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
December 22, 2014 - 11:11 a.m.
I have a feeling this is going to be a very short edition of Wise Madness. We'll see, sometimes like The Lord of the Rings the tale grows in the telling.
Yesterday I took part in my longest standing Christmas tradition, Caroling with Terre Roche. I first did it over 20 years ago. There were many years that I didn't but when I connected with Terre on Facebook I started again.
I'm an Jewish atheist, or is that atheist Jew, who can't sing but I love caroling. No matter how religious the content the songs are not just about the birth of Jesus, they are about the feelings that generates in believers, and those are good feelings. They are about hope and love and altruism. Even when singing about god they are about humanity. And so many of the songs are simply beautiful. Of course we also sing the modern songs that aren't about religion but about people celebrating in winter. Even Jingle Bells isn't trite when sung with the right people
I try to get people to go with me. Two years ago I brought Fred. Last year Fred and Katherine. Maura was there on her own. This year I asked what I think of as our musical crowd, those living in New York. I am sure I missed people. Then everyone stared responding that they couldn't make it. Dan said he'd be there and Honor said probably. That's all I heard from.
I left my house what I thought of as late and still got there 20 minutes early. Washington Square Park is very easy to get to. When I got there I didn't see anyone I knew, including Terre. Then Barbara and the other lead carolers showed up. I recognized the faces of others but I have forgotten their names. I know Barbara from when they used to do this at the Bottom Line as the Caroling Carolers.
Then Terre showed up and told us that the solstice started at 6:02, a few minutes away. we started soon after that. None of my friends were there. After a song or two I spotted Katherine and joined her. She told me that friends were joining her. I knew Gidge and Deb.
We were soon joined by Honor. She found us I didn't see Dan but by then I was wearing my reading glasses and would not be able to see him. Then Honor said, "there' your guy!" She spotted him. I told her I was expecting him. I couldn't see him but I waved for him to join us and Honor said he was.
So notice my caroling strategy I surrounded myself with professional singers. Of course in ages past when there was no internet and fewer people were involve I'd stand with the leaders and share a songbook with one of them. I'm totally self-conscious about my singing but not when it comes to this. Hell last year I did part singing with Jean and her friends.
When it was over I said my goodbyes and walked with Dan and his friend Jordan to the subway. They were going to dinner and I headed home.
Honor took a video but it's on Facebook, not Youtube so I don't know how to post it here. Sandi took videos too and I'll post them once she has them up. She videoed last year too. She was surprised when I knew her name But we are Facebook friends and I just watched last year's videos.
When I got home I made myself a treat, a hasselback potato. I'm getting better and better at that. It came out perfect. That second application of olive oil/butter mixture makes a big difference.
One other good thing I got my phone working right. I wasn't able to get Internet when I wasn't on WiFi for a while. I tried removing the battery and reinserting it to no avail. I looked online and in a forum someone suggested putting in a code to reset the data. I tried it. It didn't work. Then I decided to call Boost Mobile help number. It said that phone was not authorized to make calls. I had no idea what was wrong. then a message came up that I had to register the phone. someone things had totally reset. So I did. And when the phone was registered everything worked. So now I can get internet when I'm out again. That's great as that's the primary thing I use the phone for.
At one point yesterday the internet was out on my laptop, the phone's internet hadn't been fixed yet, and the toilet wouldn't flush. I was not happy. It pretty much seemed to sum up this year. It has not been a good one for me. But no matter what else is going on I feel better singing and taking part in tradition.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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