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
-Bertrand Russell

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 11, 2018 - 8:11 p.m.

The Traveler From Ithaca

I didn't have time to write this morning. I'll write about yesterday now and catch up with today, tomorrow. The events of the two days would not go well together.

Yesterday evening I once again traveled to First Acoustics in Ditmas Park, Central Brooklyn. Any show there is going to be a home game; it's the home of Coco and Bruce, my friends will be in the audience, and the performer will be one of my people, in this case Joe Crookston. I sat with Fred in our usual seats. We have usual seats. Other friends there were Erika and Arthur, who I hadn't seen in an entire week, Daria, Gene & Isabel, Mark & Beth, Dan & Phyllis, Richard & Viki, Jeff & Carol, Brianna, and Ellen. I can't leave out Elizabeth, Joe's manager and friend, and my friend too. Do you see why it was a home game?

I'm been complaining about how public transit has been treating me of late. Yesterday it decided to give me a break. The 6 train was running express in two stretches that speeded my trip. I had only a short wait for the Q. It was so short that I didn't have time to walk to the back of the train before it came. Fred arrived on the same train so got there seconds before me.

So now Joe. I sung his praises the other day, when I told you was going to see him. I have seen him dozens of times since I first saw him, at the Budgiedome, in 2007, and I haven't run out of things to say. That's because he is always exploring new musical terrain and bringing along for the ride. He's gone from no fiddles, to one fiddle, to two. This time he added a lap steel and a looper. I realized that artistically Joe, Anaïs Mitchell, and Jean Rohe, remind me of each other. The don't write alike, they certainly don't sound alike, where they are alike is in having limitless musical ambition. They don't accept limits on what they do. They have all touched on classical mythology, Anaïs has Hadestown, Jean is working on a musical based on the Odyssey, and now Joe has written a song about Odysseus. As he said, when you live in Ithaca you can only avoid writing about Odysseus so long. I didn't get a chance to talk to him after the show, so I'll teach him, and you, something through this blog. Odysseus had only three syllables, o-DISS-soos. English speakers confounded the Greek one syllable eus with the Latin two syllable ius. Just think about it, who is the king of the Greek gods, Zooce rhymes with juice or Zee-us rhymes with see us? I have told countless people this and none have ever changed they way they pronounce it. I changed the day I found out. It was from astronomy, a reference to the constellation Perseus (Per-soos). Make me happy and start pronouncing it that way and correcting those that don't. We still have time to turn this thing around.

I love many musicians, some are mortal heroes, some, are demi-gods, some are gods, Joe is an Olympian. The other day I said he was a maximal element of a partially ordered set. I think a few more people will understand the mythological metaphor than the mathematical description. You might have to do some research and read up on the difference between the Olympians and the other gods.

During the break I made the comparison of Joe to Anaïs and Jean to Fred. I added that Joe should write a musical. Fred nailed it and said it should be one about traveling around contemporary America. I said, "A modern day Steinbeck." That's exactly what he meant. So, Joe, now you have an assignment, write the great American folk musical, embody the American people, in all their diversity, in song. I didn't say it would be an easy assignment. Takes as much time as you want on it. Joe's fans are all nodding their heads now and saying, "YES! Joe you have to do this!" If you agree put it on the comments on Facebook. Let Joe know. Joe we are using our puppy dog eyes on you.

One person, Brianna, is saying, I want to be in it! She's a high school senior. She just got her acceptance to Ithaca college where she will be studying voice. She told that to Joe while they were setting up and you know what Joe did? Of course you know what Joe did; he asked her to join him on a song, John Prine's Speed of the Sound of Loneliness. I should get that video on YouTube. Carol, her grandmother, shot a video too. I love the way their voices blended. Technically that sentence is wrong. They, refers to the last people mentioned so I just said that Carol and Brianna's voices blended well. I should have just edited this to make it right but it's more fun poking fun at myself and being pedantic.

Something else I noticed about Joe. He knew a great number of people in the audience well. He said something personal to each of us. He makes sure to maintain his connections to people. Before I noticed what he did with others I noticed with myself. My relationship with Joe is a class of one. I have no similar friendships. I know that out of nowhere we can pop into a deep conversation even though we haven't seen each other in months. It feels like he has always just been thinking of you. In every way Joe is one of a kind.


The commute home was strange as even though I just missed a bus and had to wait 25 minutes I still made it home in about two hours. See universe, the world doesn't end if my commuting is easy. Try it for a change.



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Us and Them - May 14, 2018
Pesky Kat - May 13, 2018



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