You might assume, since I’m talking about Good Friday, that I’m Christian, and that I’m here to talk about my faith. Actually, I’m not Christian, but I also believe that Easter is not irrelevant. Here’s another non-Christian writing about why Easter matters.
I’ve found it impossible to escape the fact that one of my favorite music composers, Johann Sebastian Bach, was not only Christian, but clearly imbued his music in some way or other with his deep faith. Two years ago, while listening to the opening chorus of his St. Matthew Passion, which was first performed on Good Friday in 1727, I also saw a thoughtful article by a Muslim, “Can non-Christians appreciate Bach’s St. Matthew Passion”. I’m not here to add to that debate, but to share one of the most moving pieces in the entire history of Western music, the aria “Erbarme dich” from the St. Matthew Passion. I hope you will check it out, whether you are Christian or not.Read On →
So I heard that Gabriel García Márquez just died.
My immediate reaction was one of personal embarrassment.
Because I knew almost nothing about this famous writer. Now, that in itself is insignificant, since there is no shortage of famous writers or musicians or athletes or scientists whom I know nothing about.
But there’s a twist.Read On →
Born in Puerto Rico, he was one of my favorite singers of salsa and bolero when I was regularly doing Latin dancing and seeking out the best music out there. As a particular fan of bolero, I was drawn to his magnetic voice and style: rich, smooth, flexible. His singing always seemed so resonant and never harsh; in particular, as a learner of Spanish, I appreciated how easy it was to hear his words, because of his clear, conversational articulation even as he sang.
Check him out:Read On →
So today is the 125th birthday of Charlie Chaplin. I could assume that he needs no introduction, being one of the famous pioneers of film, but I have to confess that I have never myself actually watched the entirety of any of his films. I went through much of my life not knowing much about him at all, in fact, other than caricatures of his famous character “the little tramp”, which to me just seemed dated and weird, and therefore not of interest. So I never looked further into his films or his life: it was all just ancient history to me.
But two years ago, by chance, I learned more about him.Read On →
For the New Year in January, Abby and I went on a brisk winter hike through the Pittsburgh hiking meetup group in Boyce-Mayview Park, which was new to us at the time. We enjoyed the experience so much that we knew that we were going to return in the spring.
So on a warm and sunny afternoon (temperature rising beyond 70 degrees F), we went (by ourselves) to Boyce-Mayview Park to do some hiking. We ended up doing maybe eight miles. Obviously, things just looked different without the snow and ice, and with some vegetation and more active life forms.Read On →