"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

23 October 2018


From the latter weeks of October to Christmas-eve is the period during which happiness is in season, which, in my judgment, enters the room with the tea-tray.

Thomas De Quincey


It is precisely the colouring, the atmosphere, the unclassifiable individual details of a story, and above all the general purport that informs with life the undissected bones of the plot, that really count.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, "Man in the Moon"

Happy birthday, Larousse.

Pierre Larousse was born on this day in 1817.

22 October 2018

Happy birthday, Liszt.

Franz Liszt was born on this day in 1811.

Mournful, yet grand, is the life of an artist.

Franz Liszt

Vladimir Horowitz beautifully performs the Consolation No. 3, S.172 ...


O'Keeffe, The Maple, 1927

I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.

Georgia O'Keeffe


Now, dear, it isn’t the bold things,
Great deeds of valour and might,
That count the most in the summing up of life at the end of the day.
But it is the doing of old things,
Small acts that are just and right;
And doing them over and over again, no matter what others say;
In smiling at fate, when you want to cry, and in keeping at work when you want to play—
Dear, those are the things that count.

And, dear, it isn’t the new ways
Where the wonder-seekers crowd
That lead us into the land of content, or help us to find our own.
But it is keeping to true ways,
Though the music is not so loud,
And there may be many a shadowed spot where we journey along alone;
In flinging a prayer at the face of fear, and in changing into a song a groan—
Dear, these are the things that count.

My dear, it isn’t the loud part
Of creeds that are pleasing to God,
Not the chant of a prayer, or the hum of a hymn, or a jubilant shout or song.
But it is the beautiful proud part
Of walking with feet faith-shod;
And in loving, loving, loving through all, no matter how things go wrong;
In trusting ever, though dark the day, and in keeping your hope when the way seems long—
Dear, these are the things that count.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Listen up, public education ..

I've concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.

John Taylor Gatto




Just as the hare is zipping across the finish line,
the tortoise has stopped once again
by the roadside,
this time to stick out his neck
and nibble a bit of sweet grass,
unlike the previous time
when he was distracted
by a bee humming in the heart of a wildflower.

Billy Collins

21 October 2018


Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1964 presentation of the Thorndike classic, Dr. Syn: Alias, The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh ...

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:



My ornaments are fruits; my garments leaves,
  Woven like cloth of gold, and crimson dyed;
I do not boast the harvesting of sheaves,
  O'er orchards and o'er vineyards I preside.
Though on the frigid Scorpion I ride,
  The dreamy air is full, and overflows
With tender memories of the summer-tide,
  And mingled voices of the doves and crows. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


An excellent album ...

Telemann, Concerto in A minor, TWV 52:a1

Bolette Roed performs the Allegro with the Kore Orchestra ...


I pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake.  People are saying I am the queen of Sweden because of the legend of King Arthur.



Man wants to make certain about the future, about tomorrow -- which cannot be done. Let it sink as deeply in your heart as possible, it cannot be done. Don't waste your present moment trying to make the future certain. The future is uncertainty that is the very quality of the future.

One can do only one thing: Be alert and wait.


20 October 2018


Andy Goldsworthy, Early Morning Calm, Knotweed Stalks Pushed into Lake Bottom, Made Complete by Their Own Reflections, Derwent Water, Cumbria, 20 February and 8-9 March 1988


                       He is pruning the privet

                of sickly sorrow   desolation
           in loose pieces of air he goes clip clip clip
       the green blooming branches fall—‘they’re getting out
             of hand’    delirious and adorable    what a switch
                               we perceive        multiple
identities     when you sing     so beautifully     the shifting
       clouds  You are not alone is this world
               not a lone  a parallel world of reflection
       in a window keeps the fire burning
                    in the framed mandala,  the red shafted flicker
               sits on the back of the garden chair in the rain
the red robed monks downtown in the rain  a rainbow arises

                   simple country      practices thunder
      lightning,  hail and rain    eight Douglas Iris
            ribbon layers of attention

              So   constant creation of ‘self’ is a tricky
       mess    He is pruning the loquat,   the olive
     which looks real enough in the damp late morning air

                                                                                          May 15, 1995

Joanne Kyger


Nine simple tips that will make Halloween fun for everyone ... the end of days is upon us.

John Coltrane, "Autumn Leaves"

Happy birthday, Rimbaud.

Arthur Rimbaud was born on this day in 1854.

I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; 
Garlands from window to window; 
Golden chains from star to star ... 
And I dance.

Arthur Rimbaud

Schubert, Rosamunde

The YouTube Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, performs the Entr'acte No. 3 from Rosamunde ...

19 October 2018


Aaron Lewis, "Northern Redneck"



Wyeth (Jamie), The Raven, 1980

Some witches are said to kill people with graveyard dirt, which is dust scraped from a grave with the left forefinger at midnight. This is mixed with the blood of a black bird; a raven or crow is best, but a black chicken will do in a pinch. The witch ties this mixture up in a rag which has touched a corpse and buries it under the doorstep of the person who is to be liquidated.

Vance Randolph, from Ozark Magic and Folklore

Jethro Tull, "The Whistler"


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Edgar Allen Poe

18 October 2018

ACϟDC, "Shot Down in Flames"


An excellent book ...

Thank you, Chase.

Happy birthday, Canaletto.

Canaletto, The Stonemason's Yard, 1725

Canaletto was born on this day in 1697.


Everything in life is self-explanatory. Throw away the instructions and rebuild this Ikea world in your own image. Otherwise, deal with it like a bad haircut: grow out of it.

Eugenia Berry


For all its simplicity, this idea of wilderness nonetheless has some important components: It underscores an element of distance from both ordinary things and from the human community—wilderness can be solitary. It posits the rambunctiousness of diverse wild things and provides a realization that one cannot dwell forever in the wild. In this notion of wilderness, there is a heightened reminder that after our fill of wilderness, one can, or perhaps even should, return, replenished, to the comforts of home.


17 October 2018


50 years after I’m dead, I’ll come walking back in disguise. I’d like nothing better.

Andrew Wyeth


16 October 2018

Styx, "Miss America"

Bryan Ferry, "Don't Stop the Dance"

Happy birthday, Wilde.

Oscar Wilde was born on this day in 1854.

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

Oscar Wilde

Brahms, Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Viktoria Mullova performs with the Berlin Philharmonic, under the direction of Claudio Abaddo ...


The reason why even the normal human being should be half a hermit is that it is the only way in which his mind can have a half-holiday. It is the only way to get any fun even out of the facts of life; yes, even if the facts are games and dances and operas. It bears most resemblance to the unpacking of luggage. It has been said that we live on a railway station; many of us live in a luggage van; or wander about the world with luggage that we never unpack at all. For the best things that happen to us are those we get out of what has already happened. If men were honest with themselves, they would agree that actual social engagements, even with those they love, often seem strangely brief, breathless, thwarted or inconclusive. Mere society is a way of turning friends into acquaintances, the real profit is not in meeting our friends, but in having met them. Now when people merely plunge from crush to crush, and from crowd to crowd, they never discover the positive joy of life. They are like men always hungry, because their food never digests also, like those men, they are cross. There is surely something the matter with modern life when all the literature of the young is so cross.

That is something of the secret of the saints who went into the desert. It is in society that men quarrel with their friends; it is in solitude that they forgive them. And before the society-man criticizes the saint, let him remember that the man in the desert often had a soul that was like a honey-pot of human kindness, though no man came near to taste it; and the man in the modern salon, in his intellectual hospitality, generally serves out wormwood for wine.

G.K. Chesterton



In this language, no industrial revolution;
no pasteurized milk; no oxygen, no telephone;
only sheep, fish, horses, water falling.
The middle class can hardly speak it.

In this language, no flush toilet; you stumble
through dark and rain with a handful of rags.
The door groans; the old smell comes
up from under the earth to meet you.

But this language believes in ghosts;
chairs rock by themselves under the lamp; horses
neigh inside an empty gully, nothing
at the bottom but moonlight and black rocks.

The woman with marble hands whispers
this language to you in your sleep; faces
come to the window and sing rhymes; old ladies
wind long hair, hum, tat, fold jam inside pancakes.

In this language, you can’t chit-chat
holding a highball in your hand, can’t
even be polite. Once the sentence starts its course,
all your grief and failure come clear at last.

Old inflections move from case to case,
gender to gender, softening consonants, darkening
vowels, till they sound like the sea moving
icebergs back and forth in its mouth.

Bill Holm



Excellent albums ...

15 October 2018



Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds ... not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.

Neil Gaiman

Happy birthday, Wodehouse.

P.G. Wodehouse was born on this day in 1881.

Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening.

P.G. Wodehouse

14 October 2018

Jethro Tull, "Heavy Horses/Moths"


You won’t get critical thinkers and independent thinkers by following a rigid curriculum in schools with marks for expected answers. There’s got to be a freedom for teachers to leave the curriculum occasionally and to ask questions for which there isn’t a prescribed answer with a certain number of points allocated to it. They’ve got to take risks and we’ve got to allow children the freedom not to know about things.

Philip Pullman


Vivaldi, Flute Concerto in G minor, RV 439

Sebastian Marq, recorder, performs with Ensemble Matheus ...


The child alone with her or his book is, for me, the true image of potential happiness, of something evermore about to be. A child, lonely and gifted, will employ a marvelous story or poem to create a companion for himself or myself. Such an invisible friend is not an unhealthy phantasmagoria, but the mind learning to exercise itself in all its powers. Perhaps it is also the mysterious moment in which a new poet or storyteller comes to birth.

Harold Bloom


Our heads are often bowed down with the material burdens of life, but we know that all through the ages thinking people have found time to look upward and to seek peace and solace in the panorama of weather. Emerson called the sky the daily bread of his eyes. Ruskin called it almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost divine in its infinity. Lincoln said he could not imagine a man looking up a the sky and denying God. These spiritual qualities of weather frequently outweight the adverse influences that rain and snow have on our daily lives. 

Eric Sloane


Greenwood, Morning Moon, 1974

This morning was something. A little snow
lay on the ground. The sun floated in a clear
blue sky. The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.
Scarcely a ripple. Calm. I dressed and went
for a walk—determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.
I passed close to some old, bent-over trees.
Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted. Kept going
until I reached the bluff.
Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below. All lovely. All bathed in a pure
cold light. But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander. I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else. I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other. (And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong—duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death. All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.
The stuff I live with every day. What
I’ve trampled on in order to stay alive.
But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else. I know I did.
For when I turned back i didn’t know
where I was. Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees. And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.

Raymond Carver