Wednesday, May 12, 2004

50 Things

Not too long ago, Gideon Strauss praised those who make lists of things that they love, saying that "we know more about people when we know what they love than when we know what they think or profess to believe. And we learn a great deal about ourselves when we reflect on what we love."

The odd thing is the almost subconscious criteria that I find myself using when making a list on that topic. I'm interested in just about everything, especially almost any topic related to the law, philosophy, or economics. But do I love those things? The word "love" somehow doesn't fit. The very word seems to demand answers that fit into a more aesthetic or romantic mold. At least that's how it seems.

So here goes. 50 things I love:

  • My wife
  • My kids
  • True friends
  • Conversation with true friends
  • C.S. Lewis’s books – anything he ever wrote
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s books – anything he ever wrote
  • G.K. Chesterton’s writings – anything he ever wrote
  • George MacDonald’s books – anything he ever wrote.
  • Alvin Plantinga – a wry sense of humor and a keen sense of argumentation
  • Saul Kripke – the sheer competence
  • Thomas Aquinas – the depth, the clarity, the ability to state opponents’ arguments better than they could themselves.
  • Cloudy days -- so much better than the sun.
  • Tree-lined hills
  • Montana – the purity of the air, the majesty of the mountains
  • Coffee
  • White noise (i.e., the sound of an air conditioner or fan running in the background)
  • Sleep – aaah.
  • Playing the classical guitar
  • Lifting weights – the feeling that I’ve pushed hard and overcome something
  • Basketball – the feeling that comes from mindlessly making a perfect pass, or a shot that drops through the net from 21 feet.
  • Ham radio – the romance inherent in entering a world where I can talk to people in New Zealand or Eastern Europe or wherever, all using Morse code and a wire that I strung on our roof as an antenna.
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  • Josquin des Prez
  • Gregorian chant
  • Tomas Luis de Victoria, O Magnum Mysterium
  • Bach’s Art of the Fugue – I like the Canadian Brass’ recording, paired with his last chorale that he couldn’t finish before dying.
  • Bach’s Goldberg Variations – any of the recordings by Glenn Gould is good, but the live performance from 1959 is stellar.
  • Brahms’ three Violin Sonatas
  • Brahms’ two Cello Sonatas
  • Brahms’ four Symphonies
  • Copland’s 3d Symphony
  • Copland’s film music
  • Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms
  • Sibelius
  • Christopher Parkening's recordings, esp. his rendition of Bach's Withstand Firmly All Sin, a cantata that was transcribed for guitar and chamber orchestra.
  • Sixpence None the Richer’s Divine Discontent – one of my favorite pop albums of all time.
  • George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice Vol. I -- hands down, the best male vocalist of all time (outside of the classical genre). Such beauty, power, depth, richness of tone, flexibility.
  • Adiemus’ first album
  • Any album by Anuna, esp. songs by C.V. Stanford (just heavenly). Their first album was especially good.
  • Sarah Maclachlan’s Fumbling Without Ecstasy. Her first two albums were good as well.
  • My sister Sarah LaFon’s album
  • Maire Brennan’s albums
  • Big band music
  • Standard singers (Nat King Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., etc.)
  • Men’s choruses
  • Speaking of men’s choruses:
    John Ness Beck’s setting of John Donne’s A Hymn to God the Father – an incredibly powerful piece; and
  • Wendell Whalum’s setting of the old spiritual Scandalize My Name
  • U2 (especially A Sort of Homecoming, Pride (in the Name of Love), and Where the Streets Have No Name)
  • Ivy’s song The Edge of the Ocean
  • Dido’s first album
  • Andain’s song Beautiful Things
  • Jeff Buckley, especially his rendition of Benjamin Britten’s Corpus Christi Carol – what a pure and ringing falsetto! I’ve never heard anything like it.
  • The Corrs’ first album

8 Comments:

Blogger Rob said...

Your taste in music is most excellent, in my opinion. I'm kind of interested in Ham radio, could you give any advice as to how to get started?

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jim OConnell said...

The national ham radio group is called the American Radio Relay League. There's a link on their site with some basic getting started information.
http://www.arrl.org/hamradio.html

2004 is my 50th year being licensed as an amateur radio operator.

W9WU

12:49 PM  
Blogger Nick Ridley said...

Why no Scripture on your list, Stuart? I would think that at least the farewell discourses would fall in the category of things loved (as well as things interesting).

5:57 PM  
Blogger Gideon Strauss said...

I'll have to find a way of listening to that Jeff Buckley song. What a great list!

8:52 PM  
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