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

March 21, 2016 - 4:33 p.m.

The Name of the Rose or Oh Susanna.

Immediately before I opened Word to write this I saw something on Facebook that astounds me more than it angers me. How can anyone not realize how offensive that was and how poorly it will make people think of the poster? Your mother was right, if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all. OK that's not absolute but you need a good reason to go against it. By the way this was not something political or even bigoted in the way that most people think. It was akin to "Someone hit on the brake to avoid hitting a puppy and I had to miss the light. He should have run it over; it's just a puppy." It was said without any irony.

I wrote late yesterday too so now it's just about 24 hours later and I'll pick up with what happened after I finished blogging. I had planned on walking to Rockwood but I didn't have enough time so I had to take the train. Without unlimited MetroCard I had to go a different way, my usual route involved two fares. I thought it over and took the , the wasn't running, to the . that leaves me maybe half a mile from Rockwood but that's nothing. This way might actually be faster. There are five fewer subway stops. On the other hand, my usual way leaves me across the street.

I know the rules of writing very well, well enough to break them, especially here. You are supposed to say the most important thing you are going to write about in the first sentence. I'm 276 words in and haven't gotten to it yet. That's what makes this a blog or diary, it's personal and idiosyncratic. This way you know you are reading Wise Madness. The theoretically correct first sentence leads off the next paragraph.

I went to Rockwood Music Hall to see Susanna Rose. I mentally did a poonerspism when trying to get her name out and thought, "Rosanna Sose." It has come to my attention that there are some people that don't read Wise Madness every single day and commit it to memory. This is just like dealing with my students. Your lives would run much smoother if you put in that effort. But as I know a few of you don't I'll remind you who Rosanna Susanna is. I met her at NERFA. We talked for a bit but I did not see her perform. She gave me a CD which I took on the theory that anyone that I find interesting is more likely to make interesting music than average. It took me forever to get through my NERFA CDs. In fact I still haven't gotten through them all … from 2014. A month or two after NERFA I listened to Susanna's and was so pleasantly surprised. I loved it. She was not just another cute affable performer who people will like for being cute and affable. She has style and something to say and she reminds me of Laura Dunn. Nobody reminds me of Laura Dunn. I love Laura Dunn. So this is very much a good thing.

Susanna played yesterday afternoon at 5 PM. That seems to be the New York debut time slot. It meant missing most of John Platt's Sunday Supper for but hey that's why I usually miss Sunday Supper. That's a good time for me to go out and do things. I got there a few minutes before the show and was happy to see a lot of people in the room. Most were there for the previous band. I was unhappy to hear them talking so much. I was afraid it would be hard to hear. Susanna started singing and it was just as I feared. But them something remarkable happened. There was something about her singing that caught their attention and gained their respect. They settled down and listened. I'm now mad at myself for not uploading the videos I took last night and getting Susanna's approval so I could show you. It's much easier for you to judge for yourself than for me to describe the music. But of course describing the music is what I get paid for. Not that I get paid money. I do get paid in other ways from the music community.

The one word I'd use to describe Susanna's music is haunting. Her subject matter is the type I usually don't like heartbreak is a running thread. But the reason I don't usually like it is because most people say it in exactly the same way as a million other people. "I'm so sad since he left me/ Nobody has ever felt like this./ Feel sorry for me." I don't even have to describe the melody, you know exactly the kind I'm talking about. Susanna's don't sound like that. She grabs your attention; not by being loud but my singing softly making you actively listen. She described her songs as melancholy and that's the perfect word for it. I'd love to pair her with Rod Picott, they can swap heartbreak songs that couldn't be more different than each other and both are different from the norm.

While I usually prefer live performances to records there are some people that record better than they perform. I wasn't sure what I'd get from Susanna. I was not disappointed; she was even better in person. I can't show you the videos but I can play some of her music for you. This is a song that sound very Laura Dunn to me.

I didn't notice this as much in the recording as I did live but this next song reminded me of Kristin Andeassen. You know how much I love Kristin.

When I went to Susanna's Website to get the URL I noticed that one of the reviews she posted on the splash page was by Robert Sarrazin Blake. He's not just one of my friends and favorite songwriters he's also a good friend of Kristin Andreassen. He pops up in my live from all different directions. Susanna is opening for him in a few weeks. This is what he had to say about her.

"Susanna's songs are vignette thought poems. They hit immediately...and are gone before you know your heart has been opened,"
Now you have a second opinion. I should have just stolen that without attribution. I hope people sometimes feel that way about what I write. I'm not waxing poetic enough for the poetically waxing Susanna. I know I'll let her speak for herself. Listen to the entire album on band camp, Snowbound.

After the show I headed home and listened to the last hour of Sunday Supper, I didn't want to miss that because Honor Finnegan was his guest and she was joined by three other friends, Carolann Solebello, Catherine Miles, Karyn Oliver, and Paul Silverman. It happens often but I still get such a big kick at hearing my friends interviewed on the radio. Hey you can listen to that too. It's the last half-hour of the show, Sunday Super 3-20-16. If it makes the Live Vault I'll let you know, then you can listen to just that portion of the show. Today is Honor's birthday so you should listen to celebrate. Then go buy her CD. I won't give you her URL you can google it. The ones that don't need to do that know I just made a joke.

After the show I made my garlic, sausage, potato soup. I made it with a bit more red pepper than usual. I told Honor I did it in her honor because her interview was hot and spicy.

OK it's almost time to write tomorrow's edition of Wise Madness I better post this.





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 March 21, 2016
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