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 XII

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 XII

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XI

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 XI

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

Rituals and obsessions: a brief personal history

It started with “Taxman” by The Beatles. Its distorted vocal opening had gotten stuck in my head despite my stated antipathy toward the band—really more pose than position, in retrospect. Whenever I run a bath, I like to be in the tub while the faucet(s) run. Until quite recently,[1] when the tub was nearly full, … Continue reading Rituals and obsessions: a brief personal history

Wax museums and The Beatles: a postscript

A few weeks ago, I interrogated my memory of why I so intensely disliked The Beatles as a child and tween. Basically, I blamed the Fab Four for frightening me when I was seven or eight years old, when what actually frightened me was a wax museum Chamber of Horrors. Combine that with my extreme … Continue reading Wax museums and The Beatles: a postscript

Interrogating memory: The Beatles, wax museums and a diner mystery solved

To the extent my writing over the last three years has a theme (or perhaps even a brand), it is what I call interrogating memory. At one level, this is just a fancy term for “fact-checking,” as in looking through my elementary school report cards (I am missing the one for third grade[1]) to confirm … Continue reading Interrogating memory: The Beatles, wax museums and a diner mystery solved

A Musical Mosaic

This is a LONG post, even accounting for the 28 footnotes. While I encourage a complete read, please feel free to skip the introductory sections and cut right to the chase: the iTunes chart and subsequent personal musical history. When I enrolled at Yale in the fall of 1984, I was undecided between majoring in … Continue reading A Musical Mosaic