"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

31 August 2021


Monet, Haystacks, End of Summer, 1891


Over all the hills now,
In all the trees now
Barely a breath. Birds are through
That sang in their wood to the west.
Only wait, traveller. Rest
Soon for you too.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Good riddance, Summer.  Now, on to the grand and glorious Oyster Months.

Happy Birthday, Schenker

Rudolf Schenker was born on this day in 1948.

Scorpions, "Another Piece of Meat" ...


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

Happy Birthday, Dean.

Dean, Cicada, 2015

Roger Dean was born on this day in 1944.

Dean on the creative process ...

Happy Birthday, Van

Van Morrison was born on this day in 1945.

Van recorded recently at Box Studios, featuring Dana Masters, backing vocals ...

30 August 2021


Dr. Steve Lekson lectured tonight on the Chaco Meridian ...


Happy Birthday, David

David, Napoleon Bonaparte, 1798

Jacques-Louis David was born on this day in 1748.
In the arts the way in which an idea is rendered, and the manner in which it is expressed, is much more important than the idea itself. To give a body and a perfect form to one's thought, this – and only this – is to be an artist. 

Jacques-Louis David
The David episode from Simon Schama's masterpiece, Power of Art ...

29 August 2021

26 August 2021


Chris Stapleton.

I'm begging you, for the love of GOD, please ... stop it.  


Allied forces liberated Paris this week in 1944, and in the process commandeered the bar at The Ritz ...
Memory’s a witch. Thinking back, I would have sworn that the German battery at Toussus was overwhelmed in a breeze with no loss to our side. But thumbing through my faded notes I find this entry: “As we advance, one French half-track, turning into the battery, is hit dead on. Ahead of me an overloaded weasel takes a direct hit from a shell. Our losses, six killed and eleven wounded.”

We churned on to Jouy-en-Josas. There the column blocked and stopped as the van started uphill through the main street. We were hard by the railway station, and for five minutes the wait was joyous. Out poured the townsfolk, arms loaded with cold bottles of champagne. Mothers lifted babies to be kissed, only to be crowded out by the younger beauties of the place, who had the same general idea. Old soldiers who looked like relics of the Franco-Prussian war lined the sidewalks at stiff salute.

Then the music started. The Germans had a heavy mortar battery in a nearby chateau and behind it two field guns. Three French tanks charged the battery position; one was knocked out, the others finished the action.

We moved up to the main street and again halted. Twenty-one German prisoners, several of them wounded, all of them captured in the fight around the chateau, were brought back to be paraded down the main street of Jouy-en-Josas. About sixty Frenchmen of the advance guard formed facing each other within the street, holding aloft their rifles, mess gear, or any hard object that was swingable. As the Germans entered this gantlet, they cracked down hard, aiming at the heads of the passing men. The Germans didn’t try to run. They marched. Except when they reeled or fell from a blow, they took it heads-up, eyes to the front, saying not a word, uttering no cry. They emerged from it looking as if they had been torn by wild beasts. There was wretched and unforgettable depravity in this scene, redeemed only by the bearing of a few helpless young men who knew how to walk seemingly without fear. To have tried to intervene would have been an act bolder than any I saw along the road to Paris.

We were in motion again, and shortly we made a sharp right turn onto a main avenue three kilometers east of Versailles. The road ahead was a mass of greenery, its surface blocked by a half-mile-long line of felled sycamore trees. The French tanks moved uncertainly into this stuff. Four hundred yards off to our left was a dense copse. Out of it suddenly a man came running swiftly, screaming into the wind as he ran.

I asked Elena: “What’s he saying?”

She said: “There’s a German antiaircraft battery in that wood. Three guns altogether. And they’re ready to open fire.”

So with the way partly cleared, we sped ahead, looking for the commander of the forward tank battalion to tell him he was about to be smacked broadside. With every second counting, he still might have gotten his tanks around. At least he listened respectfully. Then he answered: “I know all about it; we’ve already taken care of that battery.”

Never was an overconfident statement more beautifully punctured. It came like this—Boom! Boom! Booml At four hundred yards point-blank the Germans couldn’t miss. Behind us there was loud screaming. One vehicle on the pivot exploded. Another burst into flame. Said the French major: “So now we know.”

So much for the legend that intelligence supplied by Hemingway, with an assist from his two adjutants, Mouton and David Bruce, enabled Leclerc and troops to slip through to Paris, skirting the nodes of resistance. Nothing nastier could be said of the operation; not one sign of applied intelligence distinguished it.

During this and the succeeding scenes, our great and gentle friend, Papa, was close beside us, right to the finish. Blessed be his memory, and hallowed his reputation for fighting gumption; they should not be sullied with canards like this one from an American magazine:

Behind Papa’s jeep wheezed the long line of Renault sedans, taxis, jalopies and trucks, all of them crammed with Task Force Hemingway fighters, now numbering more than 200. “We’ll tag along with Leclerc as far as Buc,” Papa said, “then near Versailles where our information shows we will be slowed down by resistance, we’ll swing around and come into Paris by a back road one of our bike boys found. The chief of staff didn’t think the road was quick enough, but I do.” Just as Hemingway anticipated, Leclerc was temporarily pinned down along the south bank of the Seine by a small group of determined Nazis left behind by the retreating Germans. When Leclerc finally overwhelmed the resistance, his advance patrols moved into Paris. The Germans had deserted the city. As Leclerc entered he noticed a large sign hanging from the door of a cathedral: “Property of Ernest Hemingway.”

Well, glory and hallelujah. Papa stayed with us, then and later, never breaking away toward Versailles. His only attachment was Sergeant Red Pelkey, his jeep driver. Leclerc’s boys acted like nitwits, but if they were slowed anywhere by resistance, it came from the mademoiselles, not the krauts. Papa deserves more credit than he has been given; he was not one to force his talents beyond their natural limits.

Our final lurch, after the column had swung past Orly Field and then, turning leftward, entered the solidly built-up area south of the Seine, took twenty-four hours.

Through the whole ride, we were as perverse as possible. We tore madly along when reason whispered that we should proceed with care. We stalled insensibly whenever the way seemed wide open. It was less a fighting operation than a carnival on wheels. Take what happened after the German battery, concealed in the copse just off our flank, ripped the column broadside. Rather quickly, tank fire killed that battery. The jeep had pulled up between two medium tanks. In the shuffling which attended the exchange of fires, the tank behind us moved forward a few yards. It became impossible to turn. Then both tanks resumed the advance, and we went along between them willy-nilly rather than be run down. This proved embarrassing. In one-half mile our route turned left, at which point we headed straight toward the Seine.

Right at the junction, with the closest piled explosives only twenty feet from the road we must take, was a block-long German ammunition dump. The stacked shells were already blowing sky-high, and even at a distance, the smoke, blast, and flame seemed like an inferno. For that, we could thank the killed-off German battery. With a final round or two it had fired the dump just before being knocked out of action. So doing, it had blocked the road, or at least that was what we supposed for the moment.

The lead tanks came to the intersection. There was not even a pause for a close-up view of the danger. They wheeled left and advanced in file right across the face of the exploding dump. Its metal showered the roadway and its heat was like a blast from molten slag.

For the people within the tanks the risks were trivial. They had battened their hatches, and the plate was thick enough to withstand the hot fragments. They did not take it on the run as they should have done; they snailed along at about six miles per hour.

I yelled: “We can’t make that run.”

Westover yelled: “We’ve got to, or the tanks will crush us. They’re not stopping for anything.”

That’s how it was. The jeep-loaded people spliced into the tank column were held feet-to-the-fire by their own friends. That Mazeppa-like ride lasted not more than forty or fifty seconds by the clock, but the clock lied. There was no protection against either the flying metal or the infernal heat. The best one could do was cover his face with his arms, double up so as to compose as small a target as possible, and hope for the best.

We pulled out of it whole-skinned. One shard had smashed through the hood of the jeep. Another had smacked the metal panel next the jump seat, missing Elena’s bottom by inches. The quarter-ton still perked. It was hellishly hot, and we were horribly thirsty.

There was not far to go. Where the dump ended, the metropolitan city began. In a twinkling, we were among houses and stores, and banking both sides of that broad, lovely avenue were the people—and what a people!

They had waited four years for this parade, and they were ready with the vin d’honneur and much more. There were again the Old Guard standing at salute, wearing faded kepis and fresh-shined medals, young mothers rushing out with infants to be kissed, more beautiful blondes and brunettes, and some not so lovely, platoons of urchins screaming and frantically raising their hands in the V-signal, dear old gammers showing their petticoats when they raised their skirts to weep, and everywhere, men and women, shouting, laughing, crying, embracing in ecstatic delirium.



"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"

For best results, listen to this ... Ssssssssstones, "Under My Thumb"

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

24 August 2021

Ssssssssstones, "Waiting on a Friend"


The Freep's Evan Petzold delineates the extensive process involved in authenticating The Big Fella's 500th Happy-Go-Jacky ...

How does the authentication process work?
For every major league game at Comerica Park, we have two authenticators working, one in each dugout. They come from a third-party company, organized by Major League Baseball. They all have law enforcement backgrounds. They treat game-used items like evidence for a trial. If they don't see it, if it leaves their sight, they won't authenticate it. Every game-used baseball that comes off the field gets rolled to one of our authenticators, and they put a hologram on it. Using the Statcast data, every hologram will tell you who pitched it, the type of pitch, the speed of the pitch, who hit it, the launch angle, the speed off the bat, the distance traveled and the result of play. The level of detail is phenomenal. Unless the ball is hit into the stands, home run or foul ball, we get it and capture the data. Each game I'll get 45-95 balls, and we'll go through each hologram and audit every single one.
If you can't authenticate a ball that leaves the sight of the authenticator, such as a home run into the stands, how are you going to authenticate Cabrera's 500th home run?
"We've gone to great lengths with Major League Baseball, and we will be able to do it. Every ball that is pitched to Miguel after his 499th home run has been stenciled with a letter-number and has been covertly marked with a fluid that only MLB authenticators can see. It's sort of like black-light fluid that we see under black light, but this is a unique type of fluid that only authenticators can view. When Miggy is announced and he's batting, the ball boy comes out and replaces the balls with the umpire. When Miggy's at-bat is done, he then takes the balls back and puts the regular balls back in play. The umpire and ball boy will know what ball — m-5, m-76, m-89 — that was hit in the stands. We'll then retrieve that ball, identify the covert marking and put the hologram on it. For home run 501, it'll be back to normal. If it's in the stands, we can't authenticate it.

MLB used special baseballs for Miguel Cabrera's plate appearances after he reached 499 home runs. Cabrera crushed his 500th home run — the m-113 ball — on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021 in Toronto.



An excellent album ...

Charlie Watts, Rest in Peace

Charlie Watts has passed.

Ssssssssstones, "All Down the Line" ...

Thanks for breaking the news gently, GRF III.


Titian, Sisyphus, 1548

Some thoughts on imperfection.

A Jewish proverb ...

A young man who went to a rabbi and said, “I know that we are commanded to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. But I know that my heart and soul and mind and strength have bad parts in them. So how can I love God?”

After a pause the rabbi replied, “It seems you will just have to love God with the bad parts too.” 
John Lubbock ...
Our great mistake in education is, as it seems to me, the worship of book-learning–the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind. The children in our elementary schools are wearied by the mechanical act of writing, and the interminable intricacies of spelling; they are oppressed by columns of dates, by lists of kings and places, which convey no definite idea to their minds, and have no near relation to their daily wants and occupations; while in our public schools the same unfortunate results are produced by the weary monotony of Latin and Greek grammar. We ought to follow exactly the opposite course with children–to give them a wholesome variety of mental food, and endeavor to cultivate their tastes, rather than to fill their minds with dry facts. The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. What does it matter if the pupil know a little more or a little less? A boy who leaves school knowing much, but hating his lessons, will soon have forgotten almost all he ever learned; while another who had acquired a thirst for knowledge, even if he had learned little, would soon teach himself more than the first ever knew.
G.K. Chesterton ...
If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

Happy Birthday, Borges

Jorge Luis Borges was born on this day in 1899.

Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.

Jorge Luis Borges


I hear the horses' thunder
Down in the valley below,
I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon,
Waiting for the eastern glow.

The apples of the valley hold
The seeds of happiness,
The ground is rich from tender care,
Repay, do not forget, no, no.
Oh, dance in the dark of night,
Sing to the morning light.



The Rolling Stones released Tattoo You on this day in 1981.
Watching girls passing by
It ain't the latest thing
I'm just standing in a doorway

22 August 2021


Today The Big Fella went Big Fly for the 500th time ...

Happy Birthday, Debussy

Claude Debussy was born on this day in 1862.

There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. I love music passionately and because l love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it. It is a free art gushing forth — an open-air art, boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea. It must never be shut in and become an academic art.

Claude Debussy

Magali Mosnier interprets "Syrinx" ...

Tom T. Hall, Rest in Peace

Tom T. Hall has passed.

"I Love" ...

21 August 2021


Wanted in fourteen counties of this state, the condemned is found guilty of the crimes of murder, armed robbery of citizens, state banks, and post offices, the theft of sacred objects, arson in a state prison, perjury, bigamy, deserting his wife and children, inciting prostitution, kidnapping, extortion, receiving stolen goods, selling stolen goods, passing counterfeit money, and, contrary to the laws of this state, the condemned is guilty of using marked cards and loaded dice. Therefore, according to the powers vested in us, we sentence the accused here before us, Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez - known as “The Rat”, or any other aliases he might go by - to hang by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on his soul. Proceed.

From The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


It starts when the child is as young as five or six, when he arrives at school. It starts with marks, rewards, "places", "streams", stars — and still in many places, stripes. This horserace mentality, the victor and loser way of thinking, leads to "Writer X is, is not, a few paces ahead of Writer Y. Writer Y has fallen behind. In his last book Writer Z has shown himself as better than Writer A."  From the very beginning the child is trained to think in this way: always in terms of comparison, of success, and of failure. It is a weeding-out system: the weaker get discouraged and fall out; a system designed to produce a few winners who are always in competition with each other.

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: "You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. the slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accomodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others, will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgement. Those that stay must remember, always and all the time, that they are being molded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society."

Doris Lessing, from The Golden Notebook


It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear something that didn't make you feel like smashing up the kitchen and strangling the cat.

Joe Strummer


Punk rock means exemplary manners to your fellow human beings.

Joe Strummer


If you can play a fiddle
How's about a British jig and reel?
Speaking King's English in quotation
As railhead towns feel the steel mills rust

Water froze
In the generation
Clear as winter ice
This is your paradise

There ain't no need for ya ...

Can you cough it up loud and strong
The immigrants, they wanna sing all night long
It could be anywhere
Most likely could be any frontier
Any hemisphere
No man's land
There ain't no asylum here
King Solomon he never lived 'round here


Sometimes there's no star shining
Scounting the edge of the universe
Sometimes you can't see the horizon
Between the ocean and the earth

And just when you're thinking about slinkin' down
I'm gonna pull you up
I'm gonna pull ya round


If all you had was academic ability, you wouldn't have been able to get out of bed this morning. In fact, there wouldn't have been a bed to get out of. No one could have made one. You could have written about possibility of one, but not have constructed it.  To be creative you actually have to do something.

Ken Robinson, from Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative


Joe is my co-pilot.


Holy Moses, mi amigo
Mystic biscuit, mind your lingo


This is not a time to be dismayed, this is punk rock time. This is what Joe Strummer trained you for. It is now time to go. You’re a good person. That means more now than ever. ‘Cause, as a voter, you throw your penny and you throw it in the sea, that’s all a vote is, it’s like nothing, you don’t even hear it fall. But you can be thunderous in your own life, and being cool to the eight people around you? It rubs off. Goodness is viral.

Henry Rollins



World service bulletin
From the nightshift D.J., 
To all wavebands on earth 
Reconnoitre on the killahertz

This tune is going out to Marconi, 
To all corners of the globe, 
There is no hut in the Serengeti, 
Where my wavelengths do not probe
If a rocket went to Saturn
We sure hope a D.J. is on board, 
For some anti-gravity mixing, 
With two dub plates of U-Roy

Stray Cat strut in Bulawayo, 
Buddy Rich in Burundi, 
Quadraphenia in Armenia, 
Armenia City of the sky, 
Big Youth booming in Djkarta, 
Nina Simone over Sierra Leone
Wild sound of Joujouka in Nevada
Everywhere, everywhere 
Bob's bringing it all back home

I let the boogie woogie rumble, 
In the back of Bangalore, 
I get complaints from Bondi Beach, 
What? No longboard surf hardcore? 
Send the rock steady out to Freddy, 
Who juggles plates in Tsing Tao City

Bo Diddley's in Finland Station
Sun Ra's in Omaha, 
The Skatalites in New York City, 
The Stooges rule over Havana
The Bhundu Boys rock Acapulco, 
Good hip hop in Islamabad, 
Ali Farke Toure's in Oaxaca 
N'Baaba Maal's all over Stalingrad

While some are waking some are sleeping, 
From Kamchatka to the Gabon, 
Above the tradewind wingtips beating, 
We calling out for Ronnie, 
And da do Ron Ron Ron 

We call the Cumbria to tumble, 
Across the peaks of the Himalayas, 
We send the funk into the jungle, 
To the last outpost of the bass player

Joe Strummer


The way you get a better world is, you don't put up with substandard anything.

Joe Strummer



Happy Birthday, Strummer

Joe Strummer was born on this day in 1952.

I don't want to hear about what the rich are doing
I don't want to go to where the rich are going
They think they're so clever, they think they're so right
But the truth is only known by guttersnipes ...

Clash, from "Garageland"

19 August 2021


"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"

For best results, listen to this ... Cheap Trick, "Stiff Competition"

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


In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, "Look at me ... I'm tall, and I'm straight, and I'm handsome. Look at you ... you're all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you." And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, "Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest." So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.

Kneller, Tom Waits' character in Wristcutters

RUSH, "Digital Man"

Neil Cam ...

18 August 2021



One February night two years ago, a helicopter carrying Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the man accused of masterminding the World Trade Center bombing, sped along the East River on the last leg of Mr. Yousef's journey from Pakistan, where he had recently been captured, to detention and trial in the United States.

As the helicopter flew over mid-Manhattan, William A. Gavin, a senior official in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York office, pushed up his captive's blindfold.

Mr. Yousef squinted as his eyes adjusted to the light. Then Mr. Gavin pointed at the Trade Center towers below, their lights glowing in the clear, cold night.

''Look down there,'' Mr. Gavin said he told Mr. Yousef. ''They're still standing.''

Mr. Yousef replied, ''They wouldn't be, if I had had enough money and explosives,'' recalled Mr. Gavin, who has since retired.

Mr. Yousef may have boasted of his role in the Trade Center blast, which killed six people and injured more than 1,000 on Feb. 26, 1993. But as his trial begins in Federal court in Manhattan today, important questions remain about this figure and the extent of his participation in what at the time was the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

Jihad will not end until the last day.

Thank you, Kurt.

Koop, "Koop Island Blues"

 Woong San performs ...


Reed, A Man Herds Sheep with the Help of His Collies in Scotland, 1919

15 August 2021


From Rolling Stone's review of The Kinks' Give the People What They Want ...
Their last gasp of greatness, as Ray tried to adapt his sensibility to meathead AOR bluster. It made a companion piece to the Stones’ Tattoo You, which came out a few days later—for a weird moment in time, in the fall of 1981, these two swinging London bands ruled U.S. rock radio, blasting out of bitchin’ Camaros all across the heartland. “Around The Dial” is a bizarrely moving ode to a vanished radio DJ—a template for how the Replacements would sound on Tim. It also has “Better Things,” a generous farewell to their young and innocent days. Ray tells his fans, “I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things,” and no doubt he means it.

A time capsule. 


This is a big day.

Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door was released on this day in 1979.
With a little bit of concentration
And a little bit of helping hands
And a little bit of raving madness 

The Cars released Panorama on this day in 1980.
You were tryin' to be smooth
You're rough on the edges
You were tryin' to be, hysterical
And I still ain't laughin'

Pretenders released Pretenders II on this day in 1981.
Pack it up or throw it away
What I can't carry, bury

The Kinks released Give the People What They Want in 1981, as well.
The radios of the world are tuning in tonight,
Are you on the dial, are you tuned in right?
One of our D.J.'s is missing
Are you listening?
Are you listening to me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me clearly?
Around the dial

It's sandwich time.


We talked a lot about what we were reading. Jim was just a remarkable reader. One thing that Jim had going for him — and I knew him as a young man and as an old man — was that he was really, really, really smart. And he had an extraordinary commitment to the idea of being an artist and what that meant. Seems a little bit old fashioned these days. And, in fact, I didn’t always agree with him that we belonged to a separate society with separate rules. But it was a pure flame for him, and I still look at it with a real respect. He was one of a kind, and one of the things that I envy most about Jim was he was really independent in some remarkable ways. He did lots of things that you really had to not give a shit to be able to do. When I think of somebody else who was as radical a personality, I think of Hunter Thompson. However, I think Thompson really had one eye on the audience when he was pulling his antics. Much more than Jim. Jim did what he felt like doing and waited for somebody to throw a drink in his face to come out of the reverie.

Thomas McGuane


Dana Masters on the sanctity of dinner table storytelling ...
... powerful stories of what people went through so I could have what I have today.

"At Last/Blues Skies" ...