AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

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

31 August 2020

Essential.

Matthew Foley reminds us of the essential gear for the first day of school (and beyond) ...



Thank you, Rachel.

Learn.


What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

30 August 2020

Mackinac.


The Chippewa Hotel has recently installed a webcam that looks down on the Mackinac Island marina.

Benny Goodman Quartet, "I've Got a Heartful of Music"

Happy Birthday, Williams


Ted Williams was born on this day in 1918.

When I was driving Ted and Wade Boggs to Clearwater for a dinner of hitting talk with Don Mattingly in spring training of 1986, Ted asked Boggs, "Have you ever smelled the bat burning?"

Peter Gammons

Studio.

Handel, The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man, HWV 55

Amanda Forsythe and Thomas Cooley perform "As Steals the Morn" with Voices of Music ...

This.

Waterhouse, Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May (detail), 1909


APRIL 24, 1859
There is a season for everything, and we do not notice a given phenomenon except at that season, if, indeed, it can be called the same phenomenon at any other season. There is a time to watch the ripples on Ripple Lake, to look for arrowheads, to study the rocks and lichens, a time to walk on sandy deserts; and the observer of nature must improve these seasons as much as the farmer his. So boys fly kites and play ball or hawkie at particular times all over the State. A wise man will know what game to play to-day, and play it. We must not be governed by rigid rules, as by the almanac, but let the season rule us. The moods and thoughts of man are revolving just as steadily and incessantly as nature’s. Nothing must be postponed. Take time by the forelock. Now or never! You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this, or the like of this. Where the good husbandman is, there is the good soil. Take any other course, and life will be a succession of regrets. Let us see vessels sailing prosperously before the wind, and not simply stranded barks. There is no world for the penitent and regretful.

Henry David Thoreau

Identify.


By living in a spirit of forgiveness we not only uphold the core value of citizenship but also find the path to social membership that we need. Happiness does not come from the pursuit of pleasure, nor is it guaranteed by freedom, it comes from sacrifice. That is the message of the Christian religion and it is the message that is conveyed by all the memorable works of our culture. It is the message that has been lost in the noise of repudiation, but which it seems to me can be heard once again if we devote our energies to retrieving it. And in the Christian tradition the primary act of sacrifice is forgiveness. The one who forgives sacrifices vengeance and renounces thereby a part of himself for the sake of another.

Take away religion, take away philosophy, take away the higher aims of art, and you deprive ordinary people of the ways in which they can represent their apartness. Human nature, once something to live up to, becomes something to live down to instead. Biological reductionism nurtures this "living down", which is why people so readily fall for it. It makes cynicism respectable and degeneracy chic. It abolishes our kind, and with it our kindness.

Unless and until people identify themselves with the country, its territory and its cultural inheritance – in something like the way people identify themselves with a family – the politics of compromise will not emerge.

Roger Scruton, from How to Be a Conservative

Happy Birthday, David

David, The Death of Socrates, 1787


Jacques-Louis David was born on this day in 1748.

The artist must be a philosopher. Socrates the skilled sculptor, Jean-Jacques [Rousseau] the good musician, and the immortal Poussin, tracing on the canvas the sublime lessons of philosophy, are so many proofs that an artistic genius should have no other guide except the torch of reason.

Jacques-Louis David

The David episode from Simon Schama's BBC masterpiece, Power of Art ...

Knowledge.


His expertise helped him become a history-making mariner, the first recorded person to sail round the world without navigational instruments. His 30,000-mile odyssey, in a 36-foot cutter with a small crew, made headlines worldwide on its completion in 1984.

“I was considered to be crazy or stupid or just out of it,” Professor Creamer said in a 2015 interview with Rowan University. “When I took off there were two people who believed I would come back.”

One was his wife Blanche. The other, despite the welter of naysayers, was Professor Creamer himself.

It is daunting enough to circumnavigate the Earth with the aid of modern global positioning technology, much less with medieval and Renaissance tools like a mariner’s compass and sextant.

But Professor Creamer, in the grip of an obsession that had held him for years, shunned even those newfangled contrivances, as well as a radio, a clock and a wristwatch. He chose instead to rely on his deep knowledge of the planet and its vagaries, and be guided by nothing more than wind, waves, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night.

Under cloud-massed skies, he could divine his location from the color and temperature of the water, the presence of particular birds and insects and even, on one occasion, the song of a squeaky hatch.

Skills like these, he long maintained, had let the master mariners of antiquity answer the seafarer’s ever-present, life-or-death question — Where am I? — and in so doing sail safely round the world.

“From everything I’ve read, the ancients didn’t feel uncomfortable out there,” Professor Creamer told The New York Times in 1978. “They didn’t have navigational tools, but they didn’t seem afraid to go to sea. I felt they might have known what they were doing, that they might have made predictable landfalls and having once hit a coast could have returned there.”

CONNECT

29 August 2020

The Mavericks, "Cuando Me Enamoro"

Luke Atwood, lead vocals ...



All skate, all skate.

Happy Birthday, Fraser


Elizabeth Fraser was born on this day in 1963.

Cocteau Twins, "The Spangle Maker" ...

Buffett.

Form Delaney Buffett's series, Songs You Don't Know by Heart ...

"Death of an Unpopular Poet"



"Twelve Volt Man"



"The Night I Painted the Sky"



It's sandwich time.

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

Excellent.

An excellent website ...


CONNECT

Happy Birthday, Holmes


Oliver Wendell Holmes was born on this day in 1809.

The FLANEUR

Boston Common, December 6, 1882 during the Transit of Venus\

I love all sights of earth and skies,
From flowers that glow to stars that shine;
The comet and the penny show,
All curious things, above, below,
Hold each in turn my wandering eyes:
I claim the Christian Pagan’s line,
Humani nihil,—even so,—
And is not human life divine?

When soft the western breezes blow,
And strolling youths meet sauntering maids,
I love to watch the stirring trades
Beneath the Vallombrosa shades
Our much-enduring elms bestow;
The vender and his rhetoric’s flow,
That lambent stream of liquid lies;
The bait he dangles from his line,
The gudgeon and his gold-washed prize.
I halt before the blazoned sign
That bids me linger to admire
The drama time can never tire,
The little hero of the hunch,
With iron arm and soul of fire,
And will that works his fierce desire,—
Untamed, unscared, unconquered Punch!
My ear a pleasing torture finds
In tones the withered sibyl grinds,—
The dame sans merci’s broken strain,
Whom I erewhile, perchance, have known,
When Orleans filled the Bourbon throne,
A siren singing by the Seine.

But most I love the tube that spies
The orbs celestial in their march;
That shows the comet as it whisks
Its tail across the planets’ disks,
As if to blind their blood-shot eyes;
Or wheels so close against the sun
We tremble at the thought of risks
Our little spinning ball may run,
To pop like corn that children parch,
From summer something overdone,
And roll, a cinder, through the skies.

Grudge not to-day the scanty fee
To him who farms the firmament,
To whom the Milky Way is free;
Who holds the wondrous crystal key,
The silent Open Sesame
That Science to her sons has lent;
Who takes his toll, and lifts the bar
That shuts the road to sun and star.
If Venus only comes to time,
(And prophets say she must and shall,)
To-day will hear the tinkling chime
Of many a ringing silver dime,
For him whose optic glass supplies
The crowd with astronomic eyes,—
The Galileo of the Mall.

Dimly the transit morning broke;
The sun seemed doubting what to do,
As one who questions how to dress,
And takes his doublets from the press,
And halts between the old and new.
Please Heaven he wear his suit of blue,
Or don, at least, his ragged cloak,
With rents that show the azure through!

I go the patient crowd to join
That round the tube my eyes discern,
The last new-comer of the file,
And wait, and wait, a weary while,
And gape, and stretch, and shrug, and smile,
(For each his place must fairly earn,
Hindmost and foremost, in his turn,)
Till hitching onward, pace by pace,
I gain at last the envied place,
And pay the white exiguous coin:
The sun and I are face to face;
He glares at me, I stare at him;
And lo! my straining eye has found
A little spot that, black and round,
Lies near the crimsoned fire-orb’s rim.
O blessed, beauteous evening star,
Well named for her whom earth adores,—
The Lady of the dove-drawn car,—
I know thee in thy white simar;
But veiled in black, a rayless spot,
Blank as a careless scribbler’s blot,
Stripped of thy robe of silvery flame,—
The stolen robe that Night restores
When Day has shut his golden doors,—
I see thee, yet I know thee not;
And canst thou call thyself the same?

A black, round spot,—and that is all;
And such a speck our earth would be
If he who looks upon the stars
Through the red atmosphere of Mars
Could see our little creeping ball
Across the disk of crimson crawl
As I our sister planet see.

And art thou, then, a world like ours,
Flung from the orb that whirled our own
A molten pebble from its zone?
How must thy burning sands absorb
The fire-waves of the blazing orb,
Thy chain so short, thy path so near,
Thy flame-defying creatures hear
The maelstroms of the photosphere!
And is thy bosom decked with flowers
That steal their bloom from scalding showers?
And hast thou cities, domes, and towers,
And life, and love that makes it dear,
And death that fills thy tribes with fear?

Lost in my dream, my spirit soars
Through paths the wandering angels know;
My all-pervading thought explores
The azure ocean’s lucent shores;
I leave my mortal self below,
As up the star-lit stairs I climb,
And still the widening view reveals
In endless rounds the circling wheels
That build the horologe of time.
New spheres, new suns, new systems gleam;
The voice no earth-born echo hears
Steals softly on my ravished ears:
I hear them “singing as they shine”—
A mortal’s voice dissolves my dream:
My patient neighbor, next in line,
Hints gently there are those who wait.
O guardian of the starry gate,
What coin shall pay this debt of mine?
Too slight thy claim, too small the fee
That bids thee turn the potent key
The Tuscan’s hand has placed in thine.
Forgive my own the small affront,
The insult of the proffered dime;
Take it, O friend, since this thy wont,
But still shall faithful memory be
A bankrupt debtor unto thee,
And pay thee with a grateful rhyme.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Happy Birthday, Ingres

Ingres, Napoleon on His Imperial Throne, 1806


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was born on this day in 1780.

You have to observe flowers in order to find the right tones for the folds of clothes. 

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Want.


Thanks, Chris.

Common.

This is integrity. This is leadership.

All we do in America right now is talk about color; every issue -- every issue -- is about race -- is about color -- instead of us sitting down at the table like men and women of common sense and common justice, and understanding that our enemies are looking with a greedy vigilance upon us as we tear ourselves apart internally ...

Tennessee State Representative John J. DeBerry, Jr.



Thank you, Kurt.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, from "The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions," an address by Abraham Lincoln before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, January 27, 1838

Excellent.

An excellent documentary ...


28 August 2020

Sing.


Maybe we'll be cast
at the speed of light through the universe
to God's throne. His hair is bounteous.
We'll sing with the warblers perched on his eyelashes.

Jim Harrison

The Mavericks, "La Sitiera"

WOO-HOO!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

27 August 2020

Robert Plant, "Walking into Clarksdale"

Scorpions, "Now"

Happy Birthday, Hegel

Schlesinger, Hegel, 1831


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was born on this day in 1770.

The ignorant man is not free, because what confronts him is an alien world, something outside him and in the offing, on which he depends, without his having made this foreign world for himself and therefore without being at home in it by himself as in something his own. The impulse of curiosity, the pressure for knowledge, from the lowest level up to the highest rung of philosophical insight arises only from the struggle to cancel this situation of unfreedom and to make the world one's own in one's ideas and thought.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Bond.


Always in big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. You are undertaking the first experience, not of the place, but of yourself in that place. It is an experience of our essential loneliness, for nobody can discover the world for anybody else. It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that it becomes a common ground and a common bond, and we cease to be alone.

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry

Thank you, Megan.

Larger.

26 August 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, because you're wearing a tribal mask

Roger Glover, from "The Mask"

Handel, Salve Regina, HWV 241

Carolyn Sampson performs with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen Orchestra ...

The Mavericks, "Recuerdos"

Sing.


Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.

Plato

Gipsy Kings, "Allegria"

For Chef Hubert ...

Shapes.


I want to have my life
in cloud shapes, water shapes, wind shapes,
crow call, marsh hawk swooping over grass and weed tips.

Jim Harrison, from "Returning to Earth"

SPAGIO, Rest In Peace


The original bold-adventurer in Columbus, Spagio Pizza & Spa Cuisine has closed for the last time.


Thank you, Chef Hubert.

25 August 2020

Transcendental.


The reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction and maintenance of machines. To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century. Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras. 

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

The Mavericks, "Poder Vivir"

Curious.


From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do —
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

Travel.


Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

Walt Whitman, from "Song of the Open Road"

24 August 2020

Soars.


No bird soars in a calm.

Wilbur Wright

Seek.


Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from "Ulysses"

If.


If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Henry Ford

CONNECT

Minute.


And many conversèd on these things as they labour’d at the furrow,
Saying: ‘It is better to prevent misery than to release from misery;
It is better to prevent error than to forgive the criminal.
Labour well the Minute Particulars: attend to the Little Ones;
And those who are in misery cannot remain so long,         
If we do but our duty: labour well the teeming Earth.…
He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.
General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer;
For Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars,
And not in generalizing Demonstrations of the Rational Power:         
The Infinite alone resides in Definite and Determinate Identity.
Establishment of Truth depends on destruction of Falsehood continually,
On Circumcision, not on Virginity, O Reasoners of Albion!

William Blake

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

Happy Birthday, Borges


Jorge Luis Borges was born on this day in 1899.

A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.

Jorge Luis Borges

Infinity According to Jorge Luis Borges ...

Captive.


If a captive mind is unaware of being in prison, it is living in error. If it has recognized the fact, even for the tenth of a second, and then quickly forgotten it in order to avoid suffering, it is living in falsehood. Men of the most brilliant intelligence can be born, live and die in error and falsehood.

Simone Weil

Time.

Mobility.


There is, in the circumstances of modern life, only one solution to the problem of resentment, and that is social mobility. The worst thing that the state can do is to create those traps – the poverty trap, the welfare trap, the education trap – which deprive people of the motives and the skills to improve their lot, and retain them in a state of permanent discontented dependence on a world that they cannot fully enter.

Roger Scruton, from How to Be a Conservative

Or, I would add, fully escape.

23 August 2020

Justin Townes Earle, Rest In Peace


Justin Townes Earle has passed.

"Harlem River Blues" ...

World-class.

If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.

Rudyard Kipling

C-SPAN's masterful In-Depth series has yielded unforgettable stories from these world-class historians ...








Think.


I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

J.R.R. Tolkien, from

Deliverance.


The first great thing is to find yourself and for that you need solitude and contemplation - at least sometimes. I can tell you deliverance will not come from the rushing noisy centers of civilization. It will come from the lonely places.

Fridtjof Nansen

Dowland, "Have You Seen the Bright Lily Grow"

Sting sings, Edin Karamozov plucks ...

Miles Davis, "Walkin'"

Wynton Marsalis and the members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (trumpets Ryan Kisor, Kenny Rampton, Marcus Printup, and the rhythm section of Dan Nimmer, piano, Carlos Henriquez, bass, and Obed Calvaire, drums) perform ...

Done.


Done and done.

Jump.


BOUNDARIES

There is a place where the town ends
and the fields begin.
It’s not marked but the feet know it,
also the heart, that is longing for refreshment
and, equally, for repose.

Someday we’ll live in the sky.
Meanwhile, the house of our lives is the world.
The fields, the ponds, the birds.
The thick black oaks—surely they are the
children of God.
The feistiness among the tiger lilies,
the hedges of runaway honeysuckle, that no one owns.

Where is it? I ask, and then
my feet know it.

One jump, and I’m home.

Mary Oliver

Excellent.

Excellent albums ...

Legend.

Shishkin, Birch Grove, 1871


Do you know the legend about cicadas? They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to.

John Berger

Mad.