2.28.2032 – both diabolic

both diabolic
love and the unearthly hate
of the mysteries

A voice! a voice!

It rang deep to the very last.

It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart.

Oh, he struggled! he struggled!

The wastes of his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images now — images of wealth and fame revolving obsequiously round his unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression.

My Intended, my station, my career, my ideas—these were the subjects for the occasional utterances of elevated sentiments.

The shade of the original Kurtz frequented the bedside of the hollow sham, whose fate it was to be buried presently in the mould of primeval earth.

But both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power.

From Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

Both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries.

Penetrated and fought for the possession of that soul satiated with those primitive emotions.

Lying fame.

Sham distinction.

All the appearances of success and power.

Oh, he struggled! he struggled!

It rang deep to the very last.

That unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression.

To drag Mr. Thoreau into it, that life of quiet desperation.

All much on my mind of late.

So many journey alone into the heart of darkness.

Some find their way back.

Their way back home.

Some do find their way back home.

Some get to find their way back home.

The lucky ones.

2.27.2023 – bear clear evidence

bear clear evidence
of craftsmanship honed for more
than a century

From Legacy Pizza: Naples vs. N.Y.C. as it appeared in Hannah Goldfield’s feature, Tables for Two, in the New Yorker, 2/27/2023.

Ms. Goldfield writes:

The margherita and the marinara are successful imports, cooked here in a domed brick oven, with guidance from a fifth-generation member of the pizzeria’s founding family.

Though the pies are much larger than their Naples counterparts, they bear clear evidence of a craftsmanship honed for more than a century.

This is dough that won’t let you down: incredibly pliable and stretchy, floppy but more than sturdy enough for its toppings (all sourced from Italy), and flavorful to boot, fermented for forty-eight hours, then flash-cooked until speckled with bubbles and char.

The sauce lets the volcanic tomatoes speak for themselves, and the cheese captures the essence of the sweetest, grassiest milk.

The rest, for the most part, is noise.

It turns out that you can have too much of even the most wonderful cheese, as proved by a heavy-handed white pizza and by another topped with pesto, tomatoes, and a large, awkward ball of burrata that reads like TikTok bait.

Salads, including one with shaved artichoke and pistachio, and pastas (spaghetti cacio e pepe, maccheroni Bolognese) might be the best in town if the bar weren’t so high in this particular town; we’re certainly not in need of a Hamburger Italiano.

An attempt at world domination comes, unsurprisingly, at the expense of humble charm.

After Economic Columnists, it is food critics who get to use the best words.

2.26.2023 – interpretation

of reality like others
all is subjective

This shading of different realities is only the start.

It gets more fascinating – and much weirder. It’s one thing to allow that there might be an alternative perspective on colour, but quite another to accept that colour doesn’t actually exist outside our brains.

Not only is there no colour, but there’s also no sound or taste or smell.

What we perceive as red, for example, is just radiating energy with a wavelength of around 650 nanometres.

There’s nothing intrinsically red about it; the redness is in our heads.

What we think of as sound is just pressure waves, while taste and smell are no more than different conformations of molecules.

Although our sense organs do a splendid job of detecting each of these, it’s the brain that construes them, converting them into a framework for us to understand that world.

Valuable though this framework is, it’s an interpretation of reality and, like all interpretations, it’s subjective.

From It takes all 53 of our senses to bring the drab external world to life by  Ashley Ward in the Guardian on Feb. 26.

Ms. Ward writes:

Underlying all of this is the brain’s frantic efforts to build its internal model, even though the sensory information it needs to construct that model has been cut off.

The results are odd, though to some they can feel disturbingly real.

But what is reality, and, more generally, what does it mean to be alive?

I repeat, what is reality, and, more generally, what does it mean to be alive?

I am reminded of Mr. Sandburg and his poem happiness.

I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an

To paraphrase Big Bill, Methinks we think too much.


2.25.2023 – on the other side

on the other side
of the small space, that small place
on the other side

I enjoyed the writing in the article As Rams imploded, Sean McVay faded away: How they found their way back to each other by Jourdan Rodrigue, very much even with the number of split infinitives in the text.

Split infinitives are my bête noire of grammar checking even though I was told that no one cares anymore about that.

I persist because it is one of the few forms of bad grammar I can identify and it makes me sound smarter or at least smarter than my phone which persists in telling me to turn left out of my parking lot when I need to turn right to get to work.

It was one short combination of words of Ms. Rodrigue’s that caught me eye and said, do something with these words.

That combination of words was “On the other side of the small space.”

It is in the sentence, “Afterward, half of the locker room sat in stunned silence. One offensive lineman wept, covering his face with his hands. On the other side of the small space, star cornerback and team captain Jalen Ramsey vented to reporters about the offense’s inability to close out the game as other defensive players quietly vented to each other.

On the other side of the small space.

Ken Dryden’s description of the dressing room of the Montreal Canadian’s, in Dryden’s The Game, came to mind.

It has the look and feel of a child’s bedroom. Shin pads, shoulder pads, socks, jocks, gloves, skates, and sweaters lie in twenty little heaps on the floor. Players in various stages of dress move easily about, laughing and shouting in equal measure. It is too big to be intimate, about the size of a large living room, too antiseptic and bright to be cozy. In early morning or late after¬ noon, it appears quite ordinary — fluorescent lights, chrome equipment racks, a red indoor-outdoor carpet, concrete block walls painted white with red and blue trim, a wide gray bench that runs around its borders. Functional, attractive in an institutional sort of way, it is a room that needs people. Only higher, above the chrome racks and near the ceiling, is it clear that this is a dressing room unique to one team.

This was the dressing room in the old Montreal Forum.

When it was torn down, the locker was saved somehow and reconstructed in the National Hockey League Hall of Fame in Toronto.

On the other side of the small space.

It also came to mind that of these small spaces in sports, Football and Basketball use locker rooms.

Hockey has the dressing room.

And Baseball has the clubhouse.

Not wanting to descend in Mr. George Carlin’s Football/Baseball routine but there it is.

Of the clubhouse, in The Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn wrote, “So summer came, tempting and hot, but of all the new scenes what compelled me most strongly was the crowded and drab clubhouse under the right-field grand- stands in Ebbets Field. It was not air-conditioned as clubhouses are today; ventilation came from narrow windows ten feet above the ground. The clubhouse was a long rectangle, with a trainers’ room and a corridor to Dressen’s office opening on the west. Old metal lockers ran around the walls. Reese, as captain, was assigned the first locker along the outside wall. This came with a battered metal door, a rough symbol of eminence since no other locker had a door of any kind. A small electric heater stood nearby. Reese reclined in an old swivel chair someone had found for him once. The other ball players sat on three-legged milkmaid’s stools.

On the other side of the small space.

I like that combination of words.

Maybe that is where the sidewalk ends.

2.24.2023 – enduring as rock

enduring as rock
charming as waves delicate
as seashore – I wish

“I own a rocky point of land in Carmel, Calif. extending into the Pacific Ocean… I am a woman living alone ‒ I wish protection from the wind and privacy from the road and a house as enduring as the rocks but as transparent and charming as the waves and as delicate as a seashore. You are the only man who can do this – will you help me?”

So wrote Della Brooks Walker to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Mr. Wright took up the challenge and the result is known as the The Walker House, the Mrs. Clinton Walker house and the Cabin on the Rocks.

Mr. Wright took up the challenge in a way consistent with his stated view that: No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.

How can you not be attracted by that statement?

Easy to understand why Mr. Wright has such a devoted following.

As an aside, one my many nephews (I have over 100 or so counting nephews in law) posted photos recently of a visit to Taliesin West, Wright’s place in Arizona.

I asked this nephew if the folks at Taliesin West told them the story of driving to Taliesin East in the middle of the night to dig up Wright’s body and bring it back to Arizona.

I mentioned that while creepy, it wasn’t as creepy as the Taliesin East butler story.

My Nephew responded that the Taliesin West folks DID not talk about the body snatch and that he had to google the Taliesin East butler story.

And nope, I am not going to relay the stories here as you will enjoy doing the google yourself.


So Mr. Wright designed a house that was part of the beach.

The house, the only Wright house on an ocean, was built in 1952,

The house, located in California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea, is in the news and it is for sale for the low low price of $22 million.

I was intrigued to note that along with all of the Wright intended attributes, as explained by wikipedia, that “The house, an example of Wright’s organic architecture, is built on granite boulders, uses the local Carmel-stone, and has a roof the color of the sea that is shaped to resemble the bow of a ship.” but also it is a house you can hear.

I don’t mean that you can hold the house to your ear and hear the sea as if it was a sea shell.

Nor do I mean that just to look at the house, you can hear the waves.

What I mean is that the house has a sound.

The house has the sound of my childhood.

You see, the house was used in the movie.

A movie maybe more famous for its sound track theme than the movie itself.

That movie was titled, The Summer Place.

For me, and for many folks who grew when I grew up, to hear the song, Theme to a Summer Place, will transport them back to a time where that song was heard everywhere, any where all the time.

Click on the video and listen and I know what you will say.

You will say, OH THAT SONG.

I hear it and I am about 8 years old and I am at home, after school and my Mom is making dinner and the radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I grew up, is tuned to WOOD-AM.

I can hear it and I can see it.

And now I will see this house.

The house that you can hear.

As Mr. Wright would have said, “There you are …”

2.23.2023 – stare at the sunset

stare at the sunset
and wonder why it has no
impact on you. How …

Follow the pedestrian path to the Williamsburg Bridge. This will take you well out of your way, but you think it might be a nice idea to watch the sunset from the bridge.

As you arrive at the midpoint of the bridge and see the sun going down, take a deep breath and try hard to live in the moment. This will be impossible for you. You haven’t been able to enjoy a sunset since you upped your dose of venlafaxine.

Stare at the sunset and wonder why it has no impact on you. How is something so viscerally, timelessly beautiful leaving you completely cold? How is it possible that your antidepressant is keeping you functional but also stifling any semblance of spiritual epiphany?

Adapted from the short story A G.P.S. ROUTE FOR MY ANXIETY by JESSE EISENBERG (New Yorker, Feb 27, 2023, Issue 2 Volume 99).

Mr. Eisenberg relates a walk outside in the style of turn by turn instructions from his GPS.

The spice sprinkled on top of the words, is the feeling from Mr. Eisenberg expressed through his anxiety.

A funny piece and at the same time, so very sad.

No triggers.

No reasons.

No explanations.

Just the anxiety.

A feeling so overwhelming of the soul that Mr. Eisenberg writes, How is something so viscerally, timelessly beautiful leaving you completely cold?

He wraps up a lot of life in one short walk.

Here is the story shamelessly repurposed from the New Yorker.


FROM: Home

TO: Local Y.M.C.A.


Exit your apartment through the service entrance so you don’t have to make small talk with the doorman, who resents you.

Upon exiting, turn left. Going right would obviously be quicker, but you might run into the woman from your building whose name you don’t remember.

Make a quick left at the rack of Citi Bikes. Avoid looking directly at the bikes and being reminded that you don’t have an active life style.

Dangerously cross the street in the middle of the block to avoid the bodega where you embarrassed yourself last week by going in drunk and ordering Ben & Jerry’s from the deli section.

Walk straight for three blocks in the wrong direction so that you can pass the movie theatre where you met your first girlfriend, Shira. Things seemed so much simpler then. Why couldn’t you just have proposed to Shira? Did you think she would wait around for you to grow up? She was an incredibly appealing person, and many people liked her. It was hubris to think that she would wait for you.

As you pass the theatre, it will occur to you that you should have proposed there. Shira would have thought it was so romantic. You could have cutesily conscripted the theatre staff to be in on the proposal. They could have done something kitschy but sweet, like hiding the ring in a tub of popcorn, and Shira might have said something charming, like “I wish you had proposed to me with some Raisinets.” You would have laughed and kissed her. Your life would have taken a nice turn with Shira. You would be a father now, maybe.

Make an extreme right to avoid the movie theatre. Walk briskly for several minutes to shake off the feeling of what could have been.

Take out your cell phone and pretend to be on an important call because you’re about to pass some canvassers for the A.S.P.C.A. Your mix of narcissism and self-hatred is so deep and convoluted that you can’t even bring yourself to spare five seconds to save animals.

This might be a nice time to listen to a podcast—maybe one from the BBC that doesn’t overlap with your own life and make you feel competitive. Something about the Bauhaus movement might be comforting.

Make a left for no other reason than to pass the office building where you interned for that documentary-film company when you thought that documentaries were going to change the world.

Make an immediate hard right to avoid the corner where you were fired by the documentary-film company for being too vocal at meetings.

Follow the pedestrian path to the Williamsburg Bridge. This will take you well out of your way, but you think it might be a nice idea to watch the sunset from the bridge.

As you arrive at the midpoint of the bridge and see the sun going down, take a deep breath and try hard to live in the moment. This will be impossible for you. You haven’t been able to enjoy a sunset since you upped your dose of venlafaxine.

Stare at the sunset and wonder why it has no impact on you. How is something so viscerally, timelessly beautiful leaving you completely cold? How is it possible that your antidepressant is keeping you functional but also stifling any semblance of spiritual epiphany?

Turn back and exit the bridge.

Walk uptown for several minutes, searching for any meaning in your life and not finding it.

Arrive at your destination, the local Y.M.C.A., which is actually five blocks from your apartment.

It is now dark out.

Stand outside the Y.M.C.A. for several minutes, watching other people go in.

Some of the people look strong.

Some of the people look tall.

Some of the people look mean.

Make a U-turn when safe.

Head back home.

2.22.2023 – citizens by birth or

citizens by birth or
choice, of a common country
name belongs to you

Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections.

The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.

With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.

You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together.

The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts – of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

From the Farewell Address of George Washington.

The preface of a memorial edition printed by the Senate of the United States in the year 2000, states:

In September 1796, worn out by burdens of the presidency and attacks of political foes, George Washington announced his decision not to seek a third term.

With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington composed in a “Farewell Address” his political testament to the nation.

Designed to inspire and guide future generations, the address also set forth Washington’s defense of his administration’s record and embodied a classic statement of Federalist doctrine.

Designed to inspire and guide.

I am not sure who came up with the wording for With slight shades of difference as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison helped out, but I have to marvel.

With slight shades of difference.

Citizen’s by birth OR choice.

The name that BELONGS to you.

The name of American.

The name that BELONGS to you.

Citizen’s by birth OR choice.

With slight shades of difference.

Words you could spray paint on a wall somewhere …

Appropriate reading for the General’s Birthday, 2023.

2.21.2023 – unconquerable

unreposed untired unfaded
unmarred unburlesqued

Based on the poem, The Sea Ocean, by Robert Pollok (c. 1798–1827) From The Course of Time Book I.

Great Ocean! strongest of creation’s sons,
Unconquerable, unreposed, untired,
That rolled the wild, profound, eternal bass
In nature’s anthem, and made music such
As pleased the ear of God! original,
Unmarred, unfaded work of Deity!
And unburlesqued by mortal’s puny skill;
From age to age enduring, and unchanged,
Majestical, inimitable, vast,
Loud uttering satire, day and night, on each
Succeeding race, and little pompous work
Of man; unfallen, religious, holy sea!
Thou bowedest thy glorious head to none, fearedst none,
Heardst none, to none didst honor, but to God
Thy Maker, only worthy to receive
Thy great obeisance.

Untowards utterance unlike usage untofor unknown!

2.20.2023 – abroad in the marsh

abroad in the marsh
terminal sea somehow soul
seems suddenly free

Adapted from The Marshes of Glynn by Sidney Lanier (1842–1881)

Glooms of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and woven
With intricate shades of the vines that myriad-cloven
Clamber the forks of the multiform boughs,—
Emerald twilights,—
Virginal shy lights,
Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows,
When lovers pace timidly down through the green colonnades
Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods,
Of the heavenly woods and glades,
That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within
The wide sea-marshes of Glynn;—
Beautiful glooms, soft dusks in the noonday fire,—
Wildwood privacies, closets of lone desire,
Chamber from chamber parted with wavering arras of leaves,—
Cells for the passionate pleasure of prayer to the soul that grieves,
Pure with a sense of the passing of saints through the wood,
Cool for the dutiful weighing of ill with good;—

O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
While the riotous noon-day sun of the June day long did shine
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine;
But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest,
And the sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West,
And the slant yellow beam down the wood-aisle doth seem
Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream,—
Ay, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of the oak,
And my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome sound of the stroke
Of the scythe of time and the trowel of trade is low,
And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know,
And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within,
That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the Marshes of Glynn
Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore
When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but bitterness sore,
And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,—

Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face
The vast sweet visage of space.
To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn,
Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the dawn,
For a mete and a mark
To the forest-dark:—
Affable live-oak, leaning low,—
Thus—with your favor—soft, with a reverent hand
(Not lightly touching your person, Lord of the land!),
Bending your beauty aside, with a step I stand
On the firm-packed sand,

By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea.
Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band
Of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land.
Inward and outward to northward and southward the beach-lines linger and curl
As a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows the firm sweet limbs of a girl.
Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight,
Softly the sand-beach wavers away to a dim gray looping of light.

And what if behind me to westward the wall of the woods stands high?
The world lies east: how ample, the marsh and the sea and the sky!
A league and a league of marsh-grass, waist-high, broad in the blade,
Green, and all of a height, and unflecked with a light or a shade,
Stretch leisurely off, in a pleasant plain,
To the terminal blue of the main.

Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea?
Somehow my soul seems suddenly free
From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin,
By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn.

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,
Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.

As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space ’twixt the marsh and the skies:
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.
And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea
Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood-tide must be:
Look how the grace of the sea doth go
About and about through the intricate channels that flow
Here and there,
Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying lanes,
And the marsh is meshed with a million veins,
That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow
In the rose-and-silver evening glow.
Farewell, my lord Sun!
The creeks overflow: a thousand rivulets run;
’Twixt the roots of the sod; the blades of the marsh-grass stir;
Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that westward whirr;
Passeth, and all is still; and the currents cease to run,
And the sea and the marsh are one.

How still the plains of the waters be!
The tide is in his ecstasy.
The tide is at his highest height:
And it is night.

And now from the Vast of the Lord will the waters of sleep
Roll in on the souls of men, 100
But who will reveal to our waking ken
The forms that swim and the shapes that creep
Under the waters of sleep?
And I would I could know what swimmeth below when the tide comes in
On the length and the breadth of the marvellous marshes of Glynn.

2.19.2023 – morning sky goes blue

morning sky goes blue
sunset sky goes bronze time is
a storyteller

Adapted from The Fireborn are at Home in Fire by Carl Sandburg

Luck is a star.
Money is a plaything.
Time is a storyteller.
The sky goes high, big.
The sky goes wide and blue.
And the fireborn — they go far —
being at home in fire.

Can you compose yourself
The same as a bright bandana,
A bandana folded blue and cool,
Whatever the high howling,
The accents of blam blam?
Can I, can John Smith, John Doe,
Whatever the awful accents,
Whatever the horst wessel hiss,
Whatever books be burnt and crisp,
Whatever hangmen bring their hemp,
Whatever horsemen sweep the sunsets,
Whatever hidden hovering candle
Sways as a wafer of light?

Can you compose yourself
The same as a bright bandana,
A bandana folded blue and cool?
Can I, too, drop deep down
In a pool of cool remembers,
In a float of fine smoke blue,
In a keeping of one pale moon,
Weaving our wrath in a pattern
Woven of wrath gone down,
Crossing our scarlet zigzags
With pools of cool blue,
With floats of smoke blue?

Can you, can I, compose ourselves
In wraps of personal cool blue,
In sheets of personal smoke blue?
Bach did it, Johann Sebastian.
So did the one and only John Milton.
And the old slave Epictetus
And the other slave Spartacus
And Brother Francis of Assisi.
So did General George Washington
On a horse, in a saddle,
On a boat, in heavy snow,
In a loose cape overcoat
And snow on his shoulders.
So did John Adams, Jackson, Jefferson.
So did Lincoln on a cavalry horse
At the Chancellorsville review
With platoons right, platoons left,
In a wind nearly blowing the words away
Asking the next man on a horse:
“What’s going to become of all these
boys when the war is over?”

The shape of your shadow
Comes from you — and you only?
Your personal fixed decision
Out of you — and your mouth only?
Your No, your Yes, your own?

Bronze old timers belong here.
Yes, they might be saying:
Shade the flame
Back to final points
Of all sun and fog
In the moving frame
Of your personal eyes.
Then stand to the points.
Let hunger and hell come.
Or ashes and shame poured
On your personal head.
Let death shake its bones.
The teaching goes back far:
Compose yourself.

Luck is a star.
Money is a plaything.
Time is a storyteller.
And the sky goes blue with mornings.
And the sky goes bronze with sunsets.
And the fireborn — they go far —
being at home in fire.