the life removed or jupe continues his love affair with music and words


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I had a much better Friday than Thursday this week. I had a good talk with my shrink, Dr. Birky. I do like this guy. He told me not to bring a check to the next session.  It would be on the house. We have missed two previous sessions due to him. The first one he accidentally double booked my time. The second he called me a couple days before and reluctantly canceled our appointment due to his own schedule.

I have a lot on  my mind these days. I have had some interesting nightmares. Usually my dreams are not like that. But in the last few days I have found myself cowering with family  hiding from gunmen, having large sumo wrestlers stieal the keys to my car and threaten me and those with me. There have been other dreams but they have dissipated this morning.

Ron Brown, the talented handy parishioner, quickly fixed my broken organ. It was an easy fix as Martin Pasi had hoped. I sat down and practiced for several hours. I did a lot of playing for fun. I do this. I enjoy time at the organ, my fake harpsichord, and my crappy old piano. I read a lot of Bach yesterday. I also have been playing through Widor’s Toccata. Along with the famous D minor Toccata and Fugue (the phantom of the opera one) I think I want to have these pieces in my regular repertoire at church since people do seem to enjoy them and even ask about them. However, I want to move them away from large feasts. With the old organ I regularly played the Widor after the Easter Vigil and sometimes after the Easter Sunday morning Eucharist.

I remember Ray Ferguson telling a story about how he had neglected to schedule the Widor Tocatta one Easter and someone came up to him and said they had driven to church just to hear him play it. Ray being Ray (one of the most gracious and elegant persons I have ever known) sat down and played it for the guy. I can’t see many people with Ray’s ability reacting in that way and it’s one of the reasons he is still a big influence on me and still think of him with fondness and admiration even though he is long dead.

I try to keep a Shakespeare play going in my daily reading. Right now, my play is Measure for Measure.


I have somehow acquired a very cool Oxford edition with copious footnotes that constantly cross refer to my beloved Oxford English Dictionary. Often in the footnotes there is a citation of a line of Shakespeare that occurs in the numerous illustrative quotes in the dictionary. These illustrative quotes in the OED are one of my favorite things.

Another very helpful thing is the online pronunciation recordings. In addition to Shakespeare I read Derek Walcott on a daily basis. His combination of erudition and orientation to the Caribbean (his homeland) sends me to the dictionary to look up meanings and pronunciations.

I find myself drawn into reading authors who write from a point of view that is critical of colonialism and sees the language in a larger context that the USA. Current examples include Alan Moore, Salmon Rushdie, Emily West’s translation of The Odyssey, and Walcott.

Currently the American writers I am drawn to are speaking from or about the history of slavery in the voices of the same. James Baldwin, Kevin Young, Tyhimba Jess, and others.

So words and music are a great comfort to me.

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I feel particularly eccentric and disconnected. But my world of words and music is a wonderful one and one I feel lucky to inhabit however solitary my enjoyment of them.

The Duke in Measure for Measure describes his own love of solitude in a passage I read this morning.

Speaking to a friar confidant he says

“My holy sir, none knows better than you
How I have ever loved the life removed,
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
Where youth and cost witless bravery keeps.”

Act I. scene 3,  7-10

The footnotes wonderfully clarify that “removed” is used in the sense of “retired, secluded,” that “held in idle price” means “considered [it] of very slight value, that “youth and cost” is equivalent to ‘youthful extravagance,’ and that “witless bravery” is “foolish ostentation in the form of expensive clothing” and cites the OED’s 3rd meaning
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Sat morning in Holland Michigan


I am writing on an early dark Friday morning. This sun is just beginning to dimly light things up a bit. I have already washed dishes, done Greek, then walked to Evergreen and treadmilled. By the end of the day yesterday I was unable to muster the will to go and treadmill in the last hour that Evergreen commons was open.  Earlier I met with my piano trio and we had a good rehearsal.

I have an appointment with Dr. Birky, my shrink, today. I have some stuff to talk about.  Yesterday I felt overwhelmed for most of the day. This is probably largely cyclical stuff. It is the silly season, as Rev Jen and I call it.

Yesterday Rhonda texted me and asked me if I was interested in composing a quartet for organ, bassoon, trombone and sax. She and her players need a piece for a February gig. I was glad to do it.

Yesterday as I was finishing up my morning organ practice, I was getting off the bench and my foot slipped and hit a note with a bit of force. It was not too much force. But enough that the note stuck. Also I noticed that the key on the keyboard corresponding to the pitch did not return easily. Oy. I messaged Martin Pasi and he responded promptly. He thinks it’s probably an easy fix. I have scheduled a meeting with Ron Brown today at 1:30. He’s the guy who helped before and probably knows more about how the organ works than anyone else around.

NYTimes: The Glory of Democracy

This David Brooks article is pretty good. He links into his main source for ideas, Thomas Mann’s The Coming Victory Of Democracy. I am a fan of Mann’s. I keep thinking I will reread him soon.

NYTimes: 10 New Books We Recommend This Week

I keep reading these lists for fun. I was pleased to see several on this list on my stack of books to read.

NYTimes: Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s

I skimmed over the Trump stuff. I know enough of that. I wondered what Obama’s lies were. You have to scroll down quite a ways to see lists of specific untruths.

 Nate Silver, the author of this article and founder of FiveThirtyEight has taught me a lot about understanding polls and predictions.


 This is one of two recent reports giving some insider type portraits of how things are going haywire in the Oval Office. The other was by the NYT.

Neurotic Poets – Neurotic Poets – ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’ by Sylvia Plath

I was looking at an article in the  NYT in which columnists and reporters recommended books to each other. It was all pretty lame, but one guy recommended this poem. I like it and did not know it.