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

April 07, 2018 - 3:28 p.m.

Mari Don't Bar Me

This is one of those days I'm having trouble getting started. Once I do I can always write. Today will be easy as I did something great last night, but it's 2:22 and I'm just getting started. I'm reduced to using the trick of writing about why I'm not writing to kickstart my blogging engine.

Fridays are often long days as I start by heading north to Harrison in Westchester and then head south to the City. Yesterday I passed through the City to shallowest lightest New Jersey aka Jersey City. I did a lot of traveling, almost all by public transit or walking.

I go to Harrison for therapy. I have not been there in three weeks, last week was Good Friday and the week before my therapist was ill. That's not true, I was there last week, I just didn't get into the hospital; It's Catholic, it was Good Friday, you do the math. The best part of yesterday's session was making her feel guilty for not reminding the nice Jewish boy to not come. I never describe myself as Jewish or a Jew, I'm a nice Jewish boy. Women are nice Jewish girls. Don't you dare suggest that some of us aren't nice. I'll call the ADL. I followed therapy with therapy food, an ice cream cone from Carvel I had a 20-minute wait for the train and there's a Carvel across the street from the station. That's hard for me to resist.

From there it was just the Metro-North to Grand Central, the 4 train to Fulton, and the PATH train to exchange place, easy peasy. My destination was Spiral Sounds Concerts aka the home of Gidge (jidge) and Loyse (low-ease with a French accent). Perhaps the house concert series I frequent the most often, I'm part of the furniture. The way the timing from therapy works I get there well before doors but that's OK with them. Then out of guilt, I'm still Jewish, I help set up. I got to meet Loyse's sister, damn I forgot her name, and sister's family.

I wanted to get there early so I'd have some time to talk to the performer Mari (rhymes with Sari) Black. Do not confuse her with Mary Black, who is more famous but not nearly as good. Mari was my top discovery at NERFA 2015 but I hardly ever get a chance to see her. The only time since then was at the Jenkins House Concert. I told Gidge and Loyse that if there were available they had to go. They did. Loyse immediately told Gidge that they were booking them for their next house concert. Sometimes I get it right. Mari is not a person whose pronoun is "they," Loyse was referring to Mari's trio; she was joined by Nate Sabat on double bass and Conor Hearn on guitar.

Mari combines two of my favorite things, musical virtuosity and silliness. I often shorthand her as a Scottish Fiddler, she was the Glenfiddich Champion of Scotland. That's not a competition to see who can drink the most scotch, she'd lose that, she doesn't drink. Glenfiddich sponsors two championships, one in fiddle and one in piping. But Mari doesn't do well with artificial boundaries, she plays dance music from around the world. Yesterday she hit Klezmer, Appalachian, Irish, and French Canadian. She would do great in a school setting, she teaches about the music, culture, and history before every tune, or chune as the Irish would say (according to Mari). If you are a long time Gentle Reader you know that I'm a sucker for that. She makes every story funny, like I said, she's silly. If Glenfiddich had a silly competition she'd win that too. Mari, you should cover Silly Wizard! That's what I'm listening to as I write this. It's still Tartan week and I'm getting my Scots on.

If I went deaf I'd still enjoy watching Mari play. Her face radiates joy when she plays, as does ever fiber in her body. Mari plays chamber folk, it's serious music, but she can fool the people that think they don't like serious music into loving it.

I invited Amy to join me. Amy was a fiddler in Burning Bridget Cleary, that's how I met her. I loved BBC. BBC was in Irish band, nobody in the band was Irish. She calls herself a Scottish fiddler. That was just the start of me thinking that Amy and Mari were kindred spirits. Amy has the same joy on her face when she plays. She had it when she was watching Mari. I wonder if she noticed me looking from one to the other enjoying the similarity. They don't look alike, it's just their expression. They want to explore the world musically. Amy is studying Nepalese music. The world would be a better place if they knew each other. I'm happy to say that they hit it off. Amy had to leave early as she had to wake up early today, but she didn't. She was having too good a time schmoozing with Mari, Gidge, Conor, Nate, and me. She kept saying goodbye and then not leaving. I said it was a Jewish goodbye. Nobody else knew the expression, do you? It's just what I described, the exact opposite of the Irish goodbye where you just disappear without telling anyone.

I did the merch, because, well, that's what I do. I also stayed longer than I should as I was having fun schmoozing. I got friendly with Nate and Conor, they are fun too. This is a fun band. Find when they are playing near you and go.

I finally headed home. There was a long wait for the PATH train and that proved unfortunate. It led to a long wait for the 5 train. Then the 5 started running local after 42nd street. They didn't announce that until after the 6, the local train I needed left the station. If they had I would have switched, then. Instead my train followed the 6 so when I transferred I had to catch one train behind. After all that I missed the last bus by 5 minutes. If they had just told me the 5 was running local I'd have made the last bus. I had to take a cab and there were no cabs. There are always cabs. I waited around till one came. I got home around 1:15. Then I entered a time warp.

I went to the bathroom, I changed, I sat down with my computer, and was abducted by aliens who wiped my memory. Next thing I know my computer was on my lap closed. I had been dreaming so I was either asleep or the aliens induced them. I had no idea how much time had elapsed. It felt like hours. I didn't want to look at my phone as I was afraid it would tell me that it was 5:30. Instead I just went to bed. I woke up around the usual time, 8:45. I did some of my usual morning computer things, and fell asleep again. This time it was deliberate, not aliens. That's why I made the late start.

I have another house concert today, Blue Yonder at Kathryn's House Concerts. I feel like napping again, but I'll resist this time.


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Never Run For a Bus; There'll Always Be Another - April 14, 2018
A Month of Music - April 12, 2018
Detecting and Ranging, Crys, Jacob, and Annie, with Radio - April 11, 2018
What Word Follows Rainbow and French in Titles? - April 10, 2018
John Lilly, Red Molly, and Dancing Girls - April 09, 2018



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