Monthly Archives: May 2007

Softly as in a Morning Sunrise

Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” is one of my most recent favorite Jazz standards. Here I have taken pieces from five separate versions and put them together. This is a nice way to see how different musicians approach and interpret the piece differently. Each version coincides with the photo from the album from which the version comes, as listed here:

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India: The John Coltrane Quartet with Eric Dolphy

I have taken the metro to work everyday this week which is not always a pretty site (but that’s for another post). One thing that gets me through the one hour ride (with three changes) is listening to music on my iPod Shuffle (courtesy of FON). This morning I was listening to one of the four versions of “India” from John Coltrane’s The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings. What an amazing work of intensity, not only from the three other members of Coltrane’s Quartet (McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones), but also from Eric Dolphy. Coltrane on soprano sax and Dolphy on bass clarinet both really push the limits. It takes a while to start appreciating music this intense, but once you do, there really is no going back.

Both Coltrane and Dolphy died way before their time, Coltrane of cancer and Dolphy of a diabetic coma. I know that the video isn’t too exciting, but I wanted to share this music. Most of the images are of Coltrane and Dolphy, but there are also some of Tyner, Garrison and Jones.

Here is All Music’s review: Continue reading

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Research and Study Group on Gender in Morocco

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If you speak and or read French, here is a really interesting new blog, GREGaM – Groupe de recherche et d’études sur le genre au Maroc. I don’t read or speak French, so you’re just going to have to trust me. One of its creators is a friend of mine. Well, actually I don’t know her that well, but she a friend’s girlfriend and is a very smart and fascinating academic. Check it out!

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A Bend in the River

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The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

The first line of V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River is very provocative. Naipaul spares no one any pity or compassion in his portrayal of a brutal world. But, I am not sure that I would fully agree.

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How Many Galletas Can One Man Eat?

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Si la pregunta del día en FON fuera

How many galletas can one man eat
Before you can call him a man?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind.

La respuesta sería aún muchas más.

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In a Free State

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Last night I finished In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul, the 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I had previously read A House for Mr. Biswas and A Bend in the River. In a Free State is really three novellas dealing with individuals who have all left their homelands in search of some form of freedom (all for various different reasons) and have eventually found themselves even further lost than before. Continue reading

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I’m Going to Be Totally Honest with You

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In Paris on Sunday, I was having a late lunch in a restaurant and was reminded of something I had noticed in Ibiza on my way to Formentera last year, life is better when you speak fewer languages:

At the port, I also learned another interesting piece of information about myself: I am perfectly happy to only speak English and Spanish. What I love is the sound of language. It is great to be able to listen to language and not understand the words. That way you can project any meaning onto the words that you choose or simply enjoy the words as if they were the sounds coming from musical instruments. What is worst of all is when you actually understand what is being said and are forced to follow someone else’s conversation. You learn that people have the most irrelevant, mundane, and even offensively simple-minded verbal exchanges. It is analogous to having someone fart on the elevator. They are sharing their innermost bodily stink with you, the doors are shut, and there is no where to go for fresh air. So, I sat and listened, mainly to Mallorquín being spoken, and loved every minute of it.

And when the person sitting next to you is from your own country and you overhear his conversation, especially when he is saying repeated, “I’m going to be totally honest with you,” you really want to puke! We often think of “prejudice” as a negative thing, but it is also an important defense mechanism that allows us to make split second decisions about how to react to certain stimuli. In other words, “prejudice” (and I am not talking about “racial prejudice” but the ability to make pre-determinations) keeps us from dealing with such incredible merde. Continue reading

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