"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

17 April 2024

Happy Birthday, Wilder

I want you to try and remember what it was like to have been very young.  And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn’t quite see the street you were in, and didn’t quite hear everything that was said to you.  You’re just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please?

Thornton Wilder, born on this day in 1897, from Our Town

Pictured: Wilder's study.

15 April 2024

Crisis Unit, "Oh Well"

Another side of Il Giardino Armonico's Luca Pianco ...

It's sandwich time.

Forqueray, La Leclair

Luca Pianca performs with Vittorio Ghielmi ...

Happy Birthday, Leonardo

Leonardo, Self-Portrait, 1512

The principles for the development of a complete mind are this: study the science of art; study the art of science. Develop your senses -- especially learn how to see – realize that everything connects to everything else.

Leonardo da Vinci, born on this day in 1452

PBS' masterpiece, Leonardo's Dream Machines ...

13 April 2024

Happy Birthday, Jefferson

Scully, Thomas Jefferson, 1821

I was in the habit of abridging and commonplacing what I read meriting it, and of sometimes mixing my own reflections on the subject. I now inclose you the extract from these entries which I promised. they were written at a time of life when I was bold in the pursuit of knolege, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, & bearding every authority which stood in their way. this must be the apology, if you find the conclusions bolder than historical facts and principles will warrant. Accept with them the assurances of my great esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson, born on this day in 1743, from a letter to Thomas Cooper

Sammy Hagar, "Turn Up the Music"

When on comes this beautiful noise ...


The world was introduced to The Church on this day in 1981.

"Is This Where You Live" ...

Gipsy Kings, "Ami Wa Wa"



Ari Weinzweig explains his Natural Laws ...
This is exactly what the Natural Laws have given me. They offer me a frame through which I can resist the temptation to be totally taken in by “the incident.” Instead of getting pulled in as most leaders are to focus singly on a new product, a new hire, a big sale, or some crisis of the moment, they help me to take a mental step back to see things in a different, more holistic way. When in doubt, I pull out the list of the 24 Natural Laws and see what it tells me about what’s going on, and where I need to adjust or change what we’re doing.


van Gogh, Daubigny's Garden, 1890

In April time, flowers come like dreams; —
The nightingales, and cuckoo's sing, —
The may-fly setling on the streams,
Makes wrinkles with its russet wing: —
The rivers sedge is sprouting green,
The mare-blobs are in burnished gold,
The daisies spread about the green,
And all is lovely to behold. —

The skylark winnows in the air,
And cheers the valley with his song;
The slopes are green, the scene is fair,
And herd-boys whistle all day long.
The ash tree's they are full of flower,
The fallen ones float on the stream;
The sun through haze like misty shower,
Shines warmly on the lovely scene.

The meadows they are emerald green,
The river sparkles with the light; —
Like snow storms are the orchard seen; —
The fields are with daisies white,
The buttercups are buds of green; —
That bye-and bye-are flowers of Gold,
The fields look warm, the air serene,
And all is lovely to behold.

'Tis spring the April of the year,
The holiday of birds and flowers,
Some build ere yet the leaves appear,
While others wait for safer hours: —
Hid in green leaves that shun the shower,
They're safe and happy all along —
The meanest weed now finds a flower,
The simplest bird will learn a song.

John Clare

Debussy, Suite bergamasque, L. 75

Maria João Pires performs the Prélude ...

Happy Birthday, Beckett

First the body. No. First the place. No. First both. Now either. Now the other. Sick of the either try the other. Sick of it back sick of the either. So on. Somehow on. Till sick of both. Throw up and go. Where neither. Till sick of there. Throw up and back. The body again. Where none. The place again. Where none. Try again. Fail again. Better again. Or better worse. Fail worse again. Still worse again. Till sick for good. Throw up for good. Go for good. Where neither for good. Good and all.

Samuel Beckett, born on this day in 1906, from Worstward Ho

12 April 2024


France recognizes jambon de Bayonne—raw, unsmoked, simply cured with salt and air-dried—as worthy of its own indication géographique protégée (IGP) label. Translation: Here is a ham so inherently special and inimitable that any attempts to duplicate it elsewhere or tweak its production should be prevented by law. Yet Ospital's father, Louis, felt, like judges from older generations, that the designation didn't go far enough to protect the quality and traditions of their hams. In the 1980s, they created their Ibaïama label, which uses only a specialized breed of pigs and a 20-month-average aging time. Even the source of the salt is indicated: Salies-de-Béarn, where a saltwater spring produces white pyramidal crystals that taste of violets.

Happy Birthday, Sergeant

William Alfred Sergeant was born on this day in 1958.

From 1983, Echo & The Bunnymen: Lay Down Thy Raincoat and Groove ...



R.E.M. released Murmur on this day in 1983.

"Perfect Circle" ...


Dürer, The Grand Turf, 1503


I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ‘tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

William Wordsworth

11 April 2024


All my life I used to wonder what I would become when I grew up. Then, about seven years ago, I realized that I was never going to grow up—that growing is an ever-ongoing process.

M. Scott Peck

Thanks, Steve.


This day will never come again and anyone who fails to eat and drink and taste and smell it will never have it offered to him again in all eternity. The sun will never shine as it does today, but you must play your part and sing a song, one of your best. 

Hermann Hesse

Hats matter.


Where have any of us ever been that some nitwit doesn't tell us that we should have been there before? They are only pissing on a fireplug to establish territory in the face of recent arrivals. In Aspen, at the Hotel Jerome, you will always meet a stockbroker with an overbite much envied in London who is eager to establish that he was there first. I've developed a good tactic: wherever you are, say that you were born and raised there, but infinitely prefer living in Detroit.

Jim Harrison

You'll hate it Up North.  You'd love the Outer Banks, lots more space to move there, lots of t-shirts and doughnuts.

09 April 2024


Excellent cookbooks ...


R.E.M. released Reckoning in this day in 1984.

"Second Guessing" ...


No longer does art have a sacred status raising us to a higher moral or spiritual plane, it is just one human gesture among others, no more meaningful than a laugh or shout. Art once made a cult of beauty. Now we have a cult of ugliness instead. Since the world is disturbing, art should be disturbing too.

Those who look for beauty in art are just out of touch with modern realities. Sometimes the intention is to shock us. But what is shocking first time round, is boring and vacuous when repeated. This makes art into an elaborate joke, though by now that has ceased to be funny, yet the critics go on endorsing it, afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes. Creative art is not achieved, just like that, simply by having an idea. Of course, ideas can be interesting and amusing, but this does not justify the appropriation of the label “art.” If a work of art is nothing more than an idea, anybody can be an artist. And any object can be a work of art. There is no longer any need for skill, taste or creativity.

Sir Roger Scruton from his documentary, Why Beauty Matters


I hate government. I hate power. I think that man’s existence, insofar as he achieves anything, is to resist power, to minimize power, to devise systems of society in which power is the least exerted.

Malcolm Muggeridge


Firchau, Head in the Clouds, April 8, 2024


Often, when bored, the sailors of the crew
Trap albatross, the great birds of the seas,
Mild travelers escorting in the blue
Ships gliding on the ocean's mysteries.

And when the sailors have them on the planks,
Hurt and distraught, these kings of all outdoors
Piteously let trail along their flanks
Their great white wings, dragging like useless oars.

This voyager, how comical and weak!
Once handsome, how unseemly and inept!
One sailor pokes a pipe into its beak,
Another mocks the flier's hobbled step.

The Poet is a kinsman of the clouds
Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day;
But on the ground, among the hooting crowds,
He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.

Charles Baudelaire

Happy Birthday, Baudelaire

Life is a hospital where every patient is obsessed by the desire of changing beds. One would like to suffer opposite the stove, another is sure he would get well beside the window.

It always seems to me that I should be happy anywhere but where I am, and this question of moving is one that I am eternally discussing with my soul.

"Tell me, my soul, poor chilly soul, how would you like to live in Lisbon? It must be warm there, and you would be as blissful as a lizard in the sun. It is a city by the sea; they say that it is built of marble, and that its inhabitants have such a horror of the vegetable kingdom that they tear up all the trees. You see it is a country after my own heart; a country entirely made of mineral and light, and with liquid to reflect them."

My soul does not reply.

"Since you are so fond of being motionless and watching the pageantry of movement, would you like to live in the beatific land of Holland? Perhaps you could enjoy yourself in that country which you have so long admired in paintings on museum walls. What do you say to Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts, and ships that are moored on the doorsteps of houses?"

My soul remains silent.

"Perhaps you would like Batavia better? There, moreover, we should find the wit of Europe wedded to the beauty of the tropics."

Not a word. Can my soul be dead?

"Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that you are happy only in your unhappiness? If that is the case, let us fly to countries that are the counterfeits of Death. I know just the place for us, poor soul. We will pack up our trunks for Torneo. We will go still farther, to the farthest end of the Baltic Sea; still farther from life if possible; we will settle at the Pole. There the sun only obliquely grazes the earth, and the slow alternations of daylight and night abolish variety and increase that other half of nothingness, monotony. There we can take deep baths of darkness, while sometimes for our entertainment, the Aurora Borealis will shoot up its rose-red sheafs like the reflections of the fireworks of hell!"

At last my soul explodes! "Anywhere! Just so it is out of the world!"

Charles Budelaire, born on this day in 1821

08 April 2024

Dvořák, Rusalka

Asmik Grigorian performs "Moon Song" with some other people ...


If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that's endlessly interesting and alive. That quality isn't inherent in the place but in your state of mind.

Pema Chödrön

Rollins Band, "Shine":


Firchau, Chippewa, 2013

With a sense
Of lively joy did I behold this path
Beneath the fir-trees, for at once I knew
That by my Brother’s steps it had been trac’d.
My thoughts were pleas’d within me to perceive
That hither he had brought a finer eye,
A heart more wakeful: that more loth to part
From place so lovely he had worn the track,
Out of his own deep paths!

William Wordsworth


An excellent (and indispensable) book  ...


Harrison on survival techniques ...
The other day on a very warm border winter afternoon, I was sitting on the patio with my wife Linda, sharing a bottle of delightful Bouzeron. We were watching a rare pair of hepatic tanagers at the feeder. These birds evidently don’t get hepatitis. It was all very pleasant and I recalled again a passage from the journal of a Kentucky schizophrenic who had escaped from an asylum. He wrote, “Birds are holes in heaven through which a man may pass.” I had this little epiphany that wine could do the same thing if properly used. We all have learned, sometimes painfully, that more is not necessarily better than less. When Baudelaire wrote in his famed “Enivrez-Vous,” “Be always drunk on wine or poetry or virtue,” he likely didn’t mean commode-hugging drunk. Wine can offer oxygen to the spirit, I thought, getting off my deck chair and going into the kitchen to cook some elk steak and dietetic potatoes fried in duck fat, and not incidentally opening a bottle of Domaine Tempier Bandol because I had read a secret bible in France that said to drink red after dark to fight off the night in our souls.

Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, Aeriality

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra performs under the baton of Ilan Volkov ...


The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,

... it is the illusion of knowledge.

Daniel J. Boorstin

07 April 2024


It is important not to be caught short. It is my private opinion that many of our failures in politics, art, and domestic life come from our failure to eat vividly.

Jim Harrison, from "Sporting Food"


Execupundit has an excellent list of movies meant to spark discussions (I love that) about leadership.  

I'd suggest three more ...
  1. Big Night
  2. Miracle
  3. Hostiles


Firchau, Rain Shadow, 2013

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Wu Men Hui-k’ai


I can see clouds a thousand miles away, 
hear ancient music in the pines.



The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

W.B. Yeats


Anderson, Sea, 2021

Happy Birthday, Wordsworth

Haydon, William Wordsworth, 1818


I saw an aged Beggar in my walk;
And he was seated, by the highway side,
On a low structure of rude masonry
Built at the foot of a huge hill, that they
Who lead their horses down the steep rough road
May thence remount at ease. The aged Man
Had placed his staff across the broad smooth stone
That overlays the pile; and, from a bag
All white with flour, the dole of village dames,
He drew his scraps and fragments, one by one;
And scanned them with a fixed and serious look
Of idle computation. In the sun,
Upon the second step of that small pile,
Surrounded by those wild unpeopled hills,
He sat, and ate his food in solitude:
And ever, scattered from his palsied hand,
That, still attempting to prevent the waste,
Was baffled still, the crumbs in little showers
Fell on the ground; and the small mountain birds,
Not venturing yet to peck their destined meal,
Approached within the length of half his staff.

Him from my childhood have I known; and then
He was so old, he seems not older now;
He travels on, a solitary Man,
So helpless in appearance, that for him
The sauntering Horseman-traveller does not throw
With careless hand his alms upon the ground,
But stops,—that he may safely lodge the coin
Within the old Man's hat; nor quits him so,
But still when he has given his horse the rein
Towards the aged Beggar turns a look
Side-long—and half-reverted. She who tends
The Toll-gate, when in summer at her door
She turns her wheel, if on the road she sees
The aged Beggar coming, quits her work,
And lifts the latch for him that he may pass.
The Post-boy, when his rattling wheels o'ertake
The aged Beggar in the woody lane,
Shouts to him from behind; and, if perchance
The old Man does not change his course, the Boy
Turns with less noisy wheels to the road-side,
And passes gently by,—without a curse
Upon his lips, or anger at his heart.
He travels on, a solitary Man,—
His age has no companion. On the ground
His eyes are turned, and, as he moves along,
They move along the ground; and, evermore,
Instead of common and habitual sight
Of fields with rural works, of hill and dale,
And the blue sky, one little span of earth
Is all his prospect. Thus, from day to day,
Bowbent, his eyes for ever on the ground,
He plies his weary journey; seeing still,
And never knowing that he sees, some straw,
Some scattered leaf, or marks which, in one track,
The nails of cart or chariot wheel have left
Impressed on the white road,—in the same line,
At distance still the same. Poor Traveller!
His staff trails with him; scarcely do his feet
Disturb the summer dust; he is so still
In look and motion, that the cottage curs,
Ere he have passed the door, will turn away,
Weary of barking at him. Boys and Girls,
The vacant and the busy, Maids and Youths,
And Urchins newly breeched—all pass him by:
Him even the slow-paced Waggon leaves behind.

But deem not this Man useless.—Statesmen! ye
Who are so restless in your wisdom, ye
Who have a broom still ready in your hands
To rid the world of nuisances; ye proud,
Heart-swoln, while in your pride ye contemplate
Your talents, power, and wisdom, deem him not
A burthen of the earth. 'Tis Nature's law
That none, the meanest of created things,
Of forms created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Divorced from good—a spirit and pulse of good,
A life and soul to every mode of being
Inseparably linked. While thus he creeps
From door to door, the Villagers in him
Behold a record which together binds
Past deeds and offices of charity,
Else unremembered, and so keeps alive
The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years,
And that half-wisdom half-experience gives,
Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets and thinly-scattered villages,
Where'er the aged Beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of use compels
To acts of love; and habit does the work
Of reason; yet prepares that after joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,
Doth find itself insensibly disposed
To virtue and true goodness. Some there are,
By their good works exalted, lofty minds
And meditative, authors of delight
And happiness, which to the end of time
Will live, and spread, and kindle; minds like these,
In childhood, from this solitary Being,
This helpless Wanderer, have perchance received
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Or the solicitudes of love can do!)
That first mild touch of sympathy and thought,
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy Man
Who sits at his own door,—and, like the pear
Which overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking, they who live
Sheltered, and flourish in a little grove
Of their own kindred;—all behold in him
A silent monitor, which on their minds
Must needs impress a transitory thought
Of self-congratulation, to the heart
Of each recalling his peculiar boons,
His charters and exemptions; and, perchance,
Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needful to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up
The respite of the season, he, at least,
And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.

Yet further.——Many, I believe, there are
Who live a life of virtuous decency,
Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel
No self-reproach; who of the moral law
Established in the land where they abide
Are strict observers; and not negligent,
Meanwhile, in any tenderness of heart
Or act of love to those with whom they dwell,
Their kindred, and the children of their blood.
Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace!
—But of the poor man ask, the abject poor,
Go and demand of him, if there be here
In this cold abstinence from evil deeds,
And these inevitable charities,
Wherewith to satisfy the human soul?
No—Man is dear to Man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life
When they can know and feel that they have been
Themselves the fathers and the dealers-out
Of some small blessings, have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause,
That we have all of us one human heart.
—Such pleasure is to one kind Being known,
My Neighbour, when with punctual care, each week
Duly as Friday comes, though prest herself
By her own wants, she from her chest of meal
Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip
Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door
Returning with exhilarated heart,
Sits by her fire and builds her hope in heaven.

Then let him pass, a blessing on his head!
And while in that vast solitude to which
The tide of things has led him, he appears
To breathe and live but for himself alone,
Unblamed, uninjured, let him bear about
The good which the benignant law of Heaven
Has hung around him; and, while life is his,
Still let him prompt the unlettered Villagers
To tender offices and pensive thoughts.
—Then let him pass, a blessing on his head!
And, long as he can wander, let him breathe
The freshness of the valleys; let his blood
Struggle with frosty air and winter snows;
And let the chartered wind that sweeps the heath
Beat his gray locks against his withered face.
Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness
Gives the last human interest to his heart.
May never House, misnamed of Industry,
Make him a captive! for that pent-up din,
Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air,
Be his the natural silence of old age!
Let him be free of mountain solitudes;
And have around him, whether heard or not,
The pleasant melody of woodland birds.
Few are his pleasures: if his eyes have now
Been doomed so long to settle on the earth
That not without some effort they behold
The countenance of the horizontal sun,
Rising or setting, let the light at least
Find a free entrance to their languid orbs.
And let him, where and when he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or by the grassy bank
Of high-way side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gathered meal; and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die.

William Wordsworth, born on this day in 1770

06 April 2024

Happy Birthday, Hag

Merle Haggard was born on this day in 1937.

"The Running Kind/I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" ...


Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: "It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to."

Jim Jarmusch