Roam If You Want To

Peripatetic (adj.) : moving or traveling from place to place

In the depths of winter, I always find a splash of color goes a long way in reminding me of the vibrancy of life. And what, I ask you, is more vibrant than a flamboyance of flamingoes?

So while you might think cooler temperatures and longer nights offer a time to catch up, the reality is that my attention span–which has always been a weak spot–is more challenged than ever.  Luckily, Candlemas is right around the corner, and with it a growing amount of daylight for four months or so. Sunshine helps me focus.

In the meantime, you might consider checking out some of the things, besides insurrection and Inauguration, that have distracted me from the stack of a dozen or so titles I’m supposed to be reading.

‘The Girl From Ipanema’ is a Far Weirder Song Than You Thought (YouTube)

For years I’ve tortured anyone who’s turned up at the wrong time with tales of why video is my least favorite medium. But it turns out it’s the perfect vehicle for continuing my musical education. And the reason for that is the same reason video’s an especially poor vehicle for replicating a classroom: I can stop the tape and reroll to make sure I understood something ad nauseum. Here, Adam Neely, a musician who just might convince me to spend money on videos, takes us through one of my favorite songs managing to demonstrate just how much I still need to learn and whetting my appetite for learning it.

Joni Mitchell Rarities Are Just That—Rare. Here Are Some of the Best. (Pitchfork)

I have always been of two, maybe even three minds about Joni Mitchell. On the one hand, soprano voices go right through me. And I don’t always relate to introspection and sharing the results of that process the way others do. On the other hand, I’ve heard tell she’s a marvelous, merciless editor and I could watch her strum a guitar in that unique style of hers all day. Okay, that’s four minds. If I haven’t,  then maybe this article from a few years back will convince you to give her a well-deserved spin.

The Grand Unified Theory of Rogue Waves (Quanta Magazine)

The biggest corner I ever cut was trading in science and engineering for social science. In an on-going attempt at redemption, the penance I’ve assigned myself is a never-ending attempt to keep my hand in on the subjects I know a little bit about. Given that I find such work stimulating even when it strains my brain, it probably fails the penitential test. Yet another corner cut. All that’s to say, I found Charlie Woods’ article on applying a recondite branch of statistics to the real-world problem of giant waves utterly fascinating.

That 70’s Show (Texas Monthly)

This now old (it was published in 2012) long-read about the birth of the Austin Music scene has it all as far as I’m concerned. Great stories about great writers, singers and players tearing it up at a time when everything seemed possible.  I love these oral-history-like articles, though I know they’re not for everyone.

VIDEO BONUS

There’s not enough cross-border sharing of good music if you ask me. Zaz the stage name of Isabelle Geffroy, is now a big French star. Here she is in street waif mode a few years back. You have to love the kazoo. Simply fabulous. As a bonus, you can work on your Spanish and French just by rewatching this incessantly.

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