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
November 19, 2016 - 11:31 a.m.
I was going to write about politics, after saying yesterday that I wouldn't but I've changed my mind again. Now it's not about not wanting to face it but organizing my thoughts. I want to come up with something coherent.
I'll write about more pleasant things. I had a good day yesterday. I had one bad anxiety inducing thing, but the rest was good. Writing this makes me face the anxiety. That's part of the process and a benefit of blogging. I'm missing therapy next week as I'll be visiting Joe and Emily for Thanksgiving. That's very good for my mental health.
Yesterday I went to pick up my mail at my PO box. I've been meaning to do it all week. I should have gone earlier. I hadn't paid my PO box rent, they closed it, and returned my mail to sender. I have no idea who it was from and if they know how to contact me. I reopened the box. So I'm fine for the next six months. I hope none of the mail was important.
That's it for bad things. After the post office, I went to Trader Joe's in Chelsea. It was far less crowded than usual. I was able to get in and out of there in no time. It helps that I made a shopping list and stuck to it. I of course use an app, not a paper list. Amazingly I didn't buy a single perishable. That was fortunate as I didn't go straight home. I didn't make it home for hours; yet I came straight back to City Island.
It was a rare day that I got to hear live music just a few blocks from where I live, Bev Grant played at the Starving Artist Cafe, a few blocks from home. To make things even better Jane was in the City too. We weren't on the same train, she was one train behind me. I waited at the Pelham Bay station for her to arrive and we were picked up by Bernie and drove straight to the Café. This is where it was fortunate that I didn't have perishables. It was no big deal if I did as Bernie had to drive back to the apartment and get something so he could have brought them. But they were heavy and I didn't want to make him carry it and put things away.
Bernie dropped off Jane and me. I didn't see Bev from outside but she was right by the door, I just had to see around a corner; I haven't learned to do that yet. The hug she gave me was enough to make it a good day. Jane and I got a table then Bev and I caught up. She introduced her to Mario Giacalone, a total miracle I spelled his name right the first shot, who was her musical guest. She and Mario had been in a band, The Human Condition, together, back in the 70s. I'm blanking on the name of the other friend she introduced me to. At least that proves it's me. I was worried it wasn't when I spelled Mario's name correctly.
While looking for something else on YouTube I saw "Little Old Lady from Pasadena" as a recommended video. I decided to watch it. When it got to the line, "Go Granny Go" it finally hit me that Bev referenced that in one of my favorite songs of hers, I think it's called "Go Granny Go." I knew the Jan and Dean song long before I ever heard of Bev so I felt stupid. Yeah this is really me. I admitted to Bev that I just got the reference and she said, "What song?" She didn't know the Jan and Dean song. It was just a coincidence. It should be a reference as both songs are about an older woman doing something not traditionally associate with either older people or women; playing soccer in Bev's song and drag racing in Jan and Dean's. I bet you didn't think I'd be writing about 1960s surfing culture music. I know I didn't.
Bev's songs alternate between autobiographical and songs of social awareness. I was going to say protest but singing of grannies in South Africa playing soccer is a celebration, not a protest. She covered Jean Rohe's Arise Arise, it's going to be on Bev's next album. That's one of my nominees for best song of the decade. Bev, does it quite differently which made it a challenge to sing along. I did of course, as did Jane. Jane sings a lot better than I do.
Mario started talking about visiting his family's ancestral villages in Sicily and finding his family so of course I told him about Villa Palagonia and Allison Scola's travel business, Experience Sicily. Mario books the BMCC theater and I was there merching for Spuyten Duyvil. It's a small world and Mario is one of my people. He sang and played mandolin with Bev and did songs of his own. Both times I saw Bev at the Starving Artists she shared the gig with a friend. Last time it was Honor Finnegan.
I also got to know Elliott the owner of the Starving Artist better. He's also my people. After the show, he led the audience in discussing the election. When's the last time you heard that at a concert? I haven't mentioned food! I had the sliders, that's mini-hamburgers. They come with bacon! And were delicious. Then after the show I shared apple pie ala mode with Bev. Bernie and Jane headed home and I stuck around to talk.
Here is as close to politics as I'll get today. "It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." With all that's going on I had a wonderful day, spent time with wonderful people, and got wonderful hugs. These personal joys are as important as anything.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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