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

July 11, 2012 - 12:28 p.m.

Shouldn't a Music Series Use SONAR not RADAR?

I should have a lot to write about. At least that's how I felt last night. We'll see if that holds true.

I never did take a walk yesterday. I stayed in till I left to see John Platt's On Your Radar. The performers this month were: Freddie Stevenson joined by James Maddock, Chana Rothman with C Lanzbom, and Loretta Hagen. This was an unusual show for me as I was not familiar with any of the performers. John and I travel in the same musical circles and I usually know at least one act on the bill. There is a good side to not knowing anyone, it increases the odds that I'll discover someone I'll like. John is one of the best sources for my discovering new musicians.

Loretta was up first. So you know the toughest thing about writing about musicians? What to do when I like someone but have no insights. That's what's happening with Loretta. I have something to hang my hat on with Chana and Freddie but I don't know what to say about Loretta. She has one song about taking care of her mother who has Alzheimer's From Sundown till Dawn that I wanted to talk to her about as I took care of my mother. I hit the age where more and more people I meet are taking care of their parent with dementia or have already gone through it. It's tough and you bond with the people that go through it. But things came up and I didn't get a chance.

Chana on the other hand I talked to before, during, and after the show. I videoed most of her set on her camera. That led to an awkward moment. I was doing what I thought was a good job when the waitress came over with my drink and handed it to me. That meant taking my eyes off the camera and doing things with both hands. First I moved the camera out of position, then when I got it right and tried to put the drink down I spilled the diet coke all over myself. Does that make me the schlemiel or the schlimazel? The classic definitions are that the schlemiel is the one that spills he soup and the schlimazel is the one he spills it on. I guess I'm both.

I had my insight on Chana and can give her high praise indeed. One of her songs, inadequate could totally be an Honor Finnegan song. I enjoy her with the same part of my brain that enjoy many of Honor's songs with. Some more on Chana later.

Here's the problem with writing about Freddie. Even if he never sang a song he'd be cool. He's actually been one of the coolest people on earth from the moment he was born. Why? His mother is the creator of Fraggle Rock!!!!!!! Not only that but his godfather was Jim Henson!!!!!! I know a certain Red Fraggle that is going to be very jealous.

When I can see or is that listen past my muppetmania I could see that Freddie is great. Good thing as I plan on being his best friend. I figured maybe I can get a Fraggle out of it. OK enough Fraggle. I mean I don't obsess over liquid paper when I talk about Mike Nesmith do I?

Freddie is much more of a rocker than a folkie. He was backed on electric guitar by James Maddock. We're talking heavyweights here. And he does rock. His songs got me moving. His banter was charming. He's got it all.

I had my usual social fun. I sat with Lori, Joe, Bob, and Rona. There was a WFUV question of the day player contingent there, Suzanne, Damon, and Gail. There were the usual suspects, Dan & Phyllis, Maggi, and Richard sans Viki, Eliot and of course John and Sheila. I'd go to On Your Radar if there were no music, just to hang out with my friends. I got to meet Michelle who I know from FB but not real life. She came down from Southwest Ontario, near Detroit, for the show. And you thought I was hard core. My usual apology to the friends I'm forgetting.

After the show I did my usual schmoozing and headed home. I didn't have to cook dinner because I had leftover plaintain/garlic/sausage soup. Here's something I don't get. I love cooking but I also love not having to cook because I have leftover soup. Maybe what I really love is eating my own cooking. It also makes it easier on a night when I get home late and can eat right away with no prep time. I did have to wait a bit because I made garlic bread too but we are talking 15 minutes or so.

I was able to catch the end of the All-Star game. The league where they play real baseball aka the National League won 8-0; defeating the league of the root of all evil, the DH.

After the show Chana gave me a CD and asked which one I wanted, the Jewish one or the Folkie one. I wasn't sure as I hadn't heard them. But that's not what I want to write about. It's that she knew I was Jewish. How did she know? It's easy for me to know that she was Jewish with a name like Chana Rothman. When saying her name remember that her first name starts with the guttural. I joked that it was my nose, which is a tipoff, but I knew it was not that and she confirmed. I radiate Jewish despite the fact that I'm an atheist that thinks that ethnic identification is a social ill. My mannerisms, my sense of humor, my use of language are all heavily influenced by Jewish culture. Perhaps I should mind that but I don't. I enjoy it. Just like I enjoy hearing Tennesee in everything that David Massengill says even though he's lived in New York since the 70s. And yes I enjoy the shared experiences I know I have with Chana that automatically come with shared background.

So yes I without thinking about it described myself as a schlemiel or schlimazel. The compliment I most appreciate and the highest one I can give is being called a mensch. Part of what makes my anxiety issues so painful to me is that I act very unmenschlike.

On the ride home last night while reading 50 Popular Beliefs that People Think are True I read the chapter on Holocaust deniers. I take the Holocaust personally. On Pesach we say that "We were slaves in Egypt." Not they. We are supposed to feel that it happened to us. I don't feel that way about the mythical events of the holiday but I do feel that way about the genocide. It's a bit mind boggling but the Holocaust ended only 12 years before I was born. It was almost as recent as the destruction of the World Trade Center is today. It was not history, it was current events. I grew up knowing about Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, and the rest by osmosis. I knew people that survived it. There was no question who I identified with, the lambs led to the slaughter, not the Lions devouring them. To me that's part of being Jewish. We identify with the victims. I'm disturbed whenever it's not the case.

And that's how I can avoid feeling guilty about identifying with being Jewish even though I don't like tribalism. As I often write the Jews aren't the only ones I call my people. When I talk about music the Irish, Rastas, the English, the African Slaves and their decedents, and many others are my people too. The thing to remember is to let ethnicity be a bridge but never a wall.

There was more in my head last night and some of it is still there but I want to eat now. Im going to make my first peanut butter omelet in ages.

Tonight I'm off to see Nellie McKay at Madison Square Park. If you are going look for me down front and center. I'll probably have some extra room on my tarp if you want to join me.





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 July 11, 2012
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