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
January 30, 2016 - 12:45 p.m.
I promised getting all philosophical and political today but now I think that's not going to happen. I said I wouldn't if something exciting happened to write about. Realizing that a day where nothing exciting happened can be exciting is exciting. Hey maybe I am getting philosophical anyway. Maybe I should just discuss my day.
Woke up got out of bed/dragged a comb across my head. Oh wait, that's a day in Paul McCartney's life not mine. I always confuse the two of us. People always say that I'm the cute one too.
I didn't have anything on my agenda but I have not been getting out of the house enough so I went up to my PO Box even though I didn't get my usual text and email saying I had mail. I suspected that I did as I was expecting Honor Finnegan's new CD, um um I know it has a title, um, damn I'm going to have to look, Roses and Victory. See I'm not an idiot. Sure I can't remember anything but I knew where to look to find out without having to get up.
I didn't even time the trip to the post office closing too tightly, I got there 15 minutes early! When I opened my box what did I find in it? Two things, Roses and Victory. Yes it was there! I popped it in my bag and headed to Trader Joe's. I felt I was just there but I was out of half and half and almost out of milk. I was not done with my shopping yet. I stopped at the Asian grocery near my house. I wanted MSG and heard that's where to get it. They did not have it at the supermarket. I have been reading a lot about it and wanted to explore umami. In a supermarket I knew it was marketed as Accent. I did not know what it would be called at the Asian market but knew it was a white powder and usually packaged so you could see that. It was. It was labeled "flavor enhancer." I was planning the perfect meal to use it in, my sausage, garlic, potato soup. This was my first time eating it since something like March.
I had no idea how much MSG I should use so I googled it. It said to use ½ tsp for four servings. I make two at a time so I used ¼ tsp. It's been so long since I made it I had to actually look back at the recipe. The one I got it from is quite different from what I cook, it is bacon potato soup and has no garlic. I adapted it. I just needed to know how much pepper to use and how long to cook it. I could have trusted my memory. I cooked it for 12 minutes after it reached a boil. Then came the test, eating it. It was the best I can remember the soup tasting. Does that mean the MSG made such a big difference? No. Maybe it did but maybe it's just because I haven't eaten it in 10 months, maybe I mixed the other ingredients better, and maybe it's just because I was expecting it to taste better. It would really need a double blind experiment to find out. I wasn't worried about getting an MSG headache as those only come if you are told there is MSG in the food, and that happens whether or not there actually is MSG in it. So thought it tasting better might just be in my head, I'd say it was a success. I really want taste testing parties. In this case two soups are made identically and MSG is added to one unbeknownst to the cook or the dinners, and then there's a taste test to see which is better or if there is no difference.
After dinner I sat down to listen to the album, you know the one with the title, there are roses and something else. Napalm? I love the smell of napalm in the morning it smells like victory. That's it. Roses and Victory.
I can describe my first listen to it in one word, "Wow!" OK one word and an exclamation point. It needs the exclamation point. I thought I knew what I'd be hearing. I have heard Honor do many of the songs live. Then it took me by surprise. There are a lot of dimensions to Honor and she shows them all. Movie Star Is like nothing I ever heard her sing; Dolly Parton singing Subterranean Homesick Blues? Then came Swimming. I have heard Swimming and it was still a revelation. I had never heard it with this arrangement. Jay Mafale, the co-producer, did an incredible job. This is one of the best song by anyone. It was so good I felt the need to message Honor and tell her, I saw she was on Facebook. I then talked to her online while I listened to the rest of the album. I have never done that before, listened to an album for the first time while talking to the artist. It's something that can only be done online as you don't want to talk. I got to give her my impressions as I listened and to ask questions as they came to me. The credits are written a bit odd, I couldn't see who the man singing on Song of Bernadette was. It sounded like John Gorka but I didn't see his name. It was him, and he was just listed where I didn't expect it. So talking about the album with the artist on the first listen is one of the best things ever, well if you love the album. I wouldn't plan on doing this with anyone, if you don't like it or even if you just like it, it would be uncomfortable. That was not a problem with Roses and Victory. Hey I remembered the title.
OK so here's Honor in a nutshell. How many people can do soft jazz, a haunting murder ballad, silly sex songs, and a love song to a librarian on the same album? I could listen to a tribute album of other people doing her songs or an album of her doing covers. I would love to hear her with a big band or even an orchestra.
I make fun of myself a lot. I see the humor in many of my failings. But I have some good points too. One is that I know how to listen to music. I give a lot of credit to my music profs even though I didn't think they were particularly good. I learned more with a sub one day that I learned with the regular professor in a month, but they still taught me to listen to the things that make up the music, not just the total effect. Also listen to how the music unfolds in time. Learning about sonata allegro form helps me listen to Stairway to Heaven. Everyone should learn music appreciation and not the way I learned it in middle school, but in college. It lets me enjoy music more; it lets me enjoy life more. it just hit me. Learning about music is like MSG, it brings out the flavor. It's umami.
So that was my excitement for the day. Oh and I got to rub it in that I got my copy before Fred got his. I actually felt bad for him as I thought we'd get them the same day. Now to find out how MSG goes with eggs.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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