Category Archives: Jonathan recommends

Another recommendation

After hearing the work in church today, I’m completely enamored afresh of Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine, a piece I’ve played the violin for before, though I have no idea when or where.  The melody came back to me like an old friend.

Here’s a good arrangment I found on YouTube.  Sit quietly for a minute in a comfortable place, take a few slow deep breaths to recenter yourself, click on the link, and close your eyes for five minutes.  You will be a better person for it.

Some of the other YouTube videos had the theoretically pleasing addition of a harp, though the few harps I heard were tuned a distressing quarter-tone flat.

Amazingly, Faure wrote the piece when he was only 19 years old!

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Filed under Jonathan recommends, Music

How "on the go" changes us

The April 12 issue of The Economist had an outstanding special report called “Nomads at last.” It examined the sociological implications of mobile technology like cellular phones, BlackBerrys, Wi-Fi hotspots, the ubiquity of the internet, etc.

While there is much to say regarding the technology itself, the report focused on how these devices change where and how we work, how we construct buildings, how we build cities, how we drive, how we relate to family and strangers, and how we use language.

The free online version can be found here. The webpage that comes up is merely the first article in the special report. Click on “next article” at the bottom for continued reading.

Read it. You will be a better person for it.

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Filed under Jonathan recommends, The Economist

Worth the read

I started reading the blog Stuff White People Like when it had only one million hits. Today, that number is rapidly approaching twenty million.

The blog is witty, funny, and well-written (excepting occasional grammatical errors). It gently pokes fun at generic white culture. The format is simple: Identify a fairly common facet of white culture, parody it, and then instruct the reader how to use it to his advantage.

The blog’s humor deftly toes racial lines without causing offense (at least on my part) by staying within certain boudaries. Primarily, it resorts to stereotypes that are not always accurate. A quick skim of the comments will show how many “non-white” readers identify with the posts, and vice versa. Secondly, its tone is consistently light-hearted. It’s easy to separate teasing from derision. And lastly, the absurd proposition embedded within every post that this knowledge can be used for one’s advantage highlights the comical aspect of the writing.

In sum, if you ever find yourself donning a North Face jacket, eating an $8 sandwich, studying art or the humanities, attending an Oscar Party, preferring microbreweries, or knowing What Is Best for poor people, then this blog is for you.

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A slushy day in NYC

This year, evidently, has been unusual for very little snowfall in New York City. Last night as I walked to the fitness center at Columbia (of which I’m a new “guest” member), a “wintry mix” fell lightly from the sky. This continued through the night and during the day, so by the time I left work today at 5:30, snow was piled on the sidewalks and the streets were full of a wet, brown slush. I thought it was fun to wade across the small drifts.

On the agenda for Valentine’s Day evening were a couple possibilities: a violin recital at Juilliard, or laundry. Sexy though it is not, laundry won out. However, it is hard to beat padding around the apartment in scrub-pants, socks, and tee-shirt with a cup of hot tea.

I found the picture above recently. It’s an aerial view of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (where Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught last century) with Riverside Church in the background. My church meets in a chapel at the seminary.

One more thing of note: I bought “Loving shepherd of thy sheep” on iTunes. Highly recommended.

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My new computer

Tempted as I may be to start this post with apologies to my loyal readers (I know you’re out there, E.K. and M.G.!!!) for writing so infrequently this January, I will instead begin with praise for my new computer which arrived today.

It’s a Dell Inspiron E1505 notebook. The sleek Intel Core Duo processor and a full gigabyte of RAM mean the computer easily laps my nearly 6-year-old Dell Inspiron. Indeed, as I’m writing this post, iTunes is serenading me and Windows is installing 21 updates in the background, and the clip is still Barbaroic.

Why not Apple? Perhaps I identify too much with the PC guy in the commercials. Perhaps I stick with a PC since I’ve always used a PC. But even more significantly, the one-button mouse found on Apples has left a permanent bitter taste in my mouth. I can’t stand those dumb one button mice, and iPods and iTunes notwithstanding, I hate the company that came up with them. So there. Realistically I probably should switch. Fewer bugs. More managable software, a streamlined operating system. Maybe next time around.

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