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
-Bertrand Russell

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

February 06, 2013 - 12:41 p.m.

The Caverns of the Trad

Yesterday was a busy day. I got to school a bit late, comfortably before class but with not enough time to day anything in my office. This is why I try to prepare in advance. If I have to vamp the lesson I'm fine but I like to have all my ducks in a row. If I hadn't spent most of the class going over homework I would have had to email them last night's homework. I didn't print it out beforehand. That was an oversight on my part.

I gave a quiz at the start of class, Every day I told the students that if they come in late and miss the quiz then they get a zero. A third of the class missed the quiz,. When I told them that means they get a zero they were shocked, I don't know if they just didn't listen when I repeatedly told them that or if they are used to teachers threatening to do things then not doing them. Now they know. I'm afraid I'm falling far behind in my finite math class, I don't know why but everything goes very slowly,

I'm revamping precalculus, dropping or rescheduling topics that never go smoothly and aren't that important. I'm going to wait on transformation of graphs until we learn to graph trig functions. The way the book does it is by teaching them graphs whose only purpose is to use as examples of transformations.

After school I wanted to race home but I had to email some things on my computer to some new students. Oh yes, the precalculus class that had a 30 student limit now has 33 students. I didn't approve them either. The school screwed up their schedules, they had registered early enough to get in but were given the wrong classes. I have no idea how that can happen. When I got to the office to mail it to them someone was on my computer. Yes I share it but there is never anyone else on it. Today there was and I had to wait half an hour to use it.

I raced home so I could fix the Last Homely House West of the Mountains' palantiri aka WiFi network. It kept on breaking down. It would just stop working. I'd reboot and get it working again but that would only last a short time. I was very proud of myself. Without any help I got into the router and ran the setup program. It came with a disk to do that but it was lost. Verizon walked Elrond through the setup and did not do a very good job. I knew something was wrong when it used WPA not WPA-2. I thought that did it. But it didn't. It soon broke again. In the end I had to reinstall the old modem and router which is working fine.

By the time that was finished I had to race out of the house to get to the Jalopy Theater in time to see 4tet-Brittany Haas, Cleek Schrey, Jordan Tice, Nic Gareiss. I didn't know them at all but I love Brittany and figured if she's in the group they have to be good. You're going to have to wait to find out if I was right,

This was my second time going to Jalopy this week. it's not an easy place to get to.

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As you an see it is in the naith formed by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the Brooklyn Battery (Gov. Hugh Carey) tunnel. Naith is a Sindarin (Elvish) word but you know exactly what it means and there is no English equivalent. You can't cross the highways at very many places which is what makes it tough. I walked from the Carroll St. Subway Station (Marked by a white M in a blue field) on Smith Street over the pedestrian bridge at 2nd place. The trip is a little over 40 minutes but 30 minutes is walking.

When I got there I didn't recognize Brittany at first, she cut her hair. It's amazing how something like that can change someone's looks. There was a lot of the same crowd there as on Sunday, Kristin, Stephanie, and Greta off the top of my head. I took my usual seat down front

The opening act was Liz Hanley was great. She's traditional with a Celtic flavor. Some songs are ballads and others fiddle tunes. In her other life she's in rock bands. That's what's great about music. The genres are signposts not boxes.

I know you've been holding your breath so now I'll tell you that the 4-tet wasn't great, they weren't good. They were amazingly great. They reach right into the center of my brain. It's the music of my people Brittany and Cleek (not a typo) play fiddle, Jordan guitar and Nic plays the floor. "The floor?" Yes I said "the floor. Sure they csll it percussive dance but that's not an instrument, that's the technique he uses to play the floor. Would you say that a fingerpicking guitar player plays fingerpicking? Would you say that someone who plays hand drums plays his hands? A percussive dancer's instrument, is the floor, he produces sound by striking it with his feet just as a hand drummer makes sound by striking the drum head with his hand.

The music is what? The best I can tell is Northern European, Ireland, Sweden, and Norway were mentioned. The texture on some was almost Baroque as the two fiddles weaved melodies around each other. On a few songs this traditional band employed a synthesizer. As I said, signposts not boxes. I spent most of my time looking at Nic's feet. That's an amazing accomplishment as Brittany was on stage. That's how I know he plays the floor. Most of the dance beats out the rhythm with an economy of motion. The visual beauty is a byproduct of that. It's like high performance vehicles look great even though most of the design is about making them high performance. The human eye appreciates that economy.

My walk through the interconnected musical world has brought me into a new system of caverns filled with traditional music. It's a community and sound that is new to me even though people I know led me there. I say new but not totally. I've always loved the music but rarely heard it. How did Brittany put it? "New York is a bastion of traditional music." Have I mentioned that I love New York? Have I mentioned that I have no brain? That might have been Nic or Jordan that said that. As he' he the only one I'm sure didn't say it, it was probably Cleek.

They deliberately deconstructed the music, breaking it down into smaller pieces and playing solos and duets so we could distinguish the elements. I was mortified that during Nic's solo I exploded. I felt a cough coming on and popped a cough drop in my mouth. That usually does the trick but not this time. I erupted into a cough. Then as I tried to fight it back it became a sneezing fit. I had to get up and make my way to the back of the theater till it worked itself out. When I was back there I saw that Greg Listz, Brittany's bandmate from Crooked Still was there. That was nice. I miss the band, They have been on hiatus for over a year. I've seen Aoife fairly often but not the others. I still haven't seen Corey and Tristan. They each promised me that the hiatus would not be Moxy Frvous style and they'd play again. I am going to cry if they never play again. Of course the benefit of that is more music as I now get to enjoy the wonders of Aoife AND Brittany separately. The one time Greg's band, the Deadly Gentlemen came to town I couldn't go. I think I might have been out of town. I haven't heard a peep from Corey or Tristan.

The music was so heavenly I didn't mind that it ran late. I didn't get out of there till after 11. I would have loved to stay and socialize but I had not had a real dinner, just a slice of pizza. I knew the Wing Bar was close by and checked it out after the show. It's a few blocks north of the Subway. The place was almost empty but the food was good. When I got on the train there were only three other people on the platform, Stephanie and two of her friends, so everyone had been at the show. They had been waiting a long time so my dinner didn't cost me as much time as I thought.

Now that the currents have brought me into the world of Jalopy and the Brooklyn Gun and Rod club, the world of traditional music and dance who wants to join me? Do any of my friends amongst My Gentle Readers like that sort of thing?

Now it's time for a very late brunch. It's 12:41 and I'm starving.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile February 06, 2013
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