Approximate Reading Time: 10 minutes
[started on 30 September 2006 / completed and posted on 27 December 2006]
This entry, at this writing, for Per Diem (in September) for the first time in about a month, deserves a brief preface. Having just read that one-page interview they do in every issue of the The New York Times Sunday Magazine, this week with Warren Beatty, I am reminded by his light way with the irrepressible Ms. Solomon to lighten up myself. I have a tendency to laugh at things and people, sometimes (often?) inappropriately—even when doing so with myself as the object—and I repress it. So I often, I think, come off as serious, overly so perhaps, if not stern, severe, and censorious. That’s not right. And I really really believe in doing things right or not doing them at all. This being the subject of this posting, let’s see how I can do. Especially without the aid of toxic substances.
I have been called many things that to me are of a piece. Control-freak, perfectionist, obsessive, fastidious, overly scrupulous, exacting, demanding, hypercritical. And these were likely meant as compliments. I may indeed be all these things, perhaps at once, which may explain my frequent end-of-the-day exhaustion. It may even be the pejorative meaning that I think is attached to the use of any of these phrases and descriptors is appropriate. However, I protest that my own motives are far more positive. The behavior elicited in me is possibly unavoidable.
Approximate Reading Time: 10 minutes
Sundown on Christmas Day, about 5pm. Why is it so green? That’s winter wheat, which is planted in autumn in this climate. It will be harvested some time in very late spring. The first real stirrings of spring occur in February. About the middle of that month, we’ll see blossoms on the almond trees—the ones that are left. Almost all of the almonds in this region and further north were eliminated in time. It used to be a significant crop. Still, the tender white blossoms of these trees are a reliable harbinger of spring. Way in the distance, on the left of the horizon, is Mont Ste. Michel, near Aix-en-Provence.
It’s clear enough that on Christmas morning, the inmates take over.
At least this is so on RadioFrance, France Musique, the classical music station throughout the country. It’s as if some ur public radio station had been decimated some time in the past, and the parts parceled out to different portions of the FM dial. FranceCulture features talk about the obvious. FranceInter, more of the same, with a thin line separating these two programming groups to this impaired francophone. Then there’s FranceInfo, and God knows what that is—though it seems to be news, weather and financial matters. FranceBleu is for the hoi polloi, interpolating nondescript French pop music with call-in shows that are localized so listeners can banter with the host and then offer something to sell, the asking price, and their phone number. It’s wildly popular.
France Musique is a throw-back, in this analogy, to the days of Boston FM radio of the 60s, which offered at least three professional FM stations playing classical music (and a modicum of jazz) around the clock: on the public station WGBH, and two commercial stations, the still extant CRB, and the now defunct outlet in the city of a fledgling network of concert music (with outlets as well in Hartford and Providence, and others planned before they all went bust—BCN [Boston Concert Network] is now, of course, a mélange of shock jock radio (and the station for Howard Stern before he was forced to decamp to the terrestrial orbit of satellite radio), New England Patriot game broadcasts, and the same old combination of fringe and golden oldie rock music.