Tuesday, June 21, 2005

One quick mention. My friend and former bandmate Scott and his wife Dawn had a beautiful little girl last week. I have been to visit and held the little girl, who is smaller than Li'l Sphere ever was and cute as the cutest button ever created. Huge congratulations, kids!

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm in the 2nd week of 4 fun-filled weeks of being a stay-at-home dad. It's been wonderful. Sure, I had some preconceptions about spending my free time catching up on the writing. Although I'm still waiting for this free time to manifest itself, I haven't missed it at all.

Lessee, my reading has been slow. I started Jared Diamond's brilliant Collapse, but only got about 100 pages in before it was due back at the library. I'm currently reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, but I flat-out hate it. Does it get better? Is it all jokes about wacky foreigners and wacky historical Jews? 'Cause right now it seems like an endless 80s-era Mel Brooks skit starring Yakov Smirnoff. If no one comes forward to tell me it'll get better, I might just abandon it.

The baby and I have been listening to lots of great music. We've had Music Brought To Us By The Letter "B" day twice - last Monday and today. Last week, we listened to Pet Sounds, Revolver, disc three of Star Time, and Younger Than Yesterday (that's Beach Boys, Beatles, James Brown, and Byrds, if'n you don't know it). Today, we had Bartok's String Quartet No. 2 (as performed by the Emerson String Quartet), the first half of Black Sabbath's Paranoid, selections from Big Star's #1 Record/Radio City, and a few songs from Bowie's "Heroes". We've had a few aborted attempts at Blues Day (a coupla Howlin' Wolf songs, but no follow up), Elephant Six Day (no go - we had to switch gears before we got through the first Olivia Tremor Control song), Coltrane Day (half of A Love Supreme), and Brought To You By The Letter "O" Day (I had Okkervil River, Os Mutantes, and the Old 97s picked out), but so far, I haven't been able to duplicate the double success of "B" Day. We'll try again this week, though. That's the whole point of repeating "B" Day: a new starting point. Tomorrow, maybe, we could try "Sh," including the Shadows, Shaggs, and Shangri-Las. Or what the heck, I'm always up for Electric Miles Day.

I'll get new pictures up soon. From babyland, over and out.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Book No. 18: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink reads like a management book. I don’t think I’ve ever read these sorts of chatty anecdotal-evidence books in any other genre, although I’ve never read a self-help book. The central thesis is that experts in a field (or, at least, people knowledgeable about a certain issue) internalize their expertise to the extent that their snap judgments are often more correct than a thorough analysis, even though they may not be consciously aware of the rationale for any particular snap judgment. My impression from some of the reviews I read was that Gladwell was arguing that all first impressions are more accurate than thorough analysis, but that's actually not it. He's clear that he only means this to be true for people with considerable experience in and knowledge of a particular issue.

Hmm. I don’t really have much to say about this book. My life is unchanged. Once you accept his conditions, the thesis seems almost self-evident, in a way that’s both supported by the chatty anecdotal evidence but not necessary demanded by that evidence. Gladwell is an easygoing writer, and I guess it’s a good thing that he’s interested in popularizing facially counterintuitive psychological research, but I don’t really know what to do with this knowledge now. To tell you the truth, I kept thinking of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s advice to Luke from beyond the grave in Star Wars: trust in your feelings, let go, etc. OK. I get it. Next!

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