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 10, 2012 - 1:32 p.m.

Horvendile Comes to a Turning Point

This is going to be a sleep deprived edition of Wise Madness. I should have just spent the night writing this. I felt inspired when I got home. I'll see if I can recapture it.

I've had a strange year in terms of what musicians I've seen. I think that Friday was the first time I saw Carolann Solebello perform this year after being the musician I saw most often in 2011. Yesterday was the first time I've seen the Kennedys since January. I doubt there has been a year I haven't seen them at least five times since the mid nineties. Part of that is my no longer having a car which cuts down on my suburban coffee house shows. Yesterday they were at the Turning Point in Piermont. I thought I couldn't get there but Gene told me there is a bus that takes you right there. The last bus back is early, especially on weekdays but it worked fine for yesterday. The bus and subway is actually cheaper than the gas and tolls driving. Because I wanted to check the timing I used Google Maps and was reminded of something. It knows the train schedule. I complained about how bad my luck has been waiting for trains. That's bad luck but also bad planning on my part. Yesterday got down to the platform when Google Maps told me to and the train came one minute later, right on time. As the station is right out my front door I can take getting to the platform pretty precisely.

My usual excuse for getting to the Turning Point early is to get a parking spot. Obviously that isn't why I did that yesterday. It was so I'd have time to talk to Pete and Maura as I haven't seen them in five months.

They don't live there but somehow the Turning Point feels like a home base show for The Kennedys. It's a small venue and so many of the same people show up every time they are there. People know me as the merch guy. I even know the name of the waitress, Kim!

I had three sets of friends at the show, Jeff & Karen, Ken and Janice, and Tom so I got plenty of socializing in.

This was my first time seeing Pete and Maura since my adventures down the rabbit hole started. They hadn't heard about them. I knew talking to them would help. It did.

I am still a vortex of misfortune. Last time I saw Pete and Maura, Maura had laryngitis. This time she had an injured finger and couldn't play guitar and the beginning of a cold. I hope she doesn't put two and two together and take an order of protection out against me. Here's the thing about the Kennedys. Nobody is better at turning lemons into lemonade. There are no problems just challenges and opportunities. They geared the set to songs they can do with one guitar and that fit Maura's vocal range for the day. Instead of guitar she played various shakers. The Starbucks Coffee Shaker worked amazingly well on Matty Groves. It should be the default way of playing it.

We talked about misfortune and dealing with it and I kept thinking about my good fortune during the show. Pete quotes a passage of Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desire on the guitar in their song Life is Large. There are no lyrics, no referent to any uplifting message. But somehow that baroque melody can always make me feel good. The fact that it can is as close to a miracle as there is. It's more miraculous than anything you'll find in any religion or mythology. A sequence of sounds can change the way the entire universe feels. I'm fortunate that I'm one of the people that is affected that way. I know that everyone isn't.

I'm fortunate that when I'm in trouble I have so many friends that I can count on. I have friends were willing to put me with me crashing with them, no small sacrifice. I had friends that gave me moral support. I had friends give me practical support. I had friends that distracted me from my problems. I had friends that forgave me for all the things I've screwed up. And of course I got great hugs.

There were lots of highlights to the show. They did a lot of new songs from the album that will be coming out later this summer. Many of the songs were written with friends who are having trouble in mind. My vortex seems to be contagious. Good thing a Kennedys song is one of the best things for raising someone's spirits. I've always quoted the mocking description of them as "candy-ass happyfolk." If you don't actually listen you might think that but they are not Up With People. Being upbeat is not antithetical to intellectual content. They just understand the lesson of the sigil you'll find in the Cabell quote at the top of this page.

After the show I didn't take the bus home. Ken lives in Queens and offered me a ride back to the City. I asked if he could drop me at the Jamaica LIRR station which I knew wasn't far out of his way. When I told him where I was living now he realized it was near Juniors so guess where we went! You got it, Ken, Janice, and I topped off a great evening with cheese cake and I got a ride home.

I also got to know Janice, this was my first time meeting her and that was great too. She lives near Philly and didn't know Juniors. Ken is still teaching her about New York and I of course love doing that too. You know I love giving the Gordon Tour of New York.

Did I cheat by having the chocolate mousse cheese cake instead of a plain one? I don't care if I did. It's chocolate and that overrides all rules.

Even though it's only a half mile from my house we got lost when we left Juniors. We were on a side street and I got a bit turned around. Good thing I live near what used to be and might still be the tallesg building in Brooklyn, the four sided clock town. I spotted that and we followed it back to my house. Well actually to Flatbush Ave. I walked the last few blocks so they wouldn't get stuck in the labyrinth of one way streets. It was a beautiful evening and the walk was a pleasure.

So I had this amazingly great afternoon and evening. I was feeling great. So why am I sleep deprived. First I had some problems with my router. My internet connection has been cutting in and out, even on my laptop which has a direct physical connection and doesn't use the wireless network. I had disconnected the router during the day but wanted to reconnect it so I could use my laptop in my bedroom in the morning. It took me a long time to get it to work at all.

Then it took me a while to get comfortable with the temperature in bed. And then for no reason I had a panic attack though I'm not sure that's the right word. The only stress I felt at the time was that it was late and I wanted to get up early to listen to John Platt's show at 8 AM. That isn't enough to cause a panic. I didn't actually feel any emotional stress. Mentally I was fine. The symptoms were all physical. I had that tenseness in my chest and that wouldn't let me fall asleep. Despite the fact that I had to self-medicate. In my case that doesnt mean drugs but food. Despite having a seven million calorie cheese cake I made myself comfort food, a peanut butter sandwich. I then watched some TV, Phineas and Ferb. I didn't back into bed till all he symptoms had passed and then I turned on the AC in my bedroom so I'd be as comfortable as possible.

By then the neighborhood was quiet but before I went to the bed there was a clutch of drunks outside my window talking very loudly. Am I being fair? I think their punishment should be forcibly gagged for a month for a first offence. I consider it an act of mercy as they obviously deserve to have their vocal cords severed like the guy in the The Twilight Zone episode The Silence. See how gentile I am? I don't even fantasize about having their tongues ripped out. I'm a saint. Right? I am being fair? You agree that forcible gagging should be the law?

It's late now but I think I'm going to make an expedition for breakfast. With all the cool places to eat here I want to go to the IHOP I discovered near Juniors last night. They have the best deal for breakfast. My plan for the day is to stay home and relax and watch TV. I'm missing the Met Yankee Game now! I better turn it on. The Mets are winning 1-0 and the bases are loaded! Let's go Mets!

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 10, 2012
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