Friday, September 21, 2007

Cruising Altitude

A new update, finally, to this blog, and thanks for reading it. I am just teaching away at Enloe High School with a primo schedule filled with eager German students, all day. It is an excellent job. I transitioned nicely enough, and I welcome the challenges inherent in teaching 5 different levels of German for the first time, full-time. I was told by colleagues that my previous 14 years at Southern Durham High School would rapidly recede into a foggy memory as I become entrenched at my new school, but they haven't. Not a day goes by without thinking about the halcyon days at Southern. I got along great with the kids there, and the teachers and administrators, but on the whole, the environment at Spartanland was chaotic, loud, brash and ultimately grating on the nerves. Someone needs to a write a book, a memoir, about Southern Durham, and maybe one day I will.

Other things going on, oh, why not, I'll mention the new DVD I picked up, about my old friend Frank Zappa. Not a personal acquaintance, mind you, just his music and monstrous creative genius exacting my aesthetic tendencies. This particular media event profiles his two early-mid 1970s records, Apostrophe(`) and Overnite Sensation. Now, there is some fantastic music on both these records and I would recommend them to anyone interested into first-rate orchestral rock, but some indecent imagery on one song in particular makes the pair of classic recordings a mature person-only affair. And even that song is a funky, soulful masterpiece that presages the emergence of rap/hip-hop lyrical delivery styles by 5 or 6 years. The sheer musicianship is astounding, and it's a minor miracle that such proficient players took part in Frank's absurdist compositional sensibilities. So there, I recommend the Classic Albums Series documentary on Frank Zappa's twin outing, Overnite Sensation and Apostrophe(`) You can buy it direct from

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