Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Oh, those noises: Love 'em (or not)

Love the sound of Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra (from andrerieu.com)
     A sound I love: Bea softly says to me, "I love you" -- and she means it.
     A sound I don't like at all: Leaf blowers. Especially early in the morning when they awaken me (and the neighborhood).
     Another sound I love: birds chirping on a beautiful, blue-sky, sunny day.
     Another sound I don't like: Car alarms going off, any time of day. Bad enough if it's for 10 seconds, but how about five minutes ... in the middle of the night?
      Love the sound of an orchestra -- classical music, popular, or the big-band era. Watching Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra on YouTube videos has become a favorite pastime. But just about any orchestra or big band will do.
James Lipton: He asks the sound/noise questions
(from studiosystemnews.com)
      Do not like the sound of incessantly barking dogs, big or small. Especially if they are barking at me, such as during my walks.
      Inside the Actors' Studio on the Bravo network. When James Lipton, the erudite, odd-looking, old (he's 87) host gets done with his questions/background info from his infamous stack of notecards, he gives the guest the Pivot questionnaire -- as he always explains, from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture," hosted by Bernard Pivot.
This idea for this piece was inspired by one of our favorite TV shows,
       If you've seen the show, you know these questions. We are focused here on No. 6 -- What sound or noise do you love? -- and No. 7 -- What sound or noise do you hate?
      (Here are the other questions: What is your favorite word? What is your least favorite word? What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? What turns you off: What is your favorite curse word? What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? What profession would you not like to do? If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?)
        I kind of like the "favorite curse word" question ... but never mind. I'm writing about sounds and noises today.
         I'm not going to use the term "hate." Just prefer to use "don't like."
         So believe me when I tell you that I don't like the sound of cars with engines/mufflers that roar, the kind that wake us up many mornings here at the apartments.
          Don't like -- as a friend pointed out on Facebook a couple of days ago -- cars with their music blaring so loud they can be heard in Aledo, the car bouncing with vibration and also our car (and our ears) vibrating.
           Love the roar of a big crowd at an athletic event ... especially when the cheering is for the home team that is my team. My favorites: Tiger Stadium at LSU, Yankee Stadium, the Amsterdam ArenA (cq), American Airlines Center. (Doesn't happen enough at JerryWorld.)
           Don't like: A crowd booing, anywhere -- athletic events, concerts, political rallies. Not necessary. Bad form.
            Love (thank you, Simon and Garfunkel) the sounds of silence. Sometimes, after a noisy outing or a few hours with the grandkids, silence is very good.
            In the same vein, love the silence fishing provides. Sure, you might talk some with your fishing partner(s), if you have any, and the surroundings might provide some sounds, but I like the little "plunk" of your line/bait going in the water ... and then the waiting game.
            Already covered some of this, but don't like loud noises, especially sustained ones: lawnmowers, even more so wood-chippers, long train whistles (seemingly every 10 minutes here at the apartments, in the middle of the night). The volume-up-high movie trailers in a theater. TV commercials on high. How about those sonic booms in the 1960s?
             One awful sound I heard here last week outside our apartment: Two cars colliding.
             Love the sound of a wood baseball bat hitting the ball -- "thunk" -- but not a metal bat hitting the ball -- "ping."
             Love the sizzle of a steak on the grill. Just don't leave it there too long.
             A difficult sound that's impossible to escape: A baby crying during an airplane trip. If you have had kids, you should be sympathetic. We know from experience because once that was our baby, and it's a long way to Hawaii.
             Love the sound of just about any Beatles song. Or most anything sung by Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis. I love "crooners" and great performances, period.
             I can listen to hours of '50s, '60s and '70s pop music. That is now "old fart" territory, true.
  Heck, I even like '40s numbers. And I've gained a recent appreciation for classical music.
             Can't do rap, or hard rock, or much of what's popular today. I'm not with the times on this.
   Haven't even heard of many of today's top artists.
              Back to sports: This doesn't happen all that often, but I like the distant roars on a golf course. You know something good is happening.
              Best roar I've heard/seen: When Phil Mickelson made the putt on the final hole that won him his first Masters. Second-best, but I only saw it on replay, not live: When Justin Leonard made his putt to clinch the Ryder Cup for the U.S. in 1999. Not only the crowd going wild, but the U.S. team members racing across the green and teeing off the European team faithful forever.
             Conversely, the idiots who scream when a golfer tees off. You are not da man. They deserve an eviction notice.
              Love the sound of a college band at a football game, or in LSU's case, before the game, as the Golden Band From Tigerland marches through campus and finally reaches Victory Hill.
              Love, or maybe respect, the playing of Taps, although it also is a sad and dramatic tune.
              Don't like the sound of a siren, or sirens. No matter what, a police car, fire truck, emergency vehicle, not much good has happened when you hear a siren. Only exception: When they arrive in time to save a life.
              A sound/noise I love ... well, because this I like to use good taste and decorum in my blogs (laugh if you want, but that's the goal), I will demure and let you guess.
              Don't like the sound of bodily functions in public, especially if it's mine in a crowd. How's that for good taste?
               Don't like being yelled at; more importantly, don't like yelling at someone (and I've done far, far too much of that in a lifetime).
              A noise I don't mind, if it is at a distance: kids playing on a schoolground during recess.
              Which brings me to my favorite sound/noise: Listening to my grandkids (even when the two grandsons are battling each other). Most of all, I love listening to their laughter. It makes life worthwhile.                     


  1. From Tom Marshall: Good one, Nico. I gotta think about this … I may have a few to add to the list (and I bet you’ll get a lot of similar e-mails and postings). Here’s some to start you off:
    LIKE: Many sounds associated with baseball (as you said, too). First, play-by-play on the radio. Reminds me of my childhood, especially if the voice is Vin Scully today. I love that the Dodgers simulcast his radio call on TV for the first few innings. There were others in this category too — Harry (not Skip); Jack (not Joe). Even now, I love to go to Central Park when the Yankees are playing. Sharon and I sit on a blanket in the shade under the big trees and listen to the broadcast. It would be easier to stay at home and watch on YES, but sometimes radio is nicer.
    LIKE: Anything whispered in my ear by a child (especially one of my grandchildren).
    LIKE: Rain on the roof while sleeping in the summertime.
    LIKE: The words and melody of the Star Spangled Banner before a big event. This literally gives me goosebumps almost every time. And it really bothers me when people don’t remove their hats and stand quietly. I might get beat up over this some day, but I have shushed quite a few people who are talking during the anthem.
    DISLIKE: Cab drivers honking their horns in NYC, for no good reason. They do it incessantly. What, is the guy in front of you supposed to make his turn NOW, and just run over those pedestrians in the crosswalk?
    LIKE: Church bells ringing on a peaceful Sunday morning.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. From Sid Huff: Interesting piece. I love peace and quiet and sounds of nature. I live on 22 wooded acres and enjoy more than my share of what I said in the previous sentence. And, I have a five-plus-acre lake to fish in ... alone in my jon boat and listening to those sounds. Hate crowds and loud noises.

  3. From Jim Pruett: A few more...
    Not my favorite: The words, "May I speak to James Pruett, please," when I pick up the phone and realize I shouldn't have.
    A few favorites:
    • Rain on a skylight.
    • The first couple of chords of some song I love.
    • The sudden silence that follows a big bucket by my guys in the other guys' noisy gym.
    • A golf ball rattling around in the bottom of the cup.
    •"Hey, how you doing?" when I pick up the phone and hear the voice of an old friend.

  4. From Sandi Atkinson: Awesome blog. Most of those "dislikes" are universal. Train whistles don’t bother me much because where I grew up in Shreveport, we were five houses from the KSC tracks. You get used to it … most of the time. Grandchildren and anything they do is easy to love … even if they misbehave. You can send them home.