AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

30 April 2013

Willie Nelson, "The Maker"

The Medicine Man, with Emmylou, accompanies ... plug it in and turn it up.

Prepare.


When you prepare food, do not see with ordinary eyes and do not think with ordinary mind. Take up a blade of grass and construct a treasure king's land; enter into a particle of dust and turn the great dharma wheel. Do not arouse disdainful mind when you prepare a broth of wild grasses; do not arouse joyful mind when you prepare a fine cream soup. Where there is no discrimination, how can there be distaste? Thus, do not be careless even when you work with poor materials, and sustain your efforts even when you have excellent materials. Never change your attitude according to the materials. If you do, it is like varying your truth when speaking with different people; then you are not a practitioner of the way.

CONNECT

Off.

Rover

I chase your every footstep 
And I follow every whim. 
When you call the tune I'm ready 
To strike up the battle hymn. 
My lady of the meadows --- 
My comber of the beach --- 
You've thrown the stick for your dog's trick 
But it's floating out of reach. 
The long road is a rainbow and the pot of gold lies there. 
So slip the chain and I'm off again --- 
You'll find me everywhere. 

I'm a Rover.

As the robin craves the summer
To hide his smock of red,
I need the pillow of your hair
In which to hide my head.
I'm simple in my sadness,
Resourceful in remorse.
Then I'm down straining at the lead ---
Holding on a windward course.

Strip me from the bundle
Of balloons at every fair:
Colourful and carefree ---
Designed to make you stare.
But I'm lost and I'm losing
The thread that holds me down.
And I'm up hot and rising
In the lights of every town.

- Ian Anderson

Spirit.


The cowardly belief that a person must stay in one place is too reminiscent of the unquestioning resignation of animals, beasts of burden stupefied by servitude and yet always willing to accept the slipping on of the harness. There are limits to every domain, and laws to govern every organized power. But the vagrant owns the whole vast earth that ends only at the non-existent horizon, and her empire is an intangible one, for her domination and enjoyment of it are things of the spirit.

CONNECT

Lifted.


According to the Italian wire service ANSA, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services announced Friday that the long-standing USDA ban on the import of Italian cured meats will be lifted starting May 28, and presumably the flood of salami, bresaola and pancetta will start washing into U.S. markets and restaurants not long thereafter.

Saturn.


Photographed in November of 2012 by the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera, this is a photograph of a hurricane nearly 1,250 miles wide on the surface of Saturn.

CONNECT

Robinson.


Sgt. 1st Class Greg Robinson has become the first amputee to complete Army air assault school, a course so grueling his prosthetic leg broke twice over the 10 days spent rappelling down ropes, navigating obstacle courses and completing strenuous road marches.

CONNECT

Thanks, BLACKFIVE.

Happy birthday, Dale.

Dale Earnhardt was born on this date in 1951.

Happy birthday, Willie.

Willie Nelson was born on this date in 1933.

"My Own Peculiar Way."  Daniel Lanois, guitar.  Sweater courtesy of Bill Cosby.

An amazing singer and songwriter, this performance proves that Willie Nelson is an incredible guitarist, as well.

29 April 2013

Silliness.

Wonder.


Ride the Country

On a mornin' sunrise
I am left to believing
All that is standing before my eyes
And I wonder
Would the sun have shown
Ever so brightly alone

We been livin' all of our lives
On the other side of the hill
Drifting on a golden wing, and I can't wait
To hear the smile
She can sing
Take me through the day
Take my breath away

And we ride the countryside
High and wide, and she brings
Crackers, cheese and wine
Oh, they're gonna bust my side
And she's got strawberries
Comin' by the dozen
Brown sugar and sweet cream
Set my mouth a-buzzin'

Take my hand and run
Take me down to the river blue
Throw a whisper to the wind that
All you're sayin' is true
Ride the countryside
Take me high and wide


- Paul Cotton

CONNECT

R.E.M., "Sitting Still"

Best.



The best coach in the NHL is Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings. He may not be in consideration for coach of the year honors in 2013, but he lives up to the high praise that former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips once had for the Miami Dolphins' legendary head coach Don Shula.

"Don Shula can take his'n and beat your'n, or he can take your'n and beat his'n."

Chase.


A Ballad of Baseball Burdens

The burden of hard hitting. Slug away
      Like Honus Wagner or like Tyrus Cobb.
Else fandom shouteth: “Who said you could play?
      Back to the jasper league, you minor slob!”
      Swat, hit, connect, line out, get on the job.
Else you shall feel the brunt of fandom’s ire
      Biff, bang it, clout it, hit it on the knob—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.


The burden of good pitching. Curved or straight.
      Or in or out, or haply up or down,
To puzzle him that standeth by the plate,
      To lessen, so to speak, his bat-renoun:
      Like Christy Mathewson or Miner Brown,
So pitch that every man can but admire
      And offer you the freedom of the town—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of loud cheering. O the sounds!
      The tumult and the shouting from the throats
Of forty thousand at the Polo Grounds
      Sitting, ay, standing sans their hats and coats.
      A mighty cheer that possibly denotes
That Cub or Pirate fat is in the fire;
      Or, as H. James would say, We’ve got their goats—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of a pennant. O the hope,
      The tenuous hope, the hope that’s half a fear,
The lengthy season and the boundless dope,
      And the bromidic; “Wait until next year.”
      O dread disgrace of trailing in the rear,
O Piece of Bunting, flying high and higher
      That next October it shall flutter here:
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

ENVOY

Ah, Fans, let not the Quarry but the Chase
      Be that to which most fondly we aspire!
For us not Stake, but Game; not Goal, but Race—
      THIS is the end of every fan’s desire.


- Franklin Pierce Adams

28 April 2013

Rituals.


Mason Currey has made a website and a book from researching the routines and rituals of successful writers, politicians, philosophers and scientists.

Beth Orton, "Call Me The Breeze"

Awakened.


The mind can go in a thousand directions.


But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.


With each step, a gentle wind blows.


With each step, a flower blooms.


The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.  

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Thanks, Jess.

Face.

Magritte, The Human Condition, 1933



We have to face an image, giving up entirely the need to explain and interpret it.

CONNECT

26 April 2013

George Jones, R.I.P.

George Jones, September 12, 1931 - April 26, 2013

"He Stopped Loving Her Today"

Noticing.

Frazier, Untitled, 2013


I’m alive. Thinking about it, noticing it, is new. You do things and don’t watch. Then all of a sudden you look and see what you’re doing and it’s the first time, really.

- Ray Bradbury

Thanks, Pops!

R.E.M., "King of Birds"

25 April 2013

Mullova.

Viktoria Mullova performs in a recital from November 4, 1989 ...

Application.


You do something all day long, don’t you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most men, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.

- Thomas Edison

Spirit.

 O'Keeffe, Blue, Black, and White Abstraction #12, 1959


That which they call abstract is the most realistic, because what is real is not the exterior but the idea, the essence of things. 

When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water... If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit.

- Constantin Brancusi

Immeasureable.


If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Excited.

Shuter, William Wordsworth, 1798


The human mind is capable of being excited without the application of gross and violent stimulants; and he must have a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity who does not know this, and who does not further know, that one being is elevated above another, in proportion as he possesses this capability. It has therefore appeared to me, that to endeavour to produce or enlarge this capability is one of the best services in which, at any period, a Writer can be engaged; but this service, excellent at all times, is especially so at the present day. For a multitude of causes, unknown to former times, are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and, unfitting it for all voluntary exertion, to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor. The most effective of these causes are the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies. To this tendency of life and manners the literature and theatrical exhibitions of the country have conformed themselves.

- William Wordsworth

Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, "Down To The Sea"

R.E.M., "Find The River"

Looking.

Zoë Firchau, Untitled, 2012


Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach.  But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away.  The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
comes.

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.


- Mary Oliver

Elusive.


A guide to some of America's most elusive hamburgers.

CONNECT

24 April 2013

R.E.M., "Life & How To Live It"

(Not).

Ray Bradbury on (not) growing up ...

How.


Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, "May I have permission to go into battle with you?" Fear said, "Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission." Then the young warrior said, "How can I defeat you?" Fear replied, "My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power." In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

- Pema Chödrön

New.


You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate"you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. Theonly real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdrawsitself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points thatcome and go so that the vision is forever new.

- Alan Watts

Powerful.

Karr, Untitled, 2013


A good window, open to a good view, is a powerful anchor to a place.

wanderations.

Rise.

22 April 2013

Wanderer.

Legendary Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant has announced the first North American tour dates for his new project, Robert Plant presents the Sensational Space Shifters. 

A press release for the project promises a veritable cornucopia of musical styles all in one place. Ever the restless musical wanderer, Plant has pulled together influences from Chicago blues and Greenwich Village folk, to the world music of West Africa and Morocco, to Texas two-step and Bristol dubstep.

CONNECT



Fly.


The world is a crystal sphere,
Man goes missing if you do not fly
Transparency can not understand

- Pablo Neruda

Wander.

Curiosity.

R.E.M., "Letter Never Sent"

Hash.

A crispy hash made from smoked salmon, bacon and wild garlic ..



Method.


How to train the mind in the method by which all ideas are produced ...

CONNECT.

21 April 2013

Great.


A great day.


This evening Drew pointed out that every time we've seen Joey Votto live, he's gone yard ... or as they say on Baseball Tonight, "Yardo for Votto" ... or as Zoë says, "YardoVotto da Vinci."

Chocolate ice cream ... DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR!

A really great day.

Thanks, Drew.

Sounds.

Simplest.

Stand.



Some stories stand the test of time: Shakespeare's plays, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, and the Child ballads.

If you're unfamiliar with them, they're not for children. They're Scottish and English folk songs from the 17th and 18th centuries and earlier. They're named after Francis James Child, the Harvard professor and folklorist who collected them.

Through the centuries, the Child ballads have been passed down and tweaked to fit the times. More recently, they've been adapted by the folk revivalists of the 1950s, folk rockers of the '60s and '70s, and now picked up by a duo of young songwriters.

CONNECT.

Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer, "Tam Lin”

Truly.


Ralph Waldo Emerson's oration delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge, August 31, 1837 ...


The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances. He plies the slow, unhonored, and unpaid task of observation. Flamsteed and Herschel, in their glazed observatories, may catalogue the stars with the praise of all men, and, the results being splendid and useful, honor is sure. But he, in his private observatory, cataloguing obscure and nebulous stars of the human mind, which as yet no man has thought of as such, — watching days and months, sometimes, for a few facts; correcting still his old records; — must relinquish display and immediate fame. In the long period of his preparation, he must betray often an ignorance and shiftlessness in popular arts, incurring the disdain of the able who shoulder him aside. Long he must stammer in his speech; often forego the living for the dead. Worse yet, he must accept, — how often! poverty and solitude. For the ease and pleasure of treading the old road, accepting the fashions, the education, the religion of society, he takes the cross of making his own, and, of course, the self-accusation, the faint heart, the frequent uncertainty and loss of time, which are the nettles and tangling vines in the way of the self-relying and self-directed; and the state of virtual hostility in which he seems to stand to society, and especially to educated society. For all this loss and scorn, what offset? He is to find consolation in exercising the highest functions of human nature. He is one, who raises himself from private considerations, and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. He is the world's eye. He is the world's heart. He is to resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades ever to barbarism, by preserving and communicating heroic sentiments, noble biographies, melodious verse, and the conclusions of history. Whatsoever oracles the human heart, in all emergencies, in all solemn hours, has uttered as its commentary on the world of actions, — these he shall receive and impart. And whatsoever new verdict Reason from her inviolable seat pronounces on the passing men and events of to-day, — this he shall hear and promulgate.

These being his functions, it becomes him to feel all confidence in himself, and to defer never to the popular cry. He and he only knows the world. The world of any moment is the merest appearance. Some great decorum, some fetish of a government, some ephemeral trade, or war, or man, is cried up by half mankind and cried down by the other half, as if all depended on this particular up or down. The odds are that the whole question is not worth the poorest thought which the scholar has lost in listening to the controversy. Let him not quit his belief that a popgun is a popgun, though the ancient and honorable of the earth affirm it to be the crack of doom. In silence, in steadiness, in severe abstraction, let him hold by himself; add observation to observation, patient of neglect, patient of reproach; and bide his own time, — happy enough, if he can satisfy himself alone, that this day he has seen something truly. Success treads on every right step. For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks. He then learns, that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds. He learns that he who has mastered any law in his private thoughts, is master to that extent of all men whose language he speaks, and of all into whose language his own can be translated. The poet, in utter solitude remembering his spontaneous thoughts and recording them, is found to have recorded that, which men in crowded cities find true for them also. The orator distrusts at first the fitness of his frank confessions, — his want of knowledge of the persons he addresses, — until he finds that he is the complement of his hearers; — that they drink his words because he fulfils for them their own nature; the deeper he dives into his privatest, secretest presentiment, to his wonder he finds, this is the most acceptable, most public, and universally true. The people delight in it; the better part of every man feels, This is my music; this is myself.

CONNECT.

Cultivate.


Cultivate the poet. The poet is the unacknowledged legislator of this universe and the sooner we knock under to that the better. 

CONNECT.

20 April 2013

Greasy.


The Ballad of Martha White

I'm southern born and corn bred
My folks are just the same
I got my southern heritage
I got my papaw's name
I fell in love with a little girl when I was six years old
She had the name of Martha White and she had her own radio show

You see, Martha had a brand of flour, for biscuits, cakes and pies
She had Shirley Temple golden curly hair and southern, baby blue eyes
And on Saturday nights with my guitar, I'd sit and play along
I knew every word and every note to that Martha White hour theme song

Well my folks took a vacation down to Nashville, Tennessee
Bought me a Goo Goo Cluster and a front row seat to the Grand Ol' Opry
And there before my childish eyes was that high and lonesome sound
But nowhere on that Opry stage was Martha to be found
Well I finally found my Martha out in the Opry stars' parking lot
She was cooling off them up and coming boys
You see they were Billboard hot and they were drinking something out of a brown paper bag
I knew I'd lost my Martha the only love I'd ever had

Oh, they're all better looking than the ones who went before
Same old hat, same old voice
Can they give us nothing more?
They're all smiling for the cameras, walking softly, talking loud
Martha, she still makes those biscuits greasy, fluffy and proud
You got your French croissant and all that Italian pastry-chef voodoo
You just pop one of them suckers in your mouth, slivate and chew
But what you won't find on the shelves of the finer kitchens of the world
Is the face of our self-promoting, self-perpetuating, self-rising flour girl

You only get it in the southland
That's where demographics best
It's the brand that Mom and Daddy bought 

They won't give the girl a rest
And it's the same as it ever was from fifty years ago
She ain't mortal like you and me
Martha White will never grow old

They're all better looking than the ones who went before
Same old hat, same old voice
Can they give us nothing more?
They're all smiling for the cameras, walking softly, talking loud
Martha, she still makes those biscuits greasy, fluffy and proud
For the finest biscuits ever was get Martha White self-rising flour
The one all purpose flour
Martha White self-rising flour with the hot rize plus


- Darrell Scott

Present.


Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.  You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.

- Thomas Merton

Todd Rundgren & Utopia, "Rock Love"

Personally.

Sssssssstones, "Midnight Rambler"

19 April 2013

Life.

Bohache, 3 Birds, Undated


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


Matthew 6:25-26


CONNECT.