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 21, 2015 - 12:40 p.m.
I’m listening to the Roches and the Caroling Carolers on Vin Scelsa’s Life at Lunch. No I’m not in a time warp, Vin played it as part of his Kate and Vin podcast. It’s a perfect accompaniment to writing this as I’m in the midst of a very Festivus Christmas. Saturday night I went to The Kennedys and Tara O’Grady’s Christmas show. Tonight I’m caroling with Terre Roche in Washington Square Park. As for last night, I went to a Christmas party. Keep in mind that I’m a Jewish atheist that celebrates Festivus. The thing is that Festivus is not opposed to other holidays but includes all the parts of them that you like. I like Christmas music so it belongs.
There are occasional benefits to being me and one is getting invited to Jean Rohe and Liam Robinson’s Christmas party. They live within walking distance of me but I decided to stay home a bit longer and take the subway there. It’s easy I just have to take the one stop and switch to the . The trip should take 16 minutes as opposed to the 30 if I walk. That is if you are not an idiot. But as you know I am. So I go my one stop on the switch to the platform to take the . I see on the board that it is due in three minutes. There was also a in two minutes. So you know what I did. I got on the . Where does that go? Back to my house. But it’s a local so I got off in one stop, turned around and took the next one back to try once again switching to the . When I got there I found to my dismay that the next train was in 15 minutes. I can walk to their house in 15 minutes so that’s what I did. It would have been faster to walk from where I got off the . It ended up taking me the same as if I had just walked from home. But it wasn’t like I was late. It’s a party. I got there 15 minutes or so after it started.
The only one I knew at the party when I got there and the only one I expected to know was Andrew. He’s a paper cutting artist that designed the light boxes that form the backdrop for the Robinson and Rohe Christmas show. He also designed Skye Steele’s album and did a marvelous animated video for Darlingside. He’s a ton of fun to talk to. And that’s true of most of the people at the party, I just didn’t know them yet. There was a great collection of artists, musicians, poets, and writers. I meet a random person, start talking, and discover and have to explain, how I fit into Jean and Liam’s world. I need a better elevator talk. I think next time I’ll just invent a fake backstory. I’m actually the exiled heir to the Russian crown who fights crime at night.
A little after I got there someone I knew walked through the door, Anaïs Mitchell. Now this is perfect because I have always associated Jean with Anaïs. Their voices are totally different. Their songwriting is different. But there is some deep level where they are similar. It’s like comparing y=x2 and a picture of a parabola. They might not look the same on first glance but they are really the same thing represented differently. So if I was to know only one person that didn’t live in the house at the party it’s very appropriate that it’s Anaïs . Ok I also knew her husband Noah and their daughter. Their daughter was just an infant when I last saw her, now she’s a real miniature person. There were two other toddlers at the party too. I loved that.
There was a pot luck; everything was labeled. I don’t see that well and I was reading handwriting quickly and thought one was “sausages made of Amish people.” It was actually “sausages made by Amish people,” but I like my interpretation better. They were delicious, you could just taste the horse and buggy and absence of electricity. Later in the show but also in the kitchen I heard someone say “necrophilia.” Now this is my kind of party, cannibalism and necrophilia. Don’t get the wrong idea. The atmosphere was not hipster and cynical at all; it was all warm and fuzzy. It was just warm and fuzzy with a sharp sense of humor.
Liam and Jean performed their Christmas show, the Longest Winter, the one that they’ve been doing on tour. Yes, I saw it already. I was happy to hear it again. If I wasn’t caroling tonight I’d go see it again. It’s the most atmospheric Christmas show I’ve been to, and I’ve been to many. It was a total contrast to the Tara O’Grady and Kennedys show. That was pop songs and these were spiritual. It’s not like one is better than the other. It’s not like one is more authentic than the other. There are a ton of ways of celebrating Christmas and even more of celebrating Festivus and the whole is more than the sum of the parts. I’d be going to the Downtown Messiah and the Beat Goes On Christmas shows if those still existed. If I could afford it I’d be going to Sean Altman’s Jewmongous. I might still go even though I can’t afford it. It’s my one time a year to see Cindy Kaplan. I generally catch Sean someplace else.
Oh and I drank yet again! Liam makes a terrific egg nog and I had one and a half glasses. I did not feel it at all. Of course one was when I arrived and the second four hours later when I left.
Last time I was at the house I had a discussion of platypodes. This time once again they came up in conversation. Of course all good parties involve at least one platypus reference. We were talking about how we evolved into placental mammals from egg laying ones. Damn I wish I remember who I was talking to. If you read this and it was you comment and send me a friend request. I know it was a man and a woman. The man said, well a placenta is like an egg, they are both sacks. The woman said “exactly” which is actually a double pun! Do you get it? Egg Sackly! That was unintentional but got us all laughing.
When I headed out I did not take the wrong train. It stops half a block from the house. I didn’t take it home though, I took it to the Stop and Shop. I needed eggs for today. I also got myself a Festivus present, a real steak. It was on sale. Tomorrow that’s my dinner. Ethan wrote up the perfect way to make a steak and I’m going to try it. I have not made a real steak in years, just those cheap boneless eye round steaks. This is not my favorite cut but a New York Strip is nothing to sneeze at.
After caroling I have a slew of choices of what to do; I want to do all of them. But perhaps I’ll do something with friends. I hope there will be many caroling with me.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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