Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feel the Pain

This evening I had some time to revisit the first violin concerto I had ever performed, the Barber Violin Concerto. As I schmaltzed through the second movement I noticed that my teacher, then Eric Peterson of the CSO, had inscribed below a particularly melodramatic section the words "Feel the Pain". I can picture a skinny younger copy of me looking at that inscription and thinking "what on Earth does that mean?" Well today I finally felt the pain and it was good. If you have the time to spare, take a moment to listen and be enveloped in the musical satin of Samuel Barber:


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy and True

This blog entry is graciously brought to you by the letters A (Aciphex), P (Protonix & Prilosec), and B (Beano). As I look back on this year in early review, I'm not sure I would have believed it if I was told that by year's end I’d be living back in Colorado in my parent's basement, yet despite the change in latitude (and altitude) I can't help but be grateful to know the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has blessed me with the righteous desires of my heart.

Surely our Heavenly Father “knoweth what things [we] have need of, before [we] ask him.” Pondering this scripture has helped me to appreciate more fully the power of prayer and how through inspiration we can ask the ‘right’ things. Knowing what things I need to learn and do gives me the greatest satisfaction in my day.

The prophets teach that men (and women) should “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” And if through the test of faith we feel as the prophet Nephi described, being “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which he should do,” then rest assured that the Lord will not disparage nor leave us comfortless, for he promises the faithful, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” This is especially true even when things don't exactly seem to be going our way as it was for the prophet Joseph Smith during some of the darkest days of his life, having been wrongfully accused by his closest friends and incarcerated in Liberty prison, and yet remaining steadfast in faith and in keeping the commandments. "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven." I know Heavenly Father is ever mindful of our needs. He hears and answers our humble petitions and prepares a way for our deliverance out of temptation's snare.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

...but I must.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and it's the chocolate. The time has inevitably come that I must swear off the consumption of the cocoa bean or suffer the full wrath from Stomachland. Oh how I will miss you, brownie delight. The soft stir of your hot cocoa. Dark chocolate madness and peanut butter cups in all there varieties. My heart is heavy but I must bid you adieu. So farewell my good friends until we meet on sweeter terms...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

For Crying Out Loud

Researches have discovered that the cries of infants as young as three days old already reflect the language their parents speak. The study showed how certain French babies would cry in a rising melody contour such as ascending tones whereas German babies followed a descending melody contour true to their language form. Perhaps a study involving Swahili babies would reinforce this finding by revealing a percussive series of clicks in the babies outbursts.

It is quite remarkable to think that newborns have already learned the pattern of their native language just by observing their parents voices in utero. It would seem that our most rapid strides in learning take place in our infancy. Babies are like little mental sponges absorbing and analyzing vast amounts of data. Babies are also very efficient food processors and they like to poop, a lot.

We come into this mortal world having left from a much more exalted realm, a pre-mortal existence, learning and progressing as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. No wonder babies are quick studies, look where they all come from! As Wordsworth wrote, they come "trailing clouds of glory."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sing Low Sweet Mammy

So this is interesting stuff. In the Nov. 7 edition of Science News a marine researcher presents new findings in the ongoing science of juicy male laboratory love triangles. Contrary to popular belief (at least among the nerd herd), male humpback whales don't stake out their territory. This is probably because with all of the other junk floating around no one would be able to tell your scent or otherwise identity marker from the next rival - that and how does that even work in the ocean? Female humpbacks attract as many as three to eight males at a time. As a wandering male encounters the song of another nearby male, the singer begins to schmaltz up his solo; in effect showing off his improvisatory skills to the lady. And thus we see how science has proven once again that the male species is not to be outdone, especially by some twerp eyeing your woman.