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The Friday Morning Listen

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First posted on Mark Is Cranky:

My favorite time of year has arrived in a big way. The air is crisp and clean. It’s a little bit chilly in the morning, warm in the afternoon. It’s tough to beat.

The other bit of fall, not really a part of my life anymore, was the start of a new semester at college. I sort of get to experience this vicariously through the step kids, but since they’re sorta mute on the details (for instance, do they love the smell of their new books as much as I did? I doubt it) so I have to imagine what goes on.

What I remember about the start of my semesters was of course the book fetish, the music blaring from dorm rooms and the delicious possibilities inherent in all of that new information to be stuffed into my head. I’ve always been one of those lifelong learner types so even topics like macroeconomics got me going (economics majors, I meant that in the best possible way!).

My very first semester had one negative aspect that was tough to ignore. The change in culture from a 350-kid high school to a university campus with 15,000 students was, well…traumatic. Maybe if I hadn’t been so painfully introverted the mental anguish would have been muted a little.

Well I’d be willing to bet that my shy nerd inner drama was nothing compared to what college kids from the New Orleans area have gone through. I’d been thinking about this for a few days until last night, when I listened to a quite moving story on my local public radio station. New Hampshire’s NHPR runs a show called The Front Porch which features interviews of local folks. Last night’s show had host Shay Zeller speaking with an administrator from Ringe, New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce College as well as two students who are temporary transfers from New Orleans area Dillard and Loyola universities. I hadn’t heard about this but apparently Franklin Pierce has opened up twenty free slots for students displace by hurricane Katrina. Very nice. If you want to listen to the radio program just click right here.

So my question this morning is of course what music should accompany this bit of uplifting Katrina news? When we saw Southside Johnny last Saturday they dedicated “Better Days” to all of the folks involved (and a pile of money, via the buckets being passed around, was raised….nothing like appealing to the sentiments of a room fulla drunk people).

This Franklin Pierce story, in stark contrast to the mass of political ugliness that has recently clotted, gave me hope that maybe this country isn’t as far gone as I’d begun to think. So….do kids from New Orleans know or even care about who the Meters and Dr. John are? I sure hope so. I also hope that they rebuild. Heck, I’ve never even been to New Orleans but I do know what it’s all about. That culture is in peoples’ heads and hearts. No amount of water can wash it away. At least not completely.

So it’s “Iko Iko” and “Junko Partner” for the ride in and “Big Chief”, “People Get Ready” and “Meters Jam” for the true start of the weekend.

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About Mark Saleski

  • godoggo

    The record that has seemed most suitable for me as I read the news, and not one that I normally listen to much, is the first Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra album.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    oooh, dat’s a good one.

    i’ve got it on vinyl.

  • http://www.nhpr.org/ Andrew

    Hi, I’m a producer on the Front Porch. Thanks for the mention of the show and the links to our site. I’m glad you liked the show.
    –Andrew