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
March 03, 2012 - 10:43 a.m.
I got up early again today without getting enough sleep. I didn't eat an early breakfast but I did finish editing my photos and it's only 9:18. Let's see if that's a good omen.
Yesterday I told you how I had no sleep the night before and was expecting to be exhausted all day. Instead I had a great day. Yes it involved a lot of coffee but I don't think it actually had that much of an effect. Everything just clicked.
Class of course didn't just click. There are just too many students who think they are in middle school. I did my favorite getting the class to be quiet method. I simply stopped talking till they did. It took a full minute for some of the students to realize what was going on. I can't afford to do that every time so I said how ridiculous it is that they don't realize that I stopped talking and was staring at them because they were talking. As I said that a student started talking again. She is the winner of the class bad attitude award. She has explicitly said that she doesn't care what's the right way of doing things or understanding the material, all she cares about is her grade. She doesn't get that there is a relationship between the two. She is totally clueless as to the impression she is making. She doesn't even pretend to care. It seems to be a point of pride to her that she doesn't. I told her that I wanted her to share what she just said as it was clearly the most important thing in the world as she felt compelled to say it as I was saying how immature and disruptive it was to be talking. She answered. One of the students drew a penis on the attendance sheet. Yes I teach middle school students that just happened to be of college age. Do any of my college friends, teachers or students; have this kind of nonsense happen in their classes?
Some of the students are improving. There is hope. I just need to have a few of the students disappear. I'm thinking magic not violence. OK I'm thinking violence but I won't actually use that. I'll just send them to Beevis and Butthead world where they will fit right in.
Nobody is around in the office on Friday afternoons and even though I wanted to go home I couldn't resist having the entire office to myself so I stayed around for a bit and played on my computer.
When I did get home it was just for a pit stop. I should have left earlier so I could relax. I did plan thing well and had the leftover plantain-adouille sausage soup for dinner so there was no prep time and very little cleanup. I just popped it in the microwave. The only effort I had to make was on the garlic bread I made with it. I meant to make garlic cheese bread but forgot to add the cheese. Have I mentioned that I'm an idiot? I have Italian bread left so I'll make it again tonight and try to remember the cheese this time.
OK I have a great night of music to write about and still wrote 552 words on food and teaching. What do any of you read this? I give you credit for following my flitting mind around.
Last night was a musical doubleheaders. There was even a subway ride in between but I felt I couldn't afford to miss either act. First up was Emily Elbert at the The Living Room. It's been years since I've seen her. She has been all over the world but not performing in New York. She returned in a configuration new to me. I had only seen her perform alone with a guitar. Now she had a full band with her. Before she was really good, her music connected with me. Now she is great. She had a gone to the crossroads moment and come back transformed. No wonder she hasn't been around. She was looking for that crossroad.
It hit me on the second or third song, a new one. I have no idea what it was called of course. I just know it's brilliant. Before she did folk influenced by jazz, this was jazz influenced by folk. Before her music was interesting and fun and well crafted; now it is exciting. Her stage presence has blossomed. I hardly ever say this about any musician I love but she has crossover potential. I can see her being a hit with a mass audience. It struck me at one point that I could see her writing and performing the next James Bond Theme Song. I'd love for her to sing Goldfinger She could totally pull that off. What makes it more fun is the cognitive dissonance when you see her.
She's always reminded me of Erin Mckeown in more ways than one. She has the jazzy singing style the big voice in the little body, and looks younger than she is. You want to pinch their cheeks. I always felt that if I tried that with Erin she'd slug me. Emily would give me another hug and roll her eyes when I wasn't looking.
I was actually prepared to be disappointed. I first got to know Emily at Falcon Ridge. She camped right next door with my adopted FRFF family the good folks at the Steeple Coffee House tent. I had heard her music before and asked her to play the Budgiedome. When weather forced other musicians to cancel I ran over to the Steeple Tent and asked her to fill in and she obliged. She saved our sessions that year. She's was fun to hang out with during the day. I had all these non-musical reasons to love her and I was afraid it might have affected my musical judgment. It didn't! She was that good and now she's kicked it up not a notch but a well I can't think of something to complete the metaphor but something that's a lot bigger than a notch. Is there a word for a collection of notches? Nachos? Yes she kicked up nachos. What you don't like my cheesy humor?
There was no one in the audience that I knew. That might be because there was so much music going on yesterday. If Anthony da Costa wasn't doing his own gig at the same time I bet he'd have been there. I know Emily through Anthony. I did make friends with Jay, the gentleman that shared my table. I left him my email address. I hope he emails me. He's a kindred musical spirit and a fellow Queens resident.
I had to rush off after the show but I couldn't do it without talking to Emily again after the show. I had to tell her how much I loved her set. I'd have done that if I didn't know her at all. I was blown away. I love being blown away. I got some good news. Emily is moving to New York! I'll get to see her more often. You'll get to see her more often. You'll get to be blown away.
This is going to be a long edition of Wise Madness.
Why did I have to run? Emily's set was supposed to be 8:00 to 8:45 but it ran long till 9:00. I wasn't complaining. I could have listened all night and it's been years since I saw her so she gets precedence. But Mark Allen Berube had a set starting at 9:00 in the West Village, at the PATH Café a block and a half from the Christopher Street Coffee House. I hopped on the subway and took it two stops and got there as fast as I could. I knew I'd know people at Mark's show. Now we are talking my close social circle. I was right, when I walked in and got past the crowd at the door I saw Honor and Aviv and an extra seat at their table.
It's a strange venue. Most people are not there for the music and don't stop talking for the music. It reminded me of my classroom. I liked the physical space and the location. Any way I can import my own audience next time I go? Mark is one of the most brilliant songwriters I know. My Regular Gentle Readers know that's he's one of my musical archetypes. He epitomizes my ideal of writing what's inside of you, not what the world expects of you. Nobody else in the world could write his songs. He isn't a good songwriter; he's a great one, especially the lyrics. Nobody is better at finding the exact right word as opposed to the almost right word. The thing is that is not what is needed to get through to a distracted crowd. You have to pay attention to Mark to appreciate him. Emily would have had a better shot. She could win them over with her voice and style. You just need to hear her to be won over. The listening to hear the art can then follow. Honor could do it too.
It was great watching Mark with two musicians. They of course took the time to listen and we had a great time discussing and analyzing what he accomplishes, between laughing out loud. He also demonstrated a talent I didn't know he had. He chose songs to comment on the audience. They rest of them didn't notice but our table thought it was hysterical.
Emily and Mark have almost nothing in common other than talent and New England. I appreciate them with different parts of my brain. Yet they are both manage to be not just favorite musicians but favorite people. That was supposed to be the centerpiece of today's edition. Good thing I found other things to write about as that's just two lines.
There was more that I wanted to write yesterday and forgot to. I was going to put it in here now but I'm already at 1716 words. I' promised Carey I'd put it in but it will now have to wait till tomorrow. As a bonus it will give me time to create a graphic.
I didn't take any pictures of Mark. First off there were people sitting in front of us. Secondly I was having too much fun with Aviv and Honor. Thirdly, he isn't as cute as Emily though Carolann Solebello assures me he has cute knees.
Now it's time for breakfast. I'm thinking omelet but I'm getting a craving for pancakes. I'll let you know what I decide next time. Yes a cliffhanger!
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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