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 2020

Counsellors.

Shishkin, Woods in the Evening, 1869


Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
I would not change it.

William Shakespeare, from As You Like It, Act II, Scene I

Worth.


Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.

Ronald Reagan

Dizzy Gillespie, "Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee"

Necessary.

Copley, John Adams, 1783


As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good.

John Adams

Joe Strummer, "Global a Go-Go"

World service bulletin 
From the nightshift dj
To all wavebands on earth
Reconnoitre on the kilohertz

This tune is going out to Marconi
To all corners of the globe
There ain't no hut in the Serengeti
Where my wavelengths do not probe

The Replacements, "Bastards of Young"

Simpler.


Technocrats tell us we can’t go backward, we can’t refuse technology, because then we won’t progress. We are told that life is increasingly complex, that’s the way it is.  If this is all true, then we are doomed.

Going back to a simpler life based on living by sufficiency rather than excess is not a step backward; rather, returning to a simpler way allows us to regain our dignity, puts us in touch with the land, and makes us value human contact again.

Yvon Chouinard

Recipe.

RUSH, "Limelight"

29 June 2020

Happy Birthday, Saint-Exupéry


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

Nothing, in truth, can ever replace a lost companion. Old comrades cannot be manufactured. There is nothing that can equal the treasure of so many shared memories, so many bad times endured together, so many quarrels, reconciliations, heartfelt impulses. Friendships like that cannot be reconstructed. If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon under its shade.

For such is life. We grow rich as we plant through the early years, but then come the years when time undoes our work and cuts down our trees. One by one our comrades deprive us of their shade, and within our mourning we always feel now the secret grief of growing old.

If I search among my memories for those whose taste is lasting, if I write the balance sheet of the moments that truly counted, I surely find those that no fortune could have bought me. You cannot buy the friendship of a companion bound to you forever by ordeals endured together.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, from Wind, Sand and Stars

Ignore.


Decent people should ignore politics, if only they could be confident that politics would ignore them.

William F. Buckley Jr.

Happy Birthday, Hay


Colin Hay was born on this date in 1953.

"Down by the Sea" ...

Higher.


As a rule, indeed, grown-up people are fairly correct on matters of fact; it is in the higher gift of imagination that they are so sadly to seek. 

Kenneth Grahame

27 June 2020

Colter Wall, "Western Swing and Waltzes"

Turn 'is'n up ...

Billy Gibbons, "Missin' Yo Kissin'"

There ain't a better tune to begin a Saturday evening.

With former Guns n' Roses, Cult, and Velvet Revolver drummer, Matt Sorum ...

Colter Wall

"Thirteen Silver Dollars" ...


"Bob Fudge" ...


"You Look to Yours" ...

Kris Kristofferson, "El Coyote"

There's a part of his heart up in heaven
And a part that will always be wild
And all he can leave them is love and a reason
To run for the rest of their lives 
Lonesome coyotes survive

The Specials, "Madness"

No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.

Plato

Black Uhuru, "Brutal"

Puma.

The Specials, "Gangster"

Use.


The first thing you must learn, and which you can do on shore, are the points of the compass, to know them at sight and tell them quickly; for you see it’s of great importance to a pilot to know exactly how a ship’s head is; and the men at the helm, although good seamen and steering well, are not so ready at answering as a pilot wishes, and very often stammer at it — sometimes make mistakes. Now you see, when I’m piloting a vessel, if you stand at the binnacle, watch the compass, and answer me quickly how the ship’s head is, you’ll be of use to me in a very short time.

Frederick Marryat

Tulips.

Mackintosh, White Tulips, 1905

The Police, "The Bed's Too Big Without You"

Copeland.

Snow.

Friedrich, Winter Landscape, 1811


C'MON SNOW!

Parallels.


Nina Sankovitch reminds us that American Revolutionaries would be marching now ...

On February 22, 1770, Christopher Seider, an eleven-year old boy, was shot and killed on the streets of Boston by Ebenezer Richardson, a former informer for the Royal Customs Office. Richardson had come to the aid of a neighbor being harassed by a group of young boys for selling imported British goods. The boys chased Richardson back to his own house and from the attic windows, he shot down into the crowd, killing Seider.

John Adams attended the huge funeral which Sam Adams and his Sons of Liberty planned for Seider. Despite the snow, hail, thunder, and lightning that tormented the mourners that day, close to three thousand people turned out for the funeral, in part to lament the death of a child and in part to protest oppressive British programs in policing the Massachusetts colony, and particularly its largest town, Boston.

The funeral of Christopher Seider was not the first time the patriots of Boston turned out to protest British oppressions, nor would it be the last. Having studied the protest movements which led to the American Revolution, I see many parallels between what the rebels were fighting for then, and what the protesters who have taken to the streets following the murder of George Floyd are marching for today. The men and women who fanned the flames of the American Revolution — and who I write about in my book, American Rebels –would understand the motivations behind the protests going on now in their hometown of Quincy, their adopted town of Boston, and around the country and the world.

Although I’m not sure what the phrase “Black Lives Matter” would have meant to them, the core complaints which have driven Americans to the streets today are the same ones which drove the American rebels to the streets in the 1760s and ’70s. Brutality of occupying troops; restriction of liberties; failure to protect one’s safety in his or her own home and community; militarization of police forces; lack of accountability of the policing forces: these are all reasons why we march now, and why the American rebels made the difficult — and dangerous decision to rise up against England and fight for independence.

Into.


While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.

Cyril Connolly 

Excellent.

An excellent book ...


Throughout the colonies, resolutions were passed that no East India Company tea would be allowed to land, and in Philadelphia, New York, and Charleston, agents for the East India Company were forced to resign their commissions.  In New York, "a vast number of the inhabitants, including lawyers, merchants, land owners, masters of ships, and mechanics" together with the "Sons of Liberty of New York" undertook watches to prevent any tea from landing in the colony.

On December 25, the British ship Polly, bearing nearly seven hundred chests of tea in its hold, attempted to travel up the Delaware River to Philadelphia.  The Polly was stopped by a blocke of small boats at Chester, and Samuel Ayres, the captain of the ship, was handed a message: "What think you Captain, of a Halter around your Neck -- ten gallons of liquid Tar decanted on your pate -- with the feathers of a dozen wild Geese laid over that to enliven your appearance?  Only think seriously of this -- and fly to the Place from Whence you came."

By the next tide Captain Ayres was back on board and the Polly was turned round, ready to return to England.

Nina Sankovitch, from American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution

26 June 2020

Turnpike Troubadours, "Before the Devil Knows We're Dead"

WOO-HOO!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Otis Gibbs "Where Only The Graves Are Real"

What the world needs now is Otis Gibbs.

I'm so tired of sittin' politely, I'm so tired of fakin' a smile ...

Respect.

There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table.

E.A. Bucchianeri

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

 J.R.R. Tolkien 
They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!

Dr. Seuss

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.     

Hippocrates
Those who have permitted this destruction have either no respect for or no understanding of the importance of history. 

Kurt J. Harden
The family and friends with which I'm surrounded are active in their beliefs, education, and interests.  The conscience of each has been tempered over time in the fire of their experience and discovery, not the hamster wheel of pop culture.

Ancestors are watching.  Children are watching. 

No capitulation here.

Thanks, Kurt.

25 June 2020

The Style Council, "My Everchanging Moods"

Traversed.


SONNET XL

Green was the silence, wet was the light
the month of June trembled like a butterfly
and in the south dominion, from the sea and the stones,
Matilde, you traversed the midday.

You were loaded with ferrous flowers,
seaweeds that the south wind torments and forgets,
still white, shrivelled by the devouring salt,
your hands raised the stalks of sand.

I love your pure gifts, your skin of untouched rock,
your nails offered in the sun of your fingers,
your mouth spilt through all the joy,

but, for my house neighboring the abyss,
give me the tormented system of the silence,
the pavillion of the sea forgotten in the sand.

Pablo Neruda

Thinking.


The Battle of Little Bighorn began on this date, at this time, in 1876.

Custer did not drink; he didn’t have to. His emotional effusions unhinged his judgment in ways that went far beyond alcohol’s ability to interfere with clear thinking.

Nathaniel Philbrick, from The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

A Good Day to Die ...



Excellent Books ...

Madly.

Barn.

Hopper, Barn and Silo, Vermont, 1929

Vivaldi, Concerto for Flautino in C major, RV 443

Anna Fusek performs with Capella Anna ...

Leaped.


I learned to build bookshelves and brought books to my room, gathering them around me thickly. I read by day and into the night. I thought about perfectibility, and deism, and adjectives, and clouds, and then foxes. I locked my door, from the inside, and leaped from the roof and went to the woods, by day or darkness.

Mary Oliver, Upstream

24 June 2020

Imagination.


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

Tuneswept.

Modigliani, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1918


I want to be a tuneswept fiddle string that feels the master melody, and snaps. 

Amedeo Modigliani

Progress.


It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things. 

Theodore Roosevelt

The Police, "Shadows in the Rain"

Done.


Done and done.

Leafy.


When Barcelona's Liceu opera opened on Monday for its first concert since mid-March, it did so to a full house — of plants.

The Gran Teatre del Liceu filled its 2,292 seats with plants for a performance by the UceLi Quartet, which it called a prelude to its 2020-2021 season. The string quartet serenaded its leafy audience with Giacomo Puccini's "Crisantemi" in a performance that was also made available to human listeners via livestream.


Thank you, Rachel.

The Police, "Truth Hits Everybody"

Copeland ...

Depeche Mode, "Behind the Wheel"

Rules.


What some people think of as a lazy desk lunch, or a slap-it-together dinner, or what you order as an excuse to eat a bunch of french fries, we think of as an art form. Such an art form, in fact, that our do's and don'ts of sandwich building made their way into 26 ultimate rules for ultimate sandwich satisfaction.

Slavic.

Joy.


Joy is a man's passage from a lesser to a greater perfection.

Baruch Spinoza

Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21

The Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig performs the Overture, Kurt Masur conducting ...

Roger Miller & Willie Nelson, "Old Friends"

Learn.


Humans need two years to learn to speak and sixty years to learn to shut up.

Ernest Hemingway

Right.

Pyle, The Nation Makers, 1902


Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.

Thomas Paine

I never knew Hans Klopek fought in the Revolution.

Schubert, Impromptu in B-flat Major, Op.142, No. 3, D.935

Vladimir Horowitz performs ...

Joy.


As long as the ancient harmonies were sung, the universe would not entirely lose its joy.

Madeleine L'Engle

23 June 2020

Sierra Ferrell, "Bells of Every Chapel"

Mac.

Siouxsie & The Banshees, "Lands End"

Come take this hand at twilight's door
I'll meet you there we'll share the moonlit floor
Through the driving rain, colors run in veins
Ozone fills the air, two figures disappear

Come let's take flight, let's quit this scene tonight
Whilst they sleep on endless, in their wrecked designs
Sleep on endless in your wrecked designs

Moths touched by flame repeat their fatal game
Forever and eternally, the cliffs around the crashing sea
Unsolved and endless, wait for me

Undulating far below, where lucid waters flow
Their faces seem to know

Where the land falls to an end
This hidden tale begins
Take a walk with me down by the sea

Moths touched by flame repeat their fatal game
Forever and eternally, the cliffs around the crashing sea
Unsolved and endless, wait for me, wait for me

Take a walk with me down by the sea

Gloaming.

Firchau, The Gloaming, June 23, 2013

The Style Council, "Why I Went Missing"

Took me off to somewhere nice ...

Done.


Done and done.

Am.

The FLY

Little fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

William Blake

Esperanza Spaulding performs ...

Eternal.


No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

Ronald Reagan

Airborne.

Unfrequented.


... My sad Soul
Has form'd a dismal melancholy Scene,
Such a Retreat as I wou'd wish to find;
An unfrequented Vale, o'er-grown with Trees
Mossie and old, within whose lonesome Shade,
Ravens, and Birds ill omen'd, only dwell;
No Sound to break the Silence, but a Brook
That bubling wind's among the Weeds: no Mark
Of any Human Shape that had been there ...

Nicholas Rowe, from The Fair Penitent, Act II, Scene II

Beyond.


I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond the daily life.

Virginia Woolf

Opportunist.


Today’s opportunist virtue-signaler will be tomorrow’s gullible fool. Tonight’s brave looter and edgy arsonist will be tomorrow’s matter-of-fact felon. This morning’s memo-writing social justice executive and administrator will be seen as tomorrow’s rank abettor of McCarthyite persecutions. And the coveted and esteemed racial arsonist of the moment soon will become the ostracized segregationist.

Americans believe there is one thing more regrettable than a falsifier—and that is an opportunistic and careerist falsifier.

CONNECT

Thank you, Kurt.

During the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773, when the Sons of Liberty broke hatch locks on the cargo ships carrying tea into Boston Harbor, the next day the locks were replaced.

The word "F@#$" is so tired.

Bach, Concerto for Violin No.1 in A minor, BWV1041

Viktoria Mullova performs with the Academy of Ancient Music ...

Rejoice.


joy (n.)
c. 1200, "feeling of pleasure and delight;" c. 1300, "source of pleasure or happiness," from Old French joie "pleasure, delight, erotic pleasure, bliss, joyfulness" (11c.), from Latin gaudia "expressions of pleasure; sensual delight," plural of gaudium "joy, inward joy, gladness, delight; source of pleasure or delight," from gaudere "rejoice," from PIE root *gau- "to rejoice" (cognates: Greek gaio "I rejoice," Middle Irish guaire "noble").

Succession.


The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment... have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

George Washington, Circular to the States, 8 June 1783

Prefer.

22 June 2020

Important.


It was something Bo Diddley told me. He always carried his own guitar. I said, "There’s a person over there who’ll carry your guitar for you, someone who looks after the equipment." And he said, "No, no, I always carry my own guitar because if I rely on that person and one day they’re not there, suddenly I have a problem." That was an important lesson for me. I try to rely on nobody else but myself, which means not blaming anyone else either.

Paul Simonon