Random Wednesday observations


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  1. There’s nothing like the threat of riots to keep people off the streets.  I’ve never ever witnessed I-170 as empty at 6 p.m. as it was on Tuesday when I was in the taxi from the airport.
  2. Airport VIP lounges are nice places to relax for an hour.
  3. You know you look like a local when two ultra-Orthodox Jewish men ask you for directions in the airport.
  4. Trader Joe’s chili lime cashews are more spicy than they appear at first taste.
  5. Samson is the best snuggle-dog ever.
  6. Talking by chat apps with people from around the world is a true life pleasure.
  7. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
  8. Hiring new faculty is another of life’s true pleasures.
  9. I miss the mountains.
  10. Jo Malone products are ridiculously overpriced, but so worth it!



The 90th annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music is ended.

I return home today, to a city that I love, and that I hope is not tearing itself apart.

The conference is always a time to catch up with folks you know and respect, to learn new things, to refresh ideas and concepts, to stretch and grow.

And to eat.

I shall have to reimburse Webster for most of the cost of the sumptuous meal I enjoyed Sunday evening at the Ocean Club.  A small town could have been fed for the price I paid for a piece of Japanese wagyu beef.

Monday night, post conference, I drove to a nearby In-&-Out for a second and final pass at a double/double.

Notes from Monday’s plenary session: Stretched around the room are representatives from 700 member institutions.  Over yon, sitting side by side, are KU and UK.  I’m seated between representatives from Weber State University in Utah, and Wesleyan College.  From my seat I see Moody Bible Institute, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Pfeiffer University, Pasadena Conservatory.  The University of Rhode Island is directly in front of me.  Four-fifths of the voting representatives here are men.  And I’m told that in recent memory the music that opens the first plenary session was only written in TTBB format, such is the male-centricness of this organization.

Next year’s annual meeting is in Saint Louis.  I shan’t have my ‘go somewhere warm’ junket next year . . . .

I’ve enjoyed seeing Ball State friends here, including my old boss Peter McAllister, Jeff Pappas, John Scheib, and Ryan Hourigan.  Funny thing: Jeff and John are both leading major programs now, and we were all faculty colleagues at the same time in Muncie.

Musical Instrument Museum

I spent hours today at the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, the world’s only global musical instrument museum.  And I could have spent hours more.

Imagine if you will: togs that Elvis wore, the piano on which John Lennon wrote ‘Imagine,’ the world’s first Steinway piano, Joshua Bell’s first half-size violin, an original Theremin, a pig-bladder bagpipe, and a Malaysian nosepipe, all under one roof.

This place is amazing.  Stunning.  Incredible.

I had the most wonderful day.

And I played a Theremin for the first time in my life.

Scottsdale Saturday update

  1. I’m sometimes amazed at what I can get done with no distractions or interruptions.  At 10 a.m. here at the hotel in Arizona, I’ve called candidates from the music theory/composition search, written wrap-up emails from the same and prepped letters to all candidates, read today’s STL Post-Dispatch and New York Times online, talked by phone with the district NATS governor, taken care of the Gift to the City concert, and worked for 30 minutes on my November expense accounting for the university.
  2. Now I’m going to engage in some professional development work, going to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.  I’m told this is a world-class museum, and I’m delighted to be visiting!
  3. In case I ever doubted, I am indeed an intrepid traveler.  Without the sun to guide me at 8.30 p.m. last night, I took four wrong turns en route from Sky Harbor Airport to the NASM hotel in Scottsdale.  At different times I was headed south instead of north, twice headed west instead of east, and once was certain the cactus I was seeing were out to kill me. My phone was totally juiceless and useless.  But I persevered, and even found an In-&-Out Burger on my own before going to the hotel.
  4. Dinner tonight will be with a former Ball State student who now lives here.  I’m so glad to see Matt again.
  5. And finally, here is the view from my balcony this morning:


In the air

30000+ feet above earth.  En route to Phoenix.

I am currently en route to Arizona for the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).  As usual, I am bringing with me a ton of work, since I find this conference to be conducive to being in the school zone.

But palm trees beckon!  And so do daytime temperatures in the low 70s.

The 5 p.m. news was filled with anticipation of the grand jury verdict in Saint Louis County.  I am hopeful that wise minds will prevail this weekend.

Week 12 of the semester ended today with a take-home test in my music theory class, a big choral festival taking place on campus, and the happy confirmation from a candidate that we will nave a new music theory & composition colleague with us next year.  More on that as we make an announcement on Monday.

A short trip to a warm clime can’t come soon enough.  I’m ready for some away time.

Here’s a shot that Anna took yesterday morning at Courtesy Diner.  I was tagging a photo of her, and she took one of me:



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