Today, October 1st, is International Vegetarian Day. I hope you all ate your vegetables today. As a lifelong vegetarian, I’m happy to celebrate this “holiday”. There is a verse in the Vedic literature of ancient India to the effect that, “Slaughtering of animals [by humans for food consumption] is also a form of war. The Earth will never know peace and freedom from war so long as humankind continues to slaughter animals.” Something to think about.
Personally, I’m always somewhat amazed and dismayed at people who claim to love animals (and perhaps live with one or more as pets/companions), yet continue to eat other murdered animals — sometimes one or more individual animals once or twice or thrice a day, virtually every day of the year. Just seems so bizarre to me…but to each their own…
As today is the first day of September, I’m re-posting a link to “September Night” by Van Morrison. It’s one of my favourite September pieces of music, one of my favourite of all autumnal pieces of music (ancient seasonal ragas aside). It’s an instrumental piece, with lots of (abstract) vocalizing used as instrumentation, but with no lyrics or singing of actual words.
For the most part I tend to prefer musical pieces that also have lyrics. Hey, I’m a wordy kinda guy. Love words. Love poetry. Literature. Love reading and writing. Love conversation. Love exchanging personal letters (and Love-letters?—just one of the best things in the world!). Love the lyrical dimension to music. But instrumental music (the purely musical part of music, after all), is so wonderful also! And sometimes is best on its own, without benefit, or distraction, of lyrics.
With “pop” music, of broadly-termed rock and related genres, I often find that I tend to assess the true musicality/musical-attunement of various bands/groups and individual “singer-songwriters,” in part, by whether they include in their repertoire at least a few word-less pieces (like one or two per album, or concert) they’ve composed and/or at least pieces they cover by others, pieces that are instrumental-only, without lyrics.
Typically I don’t much care for pop/rock singers who don’t also write their own songs. To me, that’s mostly like a bar-mitzvah/wedding cover band or lounge singer. I’d rather hear from a poet who tries to sing mostly her or his own words, and a singer-songerwriter who also sometimes tries writing & playing her or his own instrumental-only numbers.
Somewhat sadly, to my taste, such instrumental-only pieces are fairly rare in the repertoire of musicians performing/composing in most of the categories I tend to listen to the most: rock/folk/folk-rock/pop/blues/r’n’b/soul, etc. But often I feel such rare instrumental numbers are among such musicians’ best pieces, or perhaps more often that such pieces sometimes could be among their best, with a little more work (&/or talent).
I sometimes get so tired/bored hearing the same old words, or range of thoughts-in-word-form, the same old trite story lines/narratives/ subject plots, sung over and over even by the lyrical writers/performers I like best. Sometimes I just want to hear what they may have to “say” instrumentally-only, what they might have to “say” without words, just with instrumental composition and performance. Just one of my little rants. And one reason I sometimes turn to jazz and classical music.
I love me some good jazz and (good) classical music (and not just Western, European/American classical, but also, most of all, classical Indian music). Love these genres for various reasons, but one reason is their “abstract,” “non-objective,” largely lyric-free, story-free content. With notable exceptions, I typically don’t so much care for vocal jazz or vocal (Western) classical music. There are certainly beautiful exceptions, and you just can’t beat really good operatic arias and jazz skat-singing, and even more so the amazing extensive Indian classical tradition of wordless tonal singing, an ancient mostly spiritual equivalent both of arias and skat. But otherwise, generally for my listening tastes, I like both Indian classical, Western classical, and jazz for their non-wordy intellectually-complex instrumental music, their “pure (word-free) music.” I’d like to see a little more of that incorporated into rock. Some rock. And while we’re at it, I’d love to see much better rock lyrics as well! More literary/poetic intelligence and sophistication, more psychological and spiritual intelligence, insight, sensitivity, and depth.
Meanwhile, there’s Van Morrison. Whatever his limitations, at his best, for what he does, there’s no one better.
Similar dream-wishes I sometimes have regarding many representational visual artists: I often find myself bored with looking at “the same old” representational objective contents: portraits, figures, landscapes, buildings, still-lifes, etc, as painted by certain representational-only artists. And I sometimes wish many of these same artists also had painted (or, if contemporary, will yet go on to paint), a few purely non-representational, abstract, non-objective pieces. Can you imagine what such non-representational pieces might look like if painted by such historic artists as: Blake, Durer, Chagall, Samuel Palmer, Edward Calvert, Whistler, Van Gogh, Manet, the two Rousseaus (Théodore and Henri)? And so many others—Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Ingres, Brueghel, Hieronymus Bosch, Constable, Caspar David Friedrich, Philipp Otto Runge? The list is endless.
But then, I also sometimes dream how fascinating it would be to see seriously-endeavoured, sustained examples of landscape, figural pieces, portraits, and other representational works by purely abstract artists. Sadly, in many cases such examples do exist and are fairly pathetic. But then, I suppose most novelist are not such good poets, and vice versa. Many creative artists of various arts and genres have a strong suit and maybe not so very often an also fairly edifying less-strong suit. So be it. I’m grateful for what music and painting and other art there is. One simply always wants more.
Bonus tracks: Enjoy these ancient classical India night ragas!
This volunteer NGO project looks very good to me. I don’t personally know anyone working with them, and I’m not sure how I came to be on their mailing list, but I’m glad I am; they all look like peeps I’d like to have as friends. Take a look at what they are doing to help the people of Nepal and surrounding areas. –Sky
Himalaya Project is a Chicago-based non-profit organization consisting of 5 volunteer board members who share the wish to provide education and public health to an entire district of Nepal. We see the benefit of preserving Himalayan culture and its medical practices so that they may directly benefit our friends in Dolpo and so the medical traditions are not lost.
Board of Directors
Himalaya Project’s Advisory Board provides strategic advice and support to the Board of Directors in areas of expertise including navigating the education and medical communities in Nepal and the trans-Himalayan region, non-profit organization and management, fiduciary responsibility and accountability, clarity of communication to Nepalese and north American audiences, brand recognition, strategic planning, marketing, and team building.
This is further proof that not all is lost. That when given a chance for compassion, many of our youth..our future..will know what to do when the time comes.
This happened in New York City on Saturday. At a subway station at Lafayette and Broadway.
A despondent young woman climbed over a railing and crawled over open girders that were 25 feet above the ground and over 5 feet apart. And began sobbing.
According to a witness, Michal Klein, “The only thing I overheard was the young girl saying nobody cares about her.”
Then a young man on the first level saw her, and ran up to the second floor. He climbed and crawled over the beams to where she was sitting. He began talking to her quietly. Then he put his arm around her. After a minute, she put her head on his shoulder.
They were up there for almost ten minutes before the fire department arrived. They both crawled back over the ledge…holding hands the entire time. He borrowed a pen from an officer and wrote his information down for her and she put it in her pocket.
She was then taken away by ambulance to the hospital.
And this young man picked up his backpack, got on a subway, and left.
Said Klein, who took the picture, “It was just like a random person who went over to keep her calm. He actually cared enough, whoever he was, to help her. A lot of people seemed to be like, ‘Oh, it’s New York,’ and kept walking. I don’t know what I would’ve done. I don’t think I would’ve climbed over to do that.”
Another witness noted that most people didn’t even break stride as they quickly glanced up.
Said another, “Angels come in many forms.”
The NYPD has stated that when you encounter a suicidal person, even if they are gentle, you should call for help, ’instead of taking matters into your own hands.’
I respectfully disagree. When many feel alone and isolated, the kindness of someone that WANTS to be there can make all the difference in their world. And if you have that feeling of compassion come over you and you feel it in your bones, then you should act on those feelings.
In NYC, more people die per year in the city from suicide than from both murder and car accidents.
Thanks to this young man…not last Saturday.
“THINGS,” as they say, “could always be worse.” Consider Tuco “the Ugly” Ramirez in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The first and second of his death penalty sentences are given below. Not everything bad-ass is Truly Bad-Ass. Poetry is where you find it.
Wanted in fourteen counties of this state,
the condemned is found guilty of the crimes of
armed robbery of citizens, state banks and post offices,
the theft of sacred objects,
arson in a state prison,
deserting his wife
receiving stolen goods,
selling stolen goods,
passing counterfeit money;
and contrary to the laws of this state,
the condemned is guilty of
using marked cards
and loaded dice.
Therefore, according to the powers vested in us,
we sentence the accused here before us,
Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez
[“known as ‘The Rat’ ”],
and any other aliases he might have,
to hang by the neck until dead.
May God have mercy on his soul.
… Wanted in fifteen counties of this state,
the condemned, standing before us,—sitting before us,—
Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez,
has been found guilty by the Third District Circuit Court of the following crimes:
assaulting a Justice of the Peace,
raping a virgin of the white race,
statutory rape of a minor of the black race,
…of derailing a train in order to rob the passengers,
…bank robbery, highway robbery, robbing an unknown number of post offices.
…and breaking out of the state prison,
counterfeiting and passing counterfeit money;
…and the accused is also charged with using marked cards and loaded dice,
and promoting prostitution,
…guilty of crimes against places of high authority;
intention of selling fugitive slaves,
… illegal postal pick up,
… guilty of crimes that include
burning down the courthouse and sheriff’s office in Sonora.
The condemned then hired himself out as guide to a wagon train.
After receiving his payment in advance, he deserted the wagon train on the hunting grounds of the Sioux Indians.
The condemned is also guilty of
supplying Indians with firearms;
… and misrepresenting himself as a Mexican General
in order to receive a salary and living allowance
from the Union Army.
For all these crimes the accused has made
a full and spontaneous confession.
Therefore we condemn him
to be hanged by the neck until dead.
May the Lord have mercy on his soul.
And sometimes, people join together
(This just looks a little staged to me. It doesn’t seem like there was any angry hatred or desire to injury or kill others here as among the KKK/Nazis in Charlottesville. But it sends a good message, in any case. With or without prayer huddles. So I like to think it’s legit.)
I just happened upon this video. I thought it was interesting. Perhaps some visitors to this site will find it helpful.
In Confederacy on August 21, 2017, with no comments
What do Confederate monuments mean? This is apparently a question that continues to vex many.
Perhaps Wiley N. Nash, Mississippian and Civil War veteran, can help.
“What good purpose,” he asked in 1908, “is subserved, promoted and supported by the erection of these Confederate memorials all over the South?”
#Shorter Nash reply: “White people shall rule the South forever.”
But of course Nash had studied both literature and the law at the University of Mississippi, so his actual answer came fully attired in his best Lost Cause finery:
Like the watch fires kindled along the coast of Greece that leaped in ruddy joy to tell that Troy had fallen, so these Confederate monuments, these sacred memorials, tell in silent but potent language, that the white people of the South shall rule and govern the Southern states forever.
Wiley was the featured speaker on December 2, 1908, when the white citizens of Lexington, Mississippi, gathered for ceremonies to unveil their new Confederate monument. It was typical of the memorials then going up across the south: A generic soldier standing atop a stone column, in front of the county courthouse.
The column is of modest height, not as tall as the one in Natchez, say, nor does it feature any secondary statues at its base, as the one in Greenwood does. Both were richer cities. Still, the monument’s debut was something to be celebrated. A college band played “Dixie.” A group of school children sang “The Bonnie Blue Flag.” Civil War Veterans paraded along with eleven girls chosen to represent the eleven seceding states of the Confederacy.
Nash was eminently qualified for his leading role. He was a Mississippian by birth, and a lawyer who had served both in the state legislature and as the state’s attorney general.
More to the point, he had fought in the war, riding in various cavalry units. Equally important, after the war he had fought in the campaign to restore white rule in Mississippi. Nash “did as much as any one man,” read one of his obituaries, “to assist in gaining control of the state government and accomplishing the overflow [sic] of carpet bag and Negro rule.”
“To him,” it continued, “Mississippi should be ever grateful for the part he took in the protection and preservation of our traditional hereditary rights and liberties.”
We may be ever grateful to Nash as well, for among his fulsome remarks that day, which run to roughly 7,000 words, he included a clear, concise, nine-point-itemized list on what the statues actually do.
The ruddy leaping joy of perpetual white power comes in at number seven. Monuments also “keep honorable” the “present and future dominant and ruling Southern Anglo-Saxon element” (item 2) and help “keep the white people of the South united — a thing so necessary” (item 6). They will also remind one and all “how sacred and how dear are the reserved rights of the States, reserved in the language of the Constitution to the States, or to the people” (item 8).
It may be asked, “What good purpose is subserved, promoted and supported by the erection of these Confederate memorials all over the South?” I answer:
(1) Besides honoring the South, the Southern cause, its supporters and brave defenders, the living and the dead, it will keep in heart and spirit the South, and her people for all time to come.
(2) It will keep honored and honorable, as the years roll on, the name and fame of the fathers and forefathers of our present and future dominant and ruling Southern Anglo-Saxon element, those who, “come weal, come woe,” are to mould, shape, fix, dictate, and control the destiny of the South and her people.
(3) It will educate each rising generation, each influx of immigration in our customs, traditions, thought and feeling, as well as in the esteem, love and admiration of the Southern people.
(4) It will help all others to form a correct idea of, a respect for our civil, religious, social and educational institutions.
(5) It will help to a true understanding of home rule and local self-government, contending for which the South lost so many of her best and bravest.
(6) It will serve to keep the white people of the South united — a thing so necessary — to keep, protect, preserve and transmit, our true Southern social system, our cherished Southern civilization, —
“And Dixie’s sons shall stand together,
Mid sunshine and in stormy weather,
Through lightning flashes and mountains sever,
Count on the ‘Solid South’ forever.”
(7) Like the watch fires kindled along the coast of Greece that leaped in ruddy joy to tell that Troy had fallen, so these Confederate monuments, these sacred memorials, tell in silent but potent language, that the white people of the South shall rule and govern the Southern states forever.
(8) They will tell to Sovereign States from the Atlantic, where raged the fight that made us free, to the calm and placid waters of the Pacific, to States, if made from the isles of the sea, how sacred and how dear are the reserved rights of the States, reserved in the language of the Constitution to the States, or to the people.
(9) They will teach the South through all the ages to love the Southern Cause, her Southern soldier boys.
On this matter, Nash is an unimpeachable source: a Mississippian, a veteran, a redeemer and a monument-unveiler. This is what the monuments mean. His is the definitive answer. His is a direct expression of the original intent, if you will, of the people who built them.
More than a dozen Confederate monuments have come down across the country since the events of Charlottesville earlier this month, and others are now being reviewed. The memorial in Lexington still stands, as do all the rest in Mississippi. No cities have announced reviews. Earlier this year, a member of the legislature said that anyone who wanted to take down statues “should be lynched!” De-Dixiefication, like the Civil Rights Movement, will come late to Mississippi.
There is a renewed talk about finally changing the state flag, an effort rekindled by Dylann Roof murdering nine church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina, two years ago. Mississippi’s current flag is the last in the south to contain a Confederate element. The design dates back to 1893, when the state legislature, including Wiley Nash, approved it.