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
October 08, 2016 - 4:28 p.m.
I never left the Island yesterday but I still have things to write about. I actually remember my ideas from yesterday and I even wrote them down. But first the important thing, food.
This week I made several of my favorite dishes for the first time since leaving Brooklyn I made jerk chicken, fried plantains, peanut butter matzoh brie, and eggs Horvendile. The last is a poached egg on English muffin with ham, so far just like eggs Benedict but instead of Hollandaise sauce I use melted Cheez-Whiz. Mock if you must but it's delicious.
For the second time I signed an official form representing The Budgiedome. It allows a Canadian musician to come to America next summer. To do this I had to print out the PDF, sign it, scan it, then email it back. Anyone know a way I could do this purely electronically? There were issues with both the printer and the scanner. I couldn't even get anything done by Wi-Fi. Still it was well worth the effort and a) I get a kick out of doing it, and b) I love the musician.
Know what else I love? Doctor Who It took nine seasons but the new series has finally won me over. The current team knows what it's doing. The last episodes involved the two things I always complain about; the fate of the entire universe hanging in the balance, yet again, and it being personal to the Doctor. But this time it did it with aplomb. Peter Capaldi is the best Doctor since Tom Baker and Clara the best companion since Romana 2, maybe the best since Sarah Jane.
Oh, I have a new career, Clairvoyant. When I played The Hello Strangers on the radio Tuesday night I said that one of the sisters was pregnant and might even be giving birth as I spoke. Larissa gave birth two hours later and was in labor when I said that. When I played House of Hamill I talked about Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan. Off-air I told Brian that I expect them to get married soon. Last night they announced their engagement. Perhaps it's like the classic Twilight Zone Printer's Devil where whatever you set on the linotype comes true. Next time I'll announce that I'm getting married. I just have to choose the lucky woman. Every unmarried woman I know is now trembling in fear.
I'll let Donald Trump help me segue into the real topic of discussion. That's all I'd let Donald Trump help me with. OK that's not true. If he wanted to give me $1,000,000 I wouldn't say, "no." I'd just shower for an hour afterward if I had to see him in person to get it. People are starting to get the enormity of what he said right. It's not about him saying "pussy" or talking about a woman's legs or body. That is just locker room talk. If everyone had live mics on them all the time you'd catch a lot of other men, men you respect, saying the same sorts of things. No, what was horrific was him saying how he has molested women. He didn't just say it he bragged about it. That is not something I've heard in the locker rooms I've been in. This went beyond straying hands. This was assault. Even if he were lying and never did it he thinks of it as something to be proud of. Maybe now the rape accusation against him will be taken more seriously. Do I know that it's true? No, but I won't dismiss it either. I'll let that be decided in a courtroom. But just think about it, the man who is running for president is accused of statutory rape and this has not been a major issue.
Since this came out I have had two friends saying on Facebook the same thing happened to them; They were grabbed by their genitalia, not by Donald Trump, by one was in public from a person in power. The reaction is not to scream and say what the person did but to keep quiet out of fear and shame of what would happen to the woman. It has to do with the way, men and women too, think about women.
What I've been thinking about, before this whole Trump debacle came to light, was how women are thought of in a world I know well, the world of music. What got me thinking about this was talking to a friend about a very talented musician who is also a strikingly beautiful woman. We both feel that she is taken less seriously than she deserves because of her looks. She's one of the people I champion and I bet many people say to themselves, "he just thinks she's hot." I have heard people say that to me about other musicians and other music aficionados. I have said it about some aficionados. Why? Because sometimes it's true. We know that. It's hard to isolate your opinions of someone's music from the person. Some are quite open and say they like the way someone looks. I try hard to avoid that here when acclaiming a musician. I work hard and keeping the music separate in my head. There are plenty of attractive woman whose music I don't like. Hell one is a bête noir. When someone tells me that A only likes B because of her looks I won't accept that. I judge B on her own merits. Whenever you say that A only likes B because of her looks you are demeaning the talent of the woman and the judgement of the man. On the other hand, when you support someone of either gender because of their looks you are being unfair to those with more talent and less sex appeal. It should be all about the music. Or at least mostly about the music. There is more to the total experience. Hey banter can sometimes be the best part so looks can count for something.
What isn't fair at all is how much more important the way a woman on stage looks and dresses than it is for a man. A man goes on stage in a t-shirt and jeans and nobody says anything. They probably do if he's dressed up. Women are expected to dress to impress. I'll admit I enjoy looking at an attractive woman dressed to impressed but Madeleine Peyroux wears plain clothing, no makeup and even sits down while she sings. She gets by on simply being the greatest singer on the planet. I'll take that over just about anyone. I'd also marry her for that voice. She's in the mix for declaring my impending marriage when I'm on the radio next.
In that vein I've always been suspicious of acts with elaborate stage shows. Now it doesn't mean that they are bad. Sometimes I enjoy it very much. But very often I think it either covering a lack of substance or distracting from the talent. Freddie Mercury was perhaps the greatest rock vocalist ever. I'd have been happier if he didn't feel the need to dress in costume. On the other hand, it was part of who David Bowie was. It felt more natural with him. That he was doing performance art along with the music. On the level of people I actually know, I'd say the same thing about Jocie Adams of Arc Iris. Listen for two minutes and you know that she's a serious musician. Yet she comes out in the gold spandex suit with wings. She's not flamboyant. She is performing a dance as she sings. It's part of the art. Tonight I'm seeing Lake Street Dive at Radio City Music Hall. Now this is a band that I first saw at Southpaw in Brooklyn with no frills opening for Crooked Still. I was told that the light show in their current tour is worth the price of admission; or should I say Price of admission? I know they are great. I've seen them on small and medium size stages. This is the first time in a huge theater. I'm sure I'll love it. But they don't need it so I have mixed feelings.
Now to get ready to see LSD. I have time. Tomorrow I'm going to a free klezmer brunch with Metropolitan Klezmer on the upper west side.
Chicken is Nice - October 13, 2016
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