Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, July 30, 2007

Band practice tonight -- just me & the bassist and the drummer -- Robert and Bob. A blast! Even though we sounded raggedy-assed -- haven't played together for months. Last week Robert & I got together and he helped me cull the song list. "Yeah, this one's too arrange-y, we won't have time to learn it before the show. Yeah, the 45-second song probably won't work in a club. Well, this one might work better with just guitar and mandolin, not the whole band, we'll skip it." I pitched some songs for him to sing lead on -- he has a beautiful voice and’s a good songwriter -- here’s his MySpace page -- and he said "Maybe" to one -- the one with verses and a chorus, not the two whose melodies don't repeat! Well, yeah, I can see his point. Playing through the songs and culling them was a blast too.

My beloved spouse and our son were camping with friends for three nights last week when Robert & I got together. I couldn't get the time off work, alas. Our son drew the campfire and cook pot on the left, copying it from someone else's drawing. He emphasized that he had copied it.

Keep the fire burning, people, keep the fire burning.

A poem from Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1856, "Two Rivers":

Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain;
But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
Through thee, as thou through the Concord Plain.

Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
The stream I love unbounded goes
Through flood and sea and firmament;
Through light, through life, it forward flows.

I see the inundation sweet,
I hear the spending of the steam
Through years, through men, through Nature fleet,
Through love and thought, through power and dream.

Musketaquit, a goblin strong,
Of shard and flint makes jewels gay;
They lose their grief who hear his song,
And where he winds is the day of day.

So forth and brighter fares my stream,--
Who drink it shall not thirst again;
No darkness taints its equal gleam,
And ages drop in it like rain.

Art is an experience. I want it again and again. The artworks I love give me the feeling of Emerson's 2nd river. Except I always thirst again.

We don't go to art for the meaning. We go for the experience. The meaning is part of the experience. An important part.

Rembrandt's painting of the Holy Family (Jesus and his parents, a nice 17th century Hollander couple), from 1645, what's up with that riot of flying babies tumbling into the room like clowns piling out of a clown car?

I love those flying babies. The painting feels me -- they're here with me now!

What is the meaning of the flying babies? That God's cherubs accompany God's incarnation. Sure, OK, not really my bag; a little exclusive.

The experience of communing with the image of those flying babies, though --

The experience overtakes the meaning, overwhelms it. Life is inexplicable, beyond comprehension, beyond apprehension -- and -- joyous! -- or it can be. Parents love their children as they work and read.
Flying babies fill the air. We have no idea.

* * * * *

Some art provokes a laugh. Some laughs don't live past the first reading. Some works sustain a 2nd reading even without the laughs.

Carl has been hosting a limerick festival over at Zoilus. (My contributions are signed “john” -- “John” with a capital J is someone else. Most of the limericks summarize popular songs, but I’ve strayed from the theme.) And thinking about limerickal prosody -- the weak-STRONG-weak poetic foot, or rhythm, is called the amphibrach, which I hadn't known -- I got to wondering why some rhythms are comic -- chiefly amphibrach and anapest ("'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house"). So much of the experience of reading comic verse is bound up with the rhythm. Comic rhythms carry one along, pleasurably.

* * * * *

I just fell asleep at the computer and dreamed that my son was telling me, "I hope to see that you make a good decision." Decision now is: Bed! G'night.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Lush Life," the Billy Strayhorn song as sung by Johnny Hartman, accompanied by John Coltrane and his quartet -- the most "lush" of the versions I know, except the song plays on the other meaning of "lush," as in, drunk. As in, alcoholic. Strayhorn was in fact an alcoholic. But, listening, I feel the lushness of loneliness. Late night music.

* * * * *

"Cocktails for Two," Spike Jones. He's famous for his sound effects, which are astounding, and less for the tightness of his bands. Never discussed: The brilliance and boldness of his pastiche. A smooth '40s crooner fronting a frantic neo-Dixie combo, as on this record -- it's delightfully wrong; it undercuts the Romantic-ness of the singer, and yet the record wouldn't work if the singer weren't playing it Absolutely Straight. Comedy Heaven has a special place for the straight men and women.

* * * * *

"Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," Duke Ellington, Live at Newport, 1956. Paul Gonsalves's famous extended solo, goes on for minutes and minutes, never quite building to a climax and always fresh, putting out that extemporaneous melody. And in the background, the band shouting him on, and the crowd building to an ecstatic roar. Nothing like Coltrane's extended solos a few years later; still, retrospective ears hear the stirrings of a '60s-style demand for excess and ecstasy in jazz and rock, more in the crowd reaction than in the music itself.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Last December's Harper's article on the battle over the Leap Second is illustrated with this Robert Rauschenberg piece, Reservoir, which, coincidentally, David Antin used for the cover of his Selected Poems: 1963 - 1973.

Time shares itself, but it's a temporary loan.

Quaff the juice of time.

Friday, July 27, 2007

When George Washington was 20 years old England and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, 170 years after the rest of Europe had. In order to do this, England abolished 11 days in September 1752, going to bed on Wednesday, September 2, and waking up on Thursday, September 14. The rest of Europe had abolished 10 days in October 1582, and since that time the two calendars had gotten another day out of sync.

The Julian calendar, which preceded the Gregorian, didn't skip occasional leap years. Skipping occasional leap years is necessary in order to keep the days aligned with their traditional place in the solar calendar. Over a millennium and a half, the aberration had resulted in noticeable calendrical slippage. Instead of falling near March 21, spring equinox was falling on March 16, then 15, then 14. The Gregorian calendar fixed this.

I knew the calendar had changed in the 2nd millennium, and that 1,000 years before New Year's Day, 2000, had not been New Year's Day, 1000, but some few days off. Around New Year's Day, 2000, I made a bet with my friend Doug that the calendar would change again in the next millennium, and that 1,000 years from then would not be called New Year's Day, 3000. We haven't yet set up the 1,000 year trust account to handle our bet -- but we still have time. Doug didn't necessarily disagree with me, but he took the bet just to be sporting. I think we bet a quarter.

I'm finally getting around to reading an article in the December 2006 issue of Harper's on the current dispute as to whether to get rid of the Leap Second. If we were to get rid of the Leap Second, the calendar would slip again, and 3,000 to 4,000 years from now, we would have darkness at noon. Getting rid of the Leap Second would mean that I would win my bet, but I hope we don't get rid of it.

The people against the Leap Second believe that a year should consist of 60 X 60 X 24 X 365 (and occasionally 366) seconds, even though it takes slightly more time than that for the earth to revolve around the sun.

This is a stupid idea. A year marks the time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun. Fetishizing a particular number of seconds is stupid.

George Washington was born on February 11, but after the abolition of 11 days from the calendar, the anniversary of his birth fell on February 22.

People call Time a thief -- but everything we have, Time gives it to us in the first place. I complain about Time's cruelties and coldnesses too. But when I remember Time's beneficence, I feel sheepish about my ingratitude. Thank you, Time. Thank you for giving me some of yourself. Even if I always want more of you!

-- Santa Claus and Father Time, 1888, attributed to Lagarde (?)
(I found this image by Googling "Father Time." Is Father Time Mother Nature's mate?)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

. . . not been getting enough sleep . . . such that sleep sounds delicious, and yet, always, perpetually drawn toward the bright electric lights and a house full of words, sounds, and pictures.

earlier this evening on the radio, the college jazz station, jaunty stride piano sounded fine, but I wasn't drawn -- it was finely done, but not drawing me into its inner circle of communion. I remained without, thinking of the disjunctive nature of art history, and how Charlie Parker descended, at some remove, from stride, but the stylistic changes that intervened between stride and bop might have gone in other directions -- I rarely hear the stride roots of bop; nor do I hear bop implied in stride. if innovations were predictable, they wouldn't seem so innovative.

the next tune on the radio immediately enveloped me in its gorgeous melancholy and I melted, I communed. it was a voice-and-piano cover of the '70s hit "Alone Again, Naturally," with piquantly dissonant chords in the piano and an impetuous, lovely, dramatic, sweetly swooping vocal. of course I had forgotten the last verse, in which the singer tells of the deaths of his parents. brought tears to my eyes.

why one recording melded with me, and the other did not -- it's a mystery.

image: Black Square by Kasimir Malevich, 1913

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Juan Tizol played in the Ellington band and co-wrote "Caravan."


"The explosion of Language writing . . . in the late 1970s defeats the notion of the canonical, single-authored work." -- Barrett Watten, via Ron Silliman

The notion of the canonical, single-authored work was left for dead on the battlefield, in a pile of corpses on top of the notion that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth. It was thought to have perished from the shrapnel resulting from an explosion of Language writing.

The notion of the canonical, single-authored work raised its bloody head. "I'm not dead yet!" it protested. Another explosion of Language writing detonated. "Run away! Run away!" shrieked the notion of the canonical, single-authored work. "We'll head for the hills and wait the insurgents out!"

The battle rages.


The other night
s post was on literalizing metaphors -- something the Langpoets like Watten and Silliman know about. Barthes’ image of the Death of the Author has found itself literalized in Langpo discourse -- big time. And also like Barthes, by and large the Langpoets hope for the eventual canonical elevation of their own single-authored works, as they deploy their pompous, dull war tropes unself-consciously and unironically against their own publishing and polemicizing practice.

But suppose the Langpoets are right. Suppose that Watten’s vision points to artworks where solo-authorship really is not operational.

Pop music, jazz, the movies.

Single-authored works scarcely exist in these artforms.

All of them drawing vitality from the collaborative nature of their production.

I love a lot of 20th century poetry and classical composition and painting, but I would have a hard time arguing against the proposition that pop music, jazz, and the movies were the most vital forms of the 20th century. Their collaborative mode of authorship has played an enormous role in that vitality.

In the movies, the producer hires the team, the writers write (most movies have more than one writer), the director decides on filming options and coaches the actors, the actors contribute their interpretations, and the editor chooses from several finished fragments to complete the finished work.

Jazz thrives on its multiplicity of authorial voices. Duke Ellington's orchestra is exemplary. Duke's voice is primary as primary composer and arranger, but half-a-dozen co-composers and arrangers worked with him regularly, plus myriad improvisers with distinctive authorial voices contributed the dearest productions of their artistic imaginations to the finished artworks.

Night and stars above that shine so bright
The myst'ry of their fading light
That shines upon our caravan

Listen: Our caravan.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reading Richard Rorty's Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, his insistence that different vocabularies constitute different tools rings my bells, because that's how I think of different styles of music and songwriting. A Tin-Pan-style 32-bar song works differently than a rock-style verse-chorus-bridge song. Blues, talking blues, punk, folk-style ballad-with-refrain, fast-talking country-style patter song, rap, through-composed melody -- they all do different things -- emotionally and rhetorically. They work better or worse with different verbal approaches. I've tried them all.

Which is why it ruins my equilibrium to hear a musician adopt another style sarcastically -- for a fan of a genre, that genre may constitute a significant portion of self-definition. Most music fans take it personally when someone attacks music they love.

200 years ago, classical musicians kept up with contemporary dance styles. Bach wrote numerous gigues, the minuet was the rage for many decades, and then came the waltz -- classical composers wrote piles of them. The march may be considered a social dance: it dictates how one carries oneself while the music plays; it embodies an aesthetic of the body, of social self-presentation, of posture and gait and carriage.

With the advent of recording and mass musical culture, classical composers stopped keeping up with dance steps. The focus on interiority was happening already in late Romantic music. When composers engaged with dance music, it was usually sarcastic. A fox trot! How droll! Or it was sardonic and bitter, denouncing a deathly civilization -- ghastly marches in Shostakovich; Ravel's La Valse, in which he mourned the impossibility of continuing to harbor nostalgic conceptions of old Vienna in the wake of the first World War. The march and the waltz were the last dance steps that classical composers mastered. To anybody who roots for the continuing vitality of classical music, this may present a problem.

I was pleased that Osvaldo Golijov engaged with techno dance music -- somewhat bizarrely, in 6/8 meter, not a typical techno beat at all -- in the recent collaborative suite he headed up, Ayre, but, as anti-pop-rapprochement polemicists predicted, I didn't find the attempt all that successful.

Golijov shouldn't take it personally. I felt the same way about Frank London's fusion of klezmer and techno on one track of the most recent Klezmer Brass All-Stars album.

When musicians from different stylistic traditions collaborate, I'm usually most pleased when both styles retain their identity in the collaboration. Eddie Vedder singing with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack comes to mind -- Eddie didn't try to keep up with Nusrat, he did his thing and he held his own.

I have no idea what a classical version of '70s funk would sound like, nor am I even sure that it would be a good idea.

And I'm not sure what it portends that the most famous painter of the '70s funk milieu -- Ernie Barnes, who painted J. J.'s paintings on the TV sitcom Good Times -- painted in what was basically an updated 1930s style. I do love his paintings though. Maybe the aesthetic success of Barnes's stuff shows that an older style may be used to comprehend contemporary realities. Truth be told, that's been my hope as a songwriter, and though I state, defensively, that I haven't been completely deaf to contemporary styles, I must confess that since the mid-'80s I've rarely done more than dabble in them.

From a 1735 book,
The Art of Dancing, by Kellom Tomlinson (I found this picture by Googling "minuet").
University of Michigan marching band, uncredited photographer, 2004.
Sugar Shack, by Ernie Barnes, 1971 (I didn't know the painter's name, but Googled the TV show he painted for).

"I darr in the samm head."

I was lying on the couch, reading to the kid, when I started to doze off and started spouting nonsense. I darr in the samm head. Not even recognizable words.

"You shouldn't, people, you shouldn't."

What was I thinking of when I said this? I have no idea. I was dozing off.

"The night I wish for fish."

We were reading Dr. Seuss, so the rhyme makes sense at least.

The kid thought all of this was very funny.

* * *

"Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales." -- William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

"The Religeons of all Nations are derived from each Nation's different reception of the Poetic Genius which is every where call'd the Spirit of Prophecy." -- Blake, All Religions Are One

I'm reading Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by the recently deceased American philosopher Richard Rorty. William Blake remarkably prefigured Rorty's notion that change of belief and style in Western culture proceeds through the literalization of metaphor.

"I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Man's." Rorty quotes this Blake line.

The necessarily metaphorical nature of life's fundamental apprehensions -- Blake knew this, and Rorty did too, almost 200 years later. I mention this because Rorty says he prefers the poets to the philosophers, and yet he nowhere gives Blake credit for having described the hardening of metaphor into dogma centuries earlier. Rorty quotes literary theorist Harold Bloom -- formulator of the anxiety of influence -- extensively in the book, so perhaps the Blake omission was a sly nod of the head to Bloom's theory.

-- Newton, Wm. Blake

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I was struck with rubber-necker-ism and hopped in the car at 10 to midnight to swing by the bookstores to see the masses -- and they were massed massively -- well, some dozensly -- waiting to get in to buy the new H. Potter tome. And -- heck, it makes me want to read books 4 through 6!

Went to the used bookstore that's open late Friday night and gives a 25% discount after midnight and happily browsed for Too Long. Spent under 3 bucks and got a collection of mid-20th-century African poetry and a Penguin edition of late essays and aphorisms by Schopenhauer.

My decadent happy habit -- driving around listening to music. Made it most of the way through Bowie's
Low, which I'd never heard. Beautiful and interesting textures, and the guy is tuneful. Enjoying it. Very Eno influenced, but tunefuller than Eno.

He was such a glamorpuss. Bowie's pictures -- the star's face is opaque and smooth, blank like a mirror reflecting back the observer's own desire. The star knows the viewer -- knows that the viewer desires the star -- and so the star's typical expression is disaffectedly knowing. And stars know a great secret they guard with tremendous secrecy: The secret of being desirable.

"If the immediate and direct purpose of our life is not suffering then our existence is the most ill-adapted to its purpose in the world." -- Arthur Schopenhauer, trans. R. J. Hollingdale

Thursday, July 19, 2007

. . . with so many of our dry goods being produced in China anyway, it makes sense that a leading retailer has adopted Mao's Red Army logo as its own.
For a long time, it's struck me that often with Dylan over the last 30 years, his exuberant rhyming has been at odds with his sour outlook. Exuberant rhyming is traditionally a comic rhetoric, and a lot of these sour songs weren't making it for me.

In chapter 2 of Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Richard Rorty quotes a Philip Larkin poem -- witty rhyming in service of a sour outlook. Dylan had a predecessor. And in thinking about Larkin -- of whom I am no particular fan -- maybe there's a wry pained humor in the juxtaposition of witty rhyming and sourness that I haven't been hearing.

* * * * *

I'm not feeling confident about my Harry Potter prediction: That he will die and rise again as a young man with no wizardly powers. But I like my prediction anyway: It underlines the sense of the Potter stories as parables of adolescence.

Like the young wizards, kids are constantly stumbling over powers they didn't know they had, and chronically feeling alien to themselves and to the world at large. What better way to end the saga than to shoot Harry through a baptismal/fiery crisis, and plop him at the other end -- and maybe the whole Hogwarts scene -- into un-magical adulthood?

* * * * *

In some ways, I feel I'm aging backwards -- in some ways, I feel younger than I've felt in years -- decades, even. A false perception, I know.

* * * * *

Charles Olson knew people to whom everything matters. I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

fashion notes

When it pleased my mom on the 4th of July that I wore plaid shorts that had belonged to my late father, I realized that the relentless march of fashion -- and this applies to music as well -- is the triumphal march of youth shoving age to the sidelines of imagery. I've always loved wearing my dad's clothes, and my grandpa's, and various uncles', and my brother's -- because wearing my relatives' clothes reminds me of them and I love my relatives. And this applies to music as well -- pop music from the '20s through the '50s is the pop music of my grandparents' and parents' youths and young adulthoods, and loving their music brings them close to me.

When I wear clothes a few decades out of fashion, it brings the illusion that time has not completely marginalized the style choices of my parents.

* * * * *

When my beloved spouse and I started dating, I teased her that her beret reminded me I was dating an older woman. She is exactly 18 months older than me, and I had only one younger friend who wore a beret -- a childhood friend a month younger -- and several older lefty friends who wore them. She hasn't worn her beret much in recent years. I had to laugh when once, several months ago, our son, before he turned 4, informed my beloved spouse that her beret was not her style. "It's not your style," he said.

* * * * *

I've grown my hair shoulder length again, for the first time since I cut it short in '99. My mom was startled to see it when we were visiting. "Aging hippie," she called me.

* * * * *

Fashion highlight of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival last weekend: The young woman in a bikini with her cell phone clipped to her hip.

-- plaid shorts picture stolen from a fashion web site

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On the drive back from a lovely week-end in Vancouver, my beloved spouse stopped speaking to me when I said, as we were discussing directions, "The people who say 'route' [pronounced 'root'] routed the people who say 'route' [pronounced 'rout'], and the people who say 'route' ['rout'] rooted out the people who say 'route' ['root']."

"I'm not talking to you," she said.

"Who are you talking to?" said Fingers Hilarity from the car seat in back.

"I'm talking to a raspberry. Raspberry, don't you get sick of these stupid puns? 'Yes, I do.' Me too. I knew you would understand. May I eat you now? 'Yes, you may.' OK." Plop, into her mouth went the raspberry.

Fingers Hilarity found this hilarious. So we all started talking to the raspberries as we ate them. Fingers found it funniest when the raspberries protested their demise. "No, no don't eat me! Aaaahhh!! Ooooh!! Ohhh!!" [Inchoate gargling screams as chewing commences.]

Coincidentally, I found, from conversing with the raspberries, that many of them had recently been reading
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, by Richard Rorty, as I have been, and I enjoyed discussing the book with them, though some of them were bitter about my lack of solidarity despite our common interests, while others found it merely ironic.

I'm only on the 2nd chapter, but I don't find Rorty's case against language as a medium persuasive, and I don't believe he's persuaded himself. I should finish the book before commenting -- should should should.

My take-away so far:

Metaphysical essences are unfashionable.

Contingency, chance, and time are this year's fashion in metaphysical essences.

Because metaphysical essences are unfashionable, it's best not to speak of contingency, chance, and time as metaphysical essences
directly, but to speak of them as such indirectly is fine.

Language is a game, but not one that one should teach another to play. (Huh? Makes no sense, I know.)

A language is a tool that is more or less useful than another language, but that usefulness has nothing to do with its relationship with the world. (Huh? Makes no sense again.)

Philosophy is a casino, and the house always wins. Philosophers compete to be the house. (Rorty appreciated metaphors, so this one's for him. I don't appreciate his loading the dice by arguing against others while saying he's neither arguing nor making his case to be argued for or against; by hiding behind the fig leaf of "metaphor" and saying, in effect, "Hey, man, these are just metaphors; take 'em or leave 'em.")

Despite my cavils, I'm finding the book engaging and stimulating. Rorty's analogy between the un-teleological nature of Darwinian evolution and scientific history -- I don't find it persuasive, but it does help explain why there haven't been any decent overviews of rock history since about 1970. Rock history is more difficult to encompass than jazz or classical history because rock musicians don't think of themselves as building on the past, as jazz and classical musicians do. The concept of "Building on the past" gives the illusion that the past leads up to the present as a story of progress -- which is in fact how jazz and classical histories have often been told. But pop and rock are brutal fashion (and youth) driven genres, and the attitude is more, "Let the dead bury their dead." (Jesus said that -- harsh dude, huh?)

Rorty is also very good on the incommensurability of private self-creation and public responsibility -- a hang-up that politically-minded poets (and, to a lesser extent, songwriters) get hung up on. (My method of addressing that riddle: Poetry or lyric addressing public matters requires a public rhetoric, which is subtle in itself and very different than rhetorics of self-creation and private life, though there is no reason that a poet or lyricist could not have access to both.)

The raspberries were tasty. We had to finish them before reaching the border.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The kid just informed me that he no longer wanted to spell his name "Nat," but "Nate" instead. He still wants his full name to be Nathaniel.

"Do you want to be called 'Nate'?" I asked.



"I want it to change over time," he said. "All stuffs change over time."

I'm guessing his mom told him this, but she's at work, so I'll have to check later.

I'm guessing the preference for the new name won't last. He's already alluded to a Seuss book by his "old" name, saying, as we exchanged plums, "John brings Nat's plum. Nat brings John's plum. Ha ha!"

-- image of Heraclitus from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

It is sickening as well as inconceivably bizarre that Nancy Pelosi ever said that "impeachment is off the table." The power of impeachment is the power of the rule of law. It would be as if a cop were to say, "Arresting you is off the table." An effective blank check to a man who boasts of his lawlessness.

* * *

I stopped reading the Harry Potter series after the 3rd book. Not because I didn't enjoy them, but I lost interest.

Disinterest notwithstanding, I do enjoy media hype (as long as it is not in favor of some catastrophic lie, like WMD-in-Iraq), and I have a prediction for the end of the series.

Harry will suffer a death and come back to life having lost his wizardly powers and in the process destroy Voldemort once and for all. An inverted image Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection: after rising from the dead, Christ was ready to ascend bodily into heaven. After rising from the dead, Harry will be a regular boy.

* * *

Speaking of media hype, has anybody tried Prince's new perfume, 3121? I laughed when I saw the display at the mall announcing its immanent arrival last week. "Purple will reign again," said the ticket-looking flyer. Let's go crazy!

If you dislike blogposts about blogangst, forgive me, I can't help myself.

Tuesday night we got back from 10 days of vacation, mostly away from internet access. And in the days before leaving, I was so busy that I didn't have time to blog -- that hadn't happened before. Work was inordinately busy, and friends from out of town came to stay, and between the two events I had three nights in the week before leaving with 4 hours or less of sleep, which made blogging infeasible for me. Meanwhile all sorts of things were happening that I wanted to tell you all about, dear public diary, and now the many moments have passed and with them the urgency to tell of them. For instance, that afternoon I took off five and a half weeks ago -- it was my birthday -- and my beloved spouse and our son and I took a ferry to the peninsula just for the heck of it, walking up and down a beach, running around the ferry -- a lovely afternoon and evening, but the moment is so far gone that I remember nothing of the detail, only a general impression of happiness and our son's particular delight in running around the ferry.

Much to tell of vacation, and of my friends' visit, and of much else, which I may or may not get to. For instance, today -- Wednesday -- yesterday actually now -- I got home from work after 8:30, a 10 and a half hour day, and ate dinner, and gave the kid a bath, and put him to bed, and went grocery shopping, and cleaned the kitchen (my beloved spouse cooked and attended to other tasks the whole time) and it's only now that I have time to sit down. And that's fine, but it means much has to wait.

I didn't miss blogging, and I certainly didn't miss the endless bad news of the world while on vacation, and it struck me that since I didn't miss it maybe it was time to pack it in. The idea of posting some opinion or other about some aesthetic matter or other fairly well repulsed me earlier today -- I'm still not sure about it now -- and besides I have a gig in several weeks which I should begin preparing for now, plus unfinished songs, and various recording ideas. And maybe blogging should take a back seat.

But when I checked back into the internet Wednesday, I saw that something that hooked me back into Blogville. A friendly correspondent, a writer of whom I was a fan for many years before I started blogging, Kyle Gann, responded to an email I had sent him some weeks ago by changing his conception of a piano concerto he was commissioned to write by a group in Amsterdam.

I had been eager to hear the piece anyway . . . now if Kyle could swing me a ticket to Amsterdam for the premiere . . .

The idea of which is a startling and nice back-from-vacation-welcome-hello.

* * *

Vacation was mostly glorious. Breathed deep the smell and dirt and heat of summer -- summer in the lungs, summer in my hair, summer in my shoes. Went swimming every day.

* * *

Probably very light posting for the next week at least. Good summer to you.

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