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 September 2021

Breathe.

Cultural Offering provides timely advice ...
October 1st is just around the corner.  The greatest day of the year.  Nothing to buy.  No cards.  No need to decorate, save the Chrysanthemums.  Just watch, pay attention, and breathe it all in.

CONNECT 

Impishness.


This time tomorrow, it will be October.

Frank Sinatra, "At Long Last Love"


Hang.

'Tis October Eve, so "Keep your eyes open and prick up your ears.  Rehearse your loudest cry."

"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 .. Jethro Tull, "No Lullabye"


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

29 September 2021

James Taylor, "September Grass"

Released.


Rush released All the World's a Stage on this day in 1976.
I know it’s most unusual
To come before you so
But I’ve found an ancient miracle
I thought that you should know
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There’s something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you.

Neil Peart, from "2112, IV: Presentation"

Happy Birthday, Nelson

Abbott, Admiral Nelson, 1799 


Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté was born on this day in 1758.
Gentlemen, when the enemy is committed to a mistake we must not interrupt him too soon.
Horatio Nelson

Jarvis Cocker, from the indispensable Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Song And Chanteys ...

27 September 2021

Eddie Vedder, "Rise"

Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning black holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
Suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

Eddie Vedder

"A song about a hitch hiker ..."


Thank you, Jessica.

Visée, Prelude and Menuet

Brandon Acker performs ...

Happy Birthday, Adams

Copley, Samuel Adams, 1772


Samuel Adams was born on this day in 1722.
A general Dissolution of Principles & Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the Common Enemy. While the People are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their Virtue they will be ready to surrender their Liberties to the first external or internal Invader. How necessary then is it for those who are determin'd to transmit the Blessings of Liberty as a fair Inheritance to Posterity, to associate on publick Principles in Support of publick Virtue.

Samuel Adams, from a letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

26 September 2021

Drive-Thru.

From the October 2, 1981 issue of The Denisonian ...

RUSH, "Freewill"

Released.


The J. Geils Band released Full House on this day in 1972.
I don't care if their legs are thin
I don't care if their teeth are big
I don't care if their hair's a wig
Why waste time lookin' at the waistline?
First I look at the purse

Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers

Jackson Browne, "These Days"

David Lindley, fiddle ...

Guardian.


September 26 through October 2 is Banned Book Week.
If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.

John F. Kennedy

Happy Birthday, Ferry


Bryan Ferry was born on this day in 1945.

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" ...

Poetry.


... [P]oetry breathing throughout the fairy architecture of its halls.

Washington Irving, from Tales of the Alhambra

25 September 2021

Willie Nelson, "Nothing I Can Do About It Now"

Paradise.


I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of a Library.

Jorge Luis Borges 

Happy Birthday, Mulligan


Hercules Mulligan was born on this day in 1740.

Happy Birthdau, Borromini

Borromini/Bernini, Barberini Palace, Helicoidal Staircase, 1634


Francesco Borromini was born on this day in 1599.

Christiaan Santini explains the rivalry between Borromini and Gian Lorenzo Bernini ...

Happy Birthday, Rothko

Mark Rothko, Black Blue Painting, 1968


Mark Rothko was born on this day in 1903.


The reason for my painting large canvases is that I want to be intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass.  This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command. 


Mark Rothko


Simon Schama's Power of Art: Mark Rothko ...

Worlds.


I've never met anyone who was what he or she seemed;


or at least, ...


... was only what he or she seemed.


People carry worlds within them. 

Neil Gaiman

Happy Birthday, Gould


Glenn Gould was born on this day in 1932.

In the best of all possible worlds, art would be unnecessary. Its offer of restorative, placative therapy would go begging a patient. The audience would be the artist and their life would be art. I believe that the justification of art is the internal combustion it ignites in the hearts of men and not its shallow, externalized, public manifestations. The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.

Glenn Gould

Bach, The Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus XIV ...

24 September 2021

Released.


David Bowie released Tonight on this day in 1984.
From Central Park to Shanty Town
I always hear that crazy sound
From New York to Shanty Town
There's always something else
Don't look down

David Bowie, from "Don't Look Down"

 Thank you, Jan.

Mythic-Materialistic.


Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)—Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world—a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious—surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.

Walt Whitman

23 September 2021

Happy Birthday, Coltrane


John Coltrane was born on this day in 1926.

"On Green Dolphin Street", with  Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb ...

Successive.

Wyeth, N.C., Sweet Land of Liberty, 1943


Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

George Eliot

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"

For best results, listen to this .. MSB, "Heartland"


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

22 September 2021

Led Zeppelin, "Over the Hills and Far Away"

Discourse.

Professors Robert George of Princeton University and Cornel West of Harvard University meet with Dr. Scott Powell, Director of the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought at Colorado University for a discussion about friendship, faith, and the state of civil discourse ...

GEORGE
If conservatives are doing nothing but listening to Fox News and reading National Review and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and progressives are watching MSNBC and reading The New York Times and reading The Nation, all that's going to happen there is something that Cornel and I abominate, that is everybody being reinforced in what they already believe, nobody being challenged nobody being unsettled, and they're being taught that people who disagree with them are one of two things: either they are bad people or ignorant people. Either they are frauds or they are fool. Either they are bigots or they are stupid or both, and that is just a recipe for cultural disaster.  It's exacerbating this terrible polarization and the demonization that we are seeing.  We've got to get out of these silos.  In part, it's the product of technology that enables us to hide in our own spaces and only hear people online you know.  You know where your Facebook friends are, all people who agree with you.  Your Twitter followers, all people who agree with you, and we're just simply being reinforced.  You know what we're being reinforced in when we allow that to happen?  Prejudices.  Some of them might be right, some of them might be wrong, but they're not actual thoughts.  They're just prejudices we happen to believe.  If we're lucky, they happen to be right. We haven't thought our way to them because we haven't engaged the reasons they might be wrong.  You're really only entitled to count a view as a true opinion if you reason your way to it; if you think about it, if you consider what's to be said against it, as well as what's to be said in favor of it.  Otherwise it's something that happens to you.  It's not like an experience.  It's not something you actually do.
WEST
The three of us actually, in our own calling as teachers, are fundamentally wedded to The Negro National Anthem, The Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice."  Not lift every echo.  You see, echo is just an extension of an echo chamber.  It's a copy, it's the imitation, it's the emulation.  We all begin with imitation and emulation, but in the end like our fingerprint, we want each student, each human being, to laugh for themselves. Don't laugh for somebody else.  Don't love for somebody else, and you can't think for somebody else.  

The only way you find your voice, and this is, of course, the language of the jazz world and the blues world, you can't be a jazz man or a blues woman unless you find your voice.  Quit imitating.  Aretha quit imitating Marion Williams.  John Coltrane quit imitating Johnny Hodges.  Russell Thompson of The Stylistics, quit imitating Eddie Holman.  The important thing is, Robert Zimmerman, you can't imitate Robert Johnson.  You're a Jewish brother from Minnesota.  Rename yourself Bob Dylan.  That's fine, but now you got your own voice.  Dylan, you just know your voice is one that is in conversation with a genius from Delta named Robert Johnson or a genius from the vanilla side of town named Hank Williams.  Both of them deeply American, deeply southern, but they found their voices and so that becomes a crucial thing in terms of breaking from the the narrow tribalism.

Fighting.


On this day in 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British during the Revolutionary War.  
Liberty? Independence? Are they to remain only words? Gentlemen, let us make them fighting words!

Nathan Hale

Dream.



Autumn approaches
and the heart begins to dream

Basho

Long-discarded.


DIARY of a CHURCH MOUSE


Here among long-discarded cassocks,
Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
Here where the vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
Lean and alone I spend my days
Behind this Church of England baize.
I share my dark forgotten room
With two oil-lamps and half a broom.
The cleaner never bothers me,
So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
My jam is polish for the floor.
Christmas and Easter may be feasts
For congregations and for priests,
And so may Whitsun. All the same,
They do not fill my meagre frame.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival,
When I can satisfy my want
With ears of corn around the font.
I climb the eagle's brazen head
To burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit stair
And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
It is enjoyable to taste
These items ere they go to waste,
But how annoying when one finds
That other mice with pagan minds
Come into church my food to share
Who have no proper business there.
Two field mice who have no desire
To be baptized, invade the choir.
A large and most unfriendly rat
Comes in to see what we are at.
He says he thinks there is no God
And yet he comes… it's rather odd.
This year he stole a sheaf of wheat
(It screened our special preacher's seat),
And prosperous mice from fields away
Come in to hear our organ play,
And under cover of its notes
Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats.
A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I
Am too papistical, and High,
Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong
To munch through Harvest Evensong,
While I, who starve the whole year through,
Must share my food with rodents who
Except at this time of the year
Not once inside the church appear.
Within the human world I know
Such goings-on could not be so,
For human beings only do
What their religion tells them to.
They read the Bible every day
And always, night and morning, pray,
And just like me, the good church mouse,
Worship each week in God's own house,
But all the same it's strange to me
How very full the church can be
With people I don't see at all
Except at Harvest Festival.

Sir John Betjeman

Waits.


I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape---the loneliness of it---the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it---the whole story doesn't show.

Andrew Wyeth

Glenn Gould, The Art of Fugue

Glenn Gould performs the Contrapunctus I ...



'Tis Autumn.

Ramble.

Rackham, Rip in the Faerie Circle, 1916


In a long ramble of the kind on a fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Catskill Mountains. He was after his favorite sport of squirrel-shooting, and the still solitudes had echoed and reëchoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening between the trees he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild and lonely, the bottom filled with fragments from the overhanging cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun. For some time Rip lay musing on this scene; evening was gradually advancing; the mountains began to throw their long blue shadows over the valleys; he saw that it would be dark long before he could reach the village, and he heaved a heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the terrors of Dame Van Winkle.

As he was about to descend, he heard a voice from a distance, hallooing, “Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!” He looked round, but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his fancy must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he heard the same cry ring through the still evening air: “Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!”—at the same time Wolf bristled up his back, and giving a low growl, skulked to his master’s side, looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anxiously in the same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling up the rocks, and bending under the weight of something he carried on his back. He was surprised to see any human being in this lonely and unfrequented place; but supposing it to be some one of the neighborhood in need of his assistance, he hastened down to yield it.

On nearer approach he was still more surprised at the vsingularity of the stranger’s appearance. He was a short, square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion,—a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist, and several pair of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons down the sides. He bore on his shoulder a stout keg that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him with the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip complied with his usual valacrity, and relieving one another, they clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a mountain torrent.

As they ascended, Rip every now and then heard long, rolling peals, like distant thunder, that seemed to issue out of a deep ravine, or rather cleft, between lofty rocks, toward which their rugged path conducted. He paused for an instant, but supposing it to be the muttering of one of those transient thundershowers which often take place in mountain heights, he proceeded. Passing through the ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small vamphitheater, surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which trees shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses of the azure sky and the bright evening cloud. During the whole time Rip and his companion had labored on in silence; for though the former marveled greatly, what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was something strange and incomprehensible about the unknown that inspired awe and checked familiarity.

On entering the amphitheater new objects of wonder presented themselves. On a level spot in the center was a company of odd-looking personages playing at ninepins. They were dressed in a quaint, outlandish fashion; some wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and most of them had enormous breeches, of similar style with that of the guide’s. Their visages, too, were peculiar: one had a large head, broad face, and small, piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist entirely of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar-loaf hat, set off with a little red cock’s tail. They all had beards, of various shapes and colors. There was one who seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentleman, with a weather-beaten countenance; he wore a laced doublet, broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and feather, red stockings, and high-heeled shoes, with roses in them. The whole group reminded Rip of the figures in an old Flemish painting, in the parlor of Dominie Van Shaick, the village parson, which had been brought over from Holland at the time of the settlement.

What seemed particularly odd to Rip was that, though these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, and were, withal, the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rumbling peals of thunder.

As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly desisted from their play, and stared at him with such fixed, statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth countenances, that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote together. His companion now emptied the contents of the keg into large flagons, and made signs to him to wait upon the company. He obeyed with fear and trembling; they quaffed the liquor in profound silence, and then returned to their game.

By degrees Rip’s awe and apprehension subsided. He even ventured, when no eye was fixed upon him, to taste the beverage, which he found had much of the flavor of excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another; and he repeated his visits to the flagon so often that at length his senses were overpowered, his eyes swam in his head, his head gradually declined, and he fell into a deep sleep.

Washington Irving, from "Rip van Winkle"

George Winston, "Woods"

Autumnal equinox. 

Full moon ... Harvest moon. 

'Tis the Oyster Months.

'Tis Autumn ...
 

21 September 2021

Turning.


That night was the turning-point in the season. We had gone to bed in summer, and we awoke in autumn; for summer passes into autumn in some imaginable point of time, like the turning of a leaf.

Henry David Thoreau

First.


On this night, at about this time forty years ago, I was walking into Vets' Memorial to see my first concert: The Kinks, supporting one of their best, Give the People What They Want.

The Lantern's review.

"Around the Dial" ...

Jubilee.


That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air.  Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.

Wallace Stegner, from Angle of Repose

Released.


Cheap Trick released Dream Police on this day in 1979.
Ambition? ha!
If all I've heard is true,
There's nothin' much I can do
To change the world, it's irreversible.
But in what it lacks,
It's got a taste that smacks
Of somethin' irresistible.

Gonna raise hell ...

Rick Nielsen, from "Gonna Raise Hell"
"I'll Be With You Tonight"" ...

20 September 2021

Chopin, 12 Études, Op. 25

 Beatrice Rana performs No. 1 in A-flat major ...

Light.

New.

Waterhouse, Ophelia, 1889


Unbind my hair, she says. The night is white and warm,
the snow on the mountains absorbing the moon.
We have to get there before the music begins, scattered,
elliptical, needing to be drawn together and sung.
They have dark green voices and listening, there are birds,
coal shovels, the glazed hysteria of the soon-to- be-dead.
I suspect Jesus will return and the surprise will be
fatal. I'll ride the equator on a whale, a giraffe on land.
Even stone when inscribed bears the ecstatic. Pressed to
some new wall, ungiving, the screams become thinner.
Let us have the tambourine and guitars and forests, fruit,
and a new sun to guide us, a holy book, tracked in new blood.

Jim Harrison

On to the Oyster Months ...

Move.


Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. 

Rosa Luxemburg

19 September 2021

Responsibilities.


Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is cheifly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents. This is a truth of great importance, but not yet sufficiently attended to: and is probably more strongly impressed on my mind by facts, and reflections suggested by them, than on yours which has contemplated abuses of power issuing from a very different quarter. 

Wherever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done, and not less readily by a powerful and interested party than by a powerful and interested prince.

James Madison, from a letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788

Corrupt.


Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.

Samuel Adams

Thanks for the video, Kurt.

Jackson Browne, "Looking into You"

David Lindley, fiddle ...

Imagination.


Nothing can be more limiting to the imagination than only writing about what you know.

John Gardner

Released.


Triumph released Allied Forces on this day in 1981.
Nothing is easy, nothing good is free ...

Rik Emmett, Gil Moore, Mike Levine, from Fight the Good Fight

Connection.


I think rituals help. A psychoanalyst pointed out that cultures that hold rituals around food have less eating disorders than cultures that don’t. And our culture is a good example. Do you eat standing up? Do you eat in your car? Do you eat walking down the street? Or do you actually sit down and have a few moments of silence? Do you say a prayer and bless the food? Do you have some intention of receiving the preciousness of the food into your body and being? When you do, then you start to sense a connection because you are actually practicing the act of showing up and being present for something.

Edward Espe Brown

Wise.

On Thursday, Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at Notre Dame; a comforting voice among and for the voiceless.  Listen to this noble man's wise words and be renewed ...
We may fall short, but our imperfection does not relieve us of our obligation.

Don't miss the Q & A afterward.


Thanks, Kurt.

Happy Birthday, Golding


William Golding was born on this day in 1911.
“I know there isn't no beast—not with claws and all that, I mean—but I know there isn't no fear, either." Piggy paused.  "Unless—" 
Ralph moved restlessly.  "Unless what?"
"Unless we get frightened of people.”

William Golding, from Lord of the Flies 

Schumann, Träumerei

Viktoria Mullova & Misha Mullov-Abbado perform ...

18 September 2021

Enterprise.


Cultural Offering asks the funny-because-it's-true question, "Have the Clintons been declared a criminal enterprise yet?"

Pete(r) Rowan(s), "Before the Streets Were Paved"

Oh Grandfather tell me how it was when you were young
Was the world so very old when your life had just begun?
Oh Grandfather tell me is it true you worked the land
And the tools that you used you made with your own hands

Before time was only money and machines made man a slave
Was the world all milk and honey before all the streets were paved?

Joy.


Thank you, Sarah.

Concentrates.

Watson, Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1770


Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

Samuel Johnson 

Loyalty.


True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise - the other, loyalty.

Fielding H. Yost, Michigan football coach, 1901 - 1923, 1925 - 1926

Michigan.


GO BLUE!

Smug.


Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes". When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Abraham Lincoln, from a letter to Joshua Speed, August 24, 1855

The hypocrisy of the smug.

Thanks, Kurt.

Covers.


The species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything that ever before existed in the world.  It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood. It every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Alexis de Tocqueville, from Democracy in America

Plunge.

Wyeth, N.C., The Giant, 1923


I can breathe easier now that the appointments are behind me.
I missed them all, through deliberate negligence,
Having waited for the urge to go, which I knew wouldn’t come.
I’m free, and against organized, clothed society.
I’m naked and plunge into the water of my imagination.

Fernando Pessoa

Happy Birthday, Johnson

Reynolds, Samuel Johnson, 1756


Samuel Johnson was born on this day in 1709.

The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.

Samuel Johnson

Must.