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I hope you didn’t notice (but I now confess) that I was uninspired last week on Music Monday. Sure, I love Raphael Saadiq, sure that’s a great song. I have thought of retiring this particular weekly stint until the spirit moves me again.

Tonight I asked my little one (not so little, as about 3 weeks ago, she became taller than me) “What song should I post on my blog?” and she answered “the music from that show [Ken Burns’ series The Civil War],” which she watched a portion of with Hubby earlier tonight. She’s been reading Across Five Aprils and did an extra project on the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) for school this week.

I don’t play an instrument (7 years of piano, all for naught), but if I could, I imagine it would be most pleasant to play this on the violin.

The deep, satisfying double stops; the familiar and homey nature of the tune; the way the rising melody hits a minor note before its descent and resolve; it is all so poignant and sweet.

I was going to post a version without images because war is too much to look at sometimes, but the one from the soundtrack* without images gets cut off before the end. I figure you all don’t listen all the way through anyway….you’ve got your iTunes and your iPod and your fancies. Me too. Just in case it is new to you, here:

*UPDATE, August 23, 2012: the version from the soundtrack to Ken Burns’ documentary was pulled and I just found out, so I’m posting another version. Visuals are terrible, but I didn’t care for the live video recording of Jay Unger and family. Ironic, isn’t it? Let’s see how long before they copyright and pull this one. It’ll probably take me a while to notice, if I ever do. Look, I know there’s some sort of doodad app to inform me if a video is pulled off of youtube. But I don’t have it set up. Crap.

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Electricity was restored to our house last night at 1 am. Such relief I feel, oy! Can I get an “AMEN?”

Going commando update:

I realize that my attempt at fitting things into the category of going commando was fraught with false turns. It began to sound more like a Thankful Thursday than a post about underwear and nakedness. But it reminded me of a great story my mother tells from her childhood.

My mother grew up in Germany during the war. Her father had some relative–an aunt, a grandmother, a sister–I don’t really know and have never gotten the detail right on this–who had a farm away from the little Medieval town where my mother lived with her parents. They would send my mother to get fattened up because they had no food during the war. Rationing and what not.

My mother was particularly impressed with the woman at the farm. This woman, my mother says, was the hardest-working person she has ever met or seen. My mother has a memory of the woman working in the fields and lifting her skirt, squatting to pee and going back to her work. Lifting her skirt, no pulling down of any undergarments, squatting, peeing, and moving on. Almost like the women who work in the fields, squat to birth a baby, wrap it up, and keep working, the rhythm uninterrupted. How do they cut the cord? Where does the placenta go? Probably just hack it with a scythe and let it fall to fertilize the soil. Totally commando. Wow.

Two Peasant Women in the Peat Fields, Vincent Van Gogh, 1883

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Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law. Buddha

I didn’t know what other song to post.

I’m still appalled and angry and saddened and shocked.

Being born in 1963, I was subject to the zeitgeist of peace protests and the anti-war movement. I am not too sure how much came from my parents because even though they were Democrats and they hated Nixon, they were also Establishment and European and warned us of “hippies” and counter-culture types with long hair. I remember hints of racism in spite of their liberal views and in spite of our racially-mixed neighborhood in Detroit.

I watched TV yesterday for a while until the commentators took over and wouldn’t allow for even another hour or two of family members reading off the names of those killed. I loved hearing the names read off without interruption. I didn’t want to hear the politicians speak their speeches; I didn’t want to hear a poem; I didn’t even want to hear Yo Yo Ma play his cello.

I am not sure who the day belonged to.

I keep wondering how much money it takes to run the waterfall. I keep thinking about waste. I keep thinking about pride and its foil, humility. I keep thinking about our bodies and the pain of having a complex nervous system. I keep thinking about war and Elvis Costello’s words from “The Scarlet Tide:”

Man goes beyond his own decision/Gets caught up in the mechanism/Of swindlers who act like kings/And brokers who break everything

I think of Cheney and Halliburton and the billions of dollars made, wasted. And the extremists who visited strip joints in Florida when they trained to fly the planes. Guns produced by one country and sold to another. What difference does it make? Someone profits and a lot of people suffer.

And this one: why can’t men get their personal shit together and stop acting out? Why do people need to couch their hate in something larger than themselves?

The memorial looks beautiful and fitting and I’m glad it’s there and we’ll probably hop down to the city to see it, soon I hope, in the fall.

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