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[icon] On the inauguration, and joy - Patti
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Subject:On the inauguration, and joy
Time:01:59 am
Today was a joyous and happy day for most of my friends, for a wide variety of reasons. Most of the people I know respect President Obama and hope that he will bring a new era of pragmatism and rationality to the White House. Even most of the people who did not support Obama put aside their differences (at least for today) and wished him well. Many of us, especially those over 40, were filled with the wonderment of something we never thought we'd see during our lifetimes. One person took it upon himself to be the raincloud of the day, and he did so in grand style, but he was definitely in the minority.

I have a favorite moment from the day, one that I keep coming back to over and over again. It's not Bush flying away in the helicopter, nor the first time I heard the words, "former-President Bush." It's not listening to Obama say, "and non-believers", though that was up there. In fact, it's not directly related to the transfer of power at all. Rather, it was a part of the ceremony leading up to it, although technically it probably happened at the exact moment that Obama became president.

Did you see Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill perform the John Williams piece just before Obama took the oath? If not, you should. If you did, you should see it again. At the very least, start watching around the 2:20 mark, and pay attention to Yo Yo Ma for about one minute. I've even embedded it in high-quality for you.


I have a bit of a crush on Yo Yo Ma. It's not because he's a brilliant musician, though he is. It's not because I used to be a cello player, though I was. It's not even because one of my favorite recordings ever is his collaboration with Bobby McFerrin, though it's definitely in my top 20. Rather, it's because no matter what he's doing, he always seems to be the happiest person on earth.

Watch that clip again. Every move he makes is filled with joy, and every single note is dripping with exuberance. I'm sure he's freezing his ass off, he's still a little sore from the secret service's extra thorough body cavity search, and he stubbed his toe just before going on stage, but he doesn't care. He's in love with every single moment of what he's doing, and he doesn't care if the whole world knows it.

I've probably replayed that video 20 times today. It's a beautiful piece of music and a beautiful moment, and I just can't help smiling as I watch it.

I listened to that song today while going through my email, and the juxtaposition between Yo Yo Ma and my friend the raincloud was really jarring-- I've been thinking about it for a few hours. On one hand we have someone who seems bitter, cranky, and negative. On the other, someone who radiates the joy of just being alive. It makes me think about the way I live my life, and which one of those people I would rather emulate. I need to spend more time focusing on the positive, and less on the negative.

Even though I unloaded a flamethrower on your ass today, dear raincloud, thank you. You've just helped me become a slightly better person.
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tiurin
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 11:47 am (UTC)
Simple Gifts, indeed.
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rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 12:24 pm (UTC)
yeah, i think yo yo ma was possibly the happiest guy in washington, from the look of it.
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foolishfiddler
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 04:35 pm (UTC)
Yo Yo Ma is my favorite musician on the planet. He doesn't just play music, he IS music. Thanks for posting this video....I was watching the inauguration on CNN, and they TALKED during the performance! Sacrilege.
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tigerknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 04:58 pm (UTC)
I liked the religions comment too. My only critique would have been that since he had gone that far to include non-believers then it would have been nice to have included the non-major religions in some way, but perhaps referencing non-major religions would have been a harder pill to swallow than simple atheists - people may have spasmed and rebuked him for supposedly supporting the age-old feared concept of satan worship or such other things.

He struck a delicate balance of pointing out flaws without pointing fingers (we all did that for him in our heads), so having this be yet another delicate balance of his speech isn't such a bad thing.
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(Deleted comment)

whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 06:23 pm (UTC)
Sure, I could wordsmith and nitpick a lot of the speech, but I think that's missing the forest for the trees. That's the first time I've heard a president address the wide variety of faiths, including none at all, that we have in this country.
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tigerknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 07:24 pm (UTC)
Yep. It made me very happy to see and hear. The minor criticism I had was not intended to be a show of dissatisfaction.
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veep
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 11:27 pm (UTC)
After his father said we shouldn't be citizens, W. did mention us atheists in a 2002 Presidential Radio Address discussing the Easter season:

"Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all."

I thought that was nice of him, and I still do.
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gayathri
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-22 12:37 am (UTC)
we hindus are a pretty small minority in this country - I was surprised to hear us, tho since he referenced muslims, maybe not so much.
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tigerknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 07:21 pm (UTC)
Very nice - I like that :]
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mspurrmeow
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. I skipped a lot of the ceremonies (being as I have an aversion to pulpits and evangelism, even when it's not.)

I'm happy that you shared this, and I'm going to download it for myself. Thanks!

Edited at 2009-01-21 06:19 pm (UTC)
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jpmassar
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 06:24 pm (UTC)
"I unloaded a flamethrower on your ass today"

Kudos for the positive imagery. And you definitely need
tight (if not positive) focus for that kind of task.
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adb_jaeger
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 09:37 pm (UTC)
Nah, Scott's kind of a fat-ass.

(rimshot).
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(Deleted comment)

gayathri
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-22 12:38 am (UTC)
agreed! I got caught up in Perlman, but I was a violinist and he is a childhood hero!
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sarahbellumm
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 07:59 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Thank you so much for highlighting it, or I would not have seen it.
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sabyl
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 08:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that - I missed that performance. And glad you've been able to take the raincloud and make some sunshine from it.
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scottro
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 08:30 pm (UTC)
I really can't believe I forgot to mention that amazing performance.

You turned me on yo Yo Yo Ma a few years ago, and I just love his music. He's brilliant.

For me, the piece was much more melancholy than uplifting, yet it had undertones of hope. It was as if it was saying, "OK, we're really in a jam here and things are very tough, but perhaps we can all work together to make it better." It was such a wonderful piece of music, and I'm listening to it again as I type this.

I'm glad you got something out of my rantings. I really am a very happy person. I just tend to blog about stuff that pisses me off. I actually do look for the good in people as much as I can, and the good things in life even in times as difficult as these (for me personally, it's very tough right now). But I do have confidence that everything is going to get better. Maybe even in politics too. We shall see.

77
Resident Raincloud

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yayhappens
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-21 08:32 pm (UTC)
When I saw it on TV I noticed that Yo Yo Ma was just totally in a world of love. First I noticed how damn awesome the sound was for it being windy out and all. Pretty amazing wasn't it?

I love when I see musicians just completely be one with their instrument and seem to work symbiotically. It gives me the chills just thinking about it. It's beautiful!

Thanks for sharing. :)
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-22 07:47 am (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out, that was a nice piece, really well-played. And indeed, Yo Yo Ma was happier than a clam in clam sauce.
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bldrnrpdx
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-22 01:50 pm (UTC)
Such, such pretty music. Yeah, Ma is a treat to watch. In performances past, I remember Perlman showing just as much emotion (in other performances), though I don't remember smiling (maybe it's just harder to do with a violin?). He's one of the first musicians I remember seeing to show a tremendous amount of emotion while playing, or maybe one of the first I saw where I was so struck by it.
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catness
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-22 08:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is totally what music is all about for me, as a listener, and as a musician. I was as in love with his performance on Tuesday as he was about being there.
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adb_jaeger
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-23 03:28 am (UTC)
Does the fact that they were "lip synching" change your opinion?
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[icon] On the inauguration, and joy - Patti
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