Over 30 years ago, Jacques Littlefield met a kindred spirit, Charles Benton Fisk, over a mutual love of organs, and the science and engineering of music. How did this happen? Littlefield, a graduate of Stanford University, became involved in CB Fisk's Opus 85, and began to dream of a significant instrument -- not a house organ -- in a dedicated hall attached to his house.
First Jacques had to build the hall. For that, he turned to another kindred spirit, Tad Cody, who he had met through a love of trains. Tad designed the hall and the rooms and library connecting the hall to the original ranch-style house.
In 1983, calamity could have struck the CB Fisk company. Charlie Fisk died. But Jacques had confidence in the company as a team, and Opus 91 was underway. The installation was completed in 1987, with additions made in 1989. An important historic note about the usage of this organ was that the Stanford University graduate program in Organ Performance, interrupted by the effect of the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, continued by the use of Opus 91 in the Littlefield hall, which was unaffected by the quake.
There is at least one recording made while Fisk Opus 91 was in Portola Valley, Kevin Buttle's Festival d'Orgue.
Time passes and things change. Jacques Littlefield died in 2009, and his family decided that the best future for the organ was to find it a new home. A team effort ensued to find the optimal setting.
After acquiring the instrument with collaboration from the Jacobs School of Music, the IMU and the office of the president of IU, Kazimir and C.B Fisk disassembled the organ in February 2012 and then placed it in storage in Bloomington until Alumni Hall was prepared for its official installation.
A personal note: Fisk Opus 91 was an important part of my relationship with Jacques in ways too many to mention. Jacques' thinking about the instrument, and our relationships with the "Fiskies" who came to install and voice the instrument, opened a whole world to me. The same is true for musicians who came to play the instrument over the years. I trusted Fisk President Steven Dieck when he told me that Indiana University's acquisition of Fisk Opus 91 represented a great future for Jacques's dream and the instrument.
Having seen the installation and heard the instrument in its new home, I have to agree. I also think that the Webb-Ehrlich Great Organ's (as it now should be known) location on the campus of a great university gives an opportunity for the organ to be engaged in something else: an exploration of the impact of both engineering and design on the actual production of music.
This is something that Jacques embodied, and touched on through his friendships, and maybe there's a way for the Webb-Ehrlich Great Organ to bring this forward.
In writing up the site change for Opus 91, the CB Fisk Company wrote,
The members of the Fisk shop, especially those of us who knew Jacques Littlefield, are gratified that the organ has a new home at a leading university with such a distinguished organ faculty; we suspect that Jacques would also have approved.
As I leave Indiana, having seen and heard the organ again after some years, I find myself rather teary-eyed--not sad, just poignant. Jacques was nothing if not pragmatic. Yes, I think he would have thought this was a good "next career" for this instrument. I can even imagine him putting together some kind of symposium so the engineers and the organists would see into each other's disciplines.
I am so grateful to the autistic adults who are sharing the reality of their lives with the public. One who has been especially generous is Steve Summers. What follows is a guest post from Steve chez Autismum. I've added my commentary. (The indented text is by Steve Summers, the full-width text is my commentary.)
Autism can be a social disability for me. Here are a few issues that I have recently noticed during some social interactions with others in small group conversations.
1. Eye contact — I can make brief eye contact, but it takes a conscious effort to do so. I have to make myself look at other people’s eyes, it doesn’t come naturally. I prefer to look at mouths. My eyes dart about and don’t sustain direct eye contact. If my wife is involved in the conversation, I prefer to look at her face instead of other people’s faces. I will glance at the other people and then return to her face.
I can frequently see when other people start getting uncomfortable with my gaze flitting about. Women, in particular, seem to adjust the necklines of their tops because they notice my gaze is below the gaze line to their eyes. I guess that they assume that if a male is looking below their eyes, that we are looking at the chest area. They don’t realize that I am looking at their mouth and all around the room as well. My darting eyes seem to be unsettling for many people.
I think Steve for the clarity of his statement. I have an unconscious habit of maintaining fairly strong eye contact when I am in a conversation, especially if the conversation has emotional content. Because I can see Steve in my mind's eye, I will (I hope) be better in conversations about being mindful of how I look at the person I'm speaking to. The "darting eyes" feature is another one to be mindful of -- I tend to assume that a person who does that is nervous, or anxious, or wants to leave my company. Of course, I only notice that because I am looking into eyes..hmmn. Changing my conversational behavior might make conversations more comfortable for both parties.
2. Personal space — I notice that other people tend to stand too close to me. I feel comfortable with my wife at that distance, but it makes me uncomfortable when other people stand very close to me. I have been in several conversations involving my wife and one other person and I find myself wanting to move away from the other person because they are often nearly shoulder to shoulder with me.
I am usually pretty good about personal space, as I don't like to be too close to people I don't know well. But I do edge closer in noisy spaces, given that as I've gotten older, it is harder to pick out spoken language from the background hum.
3. Processing speed — I often take a few extra seconds to process all of the information that is coming in from another person. I often have to consciously work out what they are saying and what the tone and inflection in their voice means in context with their words. I don’t always pick up on their body language either.
Most non-autistic people seem to do this without thinking about it. For them it is automatic, and in the background of their minds. For me, it takes some of my focus and attention. These issues often cause me to take a little (or a lot) of extra time to formulate a reply.
Reading Steve's words reminded me of the work of audiologist Ray Hull, Ph.D., who has studied auditory comprehension in children and typically-developing adults. Hull wrote,
"The problem is that adults are speaking at a rate that a child's central nervous system, or their brain, cannot comprehend. Adults, for example, generally speak at a rate of about 160 to 170 words per minute. Whereas, the child's central nervous system can process speech at a rate of about 124 words per minute."
I am not saying that Steve's nervous system is like a child's. I am saying that many people (myself included) unconsciously talk more rapidly than our conversational partners can listen. It is a reminder to slow down my speech and to wait, attentively, while my conversational partner thinks through what I have said, and formulates a response. Rapid cross-talk isn't a sign of intelligence or superiority, it is a sign of ill manners.
In group conversations, this delay often means that the conversation has already moved on and I am too late to add my input to the the conversation. If I speak out in that case, it is out of step with the others and seems like I am moving the conversation backwards. It becomes a source of frustration and/or awkwardness. Other times, people just don’t understand the delay in my reply.
Some people don’t know what to make of these slightly out of synchronization communication issues that I have. As a result some will interrupt me or simply walk away before I have made my point. That is very distressing and feels disrespectful to me. I don’t deserve to be ignored and made to feel insignificant, or invisible to others. I want to be included and treated as an equal human being.
Please take these autistic communication issues into consideration and accept that I do want to talk. I enjoy conversing and interacting with friends and acquaintances. With just a little understanding and acceptance, I can be included and not made to feel bad about my conversational difficulties.
I for one resolve to do better in all my conversations with all people.
I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (part of the Autism Spectrum) as an adult. I was diagnosed following my 11-year-old son’s diagnosis with Aspergers. I am happy to have my diagnosis. It was like a light being turned on that illuminated my entire life in a new way. Now I understand why I never really ‘fit in.’ It is like having a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders to have my diagnosis. – Steve Summers
Bassist, composer and arranger Marcus Shelby was inspired to put the album together by his study of the Civil Rights Movement and, in the combining of his own original compositions with spirituals and tunes associated with the movement, he has created a most affecting and uplifting recording, performed with passion by the superb 15-piece Marcus Shelby Orchestra.
Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was a physicist and so much more. Yes, he won the Nobel Prize in 1965. Maggie Koerth-Baker proposes we celebrate his birthday every year with clear thinking, pungent prose, and of course, drumming:
Make your plans to celebrate today
If for some reason, you hadn't previously heard of Richard Feynman, I suggest you watch this, as an introduction:
"I find that when all the available evidence is considered, were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke by Natasha Harris, it is unlikely that she would have died when she died and how she died,"
Question number one: according to the published reports, Harris was consuming remarkable quantities of liquids -- on the order of greater than 2 gallons (256 fluid ounces, or 32 cups, or 16 pounds of liquid) per day. That's almost 3.5 times the recommended adequate intake level -- in Coke alone! Suppose Harris was only drinking plain water at that rate -- what would have that level of consumption have done to her electrolyte levels?
Question number two: the published reports don't indicate which Coca-Cola product Harris was consuming. Assuming that she was drinking a full-sugar, full-caffeine product, let's look at the caloric intake first.
Assuming (based on published reports) that Harris's consumption was in the range of 256 ounces (2 gallons) per day, and that Classic Coke is 12 calories per ounce, Ms. Harris would have been consuming over 3,000 calories per day in Coke alone. By most accounts, (assuming she was drinking a full-calorie version of Coke) she was taking in about 130% of her daily energy needs from Coke alone.
Second, the caffeine intake. According to the product description, Classic Coke has about 2.9 mg of caffeine per ounce. At Ms. Harris's reported consumption, that would work out to about 742 mg per day. At an average level of 10.6 mg/ounce of brewed coffee, that's the equivalent of drinking 70 eight-ounce cups of coffee.
When ingested chronically in excessive amounts, caffeine produces a specific toxidrome (caffeinism), which consists of primarily CNS, cardiovascular, and GI hyperstimulation.
Crerar is quoted:
Crerar said the family had not considered her Coke habit dangerous because the drink did not carry any health warnings.
He recommended "that Coca-Cola give consideration to the inclusion of advice as to quantity of caffeine on labels (in) its products and... adding appropriate warnings related to the dangers of consuming excessive quantities of the products".
He also said authorities should examine whether health warnings were needed and consider lowering the maximum amount of caffeine allowed in carbonated beverages.
The family's response is foolish. Surely even the dimmest person should know that consuming that much sugar --empty calories -- isn't conducive to good health. The coroner's point about adding caffeine quantities has some validity -- putting caffeine as a percent of daily recommendation may help consumers make better choices, along the line of the recommended sodium intake on US labels. The last point is just silly.
Coleman, an amateur flutist, and Anderson played a portion of the song "Bourree," an arrangement of which Anderson and Jethro Tull performed during their 1969 U.S. tour as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon. Coleman played her part from 220 miles above Earth late last week. Anderson played his part while on tour in Perm, Russia, during the weekend. The two parts were then joined.
Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude
Desenrascanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)
Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. In Western culture, nunchi could be described as the concept of emotional intelligence. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. A socially clumsy person can be described as ‘nunchi eoptta’, meaning “absent of nunchi”
Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation
I wonder if there's a technical term for such words?
Go read the whole list, and maybe work a few into your vocabulary