Sunday, October 26, 2008

I will not look at it as something interesting that I could learn about. It's inconveniencing me, and that's it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Rosetta Stone doesn't look very interesting. You have to get to know it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The leaves on the sidewalk of the ginkgo tree are shaped like graceful hand fans and are waving at the past.

The ginkgo tree is an older species than we usually walk past. It's around a lot to walk past because it is a half-popular street tree.

Some plants do the male and female reproduction work in every plant, so each plant is male and female both in different parts. Not the ginkgo. There are male and female ginkgo trees. From a human perspective, one stink, in part of its cycle, and the other never stinks.

The reproduction that creates street ginkgos happens off-street, because on street we have only the non-stinky gender.

On street, we've also got litttle leaves of unusual shape that look different, smaller than solo tree leaves often are, of a different kind of shape, old, old.

They look different and are saying hi from a distant past, and they imply a distant future. For a long time, they have been rare in the wild. They have lasted this long as a species partly because they were a beloved tree of Japanese temples for centuries, and now they are pleasant, and frequent on some cit y streets. They go back way before people were around to think in terms of cities, streets and temples. And they point to who knows what, but maybe fine.

A prayer and its answer, they are both.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Lord's Prayer says, "Lead us not into temptation," which means, among other things "Don't let us have slaves" since having that much power over another human being is a temptation to being very nasty.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A different kind of solution is needed. To find it, I heal the part of the problem that is inside me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Land forms. We live on it. Thank you for dry and not too dry.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I try to be on the don't-die team and on the team of "Don't shut yourself up."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Carole Schneemann did a work of art -- a performance and installation piece -- which was called "Up to and Including Her Limits." Which reminds you.

Carole Schneeman once wrote in her journal, "How can I have authority as both an image and an image-maker?"

Which reminds you.
People believing in this religion made ruins of buildings of people believing in that religion. What were God's thoughts and ideas about this?
I'm overwhelmingly not smart enough to know whether or not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am good at knowing what a person like me would think, which sometimes stops me from knowing what I think.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Michael Tilson-Thomas. His parents were immigrants to the U.S. His parents were performers.

Performers in the Yiddish theatre, big stars in a milieu that was wiped out by the success of Jews in the United States and the murder of Jews in Europe. The milieu his parents shone in is gone.

Michael Tilson-Thomas is a performer, a star conductor, a success in the country he was born in and has always lived in, with much musician travel.

He was something of a piano and conductor prodigy and ended up being a conductor. As a young musical prodigy in LA, he met virtuosi born in Europe, giants.

Virtuosi of this kind we don't really have anymore, Tilson-Thomas thinks, and he has said why in one of his "MTT Files" that I heard on KALW-FM that are probably for sale on line by his current institution, the San Francisco Symphony. Storytelling and thinking aloud with music--the stories, the thinking, the music, all good.

These virtuosi were immigrants. They left the parts of Europe they grew up in as these parts were falling apart, a tough twentieth century for Europe and Europeans. The Europe they grew up in ceased to exist as they left and after they left.

Tilson-Thomas, as a performer, as a leader of performers, and as a child of performers knows that what matters is not being great generally, but being transcendently great right now, in this performance.

How did they keep creating greatness through all these performances?

MTT speculates that part of it was the will to make it all worthwhile, the several countries, the many cities, the hours of practice taken away for regular daily life, the lives gone of people they grew up with, to make up for it now, in this note, in this chord, tonight.
Good morning, edging around the world in a long curving line, slightly light and then lighter on the ground, on the water, good morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Isaac Babel's stories of war contain incidents--events happen. In reading them, I am more struck by the reality the incidents happen inside.

In this reality, meaning evaporates quickly and thoroughly, like water in very dry air. Lives and deaths happen inside this echoing, draining nothing, which is far bigger than any person in the war and far bigger than any story of what the war is about.

--Isaac Babel's war stories are in his book "Red Calvary," which usually isn't published by itself, but as part of his collected works. Since each thing he wrote was pretty short and he died pretty young, his collected works make one thick, intense book, well worth reading.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Winston Churchill said the people of the United States will always do the right thing in the end. They will explore all other possible courses of action; then they will do the right thing.

The people burning bright with the joy of being alive is how Walt Whitman saw the people. Democracy is fabulously succeeding every moment in every person is his message.

Jeffrey Meyers writes helpfully that two huge influences on Walt Whitman were

1. Alexix de Tocqueville and

2. William Blake.

Yes. De Tocqueville travelled around America, talked to many people, and noticed many more people. He noticed for example that Americans tended to form groups to socialize and to get things done far beyond anything de Tocqueville had seen elsewhere.

Whitman travelled around American, talked to and noticed people and saw them all together as a group in the way that Blake saw many things, with an intense mystical glow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I live where it really doesn't rain part of the year, and then it does.

That means sometimes waking slowly in autumn going "What's that sound?" That interesting and irregular sound, what is it?

Maybe we humans have been in a long, dry spell in knowing how to get on with each other. Maybe something basic and missing that would help us with each other is about to enter its season, and damp us down, and green us up. We may slowly awake, thinking, "What is that?" and start to ease up on each other.

Monday, October 06, 2008

There are several things I haven't thought about enough.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sitting around in English, blessing the "e" might help since it's the most used letter in English.

It happens twice in peace, sounded and silent, and not at all in war. Who knows?