Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

There is too much that pretends to be news and what matters is swept aside by what doesn't.  On CBS Sunday Morning we were reminded that Ray Bradbury left us this year.  I can't but wonder, would we have landed exploration vehicles on Mars without his words and visions?  Would we have wanted to or dreamed that we might?

If you are feeling flat or lost or unconnected and have any of his books on your shelves, grab one and open it anywhere.  Or go to Google and find his quotes.  Let them fill you and tell you this life is a both-hands business, no shilly-shallying, no farting about.  We have to throw our arms around it, somehow calm its tentacles and shrill voice and befriend it for the impossible thing it is.  With grateful excess of passion for a man who had no use for lukewarm.

We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.
Ray Bradbury

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gene Clark and Carla Olson

In his review for Amazon, Michael J. Shogi wrote, ""So Rebellious a Lover" is an album that comes along only a few times in a lifetime. It represents a true moment of inspiration for Gene Clark and Carla Olson. Clark was a founding member of The Byrds, whose career had been on the skids for several years when his manager suggested he team up with Olson, a little-known singer/musician/songwriter from the Textones. The resulting collaboration, "So Rebellious a Lover", is considered by some to be the genesis of the alt-country movement (along with Gram Parsons' two studio albums). If true, I can certainly understand the interest that this movement generated."  The CD is available here

The brief editorial review says, "A triumphant chapter in the career of this original member of the Byrds and cofounder of country rock-yet one with a tragic side. For this was the only album this duo made; they were working on a second when Gene died. This 1987 LP is full of emotional performances by Gene and Carla on The Drifter; Are We Still Making Love; Gypsy Rider , and more beautiful songs-plus five unreleased tracks!"   Two tracks, one performed live.

Because it really can't be all Ram Dass, all the time.  Consider yourselves fortunate.  I almost wrote about Musso and Frank's mushrooms on toast.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Somewhere in space and time it will always be 1969.

Under the heading, Material from Other Sources, these words from Ram Dass:

"We're sitting under the tree of our thinking minds, wondering why we're not getting any sunshine!"


"Our culture has trained us to dismiss any experience that falls outside our rational, conceptual framework."


"Our task is to extricate ourselves from living exclusively in the world of form."

This is what seems to be calling or jabbing me with its pointy elbow:  we are being asked to transmute all of the above into something we can digest and to find peace with unknowing, to find peace, period, to be.   There THAT is again.  One thing which is not unknown: being Jackson Browne's "happy idiot" hasn't been a choice for a very long time.

No disrespect.  The opposite, in fact.  God, Geezer Rock makes me happy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Being Suzy Bishop

For Wes Anderson fans, confirm your identity as one of his movie characters.  An amusing parlor game for Boxing Day. 
Kara Howard as Suzy Bishop in Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM.
The choices offered as you follow the limbs of the family tree may be clear-cut or leave you feeling a bit ambivalent.  One of mine, "Does your family trust you?" had to be answered, "...some do, likely some don't."  We make our best guess.  Which means, I am Suzy Bishop.  This is Wes Anderson.  There are no truly undesirable characters.

Self-awareness, a actual knowing-without-prejudice of one's true self, is about as predictable as being able to say how many jelly beans are in the jar for the candy store contest.  Early models of chronic parental disappointment tend to set us up for continuing that low-hearted feeling when no one else is around to berate us.  Maybe I've had this thought before, maybe it comes fresh today, an ingenue of an image, optimistic and full of unconsidered possibility:  How can we be doing it wrong when there is no way to know the full measure of the assignment?

I believe we each have an assignment, which you have likely read here many times before.  I trust that with each go-round of me as I have thought me to be versus a me that is more accepting, more forgiving, less invested in how most of what I am doesn't match anything known or seen in the neighborhood, that I get closer to a true center.  That the process seems to require repeating over and over, but as a spiral not a circle, accounts for fatigue, occasional disbelief and the need to rest, frequently.  I am unable to stop asking questions.  I long for instruments, calibrations, that would help my study; all I have is intuition.  There is no proof.  For today, all evidence to the contrary, I will allow that I am fulfilling my destiny, bringing my unique gifts as was intended, being.  This is not an easy world in which to claim simply being as an occupation.  Being, and being Suzy Bishop.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Glad tidings

The envelope for Christmas cards I have not sent. Wishing you glad tidings of great joy. And extra portions of whatever you need and want the most.  Much love.
Kristen Power's new bird (with added Santa hat) from the newest supplement at

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Celtic greetings

A rich version, steeped in the exotic and accentuating the mystery.  My opinion.

From the YouTube post:
This is an old english carol; the composer is unknown.

Loreena McKennit is a is a Canadian singer, composer, harpist and pianist most famous for writing, recording and performing world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Two Bobs and a bit of fringe

A little holiday fringe to distract you from all the other things on your list.  If you are not familiar with what is called lucid dreaming, here is an introduction.  I am not the least offended if you find this unlikely at best and deranged, delusional at worst.  As a friend once said, "Time is long and space is big."  There is room for more than we can ever imagine in the multiple universes of the cosmos.

In what I will call a lucid dream night before last, I found my ideal self:  young enough to be entirely mobile, without depression or depletion, possessing a certain appeal and knowing everything that I know now.  She exists somewhere as the continuum flexes, hidden in a sharp crease of the cosmic fabric.  I marvel at the way in which our minds can bring along misery and its twin handmaidens, cortisol and adrenalin, or allow us to appear in fully realized fantasies, knowing we are dreaming, yet gamely playing along to see how it all turns out.  I picture my mind cooking up a treat on its little hotplate, using its one well-seasoned, cast iron skillet and holding it out for approval, like Ratso Rizzo saying, "G'head.  I want you to have it."

Dylan says it, "The human mind can only stand so much."  For escape, even illumination.  We dream.

Keep moving, even just to shift your shadow.  Keep singing along.  Stay out of places that steal your spirit and know there are rooms where you dance and laugh and know it will all, somehow, be all right.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rose balm

Posted yesterday on FB by my friend and lover-of-the-beautiful, Tricie, I was able to carry this rosy image, and a second gift of rose photo-by-phone, in the front of my mind as Real Life tried to overtake me during the day - and the night.

Surely I am not the only one with a case of the soul shivers, not the only one for whom Christmas as we seem to observe it stirs ambivalence.  I must be wearing my thin winter skin.  I feel as though I have no defense against the dark arts other than conjured visions of roses, then music and sleep.  My weariness amazes me.

It is a risk, to write of ache and bewilderment and not be seen as complaining.  These are not complaints but observations, experiencings, the owning of disturbance in the surrounding air not as an anomaly but a state of things from which we can, at times, distract ourselves.  Pull the proverbial wool over our own eyes.  Tragedy, trauma, loss and grief are not occasional visitors, they are the haints that circle our beds at 3:30, prodded into being by reminders that they are part of us and ours.

What I wish to declare is we possess the ability to hear our own authentic voices above their moans.  The roses appear - I've found them woven into socks, printed on a cotton shawl, embroidered on a pillow - and whatever their form represents, they fill the screen effectively.  Roses are anti-venom distilled from another corner of ordinary reality, matter, the definition of which is being studied and refined.  It all exists simultaneously, roses and tears, rest and pain, delight and sorrow.  It is not an option to pick out the juicy bits and leave the gristle on the plate, not if we're going to see this assignment through in a way that can't be called half-assed.

Last week on her blog Elizabeth shared a poem reminding us of how fully round this life is, how we find ourselves at odds with it and with us, what we wish to be true and what we know we actually have to work with.  If this post rambles and adds to the confusion, I'm sorry.  This was the clearest path I could carve on short notice.   xo

A Brief for the Defense

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only 
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront 
is three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

from Refusing Heaven by Jack Gilbert

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The moon, un flambeau

"Moon River" is medicine for melancholy.  It is gentle and, either by its own power or its connection to Audrey Hepburn, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and other times and places, it reverberates with the power of love, of dreaming, of how, in spite of everything, we endure and, perhaps, thrive.  We are altered, not defeated.

After two years of Latin in junior high school, French - in high school - seemed so much more sophisticated, lent itself more easily to dreaming and the vocabulary, shaped with such unfamiliar care in the mouth, so much more succulent.  Other than the occasional word and how nearly to pronounce it, the portion of poem below is what I remember best.  It sidled up in curiously continental fashion today to address itself to countless heavy hearts.

Alfred de Musset

Quand on perd, par triste occurrence,
      Son espérance
      Et sa gaieté,
Le remède au mélancolique,
      C’est la musique
      Et la beauté !

When you lose, by sad occurrence,
His hope
And gaiety,
The cure for melancholy,
This is the music
And beauty!

I nearly forgot.  This is the other thing I remember.

Credit goes to:
Sacred Heart Choristers - Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Warner Robins, GA - Mrs. Lindsey Skinner, Director of Music - May 8, 2011

Monday, December 10, 2012

What if there was no such thing as music?

With thanks to the friends who shared this on Facebook.  With the wonder of it all.

If the video doesn't play full screen (which it seems not to, due to my template) you can find it and more on YouTube under LANDFILL HARMONIC.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flashmob, the good kind

With thanks to my brother and niece for sharing this.
On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign "Som Sabadell" (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l'Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.

Who could refuse to turn up for the music of joy?  Ahhhhh.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Here on Earth and other places

Unknown to me until yesterday, introduced by my friend Melissa, this is Darrell Scott.  His music dovetails handily with a recent conversation or two about feeling enlisted as banner carriers  for the Perfection of Chaos.  I walk a crooked road.

I have issues with any view of life as a linear experience.  This is not a secret.  I am cheered when what seemed to be a solitary trudge turns out to be more companionable, when information zooms in and says I am not alone in my notions of what any of this is or is not about or how it works.

Last week my son and I began watching STARGATE UNIVERSE upon his friend's recommendation.  Having seen the movie and tried watching the other series, we had missed this, something altogether different.  Without, I hope, revealing too much, the two, 20-episode seasons are going to pass too quickly.  If sleep wasn't one of our requirements, we'd be well into Year Two by now.  Any television show that could push the pleasure and surrender of a night's sleep to second choice has to be way beyond ordinary.  Brief synopsis of what particularly caught my attention: ancient space ship powered by ancient wisdom, its course known only to it, Destiny, by name.  Sound familiar?  In my unwritten manifesto, one of the first observations is that what happens to any and all of us is just life being life.  And that's just one aspect of the show.  Power struggles and choosing of sides that remind me of an ill-fated newspaper guild drive in another life, believers, non-believers, creative pseudo-and-real science and plots worthy of Shakespeare or Machiavelli lurk in every under-lit passageway.

We will grow even wearier than we otherwise might, waiting for life to straighten up and let us do it our way.  The ship IS in control, the road IS crooked and we are capable of being happy and lonesome at the same time.  Perhaps we are closer to The Mystery in December as hours of light shorten.  It reminds us we are in the dark much of the time without noticing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The humble ziplock

So you like to sit around and doodle.  Here's a new possibility.  Permanent marking pens. 

Packaging for small Christmas gifts, holiday mail (as long as they can read an address and you have the correct postage).  Fresh.  Inspiring.  Neat.  Easy.

Source: via Lisa on