I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
-H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me—that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter—except to show how very dull we are,”
-James Branch Cabell
October 22, 2014 - 10:51 a.m.
I start off with a few paragraphs of curmudging. Rest assured that I then move on to more pleasant things including great music..
I listen to the WfUV question of the day every morning and participate in the Facebook Group. I'll also look at what people write on the blog. And sometimes it reminds me of teaching. I never get used to people not thinking. This is not a real example as I don't want to embarrass anyone. But this is exactly what people will do. If the subject was Songs about the sun somebody would suggest, "Moon River" because "the moon is in the sky just like the sun." Now I know this shouldn't bother me but it does. And I don't actually know it shouldn't bother me. These people are allowed to vote. They have jobs.. If they can't think of a single song about the sun so they just change the question how can I trust them to keep the world running smoothly. I can't. This is why we get George W. Bush as president. Look at the Bertrand Russell quote at the top of the page. Not thinking is the bane of humanity.
Speaking of not thinking why do I watch Warehouse 13 the writers of the show never think. The entire show is predicated on the most dangerous and secret place in the world having no personal and laughable security and safety measures. How many times is the place going to be infiltrated and or blown up? Lots of fiction suffers from the writers either being unable or unwilling to think like an intelligent person.
Last evening I finally remembered to video something I've been meaning to since I moved to Brooklyn. New York is marvelous and has small delights that people just take for granted. Every rider on the and trains can see this out their window every day when approaching the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn
That is a linear zoetrope and early form of movie. The illusion is created by looking at the images through slats. Usually the pictures move, in this case it's the viewer. You might know the word from Coppola's production company American Zoetrope. I have never seen anyone look out the window at it. I never saw somebody point it out to their kid. I miss it most of the time as it's hard to see on a crowded train. But if things are right I look at it.
I went into the City to see the terrific Tara O'Grady. I've seen Tara in very different settings, John Platt's On Your Radar at Rockwood, an Irish Center, a jazz dance nightclub, and playing dances on the sidewalks and the Brooklyn Library Plaza. This was a first, the lounge of the Refinery Hotel. She plays there every Tuesday and last night I decided to check it out. It's a strange gig. Other than me people don't go there to listen to music, they go to drink at a bar. The music is for ambience. I was trying to imagine what it would be like If I went in there to meet somebody and heard Tara. I'd have no expectations of singer at a bar being any good. I wouldn't pay much attention.. But after a few songs I'd notice that she can sing. Then when she did an original song I'd be blown away. I was blown away the first time I saw Tara at On Your Radar but then I was prepared to be blown away. This would be total serendipity. Anyone that stumbles on Tara is lucky.
She's a performer with a clear hook. She sings Irish songs with jazz sensibilities. But there's so much more to her than that. Yes she can sing Danny Boy ala Billie Holiday but that's not all she does. she writes her own songs and they are not all Irish . Her name and ancestry are from the emerald isle but there is far more to her. Her upcoming album is New Orleans influenced. She did two songs from it, one lush and romantic and a lively one about food! Yes she's my people.. OK I knew that anyway.
It's my mission in life to get my musical friends to discover music outside their comfort zone. Tara is different. She doesn't travel in my usual circles. But that doesn't mean my usual circles shouldn't travel to her. The Kennedys like her and obviously John Platt does too. See it isn't just me.
I was talking about music in therapy yesterday and explaining that so many musicians have nothing to say. They have musical talent, they can sing and play instruments but its' empty of ideas. It sounds pretty but that's all. And that's a shame as there are so many ways to express ideas through music, there's lyrics, melody, rhythm, harmony, and arrangement. I'm sure there's more than that. Each of them can open up new worlds. And you don't need all of them. Sam Baker pretty much recites poetry to a guitar accompaniment but it's transformative. You aren't the same person you were before you heard the music. Some have the technical musical ability but have nothing to say. That shouldn't be surprising. Why should the talents go together. Yes Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven were all great performers but Wagner was painfully bad on the piano. Nobody expects opera singers to write operas. I always respected that Art Garfunkel said that not everybody is cut out to be a songwriter. And some can express themselves just by singing while others with just as good a voice and just as good a knowledge of music can just be juke box repeating what they've already heard. I say people who do that make a good bar band. Tara last night was a bar band but did so much more
When Tara does a hotel show like she did last night she does lots of standards. She throws in her own music but that's not the bulk of it. people want to hear the songs they know. But she still manages to inject herself into every song. They are not recreations of the records. I'll often talk about the voice being an instrument but it's more than that. It's not just about the tone produced but the phrasing and diction and things I don’t know the words for. Maybe there is no words for them. But whatever they are I like the way that Tara does them.
Tara is also fun to look at. There is a sketch artist who works the lounge. I should have taken a picture of one of his pictures to post here. He says that she's hard to draw because she is always moving. That makes it better for everyone not drawing her. As does her style.
I was there for three hours and took hundreds of pics. It was dark and those were the only ones that came close to coming out.
For dinner I figured I'd get to the area and see what's around. The hotel is two blocks south of Bryant Park. When I got off the train I saw that the Holiday Market was already up. I went through that and found nothing interesting. I ended up with dollar pizza. I'm not complaining. I like dollar pizza and the price is right.
I was thinking of seeing Cuddle Magic last night but they didn't go on till 11 PM in Williamsburg. Then I didn't get out of Tara till 10:50 so that was that. They are also outside my usual circles and totally different than Tara, much closer to Neuromusic. I will have to catch the next time.
Oh I forgot to talk about yesterday's breakfast. It was amazing. I did something I haven't done in ages, went for the grand slam. I had not just French toast but cinnamon French Toast cooked with bacon and I cooked it in the bacon fat. Don’t' go ewww, that makes it great. I heated the real maple syrup and I made perfect scrambled eggs. I've been feeling down and that picked me up for quite some time.
Today I keep it simpler, poached eggs and Taylor ham.
Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay - October 22, 2014