Thursday, September 25, 2008


Bon Voyage to us!

This is it--later today we're off to Logan Airport in Boston to begin our European trip. After a day in Marseilles to get a taste of the historic city founded by ancient Phoenecians and later a major Roman port, we travel just a bit north along the river to see Avignon and board the Viking Burgundy that will be our floating hotel for eight days as we travel

from Avignon on the Rhone,

to Chalons and Baune in the heart of Burgundy wine country. A few days each in Denmark and Amsterdam, then back home. I'll report on the trip when and if we encounter internet along the way--the Viking cruiser is supposed to have internet and a computer on board for passengers to use.


The New Yorker magazine's invaluable music critic Alex Ross has just been awarded one of THE great honors, a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as "the genius grant". There is an unrestricted award of $500,000 paid out over five years, to be used at the honoree's discretion.

An out gay man married to a New York actor and film-maker, Ross has been the New Yorker's music critic--one of the very few top prestige music criticism positions left in this country's print media--for 13 years, since age 27. At home in a jazz club or rock concert as well as Carnegie Hall, he's the author of an astonishing thing, a deep and probing book on music history, "The Rest is Noise," that has appeared on popular best seller lists and is now being prepared for translation into several languages.

Here's the MacArthur citation:

Alex Ross is a critic whose writing captures the often-elusive aesthetic and technical aspects of classical and contemporary music with clarity, grace, and wit. A staff writer for the New Yorker, his frequent essays display an expansive knowledge of music and a facility for guiding his readers, who range from professional musicians to scholars to the general public alike, to a richer experience of the complex pieces and artists he explores. With a finely tuned grasp of a full spectrum of styles, he places works by a broad variety of artists – from Mozart to Schoenberg to Bob Dylan – within a continuum and sets aside categories and classifications that impede the appreciation of works on their own terms.

In each article, Ross strives to demonstrate how a specific piece of music, be it centuries or months old, conveys meaning and feeling in the present. In addition to his work in essay form, he recently published the book The Rest Is Noise (2007), a cultural history of 20th-century music that journeys through pre-World War I Vienna, Paris of the 1920s, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and New York of the 1960s and 1970s.

Through a widely read blog of the same title (, he further expands the reach of his interpretive skills and enthusiasm for championing overlooked composers and out-of-the-way ensembles. In an era when many proclaim the imminent demise of concert halls due to waning attendance, Ross offers both highly specialized and casual readers new ways of thinking about the music of the past and its place in our future.


The Wit and wisdom of George W. Bush AND Dan Quayle

<- If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.

-> I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy--but that could change.

Your trip sounds amazing. I'm so jealous I could spit.
Enjoy your trip!!!
Have a wonderful time! Cant wait to see the photos :-)
I hate you. Have a great time.
travel well and safe
please say hello to all those french popes.
This is what I get for falling behind on blog reading! Sorry I didn't see this in time to wish you a Bon Voyage! I hope you're having a wonderful time!
Hey guys,

I know the trip will be fantastic and that you will find fabuloue places and things that no one has ever heard of.
The rhubarb pudding recipe will be waiting for you upon arrival home (along with 568 other emails)
Hugs, Marty
Have a great trip!!
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