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

12 July 2020


An excellent album ...

"Rawhide" ...


Poetry is not a fancy way of giving you information; it’s an incantation. It is actually a magic spell. It changes things; it changes you.

Philip Pullman


Every now and then it happens that ships are so light that they begin to sail through the clouds.

An account of the work of Luigi Prina ...

Happy Birthday, Neruda

Pablo Neruda was born on this date in 1904.

Our original guiding stars are struggle and hope. But there is no such thing as a lone struggle, no such thing as a lone hope. In every human being are combined the most distant epochs, passivity, mistakes, sufferings, the pressing urgencies of our own time, the pace of history. But what would have become of me if, for example, I had contributed in some way to the maintenance of the feudal past of the great American continent? How should I then have been able to raise my brow, illuminated by the honour which Sweden has conferred on me, if I had not been able to feel some pride in having taken part, even to a small extent, in the change which has now come over my country? It is necessary to look at the map of America, to place oneself before its splendid multiplicity, before the cosmic generosity of the wide places which surround us, in order to understand why many writers refuse to share the dishonour and plundering of the past, of all that which dark gods have taken away from the American peoples.

I chose the difficult way of divided responsibility and, rather than to repeat the worship of the individual as the sun and centre of the system, I have preferred to offer my services in all modesty to an honourable army which may from time to time commit mistakes but which moves forward unceasingly and struggles every day against the anachronism of the refractory and the impatience of the opinionated. For I believe that my duties as a poet involve friendship not only with the rose and with symmetry, with exalted love and endless longing, but also with unrelenting human occupations which I have incorporated into my poetry.

It is today exactly one hundred years since an unhappy and brilliant poet, the most awesome of all despairing souls, wrote down this prophecy: “A l’aurore, armés d’une ardente patience, nous entrerons aux splendides Villes.” “In the dawn, armed with a burning patience, we shall enter the splendid Cities.”

I believe in this prophecy of Rimbaud, the Visionary. I come from a dark region, from a land separated from all others by the steep contours of its geography. I was the most forlorn of poets and my poetry was provincial, oppressed and rainy. But always I had put my trust in man. I never lost hope. It is perhaps because of this that I have reached as far as I now have with my poetry and also with my banner.

Pablo Neruda, from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech


Bach, Sonata for Viola da Gamba in D major, BWV 1028

Mieneke van der Velden performs with Benjamin Alard accompanying on the clanger ...


Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? 

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. 

It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. 

Henry David Thoreau, from Civil Disobedience


Firing Line's Margaret Hoover hosts Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Robert George, the “ideological odd couple,” as they discuss the importance of civil discourse in this era of polarization.


Happy Birthday, Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani was born on this date in 1884.

What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.  I want to be a tuneswept fiddle string that feels the master melody, and snaps. 

Amedeo Modigliani

Modigliani, Portrait of Lunia Czechowska, 1919

Happy Birthday, Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was born on this date in 1817.

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right ...

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?

Henry David Thoreau, from Civil Disobedience and Other Essays


On this date in 1862, Congress authorized the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is HERE.


Stars and Stripes on The Donald's trip to Walter Reed ...

The president was a latecomer to wearing a mask during the pandemic, which has raged across the U.S. since March and infected more than 3.2 million and killed at least 134,000. Most prominent Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, endorsed wearing masks as the coronavirus gained ground this summer.

Trump, however, has declined to wear a mask at news conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events. People close to him have told The Associated Press that the president feared a mask would make him look weak and was concerned that it shifted focus to the public health crisis rather than the economic recovery. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private matters.


I'd hide my face, too.

A mask would make him "look" weak ... he should've crawled through those halls.

11 July 2020

Men at Work, "Down by the Sea"

Robert Plant, "Down to the Sea"

Robert Plant, "Standing in the Light"

Happy Birthday, Murphy

Peter Murphy was born on this date in

Bauhaus, "Spy in the Cab" at The Haçienda in 1982 ...

Joe Strummer, "Burning Lights"


Locatelli, l'Arte del Violino. Op.3

The Finnish Baroque Orchestra, lead by Irma Niskanen, performs the Concerto No.12 in D major, "The Musical Labyrinth" ...


Done and done.

Glennie-Smith, "Mansions of the Lord"

The West Point Band and West Point Glee Club perform, directed by Constance Chase ...



An excellent album ...



The wild up here is not creatures, wooded,
tangled wild. It is absence wild.
Barren, empty, stone wild. Worn-away wild.
Only the smell of weeds and hot air.
But a place where differences are clear.
Between the mind’s severity and its harshness.
Between honesty and the failure of belief.
A man said no person is educated who knows
only one language, for he cannot distinguish
between his thought and the English version.
Up here he is translated to a place where it is
possible to discriminate between age and sorrow.

Jack Gilbert

Mount  Cameron, Colorado.

Debussy, Syrinx, L. 129

Mariagaia Di Tommaso performs ...


An excellent book ...

C-SPAN features J.L. Bell's talk about his book, The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War, and events dating back to September 1774, including the Patriot plot to steal four British cannons and the British plan to get them back.

Bell's blog, Boston 1773, is HERE.

Happy Birthday, White

E.B. White was born on this date in 1899.

In March of 1973, a Mr. Nadeau sent a letter to E. B. White, the author of greats such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, expressing his bleak hope for humanity.

White’s beautiful reply, found in Letters of Note, attempts to raise the man’s spirits.
North Brooklin, Maine,
30 March 1973
Dear Mr. Nadeau:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out. 
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day. 
E. B. White
Thank you, Farnam Street

10 July 2020

The Police, "Shadows in the Rain"

We're just dancing in the rain.


John Doe & The Sadies, "Stop the World and Let Me Off"

Hayes Carll, "Times Like These"

I just wanna do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor
While I'm keeping all my joie de vivre
But it's sure getting hard, brother, in times like these

It. Was. Just. Three (3). 4 x 4s.

Robert Plant, "Calling to You"


Nice try, Friday.

Dale Watson, "I Lie When I Drink"



Don Pawlak, steel ...


Rembrandt, Old Man, 1652

Winston stopped reading, chiefly in order to appreciate the fact that he was reading, in comfort and safety. He was alone: no telescreen, no ear at the keyhole, no nervous impulse to glance over his shoulder or cover the page with his hand. The sweet summer air played against his cheek. From somewhere far away there floated the faint shouts of children: in the room itself there was no sound except the insect voice of the clock. He settled deeper into the arm-chair and put his feet up on the fender. It was bliss, it was eternity.

George Orwell, from 1984

Andy Summers & Robert Fripp, "I Advance Masked"


Happy Birthday, Fleck

Béla Fleck was born on this date in 1958.

"Big Country" ...

An excellent album ...

Happy Birthday, Proust

Marcel Proust was born on this date in 1871.

We are at times too ready to believe that the present is the only possible state of things. The great quality of true art is that it rediscovers, grasps and reveals to us that reality far from where we live, from which we get farther and farther away as the conventional knowledge we substitute for it becomes thicker and more impermeable.  The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

Happy Birthday, Tesla

Nikolai Tesla was born on this date in 1856.

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 practice of a crude idea as is being generally done is, I hold, nothing but a waste of energy, money and time.

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.

Nikola Tesla

Tesla: Master of Lightning ...

Happy Birthday, Pissarro

Camille Pissaro was born on this date in 1830.

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.

Camille Pissarro

Setting Sun and Fog, Eragny, 1891


Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

Winston Churchill, speech delivered 18 June 1040


On this date in 1940, the 114-day Battle of Britain began as Nazi forces began attacking southern England by air.

Here inscribed the names of friends we knew,
Young men with whom we often flew.
Scrambled to many angels high, 
They knew that they or friends might die. 
Many were very scarcely trained, 
And many badly burnt or maimed. 
Behind each name a story lies 
Of bravery in summer skies; 
Though many brave unwritten tales 
Were simply told in vapour trails. 
Many now lie in sacred graves 
And many rest beneath the waves. 
Outnumbered every day they flew, 
Remembered here as just "The Few".

Fl Lt William Walker

"The Battle of Britain," from the United States War Department's documentary film series, Why We Fight ...

The RAF's Battle of Britain site is HERE.

09 July 2020


The Style Council, "Walking the Night"


The wicked can have only accomplices, the voluptuous have companions in debauchery, self-seekers have associates, the politic assemble the factions, the typical idler has connections, princes have courtiers. Only the virtuous have friends.


The Specials, "Too Hot"

Michael Stanley Band, "In Between the Lines"

Dance moves.


National Review on "the woke but godless, the arrogant but ignorant, the violent but physically unimpressive, the degreed but poorly educated, the broke but acquisitive, the ambitious but stalled" ...

On one hand, those toppling statues or canceling their own careers on the Internet pose as vicious Maoists — the hard-core shock troops of the revolution. Their brand is vile profanity, taunts to police, firebombs, and spray paint.

In homage to Italy’s Blackshirts of the past, they wear black hoodies, don makeshift helmets, and strap on ad hoc protective padding — part lacrosse attire, part cinematic Road Warrior costume.

The televised stereotype of the Antifa activist is a physically unimpressive but violent-talking revolutionary. He seems to strut in laid-back, blue-city Minneapolis but wisely avoids the suburbs and small towns of the nation’s red states. He spits at police when standing beside fellow agitators but would never do that when alone confronting an autoworker or welder.

When police march against the Antifa crowd and their appendages in order to clear the streets, they often scream like preteens, objecting to mean officers who dare to cross them.


Toto, "Rockmaker'

Chicken nachos and Coors Light.  Repeat as needed ...

Happy Birthday, Scott

Bon Scott was born on this date in 1946.

"Bad Boy Boogie" ...

Robert Plant, "Nirvana"



Let me go where'er I will,
I bear a sky-born music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that's fair, from all that's foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.
It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.
'T is not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast's mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Kinks, "Around the Dial" ...

Nice try, Thursday.

The Kinks, "Do It Again"


To invoke an analogy, consider a movie: it consists of thousands upon thousands of individual pictures, and each of them makes sense and carries a meaning, yet the meaning of the whole film cannot be seen before its last sequence is shown. However, we cannot understand the whole film without having first understood each of its components, each of the individual pictures. Isn’t it the same with life? Doesn’t the final meaning of life, too reveal itself, if at all, only at its end, on the verge of death? And doesn’t this final meaning, too, depend on whether or not the potential meaning of each single situation has been actualized to the best of their respective individual’s knowledge and belief?

Victor Frankl

The Jam, "Going Underground"


Evolution is a blind giant who rolls a snowball down a hill. The ball is made of flakes—circumstances. They contribute to the mass without knowing it. They adhere without intention, and without foreseeing what is to result. When they see the result they marvel at the monster ball and wonder how the contriving of it came to be originally thought out and planned. Whereas there was no such planning, there was only a law: the ball once started, all the circumstances that happened to lie in its path would help to build it, in spite of themselves.

Mark Twain

INXS, "Johnson's Aeroplane"


So how do you go about teaching them something new? By mixing what they know with what they don’t know. Then, when they see vaguely in their fog something they recognize, they think, ‘Ah, I know that.’ And then it’s just one more step to, ‘Ah, I know the whole thing.’ And their mind thrusts forward into the unknown and they begin to recognize what they didn’t know before and they increase their powers of understanding.

We mustn't be afraid of inventing anything.  Everything there is in us exists in nature. After all, we're part of nature. If it resembles nature, that's fine. If it doesn't, what of it? When man wanted to invent something as useful as the human foot, he invented the wheel, which he used to transport himself and his burdens. The fact that the wheel doesn't have the slightest resemblance to the human foot is hardly a criticism of it.

Francoise Gilot

The Style Council, "Move On Up"

Echo & The Bunnymen, "Silver"


Remember your name. Do not lose hope ---what you seek will be found.

Neil Gaiman

Thank you, Johanna.


An excellent album ...

Happy Birthday, Respighi

Ottorino Respighi was born on this date in 1879.

Lorin Maazel conducts Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in performing The Fountains of Rome filmed at the Great Baths at Emperor Adrian's villa in Tivoli ...


An excellent website ...


Dunlap, The Declaration of Independence, 1776

On this date in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to Gen. George Washington's troops in New York.

The Dunlap Broadsides are called that because they were printed by John Dunlap, a Philadelphia printer who eventually became the the official printer to Congress in 1778. Over the night of July 4/5, 1776, Dunlap printed possibly one of the most important documents of his career with these first editions of the Declaration of Independence. In doing so, he produced the first public and published version of the Declaration.

The exact number Dunlap printed is unknown, but is estimated to be around 200—enough to comply with Congress’s orders that the copies be distributed among the new states and troops, read aloud, and posted in public areas.

Congress kept its own copy, which was inserted into the Journal of the Continental Congress’s July 4 entry, and George Washington had his own personal copy as well. His troops heard the Declaration read aloud on July 9 in New York City. That evening the local Sons of Liberty chapter gathered to pull down and destroy an impressive bronze statue of King George III on the southern end of Broadway, in an iconic moment of the Revolution.


The Library of Congress allows a close examination HERE.

The incredible FONTS IN USE explains the issues involved in quickly printing and distributing the Declaration of Independence in 1776 ... HERE.

Weber, Concertino in E flat major, Op 26

Ellen Considine performs with Andrew Packard accompanying ...

08 July 2020


It's later on a Wednesday, the sun is going down
I'm standing naked by a swimming pool, there's no one around
My imagination wanders back, red dust is always there
We lay together in the jungle, and love was in the air

As I dive into the water, both time and motion freeze
I'm hanging there suspended like a feather in the breeze
Below is your reflection, like an image from the past
But I can't be sure if it's really you, 'cause you're wearing a tribal mask

Roger Glover, "The Mask"

Robert Plant, "Hurting Kind"

The Cars, "Bye, Bye Love"

Electric angel rock and roller
I hear what you're playin'


Copley, Dr. Joseph Warren, 1765

Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves. The faltering tongue of hoary age calls on you to support your country. The lisping infant raises its suppliant hands, imploring defence against the monster slavery. Your fathers look from their celestial seats with smiling approbation on their sons, who boldly stand forth in the cause of virtue; but sternly frown upon the inhuman miscreant, who, to secure the loaves and fishes to himself, would breed a serpent to destroy his children.

But, pardon me, my fellow citizens, I know you want not zeal or fortitude. You will maintain your rights or perish in the generous struggle. However, difficult the combat, you never will decline it when freedom is the prize.

Dr. Joseph Warren, from his speech given March 6, 1775


Jack Ingram, "Alright, Alright, Alright"

Happy Birthday, Eckstine

Billy Eckstine was born on this date in 1914.

"I Want to Talk About You" ...




Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.  The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel'd to heaven is no artist. 

William Blake

Happy Birthday, Jordan

Louis Jordan was born on this date in 1908.

"You Gotta have a Beat" ...

JORDAN FOR PRESIDENT ... his platform's HERE.


An excellent album ...