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
July 22, 2017 - 4:08 p.m.
I hate when I skip a day blogging and then get a late start the next day. I hope you hate it too because you can't wait to read Wise Madness. I also hope the Knicks will win a championship before I die. I follow the advice of the man in black said, "Learn to live with disappointment."
I did a lot yesterday; will I remember to write about it all? You'll only know if I mention it in the future. Maybe I'll keep it a secret so you won't think I'm an idiot. This is why I live by the advice of the man in black.
Like almost all Fridays I went to therapy. Since I realized that it's easier to go the far less direct path via the Fordham Metro North station getting there when I can't get a ride to New Rochelle from Jane is no big deal. I leave 45 minutes earlier but it still gives me plenty of time to get ready and the trip is easy. I think my therapist should pay me to be her patient; she said she's so happy I'm her patient. She enjoys my stories and view of the world. She gets the unexpurgated version of Wise Madness. It includes most of the humor though less word play. I made one good pun yesterday.
I had to stop at my PO box and to make it there before the post office closes usually requires the bus from the hospital coming early enough to make the 3:51 train. The bus is scheduled for 3:48 and it takes about 5 minutes to get there so that requires perfect timing. I didn't get it; the bus didn't come until 4:00. I was fresh from therapy so instead of anxiety or depression I saw opportunity. It was very hot and my sweet tooth was calling out to me. I went to Dunkin' Donuts. If you have the DD app you get a free beverage on your birthday month. I asked, it can be any beverage so I ordered something more expensive than I usually get, a large frozen hot chocolate. It was false advertising; it was frozen but not hot! I wanted a glass of paradox. Once again it was paradox lost. It was delicious and refreshing on the hot muggy day. It's designed to give you an ice cream headache but those are worth it. Unlike the coolattas it's not tasteless ice at the end, it's good to the last drop. The woman at the counter asked if I wanted whipped cream on top. What a stupid question; I always want whipped cream on top. I should have that tattooed on my forehead so I don't have to keep telling people.
I made the 4:24 train which got into Grand Central Terminal two minutes early, 5:09. The post office closes at 5:30 I decided to go for it. Every other time I've tried I failed. Yesterday was blessed, there was no wait for the shuttle or the 1 train. I got there six minutes early. I had important mail, a birthday card from Alan. In it he guaranteed that in my next 60 years I'd see the Mets win another championship and maybe even the Knicks. That's how that got into this post earlier.
I had a musical doubleheader at Rockwood Music Hall and had to eat dinner first. I went to an old favorite that I haven't been to in ages, Lucky Burger on Houston Street a few blocks away. I never have the burger, I always get the chicken with bacon and cheese. What really makes it good is the Lucky sauce and the chipotle mayo. I smother the sandwich and dip my fries in a mixture of the two. Then it was off to Rockwood Stage 2. When I got there the guy at the door, not Mel, the other one, is it Steve? I feel bad that I can't remember his name; I'll call him Steve. Steve seemed surprised to see me, he knows me. Rockwood is Cheers and I'm Norm. Steve asked who I was here to see; I told him Spuyten Duyvil. He thought they were at stage 3. They are always at stage 2. He checked. They were at Stage 3. I hadn't even checked. He let me walk through stage 2 so I didn't have to walk around the block. There were already people lined up to go in. The doors were a bit late opening. When they did open all the people there before me left the first row free so I got my usual seat. I went over to talk to Jeremy and then to Beth. Beth belongs on the Mets; she sprained her ankle. That meant I had to go over to her not the other way around and she performed sitting down. I forgot to bring my camera, that doesn't mean I'm an idiot, but I took pictures with my phone. Not that I'm going to post them as I'm so far behind in my picture editing.
The opening act was Deer Scout aka Dena Miller aka the daughter of Mark and Beth from Spuyten Duyvil. She sang with the band at the The Budgiedome when she was 14. We get credit as early adopters. She knows she has an open invite to play as Deer Scout. This is not just nepotism, she's good. It's not nepotism but I still kvell. Her parents and grandmother did Olympic kvelling. She goes to Oberlin, Jeremy graduated from there just a few years ago. It's a strange world where I am friends with many more Oberlin students and alumni than MIT. I'm a math geek, what happened to that? One of my MIT friends is a musician.
Spuyten Duyvil has not been playing that much in the area. I'm not seeing them every month or two of late. Just like missing the train this too is an opportunity; I heard them do quite a few songs for the first time, some old, some originals. They just keep getting better. They did a cover of Careless Love. There are countless recordings of the songs many by favorite artists of mine, Bessie Smith, Pete Seeger, Louis Armstrong, Dave van Ronk, Bob Dylan, Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, and others. As great as they all are the one I know and love best is Madeleine Peyroux and that's what I compared with Beth's singing.
If I did not see her in front of me I don't think I would have identified the singer as Beth. I have never heard her sound like that. I usually describe her singing as theatrical but not here; this was blues and she sang it with a smoky blues voice. I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a comparison of Madeleine and Beth's renditions of the song and in the end decided on the first thing I thought of. Madeleine was silk and Beth denim. I rejected that at first as it sounds like it's saying Beth's version was cheap and course. The more I thought about it the more I realized it was on target. Beth was denim and she owned that. You wear denim not silk when doing hard work. She was course because she interpreted the song as course. There was another song I would not have recognized her on, one of the new ones. It was nothing like the Careless Love voice or her usual singing. She's expanding her musical palette. I can't wait for the new album to come out. You can download free one new song, The Warmth of Many Suns, here.They did a nice long set and even had time for an encore, One Fine Day. I can't sing but I rock at shouting out the response to the call.
After the show, I sold the merch. I can't believe there wasn't one person I knew that wasn't in or related to someone in the band there. Where were you? Fred told me that Linda was there but I didn't see her and she didn't love me enough to come over and say hi. I use the excuse that I'm blind for not seeing people.
After merching and schmoozing I went around the corner to Rockwood stage 1 to see The Brother Brothers. Rockwood 3 was cold as it often is and I was dressed for hot weather so instead of walking through stage 2, I walked around the block. I had some time so I sat on a bench at the end of the block where I knew I could get free City Wi-Fi. That's such a nice amenity.
I had texted Fred to see if was going to Spuyten Duyvil. He got back to me, he wasn't, he was out to eat with his wife Linda and out of town friends, Bob and Karen, but they were going over to see the Brother Brothers too. We rendezvoused at Stage 1.
The Brother Brothers are Adam and David Moss. It's not a coincidence that they have the same last name, here's a shocker you won't see coming, they are brothers. They've been brothers almost their entire lives, they are twins. It's not their entire lives as one was born first and had something like 11 glorious minutes to himself. I've always assumed that was Adam because of alphabetical order. That's not a basis for an assumption. Did you know that the biblical Adam and King David have a connection? Adam lived 930 years and David 70; that adds up to 1,000. Somewhere along the line the rabbis decided that was not a coincidence and that Adam, the first man, was destined to live 1,000 years. Then god told him that if he did then King David would not live so Adam gave King David the biblical three score and ten years. This is what you learn when you pay attention in Hebrew School even though you think it's all nonsense; you feel the need to tell people this stuff so it wasn't a waste.
Adam and David are in one of my sweet spots, classically trained string players playing Americana. Adam plays fiddle and David cello and guitar. Notice that Adam carries the little instrument and David has to lug around the two big ones. That's better evidence that Adam is the older one. Older siblings do that.
Their voices blend together so beautifully that they could get buy just on that and technical skill on their instruments. If they did, I would not be singing their praises. There is so much more. Their songs have variety. The lyrics have meaning. The music develops. They do all the things that reward you for listening closely and that keep you listening. They introduced Bird in a Tree by saying, "This is a song about a tree. They are so sincere when they sing about a tree you really feel the tree. They get better every time I see them. They always had the musical chops and were tight but there's growth in the repertoire and their stage presence. Catch them now while you can still see them on Stage 1 and Jalopy.
After the set, I hung out with Fred, Linda, and their friends for a while then headed home. It had cooled down enough that I followed my new tradition of walking over to Bleecker Street instead of taking the F train one stop. Walking alone down dark and empty 1st street is a beautiful way to unwind after a show. It's quiet and I can stretch my legs before the long subway ride home. I lucked out when I got to Pelham Bay, my bus was late and instead of waiting the 25 minutes I expected it was only 3 minutes. I always appreciate that.
I'm staying on City Island today, tomorrow is my birthday party. I have to run down to a dock and get permission for my friends to use it tomorrow. I never had a friend arrive by boat before. it makes sense coming from Port Washington. It always makes sense, boats are more pleasant than cars. I better get on that. Farewell wherever you may fare till your eyries receive you at your journey's end.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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