FYI October 06, 2019

On This Day

1898 – Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the largest American music fraternity, is founded at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America (also known as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Mu Alpha, or simply Sinfonia) (ΦΜΑ) is an American collegiate social[1] fraternity for men with a special interest in music. The fraternity is open to men “who, through a love for music, can assist in the fulfillment of [its] Object and ideals either by adopting music as a profession, or by working to advance the cause of music in America.”[2] Phi Mu Alpha has initiated more than 260,000 members,[3] known as Sinfonians, and the fraternity currently has over 7,000 active collegiate members in 249 collegiate chapters throughout the United States.[4]

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia was founded as the Sinfonia Club at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts[5] on October 6, 1898, by Ossian Everett Mills, bursar of the conservatory. Exactly two years later, on October 6, 1900, a delegation of members from the Sinfonia Club visited the Broad Street Conservatory of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a group of students there petitioned to form a chapter of the club, thus establishing the organization as a national fraternity. By 1901, two additional chapters had been formed and the 1st National Convention was held in Boston to establish a national constitution.

Phi Mu Alpha operates independently from any of the major governing councils for collegiate fraternities in the United States such as the North-American Interfraternity Conference, though it is a member of other interfraternal organizations such as the Association of Fraternity Advisors, the Fraternity Communications Association, and the National Interfraternity Music Council.[6] Since 1970, Phi Mu Alpha headquarters are located at Lyrecrest, an estate on the northern outskirts of Evansville, Indiana.[7]

Membership in Phi Mu Alpha is divided into four classes: probationary, collegiate, alumni, and honorary. Probationary members are those who are participating in an educational program of between four and 12 weeks in length in preparation for initiation as full, active collegiate members. Collegiate members transfer to alumni membership after they graduate. Honorary membership can be bestowed under guidelines established by the National Constitution.

The fraternity has local, regional, and national levels of governance. The most fundamental local unit is the collegiate chapter chartered at a college or university. Phi Mu Alpha also charters local alumni associations, which are issued to groups of alumni members in a particular geographic area. Chapters and alumni associations are grouped into provinces. A National Executive Committee, elected by a National Assembly at each triennial National Convention, governs the national organization.

Phi Mu Alpha has several identifying symbols, including a membership badge (pin); the colors red, black, and gold; a coat of arms; a flag; and an official flower, the chrysanthemum.



Born On This Day

1565 – Marie de Gournay, French writer (d. 1645)
Marie de Gournay (French pronunciation: [maʁi də ɡuʁnɛ] (About this soundlisten); 6 October 1565, Paris – 13 July 1645) was a French writer, who wrote a novel and a number of other literary compositions, including The Equality of Men and Women (Égalité des hommes et des femmes, 1622)[1] and The Ladies’ Grievance (Grief des dames, 1626).[2] She insisted that women should be educated. Gournay was also an editor and commentator of Michel de Montaigne. After Montaigne’s death, Gournay edited and published his Essays.



By Ronald Blum, Associated Press: Marcello Giordani, tenor of beauty and heft, dies at 56
Yet, age took a toll, and he lessened his appearances on the major stages in recent seasons. He established the Marcello Giordani Foundation to support young singers.

“His choice to create a foundation in support of young singers at such an early age was unusual,” Fleming said.

Marcello Giordani (born Marcello Guagliardo; 25 January 1963 – 5 October 2019) was an Italian operatic tenor who sang leading roles in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. He had a distinguished association with the New York Metropolitan Opera,[1] where he sang in over 200 performances from the time of his debut there in 1993.


Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer and a co-founder of the rock band Cream.[1] His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of “rock’s first superstar drummer”, while his individual style melded a jazz background with African rhythms. He is credited as having been a pioneer of drumming in such genres as jazz fusion and world music.[2]

Baker began playing drums at age 15, and later took lessons from English jazz drummer Phil Seamen. In the 1960s he joined Blues Incorporated, where he met bassist Jack Bruce. The two clashed often, but would be rhythm section partners again in the Graham Bond Organisation and Cream, the latter of which Baker co-founded with Eric Clapton in 1966. Cream achieved worldwide success but lasted only until 1968, in part due to Baker’s and Bruce’s volatile relationship. After briefly working with Clapton in Blind Faith and leading Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Baker spent several years in the 1970s living and recording in Africa, often with Fela Kuti, in pursuit of his long-time interest in African music.[3] Among Baker’s other collaborations are his work with Gary Moore, Masters of Reality, Public Image Ltd, Hawkwind, Atomic Rooster, Bill Laswell, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and Ginger Baker’s Energy.

Baker’s drumming is regarded for its style, showmanship, and use of two bass drums instead of the conventional one. In his early days, he performed lengthy drum solos, most notably in the Cream song “Toad”, one of the earliest recorded examples in rock music. Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream, of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2008,[4] and of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2016.[5]


By Tamar Lapin, The New York Post: Six elephants die trying to save each other at dangerous Thailand waterfall
The Passive Voice: Book Clinic: can you recommend enjoyable historical fiction? And more ->
By Gustavo Solis, The San Diego Union Tribune: Want to interview cartel hit men or human smugglers? These men and women can make it happen
Atlas Obscura: Found: an elaborate Viking graveyard at the end of a fjord and more ->

Gastro Obscura: Most wasabi isn’t really wasabi at all; Histories of Famous Dishes and more ->

Kings River Life Magazine: “How a Shy, Fearful Little Girl Became a Cuddle Bug” from Kings River Life Magazine, plus 9 more

Design Luck Community

Hi there,

Thank you for taking the time to join me.

Let’s get into it.


Here is the new essay of the week:

Is Happiness the Acceptance or the Absence of Suffering? – I was struggling to write, so I went stream-of-consciousness and let this out. It’s about the relationship between power, desire, and love; the difference between pain and suffering; and Nietzsche’s criticism of the Buddha. Mild profanity, if that’s not your thing (Pocket).

Here is another piece that I wrote:

Status Independence: The Art of Never Being Socially Anxious – I read recently that poor people are less healthy by virtue of knowing they are poor. That got me thinking about how status interacts with stress/anxiety. This is about that and how status independence actually raises status in most contexts of today’s world (Pocket).

A quote that I’ve been pondering:

“I discovered that the world should be divided not into good and bad people but into cowards and non-cowards. Ninety-five percent of cowards are capable of the vilest things, lethal things, at the mildest threat.” – Varlam Shalamov

A book that I’ve been enjoying:

The Birth of Tragedy – Nietzsche wrote this in his 20s, and it was interesting to see the germs of his later ideas here and also how much his writing evolved over time. You can make soundbites out of his thinking, but I’d say there is arguably no one who evokes more novel ways of thinking in the reader during the process than him.

An idea that I’ve been playing with:

There are three kinds of connection: small-talk, depth, banter. Small-talk is needed but uninteresting. Depth is great, a good way to know people, to learn, but it can’t be forced, and over time, there is only so deep you can go. Banter, however, is vastly underrated and I think the sturdiest foundation for any long-term relationship.

An interesting question to think about:

What’s something that technology won’t change in the next ten years?


As always, thoughts and criticisms are more than welcome, too. Press reply.

Talk soon,

Zat Rana


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