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
April 09, 2014 - 12:17 p.m.
After I updated yesterday I remembered all the things that I meant to write and forgot about. I forgot about them again. It really isn't easy not having a brain. Maybe I should take a lesson from the stegosaurus and have a second brain in my hip.
After school I did some actual schoolwork! Not that I graded the quiz I gave. I did write a problem set and sent them to the class. One of the things that I can't see what they find so difficult is one sided limits. They have so much trouble seeing that if x is a little less than -5 that x+5 is negative. I have shown them with number lines. I have shown them by trying actual numbers. But it still mystifies them. Once it gets at all abstract I lose people. To me it isn't even something that requires thought. Is there a way of teaching abstract thinking?
After a pit stop at Model's to get underwear so I have something to wear while I'm doing laundry today I headed down to Rockwood Music Hall for this month's regular edition of John Platt's On Your Radar. Yes we just had On Your Radar on Saturday but that was the special Port Washington edition. This month's guests were Sam Baker, Krista Detor, and Hannah & Maggie.
I took my usual seat down front and was joined by the usual Fred and first time On Your Radarer Carter. A good portion of what I call the New York Folk Music Mafia at NERFA was in the front row, the others were John, Maggi, Barbara, Richard and Viki.
The room was packed. That's always my goal. I love Rockwood 3 but it's small and I want to draw more people than it can hold.
Sam Baker was first up. I got to talk to him before the show. We only met once before at Kathryn's House Concert. I became an instant huge fan. I forgot he was being backed up by Carrie Elkin so I didn't look for her to say hi. I only met her once but she's totally part of my social circle. Someone I know well is always mentioning her or doing something with her on Facebook. She was supposed to play the Budgiedome when she was at Falcon Ridge but the weather kept her away.
Sam is one of the most talented songwriters that I have ever seen. The songs rope you in at the start and don't let you go till they are finished. They are story songs that tell so much more than the story. His singing style is lyric poetry. It is close to talking on key as he strums the guitar. Carrie's beautiful voice adds an entire new dimension. I isn't just that her voice sounds pretty. She sings as someone who is living the lyrics. These are not people play acting. They aren't there to show off their talents. They are there to make the song real.
At the end of the set I was talking to someone who said, "Is this something I'm going to look back at in December and say was one of the special musical events of the year? I think so" I know it is for me as that's what it was like the first time I saw Sam.
I feel bad that I have to write about other people after I write about Sam. I felt bad that other people had to perform after Sam. But logistics demanded that. I considered writing about him last but decided that the order is part the experience and I'm going to reproduce it.
I had not heard a whisper about Krista before John booked her for On Your Radar. I could have done research but I always prefer to just let the performer speak for herself and to let my opinions be based on the live show not recordings or videos. I was of course delighted when she came out with an accordion. It fits her personality. She has a great dry sense of humor. She says the funniest things totally deadpan. She took part in the Darwin Project. Eight singer/songwriters stayed in Charles Darwin's house, I think for a week, and were told to write songs about Darwin. She is my people. Mark Erelli was the only other American there. The rest were Brits and Scots. She did a great song about the reaction of people at the time, and unfortunately still, who feel that evolution makes a monkey out of them. She is very much not the generic singer/songwriter talking about her feelings.
She had a band. She dashed my hopes by saying that the guitar player was her husband. I have to send the memo out. Attractive women singer/songwriters are not allowed to get married without at least giving me a chance. It's only fair. I'm not saying they have to marry me. Not all of them at least.
See she has some credibility, she plays piano too. Nobody is going to believe in evolution when they hear about it to accordion music.
Hannah & Maggie are local and had the biggest following in the audience. I am not sure but I think some of them came late just for them. I first saw them in front of the elevators at NERFA where they drew quite a crowd. I had no idea who they were and people kept referring to them as the Lesbian Girls. I thought that might even be the act's name. People often compare them to the Indigo Girls but they get the comparison better themselves, their harmonies are more like Simon and Garfunkel. Their appeal is almost the antithesis of Sam's. Their strength is their sound. They could use Paul Simon's songwriting, and they did, they covered "The Boxer." and we all sang along. I actually know all the lyrics! Yes me! It was on the first album I ever owned and went to bed every night listening to it. I had insomnia bad in those days and it helped. I'd listened closely to the lyrics, get lost in the song, and on good nights fall asleep.
I am pretty sure that of all the acts last night they'd be the biggest hit at the Budgiedome. They have infectious energy and work at making people cheerful. They say it's to make up for their sad songs.
After the show I hung out a bit downstairs. I talked to Howard who I hadn't seen. That was because he wasn't there. He came for the next show.
I'm mad I forgot that Michaela Anne was playing at the same time at Rockwood 2. If I had remembered I'd have stopped by early and bought her CD and picked up one to give to John.
Do you want to hear about annoying people on the subway? I will mention one. I'm going onto the train. It wasn't crowded. There were plenty of seats and only one person standing. that person thought the good place to stand was in the door I was trying to walk in. And he's NOT the annoying person. The guy I followed into the car, well attempted to follow in the car, stepped in, turned around and blocked the rest of the door. He could see me right in front of him and didn't seem to consider moving till I said "excuse me" he then turned the minimum amount needed for me to slide between the two of them. The train was about a quarter full. He could have sat anyplace. He ould have stood anyplace. But he blocked the door and seemed annoyed that I wanted him to move to let me in. I'd love to know what he was thinking. I'm tempted to say he wasn't thinking at all but I was walking straight at him. He couldn't not notice me. Do other people simply not register on his consciousness?
OK I have to eat breakfast, do laundry and have a telephone meeting about a documentary I'm going to be in. Yes that's a teaser and all you're getting.
Annoying People - September 03, 2016
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