If you don't mind, I'd like to devote some blog space to something very personal. Last Saturday, my warm and witty father, Ken Smith, died, an event that has not fully registered on the family he led for so long.

On Tuesday, in the midst of preparing for his funeral later this week, I got the word of another death that hit close to home -- Mary Corey, the vibrant and endearing editor who guided the Baltimore Sun through some rough years. If anyone could make a newspaper seem more like a family, Mary could.

Music that was already running through my head because of the first loss has only intensified since the second -- the noble "Nimrod" movement from Elgar's "Enigma Variations." Neither my father nor Mary would have ever considered themselves noble, but, for many reasons, I do, and I wanted to share this music in their memory.

(This video clip captures the controversial interpretation of "Nimrod" conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Some find his extremely slow tempo impossible; I am riveted by it.)