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
September 03, 2012 - 10:45 a.m.
Did you notice that I didn't write yesterday? Did you miss me? Today's edition of Wise Madness should be easy to write. I actually did things.
On Saturday I went down to Philly to see the Chicks with Dip tribute to Joni Mitchell's "Blue." Yes I've seen it before. In fact I've seen every performance. I went to keep up my perfect attendance record. I want that gold star. Well that and to see LORi and Steve and Paul. I also wanted to surprise the Chicks. This was the first show I went to that I didn't do merch. I wanted to see how they'd react to my showing up in another city unannounced. That's why I didn't mention it here.
As I always do now I took the Megabus to Philly. I left in plenty of time or what should have been plenty of time. It wasn't because the train stopped before it got to the Second Avenue station. The MTA was very good about it and kept us informed. Someone got sick on the train and 34th street and the trains were backed up behind that. I lost about 20 minutes there. I said I left in plenty of time but not as much as I usually leave because I didn't realize that they changed where you catch the Megabus. Instead of right at the Port Authority Bus Terminal it was on 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. That meant it was over a ten minute walk from the subway. I didn't notice that till right before I left.
The upshot was that I got there only a few minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave. I saw the bus, walked towards it, and the door closed. I asked someone if that was my bus. He said yes but that it was full. The last person got on right before me. Arrggghhh.
The ride down was easy. I slept most of the way. I woke up right before the bus got off the Jersey Turnpike. The young woman next to me asked how long it would take to get to Philly. I thought about it for a bit as I've driven t here so many times but never timed that portion of the ride. I decided that it felt like it was 15 minutes to the Bridge. When we got in sight of the Ben Franklin Bridge I called Lori so I could get picked up. The women next to me said, "It was 15 minutes just like you said." I'm good! And I ended up having a very nice conversation with her. She's a Law Student at Fordham, which is just around the corner from my school and we ended up having a lot to talk about. Here's a question maybe you can answer. There Upper West Side Trader Joe's has two floors. There's a special escalator for the shopping carts. Do you think it's OK to let a kid ride on the shopping cart on the escalator? We both agreed that little kids would love it but we don't know if it would be safe. It might actually be safer than riding on the regular escalator as the kid is strapped into the seat.
I love talking to interesting people when riding on public transportation. It makes the trip so much more pleasant.
When I got off the bus I called Steve to tell him where was standing and he got there in a couple of minutes.
We hung out at Steve and Lori's house till we left for World Café Live. This was my first time at the venue. As we walked from the car we ran into Jeff. I can never remember who knows whom. Jeff didn't know Steve and Lori and I actually remembered to introduce him.
When we got inside we had to find out if Paul was there and got our table for us. While waiting to find that out we ran into Coco and Bruce. That was more surprising than Jeff as Jeff lives in New Jersey and Coco and Bruce in Brooklyn, not that far from me. Coco's family is from Philadelphia and they were visiting. As for me surprising people by showing up Coco said, "We were wondering if you'd be here." Everyone knew it was a reasonable possibility. Later on Carolann came by while I was talking to Coco and said, "Brooklyn in da house!" We're all from Brooklyn. That's a pretty good contingent for a show in Philly.
I knew a lot of people there but of course there are ten chicks plus their boyfriends or husbands, that makes a good head start. When we were sitting, deciding what to order, I looked out the window and saw Erik Balkey. Two minutes later he was at our table saying "Hi." He camped right next to us at Falcon Ridge so it was a Budgiedome reunion.
I had fun as the Chicks and Roosters (the men's auxiliary) one by one noticed me and came over to say hi or I walked over to say hi to them.
The food was good and not outrageously expensive. I had braised pork. It was yummy and not something I usually make out home.
Do I have to tell you about the show? I don't think so. I've been to enough Blue shows that I have it covered. It's one of the greatest albums ever performed by great singers and musicians. You'd have to work to make that not great. Sharon Goldman tried. She said how Joni did such cool things and knew such cool people. As soon as she said that Lori and I looked at each other and said, "What are we? Chopped liver?" We were not going to miss an opportunity to take offense. After the show I told Sharon I wasn't talking to her because she said we weren't cool. She said we were cool! So now it's official. We are cool!
I wish I could remember half the conversations we had. Paul designed a Chicks with Dip t-shirt. I think it should become official merch. I discussed the history of the unification of Italy with Allison Scola. Have I mentioned that I'm a geek? She disabused me of some things I remember wrong from when I learned about it in high school.
After the show we didn't make a quick getaway. There were far too many people to say goodbye to but we did manage to leave before Paul.
When we got back to Lori and Steve's house as usual Lori and I ended up talking into the wee hours of the morning. What did we talk about? I don't know but I know we had to look things up on the internets. One thing was the history of the spelling momma for mama.
Sunday did not go as well as Lori had a sick mother and a sick cat to deal with. I had to fend for myself in terms of food. Oddly I like that. I like that I'm so at home there that I can just go through the pantries and fridge and forage.
Lori had to take Pixie, one of the cats to the vet at about the time I had to leave so Steve drove me to the bus. I got there in plenty of time and got a seat at one of the tables. I didn't sit with anyone fun but I had an empty seat next to me which is great and I slept the entire trip. I woke up a few times, took a drink, and went back to sleep. When I awoke in the Holland Tunnel I stayed awake.
When I got off the bus at 28th street and Seventh avenue I went in search of a bathroom. I walked up Seventh to where I knew there were hotels. I haven't tried using their bathrooms in a while and was disappointed to learn that they were no longer open to the public. You need a room key card to get in. I had to use the ones at Penn Station.
That meant walking past Nathan's and I saw that they had a great deal, two hot dogs and fries for $4.99. Normally the deal is two hot dogs, fries, and a soda for $8.99. They were still offering that so the soda cost $4. I did without a drink.
When I got home and went online I got some bad news. LORi's cat Pixie had died. We knew she was sick but not in mortal danger. I am the center of a vortex of misfortune.
Of course I also had a marvelous time on the weekend and saw wonderful people and heard great music.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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