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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Monday, February 26, 2024

Model of relation between words and music (classical, dualistic model)

 The words come first. The melody is a "setting" of a previously written usually canonical poem. 

The process of song setting is not collaborative.  

Words and music are fundamentally at odds. The composer overrides the poet's art.  


Reverse this, and you get the "organic" model. Neither words or music are essentially prior, and either might come first as a matter of practice. 

Songwriting is often collaborative, or can be done by one person writing both words and music. 

The listener experiences the words of the song as "the words of the song," not as a melodic imposition on a previous text. 


Neither model is correct in absolute terms, but clarity emerges if we contrast the two models. The second, vernacular paradigm has more far-ranging applicability than a model pertaining only to Western art song. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

New York Times

"'Reading Genesis' is, as the title suggests, Robinson’s literary analysis of the first book of the Old Testament — one writer’s appreciation of the enduring work of others. Like so much of Robinson’s writing, the book is alive with questions of kindness, community and how to express what we so often struggle to put into words. 'An argument that I make in the book,' Robinson says, puckishly implying a counterargument to contemporary mores, 'is that God is patient, loves human beings, suspends judgment and is not inclined toward punitive behaviors.'"

I'm thinking that's a nice set of sentiments, but why project our values onto Genesis? It's not a  "counterargument against contemporary mores, but more like a projection of them. 

A few punitive moves jump into my mind: the flood, casting Adam and Eve out of the garden, Sodom...  

Saturday, February 24, 2024

How a shirt dries

 Still submerged in water, the shirt will not begin to dry. It is maximally saturated with water. Once lifted out, a great deal of liquid will fall from it rapidly: it was not absorbed into the fibers in the first place, and thus has no way for it to hold on. At this point, more water will be shedded manually, through a process of squeezing or wringing out the excess. Some tub or basin, or the equivalent, will catch whatever falls, if this process should occur indoors. 

Now the shirt is hung, perhaps with companion items of clothing or linen, in a place where any stray drips will caught by the appropriate receptacle--or unto the ground in the case of outside drying. Gravity will pull some of the moisture toward the bottom regions of the garment, such that the upper part will dry at a faster rate. Nevertheless, it is evaporation, rather than this downward pull, that has the greatest overall effect. Thicker or denser fabric will dry more slowly. Warmer, dryer air will accelerate the process. In a hot wind, outside, a wet shirt doesn't stand a chance. 

Friday, February 23, 2024


 I read most of a book of interviews with Valente. He insists over and over on the distinction between orthodoxy and heterodoxy.  (It is funny, too, how he repeats the same metaphors over and over. He is the "long distance runner" distant from his own contemporaries. It is striking how self-righteous he is and how ungenerous with other writers: he only saves a very few, and even comes down hard on some former friends.)   

It struck me that the concepts of orthodoxy and heterodoxy are devoid of content. They are purely relational. In other words, you can't tell whether a given belief is orthodox or heterodox unless you know who is in power, and what those in power happen to have decreed to be the right beliefs. So heterodoxy is not some marvelous thing in and of itself, and heterodox ideas might well be mistaken. It's still a bad idea to have an orthodoxy (a set of beliefs designated correct by who's in power). The reason is not that the orthodox views are wrong (they might very well be correct) but that power always puts its thumb on the scale. We don't know any longer whether a belief is true, or simply one favored in contingent circumstances by someone who happens to wield power.  

Because some heretics are wrong does not justify the existence of an orthodoxy, someone with the power to call someone a heretic. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Two gears

 I ran six k this morning.  

I did it slow, fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, 

where slow is an 8 minute k, "fast" is 7:15 (or 6:45 in the case of the last kilometer). I have two gears. The really fast gear, at 6 minute kilometers, is not sustainable for me yet (or any longer!).    

I'm thinking this was easy, in that I feel not very tired an hour later. Forgetting seems to be an essential part of it: I am blessed with poor memory so I can barely remember this run involving much effort. I just feel the runner's high.  

Just to put it in terms of the 5K I am training for.  

5 minute ks = 25

6 minute k = 30

7 minute k = 35

8 minute k = 40. 

My personal best is just under 30.  


Coming home, I wrote an abstract for the NOLA MLA in 2025. 


I got a request for a promotion case from the UK.  I should be able to do that. Also have spring break trip to Spain coming up.  I need to plan that.  

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Dream of Patagonia boat race

 I was on a plane and reading a book. The table of contents looked cryptic, literally in some kind of terse code. One part I read had to do with some boat races near Antarctica: apparently the navy was racing captains against each other to decide which ones got to be the captains of ships. There was a great loss of life and material because the conditions were "near blizzard." I couldn't read more in the book: I could make out very small portions of large paragraphs.  

We were watching the video of the plane's camera. It seemed dangerous because we had to pass through narrow spaces. Then someone told me the video had nothing to do with our plane's trajectory at all. 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Dream of misspelled name

 This really happened. The Deans mispelled my name on a little commemorative item they gave me for being interim chair.  They promised to give me one with my name spelled right, but that hasn't happened yet (two months later).  

In my dream, they gave me the corrected plaque in some kind of public ceremony, but I looked and it still said "Johnathan" instead of "Jonathan." They asked me if it was spelled right, I looked, and said "No.  What the fuck?" I was embarrassed / not embarrassed for cursing like that in public.   

Monday, February 12, 2024

comic genius

 It keeps getting better

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Dream of unrestful sleep

 I dreamt of someone coming in constantly to clean as I tried to sleep (maternal figure). I was trying to explain to her that I only had a few hours to sleep before I would have to get up anyway.  

When I did wake up from the dream, I realized that I had actually slept (since I was dreaming) while experiencing this sleep as unrestful (someone trying to prevent me from sleeping). I had been awake for several hours before falling asleep and then having the unrestful dream.