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 15, 2012 - 10:46 a.m.
I had a decent night's sleep last night! I woke up a few times from this and that but feel back asleep without too much trouble. I made up for my sleep deficit with tons of dreams and you luck out because I don't remember any of them so you don't have to read about them.
What did I do yesterday? It seems that it's a blur. I ran to the local stores and restocked my dairy and OJ but that isn't exactly exciting. I will mention one thing that I think is actually important. When I walk to shop I go to two stores, Key Food the terrible supermarket and one of the two produce/grocery stores. I always go to the same one. Why? Because of the people that work there. There are usually two people working there that I think are a mother and son, the son is a teenager. When I walk in the door they say hi to me and smile. We don't have fun conversations but it isn't perfunctory. I also look forward going to the hardware store. The owner and I always have fun conversations. Last time I was there I told him that if I'm in his store than something's wrong but that I still enjoy it for my conversation with him. It's such a simple thing but most people in retail just don't get it. It's part of what makes Trader Joe's special.
Now I remember what I did yesterday. I tried to fix my printer. The paper won't feed. I always figured I'd be able to fix it if I made the effort. I tried tons of things and I couldn't. I might have to buy a new one. I needed it to yesterday to print out my ticket to last night's Knick game. That's the easiest way for me to see one with Alan. He has season tickets and instead of meeting him before the game he gave me access to his account and I can print the tickets right off the computer. Alan arrives at the last second which is why I don't like going with him. I actually want to be there for the national anthem. So what did I do yesterday? I went to school first to print it out. My train got stuck right before my station and I ended up getting there before tipoff but after Alan. I'm going again on Tuesday but that will be straight from school. I should have remembered to print yesterday's ticket out on Tuesday.
The Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni was forced out of the team by a dispute with their "superstar" Carmelo Anthony. Why the quotes? They are far better team without him. The difference is dramatic. They are way over 500 when he doesn't play and way under when he does. The idiot owner Dolan signed him over the objections of the GM, Donnie Walsh, which led to Walsh resigning. The Knicks have been a disaster for a decade and the league pressured Dolan to hire two real pros to take over, Walsh and D'Antoni and now they are both gone. Dolan is a dumb fan running a team and he wants what he wants now. All the analysts thought signing Carmelo was a bad choice. He doesn't do enough to earn his enormous salary. He's the epitome of a Dolan player, someone with tremendous physical talent but no understanding of how to play the game and a bad attitude. They sign for a lot of money out of college before these things become clear but then become available because good management realizes that they aren't what make a team win. Dolan is not good management. I have an image in my mind of Walsh telling a 5 year old boy that Carmelo looks like fun but he isn't good for the team and the five year old saying; "I want the shiny player! I want him now! I want him! I can't wait. I'm not going to clean my room or do my homework! I want a new toy!"
The Knicks won seven of eight when Melo got hurt. They have lost eight of ten or something like that since he's been back. When he is in the games they score 93 points per 100 possessions. When he isn't in the game they score 108 points. The difference is dramatic. So what happened last night? They won by 42 points. That is not a harbinger of the future. The Knicks won't win a playoff game for five years or there is some dramatic change. Walsh and D'Antoni were the change they needed but Dolan sabotaged their efforts.
Know what I haven't done? Editied my We're About 9 house concert photos. No time now either. I'll try and do that tonight.
So what am I to write about? I know; the difficulties of blogging about musicians that I know personally.
You might have noticed that I'm not restrained in my praise of things that I love, no matter what it is, musicians, books, TV shows, people, and of course food! I see problems and issues in subtle palettes. The colors blend imperceptibly into each other. My emotions are in dayglow. I love what I love and I want the world to know it. What makes it work when I write about it is that I'm not ruled by emotions, they are the motivation. I think about things. I don't say, that the Dustzappas are the greatest band since Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts, I tell you what makes them great. I analyze. I think about things like that quite a bit. I am terrible at reviewing concerts but much better and reviewing artists.
So the thing is that when I know the person I'm praising I get feedback from the artist. I get comments like "Thanks for saying those things about us." I sometime blush at praise I get in return. And that's all good but then I have the second and third and fourth thoughts. I don't want people thinking that I'm saying these things because I am trying to be nice to friends; that my praise is based on my personal relationship not their talent. I have to worry about making sure that it really is about the talent and that I'm not being prejudiced because I like the person I have to worry that people think I'm just saying it because I like the praise. I have to worry that I'm not doing it because of the praise. In the end that might make my writing stronger as it forces me to be rational and look for the reasons I like an artist.
Another problem is that I don't like everyone equally. Some I like, some I love, some I think are epic. When I write I want to make that clear but not have people feeling bad that I think they are good not great or great but not epic. I see the difference in my language when I'm writing about different people and I hope My Gentle Readers do too. But I want the artists themselves to be not as clear about it. I depend on others being as uncertain about how people perceive them as I am about how people perceive me. I'm great at understanding people but not nearly as good when it comes to how they feel about me. I wonder if it works. I know there have to be some people that are disappointed when I'm lukewarm in my praise. I know it does work sometimes.
The most awkward of course is when I like an artist personally but don't like his or her or their work at all or think they are mediocre. I like "the Act" on a personal level though I'd rather rip my intestines out and stuff them in my ears than listen to "the Act." OK nobody is that bad, I'm still painting in dayglow.
The last John Platt's On Your Radar is what got me thinking about this. I love The YaYas and Pesky J. Nixon so much as people and I knew them both socially before I heard them play. That makes a big difference. I like them so much on a personal level that if I didn't like their music I'd have felt pain. I'd be like one of those star trek computers that Kirk makes self destruct. What would I do? And thinking back on other situations like that I see what I did do. I got less friendly with the musician. There is just too much discomfort involved. I can think of one person that I will say without hesitation is one of the best people I know. But I can't hang out with him that much because I feel bad that I don't like his work. It isn't that I like him less. It's about liking him but being afraid that there is no way I can spend time with him without it coming out and my hurting his feelings.
OK now it's time to eat. It's an omelet day. Should I splurge and have a filet mignon for dinner tonight? No I think I'll have a burger and put it on Ciabatta garlic cheese bread. That leaves me the option to totally change my mind as the burger is cooked frozen so I don't have to take it out.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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