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

July 13, 2015 - 12:12 p.m.

Jewell of the Arthur Kill

Yesterday I told you about my metaphoric great pumpkin and how nobody wants to hear about it. After finding out that it was less likely that the GP would arise in my pumpkin patch, no matter how sincere it is, I tried to talking to someone about it. I got, "OK." Yep. Linus was right, you can't talk to people about the Great Pumpkin.

Know what you can do? Hear lots of great free music during the summer. Yesterday afternoon Fred and I headed out to the wilds of Woodbridge New Jersey to see Eilen Jewell. It was the inaugural show of Woodbridge Country Sundays, part of Woodbridge Arts Free Concert Series. Check that out, lots of great music. I was there for the first show on the stage at Parker Press Park, Red Molly, and many times since. They can't start a new series without me.

Fred and I had no trouble finding each other at Penn Station. We spent our time waiting deriding Jersey Transit and the old Soviet air conditioners they had in place. When we got on the train our car was ancient. The information screen just said "New Jersey Transit." The fact that the screen gives no information is enough to tell you that you are on New Jersey Transit

This was just part one of our planned music double header. The show ended at 7:30, the next train to New York was at 7:52 arriving at 8:42. That would leave us just enough time to get to Rockwood Music Hall to see Emily Elbert at 9 PM. See NJ Transit isn't all bad. It allowed us to do that.

The gates of the park open at 5 and we got there at 4:58, and the gates were open. Not only that but people put chairs down right up front. That never happens on Wednesdays. Fred and I had stadium seats, which would be too low to let us see over chairs. We grabbed a spot a bit off to the side. Bill, who runs the series saw us and said he'd get us folding chairs so we could see. We did so we got second row. Bill is one of my musical kindred spirit presenters.

The barbecue they sell wasn't ready yet so we did what adults can do. We ate like children. We got ice cream first. The ice cream truck was ready. While we were on the line for barbecue I heard someone call Fred's name. I saw two people approaching but as I'm blind couldn't see who they were. I was wondering who Fred would know in Jersey that I didn't know. I've been to concerts at the series before, he hasn't. It was Sharon and Shannon. I know them. Not only that but Sharon claims she called my name first. Not sure if I can generate enough paranoia to convince myself that she lied. They tried to get a spot near us but it was already too crowded. I did hang out with them before the show. As I said last time I saw them, I don't see them enough. We used to see each other more often.

I also saw Howard, who as I like to point out goes to more shows than me .This time he lives closer that I do, he's from Jersey but travels far afield.

The show started on time and it was great. Eilen is an amazing singer filled with energy and passion. She's complemented by OK, I can think of his name. I said I would remember it. I can! She was complemented by Jerry Miller on guitar. His surf guitar adds so much to the band's sound and she knows it. He gets prominent solos. It just bears her name but they perform as a band. The rhythm section is upright bass and drums.

The series is "Country Sundays" but is what Eilen plays country? Some is, I mean she covers Loretta Lynn. But there's a lot of rock there. It really is best described as that amalgam of styles, Americana. WFUV played her when they still played Americana.

Sharon and Shannon ended up sitting a bit behind us.

I took that with the selfie camera so I could take it and not turn around. Can you spot them? They conveniently sat under a sign with their names on it.

As the show ended someone came from behind me and gave me a kiss. That's always simultaneously delightful and disconcerting. Disconcerting as I had no idea who it was. Luckily it was a cute woman, Efrat. I saw her last time I was there to see Bobtown last year. She sat with me except when she went onstage to join the band. Then I was in charge of her son. Her son was with her this time too. I introduced her to Sharon. I was surprised they didn't know each other. They are in the same musical circle.

I of course schmoozed too long but still left five minutes to make the train. The station is literally right next to the park. We got up there and there was an announcement that the train was 6 minute late, but that was the train in the other direction, Whew. We had no margin of error to make Emily's show. Then they announced our train was 24 minutes late. That meant it would arrive after the show started and we still had to make our way down to Rockwood. NJ Transit IS all bad. We actually arrived at 9:00 as the show was to start. I decided to go anyway. I figured the best way chance to get there fast was to take the to the . I got on the platform and saw the and saw the arrive on the local. The shouldn't be on eighth avenue. It was running on the C tracks. That meant it wouldn't stop at Second Ave where Rockwood is. So much for seeing the show. I was mad. I love Emily. She's a special favorite plays a style I rarely hear I love her as a person and she rarely plays here.

When I got home I tried to watch the rest of The Hulk I got to the climax and still had no interest. I don't see how they reworked the mythology can work as a series. Traditionally only one person knew the Hulk's identity. Doc Bruce Banner was a scientist working for the military and his commanding officer was trying to hunt the Hulk. In the movie everybody concerned knows who the Hulk is. How can you have Bruce Banner living his life with that? Plus the special effects don't work. The CGI just looks wrong.

I'm taking tonight off. I need it. I've been on an amazing run of live music.

  • July 1 – Ronstadt Generations and Ronstadt, Trotta, and Dalton at The Bitter End
  • July 4 and July 5 – The New Bedford Folk Festival
  • July 7 – Mike + Ruthy at Rockwood
  • July 9 – The Punch Brothers and Sarah Jarosz at Celebrate Brooklyn
  • July 10 – Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins, and Aoife O'Donovan at Caramoor
  • July 11 – Pendulum Swings at the Basement Bar
  • July 12 – Eilen Jewell at Woodbridge Wednesdays.
The only time I went two days in a row without music I was traveling up to New Bedford one of the days. Not long before this I saw Richard Thompson at Town Hall and Lucinda Williams at Celebrate Brooklyn and the Clearwater Festival. There's more coming up too. What good's sitting alone in your room? Come here the music play.

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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 July 13, 2015
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