Objects in Mirror

Objects in Mirror: December 28, 2007 Archive

Friday Favorites

Posted at 5:18 AM on December 28, 2007 by Julia Schrenkler

Each week Melissa Ousley hosts two hours of classical music requests we like to call
Friday Favorites. From 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. CT, she takes your song suggestions to the air. It seems simple enough but I guessed there might be some interesting backstory, so I asked Ousley about the program. She described the process:

"When a listener submits a Friday Favorites request, the form comes right to my mailbox so I'm able to keep an eye on the traffic flow during the week. On Thursday afternoon, I pass those requests along to our Assistant Music Director, Jennifer Anderson. I'd be lost without her. She gathers the CDs and, when needed, does some sleuthing to figure out what listeners have in mind."

So Ousley walks into the studio with a pretty good idea of the music mix, but even with that information, she can be just as surprised as the listener. She's discovered pieces she hasn't heard before, but ultimately likes. Another happy accident is that sometimes the mix comes together well, which is difficult because as Ousley points out, "they make their requests independent of one another." And then there's the human connection of it all. Ousley recounted a recent request she found very moving:

"On [December 7] I played a request from a couple who had lost their daughter over the Summer. This request came in by telephone, so I had a chance to speak with the mom, Kathleen. She told me that her daughter loved the Beatles and that's what she hoped to hear. I explained that, unfortunately, the Beatles wouldn't be such a great fit for Friday Favorites, but asked her to tell me a little more about her daughter. Turns out she also loved Classical music and piano, in particular. I told her about a recording called "Bach Meets the Beatles" where pianist and improviser John Bayless plays tunes by the Beatles in the style of JS Bach. The one I suggested to Kathleen was "Let it Be."

As you might imagine, this was an incredibly difficult thing for Kathleen to do. Her daughter was 55 when she died. Her birthday would have been Dec 11. She was pretty emotional on the phone and when I played her request that Friday, I was too. In fact, it was hard for me to speak afterwards so I decided to segue to the next request."

Where does classical music connect with your life? Send in your request and share how a work relates to your life. Then listen to classical music on MPR from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Fridays. You might hear more than you expected.

News discussion topics for the 12/28/2007 weekend

Posted at 11:48 AM on December 28, 2007 by Julia Schrenkler

Don't be caught without a topic this weekend!

DNR: Ice conditions good, but anglers still need to use caution (MPR) Some conversation options include discovering if your friends or family have ever gone through the ice, and how they feel about the media covering people crashing through. Personal note: Whether you're on foot or on wheels, be careful on the ice, okay?

Pawnshops doing a brisk business (MPR) Have you ever pawned something? Purchased something from a pawn shop? Purchased a gift from a pawn shop? Learn more about the people next door by asking how they'd feel about a pawn shop in your neighborhood.

Our Cell Phones, Ourselves (NPR) National Public Radio's feature reports on a little device I call the handy-but-usually-annoying-electronic-leash:

"Researchers have found that people with cell phones are more likely to be late for appointments than people without -- a phenomenon they are just beginning to understand. If we can always call to say we're running late, then we are never actually late. We're simply renegotiating our estimated arrival time."

Oh really. How many people renegotiate a job interview time? But wait, there's more:

"Like them or not, cell phones are fast evolving from luxury to necessity. Opting out of the cell-phone universe is becoming less of a viable option. 'You're a problem for other people if you don't have a mobile phone,' says Katz."

But people with cell phones who renegotiate estimated arrival times aren't a problem for anyone else? So. Are you a problem for people who carry cell phones?

Share your own conversation-starters suitable for breaking the ice, to make small talk while waiting for a temporary loan, or to meet new people at a New Year's Eve party.

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