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 08, 2012 - 3:32 p.m.

I Can't Think of a Good Pun on SONiA

Why do I keep putting off writing today? I love writing. Well I'm doing it now.

Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month so I was at the Christopher Street Coffee House. Our headliner this month was SONiA. She was the first performer I thought of when I was invited onto the advisory board and the first one booked. Good thing the rest of the board took care of things as the timing coincided with my falling down the rabbit hole. Strange that I got back on the surface right before the show.

Last time I was there I spotted a new restaurant that specializes in Bratwurst! I made sure to get there early so I could grab one before the show. They even come with three different types of mustard. Have you noticed that I have a soft spot for sausages?

When I got to the Coffee House SONiA and company, Terry and Nancy were already there. I got there early but they got there earlier. For the first time we had a volunteer at the Coffee House, David who I know from WFUV. If you'd like to volunteer let me know. We can always use people. David was invaluable.

The opening act was Ansel Matthews. He's a regular at the open mic. I wish I had pictures. He sounds exactly like you'd guess if you saw him a soulful voice as smooth as silk. That's a nice description of his guitar playing too. SONiA's reaction was she took the stage was to ask him, "You didn't play a single major chord did you?" The perfect word to describe his music is ethereal.

I've known SONiA music for 20 years. I'm not sure exactly when we became friends but for more than a decade. I should be out of things to write about her but I'm not. As I listened to her play I thought of more and more to say. Now the challenge is to see if I can remember any of it.

Many of SONiAs songs are political. She sings of peace, and gay rights and social justice. One danger of that is being too earnest. I don't go to a concert to hear a screed. Another danger is to string together platitudes (not platypuses which would be way cool). As Tom Lehrer put it, "I'm against poverty, war, and injustice, not like the rest of you squares." SONiA balances things as well as anyone I've ever heard. She never comes anyplace close to Scylla or Charybdis. You aren't even aware she's balancing anything or that it's a challenge. She can make take the most serious subject matter and turn it into something as entertaining as a dance without sacrificing intellectual content.

What makes this possible is that she focuses on what she's for more than what's she against. She is one of the few people that I can listen to talk about Israel that doesn't frustrate me. She isn't an Israeli or Palestinian apologist. She isn't against anyone. She isn't a crusader for the Jewish or Palestinian peoples. She doesn't see them as peoples, but as people. She wants them to live in peace, to be safe, free, and prosperous. She'll play for Jews hiding in bomb shelters and she'll give guitars to Palestinian children. She does that without the hint of self righteousness or preaching.

She never sacrifices the music. I described Ansel's voice as ethereal from one listen. I've known SONiA for a score of years and I'm still not sure how to describe hers. She sings with a passion that associate with a voice like Janis Joplin's but her voice is nothing like that. I'm tempted to call it theatrical but that isnt right either. It isn't the Belle Canto voice of a Joan Baez or Judy Collins. It's powerful but subtle. You're going to just have to hear her for yourself. In the end she's one of those performers that makes me happy as a reflex. Perhaps it's that she always seems so happy herself. She may not be a rich and famous rock star but she knows she has a good life. As she said, "I get to travel around making music and getting hugs."

After the show I of course hung out for a long time then walked to the subway with Meg. Unfortunately once we were there we needed different trains though we both live in Brooklyn.

I have had the worst train luck since moving here. I always seem to just miss the train. The actual travel time wherever I'm going is minimal. Half my time is spent waiting on the platform. That won't be a problem tonight as I'm walking to the show. I could take the subway but it would save me only half the distance I have to walk and save me eight minutes if I didn't have to wait for a train. It better not rain.

Right now I'm watching the Mets on TV. Yes it's yesterday's game but at least I'm watching baseball.

Everything is not perfect in Horvendileland of course. I'm still having anxiety issues. I have put off reading my emails today. These are emails from friends. I'm going to try as soon as I'm done writing this. Maybe that's why I took so long to write this. Wish me luck.

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 08, 2012
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