Country roads, West Jamaica

❝ For the first time in years, I’ve taken to wearing a headset, listening to music, on part of my morning walks.

❝ The first set is usually the Amazon Music All Jazz playlist – tailored by my thumbs up-and-down. Folks like Miles and Monk and Mingus back from the era when I could hop the train down to NYC for the weekend and cruise jazz clubs, sleep in Washington Square Park without either being arrested or mugged.

The second playlist I named Groundation after my favorite contemporary Reggae group – though much of what I listen to is as old as my jazz favorites. This morning’s second set of walking our fenceline ended with Toots and the Maytals – and the best thing that ever happened to West Virginia.

The perfect shrimp for your musical barbie — Pink Floyd

A newly discovered species of shrimp that uses a bright pink claw to create a sound loud enough to kill small fish has been named for Pink Floyd.

The shrimp found on Panama’s Pacific coast has been dubbed Synalpheus pinkfloydi in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa. Oxford University Museum of Natural History researcher Sammy De Grave is one of three researchers credited with discovering the creature. He says the description of the shrimp was “the perfect opportunity to finally give a nod to my favorite band.”

According to Oxford, pistol or snapping shrimps close their enlarged claws at a rapid speed to create an imploding bubble. The result is a sound so loud it can kill or stun a fish.

I must admit to barely surviving a few rock concerts in my lifetime that could have stunned a shark.

Playing musical instruments accelerates brain development

❝ Learning to play an instrument boosts a child’s creativity, but new research shows it may also help grow the brain itself.

At a time when many elementary schools have cut or reduced their music programs, neuroscientists at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that music instruction may be important for brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain that process sound, language and speech.

❝ For five years, USC neuroscientists followed nearly three dozen children from low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles to see how children’s behavior and brains changed over time. One group of children learned to play the violin or other instruments starting at age 6 or 7, while a second group played soccer. A third didn’t participate in any specific afterschool programs.

When the scientists compared the groups two years into the study, they found that the budding musicians had more developed auditory pathways, which connect the ear to the brain…

A more-developed auditory system can accelerate a child’s brain development beyond musical ability. “This system is also engaged in general sound processing that is fundamental to language development, reading skills and successful communication,” Habibi says.

He and his team plan to explore whether music instruction could accelerate development of language, reading and other abilities in young children.

Praiseworthy.

In addition, a study in Mexico determined that “Experiencing music at an early age can contribute to better brain development, optimizing the creation and establishment of neural networks, and stimulating the existing brain tracts,”

I’ll second that emotion. I’ve long felt that direct involvement in music as a performer made significant difference to my childhood and overall learning. Just saying.

Putin will sing at Trump Inauguration – Borowitz Report


Matt Dunham/WPA Pool

❝ After having difficulty persuading prominent entertainers to participate at the event, the Trump transition team announced on Sunday that the Russian President Vladimir Putin would sing at Donald J. Trump’s Inauguration next month.

In a brief statement from the Kremlin, Putin said, “I will be most delighted to perform for my comrade.”

❝ The choice of Putin raised eyebrows in Washington, since the Russian, while famous for invading neighboring countries and imprisoning political opponents, is not particularly well known as a singer.

The Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway pushed back against such criticism during an appearance on CNN. “If we limited ourselves to people who had talent and experience, that would disqualify half of our Cabinet,” she said.

Andy Borowitz is one of my favorite madmen. A turd like Trump would probably have him shot if he thought he could get away with it. Even on Fifth Avenue.