Sonnet I by Fernando Pessoa

Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.

35 Sonnets (1918, public domain)

I ran across Fernando Pessoa’s work less than a year ago while browsing the biography section of the library. The Penguin Classic’s cover photo of The Book of Disquiet drew me in, but I wasn’t prepared for the two minds of Pessoa contained within. Arguably Lisbon’s most beloved writer of all time, he invented the term “heteronym” as a way to write as an imaginary character (ultimately creating over 70 of them in his lifetime), each having his own style and voice. But aside from this unique aspect of Pessoa’s writing, the concepts he explores are what strike me most. I typically do not grasp the cadence and meaning of popular poetry; it’s a relief to read someone like Pessoa who uses simple language to describe the thoughts that pour out of him, literally as ink on paper.

A blues primer

A coworker of mine has never heard of B.B. King. This must be remedied. In response, I’ve created “An Evolution of Blues” compilation. It’s not a definitive list and I had to question if certain songs could truly be considered blues tracks (when they’d likely first be catalogued as jazz, rock ballad, folk, country or downtempo, to name a few).

John Mayall
John Mayall by Federico Giammusso

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Blame

This is the first time that I’ve almost completely forgotten to post the Tuesday Zep. It’s 9 am Tuesday and I just realized that I haven’t prepared anything. I’m reminded of the (uncensored) “Blame” piece Jason, Jon, and I composed a few years ago (before Foxx’s “Blame It”). I probably shouldn’t mention it—it would be wise not to post any of this kitsch—but if you want more diary-style insights into my 2007-2009 life,  you can look for links on my History page. Sorry. Next week, I’ll be ON IT!

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Pusherman

The concept for this entry began as a lyrical metaphor relating Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” to my web publishing philosophy. The latter is boring, though, and a topic that tends to weave its way into all of my posts anyway. Music, on the other hand, tends to be a rabbit that we chase into Wonderland. 1972 “Pusherman” performance on Soul Train (YouTube):


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America’s Best Idea

I just wrapped up what I’d like to call my birthday week in which I spent most evenings watching the premiere of The National Parks documentary on PBS. Last Sunday, I recommended that people donate to the Park Service in place of gifts to me. After watching the final episode (the 6th, each 2hrs long), I couldn’t resist reminding you why the parks are “America’s Best Idea”.

Reworked Denali from McKinley Princess
Reworked Denali from McKinley Princess

The final episode does a great job of summing up the purpose and history of the parks. If you only have time to watch one episode, watch this one (and/or the first one). These are not just the sweeping landscapes of America; they also consist of historical monuments where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream speech” and where Japanese-Americans were interned during WWII. The National Park System preserves America’s irreplacable links to the past.

This is where we were
This is what we’ve loved
And now it’s in your hands
– Terry Tempest Williams

All six parts will be available streaming online through Friday. The DVDs will be released on Tuesday, currently $64.99 on Amazon (35% off). If you’re feeling more philanthropic, consider replacing your next meal out with a donation to the parks instead. In addition to the link on my Facebook, you can also donate directly to the National Park Foundation.