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

June 26, 2015 - 1:18 p.m.

Lucinda in the Sky with Diamonds

This should be the best Wise Madness edition ever. I woke up with fog in my brain and made coffee first thing. I am writing this with caffeine coursing through my blood giving me super powers. I usually don’t have coffee till I'm finished. It's part of my reward for writing.

Oh no, I usually start by giving excuses why this edition should suck. Now you have high expectations. OK just remember I'm an idiot. My brain on caffeine is like a normal brain that’s sleep deprived. Yeah that will do it.

I'm writing about two big things today and some of you will just want to read about one of them. I'll get to same-sex marriage and SCOTUS and maybe the confederate flag after the horizontal line. Till then I'm writing about music and friends and my mental state.

Last night Lucinda Williams played Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. This has been in my mental calendar since the schedule was announced. Somehow I neglected to put it on my Google Calendar, the one that matters. But I did remember it before it was too late and planned on going. Yesterday I posted on Facebook if any of my friends asking if anyone wanted to join me. Nobody responded. I still planned on going. I like to get a good seat. The show was at 7:30 and the gates opened at 5:30. As a single I can usually get a good seat without being the first person on the line so my plan was to get there at 5:30. When it came time to leave I was in my depressed lethargic mode. I still got up and got dressed to go. Then I checked the weather and saw it might rain and that was enough to tip the scales. I didn't want to leave two and a half hours before the show. Wait all the time alone, and get wet. I also falsely thought that Lucinda wasn't worth it. If it were Richard Thompson I'd have been on the line at 4:30 and not worried about it. I posted online that I wasn't going. Then Carolann posted that she was on the line. I asked if I could join them. She said yes! That was enough to change the equation and reinvigorate me. Now I didn't have to wait so long and I wouldn't be waiting alone. I got there just as doors opened but Carolann was already inside.

Then came the fun finding there with my poor eyesight. But I saw someone waving. I thought it was Katherine. At least the hair was right. Didn't see Carolann. It was Katherine and Carolann was right in front of her and I joined them. I was hoping I'd be seen. I would have found them anyway as Carolann told me where they'd be sitting. I'm an idiot and forgot my stadium seat but Carolann had an extra. I sat next to her son who was in the other one. Now I was in my element. Sitting with friends waiting to hear great music. Yes we were back on the lawn and I couldn't really see the stage but I'll take that over sitting alone.

Something interesting happened on the walk from Grand Army Plaza to the Bandshell. I walked passed a place where I once had such a bad anxiety attack that I started coughing, got nauseated, and almost threw up. When I got to the spot guess what happened. I started coughing, got nauseated, and almost threw up. I've had these geographic Pavlovian responses before. I like the way I dealt with it. I thought about what triggered the original incident and came up with a line I liked for a song. I started writing the funny and biting song in my head. When I write songs it often is not a conscious effort. The muses use me as a vehicle. I'm not steering the vehicle. After the opening lines I wrote came a banjo solo. I couldn't even hum it but I heard it clear as a bell in my head. It was good. But of course I can't play the banjo and have no way of organizing the music. Instead of going developing it morphed into the Benny Hill theme music but on banjo. Then it went to the regular theme and everything was gone from my head. It was back to its normal state, void and without form.

We had about an hour before the music started and I had fun talking with my friends. We got some good news via someone's phone that I can't share but it made me happy. I can share another topic, Carolann's husband Mark Allen Berube was chosen to play the Emerging Artist showcase and Falcon Ridge. I knew that before I got there. I bet most of you did too. A whole group of our friends were chosen, Teresa Storch, Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes, Mya Byrne, and Meg Braun. Meg, Katherine, and Carolann are all Chicks with Dip. This was a big day for our social circle.

OK this is going to be a very long entry, 858 words and I'm not up to the music yet and then there's the politics.

The opening act was Jason Walker. I remembered his name without help! OK who is writing this? It clearly isn't me. Is this what I'm like with caffeine? I can actually remember things? Wow it's a whole new world. He impressed us from the get go with his voice. I'll use a term I heard for someone else, a voice like molten chocolate. A deep baritone that would have sounded even better if the sound mix wasn't trebly. Is that a word? A voice only gets you so far with me. What made it stick was the variety of his music. He didn't have a genre, it was all over the place; blues, country, trad folk, soul, etc. Apparently he had the best looking bass player. But that must mean other than Murray. My Frühead friends would object if I didn't say that. I actually couldn't see him. Too far, people in the way, and he's a guy. I only know if Carey would think him cute.
Lucinda was one of my big discoveries form WFUV back 20 years ago. She's part of what made me learn that it isn't that I don't like country music, it's that I don’t like pop country music. I love what she's selling. I know I was in the studio audience when I she did Crossroads with Elvis Costello. I didn't think I had seen her otherwise but Mark reminded me that she was at the Guinness Fleagh I want to, Mark was there too, and I would have wanted to see her. But that was all long ago. WFUV stopped playing her. I lost touch with her music. It was why it wasn't imperative for me to go. But once she started playing I found that it was. She was still great. There's so much passion, grit, energy, and poetry to her music. She gives it her all and she knows how to write a song. Her band was fantastic. When there were instrumental sections it wasn't a letdown, it was integral to the music. She can remind me of Tom Waits, has the same voice of someone that's experienced too much of everything; someone singing at 3 AM in a bar. But she's way to high energy most of the time to lump with Waits. Waits and Jerry Lee? Maybe that's closer. Whatever it is I want more.

After the show I walked out of the park with my friends but was a bit of an idiot. We exited he south gate and I always exit from the north. I thought the path would hit the street north of where it did. They all went south, I needed north. So I had to bid them adieu and walk up to Grand Army Plaza. OK now I have to eat. I'll write about SCOTUS later. Yes it's a two entry day.

Oh one more personal thing. You know that I always complain about my vision. You might not realize that I have been struggling with myself to make an appointment with the ophthalmologist. I have talked a lot about it with Allison and Carolann. They are my designated noodgers. I knew that I could not face Carolann without some progress. So before I left for the concert I searched for and found my referral. Now I just have to make the call. I will, right after brunch. I need that one more bit of procrastination to keep the anxiety at bay.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile June 26, 2015
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