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, 2013 - 12:54 p.m.
I just took an ax to my "Close Friends" list on Facebook. It still has 304 names on it.
That doesn't sound very Christmasy does it? Or should I say Festivusy? Of course I should.
So for the second night in row this Jewish Atheist curmudgeon went to a Christmas celebration. This time it was Jean Rohe's Christmas party. This was special, Her friend Andy is a puppeteer. He told the Christmas story with Shadow puppets with He, Jean, and Liam, the accordionist and keyboard player in Jean's band, as the three "smart men." Chez, a British puppeteer joined Andy behind the stage. This was not the traditional story. This was brilliant. Jean and Liam sang traditional Christmas carols as part of the show. What it reminded of is the kinds of homemade entertainment that you read about people doing in the 19th century. Think of the Marches in "Little Women." They toured the northeast doing the show in people's homes. I couldn't recommend it higher. But I can put it better. The woman sitting next to me, was that Eli? Not sure, said, "I want to go to everyone in the room and give them a hug and a kiss."
The show was brilliant. Genius feels like people are touched by the gods. It's the origin of the world. The ancient Romans believed that a divine nature inhabited people and that this is what was responsible for creativity. Genius can express itself in many ways; science art, music, leadership, and yes, puppetry. I have called Jean a genius and I'll say the same of Andy. We know from history that genius doesn't always make you happy, think Van Gogh. But it would be better if everyone touched by the divine could realize how much they make the world better. Cabell went into this quite a bit. Creative people are like gods, creating worlds. And Cabell would refer to god, who I am not sure he actually believed in, as the author. I of course don't believe in anything supernatural but I believe that there are people whose talents are above the natural. I'm happy that exist.
I realized that's what so much of this blog is about. Saying how I'm affected by art and the people that make it. Musicians will often tell me how much they appreciate what I write and say but what makes me feel the best is when they tell me that I get what they were trying to do because it see how much that makes them feel better. Art is worth it for arts sake. Van Gogh was never appreciated. But we all crave to not be alone. To know that others see what we see. It's why I try to not restrain my praise. If something or someone is great they should be told.
There was more than the puppet show. It was a Christmas party. There was food and drink, I had hot apple cider, non-alcoholic and egg nog with rum! I had alcohol two days in a row. Of course I'd have preferred it without the rum. I just love egg nog. This was home made.
After the puppet show we caroled. there were part songbooks. I have enough trouble singing but this was tough because the font was small and the lighting poor. I came up with the brilliant solution of using the flashlight app on my phone. The people I shared it with used it too.
Then Jean moved to the piano and we sang pop Christmas songs. I of course did more listening than singing.
And of course there was conversation. I think I was the only one there that wasn't involved in the arts. Most were artists of some sort or other. So did I feel out of place? Of course not. I feel out of place when everyone is talking about money. These are my people. I had so many good conversations. So which one do I remember? Talking with Nathan, yes I remember his name, about Christmas songs in Australia. They must be about surfing and snorkeling not sleigh rides and snow. And the Aussie reindeer kangaroo and the one that leads them in the dark is Rudolph the red beaked platypus. But best of all when I corrected Nathan that the plural is NOT platypi but platypodes he said, "Of course! It's like octopodes, I should have known that." I told you these were my people. I told Nathan I'd blog about him and call him the platypodes guy. But I remembered his name so I'll call him Nathan the Platypodes guy.
Once again I made peace not war with Christmas. I sang and I celebrated and wished for peace on earth and goodwill towards all men and women. I was in a room with fascinating people doing the same.
It just struck me that I was at a party where I hardly knew anyone. Jean was the only one I've ever had a conversation with. When and how did I become a person that can do that and have a good time?
I took only pictures all night; Jean and friends sitting around the piano.
I didn't realize how close Jean lives to me. When I left Google Maps said the subway would save me 11 minutes over walking but that was only if I left at exactly the right moment where I didn't have to wait for the train. It was such a pleasant evening that I walked. It is December but I just wore my hoodie. Coming home the train would only save a minute so I walked again. I don't live in the best neighborhood but I didn't think of being nervous. I just thought of not thinking about being nervous. I didn't even do what I always say the smart thing to do is when walking alone at night, to keep alert and walk purposefully. I was deep in thought the entire time. Most of which was planning this entry. There was more though. I can't tell you everything or I'd lose my mystery.
I had nothing planned today but I'm going to do some last minute gift shopping and go to Rockwood tonight to see the lovely Joanna Wallfisch who I met at the party. You know my theory, if a person is interesting to talk to then they are more likely to be worth listening to. Anybody know what Wallfisch means? It is German/Yiddish for whale. Does that mean her ancestors were whalers? Her family is musical for generations so maybe her ancestors were humpback whales singing whale songs. If so they really changed their appearance. She is not at all Cetaceanish.
Annoying People - September 03, 2016
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