31 January 2022
"On Writing: An Abecedarian" ...
Spaces. Literature creates spaces—rooms, towns, landscapes, worlds. There are literary spaces a reader can enter and get lost in. A book holds a world, and it is also a means of transportation to past worlds, to places far away. Sven Birkerts, in The Gutenberg Elegies, imagines a painting in which a woman sits on a garden bench with a book in her lap, gazing into the distance. She is “planted in one reality, the garden setting, while adrift in the spell of another.” Books allow us to drift in the space of a reality different from the one we are reading in.
30 January 2022
REVISED January 2022 ...
Scheidt: Ludi Musici
L'Acheron, Francois Joubert-Caillet
Handel: The Complete Sonatas for Recorder
Marion Verbruggen, Ton Koopman and Jaap ter Linden
Buxtehude: Complete Chamber Music
Songs of Olden Times: Estonian Folk Hymns and Runic Songs
Ockeghem: Requiem; Missa Mi-Mi; Missa Prolationum
THE ORIGINAL COLLECTION:
Holborne: Pavans and Galliards, 1599
The Consort of Musicke & The Guildhall Waits, Anthony Rooley & Trevor Jones
Purcell: Sonatas Of 3 Parts, 1683
Pavlo Beznosiuk, Rachel Podger, Christophe Coin, Christopher Hogwood
Telemann: Trio Sonatas
Erik Bosgraaf (recorder), Dmitry Sinkovksy (violin)
German Lute Music of the 18th Century
All humans are essentially wild creatures and hate confinement. We need what is wild, and we thrill to it, our wildness bubbling over with an anarchic joie de vivre. We glint when the wild light shines. The more suffocatingly enclosed we are - tamed by television, controlled by mortgages and bureaucracy - the louder our wild genes scream in aggression, anger and depression.
Seaby, Nightingale, 1927
Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about.
Which is why we have songs of praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow.
Songs to the gods, who have so many names.
Songs of the shepherds sing, on the lonely mountains, while the sheep are honoring the grass, by eating it.
The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers, suddenly, in the morning light, have opened.
A chorus of many, shouting to heaven, or at it, or pleading
Or that greatest of love affairs, a violin and a human body.
And a composer, maybe hundreds of years dead.
I think of Schubert, scribbling on a cafe napkin.
Thank you, thank you.
From the depths of his corner, the dreamer remembers all the objects identified with solitude, objects that are memories of solitude and which are betrayed by the mere fact of having been forgotten, abandoned in a corner. "Remember the old, old lamp that greeted you from far away, through the window of your thoughts, its panes burned by suns of other years." From the depths of his corner, the dreamer sees an older house, a house in another land, thus making a synthesis of the childhood home and the dream home. The old objects question him: "What will the friendly old lamp think of you, during the lonely winter nights? What will the other objects think of you, the ones that were so kind, so fraternally kind to you? Was not their obscure fate closely united with your own? Motionless, mute things never forget: melancholy and despised as they are, we confide in them that which is humblest and least suspected in the depths of ourselves." What a call to humility this dreamer heard in his corner. For the corner denies the palace, dust denies marble, and worn objects deny splendor and luxury. The dreamer in his corner wrote off the world in a detailed daydream that destroyed, one by one, all the objects in the world. Having crossed the countless little thresholds of the disorder of things that are reduced to dust, these souvenir-objects set the past in order, associating condensed motionlessness with far distant voyages into a world that is no more.
Gaston Bachelard, from The Poetics of Space
Dr. West on integrity ...
What is the quality of your courage and your willingness to bear witness radically against the grain, even if you have to sacrifice something precious, including your popularity, in the name of integrity?
29 January 2022
The steak & ale special features our prime rib and a pitcher of Wiedemann for $15.99.
As always, it's five plays for a dollar.
Steven Bishop, "Save It for a Rainy Day" ...
Burton Cummings, "Stand Tall" ...
Thelma Houston, "Don't Leave Me This Way" ...
KISS, "Hard Luck Woman" ...
Heart, "Dreamboat Annie" ...
Timely thoughts from Dr. Robert George ...
- Some advice for my students, myself, and everyone …: When you feel the temptation to “go along to get along,” resist it. (You may find the words “get thee behind me, Satan” helpful.)
- So they’re trying to shut you up: How to defend yourself in a free-speech crisis, whatever your politics: Remember that in standing up for your own rights to think and speak freely, and to seek the truth and speak the truth as best as you understand it, you are not only protecting yourself; you are also defending the rights of other scholars (and students) and the integrity of the academic vocation. When you prevail in upholding academic freedom for yourself, as you will do when you stand fast and get good advice, your victory redounds to the benefit of the entire academic community — a community in which the freedoms that are the oxygen on which it thrives are very much in jeopardy today.
- A moral voice: We have, to one degree or another, embraced the ideology of individualism. As a result, we have lost our sense of the importance of the common good—of we, ourselves, and us—and the value (and values) of the communities to which we belong and in which alone we can find our true fulfillment. We must move from what Sacks calls our “I society” back to a “We society.”
There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life.
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister
The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.
What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler’s sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.
Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Pratt, Thomas Paine, 1795
Thomas Paine was born on this date in 1737.
The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all parts of a civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their laws; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence then the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost every thing which is ascribed to government.
Thoms Paine, from Common Sense
28 January 2022
27 January 2022
"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 ... Thin Lizzy, "Renegade" ...
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.
Dr. West warns us of "spiritual blackout" ...
Probably the most morally sublime feature of the species is that no matter how pervasive the domination is, it tends not to completely suffocate love, tenderness, struggles for justice, fighting for the poor, fighting for the vulnerable. The sparks of love of truth, the sparks of the love of justice, the sparks of the love of beauty, the sparks of the love of something bigger than oneself ...
Eighty years since the Holocaust began, violent antisemitism remains a threat. The lessons of this history have never been more relevant and are the focus of this solemn event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day—designated by the United Nations to be January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Survivors reflect on and honor the lives of Europe’s Jews—who were targeted for annihilation—other victims of Nazi persecution, and individuals who chose to help.
Lange, Mozart am Klavier, 1789
The greatest composer of all time, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was born on this date in 1756.
From his Great Mass in C minor, K. 427, here's the "Domine Deus" and "Cum Sancto Spiritu" sung by Julia Lezhneva and Joyce DiDonato with the Dresden State Orchestra of Saxony State Opera Choir of Saxony, directed by Markus Poschner ...
26 January 2022
25 January 2022
Crespi, Niccolò Machiavelli, 1623
All courses of action are risky, so the right thing is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.
Performed by United States Marine Band members Gunnery Sergeants Brad Weil and Amy McCabe, trumpet, Staff Sergeant Cecilia Buettgen, horn, Gunnery Sergeant Preston Hardage, trombone, and Master Sergeant Mark Thiele, tuba ...
From the Louisiana Channel's series, How I became a Writer, featuring Paul Auster ...
The essence of being an artist is to confront the things you are trying to do, to tackle it head on, and if it is good, it will have its own beauty - an unpredictable beauty.
Curtis, The Pool - Apache, 1906
The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other. Consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.
Edward Sheriff Curtis
Nasmyth, Robert Burns, 1787
Robert Burns was born on this day in 1759.
TO a LOUSE
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!
24 January 2022
23 January 2022
Let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world, in spite of all absurdities, and all the frustrations, and all the disappointment. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live life as if it were a work of art.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
"It is one of the greatest Curses visited upon Mankind," he told me, "that they shall fear where no Fear is: this astrological and superstitious Humour disarms men's Hearts, it breaks their Courage, it makes them help to bring such Calamities on themselves." Then he stopped short and looked at me, but my Measure was not yet fill'd up so I begg' d him to go on, go on. And he continued: "First, they fancy that such ill Accidents must come to pass, and so they render themselves fit Subjects to be wrought upon; it is a Disgrace to the Reason and Honour of Mankind that every fantasticall Humourist can presume to interpret the Skies (here he grew Hot and put down his Dish) and to expound the Time and Seasons and Fates of Empires, assigning the Causes of Plagues and Fires to the Sins of Men or the Judgements of God. This weakens the Constancy of Humane Actions, and affects Men with Fears, Doubts, Irresolutions and Terrours."
"I was afraid of your Moving Picture," I said without thought, and that was why I left.
"It was only Clock-work, Nick."
"But what of the vast Machine of the World, in which Men move by Rote but in which nothing is free from Danger?"
"Nature yields to the Forward and the Bold."
"It does not yield, it devours: You cannot master or manage Nature."
"But, Nick, our Age can at least take up the Rubbidge and lay the Foundacions: that is why we must study the principles of Nature, for they are our best Draught."
"No, sir, you must study the Humours and Natures of Men: they are corrupt, and therefore your best Guides to understand Corrupcion."
"The things of the Earth must be understood by the sentient Faculties, not by the Understanding."
There was a Silence between us now until Sir Chris. says, "Is your Boy in the Kitchin? I am mighty Hungry.”
Peter Ackroyd, from Hawksmoor
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. Get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed. Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
22 January 2022
Like legend and myth, magic fades when it is unused -- hence all the old tales of elfin kingdoms moving further and further away from our world, or that magical beings require our faith, our belief in their existence, to survive. That is a lie. All they require is our recognition.
Charles de Lint
People focus on role models; it is more effective to find antimodels—people you don’t want to resemble when you grow up.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This week one of my sixth-grade students told me that heroes don't exist anymore.
I may not be Mr. Charisma
I know I squint when I read
I cleared my throat and muddied my thoughts
Somehow I was born to lead
I don't mean to bring all this up again
I know a thing or two about loss
I'm ready to turn this thing around
With a help of my own special sauce
But now, some of the party heavyweights are
Whispering about '24
Who're certain Mrs. Clinton
Will be the candidate once more
It's not exactly a morale boost when
They think she could fill my shoes
I just need a couple day to get over
These Regular-Guy Scranton Joe Blues
Regular-Guy Scranton Joe Blues
Check out the rest at 42:14, HERE.
Sting released his best solo album, The Soul Cages, on this date in 1991.
I saw it again this eveningBlack sail in a pale yellow skyAnd just as before in a momentIt was gone where the grey gulls flyIf it happens again I shall worryThat only a strange ship could flyAnd my sanity scans the horizonIn the light of the darkening skyThat night as I walked in my slumberI waded into the sea strandAnd I swam with the moon and her loverUntil I lost sight of the landI swam till the night became morningBlack sail in a reddening skyFound myself on the deck of a rolling shipSo far where no grey gulls flyAll around me was silenceAs if mocking my frail human hopesAnd a question mark hung in the canvasFor the wind that had died in the ropesI may have slept for an hourI may have slept for a dayFor I woke in a bed of white linenAnd the sky was the colour of clayAt first just a rustle of canvasAnd the gentlest breath on my faceBut a galloping line of white horsesSaid that soon we were in for a raceThe gentle sigh turned to a howlingAnd the grey sky she angered to blackAnd my anxious eyes searched the horizonWith the gathering sea at my backDid I see the shade of a sailorOn the bridge through the wheelhouse paneHeld fast to the wheel of the rocking shipAs I squinted my eyes in the rainFor the ship had turned into the windAgainst the storm to braceAnd underneath the sailor's hatI saw my father's faceIf a prayer today is spokenPlease offer it for meWhen the bridge to heaven is brokenAnd you're lost on the wild wild seaLost on the wild wild sea...Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner
The Reverend Dr. Cornel West on education and the cultivation of self ...
Education is about the formation of attention so you attend to the things that matter. It's about about the cultivation of a self that you're able to have a sense of who you are, based on integrity, honesty, and decency. It's about the maturation of a soul that you learn how the muster the courage to think critically, the courage to love, to stay in contact with the humanity of others.
Priest and poet Robert Stephen Hawker's poetry-writing den (above), built into a Cornwall hillside overlooking the Atlantic.
ARE THEY NOT ALL MINISTERING SPIRITS?
We see them not--we cannot hear
The music of their wing--
Yet know we that they sojourn near,
The Angels of the spring!
They glide along this lovely ground
When the first violet grows;
Their graceful hands have just unbound
The zone of yonder rose.
I gather it for thy dear breast,
From stain and shadow free:
That which an Angel's touch hath blest
Is meet, my love, for thee!
Robert Stephen Hawker
Hawker excommunicated his cat from the hideaway for Sunday-mousing. Well-done.
CARL R. FIRCHAU (1884-1973)
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
REMEMBER EVERYONE DEPLOYED
TAO TE CHING, Lao Tzu
Waterhouse, Boreas, 1903
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Spitzweg, The Bookworm, 1850
I'm reading ...
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- Cheap Trick, "Baby Loves to Rock"
- New Order, "Age of Consent"
- Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
- Billy Joe Shaver, "Get Thee Behind Me Satan"
- The Oyster Months Notebook (rev. January 2022)
- Wagner, Siegfried, WWV 86C
- Mike Scott, "Fisherman's Blues"
- Jerry Douglas, "King Silkie"
- Gordon Lightfoot, "Fading Away"
- Happy Birthday, Chekhov
- Luka Bloom, "Raglan Road"
- Happy Birthday, Fields
- Happy Birthday, Mozart
- Happy Birthday, Michigan
- Happy Birthday, Cotton
- Holborne, "Honie-Suckle"
- Happy Birthday, Maugham
- Happy Birthday, Burns
- Happy Birthday, Zander
- Haydn, Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob. VIIb/1
- Boccherini, Cello Sonata in A major, G.4
- David Bowie, "The Pretty Things are Going to Hell"
- Coleman Hawkins, "Lover Man"
- Manassas, "Hide It So Deep"
- Elton John, "Come Down in Time"
- David Bowie, "Oh, You Pretty Things"
- Happy Birthday, Byron
- The Mavericks, "As Long As There's Loving Tonight"
- David Lindley, "Mutineer"
- Happy Birthday, Poe
- Devienne, Trio in B-flat, Op. 61, No. 5
- Devienne, Quartet in F major, Op. 73, No. 2
- Happy Birthday, Milne
- Ravel, Pavane pour une infante défunte
- RUSH, "Digital Man"
- RUSH, "The Analog Kid"
- RUSH, "Headlong Flight"
- Happy Birthday, Franklin
- Bach, Singet dem Herrn ein neues, BWV 225
- Jackson Browne.
- Jackson Browne, "Looking into You"
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