Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part III

In June and September of 2021, I wrote the first two essays in a series on the evolution of the methods I use to rank my favorite tracks (a term I prefer to “songs”). These essays presented the history of the 309 individual “mix” cassettes, videocassettes and CDs I constructed between August 1981 and August … Continue reading Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part III

Crafting the “Soundtrack” to my Interrogating Memory book

In 2005, Rupert Holmes published his second novel, a murder mystery called Swing. Being, well, Rupert Holmes, he also wrote and recorded an accompanying seven-track CD of swing-inflected music; both are well worth finding. The combination, meanwhile, led him to quip, “I’ve been singing songs from my new book.” In the past month, I received … Continue reading Crafting the “Soundtrack” to my Interrogating Memory book

Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part II

In late June, I wrote the first in a series of essays outlining the evolution of the methods I use to rank my favorite tracks (a term I prefer to “songs”), beginning with my first-ever mix cassette tape in August 1981. In the interim, however, moving to a new apartment, the ongoing search for a … Continue reading Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part II

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing X

I have described elsewhere how my wife Nell, our two daughters—one in 4th grade and one in 6th grade—and I were already coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least May 4, 2020. Besides staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into … Continue reading Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing X

A Musical Mosaic

When I enrolled at Yale in the fall of 1984, I was undecided between majoring in political science or mathematics. A less-than-stellar experience in Math 230—required for freshman mathematics major—quickly decided me: political science, it would be. Luckily, two courses I took sophomore year taught by Professor Edward Tufte—Data Analysis for Politics and Policy and … Continue reading A Musical Mosaic