Just a Few Things Intentionally and Unintentionally Related to Today


The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the
day. The sun is
bright, but the
chickens are in
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens,
dense with them.
They turn and
then they turn
again. These
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small–
various breeds.
Now they have
come home
to roost — all
the same kind
at the same speed.

–Kay Ryan

From her interview at NPR at the time she became the poet laureate:

First of all, it comes from the thing we say to other people when they’ve done a lot of stupid things, and now they’re getting their comeuppance. We say, well, your chickens are coming home to roost, and I have no doubt that when I wrote this, I was chastening myself, and I was telling myself this, but unfortunately, this poem was sitting on the desk of an editor in New York at the time of 9/11, and it suddenly took on this terrible added significance, and I had to withdraw it because it seemed cruelly appropriate. . . . Now right after 9/11, that sounded, you know, the blue sky in here, the clear sky, sounded just like the beauty of that day, and those chickens sounded much too much like airplanes.

In relation to the beautiful day it was 10 years ago, here are a friend’s sentiments.

You can view this interactive map from the New York Times to see where people were on that day. You can click on it and write where you were and how you felt/feel.

This is an NPR interview with John Adams and his commission to compose a piece to commemorate the one-year anniversary of 9/11.

This is the first third of the composition:

10 years.

Still healing.

Higdon & Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos

So I already have Joshua Bell’s version of the Tchaik violin concerto, and it would be nice to have Hilary’s. I know she’ll rock it.  But I’m getting the album for the Higdon concerto. After sampling it on NPR a few weeks ago, I had to have it. This purely 21st century collaboration (of Curtis Institute alumni!) is nothing short of inspired.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you have an hour,

or want to have this play in the background while doing the chores, give this a listen. It’s an NPR panel discussion on ’80s music. It’s quite amusing. I’ve listened to it several times, if only to hear the speakers say “butt rock.” They don’t cover everything, of course. They make fun of all the synthesizery production. Deniece Williams. They poke at Hall and Oates, which – I’m sorry, Becky – is pretty funny. I don’t know why, but I crack up every single time they play those snippets from that one song by (Jefferson) Starship. You know the one I mean. About cities. And building. And rock and roll. They praise the Replacements and Guns ‘n’ Roses and Tracy Chapman and anything that doesn’t use the old Yamaha DX7. They discuss the ’80s as a decade of excess and how it stirs nostalgia, because it was so turbulently decadent, and because it was bookended by the ’70s and the ’90s. The ’80s, for all its characteristics, stays stuck as the ’80s. We can’t remember those times for anything else, which is how it’s supposed to be. That decade makes me want to cringe for all the (awesomely horrible) pop music and big hair and leg warmers (don’t forget the jelly bracelets and shoes!), but I’ve never loved cringing so much as when I think of the ’80s.

Let’s Hear It …

Man, I wonder if I have any ’80s photos lying around …

NPR and Notes

I caught a few interesting segments on NPR yesterday:

Fresh Air: Here‘s an interview with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, discussing The Dark Knight.

All Things Considered: Here‘s an interview with a 9-year old piano prodigy, discussing his music career so far.

Fresh Air: Here‘s an interview with Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist describing her experience having a stroke, from the inside.

I was going to dive into a review of The Dark Knight today, but I’ve decided against it. Perhaps I should see it again, though it would be just as fair to give my visceral reaction to the movie. I will say this: whatever expectations you have going in, the movie strips you of them. The movie respects you and your intelligence.

I’ll be reviewing something else today.