Category Archives: Bagatelle

Dan Albergotti

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

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The Who

I’m not all that inclined to share music videos here, but these two merit an exception. Rock ‘n roll in its purest form.  

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Rise & Shine

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Quote This Again

Editorial: Another quote dump. Should be the last one for a while. The only theme I see here is self-awareness, except for the floating bodies, which for me is about patience.

If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!
— James Baldwin (1963)

If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.
— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

While an adolescent remains inconsistent and unpredictable in her behavior, she may suffer, but she does not seem to me to be in need of treatment. I think that she should be given time and scope to work out her own solution. Rather, it may be her parents who need help and guidance so as to be able to bear with her. There are few situations in life which are more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter during the attempt to liberate themselves.
— Anna Freud (1958)

Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.
— Albert Einstein (1926)

If you stand on the banks of the river long enough, the dead bodies of your enemies will float by.
— Proverb

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The Commonwealth

From time to time I need to remind myself how this works:

This? Fuhgeddaboudit.

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Quote This

Editorial: I’m not a big collector of pithy quotes, but from time to time one will jump at me.  Spring cleaning on my laptop turned up these.

Be curious, not judgmental.
― Walt Whitman

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.
― Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
― Mark Twain

I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working. But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.
― Barack Obama

The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; and the fruit of service is peace.
― Mother Teresa

I thought I was pretty cool until I realized plants can eat the sun and poop out air.
― Jim Bugg (?)

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Castles in Communities

A quick update from Castles in Communities– read all about it here.

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Crickets

SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2018 @ 8:00PM (free)
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, Manhattan
c/o http://www.nonsensenyc.com

“I’ll be bringing my cricket farm for a cricket songs concert. For one evening, audiences at Dixon Place will be transported to a forest oasis, serenaded by a chorus of thousands of live crickets. Adam Brody, of CricketFarm, will provide an orientation on how to listen to a cricket orchestra and will lead the crickets through three movements, wherein their songs will change through subtle shifts in their environment.

Adam Brody has been farming crickets in his Brooklyn apartment since 2016. His cricket project explores inter-species relationships, crickets as a sustainable and accessible food source, and the therapeutic benefit of cricket songs. Adam has presented his crickets at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Spring Sessions Residency, The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art and Open Source Gallery. His other projects include a self-help book about forming a personal relationship with capitalism, a techno music group for babies called Bouncehäus, and a series of meditational pop songs, under the moniker Big Beautiful Rectangle.”

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weekly newsletters

Two most excellent hometown curators:
Nonsense NYC: http://nonsensenyc.com
Mi Niu York: https://www.miniuyork.com

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Konnakol

Who knew this was a thing? Whoa.

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Ada Limón

A Name (2017)
by Ada Limón

When Eve walked among
the animals and named them—
nightingale, redshouldered hawk,
fiddler crab, fallow deer—
I wonder if she ever wanted
them to speak back, looked into
their wide wonderful eyes and
whispered, Name me, name me.

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Erich Maria Remarque

Editorial: When the winds of war start to rise (North Korea, Afghanistan) I reread All Quiet on the Western Front to help me think about war. This is a grim bit, but telling too. Life is at an end

(p. 117) We see men living with their skulls blown open; we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off, they stagger on their splintered stumps into the next shell-hole; a lance-corporal crawls a mile and a half on his hands dragging his smashed knee after him; another goes to the dressing station and over his clasped hands bulge his intestines; we see mean without mouths, without jaws, without faces; we find one man who has held the artery of his arm in his teeth for two hours in order not to bleed to death. The sun goes down, night comes, the shells whine, life is at an end.

Still the little piece of convulsed earth in which we lie is held. We have yielded no more than a few hundred yards of it as a prize to the enemy. But on every yard there lies a dead man.

Also after this reading I watched for the first time the 1930 film adaptation. Who knew old movies were so goofy, even ones about the horrors of WWI that won two Oscars? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Quiet_on_the_Western_Front_(1930_film)

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Louise Erdrich

Editorial: Here below are three passages from Louise Erdrich’s latest, LaRose (2016). She remains one of my favorites.  I read her books slowly because it’s no fun when they run out.

(p. 198) What She Learned. Before the first LaRose died, she had taught her daughter how to find guardian spirits in each place they walked, how to heal people with songs, with plants, what lichens to eat in an extremity of hunger, how to set snares, jig fish, tie nets, net fish, create fire out of sticks and curls of birchbark. How to sew, how to boil food with hot stones, how to weave reed mats and make birchbark pots. She taught her how to poison fish with plants, how to make arrows, a bow, shoot a rifle, how to use the wind when hunting, make a digging stick, dig certain roots, carve a flute, play it, bead a bandolier bag. She taught her how to tell from the calls of birds what animal had entered the woods, how to tell from the calls of birds which direction and what type of weather was approaching, how to tell from the calls of birds if you were going to die or if an enemy was on your trail. She learned how to keep a newborn from crying, how to amuse an older child, what to feed a child of each age, how to catch an eagle to take a feather, knock a partridge from a tree. How to carve a pipe bowl, burn the center of a sumac branch for the stem, how to make tobacco, make pemmican, how to harvest wild rice, dance, winnow, parch, and store it, and make tobacco for your pipe. How to carve tree taps, tap maples, collect sap, how to make syrup, sugar, how to soak a hide, scrape down a hide, how to grease it and cure it with the animal’s brains, how to make it soft and silky, how to smoke it, what to use it for. She taught her to make mittens, leggings, makazinan, a dress, a drum, a coat, a carry sack from the stomach of an elk, a caribou, a woods buffalo. She taught her how to leave behind her body when half awake or in sleep and fly around to investigate what was happening on the earth. She taught her how to dream, how to return from a dream, change the dream, or stay in the dream in order to save her life.

(p.227) He said this firmly, although he still didn’t know exactly what to do besides watch Nola. Sam Eagleboy had told him to sit still and open his mind if he had a problem. LaRose would come back to the grass nest that evening, after Maggie was gone. He would concentrate on the problem. Even if he couldn’t see them, he would ask those people he met in the woods. He would find out what the situation called for.

(p. 290) There are five LaRoses. First the LaRose who poisoned Mackinnon, went to mission school, married Wolfred, taught her children the shape of the world, and traveled that world as a set of stolen bones. Second, her daughter LaRose, who went to Carlisle. This LaRose got tuberculosis like her own mother, and like the first LaRose fought it off again and again. Lived long enough to become the mother of the third LaRose, who went to Fort Totten and bore the fourth LaRose, who eventually became the mother of Emmaline, the teacher of Romeo and Landreaux. The fourth LaRose also became the grandmother of the last LaRose, who was given to the Ravich family by his parents in exchange for a son accidentally killed.

In all of these LaRoses there was a tendency to fly above the earth. They could fly for hours when the right songs were drummed and sung to support them. Those songs are now waiting in the leaves, half lost, but the drumming of the water drum will never be lost. This ability to fly went back to the first LaRose, whose mother taught her to do it when her name was still Mirage, and who had learned this from her father, a jiisikid conjurer, who’d flung his spirit all the way around the world in 1798 and come back to tell his astonished drummers that it was no use, white people covered the earth like lice.

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Hyperkulturemia

unnamedSites seen Summer, 2016.  Listed in order visited.  Monuments, abbeys, friaries, mounds, caves, castles, towers, forts, churches, lighthouses, etc.  Thank you, Avis Car Rental.  

Bective Abbey, Co. Meath [link][photo][map]
Fore Abbey, Co. Westmeath [link][photo][map]
Dominican Friary of Roscommon, Co. Roscommon [link][photo][map]
Roscommon Castle, Co. Roscommon [link][photo][map]
Castlestrange Stone, Co. Roscommon [link][photo][map]
Glinsk Castle, Co. Galway [link][photo][map]
Rathcroghan Mound, Co. Roscommon [link][photo][map]
Oweynagat, Co. Roscommon [link][photo][map]
Carnfree, Co. Roscommon [link][photo][map]
Claregalway Friary, Co. Galway [link][photo][map]
Dunguaire Castle, Co. Galway [link][photo][map]
Corcomroe Abbey, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Shanmuckinish Castle or Muckinish West Tower House, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Gleninagh Castle, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Lighthouse at Black Head, Murrooghtoohy North, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Ballinalacken Castle, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Doonagore Castle, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Ballyellery Tower, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
The Doorty Cross, Kilfenora, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Leamaneh Castle, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Carran Church, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Temple Cronan (53°2’47?N 9°3’40?W)-next time! [link][photo][map]
Caherconnell Stone Fort, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
The Burren, Carpark Overlook (53°02’33.2″N 9°01’44.5″W) [link][photo][map]
The Burren, Rustic Road  (52°59’49.0″N 9°02’43.3″W)-next time! [link][photo][map]
Cluain Dubháin Castle, Boston, Co. Clare [link][photo][map]
Kilmacduagh Monastery, Co. Galway [link][photo][map]
Meere’s Butchers, Lower Market St, Ennis (Airbnb) [link][photo][map]
Dún Chonchúir, Inis Meáin, Co. Galway [link][photo][map]
Roche Castle, Co. Louth [link][photo][map]

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Seamus Heaney

The Death of a Naturalist
by Seamus Heaney

All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragonflies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst, into nimble
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.

Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.

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Frank O’Hara

Having a Coke with You
by Frank O’Hara

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

                              I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse

       it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

[Nicely illustrated here by Nathan Gelgud.]

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Davis McCombs

Dumpster Honey
by Davis McCombs

The bees were working the contents
of the fenced-in metal trash bin,
zigging and scribbling past the goo

of candy wrappers and the sticky rims
of dented cans, entering, as they might
a blossom, the ketchup-smeared burger

boxes and the mold-fuzzed, half-eaten
fruity snack packs, those food-grade waxes
mingling with Band-Aids and a limp

“We’re #1” foam finger while on top
of the disposable wet mop redolent of solvents
and fresheners the F.D.&C. Red No. 40

nontoxic food pigment leaked
from a bloated dip packet where the bees
were buzzing and collecting the high-fructose

corn nectars of that uncompacted jumble
and returning, smudged with the dust
of industrial pollens, to, perhaps, some

rusted tailpipe hive where their queen
grew fat on the froth of artificial sweeteners
out back of the little oily gas station

in the middle of Arkansas where we pulled off
to change the baby’s diaper and had to ask
for the key they kept on a giant ring.

August 3, 2015, The New Yorker

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Lists — Oh the Joy!

List of lists of lists
&
Lists of Note

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Karl Ove Knausgaard

Time is slipping away from me, running through my fingers like sand while I do what? Clean floors, wash clothes, make dinner, wash up, go shopping, play with the children in the play areas, bring them home, undress them, bathe them, look after them until it is bedtime, tuck them in, hang some clothes to dry, fold others, and put them away, tidy up, wipe tables, chairs and cupboards.

My Struggle: Book Four, by Karl Ove Knausgaard,

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Chico Marx

Who knew Chico could play?

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