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 April 2021

29 April 2021

Hang.

"Hang care!" exclaimed he. "This is a delicious evening; the wine has a finer relish here than in the house, and the song is more exciting and melodious under the tranquil sky than in the close room, where the sound is stifled. Come, let us have a bacchanalian chant—let us, with old Sir Toby, make the welkin dance and rouse the night-owl with a catch! I am right merry. Pass the bottle, and tune your voices—a catch, a catch! The lights will be here anon."

Charles Ollier, from "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington" 

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, "Kings Road" ...


The euphony transformed me and inundated my soul in a roguish countenance, the likes of which I had know well in younger days. Such impishness soon drove out the complaints of the day. 

Umberto Limongiello

Exuberance.


Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.

Anne Sexton

Pass.


Kurt reflects on being "taken care of" ...
Increasingly, society has been forced to live in two worlds.  The first is a world of reality where we talk, communicate, work, and try to live normal lives.  The second world is the official world where we are treated as children rather than a free citizens.  We must be told what to do for our own good, forced to comply, and then “taken care of.”  I’ll pass on the second world from here on out.

Thanks, Kurt.  Well said.

Climb.


There are those who would misteach us that to stick in a rut is consistency--and a virtue; and that to climb out of the rut is inconsistency -- and a vice.

These same men who enthusiastically preach loyal consistency to church and party are always read and willing and anxious to persuade a Chinaman or an Indian or a Kanaka to desert his church, or a fellow-American to desert his party. The man who deserts to them is all that is high and pure and beautiful- apparently; the man who deserts from them is all that is foul and despicable. This is Consistency with a capital C.

I am persuaded that the world has been tricked into adopting some false and most pernicious notions about consistency--and to such a degree that the average man has turned the rights and wrongs of things entirely around and is proud to be "consistent," unchanging, immovable, fossilized, where it should be his humiliation.

Mark Twain

Technique.

Technique ...


... is the proof of your seriousness.

 

Wallace Stevens and The Eagles

Happy Birthday, Willie


Willie Nelson was born on this day in 1933.

"Red Headed Stranger" ...

28 April 2021

27 April 2021

Furs, "Pulse"

Attains.

Tiepolo, Triumph of the Arts and Sciences (detail), 1731


A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed--and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!

Arthur Rimbaud

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

Happy Birthday, Grant


Ulysses S. Grant was born on this day in 1822.

In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten. He who is then able to continue the attack wins.

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

26 April 2021

Share.


The truly sacred attitude toward life is in no sense an escape from the sense of nothingness that assails us when we are left alone with ourselves.  Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.

Thomas Merton, from The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation

Dale Watson, "A Real Country Song"

Courage.


We've forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that's the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.

Reverend Dr. Cornel West

Travis Tritt, "Smoke in a Bar"

They say we'vе come a long way, but I'd say it's a little bit too far ...

25 April 2021

Art.


Art is not a pastime but a priesthood. 

Jean Cocteau


Art thaws even the frozen, darkened soul, opening it to lofty spiritual experience. 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


In your light I learn how to love. 
In your beauty, how to make poems. 
You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, 
But sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. 

Rumi

Flourish.

Richmond, Portraits of William Blake at 28 & 69, 1830


Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.

William Blake

Handel, Ode for St Cecilia

Ian Bostridge gettin' after "The Trumpet's Loud Clangour," with the Dunedin Consort ...

Musically.

van Gogh, Self-portrait, 1886


In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.

Vincent van Gogh

Making.


The act of making music, clothes, art, or even food has a very different, and possibly more beneficial effect on us than simply consuming those things. And yet for a very long time, the attitude of the state toward teaching and funding the arts has been in direct opposition to fostering creativity among the general population. It can often seem that those in power don’t want us to enjoy making things for ourselves—they’d prefer to establish a cultural hierarchy that devalues our amateur efforts and encourages consumption rather than creation. This might sound like I believe there is some vast conspiracy at work, which I don’t, but the situation we find ourselves in is effectively the same as if there were one. The way we are taught about music, and the way it’s socially and economically positioned, affect whether it’s integrated (or not) into our lives, and even what kind of music might come into existence in the future. Capitalism tends toward the creation of passive consumers, and in many ways this tendency is counterproductive.

David Byrne, from How Music Works

Thank you, Daniel.

Recreate.


Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.

Jean Sibelius

Happy Birthday, Tchaikovsky


Pyotr Tchaikovsky was born on this day in 1840.

There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Mischa Maisky performs the Nocturne in D minor, Op. 19 No. 4 with Paavo Järvi and the Frankfort Radio Symphony ...

23 April 2021

Doomed.


On April 23, 1635, the first public school in what would become the United States was established in Boston, Massachusetts.

22 April 2021

Precisely.


You can define a free person precisely as someone whose fate is not centrally or directly dependent on peer assessment.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

Dog.

Hang.

"Hang care!" exclaimed he. "This is a delicious evening; the wine has a finer relish here than in the house, and the song is more exciting and melodious under the tranquil sky than in the close room, where the sound is stifled. Come, let us have a bacchanalian chant—let us, with old Sir Toby, make the welkin dance and rouse the night-owl with a catch! I am right merry. Pass the bottle, and tune your voices—a catch, a catch! The lights will be here anon."

Charles Ollier, from "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington" 

Sammy Hagar with Neil Schon, "Rock Candy" ...


The euphony transformed me and inundated my soul in a roguish countenance, the likes of which I had know well in younger days. Such impishness soon drove out the complaints of the day. 

Umberto Limongiello

Own.

von Stägemann, Immanuel Kant, 1790


Immanuel Kant was born on this day in 1724.

Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! "Have courage to use your own reason!"- that is the motto of enlightenment.

Immanuel Kant

19 April 2021

New Order, "Chosen Time"

Spirit.


The American Revolution began on this day in 1775.

CONCORD HYMN

By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, 
Here once the embattled farmers stood 
   And fired the shot heard round the world. 

The foe long since in silence slept; 
   Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; 
And Time the ruined bridge has swept 
   Down the dark stream which seaward creeps. 

On this green bank, by this soft stream, 
   We set today a votive stone; 
That memory may their deed redeem, 
   When, like our sires, our sons are gone. 

Spirit, that made those heroes dare 
   To die, and leave their children free, 
Bid Time and Nature gently spare 
   The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

18 April 2021

Excellent.

An excellent album ...


A kitchen staple.

Happy Birthday, Big Fella


The Big Fella, Miguel Cabrera, was born on this day in 1983.

Baskerville.


John Robinson traces the development of transitional serif letterforms and the impact of the Baskerville typefaces ...
By the early 1500s Paris had supplanted Venice as the epicenter of typographic arts, and the more precisely cut letterforms of Francesco Griffo were gaining in popularity on traditional old-style letterforms: Those influenced by the quill and cut in the spirit of the first roman typefaces developed in the 1470s by Nicolas Jenson’s workshop. 
Further style modifications took place in the 1600s under Claude Garamond and his contemporaries, well into the heyday of Englishman William Caslon (mid-1700s) when the old-style letterform reached its final development. But the first conscious revision of type took place at the end of the seventeenth century when Philippe Grandjean cut the Romain du Roi typeface — a conception of letterforms that perfectly reflected the new attitude of the Age of Enlightenment.
While previous roman typefaces developed naturally over time, with each subsequent punch cutter modifying and improving upon letterforms designed by those before him, the Romain du Roi (the King’s Roman) was the first based on a rational, mathematical design. Mapping the letters out on grids converted traditionally round letterforms to a perpendicular axis; while serifs became sharper, less rounded, and exhibited less bracketing (the “filled in” area that connects serifs with strokes).

Dr. Caroline Archer-Parré presents John Baskerville: The lasting legacy of Birmingham's famous printer ...

Remember.


Christopher Stevens, April 18, 1960 -September 11, 2012

North.

Lutenist Nigel North, performs selections from a program titled, A Decoration of Silence: Works of Francesco da Milano ...

Part 1 ...


Part 2 ...


Part 3 ...


Part 4 ...

An excellent book ...


Brian Lamb interviews David Hackett Fischer about his book, Paul Revere’s Ride, on Booknotes.

Hoof-beats.

Wood, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1931


Paul Revere took his famous ride late on this day in 1775.

The LANDLORD's TALE, PAUL REVERE'S RIDE

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade, —
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay, —
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled, —
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, —
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Expected.


The World War II generation did what was expected of them. But they never talked about it. It was part of the Code. There’s no more telling metaphor than a guy in a football game who does what’s expected of him–makes an open-field tackle–then gets up and dances around. 

When Jerry Kramer threw the block that won the Ice Bowl in ’67, he just got up and walked off the field.

Tom Brokaw, from The Greatest Generation

17 April 2021

Profound.


A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.

Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities

Excellent.

An excellent book ...

Visée, Prelude in A minor

Xavier Díaz-Latorre performs ...

Indulged.

 

During the first rehearsal in my new environment I developed a passion for the gorgeous, blazing yellow of gorse in bloom, and looking back, I am sorrowful to think how little I indulged it and how many springs and summers have slipped away since then. No lying in the sun, breathing almond-scented airs, dreaming, listening to the hum of bees and the tiny snapping of gorse-beans bursting in the heat and stillness of noon.

Sir Alfred Munnings

Dreams.


SEA DOGS

Over seas and far away
Heave away boys
Sea dogs sail their lives away
Heave away boys

Ghosts of sea dogs at break of day
Crusty beards and coats of grey
Weigh the anchor let’s be away
From this day on we’re carried by the wind
 
Over seas and far away
Heave away boys
Sea dogs sail their lives away
Heave away boys

Creaky decks and ruthless men
Ruled by the lash where some met their end
The old world was new in all directions then
Conquered by a few at the loss of so many

Over seas and far away
Heave away boys
Sea dogs sail their lives away
Heave away boys

Over seas and far away
Heave away boys
Sea dogs sail their lives away
Heave away boys

Crusty beards and bloodshot eyes
Squint up at the sun
Horizons hold fast and seduce the sea dogs over
Some live to tell tall tales
And some never returned
Leaving only their dreams
Carried by the sea

Colin Hay

16 April 2021

15 April 2021

Dog.

Munnings, A Bull-Terrier Named Weller, 1913

Hang.

"Hang care!" exclaimed he. "This is a delicious evening; the wine has a finer relish here than in the house, and the song is more exciting and melodious under the tranquil sky than in the close room, where the sound is stifled. Come, let us have a bacchanalian chant—let us, with old Sir Toby, make the welkin dance and rouse the night-owl with a catch! I am right merry. Pass the bottle, and tune your voices—a catch, a catch! The lights will be here anon."

Charles Ollier, from "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington" 

Cheap Trick, "California Man" ...


The euphony transformed me and inundated my soul in a roguish countenance, the likes of which I had know well in younger days. Such impishness soon drove out the complaints of the day. 

Umberto Limongiello

Happy Birthday, Clark


Roy Clark was born on this day in 1933.

"Yesterday When I was Young" ...



Happy Birthday, Peale

Peale, Self-portrait with Spectacles, 1804


Charles Wilson Peale was born on this day in 1741.

Happy Birthday, Leonardo

Leonardo, Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk, 1512


Leonardo da Vinci was born on this day in 1452.

Why seek to embarrass the artist with vanities foreign to his quietness? Know you not that certain sciences require the whole man, leaving no part of him at leisure for your trifles? 

Leonardo da Vinci

13 April 2021

Happy Birthday, Jefferson

Sully, Thomas Jefferson, 1821


Thomas Jefferson was born on this day in 1743.

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.

Thomas Jefferson

Happy Birthday, Bush


Sam Bush was born on this day in 1952.

"The Old North Woods" ...

Battle.

WE SHALL BEAT TO QUARTERS!

John Kenny prepares us for battle ...


Good luck, Woodland Creatures!  Knock 'em dead!

12 April 2021

Dignity.


Politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience.

Theodore Roosevelt