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 March 2021

Happy Birthday, Angus


Angus Young was born on this day in 1955.

"Live Wire" ...

Please.

Happy Birthday, Haydn


Franz Joseph Haydn was born on this day in 1732.

Simon Murphy and The New Dutch Academy perform the Andante from Haydn's Symphony 101, in D-major (Hoboken 1/101), "The Clock" ...

30 March 2021

Eric Clapton, "Same Old Blues"

Jet fuel ...

Deeply.


We do not live in the first chapter of Genesis. We live – if one follows the biblical sequence of events – after the Fall. We live in a world of suffering in which evil is rampant, a world whose events do not confirm our Being, a world that has to be resisted. It is in this situation that the aesthetic moment offers hope. That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe.

John Berger

Happy Birthday, Clapton.


Eric Clapton was born on this day in 1945.

"Further On Up the Road" ...

Smoky.


Rich smoky notes balance with a light, lingering sweetness in the whiskey-colored liquor.

CONNECT ... the only place for tea.

Fog.

Crivelli, Annunciation with Saint Emidius (detail), 1486


It is not the clear-sighted who lead the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm mental fog.

Joseph Conrad

Repeated.



Conjuring past breakfasts of these babies accompanied by baked beans, smoked trout, fried eggs, mushrooms, more-than-appropriate amounts of butter slathered on well-toasted farmbread, and Lapsang Souchong ... repeated as needed.

Trust.


How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing –
each stone, blossom, child –
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.

This is what things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.

Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Only.


A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.

James Baldwin, from The Fire Next Time

Limited.


I believe, therefore, that although it is not the case today, that there may someday come a time, I should hope, when it will fully appreciated that the power of governments should be limited; that governments ought not to be empowered to decide the validity of scientific theories, that this is a ridiculous thing for them to try to do; that they are not to decide the description of history or of economic theory or of philosophy.

Richard Feynman, from The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Happy Birthday, van Gogh

van Gogh, Almond Blossom (detail), 1890


Vincent van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.

What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.

Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to Theo van Gogh, July 21, 1882

The van Gogh portion of Simon Schama's masterpiece, Power of Art ...

29 March 2021

Excellent.

An excellent book ...

Lessons.

On March 10th, 2021, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) was proud to partner with the University Club and the One West 54th Street Foundation to present the Annual McKim Lecture, named in honor of renowned architect, Charles McKim. The 2021 speaker, Ben Pentreath, delivered a virtual lecture entitled "Lessons from History," examining how crucial it is to have a harmonious union between modernity and classicism ...

Lived.

Baglione, The Divine Eros Defeats the Earthly Eros, 1609


And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it, then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?

Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances,
or streets, as they wind through time?

Rainer Maria Rilke

Sacrifices.


Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles M. Province

28 March 2021

Embrace.

Excellent.

An excellent book ...

Weelkes, "Hosanna to the Son of David"

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, performs ...

Triumphal.

Giotto, The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, 1305 


12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.

19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

John 12: 12-19

Happy Birthday, Schoolcraft


Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was born on this day in 1793.

In the fall of 1855, a small book containing "The Song of Hiawatha" was given to the public. A few weeks after its appearance, the statement was made by a writer in a Washington, D. C., newspaper that Longfellow had taken “the entire form, spirit, and many of the most striking incidents” from the Finnish Kalevala. For a while critics amused themselves with preferring charges of plagiarism against this latest production of the poet. Spurred on by hunger for publicity, Poe once had led such an attack viciously. Longfellow and his friends had no great trouble in refuting the disagreeable assertions. In his notes to the poem, Longfellow gave full credit to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s writings as the source of practically all of his material. When Schoolcraft’s The Myth of Hiawatha appeared in 1856 the slanders were effectually scotched. 

In 1899 Nathan Haskell Dole published a learned discussion of the relation of Hiawatha to the Kalevala, in which Longfellow was completely vindicated; but no one has ever adequately presented the important part played by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in the creation of the great American epic. 

Chase S. Osborn and Stellanova Osborn, from Schoolcraft, Longfellow, Hiawatha            

Dream.


Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:

You come too.

Rainer Maria Rilke

George Jones, "Take Me"

26 March 2021

Vividly.


It is important not to be caught short. It is my private opinion that many of our failures in politics, art, and domestic life come from our failure to eat vividly.

Jim Harrison

Remembers.


WORM MOON

I.
In March the earth remembers its own name.
Everywhere the plates of snow are cracking.
The rivers begin to sing. In the sky
the winter stars are sliding away; new stars
appear as, later, small blades of grain
will shine in the dark fields.

And the name of every place
is joyful.

II.
The season of curiosity is everlasting
and the hour for adventure never ends,
but tonight
even the men who walked upon the moon
are lying content
by open windows
where the winds are sweeping over the fields,
over water,
over the naked earth,
into villages, and lonely country houses, and the vast cities

III.
because it is spring;
because once more the moon and the earth are eloping -
a love match that will bring forth fantastic children
who will learn to stand, walk, and finally run
   over the surface of earth;
who will believe, for years,
that everything is possible.

IV.
Born of clay,
how shall a man be holy;
born of water,
how shall a man visit the stars;
born of the seasons,
how shall a man live forever?

V.
Soon
the child of the red-spotted newt, the eft,
will enter his life from the tiny egg.
On his delicate legs
he will run through the valleys of moss
down to the leaf mold by the streams,
where lately white snow lay upon the earth
like a deep and lustrous blanket
of moon-fire,

VI.
and probably
everything
is possible.

Mary Oliver

Robert Plant, "Carry Fire"

While.


If a chap can't compose an epic poem while he's weaving tapestry, he had better shut up; he'll never do any good at all.

William Morris

25 March 2021

Echo & The Bunnymen, "Ocean Rain"


Goodnight.

Done.


Done and done.

Madness.


The minute you start saying something - "Ah, how beautiful! We must photograph it!" - you are already close to the view of the person who thinks that everything that is not photographed is lost, as if it had never existed, and that therefore, in order really to live, you must photograph as much as you can, and to photograph as much as you can you must either live in the most photographable way possible or else consider photographable every moment of your life. The first course leads to stupidity, the second is madness.

Italo Calvino

The Cure, "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea"

U2, "The Ocean"

Certain.

Haydon, Keats' Life Mask, 1816


I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination–What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth–whether it existed before or not–for I have the same Idea of all our Passions as of Love they are all in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty.

John Keats

Dunford.

Wigmore Hall hosts Thomas Dunford's performance of a program of lute tunes by John Dowland, Giovanni Kapsberger, and Joan Ambrosio Dalza ...

Well.


What is there in life if you do not work? There is only sensation, and there are only a few sensations— you cannot live on them. You can only live on work, by work, through work. How can you live with self-respect if you do not do things as well as lies in you?

Maria Callas

Act.


To do nothing but grumble and not to act - that is throwing away one's life.

William Morris

24 March 2021

Eddie Money, "Can't Keep a Good Man Down"

Happy Birthday, Morris


William Morris was born on this day in 1834.

With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.

William Morris

Memories of the Future: William Morris and John Ruskin ...

23 March 2021

Joy.


Speak not, move not, but listen, the sky is full of gold. No ripple on the river, no stir in field or fold, all gleams but naught doth glisten, but the far-off unseen sea. Forget days past, heart broken, put all memory by! No grief on the green hillside, no pity in the sky, joy that may not be spoken fills mead and flower and tree.

William Morris

Scarlatti, Sonata in A minor, K. 61

Pizzicar Galante perform ...

22 March 2021

Born.

Rushbury, William Morris of Walthamstow, Poet and Craftsman, 1938


Let us look backward in history once more for a short while, and then steadily forward till my words are done: I began by saying that part of the common and necessary advice given to Art students was to study antiquity; and no doubt many of you, like me, have done so; have wandered, for instance, through the galleries of the admirable museum of South Kensington, and, like me, have been filled with wonder and gratitude at the beauty which has been born from the brain of man. Now, consider, I pray you, what these wonderful works are, and how they were made; and indeed, it is neither in extravagance nor without due meaning that I use the word 'wonderful' in speaking of them. Well, these things are just the common household goods of those past days, and that is one reason why they are so few and so carefully treasured. They were common things in their own day, used without fear of breaking or spoiling--no rarities then--and yet we have called them "wonderful."

And how were they made? Did a great artist draw the designs for them--a man of cultivation, highly paid, daintily fed, carefully housed, wrapped up in cotton wool, in short, when he was not at work? By no means. Wonderful as these works are, they were made by 'common fellows,' as the phrase goes, in the common course of their daily labour. Such were the men we honour in honouring those works. And their labour--do you think it was irksome to them? Those of you who are artists know very well that it was not; that it could not be. Many a grin of pleasure, I'll be bound--and you will not contradict me--went to the carrying through of those mazes of mysterious beauty, to the invention of those strange beasts and birds and flowers that we ourselves have chuckled over at South Kensington. While they were at work, at least, these men were not unhappy, and I suppose they worked most days, and the most part of the day, as we do.

Or those treasures of architecture that we study so carefully nowadays--what are they? how were they made? There are great minsters among them, indeed, and palaces of kings and lords, but not many; and, noble and awe-inspiring as these may be, they differ only in size from the little grey church that still so often makes the commonplace English landscape beautiful, and the little grey house that still, in some parts of the country at least, makes an English village a thing apart, to be seen and pondered on by all who love romance and beauty. These form the mass of our architectural treasures, the houses that everyday people lived in, the unregarded churches in which they worshipped.

And, once more, who was it that designed and ornamented them? The great architect, carefully kept for the purpose, and guarded from the common troubles of common men? By no means. Sometimes, perhaps, it was the monk, the ploughman's brother; oftenest his other brother, the village carpenter, smith, mason, what not--'a common fellow,' whose common everyday labour fashioned works that are to-day the wonder and despair of many a hard-working 'cultivated' architect. And did he loathe his work? No, it is impossible. I have seen, as we most of us have, work done by such men in some out-of-the-way hamlet--where to-day even few strangers ever come, and whose people seldom go five miles from their own doors; in such places, I say, I have seen work so delicate, so careful, and so inventive, that nothing in its way could go further. And I will assert, without fear of contradiction, that no human ingenuity can produce work such as this without pleasure being a third party to the brain that conceived and the hand that fashioned it. Nor are such works rare. The throne of the great Plantagenet, or the great Valois, was no more daintily carved than the seat of the village mass-john, or the chest of the yeoman's good-wife.

So, you see, there was much going on to make life endurable in those times. Not every day, you may be sure, was a day of slaughter and tumult, though the histories read almost as if it were so; but every day the hammer chinked on the anvil, and the chisel played about the oak beam, and never without some beauty and invention being born of it, and consequently some human happiness.

William Morris

21 March 2021

Excellent.

An excellent book ...

Cultivated.


It is real learning, knowledge cultivated for its own sake—the Art of Knowledge, in short—which is followed there, not the Commercial learning of the past. Though perhaps you do not know that in the nineteenth century Oxford and its less interesting sister Cambridge became definitely commercial. They (and especially Oxford) were the breeding places of a peculiar class of parasites, who called themselves cultivated people; they were indeed cynical enough, as the so-called educated classes of the day generally were; but they affected an exaggeration of cynicism in order that they might be thought knowing and worldly-wise. The rich middle classes (they had no relation with the working classes) treated them with the kind of contemptuous toleration with which a mediaeval baron treated his jester; though it must be said that they were by no means so pleasant as the old jesters were, being, in fact, the bores of society. They were laughed at, despised—and paid. Which last was what they aimed at.

William Morris

Pink Floyd, ¨Grantchester Meadows¨

Solitude.

Gordon, March, n.d.


It is a frightful satire and an epigram on the modern age that the only use it knows for solitude is to make it a punishment, a jail sentence.

Søren Kierkegaard

Happy Birthday, Money


Eddie Money was born on this day in 1949.

"Gamblin' Man" ...

Undissected.


It is precisely the colouring, the atmosphere, the unclassifiable individual details of a story, and above all the general purport that informs with life the undissected bones of the plot, that really count.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Done.


Done and done.

Freshness.


The Spring comes in with all her hues and smells,
In freshness breathing over hills and dells;
O’er woods where May her gorgeous drapery flings,
And meads washed fragrant by their laughing springs.
Fresh are new opened flowers, untouched and free
From the bold rifling of the amorous bee.
The happy time of singing birds is come,
And Love’s lone pilgrimage now finds a home;
Among the mossy oaks now coos the dove,
And the hoarse crow finds softer notes for love.
The foxes play around their dens, and bark
In joy’s excess, ’mid woodland shadows dark.
The flowers join lips below; the leaves above;
And every sound that meets the ear is Love.

John Clare

Excellent.

An excellent book ...

Happy Birthday, Pop!

Firchau, Self-portrait, 1971


My Dad was born on this day in 1937.

An e-mail he sent me many years ago still endures ...
Dwelling on and blaming every day can take a physical and mental toll and eat up one's time.There is too much of this stuff along with other things in this world that are negative. This again is part of the problem (s) in this day and age. If it's on the internet in anyway, shape or form, it has to be true ... that's false ... but that is what "some are in to" today is.  Common sense says that some of this topic maybe correct, but more data has to be generated and discussed on topics "in open discussion," not, "If you don't believe me, you are against me," etc.!!! 
At this point, hate and blaming DOES destroy good days and DOES give many people headaches and loss of sleep and this is TRUE, this we know, we must try to overcome or be above it, which is VERY, VERY hard to do! 
These are some of my thoughts ... Dad

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.

Umberto Eco

Happy birthday, Dad. I Love you!

Happy Birthday, Bach

Ihle, Johann Sebastian Bach, 1720


Johann Sebastian Bach was born on this day in 1685.

[Bach} was first and last an architect, a constructor of sound, and what makes him so inestimably valuable to us is that he was beyond a doubt the greatest architect of sound who ever lived.

Glenn Gould

Gould performs the Contrapunctus I-IV from The Art of Fugue ...