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
October 23, 2015 - 1:07 p.m.
Why didn't I start writing this an hour or even two hours ago? Oh right the chronoklepts. I have no personal responsibility. That works for me.
I'm sleepy, not the most conducive thing to writing. OK .I will make coffee before I write which postpones writing and postpones eating but it might lead to better writing. The kettle is on the burner. It doesn't whistle which means I have to get up to check on it. Life is so hard.
Last night I trekked out to deep dark, not deepest darkest New Jersey for Efrat's Silver Lining CD release show. Efrat is Efrat Shapira's band. It's not named after Ms. Shapira, that's just a coincidence, "Efrat" is Aramaic for "Versatile Violinist" and Hittite for "Folk jazz fusion ensemble." The Hittites had some very interesting popular music.
Getting there was of course a challenge, I took the to the to Penn Station where I got NJ Transit. I had to get to Garwood. My phone app gave me the right directions but not in the clearest form so I ask information. When you buy the ticket it doesn't tell you that you have to change trains and I'm not sure if there is any place in the station that tells you that. I asked information, "I'm taking the 6:16 to Garwood, do I have to change trains at Secaucus? She said, "Yes no trains go direct to Garwood, track 2." By then the train was listed on the board and it was "Track 2" that got me nervous. Did she mean the first train was track 2? I assumed she was telling me the track I had to switch to at Secaucus, things are very confusing there. So I asked the conductor on the train, "Where do I change trains to Garwood" and he said, "Penn Station Newark, track 5." He was right, the information person was wrong. She didn't even look it up, she acted like she knew.
I got to Penn Station Newark and there is no sign saying how to get to track 5 and it wasn't clear what track I was on, there was no sign within view of where I got off the train. I walked one way and saw I was on track 3, still no clue how to get to track 5 though I could see where it was. I walked the other way and saw a sign, "waiting room" pointing at a waiting room. But everyone was pouring into it. In the back of the waiting room was the stairs to the main station. New Jersey really doesn't want New Yorkers using NJ Transit so they make it very difficult for anyone that doesn't use it regularly.
There was fun on the last leg as every car didn't stop at the stations and they kept referring to the car numbers but mine didn't have the number at the front of the car. I just realized I was facing the back of the car. Maybe it was in the front and I couldn't see it with my bad eyes. But the LIRR has it at both ends of the car as they do change directions so I'm betting that's not it.
Efrat, the person, not the band, told me that somebody would pick me up at the Garwood station. As I was changing trains I saw I missed a call from Jess. Jess lives in Rhode Island so I assumed that it had nothing to do with this. But then she texted me, she was picking me up. She designed the CD, that's why she was there. She was also picking up the opening act Skout, who are also from Brooklyn. Brooklyn rules. When I got off the train I looked for people with guitars, I saw two. I shouted, "Skout?" They were surprised and I explained who I was. Jess then drove us to Crossroads where the show was.
Coffee is amazing. I just started my second cup. The thoughts are flying out of my head and effortlessly being converted to words by my fingers and ending up on my computer. Here's a question for the religious minded; clearly God could not have created the heaven and the earth without drinking coffee .Where did that initial coffee come from? Coffee must have preceded God. God could not create coffee without the help of coffee. For those of us scientifically minded coffee clearly created the energy for the big bang and cosmic inflation.
I was not just a spectator at the show, I was the emcee, that's the second time this year. I'm available for Bar Mitzvahs too. I used it as an excuse to wear my best teaching clothes which I never get to wear now. I hope someone took pictures, I looked almost presentable.
We didn't have that much time before the show started when we arrived and there was a lot going on. Skout was opening and Karyn Oliver was middling and Efrat has more people in in than in some small countries. To make things more fun Karyn's husband Claude, had just flown in from Brazil that morning. Jess was in from Rhode Island. Efrat's aunt was in from Israel. I did not have the hardest commute by a long shot. When everyone was running around in different directions I was thinking that all shows are like the opening of the Muppet Show; there's chaos till the moment the curtain rises. I've been back stage at the Metropolitan Opera as a performance ended and that makes an anthill look relaxed.
The only one I knew in the audience was Lisa. She came over and said hi during the break.
I didn't know Skout at all till yesterday when I did some research so I could introduce them. On the train I forgot their name, I just remembered it was a short word with a "k" replacing a "c;" I came up with "Skoot" which is pretty close. I checked online before I arrived. I owned up to this to the band and told them that the name of my Skout tribute band is Skoot. They liked it. I remembered Laura's name but not Connor 's. They were with their manager Caitlin, Connor 's sister. Caitlin looks so familiar but she says she doesn't know me. Now I have to figure out who she looks like. I also have to figure out who Laura sounds like when she sings.
Also running around was Mara Levine. She sang backup for Efrat. She was busy setting up her jewelry. Several musician friends of mine do that as a sideline, I of course can't think of who the others are other than Katie Graybeal of We're About 9, the first one I knew to do so and the one I know best.
When sound-check was done I ran on stage and introduced Skout, I kept it short. I know I don't like long intros. I made sure to let people know they were my Brooklyn peeps. Karyn of course I know very well. I teased her for NOT living in Brooklyn. I have to know someone well before I tease them when making an introduction. I like my blurb for her, "songwriting that will break your heart and a voice that will lift your soul." I also made a point of saying that "I won't talk about her hair." I'm very Zen at times.
Of course it's Efrat's show and she got the biggest introduction. I was tempted to paraphrase Marv Throneberry's Miller Light ads and say, "I still don't know why she asked me to be the emcee." I didn't. I just did the Kermit introduction, he is the world's greatest emcee, "Efrat! Yaaaayyyyy!" while waving my arms in the air and running off the stage.
If you know Hittite or read my translation of the name you know what Efrat does. It was very stringy and unlike with pastrami that was a good thing, In addition to Efrat's fiddle where were a guitar, two violins, a viola, and TWO basses. I never saw that before. If one of her songs gets a lot of radio play it will be a two-bass hit. There was also a harmonica. I can't even think of a stupid reason a harmonica should count as a string instrument. Notice I tried to come up with one. That says a lot about me.
Efrat played Budgiedome but that's the only time I've heard her doing her own music. This is a new thing. Some of the songs I knew and some were new to me. I was dancing along in my seat.
The grand finale was Turn Turn Turn, Efrat was joined by everyone, her backup singers, Laura, Connor , Karyn, and her son, who is still a wee lad.
Claude and Karyn gave me a ride back to Manhattan. That helped so much. Thanks you Claude and Karyn. I also got to have the fun of hanging out with them on the ride. We had a great discussion about the Kinks then the Beatles. See I do talk about music sometimes not just insanity and Muppets.
By the time I got home my leg was not happy. I'm afraid I'm going to not go out the next few days. There are two shows I really wanted to see, tonight Arc Iris and David Wax Museum at the Mercury Lounge. I rarely see either of them and Arc Iris is a super favorite "never miss" band. But I have to take care of myself. I'm only going if my leg totally stops hurting. It is not there yet. It's improved but far from all better. I've only taken five of the 21 antibiotic pills I was prescribed.
DAMN! I was in Jersey yesterday and did not buy Taylor ham. Curses foiled again.
Whew I just remembered a great idiot story. I'm such an idiot I almost forgot it. Yeah you think it's easy not having a brain but that's because you never tried it. And this is with two cups of coffee in me.
I ate at crossroads, I had chicken fingers and French fries. They were excellent. Jess had the same thing, I didn't compare notes with her. When the show was over I got the check and put my credit card in the little sleeve in the thing that holds the check. The waitress gave it back, I took the credit card out and told Claude and Karyn how proud I was that I remembered to take it. It would not be easy to get back there the next day to pick it up. We got to their car and the waitress comes running out after me. "You forgot your card!" Yes after talking about remembered my card instead of putting in my wallet I put it down on the table. IDIOT! I might be an idiot but I'm really good at it. I exist just for your entertainment.
OK it's late, I have to eat then shower then change the dressing on my leg and put on the topical antibiotic. The antibiotic is the most important part.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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