Monday, January 15, 2007


Bits o'Blog

A few holiday blog nuggets:

"I blame the media for not previously altering me to the utter coolness of the following: Amy Rigby, Laura Cantrell, the Wondermints, and Joanna Newsom. is a fine, fine thing."

Wonderful Freudian typo.
MLK is more about state-sponsored racism, not racism per se, so you might work by analogy to the situation in Iraq: people who want to make it illegal to live if you believe in the "wrong" version of a religion. Shia-Sunni, Catholic-Protestant, black-white. But I agree that 5 yrs old is a bit early for that lesson.

My MLK story for tomorrow's class concerns stopping at a gas station in MS on our way back north from TX via the Corps of Engineers river research lab. Circa 1966. How convenient! They have a spare bathroom, undesignated, for anyone to use. Learned that day that it used to be designated, and that racism was institutionalized enough for major oil companies to have two different floor plans for their stations: Yankee and Jim Crow.
Have you heard the "This American Life" about MLK, jr? It is very good. I think it was part of the show on "Kid Logic." It was touching, and showed how kids really do understand things that we imagine might be too heady for them.
I've just been thinking about playing the "I Have a Dream" speech for my class tomorrow.
I agree about Amy Rigby. And was the last person on my block to finally buy The Be Good Tanyas. And the Wailing Jennys.
I would just like to point out that I saw an Amy Rigby show in 1998 that about blew me away. Opening for Graham Parker. Yeah, you can be jealous now. --maggie
Generally speaking, songwriters pen songs. Composers create music in a variety of formats, which sometimes include but are not limited to songs. In my neck of the woods there are people who identify themselves as both composers and songwriters. It might help to associate songwriter with the more familiar term "singer-songwriter" -- someone who sings the songs they wrote -- although plenty of excellent songwriters do not sing their own material.
There is a great book "Johnnie Carr- A life of quiet activism" by Horace Randall Williams.

It is illustrated and geared to a child's understanding of the civil rights movement.

Mrs. Carr is a dear friend of my in-laws in Montgomery--I have personally met her twice, and both times--I knew that I was in the presence of greatness. She is a quiet warrior for the cause. A wonderful woman.

I highly recommend the book as a way to introduce your children to the meaning behind the civil rights movement. Granted, 5 years old is pretty young--but your son seems to be pretty intuitive, and as such would grasp the concepts of "not treating people the same" etc.

Have a wonderful week!

Kim in Nebraska.
Igloos are actually pretty easy if you have the right type of snow. Finding that is the part I always had trouble with. Well, that and getting the top done right -- the old capstone-of-the-arch problem. A basic snow shelter is much easier.

Granted not everyone up here knows how to live with the snow, but it's a useful set of skills to have.
I don't know if I'd call them igloos, but I don't know a Canadian kid who doesn't know how to make a decent snow fort.

(Due to some technological glitch, you dropped off my bloglines reader, and I didn't notice for more than a week. Travesty!)
Songwriters know 3 or 4 chords, composers know more.
Re: Songwriter v. Composer

My husband and I have regular discussions about language and its uses, the meanings of words, the importance (or insignificance) of things like the pronunciation of the word "ask" (I maintain that "axe" is not an alternate [read: acceptable, for example, for use in a job interview] pronunciation of the word but a mispronunciation [read: corruption] to which he usually says, "Baby, it's all good.").

I think that the word "songwriter" implies some sort of connection (however vague or ill-defined) to popular culture, i.e. music composed for popular or mass consumption.

The word "composer", however, transcends what is popular (and, sometimes by association, sometimes deserved, capricious, banal, lacking intelligence, gratuitous, coarse...) and appeals to that which, in us, is more "civilized" (whatever that means), e.g. an appreciation of the mystery in La Gioconda's smile and revulsion for anything having to do with Paris Hilton or Kevin Federline.

Of course, this begs the question: Where now do we place Aaron Copland and his rousing composition "Beef: It's What's For Dinner!"

Enjoy your blog. Thanks -
Staff, Four-Year Public Research University
Correction: "...alternative..."
Don't make an igloo, anyway. Make a quintzee. Easier.

Never let it be said the government never did anything for you. Snow shelter manual
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