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February 19, 2008

The Battle of Proper Names

But how is one to distinguish, in writing, between a man one mentions and a man one addresses. There really is an equivocation which would be eliminated by a vocative mark.

[Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Relating to Music, Rousseau]

Into such seemingly inappreciable differences, there steps—[what]?



Why I Want to Go To Northwestern

From "The Chaos Machine: An Essay on Postmodern Fatherhood," by Charles Baxter with footnotes by Daniel Baxter, in the Feb 2008 The Believer, pg 27:

* * *
One late afternoon, while [my son] is laboring to complete the application for Northwestern University, which includes the demand that the prospective student write an essay explaining why he or she wants to go to Northwestern, I slip into my study and write a goof version of this essay for him, for laughs.

Why I Want To Go To Northwestern by Daniel Baxter. Many is the time I have thought of the pleasing location of Northwestern University, situated on the shore of picturesque Lake Michigan. The campus, I have noted, is close enough to the rocky shore of this Great Lake so that students, carrying their heavy textbooks on the way to classes, can be pleasantly diverted by hearing the sounds of waves crashing on the rocks. These sounds are almost always mixed, in damp and rainy weather, with the sounds of foghorns, which make their way into the liberal arts classrooms where Shakespeare's plays are being taught by bearded and grizzled scholars. Foghorn sounds are like the lowing moos of anxious herds of cows, waiting to be milked. Certainly, from time to time, one must also be able to hear the muted clash and clang of freighters colliding. With the right kind of police scanner, you might also hear the radio distress calls. Perhaps, as Lucretius says in the second book of On the Nature of Things, it is pleasant, even sublime, to see ships sinking in the distance if you yourself are on the shore, that is, at Northwestern, safe in a sort of "ivory tower" from danger. Lucretius calls this the sublime experience of beauty, and so it would be on the campus of this great institute of higher learning, home of the #1 Business School in the United States. But the beauties of Lake Michigan are not the only advantages of which Northwestern can boast, and there are many other reasons why I wish to attend this fine Big Ten center of erudition. The architecture of the buildings varies from Gothic Revival to 1950s Bauhaus to Frank Geary Las Vegas-style "postmodernism." This distinctive brand of eclectic architecture, so different from the bland brand of monomaniacal "Ivy League" architecture favored by our so-called "prestige" universities, gives to Northwestern a more democratic and populist "grab bag" appearance. Moving from one building to another on the Northwestern campus, from the threatening appearance of the Music Building to the turreted castlelike appearance of the Humanities Building (where many damsels are possibly in distress), the student hardly knows what to expect from one moment to the next. Call me an eclectic student, if you will, but I must say that Northwestern's unpredictable appearance, whether you approach it by bus, truck, train, or family car, is one of the particular sources of my interest in it. On my two visits to Northwestern, I have noticed that most of the learned professors are quite mature. Their gray hairs and beards (not the women, of course) are signs of learning and experience. Walking about on campus, one cannot but be impressed by their slow pace, their hands on their canes, as if they were thinking about "thoughts to deep for tears." I was impressed by the colossal lecture halls and huge classes, and the Wildcats who were listening and dozing through lectures, knowing that the professors would cover material that they had missed, thier voices echoing in the immensity of the lecture chambers [...]
Posted by tplambeck at 11:11 AM

Cosa sento! (Le nozze di Figaro)

Just too funny, too beautiful, too clever, too-too-what-have-you.

If there's a more enjoyable opera scene I'd like to know it.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:38 AM

Non piu andrai (Le nozze di Figaro) 1991

YouTube was made for watching opera, I think.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:27 AM

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