Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rising Star

It's always heartwarming to see good things happen to people you know, whether it is someone you know well and love dearly, or one you knew only fleetingly.

Many years ago, I auditioned for Bay Chamber Concerts' summer chamber music camp for the first time, and received in return a part for a four-violin piece (by Telemann?). Upon our arrival at the first rehearsal, we discovered that the first violinist was not from Maine but from Chicago--a nice little girl named Tai, who was already quite good. Somewhere is the picture I had in my case for a long time: four little girls in concert clothes standing in front of the Rockport Opera House stage and smiling in the afternoon sunlight.

As it turns out, Tai is not so little anymore, and is doing well, as per an article the Nomad Mom sent along just this morning:

Violinist Tai Murray, a 23-year-old from Chicago who spent two years getting her artist's diploma, is also among the lucky ones. She had a budding career before she got to Juilliard, starting with solo concerts when she was 9. She now has a New York manager and a CD on the way, and she lives in her own Manhattan apartment on money earned playing concerts.

"For me, Juilliard was a haven. It gave me a base to hold on to in the bigness of New York," said Murray, who recently returned from an appearance with an orchestra in Denmark.

So, congratulations, Tai, whatever notes you're playing at the moment--here's to your passion, your talent, and to what I hope is your continuing success! You may never see this, but...Make beautiful music, and I hope to hear you play someday!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yet another quizzie: Intuition

Very Well-Rounded

You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition. (Weirdly, your emotional and scientific intuitions are equally strong.)

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

Try my other test!
The 3 Variable Funny Test
It rules.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Scientific

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You scored higher than 99% on Interpersonal
The 2-Variable Intuition Test

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Today the Joint Degree Program sent the current members an end-of-year email, including a list of those who will be entering the program this fall and what their other degree will be. There are not one, but TWO brave souls signed up for JD/MD.


I bow. Seriously. That's hard core.

(That, and I lived in mortal fear of the MCAT and had no intention of taking it, so I applaud those who did.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Be the gene

Be the gene...

Repeat ad infinitum.

One Red Paperclip

Has the last good idea been taken? I don't know, but it's crazy and creative...and I wish I'd thought of it first!! Although I don't think I'd trade for a house just yet--probably couldn't afford the property taxes. Of course, if someone out there wants to make an offer for a binder clip (small or large) or a GOP elephant Beanie Baby, I won't stop you... (Although, the elephant is kinda cute; might require a particularly good offer to part with it.)

An interesting study in valuation, Little Bro?

(h/t Table of Malcontents)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Body Works arrives in Minnesota...I have secured a ticket for later this month and am eager to attend!

[Disclaimer: You may find the pictures available through those links shocking or disturbing--please don't feel compelled to look, but I hope you do browse! These exhibits are not without inherent controversy, although the official program publicly maintains that all bodies have been ethically obtained. I don't think I see anything in those promotional materials of previous exhibits that I would term vulgar or disrespectful to the real persons who lived in those bodies, and hope to find the actual exhibit consistent with that theme. I hope it is a way for all of us to better appreciate and understand the marvel of the body.]

Monday, May 01, 2006

Making Sense of History

A brief perusal of the news this morning before turning to the last day to work on the paper (not a good thing--there is yet much to be done) yielded this warm tribute by Fouad Ajami to Bernard Lewis, full of deepest respect for Lewis as a gifted and perceptive historian. The following four paragraphs struck me particularly, further brightening the proverbial light bulb. (Any emphasis added is mine.)

The rage of Islam was no mystery to Mr. Lewis. To no great surprise, it issued out of his respect for the Muslim logic of things. For 14 centuries, he wrote, Islam and Christendom had feuded and fought across a bloody and shifting frontier, their enmity a "series of attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests." For nearly a millennium, Islam had the upper hand. The new faith conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt and North Africa--old Christian lands, it should be recalled. It struck into Europe, established dominions in Sicily, Spain, Portugal and in parts of France. Before the tide turned, there had been panic in Europe that Christendom was doomed. In a series of letters written from Constantinople between 1555 and 1560, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, imperial ambassador to the court of Suleyman the Magnificent, anguished over Europe's fate; he was sure that the Turks were about to "fly at our throats, supported by the might of the whole East." Europe, he worried, was squandering its wealth, "seeking the Indies and the Antipodes across vast fields of ocean, in search of gold."

But Busbecq, we know, had it wrong. The threat of Islam was turned back. The wealth brought back from the New World helped turn the terms of trade against Islam. Europe's confidence soared. The great turning point came in 1683, when a Turkish siege of Vienna ended in failure and defeat. With the Turks on the run, the terms of engagement between Europe and Islam were transformed. Russia overthrew the Tatar yoke; there was the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula. Instead of winning every war, Mr. Lewis observes, the Muslims were losing every war. Britain, France, the Netherlands and Russia all soon spilled into Islamic lands. "Europe and her daughters" now disposed of the fate of Muslim domains. Americans and Europeans may regard this new arrangement of power as natural. But Mr. Lewis has been relentless in his admonition that Muslims were under no obligation to accept the new order of things.

A pain afflicts modern Islam--the loss of power. And Mr. Lewis has a keen sense of the Muslim redeemers and would-be avengers who promise to alter Islam's place in the world. This pain, the historian tells us, derives from Islam's early success, from the very triumph of the prophet Muhammad. Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land; he had led his people through wilderness. Jesus had been crucified. But Muhammad had prevailed and had governed. The faith he would bequeath his followers would forever insist on the oneness of religion and politics. Where Christians are enjoined in their scripture to "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's," no such demarcation would be drawn in the theory and practice of Islam.

It was vintage Lewis--reading the sources, in this case a marginal Arabic newspaper published out of London, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, in February of 1998--to come across a declaration of war on the United States by a self-designated holy warrior he had "never heard of," Osama bin Laden. In one of those essays that reveal the historian's eye for things that matter, "A License to Kill," Mr. Lewis would render into sublime English prose the declaration of bin Laden and would give it its exegesis. The historian might have never heard of bin Laden, but the terrorist from Arabia practically walks out of the pages of Mr. Lewis's own histories. Consider this passage from the Arabian plotter: "Since God laid down the Arabian Peninsula, created its desert, and surrounded it with seas, no calamity has ever befallen it like these crusader hosts that have spread in it like locusts, eating its fruits and destroying its verdure; and this at a time when the nations contend against Muslims like diners jostling around a bowl of food. . . . By God's leave, we call on every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward to obey God's command to kill the Americans and plunder their possessions whenever he finds them and whenever he can."

Mr. Ajami's full article is here, do give it a read. (I wouldn't be surprised if TigerHawk comments on the same thing when he's out from under the weather. But consider this recommendation for now.)