Rest in Peace Gabriel Garcia Marquez

April 18th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Every once in a while you read a book that makes your world explode, although not always in a good way. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee broke my heart for instance, and ended my innocence forever, but that was completely necessary. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude was not that kind of explosion. It demolished all the rules, rules of writing, of living, and made me realize anything goes, as long as you do it well. All bets were off, game on.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is just so full of life it’s as if every page breaths, vines grow out of the book binding, and if you turn it upside down and shake it sand and dirt and rocks will fall out. It was so exciting and enchanting to read. Life’s a mess, get on with it. Oh and try to have a sense of humor about it all while you’re at it. I’m so glad I read it when I was as young as I was (college-age) because it set the tone for the rest of my life.

According to Wikipedia, William Kennedy called it “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” And yet, on Amazon 83 people gave it one star. That’s beyond unfathomable to me. Not to your taste perhaps, but one star?? Time to re-read!

I took this on Wednesday when I walked past this tree, and turned around to look again. Springtime in the city at night!


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If Congress Were a Choir – Well, Parliament is!

April 16th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this great essay written by Margaret Evans, titled If Congress Were a Choir. She makes so many perfect points about compromise and working together in order the create something great and worthwhile. I spoke about her essay at Harvard last weekend. I conceded that the trick would be getting a group like congress to form and participate in a choir. But Parliament has managed it!

A glimpse of spring I caught last week. Apparently spring has been postponed, however. (It’s freezing out here.)


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The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

April 15th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The Divide is the book I wanted to write, and I don’t know why I didn’t, but it’s just as well because it looks like Matt Taibbi did an amazing job, and his background was so much better suited for this project. Thank you for writing it, Matt Taibbi.

I first became aware of the prosecution disparity when I was researching unsolved murders, and I wrote an op-ed titled Counting Corporate Crooks. What was infuriating me was no one was going after white collar criminals with the kind of vigor they went after other criminals, and no one was auditing the people investigating white collar crime. Who knows if they’re doing a good job or not?? The kind of sentences someone who robs a candy store gets vs someone who robs millions was a whole other enraging wave. It’s insane and so fucking immoral and wrong. From the Washington Post review:

“How can it be, he asks, that a street drifter such as Tory Marone serves 40 days in jail after cops find half a reefer in his pocket, but not a single executive of HSBC faces criminal charges after the bank “admitted to laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia, washing money for terrorist-connected organizations in the Middle East, allowing rogue states under formal sanctions by the U.S. government to move money freely by the tens of billions through its American subsidiary, [and] letting Russian mobsters wash money on a grand scale”?”

Again, thank you for writing this book Matt Taibbi. Here he is on The Daily Show, talking about the book. And thank you Jon Stewart for having him on and bringing attention to this book.

When I was in Cambridge this weekend I took a walk in the Old Burial Ground in Harvard Square. I saw a large stone for the Dana family and took a picture because I used to walk by Dana Street every day on my way home when I lived in Cambridge. Dana Street, I just learned, was named after Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Francis Dana, whose name isn’t on this stone. It could be on the other side because he is buried there.


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Joyful Noise at Harvard University, April 12, 2014

April 14th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Joyful Noise, conducted by Allison Fromm, performs at the Beyond the Concert Hall symposium hosted by the Harvard Music Department and Andrew Clark, the Director of Choral Activities at Harvard University. (That’s Alice Parker over on the left wearing a white scarf.) We spent the day “Exploring the neurological, therapeutic, and social benefits of community singing.”

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My Trip to Harvard

April 13th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Thank you so much Andrew Clark (Director of Choral Activities at Harvard University) for inviting me to speak at your symposium. Those Harvard choristers are so lucky to have you. The story about you and Sara Pyszka taking days to program her Dynavox to make music says it all. Also loved Sara—”Don’t judge!” (about her love of Taylor Swift). I heard so many fantastic people speak, and so many great groups sing, I can’t name them all, but if my video of Joyful Noise comes out well I’ll post that another time.

I have to mention that I got to be directed in song by the fabulous Alice Parker. Now I know why everyone always speaks of her in tones of such affection and admiration. You have to meet her. She’s just so completely steeped in music and is at the same time so generous of spirit, it’s impossible not to be carried away in her presence.

The first thing I saw when I looked out my window at my hotel! A crew team. It’s a now-you-know-you’re-in-Boston thing.


I kept looking for things that were there when I was there (I lived in Cambridge when I was a student at Tufts and the Museum School). I’m pretty sure I bought cigarettes here. I was quite the smoker back in the day. By the way, who knew author Mark Helprin hated women and smoking so much? I’m re-reading his book Winter’s Tale and it’s come up twice.


And here’s where I used to fill my prescriptions! Exciting, I know. While the sign is still there, the store recently closed. Sob. It’s right up the street from the former Buddy’s Sirloin Pit, a favorite eating establishment of mine at the time.


I was with my friend, the poet Christina Davis (her most recent book is An Ethic) and we slipped into the student dining room. As if those students don’t already have it great as it is, this is where they eat?? Jesus Christ. Oh! The LA Times loved Christina’s book. From the review: “These are remarkable, ambitious poems that refuse, in grief, the easy way out: predictable religious or received knowledge responses to death — but dive into philosophical and moral ‘re-definition.’”


I didn’t get a decent shot of Alice Parker because I was too shy. I didn’t even think to film her conducting. I’m slipping.


PS: I saw a turkey.


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