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 06, 2015 - 1:20 p.m.
Very exciting I just personalized this computer to do the one thing lost in Windows 10, zone tapping on the touch pad. I can now open in a new tab with one finger. OK you might not think that’s exciting but then I feel sorry for you. You probably don’t appreciate the Grand Canyon or Beethoven’s Ninth.
Yesterday was exciting, I trekked upstate, practically Canada, to see Dar Williams and The Nields at Irvington Town Hall. I was very excited about the MetroNorth trip up there. A few weeks ago I went to Yonkers to see Spuyten Duyvil. The conductor did not collect my ticket on the ride home so I had a free ride coming to me! It’s only good for a month but this trip gave me a chance to use it. I had it in the transit portion of my wallet right behind my metrocard. So yesterday I get to Grand Central Station and buy my one-way ticket to Irvington. I go to put it in the transit portion of my wallet and what do I see? My unused old ticket is not there. I lost it! That’s $8.50 down the drain. That tragedy might counter my reprograming my touchpad except now I see the reprogramming is not working. My life is a continuing tragedy.
I got there early and went straight to work checking out the merch. Somebody else thought she was doing merch and had set it out before I got there. After seeing that was taken care of I went to find Carter and found him in the green room with Dar. I was very good and did not interrupt the conversation till I had something funny to say. Yes I will jump into a conversation I’m not part of to deliver a quip. After saying hi to Carter and Dar I went back to the merch and got all the money and set up taking care of. Then I delegated the job of making signs with prices to someone whose handwriting is actually legible. I have a terrible feeling that I left my sharpie there. I bet I did, bad things are supposed to come in threes. Of course who supposes that? Not me. Who tells the bad things to arrange themselves that way and why would anyone want them to come in threes? That is actually a tiny bit of a philosophical entry I’m thinking of writing, things I just can’t understand about other people.
Hey Carter was the show a sellout? It looked like it but I couldn’t see the balcony. There were tons of people, I’ll tell you that. And yet there were only three people that weren’t working the show that I know. In the old days if I were seeing Dar I’d know a dozen people. Where are my Darlings?
I did an excellent job of predicting what she’d play, so could have you. People were asking before the show what she’d be playing and I said, songs from the new album, Emerald and classics like … and I mentioned two songs. They were both played. You can guess which two. Given the date one should be obvious. There was also one I knew she’d play because she was talking about it with Carter when I arrived but I won’t give away privileged information. You won’t read here what Carter was doing with that tuba band.
I wonder how many times I’ve seen Dar, it has to be at least 40 as I’ve been seeing her for 20 years and I must have averaged more than twice a year. It’s slowed down now that it’s more money to see her and I have less money to spend. But still I’m seeing her twice this month. I’m seeing her at the Landmark on Main Street in a few weeks. I think that means I’ll eschew the one show I never miss, her Boxing Day show at Bell House. The other two I didn’t have to pay for.
I think Dar has a unique niche in my musical taxonomy which is ironic as I often say that so many people I see want to be Dar. She’s unique because she succeeds at it. She is the Joe DiMaggio of folk music, she makes everything look so easy. I’m not happy with that metaphor as I’ve never seen Joe D play but he’s famous for making things look effortless. In my lifetime I can say Carlos Beltran. He didn’t dive for balls, he just got to the place before the ball did by getting a great jump and running the direct route to the ball. That’s what Dar does except it doesn’t seem direct. Perhaps direct is not the right word, it’s the most efficient path but that often means lots of changes of direction. I often talk about my mind working like a pin ball machine bouncing in different directions. That’s certainly how Dar talks. If you’ve heard her you know exactly what I mean. She manages to talk very fast and breathless yet project calmness and zen at the same time. I can never manage that last part. Her songs like Dave Carters always work on multiple levels. There’s symbols in the symbols yet they always give the feeling of being simple. It’s that trick that fools people into thinking they can be Dar. By the time she’s finished all the scaffolding has been removed and we just hear is the clean and smooth finished product. A Dar song is like a ship in a bottle, it seems nice and simple to you ponder how it got in there.
Dar did pretty much the show I expected. Great new songs from the new album. Ah, and now I remember what I wanted to say. I love FM Radio. I heard her do it at the Vin Scelsa Farewell show. It was done as a sing along. Here’s the thing, If there is ever an audience participation part of a song I will always want to do it in future performances even when it’s not asked for. So of course I sang along on the chorus. One of the songs I knew she’d do is Iowa. To me that is always a sing along and I always take my phone out and wave it over my head in place of a lighter. She didn’t ask people to do that last night but that didn’t stop me. Then near the end she said “I forgot to tell you the song’s a sing along” and also told people to hold up their cell phones. After that I wasn’t alone. What’s the other song I knew she’d do? Hey it’s December, she had to do Christians and the Pagans. That’s one of the twelve songs that is my favorite Dar song. It’s the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
And that reminds me of something else I wanted to write, another aspect of what makes Dar Dar. Oh no, anyone else just think “Dar Dar Binks?” Get that thought out of my head. I’m now going through the entire Dar canon in Jar Jar Binks speak. I could just delete that but I had to experience that and shared suffering is easier to take. OK now back to Dar. She told a story about traveling around the country and seeing Tibetan prayer flags in Nebraska. The point being that the country was not as divided as people think it is. Isn’t that so much of the point of the Christians and the Pagans? People only think they are different but deeper down they are much the same. It’s seeing the same world but in a better light. There’s a scene from a third doctor episode of Doctor Who:
The Doctor is telling Jo about how when he was young he was depressed and went to see this wise old man to find the secret to life. The man said nothing, he just pointed to this flower, a weed. It was like a daisy. The old man said nothing but the Doctor looked at the daisy through the old man's eyes. He had never see such colors before. It was the "daisiest daisy" he had ever seen. Then he saw that the rocks weren't grey, they were green and brown. The snow was not ugly slush but brilliant white.That’s a big part of why I love seeing Dar, she gets me to see the daisiest daisy. That sound weird and metaphysical but you know exactly what I mean. Language is imperfect but we can still communicate with the help of shared experience. It’s like if I said, “you know the think Dar does with her voice.” You would know. I’ve actually said that and was understood immediately. I tried to figure out what it was last night. I’m not sure but I think sometimes she slides into the right note instead of starting dead center. I could be wrong.
After the show nobody came to buy CDs at first. I got worried. Then they came in a rush and I almost sold out. One person that bought was a woman that has known Dar since Kindergarten. She was with her two kids. I was very happy, I got the kids to laugh a bunch of times. I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone that likes my jokes.
I of course did not make a quick exit. I had to count out the money and the merch and then had the onerous task of hanging out with Carter and Dar. It’s so hard being me. I then even got a ride to the train station. It’s not that far and all downhill but it was getting cold and it was late. I caught the 12:17 train. I was very lucky and had to wait only 3 minutes for the 4 train. It’s a faster trip home from Grand Central than I though. The train runs local at that time and always seems to take forever but it was only 41 minutes. I got home around 2 AM.
OK now it’s time for me eat breakfast, bacon and eggs. Tonight I’m off to see Robinson and Rohe at Jalopy, my first Christmas show of the season.
WooHoo! I got the tapping on the touchpad working! It’s a Festivus miracle. So as Tiny Tim observed, The Flying Spaghetti Monster bless us. Every one
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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