and potholes. Maybe we've been spoiled. Maybe the last few years have been too nice. Maybe it's just that we had a rather nice fall (and that I was traveling out of the area quite a bit during the fall). Or, maybe it's just because this winter has been wetter, and snowier, and greyer than usual. Maybe it's because the temperatures have been running below normal. Maybe it's because we went through a stretch during which everyone's car was "white" with salt.

Even the newscasters, both television and radio, are getting fed up with this weather. One radio guy, when discussing when the snow would go away, said, "May, it'll be gone by May." I hope we don't have to wait that long. Yes, it's been staying light longer--a sure sign that spring is on its way. Yes, the sun has been rising higher in the sky. Still, I shovelled once again yesterday, and more snow is predicted for this coming week, though temperatures have been moderating. It's time for a change.

But we're not quite there yet. We are on the cusp of a change. It's spring training, the start of a new year, a time to challenge the old, try out the new, a safe time of trial and error. It's the time before the change, when you're struggling to get out of the old, and into the new, and feeling all the while as if it may never happen. Then one day, in the midst of a busy life, you look up. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, the trees are budding, the season has started.

I'm not missing this change this year. I'm here, I'm ready, I'm going to be a part, I'm going to play a role. Winter has seen its days, be gone! Spring training is here, and my spirit is ready for a fresh, clean, unpotholed start!