Friday, November 30, 2007


A group of scientists are analyzing over 500 19th century paintings of sunsets -- including those of Turner, Degas, and Klimt -- for evidence of climate change. They have discovered that those painted during a three-year period during the eruption of Krakatoa have much more red than those of other years.

And planets may be forming around one of the stars in the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters). Astronomers are noticing "an extraordinary number of hot dust particles that could be the building blocks of planets," according to NASA.

The world is such an incredible place, yet I get so caught up in the mundane of work. I need an antidote; a dose of wonder, passion, excitement. Like paintings and new planets.

And the story of Gabriela Montero, a classically trained pianist who has an extraordinary gift of improvisation. She regularly improvises using various musical styles while playing traditional classical music, and takes requests during performances, composing on the spot.

From an AP article: "Her ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ begins with a ‘Habenera’ bass rhythm made famous in Bizet's ‘Carmen,’ then arrives at a joyous variation of Handel's melody, but in a Latin style."

You can hear a sample on her website:

Of course, another antidote is that it’s the weekend and I’ll have time to read, write, and play piano myself. :-)

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[The improvisation] just happens in front of my eyes, with my hands. That's what I love about it — its unpredictability. It's the complete surprise and it's just the magic of, even for me, to see how it develops on its own.
-- Gabriela Montero

There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That's what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.
-- Garson Kanin

Books - the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity.
--George Steiner

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