Saturday, April 24, 2021

Once again, time to sort things out [music, phil of science, jokes, description]

Thinking is tough. And when you are interested in a variety of things, it gets confusing. How do you keep all the balls in the air? You can’t really, but it’s sometimes helpful to get them up there so you can see them spinning around, get their measure, and then put them down to then take them up one by one.

It’s that time again. Gotta’ ramble.

Born to Groove, Music and Kids

This is my most pressing project. I’m due to post at 3 Quarks Daily this coming Monday, which means that I’ve got to have an article written by mid- or at the latest late-afternoon on Sunday (that is, tomorrow). I’m in pretty good shape. My general topic is children and music. I’ve recently posted three pieces under the born-to-groove rubric. I’m going to use the first two in my 3QD piece and add another to it, though I may not load that one as a separate post here at New Savanna. That segment will be about Charlie Keil’s “born to groove” mission, his 12/8 band concept, and more generally, about musical formats in which experts and novices, children and adults, can participate on a more-or-less equal basis. I figure I can end that with an account of the Sage City Symphony.

But there’s more to do. I want to do a series of Born to Groove posts. There’s one on a young Korean trumpeter, Kwak DaKyoung, who, at the age of 11 or 12 seems ready to take her improvisation up a level. I want to say more about Henry Lau’s work with prodigies. And then there’s a post to be written about “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” And then, and much to do.

Horgan’s The End of Science, reconsidered

I’ve now written five posts in my reconsideration of John Horgan’s The End of Science. I figure I’ve got one more post to do there and then I can wrap them together into a single document and post it as a working paper. This is one of those things that started out as an idea for two, maybe three posts, and that’s it. But it just grew and grew. And it could easily grow some more.

For one thing I could tie it in with last year’s work on stagnation and GPT-3. And then there’s my work on pluralism and abundance from the early 2010s. And so it goes.

Seinfeld’s finely tuned machines

And then there’s Jerry Seinfeld. He’s published a new book, Is this Anything?, in which he publishes every joke he’s ever written, from first to last. As you may know. Seinfeld first works out his material on yellow, eight-and-a-half by eleven, legal pads. Then he takes them on stage, gets feedback, back to the pad. Etc. He’s saved everyone of thos pads. And why not? I’ve got notes going back to 1984 on those computer and paper files going back to my undergraduate days at Johns Hopkins.

Well, Amazon kindly allows you to download samples of new books to Kindle, so I’ve done that. I figure I’ll analyze some of these jokes from time to time. Maybe it’ll go somewhere, maybe not. We’ll see.

Perhaps I’ll do one of these posts later today. I don’t feel like doing the kind of heavy lifting another Horgan post would require and maybe I’d like to save the Keil stuff for tomorrow. We’ll see.

Description in literary criticism

Finally, another post about one of my hobby horses, description in literary criticism. Heather Houser has an article, “Shimmering Description and Descriptive Criticism,” in a recent issue of New Literary History. Once again, a critic theorizes description, and examines description in some texts. But heaven forbid she actually turn her descriptive eye on the text itself. It’s maddening.


Looking at my previous ramble, from April 8, I see there’s an entry for The Word Illusion and one for Progress Studies. Haven’t done those yet, though I’ve gotten to the other on the list. I should probably keep these on the To-Do list.

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