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 June 2013

Absorb.


It occurred to me some years ago that a poet or a writer, wherever he is, should know it biologically, botanically, historically, geographically. On my aimless aim of non-directional driving all over the United States, which I did for years to refresh myself, part of the fun was to research or really look into different places. I wrote a couple of novels based in Nebraska, for instance. It was really quite overwhelming to learn that area, where the last of the great conflicts between cultures, us and the Native American, took place, sort of ending with Wounded Knee. But understanding where you are, it’s a little more difficult now for many poets because so much of poetry I would have to say has become somewhat suburban. I’ve never cared for the suburbs. I like the country and I like the city. The in-between, it kicks your ass. But once you really look into a place, in my case it was northern Michigan, or wherever I travel. If you go to Toledo, for instance, in Spain it’s much more interesting if you know a lot about the history. If you’re in Seville walking the Guadalquivir River that’s exactly where Garcia Lorca walked a hundred years before. That adds resonance. Or if you’re in Paris, you think of Rilke walking in the Luxembourg Gardens. We absorb each other that way.

- Jim Harrison

CONNECT

Storied.


The Pine Creek Fire devastated parts of the small community of Pine Creek while leaving others unscathed, and at Pine Creek Lodge, the storied Cabin Number Two was the only real structural casualty of the blaze. Cabin Number Two will now join Cabin Number One, taken out by a wayward driver a few years ago, in the annals of Paradise Valley history, and now both old favorites will live on in story and memory only. The demise of the cabin stirred up old memories for one Paradise Valley notable.

CONNECT

Blackberry Smoke.

Don't be dumb, ... getchasum.

Commitment.

Tissandier, Lunar halo and luminescent cross observed during the balloon Zénith's long distance flight from Paris to Arcachon, 1875


In life, many thoughts are born in the course of a moment, an hour, a day. Some are dreams, some visions. Often, we are unable to distinguish between them. To some, they are the same; however, not all dreams are visions. Much energy is lost in fanciful dreams that never bear fruit. But visions are messages from the Great Spirit, each for a different purpose in life. Consequently, one person's vision may not be that of another. To have a vision, one must be prepared to receive it, and when it comes, to accept it. Thus when these inner urges become reality, only then can visions be fulfilled. The spiritual side of life knows everyone's heart and who to trust. How could vision ever be given to someone to harbor if that person could not be trusted to carry it out. The message is simple: commitment precedes vision.

- High Eagle

Important.


Useless but Important Information.

29 June 2013

Debussy, Preludes

Sviatoslav Richter, piano.

Pour a large glass, fling open the windows, and smell the rain ...

Ever-fixed.

Klinger, New Dreams of Happiness, 1887


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

- William Shakespeare

Deviation.


Thanks, Alan.

Happy birthday, Hay.

Colin Hay was born on this date in 1953.

"Norwegian Wood"



"Beautiful World"



What a poet ...


"Waiting for My Real Life to Begin"

Happy birthday, Mutter.

Anne-Sophie Mutter was born on this date in 1963.

Brahms Violin Sonata No.2, Op.100

Allegro amibale



Andante tranquillo - Vivace 



Allegretto grazioso (quasi Andante)

Billie Holiday, "What a Little Moonlight Can Do"

Happy birthday, Saint-Exupéry.


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born on this date in 1900.

For love is greater than any wind of words. And man, leaning at his window under the stars, is once again responsible for the bread of the day to come, for the slumber of the wife who lies by his side, all fragile and delicate and contingent. Love is not thinking, but being. As I sat facing Alias I longed for night, when my thoughts would be of civilization, of the destiny of man, of the savor of friendship in my native land. For night, so that I might yearn to serve some overwhelming purpose which at this moment I cannot define. For night, so that I might perhaps advance a step towards fixing my unmanageable language. I longed for the night as the poet might do, the true poet who feels himself inhabited by a thing obscure but powerful, and who strives to erect images like ramparts round that thing in order to capture it. To capture it in a snare of images.  Something in one's heart takes fright, not at the thought of growing old, not at feeling one's youth used up in this mineral universe, but at the thought that far away the whole world is ageing. The trees have brought forth their fruit; the grain has ripened in the fields; the women have bloomed in their loveliness. But the season is advancing and one must make haste; but the season is advancing and still one cannot leave; but the season is advancing...and other men will glean the harvest.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince



There is an interesting operatic version ... here.

28 June 2013

Conception.


My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance. There is no difference whatever, the results are the same. In this way I am able to rapidly develop and perfect a conception without touching anything. When I have gone so far as to embody in the invention every possible improvement I can think of and see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form this final product of my brain. Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it. In twenty years there has not been a single exception. Why should it be otherwise? Engineering, electrical and mechanical, is positive in results. There is scarcely a subject that cannot be mathematically treated and the effects calculated or the results determined beforehand from the available theoretical and practical data. The carrying out into practise of a crude idea as is being generally done is, I hold, nothing but a waste of energy, money and time.

- Nikola Tesla

CONNECT

David Gilmour, "Castellorizon/On an Island"

Touching.

Gerbault, Les éreintés de la vie, 1888


It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

- Ray Bradbury

Preserved.


"Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?" Mo had said ... "As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells ... and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower ... both strange and familiar."

- Cornelia Funke


CONNECT

Tribute.


... a scientist's tribute.

CONNECT

Herbarium.


These are pages from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium, or homemade book of pressed plant specimens. Assembled when Dickinson was a 14-year-old student at Amherst Academy, the book holds 65 pages of plants—400 total.


Question.


In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.

-Bertrand Russell

Happy birthday, Rubens.

Rubens, Study of the Head of a Youth Looking Up, 1616


Peter Paul Rubens was born on this date in 1577.

27 June 2013

Peter Rowan, "Keepin' It Between the Lines"

Nice suit!

New.


If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.

- Henry Miller

Heat.


MVP pitcher Justin Verlander is known for consistently throwing heat for the Detroit Tigers. In a study published this week, scientists learn how professional pitchers can throw with such high velocity and what this skill meant in our evolution. 

Chris Van Allsburg.

Van Allsburg talks about the making of all of his books for children, including Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as how he encountered the drawings of the mysterious author and illustrator Harris Burdick.

Conscience.

Stuart, George Washington, 1797


Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

26 June 2013

Mozart, Symphony No. 40 in G minor, (K. 550)

Nicolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe ...

Pleasure.


O solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature's observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavillion'd, where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.


- John Keats

Robert Plant, "Spoonful"

With the Sensational Space Shifters ...

Notice.

Mozart, Requiem, "Dies Irae," 1791


If individuals can have an "aha" around whether they are actually listening or just hearing and begin to notice detail in music, it tends to become a self-fulfilling, self-rewarding activity.

CONNECT

Lila Downs, "Agua de Rosas"

Yes.


By the side of the everlasting Why there is a Yes -- a transitory Yes if you like, but a Yes.

- E. M. Forster

Refresh.

Fantaccini, Imaginary Landscape, 1738

Inscription for a Fountain on a Heath

This Sycamore, oft musical with bees,—
Such tents the Patriarchs loved! O long unharmed
May all its agèd boughs o'er-canopy
The small round basin, which this jutting stone
Keeps pure from falling leaves! Long may the Spring,
Quietly as a sleeping infant's breath,
Send up cold waters to the traveller
With soft and even pulse! Nor ever cease
Yon tiny cone of sand its soundless dance,
Which at the bottom, like a Fairy's Page,
As merry and no taller, dances still,
Nor wrinkles the smooth surface of the Fount.
Here Twilight is and Coolness: here is moss,
A soft seat, and a deep and ample shade.
Thou may'st toil far and find no second tree.
Drink, Pilgrim, here; Here rest! and if thy heart
Be innocent, here too shalt thou refresh
Thy spirit, listening to some gentle sound,
Or passing gale or hum of murmuring bees!

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Mercilessly.

de Witte, Interior of a Church, 1680


Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

- Franz Kafka

25 June 2013

Darrell Scott, "Satisfied Mind"

Gerhard Richter.

Mystery.

Loughridge, Sky Field Green, Undated


In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.

- Cormac McCarthy

Faraway.

Loengard, Georgia O'Keeffe sitting with her rock collection, New Mexico, 1966


... a beautiful, untouched lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call "The Faraway."

Love the roof shadows.

Thanks, Zuzu.

Baseball.

Illenye, Baseball, 2008


Because visions of bases-loaded overthrows have been dancing in my head ...

It looks easy from a distance,
easy and lazy, even,
until you stand up to the plate
and see the fastball sailing inside,
an inch from your chin,
or circle in the outfield
straining to get a bead
on a small black dot
a city block or more high,
a dark star that could fall
on your head like a leaden meteor.

The grass, the dirt, the deadly hops
between your feet and overeager glove:
football can be learned,
and basketball finessed, but
there is no hiding from baseball
the fact that some are chosen
and some are not—those whose mitts
feel too left-handed,
who are scared at third base
of the pulled line drive,
and at first base are scared
of the shortstop's wild throw
that stretches you out like a gutted deer.

There is nowhere to hide when the ball's
spotlight swivels your way,
and the chatter around you falls still,
and the mothers on the sidelines,
your own among them, hold their breaths,
and you whiff on a terrible pitch
or in the infield achieve
something with the ball so
ridiculous you blush for years.
It's easy to do. Baseball was
invented in America, where beneath
the good cheer and sly jazz the chance
of failure is everybody's right,
beginning with baseball.


- John Updike

24 June 2013

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Swingin'"

Well, she was standing by the highway
In her boots and silver spurs
Gonna hitchhike to the yellow moon
When a Cadillac stopped for her
And she said, "Hey, nice to meet you ... are you goin' my way?"
Yeah, that's when it happened
The world caught fire that day




... like Glenn Miller.

Dexter Gordon, "The Shadow of Your Smile"

Pencil.


Conte's original process for manufacturing pencils involved roasting a mixture of water, clay and graphite in a kiln at 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit before encasing the resulting soft solid in a wooden surround. The shape of that surround can be square, polygonal or round, depending on the pencil’s intended use — carpenters don’t want round pencils that are going to roll off the workbench. The hardness or softness of the final pencil ‘lead’ can be determined by adjusting the relative fractions of clay and graphite in the roasting mixture. Commercial pencil manufacturers typically market 20 grades of pencil, from the softest, 9B, to the hardest 9H, with the most popular intermediate value, HB, lying midway between H and B. ‘H’ means hard and ‘B’ means black. The higher the B number, the more graphite gets left on the paper. There is also an ‘F’, or Fine point, which is a hard pencil for writing rather than drawing.

Respighi, Adagio with Variations for Cello & Orchestra

Misha Maisky performs ... 

Hidden.


Nestled on the southern shore of Lake Superior in a remote part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the park remains hidden from all but the most curious.

CONNECT

Flipped.

Victor Martinez got his glove onto a sharp ground ball off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury, then flipped to Smyly for an out at first. However, that description doesn't do the play justice. This does ...


Forgetfulness.


There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

- Jack London

Endless.


... on one endless summer night.

Perfect. Thanks, Kurt.

23 June 2013

Puccini, La Rondine

Kiri Te Kanawa performs the aria "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" ...



Folle ebbrezza!

Effortless.

Chardin, Soap Bubbles, 1734


His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.

- Ernest Hemingway

Stradivarius.


“There’s no such thing as a typical Stradivarius,” Whiteley explains. “They’re all slightly different. Even in old age he was trying to push the boundaries to create the perfect balance between carrying power and expressiveness."

CONNECT

Bach, Partita No.4 in D Major, BWV 828

Glenn Gould performs ... 

Los Lobos, "Angel Dance"

22 June 2013

Happy birthday, Kristofferson.

Kris Kristofferson was born on this date in 1936.

Forget about Nashville, forget about "country" music, or any kind of music ... Kristofferson is a poet.

Feeling Mortal

Wide awake and feeling mortal
At this moment in the dream
That old man there in the mirror
And my shaky self-esteem

Here today and gone tomorrow
That’s the way it’s got to be
With an empty blue horizon
For as far as I can see

God Almighty here I am
Am I where I ought to be
I’ve begun to soon descend
Like the sun into the sea
And I thank my lucky stars
From here to eternity
For the artist that you are
And the man you made of me

Pretty speeches still unspoken
Perfect circles in the sand
Rules and promises I’ve broken
That I still don’t understand

Soon or later I’ll be leaving
I’m a winner either way
For the laughter and the loving
That I’m living with today

Wide awake and feeling mortal

- Kris Kristofferson

JuJu.

Vastness.

Rothko, Blue, Green, and Brown, 1951


Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice. To love someone is to put yourself in their place, we say, which is to put yourself in their story, or figure out how to tell yourself their story. 

- Rebecca Solnit

CONNECT

Supermoon.


Full moon falls on June 23, 2013 at 11:32 UTC (6:32 a.m. CDT in the U.S.). Thus, for many, the moon appears about as full in the June 22 evening sky as it does on the evening of June 23. This full moon is not only the closest and largest full moon of the year. It also presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013. The moon will not be so close again until August, 2014. In other words, it’s not just a supermoon. It’s the closest supermoon of 2013.

Onofri.

Enrico Onofri performs with the Cipango Consort ...

Corelli - Sonata per violino e violone o cembalo Op. 5 (I love this one)
Geminiani - Concerto No. 1
Vivaldi - Concerto for violin, strings & b.c. in G minor
J.S.Bach: Concerto per due violini, archi e basso continuo BWV1043


Improves.


In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.

- Rumi

21 June 2013

Chickenfoot, "Bad Motor Scooter"

Natural.


Many geographical names are clearly rooted in Man’s observation of his natural environment ...

Slow.


The secret behind many of the greatest dishes is patience and pacing. When you cook something slowly, at lower heat for a longer time, the flavors and textures can yield culinary masterpieces. The process of our own creations isn’t much different. Typically we’re searching for an answer with a deadline in mind. We’re generating an idea on a timeline in response to a creative brief, we’re trying to launch a new product or feature by a certain date to meet business goals and/or customer expectations. We’ve got bills to pay and time is money.

Rarely do we get the chance to create something over the arc of life itself, without a deadline looming. Often, it’s only our personal projects that enjoy the benefits of slow cooking, usually by necessity not choice. While these projects tend to be neglected, when (and if) they actually do come to fruition they are extraordinary.

CONNECT

Prepare.


In a place where the object is to quiet the mind and block out everything but the pitcher, Cabrera sees everything, including the manager in the opposing dugout at Comerica Park.

“I know he is looking in the dugout trying to see if I’m giving signs (on how to pitch him),” said Gardenhire, who has faced Cabrera 15-18 times a season for the last five years. “He is staring at me.”

The first time Cabrera did this, Gardenhire was stunned.

“Is he looking at me?” he wondered. “I’m like, you are not supposed to be doing that.”

Not because it’s poor gamesmanship, but because hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing in sports, and most batters need to focus on the pitcher, not the opposing manager.

“But he pays attention (to everything),” Gardenhire said. “He hears us yelling from the dugout. I tell my guys, ‘Be careful here, he is looking at us, trying to figure out what we are trying to do.’ ”

When asked why he does this, Cabrera admitted he was just searching for an edge. He didn’t start trying to decode opposing managers until a few seasons ago. As a right-handed hitter at Comerica, he can take a step out of the box between pitches and shoot a glance at the visitor’s dugout. He does this at other parks, too, wherever the opponent’s dugout is to his right.

“It helps me a little bit to prepare,” he said.

Transcend.

Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa (detail), 1819


I never can be argued into hopelessness. Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend.

- Helen Keller

CONNECT

Kid Rock, "Born Free"

Shot in the Pictured Rocks area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula ...

Sapphire.


The Opal Sea

An inland sea – blue as a sapphire – set
   Within a sparkling, emerald mountain chain
   Where day and night fir-needles sift like rain
Thro’ the voluptuous air. The soft winds fret
The waves, and beat them wantonly to foam.
   The golden distances across the sea
   Are shot with rose and purple. Languorously
The silver seabirds in wide circles roam.
The sun drops slowly down the flaming West
   And flings its rays across to set aglow
   The islands rocking on the cool waves’ crest
And the great glistening domes of snow on snow.
   And thro’ the mist the Olympics flash and float
   Like opals linked around a beating throat.


- Ella Higginson

CONNECT