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

May 20, 2017 - 2:26 p.m.

Sit Down and Sing

The challenge today is to remember all the things I want to write, not coming up with things to write. I should have taken notes. That doesn't mean this is going to be long; I don't worry about that. Size doesn't matter.

Fridays now mean therapy. I look forward to therapy, perhaps too much. We'll see, perhaps I don't have to be made uncomfortable to progress. She is still playing catchup with me. She doesn't know my backstory; she doesn't know the cast of characters. That hit me when I had to explain who someone is and explain our relationship. That's instructive, I'm forced to condense my entire history with a person into a few sentences.

Fridays in May and June mean I will always have plans after therapy; the default is the Terre Roche led Sunset Singing Circle at Robert Wagner Park. That means sitting on a lawn for an hour and a half. The park provides yoga mats to sit on but that doesn't provide back support so I bring my stadium seat. That means remembering to bring it with me when I leave for therapy. I did! I have discovered Google reminders and I left one for myself. I also remembered to bring a sun hat and sunscreen. I have broken out my summer wardrobe, wicking fabric shirts and shorts. I was prepared for the heat and sun.

After therapy, I headed over to wait for the bus that takes me to the train station. When I left the building, it was not sunny, there were clouds gathering. In the four minutes it took to get to the bus stop the sky turned dark. I got to the bus stop and it started to rain. It went from drizzle to downpour in seconds. There was thunder and lightning. I had not prepared for the rain. I held the stadium seat over my head. The rest of me got wet. The temperature dropped 15 degrees. I was dressed for sun and heat and I was now cold and wet. Naturally, the bus came late. The bus ride is less than five minutes. By the time we got to the train station the rain had stopped and the sun come out. I was once again dressed appropriately.

I was lucky, the train was even later than the bus was so I hadn't missed it. My phone's battery was very low so I switched it out with one of the two spares I keep on me. I buy my tickets with a phone app and they only exist digitally; it's important that my phone is working.

I hopped on the train got comfortable. The train wasn't crowded, I put my backpack and stadium seat next to me … except … except I didn't have my stadium seat. I left it on the platform. I put down when I switched out the battery. Why? I'm an idiot! I shouldn't have to tell you that. I expect My Gentle Readers to do all the assigned reading and retain it. I got off the next station, it's only a few minutes away. I saw the train heading in the other direction approaching the station. I wanted to catch that. There were people waiting to get on the train. Three was one woman blocking my way out and she wouldn't move. I had to turn sideways and slip between her and someone else. That slowed me down enough to make me miss my train. OK, that's not true, I would have missed it anyway. But she didn't know that and I want her to be punished for what might have happened. You hear that Furies? Do your job.

I was lucky There was another train 10 minutes behind that one. I got back to Harrison and my seat was still there. I was back there before the next train left; the one I usually take. I was back on schedule. The human sacrifice to the public transit gods is paying off or so I thought. I got on the next train and it was packed. It's never packed. I don't know what happened. I couldn't even get a seat. A young man offered me his but I refused it. I finally got a seat at Fordham. I arrived at Grand Central with plenty of time to not only get to the sing but to stop at Trader Joe's and get dinner first. The human sacrifice did some good. The public transit gods work in mysterious ways. I've made only one sacrifice; I shouldn't expect a seat.

I went down to Trader Joe's then went to KFC for dinner. It's a few blocks away and I can get a chicken zinger sandwich, fries, a drink, and a cookie for $5. If I'm in that neighborhood it's hard to resist.

As I walked from KFC to the subway I started to wonder if there were any Roches songs that would work at the singing circles. I decided there weren't, they are too intricate; not singalongs. That did start me singing The Hammond Song to myself. I got to the subway, which now has Wi-Fi and looked at my phone. In my alerts, I had one from YouTube. One of my subscriptions, Carey's, posted a new video, The Hammond Song (Roches Cover). She posted it while I was singing; that is spooky synchronicity.

The Sunset Singing Circles are in Robert Wagner Park in Battery Park City. That's right by the Bowling Green subway station. I have been meaning to see the "Fearless Girl" statue on the Green since it was installed. This was my chance. I was right there. I forgot. Why? Now you got it! I'm an idiot. Much better. All a teacher wants is for the students to learn.

I got to the park 15 minutes before the sing starts. You enter through an arch in a building. As I was approaching but before I could see inside I heard a cheer and applause. I thought there might be some sort of sporting event going on. I wondered if this would interfere with the circle. I wondered if I screwed up and there was no circle. I walked in and there was nothing going on. I couldn't figure out what happened. The gentleman with the songbooks was there so I knew everything was on. I grabbed my book and went over to where the circle is and sat down. Terre told me what had happened. A man had gone down on his knees and proposed. The woman accepted. There was a drone involved. I wish I had seen that.

This was the third circle of the season but the first I attended; I thought one was canceled because of rain, it wasn't, and I had other plans for the second. Singing is good for the psyche and the soul. The Sunset Singing Circles are extra good for the psyche and the soul. The crowd was small even though the weather was great. it was warm but not oppressive and it had never rained in the City. On the bright side that meant more of my suggestions got played. The way it works is that people just shout out their requests and they are immediately played. I'm never shy about shouting out what I want.

People often ask what songs are in the book. Here they are in their idiosyncratic order.

Let's see if I can recreate what songs we sang. Except or the last I'll make no attempt to remember the order. I'm going to just go through the table of contents and list the songs I remember that we played. I'll bold my suggestions

  1. Amazing Grace
  2. Bird on a Wire
  3. Blowin' in the Wind
  4. Cecelia
  5. Do a Deer
  6. Don't Think Twice
  7. Five Hundred Miles
  8. Here Comes the Sun
  9. Hey There Delilah
  10. Puff the Magic Dragon
  11. Red River Valley
  12. Shenandoah
  13. The Sloop John B
  14. Take Me Home Country Roads
  15. The Sounds of Silence
  16. The Times They Are a Changin'
  17. Three Little Birds
  18. What A Wonderful World
  19. Pack Up Your Sorrows
  20. Space Oddity
  21. Goodnight Irene
I'm usually the one suggesting the darker and sorrowful songs but I felt we needed the feel-good songs. Pack up Your Troubles is not the song I thought it was; there was no kit bag. We always end with Goodnight Irene. Terre said that if we didn't none of us would be able to sleep. I think that if we didn't end with it the sun would never rise again. We need to sing it to set the world aright.

It's called the Sunset Singing Circle for a good reason. I took this between songs.

I stayed after to talk a bit with Terre. Her mom Jude died recently and she talked about that. Her family including her mother had a great attitude about it; the last of life for which the first was made.

Then I headed home. I was going to stop at the bathroom but I was told it was closed. That was a bit disappointing as it's a long trip home.

The trip home is easy, the and trains are right there. They run express to 125th street where I switch to the which I take home. I thought I might even make it back in less than an hour and a half.

I have trouble reading books because of my vision but I can read things on my phone. I generally spend most of my commuting time reading. This was no exception. I don't remember what I was reading, probably something in the Times, but when I looked up from it I saw I was at 149th Street. I had missed my stop. Arrgghh. I'm an idiot. Rather than go back I decided to try something new. I'd take the train to Pelham Parkway and take the two buses home from there. The BX 12 runs frequently so it shouldn't be bad. I had never got off the stop and had no notion where the bus stop was but someone pointed it out to me. The way she put it was, "See the bus pulling out? That's your stop." yes I just missed the bus. Remember the bathroom being closed? That started to haunt me. I was quite uncomfortable. I hope people enjoyed watching my dance as I waited the 13 minutes for the bus. It was late. But that wouldn't slow my trip down at all as long as I could catch the BX 29 that comes once every half hour. I arrived with 5 minutes to spare. Too bad that bus was then 15 minutes late. The trip that should have been an hour and a half, maybe less, ended up taking two and a quarter hours. Guess what room I headed straight for. I did not explode so I'm here to tell the tale.

Did I remember to include everything? I remembered all three idiot stories, the two commuting blunders and forgetting about Fearless Girl. That's good as I promised yesterday that I'd tell them. One of my close friends said that I shouldn't call myself an idiot. Even my therapists are OK with that. It's a running joke and running jokes are one of my favorite things, some of mine have been going on for 40 years. I call myself an idiot because my intelligence is one of the things I'm most confident about. Mockery can be very funny but it's mean to mock other people not named Donald Trump so if I want to indulge in it I have to be the target. One of my pet notions is that intelligent people do the stupidest things. And of course, I am an idiot; it's being honest.

I'll bid you adieu with Carey's rendition of The Hammond Song. You don't want to hear me singing it. Funny thing, Carey can do me singing it poorly better than I can. Don't ask me how.

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 May 20, 2017
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