Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, December 14, 2007

neil young at the palace nyc

neil played to a packed house at the palace at 175th and bway in nyc dec 13, 2007.

the place is gorgeous and intimate. neil spoke about how he liked being in a place like this, he said, " i can actually hear what i'm playing."

pegi opened with some great folk music and got the place rocking with her girls.

neil was introduced by the "devil" from greendale. he wore a red jacket and white hat and painted in the back of the stage. he carried a large canvas with an "N" on it and as he carried it out to place on an easel stage right, neil walked from behind and took a seat stage center amongst a half dozen acoustic guitars and a banjo and lots of harmonicas. flanking him were an upright piano, stage left and an organ stage right. he moved about as if thinking about which instrument to chose and getting harps ready. at one point he said, "im working real hard up here." on another occasion, he commented on how in a place like this, he could hear the titles of his songs yelled out. he was patient with the crowd. the songs he played by himself on acoustic and assorted keyboards were from best i can recall :

playlist from neil's blog:

acoustic:
1. From Hank To Hendrix
2. Ambulance Blues
3. Sad Movies
4. A Man Needs A Maid
5. Harvest
6. Try
7. Journey Through The Past
8. Mellow My Mind
9. Love Art Blues
10. Cowgirl In The Sand (awesome)
11. After The Gold Rush

after 15 minutes he returned with:
w/ rick rosas, ben keith, ralph molina, anthony crawford & pegi young

between sets, neil and the band gathered at the back of the stage with the "painter" and seemed to select paintings for the playlist coming up. before each song the "devil" painter, put a new canvas on the easel with the song title.

and they played: from best i recall :
12. Mr. Soul
13. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
14. Dirty Old Man
15. Spirit Road
16. Bad Fog Of Loneliness
17. Winterlong
18. Oh, Lonesome Me
19. The Believer
20. No Hidden Path

encore:
21. Cinnamon Girl
22. Cortez The Killer

as he was closing out cortez, he was talking with ralph about something that seemed amiss and all of a sudden weird sounds came from his guitar. all the strings broke and the feedback was awesome.

the concert was fabulous. neil was superb! the weather stopped its ugliness in time to get to the show and home. only his performance at radio city when he did greendale and a great oldies set was comparable to this. so much better than MSG or nassau coliseum. it was classic neil, playing like a wildman, messing with the audience, and so classic neil.

added jan 3, 2008: from the newyorker.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

nature vs nurture

From "In Gaps at School, Weighing Family Life" by Michael Winerip, New York Times, December 9, 2007.

The E.T.S. researchers took four variables that are beyond the control of schools: The percentage of children living with one parent; the percentage of eighth graders absent from school at least three times a month; the percentage of children 5 or younger whose parents read to them daily, and the percentage of eighth graders who watch five or more hours of TV a day. Using just those four variables, the researchers were able to predict each state’s results on the federal eighth-grade reading test with impressive accuracy.

“Together, these four factors account for about two-thirds of the large differences among states,” the report said. In other words, the states that had the lowest test scores tended to be those that had the highest percentages of children from single-parent families, eighth graders watching lots of TV and eighth graders absent a lot, and the lowest percentages of young children being read to regularly, regardless of what was going on in their schools.

Which gets to the heart of the report: by the time these children start school at age 5, they are far behind, and tend to stay behind all through high school. There is no evidence that the gap is being closed.

This article speaks volumes and provides great fodder for legislators to consider especially as they review NCLB. schools cant solve the problem, that is what this article about the research from ETS says. we have to get to the children before they are 5. that will require the government to create and to establish programs in communities to assist all the people. the report shows it isnt about nature, it is about nurture. education in this country has been a bigoted enterprise. communities with the money have segregated themselves from those without the money and we know the results. we have always known the results. now ETS is speaking the truth that too many were afraid to admit or address. it is about money, pure and simple. those with money and financial resources succeed in school or have a better chance. the report states that those who are behind by 5 will always be behind. why? for the reasons stated in the report. so the government needs to step in with lots and lots of money to assist.

i know, throwing lots of money at the problem of education will draw ire from many, especially from those who spend lots of money on their own children and private school. in order for us to solve the problem we need to replicate what the monied people do. i found a website that addresses this idea of hurling money and it is intelligent.

we in the schools are doing everything we can do. we have school before school, after school, during the summer, and even during recess. we know this doesnt work and yet we are told to do it. ETS has just told us all.

why are some schools successful? well, they have children who were read to them. they come from affluent enough homes that allow for some activities beyond the television for entertainment. most of the parents themselves are college educated which gives them the ability to help their young children. they have the money for proper nutrition and a healthy environment. these schools are successful because they get the children at 5 already 5. the other schools do not get complete 5 year olds.

i think it is time we face reality and do the right thing for all of our children, not just the privileged classes. this requires that the government direct money that goes in the wrong areas like fighting wars to educating our children so they will know how to negotiate, know what diplomacy is, and know how to ask questions so they can solve problems for the betterment of humankind.

we know it is not about nature when it comes to education; it is about nurture. so lets nurture our children america.

Monday, December 10, 2007

ah the music of life

my ears were massaged this weekend.

since friday i havent been able to catch a breath. friday night school holiday party on the marco polo yacht. it was a blast. the unique part was we cruised the east river from the statue of liberty to above the 59th street bridge listening and dancing to music. the company was great and the dancing eclectic, we a truly a multi cultured faculty. many brought their ipods loaded with their music to share on the sound system of the yacht.

saturday was dec 8 and for me that means strawberry field to celebrate the genius of john lennon. i went to a matinee to see cymbeline at the vivian beaumont theater in lincoln center. it was a masterfully staged and gloriously performed performance. the costuming exquisite, the staging simple, the acting superb and moving. just as winter's tale had me tearing when i saw jeremy irons in the title role, this one had me tearing in the last scene as it cascaded to a beautiful conclusion. cloten and iachimo were brilliant in their villainy. i reflected on the fact that shakespeare two most evil charcaters, iago and iachimo, both mean james in italian. this fascinates me as shakespeare has to have been close to king james, otherwise why else would he have been able to do this, just as he had to write henry viii after elizabeth died. the music of shakespeare's prose not poesy rang loud and clear in its clarity about life and redemption. certainly an contrary story and outcome from king lear, with ian mcclellan, a play we will see at the end of the month while in london. (Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie.)

after the performance a sober visit to strawberry field.

sunday, saw august rush. what a fabulously feel good movie. williams was brilliant in his evil and the boy playing august was superb and magical. it was all about the music.

the theme of the weekend was music and the power it has in our lives. be it the music of our cultures to move our feet, the music of shakespeare, the music of lennon, or the music of life to gather us together. my ears had a feast this weekend.

and it will continue as i see and hear neil young on thursday and the clan currie society's pipes of christmas on sunday.

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

cormac mccarthy

im a great fan of cormac. his books are brilliant. his writing style is refreshing.

when i first saw the trailer for No Country for Old Men, i knew immediately the book. i was so excited. i loved the book for the keen writing, the unique prose, the brevity of form so we could get to the marrow. cormac is an a brilliant author. i loved the movie, the coen's did a great job as usual. i kept staring at the llewelyn character as if i knew him. well i did, it had to be the son of james brolin. bardem was brilliant as he brought anton to life. i was fascinated with tommy lee's performance, almost a study of jones, but he did play the sheriff well and the staring off into space and his quips, very reminiscent of mcdormand in fargo. the violence didnt bother me as much as i thought it might. again like fargo. the coen's kept to the story and wove it beautifully. i even liked the ending, though i heard disapproval on my way out of the theater.

unlike the badly movie of another of my favorite authors, tc boyle, this movie of a favored author pleased me. let's hope a good tc boyle movie can be made. i look forward to a movie based on the road. will there be a sequel to No Country for Old Men as the ending suggests?

the book and movie give a whole new meaning to choosing in the coin toss.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

where do i start?

jumping into the net at this point can be overwhelming as places to go multiply and because of the amount of redundancy.

the place for anyone to start would be google, at this time, IMHO.

google is just a piece of web 2.0. the real estate covered by google is immense and growing. it is as if google were expanding the universe. it is about how we store, access, analyze, broker, assess the information. i find it is about finding the balance betwixt input and output. GIGO was an early acronym.

what to do with google. there is gmail which is the beginning of social networking. another useful tool would be documents and spreadsheets which makes it all public where the user can share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. then there is the blogger. another tool include the reader, a tool for reading from a variety of sources that include news, entertainment, sports, business. picassa is a neat tool to share photographs. then there is youtube.

google will be a place you will spend hours.