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January 8, 2007

five things about me

Russell Arben Fox has tagged me in a game that is going around the blogosphere. I'm supposed to write "five things you don't know about me." Here goes:

1. I used to live with Marcel. Marcel was once a beloved baby elephant at the Paris Zoo. During the Prussian siege of 1870-1871, the famished Parisians were forced, much to their sorrow, to eat Marcel. They retained his skin, which was stuffed with a beer barrel and straw. After some years of posthumous service in a Paris bar (beer came out of his trunk), Marcel was moved to London. He belonged to the owners of an apartment near Victoria Station that my family rented in 1979-81.

2. My 7-year-old daughter and I have constructed what we call our "mosque." It is about 14 inches high. It isn't really a mosque, because it lacks a mihrab (to orient people for prayer) or a minbar (the Islamic equivalent of a pulpit). That's probably just as well; it might seem disrespectful for two unbelievers to build a mosque for play. Our motives were the opposite of disrespectful. We (or at least I) love Islamic architecture and wanted to figure out how to construct a public building--which could be a bath, a school, or a library--in the 16th-century Ottoman style.

3. In the 1990s, I used to play the clavichord. It is one of the two quietest instruments I know, the other one being the lute. If an air-conditioner is running in the same room with our clavichord, you can't hear a note from more than three feet away. Its low volume was an attraction for me, because we live in a small apartment. So was the fact that J.S. Bach would have used a clavichord in his home. Tuning it, however, is so time-consuming that I have mostly given it up. (I did receive a didgeridoo for Christmas last year, but that's mostly for looking at.)

4. I basically identify as a Jewish American, a grandchild of immigrants. But it turns out that my oldest American ancestor, by way of my mother, was one Isaac Learnard, who died in Chelmsford, Mass. anno domini 1657.

5. I am color-blind and can hardly sing a note. (Or, even worse, I can only sing one note.) Yet I love music and painting. Would I enjoy these arts less if I could actually perceive them?

I tap phronesisaical.

January 8, 2007 7:05 AM | category: memoir | Comments


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