Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to school

School of RockI hope everyone had a nice holiday! Today was an uneventful day for us, and I was happy to wind down a bit after a busy and fun week. We both did a few things around here (lawn is mowed!), and Ken stopped by to see his Mom, but other than that, we enjoyed our down day. Tonight is grilled pork chops, grilled potatoes, and a salad. Oh, and a bottle of Merlot. A “Walking Dead” episode followed by “Under the Dome,” and we’re good to go!

I believe I posted a while back that I was going to take a few online courses on Coursera. Tomorrow I am starting one about vaccines taught by Dr. Paul Offit, which I am really looking forward to. I loved his book Deadly Choices: How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, and I think it will be cool to hear his lectures on the subject.

Today I started The History of Rock Part One with John Covach at University of Rochester, and let me just flash the double devil horns here and yell, “This course ROCKS!” I watched a couple of the videos earlier today, then watched a couple more later on...and ended up watching all eleven videos provided for the first week. I was fascinated! I did know quite a bit about earlier musicians and their works, including country & western artists (thanks, Mom and Dad!), but I really enjoyed learning about how radio influenced the proliferation of mainstream pop music, indie record labels, regional radio, and the confluence of three influences leading to rock and roll: mainstream pop, country & western, and rhythm & blues. (And yes, there will be a quiz next week! I’m taking notes!)

My absolute favorite was the last lecture, about hokum blues and sexual lyrics. I had never heard the term “hokum blues” before, but I guess it was about adult-themed blues songs, full of double entendres, and intended for mature listeners. Imagine the outrage when white teenagers started listening to the regional radio stations playing black music, and heard songs like “Let Me Play With Your Poodle,” “Work With Me Annie,” and the one I’ll post at the bottom of this entry, “Sixty Minute Man.”

I am really glad I signed up for this, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I will definitely search out a few of the mentioned songs on the Interwebz to enhance my learning and listening pleasure, but it makes me feel good to know that I am familiar with many of the country and Big Band artists the lecturer discusses. As someone who loves rock and roll, I really like learning more about how seemingly unrelated subjects influenced the development of the genre I love so much.

Rock on, Citizens!


  1. The course sounds great and I can hear the enthusiasm in your words. You must be in to it considering you watched all of the videos in one day!!
    Enjoy, you little brainiac :)

  2. I enjoyed the first two episodes while I was here...

  3. ... and we have a canidate for my new theme song..!

  4. I signed up for the rock class too. I just started it yesterday though, so I'm a bit behind. May have to take a look at the one on vaccines as well.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?