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
December 02, 2016 - 2:17 p.m.
I've been writing a lot about politics and such. I've been urging you to do things. It's time for a break from that. Today I'm writing about music and holidays and I'll probably throw in some food.
I spent all day yesterday preparing the radio show to record today. So, what happened? At around 11 PM, as I was finishing the sequencing, Brian messaged me that he had to cancel and reschedule. That's not bad, this was not particularly timely and now I can alter things at my leisure. The show is in two segments, NERFA discoveries and Harmony Trios. NERFA was easy as I just went through the recent additions to my collections so I wouldn't miss one. Harmony had to come out of my head, an easy place to get lost, there are a lot of cobwebs and dimly lit spaces. I realized that I neglected to add two of the first few bands that inspired me to do the show and another incredible band that I'm good friends with. I might have to drop something if I add too much more.
I loved doing the Harmony segment. I wasn't picking my favorite songs but the ones with the most creative harmonies. I wrote and asked many of the artists for their favorites; they have a different perspective than me. One of the great things I got out of music education is an appreciation of harmony, there is a lot more to it than sounding beautiful. I want people to listen for that, you get more out of it.
I'm listening to "recently added" on Windows Media Player in shuffle mode. It's a nice test of the consistency of my taste. I don't know the music well enough to recognize much of it so I listen and judge how much I like it unbiased by everything external to the music." What I find is that when my reaction is, "this is great" it's someone that I already think is great. When it's mediocre, it's someone I already think is mediocre. Every artist's work varies so I can be listening to a lesser track by someone I love or an exception track by someone I'm not crazy about. I just had my first example of the former; it's a song with beautiful singing but lacking in substance. I know the artist can do better.
The best part of preparing the show is listening to so much great music. I don't see eye to eye with many people on what's great though my opinions are respected. I hear people I respect raving over music I find mediocre and not appreciating how great others are. I know de gustibus non disputatum but that's not how it feels. How do others not see how much more there, there is there? Some people think I'm too judgmental in my musical tastes. What they don't get is that I would not get the same level of joy from what's great if my tastes weren't exacting. I'm listening to a song by one of the people with lots of buzz at NERFA that doesn't do much for me. It's pretty, not great. it has similarities to music I love but they are on the surface.
I'm going to have to talk to Brian about perhaps recording part of another show when I'm there. I don't have to make two trips which is a pain. I'd like to do more harmony, more NERFA, and holiday songs. I'm seeing him tonight, we can talk about it. We are both going to see Robinson & Rohe – The Longest Winter: A Christmas Concert and Singalong at Spiral Sounds. Just listen to this.
You like that? go to the Spiral Sounds website and sign up. If you are running late just call me if you have my number and I'll tell you if there's still room. The pot luck starts at 6:30 and the show at 7:30. I'll be there by doors. It's just a few blocks from the PATH train.
I'm going to continue talking about music. I asked Terre Roche when she would be leading the caroling at Washington Square Park and she said she was arranging it then. She announced it, December 18 at 6 PM, under the arch. I do this every year. You don't just listen you sing. Terre supplies lyric sheets. She's backed by the Caroling Carolers so don't worry, there are enough great voices to cover for you. There are also many great singers in the audience. I won't drop their names as they are there as civilians but they are people I blog about. It is beautiful music and it is community. It is everything the holiday season is supposed to be about.
Food is not going to be exciting. I had leftover Mac & Cheese for dinner. The only thing sadder than Mac & Cheese for dinner is leftover Mac & Cheese. It was pretty good. It wasn't as good as what I drank afterward, hot chocolate. I made a double Trader Joe's chocolate pop hot chocolate. The recipe calls for ¾ cup of milk and one pop. I didn't measure but I took a big mug that holds about twice as much milk and used two pops. It was heavenly. Today I'll go to the Holiday market and get the amazing No Chewing Allowed hot chocolate powder. I know I said I'd do that yesterday but I didn't get around to it.
I made bacon and eggs for breakfast today, the first time since leaving Joe and Emily's house where I ate as much bacon as the average person does in a year. I needed my fix. I had it with a bagel to keep it New York and to keep it Jewish. Yes, Jewish, I didn't say observant Jewish.
I'm going to miss three great concerts tomorrow and go out again on Sunday to see Michael Daves, Chris Eldridge, and Brittany Haas, at Rockwood Music Hall. That's another can't miss show. December is always a great time for music.
Now I better get going if I want time for the Holiday Market and Trader Joe's before Robinson & Rohe tonight.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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