"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 March 2022


Beauty perishes in life, but is immortal in art.

Leonardo da Vinci



"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 ... UFO, "Making Moves"

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


Historically, this day has been good to us.

Led Zeppelin released Presence in 1976 ...

"Nobody's Fault but Mine"

In 1980, Scorpions released Animal Magnetism  ...

"Make it Real"

The Smiths' Louder than Bombs dropped, as the children say, in '87 ...



Canaletto, The Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute towards the Riva degli Schiavoni, 1744

Bruckner, Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107

Concertmaster David Grimal leads Les Dissonances in a performance of the Finale ...


Botticelli, La Primavera (detail), 1482

If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,
   And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness;
Let us find out, if we must be constrain'd,
   Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of poesy;
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gain'd
   By ear industrious, and attention meet:
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
   Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
   Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
   She will be bound with garlands of her own.

John Keats


Krøyer, Orange Jug with Green Cutting, 1884

Near the wall of a house painted
to look like stone,
I saw visions of God.

A sleepless night that gives others a headache
gave me flowers
opening beautifully inside my brain.

And he who was lost like a dog
will be found like a human being
and brought back home again.

Love is not the last room: there are others
after it, the whole length of the corridor
that has no end.

Yehuda Amichai

Thinking of chunks of spice warming on a radiator. Thanks, Veerle.

Happy Birthday, Descartes

Weenix, Descartes, 1649

I desire to live in peace and to continue the life I have begun under the motto, "To live well you must live unseen”.

René Descartes, born on this day in 1596.

Happy Birthday, Haydn

Brown, Franz Joseph Haydn, 1800

Franz Joseph Haydn was born on this day in 173.

Giovanni Antonini leads Il Giardino Armonico in performing the Symphony No.22 in E-flat major, Hob.I:22, "The Philosopher"...



It was a night of early spring,
The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;
Around us shadows and the wind
Listened for what was never spoken.

Though half a score of years are gone,
Spring comes as sharply now as then–
But if we had it all to do
It would be done the same again.

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.

Sara Teasdale

30 March 2022


Ken Burns' latest on Benjamin Franklin premieres April 4 ...


Done and done.

Happy Birthday, Clapton

Eric Clapton was born on this day in 1945.

"Further On Up the Road" ...

Purcell, "Music for a While"

Mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg performs with Atsushi Sakaï, viol, Karl Nyhlin, theorbo, and the direction and clanging is done by Christophe Rousset ...

Happy Birthday, van Gogh

van Gogh, Olive Trees, 1889

Vincent van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.

From van Gogh's letter to his brother, Theo, May 7, 1882 ...
Today I met Mauve and had a very regrettable conversation with him which made it clear to me that Mauve and I have parted ways for ever. Mauve has gone so far that he can’t retract it, or at least certainly wouldn’t want to. I asked him to come and see my work and talk things over afterwards. Mauve refused outright, "I certainly won’t come to see you, it’s over and done with".

In the end he said, "you have a vicious character".  At that point I turned around – it was in the dunes – and walked home alone.

Mauve blames me for saying, I’m an artist – which I won’t take back, because those words naturally imply always seeking without ever fully finding. It’s the exact opposite of saying, "I know it already, I’ve already found it".  To the best of my knowledge, those words mean "I seek, I pursue, my heart is in it". I do have ears, Theo – if someone says " you have a vicious character’, what should I do? I turned around and went back alone, but with great sorrow in my heart because Mauve dared to say that to me. I won’t ask him to explain such a thing to me, nor will I apologize.

29 March 2022


Supertramp released Breakfast in America on this day in 1979.

"Take the Long Way Home" ...


Five plays for a buck and frosted schooners of Moosehead are $2.50 ...

Frampton, "It's a Plain Shame" ...

R.E.O., "Easy Money" ...

Utopia, "Rock Love"
Let me be your protection
Keep the vampires off your neck
Sample your wine and
Stay so near that you'll never have a thing to fear
Get thee behind me Satan ...

The Tubes Group, "Prime Time" ...

Kim Mitchell, "Go for Soda" ...

Happy Birthday, Gilberto

Astrud Gilberto was born on this date in 1940.

"Meditation" ...

New Order, "Everything's Gone Green"


Hansen, The Forest, The Stream, and The Wanderer, 1973


Sunday the only day we don't work:
Mules farting around the meadow,
                            Murphy fishing,
The tent flaps in the warm
Early sun: I've eaten breakfast and I'll
                              Take a walk
To Benson Lake. Packed a lunch,
Goodbye. Hopping on creekbed boulders
Up the rock throat three miles
                              Puite Creek –
In steep gorge glacier-slick rattlesnake country
Jump, land by a pool, trout skitter,
The clear sky. Deer tracks.
Bad place by a falls, boulders big as houses,
Lunch tied to belt,
I stemmed up a crack and almost fell
But rolled out safe on a ledge
                              and ambled on.
Quail chicks freeze underfoot, color of stone
Then run cheep! away, hen quail fussing.
Craggy west end of Benson Lake – after edging
Past dark creek pools on a long white slope –
Lookt down in the ice-black lake
                             lined with cliff
From far above: deep shimmering trout.
A lone duck in a gunsightpass
                             steep side hill
Through slide-aspen and talus, to the east end,
Down to grass, wading a wide smooth stream
Into camp. At last.
            By the rusty three-year-
Ago left-behind cookstove
Of the old trail crew,
Stoppt and swam and ate my lunch.

Gary Snyder

It's sandwich time.


While riding along about dark we heard a wolf howl behind us. My Lipan guide stopped short and assumed a listening attitude. In a few moments another answered, way to the right. Still the Indian listened so intently that his form seemed perfectly rigid. Then another set up a howl on our left. “Umph, lobo,” said the Lipan, in a tone of relief. I can’t say that I admired the music of the wolf at any time, but it certainly never had a more unmusical sound than on that occasion, and when I saw that even an Indian’s ears were uncertain whether it was a wolf or a Comanche, I felt the cold chills creeping over me.

Captain Noah Smithwick, from his logbook, 1839

28 March 2022


Led Zeppelin released Houses of the Holy on this day in 1973.

"The Song Remains the Same" ...



The BBC's How to Build a Cathedral ...


No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
Robert Bly


 ... a hollandaise fountain.

Eagles, "Certain Kind of Fool"

The two-fer special is tall Coors Light and it's always five plays for a buck.  I got the first one, "so the rest of the night be groovy".  You choose the rest ...

Happy Birthday, Schoolcraft

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was born on this day in 1793.

From Schoolcraft's Narrative Journal of Travels through the Northwestern Regions of the United States: extending from Detroit through the great chain of American lakes to the sources of the Mississippi River, performed as a member of the expedition under Governor Cass, in the year 1820, Library of Congress ...
We observed a number of smoked squirrels, fish, and ducks, hanging in the upper part of the tent; indicating a degree of care, for the subsistence of their children, and forecast as to the uncertainties of the chase, which is highly honorable to the judgment and the paternal feelings of these people.

They have a method of taking fish through the ice in the winter season, which is equally novel and ingenious. After a hole has been cut through the ice, they encompass it with a slender circular frame of rods, or a kind of open basket, over which a blanket, is thrown to exclude the light. The savage now lays himself down upon the ice, with his head under this hood, and playing a decoy or artificial fish upon the surface of the water within the hand, holds a drawn spear in the other, and when the large trout suddenly dart up to seize their fancied prey, pierces the body of his victim with unerring certainty. The spear is short and loosens itself from the handle the moment it is struck, but is attached to a strong line, with which he plays the fish a while in the water below, and draws it out as soon as it becomes sufficiently enfeebled with the wound. This method of fishing was first noticed by Mr. Hudson, a missionary among the Saganaws, to whose manuscript journal I am permitted to refer for the facts.


27 March 2022

James Taylor, "Walking Man"

Any other man stops and talks
The walking man walks ...


An excellent book ...

To our indigenous ancestors, and to the many aboriginal peoples who still hold fast to their oral traditions, language is less a human possession than it is a property of the animate earth itself, an expressive, telluric power in which we, along with the coyotes and the crickets, all participate. Each creature enacts this expressive magic in its own manner, the honeybee with its waggle dance no less than a bellicose, harrumphing sea lion.

Nor is this power restricted solely to animals. The whispered hush of the uncut grasses at dawn, the plaintive moan of trunks rubbing against one another in the deep woods, or the laughter of birch leaves as the wind gusts through their branches all bear a thicket of many-layered meanings for those who listen carefully. In the Pacific Northwest I met a man who had schooled himself in the speech of needled evergreens; on a breezy day you could drive him, blindfolded, to any patch of coastal forest and place him, still blind, beneath a particular tree -- after a few moments he would tell you, by listening, just what species of pine or spruce or fir stood above him (whether he stood beneath a Douglas fir or a grand fir, a Sitka spruce or a western red cedar). His ears were attuned, he said, to the different dialects of the trees.

David Abram, from Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology


Rapacki, In the Library, 1928

I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts. To steady myself, let me catch hold of the first idea that passes ...

Virginia Woolf

26 March 2022


When he had had something to eat he walked out into the dull winter light over the town bridge, and turned the corner towards the Close. The day was foggy, and standing under the walls of the most graceful architectural pile in England he paused and looked up. The lofty building was visible as far as the roofridge; above, the dwindling spire rose more and more remotely, till its apex was quite lost in the mist drifting across it.

The lamps now began to be lighted, and turning to the west front he walked round. He took it as a good omen that numerous blocks of stone were lying about, which signified that the cathedral was undergoing restoration or repair to a considerable extent. It seemed to him, full of the superstitions of his beliefs, that this was an exercise of forethought on the part of a ruling Power, that he might find plenty to do in the art he practised while waiting for a call to higher labours ...

He went down the broad gravel path towards the building. It was an ancient edifice of the fifteenth century, once a palace, now a training-school, with mullioned and transomed windows, and a courtyard in front shut in from the road by a wall.

Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure



I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.

Herman Melville, from Moby-Dick or, the Whale

David Gilmour, "Yes, I Have Ghosts"


An excellent album ...



Peat, A Comforting Arm, 1968

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.

Frederick Buechner


To stand up for truth is nothing. For truth, you must sit in jail. You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world. In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from The Gulag Archipelago


Hansen, The Wanderer in the Forest, 1973

Nobody in the Pleistocene jogged for 42 minutes three days a week; lifted weights every Tuesday and Friday with a bullying (but otherwise nice) personal trainer, and played tennis at 11 A.M. Saturday mornings. Not hunters. We swung between extremes: sprinted when chased or when chasing (once in a while in an extremely exerting way), and walked about aimlessly the rest of the time. Marathon running is a modern abomination (particularly when done without emotional stimuli). This is another application of the barbell strategy: plenty of idleness, some high intensity. The data shows that long, very long walks combined with high intensity exercise outperforms just running. I am not talking about "brisk walks" of the type you read about in the Science section of the New York Times. I mean walking without making any effort, except of course to kill boredom. What's more, consider the negative correlation between caloric expenditures and intake: we hunted in response of hunger; we did not eat breakfast to hunt, which had to accentuate the energy deficits. If you deprive an organism of stressors, you affect its epigenetics and gene expression-- some genes are up-regulated (or down-regulated) by contact with the environment. A person who does not face stressors will not survive should he encounters them. Just consider what happens to someone's strength after he spends a year in bed, or someone growing up in a sterilized environment who, one day, takes the Tokyo subway where riders are squeezed like sardines. Why am I using evolutionary arguments? Not because of the optimality of evolution --but entirely for epistemological reasons, how we should deal with a complex system with opaque causal links and complicated interactions. Mother Nature is not perfect, but has been so far proven smarter than humans, certainly much smarter than biologists.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from "Why I Walk"



As I ponder'd in silence,
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
A Phantom arose before me, with distrustful aspect,
Terrible in beauty, age, and power,

The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes,
With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said;
Knowest thou not, there is but one theme for ever-enduring
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers?

Be it so, then I answer'd,
I too, haughty Shade, also sing war—and a longer and
greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune—with fight, ad-
vance, and retreat—Victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet, methinks, certain, or as good as certain, at the last,)
—The field the world;
For life and death—for the Body, and for the eternal Soul,
Lo! I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I, above all, promote brave soldiers.

Walt Whitman

Jerry Douglas, "When You and I Were Young, Maggie"


To be properly enjoyed, a walking tour should be gone upon alone. If you go in a company, or even in pairs, it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name; it is something else and more in the nature of a picnic. A walking tour should be gone upon alone, because freedom is of the essence; because you should be able to stop and go on, and follow this way or that, as the freak takes you; and because you must have your own pace, and neither trot alongside a champion walker, nor mince in time with a girl. And then you must be open to all impressions and let your thoughts take color from what you see. You should be as a pipe for any wind to play upon. "I cannot see the wit," says Hazlitt, "of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country"--which is the gist of all that can be said upon the matter. There should be no cackle of voices at your elbow, to jar on the meditative silence of the morning. And so long as a man is reasoning he cannot surrender himself to that fine intoxication that comes of much motion in the open air, that begins in a sort of dazzle and sluggishness of the brain, and ends in a peace that passes comprehension.

Robert Louis Stevenson

25 March 2022


A thousand hearts beat happily; and when         
  Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
  Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
  And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it?—No; ’twas but the wind,         
  Or the car rattling o’er the stony street:
  On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
  No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.

Lord Byron


It is simply this: do not tire, never lose interest, never grow indifferent—lose your invaluable curiosity and you let yourself die. It’s as simple as that.

Tove Jansson

Happy Birthday, O'Connor

O'Connor, Self-Portrait, 1953

Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.

Flannery O'Connor, BOTD in 1925

24 March 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 ...

April Wine, "Roller"

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 a life properly lived, you’re a river. You touch things lightly or deeply; you move along because life herself moves, and you can’t stop it; you can’t figure out a banal game plan applicable to all situations; you just have to go with the “beingness” of life, as Rilke would have it. 

Jim Harrison, from Paris Review's "The Art of Fiction", No. 104; interviewed by Jim Fergus, Issue 107, Summer 1988

Happy Birthday, Morris

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

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

William Morris, born on this day in 1834.

23 March 2022


One man with conviction will overwhelm a hundred who only have opinions.

Sir Winston Churchill

22 March 2022


The identification of any object in the first-person case is ruled out by the enterprise of scientific explanation. So science cannot tell me who I am, let alone where, when, or how.

Roger Scruton, from The Soul of the World


People with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character which is the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life.

Joan Didion


Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain.

G.K. Chesterton


Bieber, Blitzende Augen über Blitzender Klinger, 1934

Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens

The forte is bent.

The Cars, "Gimme Some Slack"

I want to float like Euripides
All visions intact ...


Bottecelli, Birth of Venus (detail), 1846


Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark

After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.

Brad Aaron Modlin

Jimmie Dale Gilmore, "Just a Wave, Not the Water"

Happy Birthday, van Dyck

van Dyck, Five Eldest Children of Charles I, 1637

Sir Anthony Van Dyck was born on this day in 1599.

Thank you, Dr. Martindale.

21 March 2022


[Wine] paints the world before us as the true one, and reminds us that if we have failed previously to know it then this is because we have failed in truth to belong to it, a defect that it is the singular virtue of wine to overcome.

Sir Roger Scruton, from I Drink Therefore I Am

Happy Birthday, Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was born on this day in 1685.
The final aim and reason of all music is nothing other than the glorification of God and the refreshment of the spirit.
Viktoria Mulova performs the Chaconne from the Partita in D minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1004 ...