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 26, 2018 - 10:47 a.m.

Bridge Over A Sunflower Bean

Sorry I didn't write yesterday, I left the house at 8:35 AM. I could have written last night but I've gotten out of the late-night writing groove. I now have a lot to write about. The challenge is that I have to remember music from two days ago. Will I be able to recall my brilliant insights? Will I be able to remember who played? Will I forget what I'm writing about and get lost in a self-referential blogging loop? These pages will tell.

Wednesday night I saw Sunflower Beat at Rockwood Music Hall. It was a WFUV Marquee Member show. I got to go because of my irresistible good looks with perhaps an assist from Jim, who is a Marquee member, and invited me as his +1. I like sitting in the Statler and Waldorf seats at Rockwood Stage 2, so I got there a half an hour before doors. Five people beat me there. Two of them grabbed the seats. We ended up at the table closest to the seats, the one where I saw with Fred to see Vienna Teng. They are excellent too. Jim usually races to make the shows on time, I was lucky, and he made it before doors, so I had quality Jim time. Do NOT tell him I said that.

People are surprised that I like Sunflower Bean because they are rock band and I usually listen to more acoustic music. They shouldn't be. First off, I have known the bass player and lead singer, Julia Cumming, since she was 12, that's ten years. When I met her, she was shorter than me and a brunette. But that's why I know them, not why I love them. The majority of my vinyl collection was rock music, it was the music that changed not me. On their first album their sound was rock with a psychedelic edge, very 1960s. Their new material is no-adjective rock, it could come from the 60s or late 70. My first reaction was they would fit in at CBGBs and thought Blondie, Talking Heads, and the Pretenders. Russ Borris, who emceed the show, compared them to Joan Jett; the Runaways might be closer. Jim said Blondie. We were all on the same page. It was straightforward guitar, bass, drums rock with no pretentions. I loved it. They have improved since their first album, not surprising as they have reached the ripe old age of 22. I was at the album release show for their first album a few years ago. I am an early adapter. Now they tour the world; I love seeing one of my bands break out.

After the set I went downstairs to socialize. I ran into Paul, another WFUV DJ. We discussed our random connections to the band. I mentioned that I know Julia's father Alec, independently of Julia. I didn't even know they were related for a long time. I looked for Alec but didn't see him. He was there. Damon told me that he would have invited me if Jim hadn't. That's nice. Of course, I could have gotten by on my good looks. I only had time for a short hi and hug with Julia. Which sounds better hi and hug or hug and hi? I'm going to have to start using that construction, I like the sound and it's a common interaction.

I didn't walk to the 6 train because Jim took the F and when I have company I take it the one stop to Broadway Lafayette where I transfer. It was a fun night, music and socializing. It was early enough that I ate when I got home. I had one of the great pleasure to effort and pleasure to prep time, ratio dinners. A smoked sausage on a mini-sub roll, that I turned into garlic bread, and fried plantains. I had a hot chocolate as an aperitif. No Chewing Allowed is the best hot chocolate but Swiss Miss Simply Chocolate dark chocolate, is the best that's inexpensive. I got two boxes for $3. You make it with milk, not water, and it's far superior to any other package mix. I prefer Land o' Lakes and Nestles to regular Swiss Miss but this has them all beat by a mile. I make it extra good by putting in a Trader Joe's cocoa truffle and marshmallows. Food is important. It will always get its due in Wise Madness.

Yesterday I did something I haven't done in ages, I said 4 years but that's just a guess; I played in a bridge tournament with Roy. It was the Westchester Regional at the Tarrytown Marriott. Roy lives on Long Island so I'm right on the way. He picked me up at the Dunkin' Donuts by the Pelham Bay Park subway station. I figured I'd eat there but I woke up early and made breakfast before I left. I victory.

On the drive up, only about 20 minutes, we caught up and discussed what we were playing. We play many bidding conventions that I haven't looked at in years. Roy has been cheating on me and playing with others but not exactly our system. I did a good job remember what we played because of my golden rule or bridge bidding; don't just know what you play, but why you play it. When you keep that in mind you can reconstruct most of the conventions. I only screwed up bidding once. I screwed up playing the cards a few times. Once was unforgivable, I lost track of how many cards were out in a suit and was set in a cold game contract.

We didn't do well, we played in a round robin swiss team event. There were eight rounds, we won 2, tied 2, and lost 5. The important thing is that we had fun. We were in fine form making jokes. Best of all our teammates were Farley and his friend Bruce. I taught Farley to play. We used to play rubber bridge almost every week. After Farley started playing duplicate with another partner he introduced me to Roy who became my regular partner. We used to play duplicate just about every week. When I didn't play with Roy I'd play with Farley, Andrew, or Larry. It opened a totally new social circle to me. I was in my thirties when we started and was one of the youngest players most games. I'm sixty now and still one of the younger players. Bridge is getting old. That's a shame.

Farley is now a bigwig in the Westchester Bridge organization. I have secondhand fame as the man that taught him to play. I have not seen Farley in ages. I miss Farley, I miss Roy, and I miss playing bridge. I was a great reunion. I wish I could do it more often.

I woke up early today and I'm going to finish this before 11; I often don't start till after that. I'll get to eat an early brunch. I break my blogging fast before my food fast. Food is important, but My Gentle Readers are even more important.


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please hold me accountable.





Video Didn't Kill the Blogging Star - May 18, 2018
Blue Jays Feel Mjollner - May 16, 2018
We're Right and You're Evil - May 15, 2018
Us and Them - May 14, 2018
Pesky Kat - May 13, 2018



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Horvendile January 26, 2018
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