Just writing this column is going to make me uncomfortable, because I certainly don’t like thinking about how many subscriptions I’ve gotten roped into. Not that long ago if you’d said “subscription,” I’d have thought “magazine.” Now, I think “everything.” Precisely how many subscriptions can we stomach?
Time was, and it’s well within living memory, that the nicest thing you could say about an audio amplifier as found in a high-fidelity system or “stereo,” was that it was “a piece of wire.”
The headline last week would have been hopeful news indeed, if we hadn’t been here so many times before. “Cancer and heart disease vaccines ‘ready by end of the decade’” was the story in The Guardian.
Ah, the week after Easter, that season when we critique the music we’ve just been singing. My attention was caught when the New York Times religion reporter tweeted out a link to Bob Smietana’s piece published this week bemoaning the homogenous nature of the present worship experience and how many churches did the same music over Easter weekend (and, by extension, every weekend).
Photography was nothing new to me. I took my first published news picture when I was in third grade, and was getting regularly published by the time I turned 13, the year I started winning photography awards. This isn’t to brag — most people were shooting their Instamatics, while I had been given a Yashica A twin-lens camera for Christmas when I was eight years old. So I had some experience.
This is written as, on the other side of the wall, the generator is roaring away. Fortunately the wall is thick enough and well enough insulated that the sound is not as irritating as you’d expect.
I look at it every year and every year it looks a little different from how it looked the year before.
“Beware the ides of March.” So said the soothsayer to Julius Caesar. The date was known to Caesar and every Roman because it, today, March 15, was the official day for settling debts. Which I suppose some of Caesar’s colleagues thought they were doing when on that date in 44 B.C. they multifariously perforated him with knives, rendering him dead.
Many is the time I’ve cooked up a high-concept proposal to get an editor to let me do something I wanted to do anyway. I would not accuse Amy Gibas of this, but something in me kind of hopes that her masters degree research proposal had something to do with a desire to have fun with balloons. About which she was nothing if not passionate.
There’s a tremendous reward in learning local history. I say this as one who vigorously avoided learning any history of the area where I grew up, in central Missouri. I have great affection for the kind of people who won’t let local historical questions rest. They have to learn the answers to those questions. I have tendencies in that direction, too, though my laziness threshold is high and I’ll go looking only if the questions hold the potential of having really interesting answers.