Archive for August, 2008


My high school sits on the campus of the Mississippi Univeristy for Women, and I attended the Mississippi Governor’s School there. This post on folo points to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal‘s article on an impending name change for the W. The Commerical Dispatch, the local newspaper in Columbus, has this coverage. Sharing a campus with the W made for some strange experiences. Grand old unused and underused buildings were all over the campus when I was there, making the place feel like a ghost town. The same probably is true now. The strife must be hard on a place that seems to have been ailing for quite a few years.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 29th 2008 in General

Stagger Lee RFT

The Riverfront Times Stlog has this post local MasterMinds Awards. The one given to Tim Lane caught my eye. The RFT published the comic “The Story of Stagger Lee” last summer as part of his You Are Here series. I missed it until yesterday even though I am very interested in the story. The comic is brief and definitely worth a look.

1 Comment »

Michael M. on August 29th 2008 in General

Mountain View

In Arkansas, Fiddlers Try To Preserve Local Tunes” aired on NPR‘s All Things Considered. I missed it yesterday, but I found out about it via this discussion on the Fiddle Hangout. It profiles Mountain View, Arkansas. Mountain View is small town, yet it is a popular tourist destination. Two related stories ran on Day to Day. The Ozark Folk Center is a big attraction. Several friends from the beloved Folk School went to the Inn at Mountain View a few weeks ago for a workshop by Banjo Billy with Colin Blair, and Mr. Causey who made my fiddle used to visit regularly. I hope I manage to spare some time to experience it for myself.

Update August 30: NPR blog Vox Politics has this related entry that is much more politics than music.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 29th 2008 in General, Music


Multisensory Integration in Macaque Visual Cortex Depends on Cue Reliability” is my new scientific paper in Neuron. I published it with Dora Angelaki and Greg DeAngelis. I did my work on it in the Angelaki Laboratory, but both senior authors were equally important in the work. It is the public result of my biggest project as a graduate student in the Washington University Program in Neuroscience. Those 12 pages are a distillation of a lot of my time. Although it is a small and very specialized contribution, I feel that the work is solid and topical. The process was long, but ultimately rewarding. I am very happy that it finally came out.

Update September 7, 2008: The entry on PubMed is up.


Michael M. on August 27th 2008 in General

Piney Woods

Following up on recent post, folo has this post about the new blog Highway 61 Radio. I listened to the radio show on Public Radio in Mississippi, now part of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, back when I could. This post covers the contributions contributions to popular music by students from the Piney Woods Country Life School. This most recent one is about the picnic this weekend that was started by blogged Othar Turner. I wish I had been there.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 25th 2008 in Live, Music, Recorded

Musical dots

Once in a while, I have these fits of music research when I come to see how many of the greats are connected. At a party a couple of weeks ago, a guitarist taught some of “Autumn Leaves” to the bass playing host. I picked out some of the melody on fiddle. The song has bounced around between my ears since.

Searching for recordings, I came across one by Chet Atkins and Jethro Burns. I figured, correctly, that Jethro Burns might have been half of Homer and Jethro. Although most famous in that novelty act, Burns had wide and deep talents. Searching for more about him, I found this rough, but captivating YouTube video of him and Martin, Bogan and Armstrong, mentioned back in the spring, jamming backstage at some festival or concert.

Martin, Bogan and Armstrong were musicians from the early days of electrical recordings who stepped back into musical prominence decades later. One local friend told me that he saw them back in the 1970s and then several times at festivals. Their “State Street Rag” is a big favorite of mine. I should track down a recording of it and so much more of their material.

Steve Goodman, a famous musician who should have been more famous, connects them. This page contains great information about the connections. Goodman got Jethro Burns to play with him often. He also promoted Martin, Bogan and Armstrong. “You Better Get It While You Can (The Ballad of Carl Martin)” is one of Goodman’s songs that I ought to track down. Goodman also wrote “City of New Orleans” about the train that still serves my hometown and had a big hand in launching blogged John Prine‘s career.

Knowing that musicians I admire were admirers and champions of one another makes me happy. Of course, I also feel a little jealous because I missed it all myself. The happiness wins out, though.


Michael M. on August 24th 2008 in General, Music, Recorded

Isaac Hayes

It is sad that Isaac Hayes did not get a few more years. I am a fan, and I have mentioned him here two times. Recently blogged folo had two posts dedicated to his memory. The first links to New York Times coverage of the memorial held in Memphis. The second recounts a funny anecdote.

At the farewell, previously blogged Craig Brewer spoke. I was happy to see his name. He has a close finger on the culture and history of Memphis, and he is an active participant and creator. Hayes had a hand behind the scences in many of the great songs to come out of Memphis when he was a songwriter and a producer. I had known him as a public figure for a long time before I understood how prolific he had been before the ascendency of his own star when he came to the forefront as a performer. He is missed by many.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 24th 2008 in General, Music, Recorded

International Sweethearts of Rhythm

I started tracking folo several weeks ago. I cannot keep up with its pace of Mississippi politics, but the music posts are great. This one about the International Sweethearts of Rhythm is one of my favorite entries yet. The band crossed gender and racial lines. Its seed started in Mississippi at the Piney Woods Country Life School.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 20th 2008 in General, Music, Recorded

Mound journey

I have blogged about Cahokia two times. “Ancient Midwest” in The New York Times provides a travel guide to the mounds of the region. I have visited the Cahokia mounds twice. I never have seen the Ohio valley mounds described in the article, but they must be impressive. It is about time that I revisited the local ones.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 17th 2008 in General


The New York Times published this article on MMWA-SICW wrestling at the South Broadway Athletic Club. Various people have told me how fun it is. Regretfully, I must report that I have never been despite having wanted to go for years. Maybe the time to remedy that deficiency is nearing.

1 Comment »

Michael M. on August 4th 2008 in General

Vocational threads

Post-Modernism – Are We There Yet?” on To the Best of Our Knowledge includes a feature on blogged Stuff White People Like. It also had the joke band Monkey Bowl. It got me thinking about favorite Camper Van Beethoven. They might be postmodern. I learned about them when I was 14 through “Pictures of Matchstick Men” (video) and liked them right away. Over twice as far in life, I learned that David Lowery majored in mathematics. It permeates their music, especially New Roman Times. “That Gum You Like Is Back in Style” is about cryptography, and “The Militia Song” includes the line “Studied mathematics at Berkeley / Now I don’t like society.”

The second half of the broadcast was “East Meets West Part Two: Dharma Days, Yoga Nights.” While I used to be interested in that topic, I am not much now. I mostly tuned it out except for the part about the favorite Beatles. The show got me thinking about Lost Horizon, though. This book was wildly popular after it came out in 1937. My mother has a paperback copy that I read right between high school and college. Despite the novel’s fading in the public mind, Shangri-La is an immediately recognizable idea, now more popular that the book in which it appeared. Camp David was originally called Shangri-La. In the thread theme, one of the characters framing the main narrative of Lost Horizon is a neurologist. I had forgotten about it.

No Comments »

Michael M. on August 3rd 2008 in General, Music, Recorded

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.