Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Month: September, 2011

401. Quotes: Socrates on Examining Life

“For a human being, the unexamined life is not worth living.”

—Socrates

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400. Suggested Music: Hoi Polloi

Hoi Polloi, their Happy album. It has a picture of a doll with a burlap outfit on the cover; very post-modern.

This was an indie band from the mid-1990s — I bet not more than a few thousand of their albums sold in their touring time — but they did some great studio work. Incredible drummer, impeccable sonic palette, and arresting vocals that unfold the poetry behind the music. One of the great unknown hard rock (progressive rock) albums.

Listen to “Tiptoe” by Hoi Polloi.

Listen to “Love Has Come” by Hoi Polloi.

399. Dictionary

Dictionaries are imperative. There’s a difference between bodacious, salacious, and pugnacious.

398. Suggested Reading: Beowulf

Beowulf, the epic poem. Distant lands, grand warriors, mythical beasts, battles aplenty.

And I wrote a rap about it for a class project in seventh grade. And we acted it out on video. And I still have a copy.

397. Quotes: Jack Moffett on Excellence

“Broken gets fixed. Shoddy lasts forever. Make sure it gets done right the first time. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to revisit it.”

—From DesignAday.tumblr.com

396. Essay: Argumentation Categories

I believe there are four main categories of argumentation, with one subcategory that is combined as needed with the primary four:

  1. Religious: Either defending or vilifying the authority of spiritual works.
  2. Rousing: Appeals made on emotional grounds. Generally, these are smokescreens and hold negligible weight upon scrutiny. Because each side displays equal passion and because riling emotions is not the front where progress can be made, emotional arguments should be swept away almost immediately. This includes sarcasm and verbal sparring.
  3. Reasoning: Logical progressions, syllogisms, comparisons and contrasts, philosophy, and the like.
  4. Research: Clinical studies and meta-analyses. These, however, do not reflect true daily situations and cannot account for every possible variable.
  • Reality: The undeniability of our human experience; existentialism in its true meaning; what we go through each day. This subcategory is reflected in some of the arts — music, movies, poetry and such — and fits easily with the prior categories and can be used to support them at will.

Though, for instance, the religious may use their sacred text more and the analytical may use research more and the ignorant may use sarcasm more, all sides utilize all four categories to undergird their perspective. They are wise to do so. No single category can solve a disagreement, but cumulatively they clarify each perspective overall.

Know when and when not to use each.

395. Suggested Music: Fleming and John

Both albums, The Way We Are and Delusions of Grandeur.

Their first was Delusions, and it was rock to the core. Difficult subject matter is broached with honesty and whimsy at the same time. The musicality, however, was not second on the list. They retain tight control over every chord and transition, turning it into a musician’s playground as well as a tool from which budding musicians may learn.

They are a married couple with real skill. Fleming’s vocals are second to none. She can flow from rock to big band to operatic octave jumps without thinking twice. John Mark Painter played every instrument except drums (Fleming’s brother did that). Painter even taught himself how to play new instruments just to get the exact right sound for their second album. He was obviously not impressed with the samples he could have gotten off any decent engineering program. And thank goodness. It gave the album that extra sincerity not found in layer upon layer of samples.

Way is their foray into expressing emotions with completely different styles of music: a touch of punk, a bit of emo, rock ballads, love songs, a haunting theme, a disco romp, and a jazz epilogue. All without selling either the lyrics or the style short one bit. In musicianship, it is rare to flow seamlessly from one style to another with complete competence.

Way is dominated by themes of love, relationship, what it means to be married while your friends are still dating, and the inevitable broken heart. There is seriousness and lightheartedness at once. And who has ever compared their spouse to a La-Z-Boy recliner? Fleming and John, that’s who.

John moved on to some producing and they started a family, so their music took a back seat after the second album. They did a special song for a Christmas album, but it was only one song and it wasn’t the best. I only wish we had more material from them. If they ever do release a comeback album, it will be the first on my list of music to purchase.

Listen to “Not Afraid” by Fleming and John.

Listen to “Letters in my Head” by Fleming and John.

Listen to “I’m So Small” by Fleming and John.

Listen to “The Pearl” by Fleming and John.

394. Tickets

It’s simple. Right section, right row, right seat number.

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