AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

01 October 2016

Today.

1976.


"Mademoiselle," featuring Princess Leia on lead vocals ...

Smoky-smelling.

Wyeth, Sundown, 1969


First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.

But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch, or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.

30 September 2016

Increasing.


Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shimmering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing,
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.

But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst.

You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Today.

1985.


"Ain't Gone 'n' Give Up on Love"

Ringing.


GETTING IN the WOOD

The sour smell,
       blue stain,
               water squirts out round the wedge,

Lifting quarters of rounds
       covered with ants,
      "a living glove of ants upon my hand"
the poll of the sledge a bit peened over
so the wedge springs off and tumbles
        ringing like high-pitched bells
               into the complex duff of twigs
               poison oak, bark, sawdust,
               shards of logs,

And the sweat drips down.
        Smell of crushed ants.
The lean and heave on the peavey
that breaks free the last of a bucked
        three-foot round,
                it lies flat on smashed oaklings—

Wedge and sledge, peavey and maul,
       little axe, canteen, piggyback can
       of saw-mix gas and oil for the chain,
knapsack of files and goggles and rags,

All to gather the dead and the down.
       the young men throw splits on the piles
       bodies hardening, learning the pace
and the smell of tools from this delve
       in the winter
             death-topple of elderly oak.

Four cords.

Gary Snyder

AC/DC, "Gone Shootin'"

Happy Friday!

Melanoma-head.

Melanoma-head's comin' ...

Bias.

Philosophers have long been interested in how we make sense of the world and how thinking goes wrong. Since some of the most interesting work on these topics in recent decades has been done in social psychology on cognitive biases, philosophers should at least be acquainted with some of that research—as some already are.

There’s now a new helpful introductory resource on cognitive biases, authored by Buster Benson. He has summarized and organized a bunch of biases in a very reader-friendly article, “Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet.”

Indigenous.

Trying.


Three-fourths of philosophy and literature is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they really like the cage they were tricked into entering.

Gary Snyder

Happy birthday, Die Zauberflöte.


Mozart's opera, Die Zauberflöte, premiered on this day in 1791.

The Vienna Philharmonic performs under the direction of Riccardo Muti ...


Precious.

Gary Snyder ...

Born.


BORN to SING

Man can be king
Seems to have everything
But it comes with a sting
When you were born to sing

Reason doesn't walk in
It's not done on a whim
Passion's everything
When you were born to sing

Feeling good
Singing the blues
It ain't easy
Keep on paying dues

When it gets to the part
Well let's not stop and start
Deep down in your heart
You know you were born to sing

When you came in
No original sin
You were a king
Because you were born to sing

Reason doesn't walk in
It's not done on a whim
Passion's everything
When you were born to sing

Lord, feeling good
Singing the blues
Keep on keeping on
Paying them dues

When it comes to the part
Well let's not stop and start
Deep down in your heart
Baby you were born to sing

When it gets to the part
When the band starts to swing
Then you know everything
'cause you were born to sing

When it gets to the part
When the band starts to swing
Then you know everything
'cause you were born to sing


Ivan Morrison 

Jorma Kaukonen, New Song (For the Morning)

Ecstatic.


Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.

Rumi

Bach, Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052


Ksenija Sidorova performs with the Latvian Radio Big Band ...

Generalize.


To generalize is to be an idiot.

William Blake

Today.

2016.


"Too Late"

29 September 2016

Be.


You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.

The weeks stood still in summer.
The trees' blood rose. Now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything. You thought
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit:
now it becomes a riddle again
and you again a stranger.

Summer was like your house: you know
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.

The days go numb, the wind
sucks the world from your senses like withered leaves.

Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real,
so that he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Intimate.


To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations — such is a pleasure beyond compare.

Yoshida Kenko

Stormy.

Belong.


When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely. The city had accommodated itself to winter, there was good wood for sale at the wood and coal place across our street, and there were braziers outside of many of the good cafes so that you could keep warm on the terraces. Our own apartment was warm and cheerful. We burned boulets which were moulded, egg-shaped lumps of coal dust, on the wood fire, and on the streets the winter light was beautiful. Now you were accustomed to see the bare trees against the sky and you walked on the fresh- washed gravel paths through the Luxembourg Gardens in the clear sharp wind. The trees were sculpture without their leaves when you were reconciled to them, and the winter winds blew across the surfaces of the ponds and the fountains blew in the bright light. All the distances were short now since we had been in the mountains. 

Because of the change in altitude I did not notice the grade of the hills except with pleasure, and the climb up to the top floor of the hotel where I worked, in a room that looked across all the roofs and the chimneys of the high hill of the quarter, was a pleasure. The fireplace drew well in the room and it was warm and pleasant to work. I brought mandarins and roasted chestnuts to the room in paper packets and peeled and ate the small tangerine-like oranges and threw their skins and spat their seeds in the fire when I ate them and the roasted chestnuts when I was hungry. I was always hungry with the walking and the cold and the working. Up in the room I had a bottle of kirsch that we had brought back from the mountains and I took a drink of kirsch when I would get towards the end of a story or towards the end of the day's work. When I was through working for the day I put away the notebook, or the paper, in the drawer of the table and put any mandarines that were left in my pocket. They would freeze if they were left in the room at night. 

It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I 'd had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.

But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. I t was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.

It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it. Going down the stairs when I had worked well, and that needed luck as well as discipline, was a wonderful feeling and I was free then to walk anywhere in Paris ...

It was a pleasant café, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a café au lait.  The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.  I was writing about up in Michigan and since it was a wild, cold, blowing day it was that sort of day in the story.  I had already seen the end of fall come through boyhood, youth and young manhood, and in one place you could write about it better than in another.  That was called transplanting yourself, I thought, and it could be as necessary with people as with other sorts of growing things.  But in the story the boys were drinking and this made me thirsty and I ordered rum St. James.  This tasted wonderful on the cold day and I kept on writing, feeling very well and feeling the good Martinique rum warm me all through my body and my spirit.

A girl came in the café and sat by herself at a table near the window.  She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair black as a crow’s wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.

I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited.  I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entry and I knew she was waiting for someone.  So I went on writing.
The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it.  I ordered another rum St. James and I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink.

I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought.  You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.

Ernest Hemingway, from A Moveable Feast

Listen.


37

Beware, O wanderer, the road is walking too,
said Rilke one day to no one in particular
as good poets address the six directions.
If you can't bow, you're dead meat. You'll break
like uncooked spaghetti. Listen to the gods.
They're shouting in your ear every second .

Jim Harrison

David Francey, "Long, Long Road"

Begins.


Freedom begins between the ears.

Edward Abbey

Norman Blake, "Ginseng Sullivan"

Typography.

Debussy, "La cathédrale engloutie"

Hélène Grimaud performs ...

Intelligence.

Jethro Tull, "Heavy Horses"

Repository.

Today.

1997.


"Thief in the Night"

Happy birthday, Boucher.

Boucher, Blond Odalisque (Portrait of Mademoiselle Louise O'Murphy), 1751


François Boucher was born on this day in 1703.


Thank you, Dr. Richardson.

Rameau, La Dauphine

Olivia Steimel performs ...

Pensive.


TO AUTUMN

Come, pensive Autumn, with thy clouds and storms
And falling leaves and pastures lost to flowers;
A luscious charm hangs on thy faded forms,
More sweet than Summer in her loveliest hours,
Who in her blooming uniform of green
Delights with samely and continued joy:
But give me, Autumn, where thy hand hath been,
For there is wildness that can never cloy –
The russet hue of fields left bare, and all
The tints of leaves and blossoms ere they fall.
In thy dull days of clouds a pleasure comes,
Wild music softens in thy hollow winds;
And in thy fading woods a beauty blooms
That’s more than dear to melancholy minds.

John Clare

28 September 2016

Gordon Lightfoot, "Don Quixote"

Improve.


Catch, then, oh catch the transient hour;
Improve each moment as it flies!
Life's a short summer, man a flower;
He dies — alas! how soon he dies!

Samuel Johnson

Led Zeppelin, "No Quarter"

Am.


Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.


And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Olu Dara, "Your Lips"

Met.


THE PRESENT

As they were leaving the garden
one of the angels bent down to them and whispered

I am to give you this
as you are leaving the garden

I do not know what it is
or what it is for
what you will do with it

you will not be able to keep it
but you will not be able

to keep anything
yet they both reached at once

for the present
and when their hands met

they laughed

W.S. Merwin 

Overcome.


Dwelling on and blaming every day can take a physical and mental toll and eat up one's time.There is too much of this stuff along with other things in this world that are negative. This again is part of the problem (s) in this day and age. If it's on the internet in anyway, shape or form, it has to be true ... that's false ... but that is what "some are in to" today is.  Common sense says that some of this topic maybe correct, but more data has to be generated and discussed on topics "in open discussion," not, "If you don't believe me, you are against me," etc.!!!

At this point, hate and blaming DOES destroy good days and DOES give many people headaches and loss of sleep and this is TRUE, this we know, we must try to overcome or be above it, which is VERY, VERY hard to do!

These are some of my thoughts ... Dad.

Thanks, Dad.

Echoes.

Rackham, Rip Van Winkle, 1909


On entering the amphitheatre, new objects of wonder presented themselves. On a level spot in the centre was a company of odd–looking personages playing at ninepins. They were dressed in 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 Schaick, the village parson, and 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 a fixed statue–like gaze, and such strange uncouth, lack–lustre 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 reiterated 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.

On waking, he found himself on the green knoll whence he had first seen the old man of the glen. He rubbed his eyes—it was a bright sunny morning. The birds were hopping and twittering among the bushes, and the eagle was wheeling aloft, and breasting the pure mountain breeze. "Surely," thought Rip, "I have not slept here all night." He recalled the occurrences before he fell asleep. The strange man with the keg of liquor—the mountain ravine—the wild retreat among the rocks—the woe–begone party at ninepins—the flagon—"Oh! that flagon! that wicked flagon!" thought Rip—"what excuse shall I make to Dame Van Winkle?"

He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean well–oiled fowling–piece, he found an old firelock lying by him, the barrel encrusted with rust, the lock falling off, and the stock worm–eaten. He now suspected that the grave roysterers of the mountains had put a trick upon him, and, having dosed him with liquor, had robbed him of his gun. Wolf, too, had disappeared, but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or partridge. He whistled after him and shouted his name, but all in vain; the echoes repeated his whistle and shout, but no dog was to be seen.

Washington Irving, from Rip Van Winkle

Savall.

Jordi Savall leads Hespèrion XXI in a program of European music from the time of Caravaggio, Lachrimae Caravaggio ...


Art.

Kertész, A Bistro in the Quartier Latin, Paris, 1927


Not to find one's way around a city does not mean much. But to lose one's way in a city, as one loses one's way in a forest, requires some schooling. Street names must speak to the urban wanderer like the snapping of dry twigs, and little streets in the heart of the city must reflect the times of day, for him, as clearly as a mountain valley. This art I acquired rather late in life; it fulfilled a dream, of which the first traces were labyrinths on the blotting papers in my school notebooks.

Walter Benjamin

Vivaldi, In exitu Israel, RV 604

Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi performs ...