Metaphorically, Life

“Life is a verb, not a noun.”
–Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.”
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”
–Charles M. Schulz

“Life is like a play; it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.’
–Seneca the Younger

“Life is a rainbow which also includes black.”
–Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.”
–Scott Adams

“Life is a journey, but don’t worry, you’ll find a parking spot at the end.”
–Isaac Asimov

“Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”
–Truman Capote

“Life is a near-death experience.”
–George Carlin

“Life is a funny thing that happens to you on the way to the grave.”
–Quentin Crisp

“For most men, life is a search for the proper manila envelope in which to get themselves filed.”
–Clifton Fadiman

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Quotable Jazz

“Jazz is about the only form of art existing today in which there is this freedom of the individual without the loss of group contact.”
–Dave Brubeck

“Playing “bop” is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing.”
–Duke Ellington

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Family Day Weekend: Ready to Roll

UnTwitterpated and free!


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Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”: A Neglected Classic

(the 1931 dust jacket done by Vanessa Stephen, Virginia’s painter-sister)

The first thing to be said about this unique ‘novel’, is that it can’t be read as a traditional narrative; it is more post-modern than anything else she ever wrote. It is also the most poetic novel ever written in twentieth-century prose. Its poetry is married to visual imagery and music so the book is actually a hybrid sensuous experience from beginning to end.

So, if a reader, hopes to have a prayer of entering and ‘getting’ this book, s/he has to really listen to the book’s words and the voices of its several connected characters. Woolf presents these several points of view from early to late in life, letting each speak for him/herself via stream-of-consciousness. Each voice is a poetic expression of his/her worlds and consciousness. So a reader has to completely go with the flow of the book and its words. *There is absolutely no point for a conventional, more limited, less free reader in trying to look for a plot even in individual episodes.

Essentially, The Waves is a flow of consciousness and sense impressions about literally everything in the characters’ lives. Woolf points out innumerable fascinating insights and epiphanies about life, human nature, and people along the way. One simply has to enjoy the ride. Believe me when I say that individual parts are large, sometimes brilliant, poems in themselves. And the cumulative effect of all these unique sensitive impressions and deep consciousness is astounding and exquisitely profound.

Woolf often envied the great English poets, but she knew what she wrote poetry in any case. (Take the middle section of To the Lighthouse for instance–one of the best prose poems about death and the passing of time.) The Waves is pure poetry. It is also as great a book as Joyce’s Ulysses. It is BIG, MASSIVE, and feels ever so much like life lived through the consciousness of intelligent people with poetic bents and sensibilities.

Further note: There is much of Woolf’s life and people she knew in this book. “Ginny”, incidentally refers to herself, and there are references to her sister Vanessa and her lover Vita Sackville-West too.

*Big recommendation: Get hold of and listen to Naxos Audiobook’s version read by Francis Jeater on 4 CDs (5 hrs., 14 mins.) You will never be the same person or see life the same way afterward. Guaranteed.

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For me, jazz and classical…

(the greatest tenor saxophonist Stan Getz with the greatest pianist Kenny Barron; they were the top jazz duo of all time)

(the greatest classical composer; there is only one Beethoven; no one else who was deaf ever wrote such sublime music)..

…have been schools of higher learning. Jazz is the more amazing genre because of its great individual freedom while at the same making wondrous connections with group members. Classical tends to be more beautiful and structured, but there is a nice pleasure in harmony and several or many instruments playing together at the same time.

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Only Edmonton City Council would be stupid enough

to propose a downtown playground for street people and dopers to hang out in, leaving needles for kids to discover.

Likewise, stupid enough to build an ankle-deep fountain in front of city hall, and, simultaneously, to propose an obvious e-coli ‘beach’ which will sicken and poison citizens who are dumb enough to frolic in the North Saskatchewan.

This city has also declared war on pedestrians and cars for the sake of a few bike riders in a 4-month period. They have also torn up roads willy-nilly the past two years, leaving them fallow for 5-6 months to dry out while hundreds of thousands of drivers are inconvenienced while their vehicles rust away from another no-brainer ‘good idea’–the use of calcium chloride. The millions this council has wasted could have put to much better use helping the poor, and building indoor gardens for citizens to find seasonal relief in.

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The Edmonton Oilers

are a major accident scene which will take years to figure out. The Olde Curse is back big-time. It is best to move along, forget, and stop watching. My advice: Save the eyestrain, don’t check the media, and get a life.

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On Meeting Van Johnson in a Theatre

(the young Van Johnson)

watching a play. We ended up sitting beside one another. He looked as of old in the ’50s onscreen, still intact. “Hey, I played you in my high school production of Brigadoon in 1967.”
“Well, stranger things have happened,” he said.
But later I realized that I hadn’t in actuality. His was a genial comic part that I had coveted which got played by an old friend, long since gone.

I was only in the chorus–and became Jock MacVay–working up a comic bit at a final rehearsal for the line “Jock MacVay, they used him as a serving tray”, suggesting to two other boys that they hoist me up horizontally between them to be carried across the stage. The teacher, our director, the great Barry Anderson, came in just then and excitedly exclaimed “Keep it, keep it, we’ll use it!”

I liked Van Johnson in a number of movies I saw him in anyway including Brigadoon and The Caine Mutiny. I guess I was destined to resurrect him and chat with him this morning in a post-brekkie lie-down. Odd how our minds create the impossible, long-ball connections and strange meetings linking past to present consciousness.

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And when I die,

I shall be the first to perceive and know that a large sensibility and consciousness has just left the room.

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“While we are postponing, life speeds by.”

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