Create Your Own Universe

There’s a scene in the movie Catch Me If You Can that always strikes me. It’s the one where the family of his fiance gathers in front of the television to Sing Along with Mitch. I remember that show; it was one of my grandmother’s favorites, along with Lawrence Welk. As a child I thought it was pretty boring (I wanted to watch cartoons), but I realize now that I knew many of the songs on those shows because I had learned them in school. Generations could sing together, and that is something that could hardly happen any more.

I don’t know what they teach in elementary school music classes anymore, or if music is even taught at all. Economics or the urgency of testing has possibly driven it out of a few schools, and certainly made it irrelevant. When my sons were in grade school I went to a few concerts; the classes sang songs that I had never heard, songs written for elementary school children to sing. No more This Land is Your Land, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, or Sidewalks of New York.

We used to sing Christmas carols in December when I was a child; now they sing ‘winter carols’ about snowmen and ice skating. Recognizing that we are diverse, we do not share our diversity, but make up a fake culture to show fake unity.

Nobody sings along with ‘winter carols.’ They belong to no culture.

Music has become a private experience. More

Kicking the Print Habit

It’s five a.m., too early for the newspaper to be here. I used to wait for it anxiously every morning, unable to eat breakfast until it arrived. That was my ritual, to check out the editorials, scan the metro page for local news, and read the weather report before leaving for school.

Six-thirty is the promised delivery deadline; since I leave at six-fifteen, it doesn’t always arrive in time. For me, a creature of habit, this is annoying. It stands to reason that somebody must receive the paper before six-thirty; why can’t it be me? Looking out my door, I see no lights on besides my own. Those sleeping houses probably already have a newspaper on their porches, while I am still waiting.

Growing up in the metro-New York area, I learned to love newspapers. We subscribed to the local paper, the Times, and the Wall Street Journal. There was always news to read in our house.

Turning on the television in the morning to watch the news is not the same. It’s jarring to hear voices at that time of day. I enjoy my newspaper in silence. More

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