Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Reasons to be cheerful before 10:30 a.m.

Can there be any symbol of resiliency more endearing that a single strand of climbing cactus with a full bloom up where the air and light are free? This one on Calle 28 de Abril Norte in Colonia San Antonio makes me smile whenever I pass by.

———-         ———-          ———–          ———-

What do we need? HOPE!
When do we need it? NOW!
Who are we going to get it from? NOT FACEBOOK!
Then from who? (Or “whom” or “what”?) WINE!

OK! But are there any other vehicles of hope,
ones that we can remember in the morning?

Jesus, you people …
OK, let’s try song and poetry Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log asks me one thing: ‘Say, what have you been up to in social isolation?’

UntitledAfter living five years on an island off the coast of Belize and two years in the magical Mexican city San Miguel de Allende, isolation is just another change that we hadn’t planned on.

Recently while commiserating with a friend who had squirted a tube of oil point on a wall while trying to open it, it occurred to me that accidents are art waiting for vision to give them purpose.

The corollary to that is: There are no accidents in art.

So, let’s substitute the word “life” for “art.” Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Things we do all the time and things we do for the first time ever

dandy-lion (1)From Ray Bradbury’s ” Dandelion Wine” …

“He brought out a yellow nickel tablet. He brought out a yellow Ticonderoga pencil. He opened the tablet. He licked the pencil.

“Tom,” he said, “you and your statistics gave me an idea. I’m going to do the same, keep track of things. For instance: you realize that every summer we do things over and over we did the whole darn summer before?”

“Like what, Doug?”

“Like making dandelion wine, like buying these new tennis shoes, like shooting off the first firecracker of the year, like making lemonade, like getting slivers in our feet, like picking wild fox grapes. Every year the same things, same way, no change, no difference. That’s one half of summer, Tom.”

“What’s the other half?”

“Things we do for the first time ever.”

+++++ +++++ +++++

What’s the last thing you did for the first time ever?

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 28 — Eva Cassidy is proof that there is life after death

IMG_1477#1 Emotional tempo upon awakening: Andante con moto.

#2 MOTIVATION: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor Op. 57 (“Appassionata”) played by Claudio Arrau in Berlin 1970. Blissful 26-minute journey.

#3 MEDITATION: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor retooled for flute by Jean-Claude Veilhan and performed by Helene Schulthess inside the 800-year-old Swiss church of St. Peter in Mistail. Schulthess uses the church’s impenetrable walls and echoes to create beguiling depth for the nearly 10-minute composition.

It reminds me (only slightly, but just enough) of Paul Horn’s “Inside” (1969), A jazz flutist, Horn took his instrument and some recording equipment inside the Taj Mahal and used the building’s echoey acoustics as his backup band. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Grateful on this cool, preternaturally calm Sunday morning, I ask myself, isn’t this just enough, for now?

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All photographs taken on walks around San Miguel de Allende, the Magic City.

Lurking in the dark corner of the far left tabs

on my computer, for two weeks now,

Concerto for flute, no. 1 in G-Major, K. 313 (1778)

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed

By the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

I imagine that Mozart and the ISO have

Survived so much. An Iceland orchestra must Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 24 — Stories help us understand, Alicia Keys helps us heal

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FREE ANNOTATION AND HOT LINKS:

#1. GREAT ESCAPE: The plan was for me to get up early and walk Moppit so Rose could take an online yoga class before the sun turned up the heat.

The internet was down.

Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Trump hails bug-sniffing Labradoodles as key warriors in coronavirus battle

YESTERDAY …

Horrified doctors and medical experts and disinfectant manufacturers scrambled to warn people not to ingest cleansers like Clorox, Lysol, and Pinesol as they could kill you.

Also in the news: Health and Human Services (HHS) director Alex Azar elevated a former labradoodle breeder to lead the department’s day-to-day response to the coronavirus, despite his minimal experience.

WHICH BRINGS US TO TODAY …
President Trump announces the rollout of a stunningly innovative national testing program developed by his team of advisers.

In a word: Labradoodles. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 23, Thinking about running. Yeah. Thinking very, very hard …

IMG_1415ANNOTATED LOG and HOT LINKS:

#1: FEVERED DREAMS: Still in a stupor, with the sun barely over the horizon, I started thinking about exercise — creating walking and running routes — both inside our compound and outside. Came up with some excellent ideas, both included steps — lots and lots of steps.

I concentrated really really hard to fix the routes in my mind, to gauge the aerobic benefits, and to estimate the caloric burn.

#2: AND THEN … Completely satisfied, I dropped my head back on the pillow and went back to sleep. My work here is done.

#3: KEEP IT CLEAN: Gave Moppit a bath. Then I took a shower. We both needed it. For different reasons.

#4: WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA: Today is a day for grand schemes I fantasized about building an online roots music festival. All the great roots cities — Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans — must have radio stations dedicated to the kinds of music that defined them as the sources of blues, jazz, rock, Americana, swing, country.

When I was a rock music writer and starting to pull some juice, I proposed spending a summer traveling the country from music festival to festival filing reports from the road. The idea got about 30 seconds worth of consideration in newspaper time. Thirty seconds equals the amount of time it takes to say No!” in the real world.

I still think it was a good idea.

Instead, I got to spend two weeks that Spring, driving my kids to every theme park in Southern California to test out their newest attractions just ahead of the season debuts. To them, at least, I was a hero for about half the summer. You should have seen the expense check. There are A LOT of theme parks.

#5: SO, INSTEAD:  I made lunch.

#6: BIG READ: And read some more of “The Invention of More.” While the book was published in 1940, the author pretty much nails our modern-day concept of holograms.

#7: GIFTING GONE WRONG:  Neil Gaiman was offering free downloads of his classic “American Gods” until April 26 but, um, the download site @NetGallery and his publisher “weren’t ready.”  Neil deleted his generous offer with a promise to iron out the “snags” and try again soon. If I were you, I’d “friend” Neil real soon. On Twitter: @neilhimself.

#8: MEDITATION: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29. It is short. Let me just post it here. Quick synopsis: Love conquers all

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

#9: WATCH: “Live with Carnegie Hall”  Pianist Emmanuel Ax hosted an hour-plus broadcast with Yefin Bronfman and Marc André Hamelin from their homes. The informality of great musicians in their homes — Ax has grown a shaggy beard and his piano is out of tune slightly — is as endearing as their music is stunning.

Shows next week: Angélique Kidjo (4/2) and Joshua Bell (4/30). (Note to self: Learn how to spell “Carnegie.”)

#10: PODCAST: “Rabbit Hole” Episode 2. The series is exploring how the Internet is shaping minds (and ensnaring many of them). It is as disturbing as a slasher flick. Social media algorithms analyze your viewing habits then feed you more of the same, and more, and more and more.  Imagine your kid watching an Alex Jones video and then seeing 10 more backed up on his recommended list. And it gets worse. Watch and know your enemy.

#11: MOVIE NIGHT: Another oldie, “Topper Returns” (1941) In a case of mistaken identity, Joad Blondel gets bumped off and comes back as a ghost to solve her own murder. Who else but America’s milquetoast Topper (Roland Young) is recruited to help. Just a lot of goofy B&W fun, except for the cringe-inducing role of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson as the easily-frightened chauffeur.

He does get off the best lines in the movie, including:

Eddie, the Chauffeur: “Doors closing by themselves. People talkin’ to nuthin’ and gettin’ answers. I’m going back.”

Clara Topper (a ditzy Billie Burke): “Back where?”

Eddie, the Chauffeur: “To Mr. Benny. Ain’t nuthin’ like this ever happened there.”

Sleep on it.

 

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 22, I’m back and I’ve got this headful of stuff I need to tell you …

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Miss me? These days you can’t say “I am sick” without sending tremors through the universe. But now I can say, “I was sick, for a couple of days.” Whatever the symptoms, they did not add up to COVID 19.

I was just sick. And now I’m better and life goes on and gratitude pours in to fill the void.

As many of you know, when you are sick, you basically do nothing. So, since I sense you don’t want unnecessary detail on nose-blowing and sneezing, let’s say I did nothing of note (“Honk!” … sorry) on Monday and Tuesday.

But here’s today’s ANNOTATED LOG!: Continue reading

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