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

January 16, 2016 - 3:18 p.m.

Music is Food for the Coop

I had all sorts of computer issues this morning. I wonder if it's because instead of closing the laptop I just left it open and it went into sleep mode. I did a reboot, didn't work. I did a hard reboot' better but still not right. I then just turned it off and left it while I made breakfast. That worked.

So guess what. I had trouble getting out of the house yesterday. I finally left for trader joes at maybe 5:30 PM. I had to leave my house to go out for the evening at 7:15 so this was cutting it close. But I made it. I got back here at 7:10. If I was a little later it would have been fine. That's when I had to leave to be 15 minutes early.

I went to Stephanie Jenkins and Ned Rothenberg & the Mivos String Quartet at Prospect Concerts by PSFC + BSEC. What are those initials? Prospect Park Food Coop and Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. Why can't they make up their minds if it's ethical culture or ethical humanists? I love them but I never get it right. It's not ethical to make it hard for idiots like me.

I think of it as being twice as easy to get to as the Prospect Park Bandshell. I take the subway to the same stop but then I walk only half the distance. They are both along Prospect Park West. Notice I didn't tell you the subway line, I'm showing restraint. Someone just thought, "You should be in restraints." Many someones.

When I arrived the woman at the door hesitated then asked if I was 62, there's a discount if you are older. I hesitated then said, "I'll be honest and say no." I added, "Maybe I'm not being honest just vain." She did not know how to handle that. Actually was being honest. The hesitation was because I was only asked that once before, oddly that was years ago. I had a hat on and um, let's make some other excuses up why I looked older. We all know that normally I look like I'm 22.

Do you know who I know that was playing? You know this will all be on the final. You better go back and read all the old editions of Wise Madness. The answer for new readers is Stephanie Jenkins. She doesn't seem to have a music webpage but there is this: Stephanie Jenkins; hey it mentions that she plays banjo in various bands in Brooklyn. You are supposed to cheer when I say "Brooklyn." One of those bands is The Calamity Janes; their album, Hold Right On, made my top albums of 2015 list. That's where I first saw her. They went on hiatus soon thereafter but Stephanie knows many of the same people I know so I saw her often playing with other various bands. One of the same people we know is Lily Henley who played with her last night. They were joined by a talented guitar and banjo player whose name I can't remember at all. One of you tell me in the comments. I'd say tag the pictures but they aren't ready yet. I'm starting so late that I decided to write then see if I have time for pictures. I hope so as I have no more free time till Tuesday.

So guys what do you play? Old time music? Partly. Lily goes real old time, Ladino music from Turkey. Yes I know have two friends that play songs in Ladino, Guy Mendilow is the other. My guess is that the majority of even My Erudite Gentle Readers don't know what it is. It's the Sephardic analog of Yiddish, based on medieval Spanish instead of German. Columbus would understand it. Well if he were alive. Pretty sure he can't understand anything the way things are. Stephanie plays the banjo and Lily the violin and they both sing.

This was not just a great show but an unusual one. Notice one of the sponsors was the Park Slope Food Coop? This counts as a shift for them. Yes they are being paid with discounts on food. How have I not known about this series before? I have lots of friends in the coop and I bet they have played it and not told me! I know that one has, (I'm looking at you Jean). I only knew about this show because Lily posted it on Instagram. That justified my checking Instagram every day. They were singing for their supper so to speak and it was an informal show. They winged a lot of it. They bantered with each other and the audience. They tried new things. I love shows like that! My favorite performances are often in the green room before the show. This was like that.

Lily played the violin using a device I had not seen before, She strapped it to her body with a Wickel Buckle. It was invented by her boyfriend who is also a violinist and whose last name is by total coincidence Wickel. It allowed her to play without tucking the violin under her chin which allows her to sing and play at the same time. She also said it makes it easier to play all the time as it holds it steadier. I think it's a winner. If it came out well, I will be posting a video of her playing it. I'll edit that before the pictures even but after I post this.

The only person I expected to know there was the beneficent Bev Grant. Isn't that the perfect alliterative adjective for her? She said she was going on Facebook but wasn't there. She messaged me that she was still in CA doing a gig with Mya Byrne. Mya now you owe me a pizza date and hanging out with Bev.

I sat down front as usual so couldn't see who was there. Right before it started I turned to see if Bev was there and saw Jean and Liam. I actually thought I saw Jean earlier but it was from across the room and as I can't see well I convinced myself it wasn't her. Now she was closer and with Liam so I was now sure it was her. Later a woman walked in front of me and sat in my row. From behind I thought it was Bev. From in front she didn't look the slightest bit like Bev.

During the break I had a nice talk to Jean over hot chocolate. She didn't have one but I did. There was a time I was running into her often, not so much lately. We don't love that far away and both love music so it's not that odd if we run into each other.

The second half of the show was classical music, Ned Rothenberg & the Mivos String Quartet played Johannes Brahms's Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115. I was totally unfamiliar with the piece. Why? It's exquisite; it should be played more. It's just what I love, complex but unified. It's scored for clarinet and string quartet, two violins, viola, and cello. Each instrument does its own thing but all complement each other. I realized that even if you were deaf you could pick that up from watching the bowing. It was the kind of music I can totally lose myself in.

Jean and Liam biked to the show so I walked back to Grand Army Plaza alone. As I walked along Prospect Park West I paid a lot of attention to the architecture. I said to myself, "I'd love to live here." I saw a woman taking the garbage out. She was familiar. "Bev" I called. It was her. No this was not the Bev I was talking about before, this is a WFUV volunteer. She invited me inside and I talked for a while to her and Morse. That was a totally unexpected pleasure. Have you noticed that I know a lot of very cool people?

With all that stimulation I came up with something I want to blog about. But of course not today as I've already written 1363 words. But I won't forget it as I wrote it down in my phone. I have a note in my memos app called "Blog ideas." I usually forget to add to it but last night I remembered.

Tonight I'm off to John Platt's On Your Radar in Port Washington. I'm still working on my transportation. I think I'm taking the train out to Gene & Isabel but scheduling dinner would be awkward so I'm trying to arrange something else.





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 January 16, 2016
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