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 01, 2017 - 11:06 a.m.


This blogwright is starting the new year right; starting the rite of writing at 9:26 AM. I don't do resolutions but I always want to start writing earlier in the morning; it means getting the rest of my day started earlier.

I stayed home on New Year's Eve for the first time in ages. That followed a stretch where I stayed home alone every year for ages. The difference is at least this year I was invited to a party that I enjoy every year and didn't go because it's too difficult to get to. I almost went anyway but the previous night was a late one that I had to crash in Jersey and today I'm heading out to Brooklyn for another party.

I enjoyed my voluntary New Year's Eve alone. I hate involuntary solitude but appreciate and even need it when it's my choice. When I'm home alone on NYE I binge watch TV. My tradition was Doctor Who Marathons. Last night I just watched the shows I've been watching other nights. I finished Season 2 of Arrow and caught up on this season's The Librarians. I obsess on different shows than everyone else. What's really odd, is that I'm watching the mass audience network shows not the boutique shows. This is the reverse of the way things usually are. But they are what I like right now. I enjoy what I enjoy, not what I think I'm supposed to enjoy. I try to not overthink it. I do love Game of Thrones and Stranger Things and I'm looking forward to the next season of both.

I had a nice simple dinner, hot dogs and baked potato. Bernie and Jane had leftover potatoes so I didn't even have to cook that. My dinner was simple but delicious. Hot dogs were my favorite food as a kid and they are still right up there.

It's New Year's Day I guess I should look back on the old year and look forward to the new one. My Gentle Readers know that 2016 was a rough one for me; the roughest year of my life. I reached my nadir. Thoughts of suicide did bring me record readership but that's not quite enough reward to make it something I want to do again. The meds are not helping me with my central problem but they are keeping the depression under control and lessening the anxiety. They improve the quality of my life.

Plenty of good things happened this year, not just the Cubs winning the World Series. There are good things I do every year; New Year's Day party at Coco and Bruce's, Pesach with Louis and Sylvia, Falcon Ridge with everyone, Thanksgiving with Joe, Emily, and their family, caroling with friends under the Washington Square Arch led by Terre Roche, and Jean and Liam's Christmas Party. I have a lot of good traditions. That's why you write things like this; it gets you to think of them.

It's happened enough years in a row that I can add spending my birthday with Bobtown to the list. I was joined by friends this year.

I went to the opera I saw William Tell. I know I should give the proper Italian title but I am not looking things up. I am sticking to writing not research. I'm not even going through my previous blogs so I don't forget something important. That means I will but it means the good things are coming in no special order which makes each a surprise.

Kevin and I saw Hadestown; one of the best musicals I've ever seen. To make it even better I know the author/composer Anaïs Mitchell and the music director, Liam Robinson.

I heard great music of course. Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz did an unpublicized show on very short notice at tiny Rockwood Music Hall stage 3. I finally introduced myself to Sarah at another great show, Rachel Ries and Hannah Read at a new venue for me, The Owl. Anaïs was there too.

I got a last-minute call from Mike and Kate that they had an extra ticket to see Richard Thompson, my favorite of favorites, at Caramoor. I raced up there and saw the show.

In a totally different vein I went to a partial hospitalization program which led to me getting a new therapist and a psychiatrist and I love them both. I'm on psych meds for the first time.

I'm not on Crohn's meds and it's the best it's been in years and years. I don't have attacks. I ate corn without getting sick! I even had popcorn once. I'm not perfect. I still have bad days, but I'm so much better than I'm accustomed to. So much for stress being a trigger.

There was the time that Brianne came into the City and I spent the day with she and her friends. Brianne was going to a show at the Play Station Theater. We were there early. We ducked in a tunnel in the building to get out of the rain and stumbled on this.

That's the casts of Hamilton, The Lion King, and The Color Purple. We did not know that for a while. All we knew was that we heard incredible singing.

Thanks to the generosity of Bernie and Jane I've been living on beautiful City Island. I have posted a lot of pictures of sunsets from my window. I'm looking out now on Long Island Sound and Hart Island. Why do we find water views so inspiring? I have a gorgeous one. I have now lived in each borough but Staten Island. My favorite was Brooklyn; it's where I want to return. If I had real money I might go with Manhattan.

I have made poutine a regular culinary treat and finally started going to The Mile End Deli which has the best poutine in the City.

Every month I go to John Platt's On Your Radar, twice in February when we have the special edition in Port Washington.

I missed her Christmas show but I saw Dar Williams at Common Ground presents in Irvington Town Hall and at City Winery. Am I right about the Irvington or was that last year? But no, I am not doing research. I know the Linda Ronstadt Tribute was this year. It featured so many of my favorite musicians.

Brianne, Carolann, and I took part in the Women and Allies march for women's rights. We went from the Trump International to Trump Tower.

I went to Met games; that used to happen more than twenty times a year but last year I didn't go to one. I saw Harvey's best game of the season.

I was Marti's +1 for several plays, she's a theater critic. The best was Yiddish theater musical. I went to one of the Met games with Marti and her husband Dan. I went years without seeing Marti, it's nice to have her back in my life.

I helped Kathryn with the East Village Folk Festival. Lots of my friends and favorite musicians played that too. I did the merch. I always do the merch. I can do merch in my sleep.

I did not keep track of my concerts so I can't tell you who I saw the most often. Jean Rohe? The Kennedys? The Lords of Liechtenstein? Who were my most frequent concert buddies? Fred is number one on the list. I went to many with Kevin and Dan. Oddly I think there was but one with both Kevin and Fred; my first time seeing Vienna Teng.

My life came close to falling apart, the only reason it didn't completely is my amazing friends. I won't thank them by name because I'm afraid I'll leave one out that deserves it. You know who you are. Some gave material support, some gave practical help, others gave moral support; all gave love.

As for the New Year, we are going to have to live with a scary president and congress. We must think about it as a challenge. We are not the Weimer Republic or Russia. The US has much stronger institutions and a much longer history of democracy. Damage will be done. Things will get worse. But we'll get through it and perhaps the reaction will let us become better than we were. That's the prize I'm keeping my eye on. Just as today I'm keeping my eyes on my sources of joy.

Now it's time to eat. I have no eggs in the house so it is peanut butter and bacon sandwich time. That's not a sacrifice. If you read this carefully you can figure out what I'm doing today. I'm going to Coco and Bruce's annual New Year's Day party. There will be friends, music, and food. I just have to remember to go shopping afterward so I'll have eggs for tomorrow.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile January 01, 2017
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