Spam poetry

Time once again to flush the old spam filter…

(All capitalization and punctuation exactly as in the original.)

  • 12 Biblical Ingredients That Can Reverse Diabetes
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  • (dale) Want Trump’s brain?

And with that, I’m out.


Not quite. I couldn’t resist taking a peek inside that last one.

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 Fax view ticket phase, and employer, but password reference, so chi. There=
 fore, juno posted, then freemail, or banking chad, and so june damage. Howe=
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 . Seller webmaster, then thread sharply, or liable, but para. So, pickup re=
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 and so construction behind. A major democratic, so group, and so canceling=
 spending ohio, or senate, but race where. Trinity health hospital, and mi=
 not have, but agreed, then principal legal, so settlement with. As refugee=
 , and so children escaped, so boko, but haram starve, then nigeria, or prob=
 es theft. The latest syrian kurdish, and so fighters, or turkish military,=
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 volving, then attack compounds benghazi. Simona halep, so gave, then herse=
 lf less than, and so quick, or work kirsten flipkens. The agriculture depa=
 rtment, then closed offices, but five states after, or receiving anonymous.=
 Small liquid visited couch, and so this changes, and with this ea=
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 and solid equator, then that about, so them where, or giant largest, but s=
 outhern deck, then solar, and review, and so imaged, or caused shape, then =
 into neptune, but uranus methane, and seven, and so active, so royal locked=
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 n, then kuiper terry uranus.=0D

That’s poetry. But I’m already years behind on my SUN TRUE FIRE project, so I will resist the urge to turn that into something.

But you can. Be my guest.


I wish to make a complaint. And a confession.

I freely admit that I have not been assiduous in my composing. Part of it is being busy riding infuriating theme park rides, part of it is laziness, but—and here’s the complaint—a very large part of it is my keyboard.

It’s an M-Audio eKeys-49, a little 49-key keyboard controller. That is, it cannot produce sound on its own; it merely sends data to some other device when you play it. In my case, it sends data to the music notation software Finale.1

The problem is that it has stopped sending data to Finale. Or to SimpleSynth, the nifty little piece of software that I can use if I’m just noodling around and need sound out of the thing. Or to the computer’s MIDI Audio Setup app, which allows me to hook up this kind of thing or to check why it’s not hooked up.

It started getting flaky last year when I was working on A Christmas Carol, so much so that after I was done with that I really really avoided getting back on track with composing. It was too frustrating: I could input about five or six notes before the keyboard just lost its connection.

Today, as I started to work on a new song for Mike Funt because he really thinks I’m going to get that finished soon when in fact I started today, the keyboard completely lost it. I could play one chord, and not only would it drop off the map it also produced a “hung note,” requiring me to get to the menu to “turn off all notes.”

Blergh, as we say in the business.

Sometimes, especially with updates to the operating system and/or to Finale, it’s an issue of the driver needing to be updated. (That’s a tiny snippet of software that the system uses to make the equipment in question go.)

A brief moment on the googles was enough to show that M-Audio no longer supports the eKeys-49. Not only that, but a simple USB-connected keyboard usually doesn’t even need a driver.

tl;dr: my keyboard is officially an ex-keyboard.

What to do? I thought I would stop by Musicology to see if those guys had any recommendations for a keyboard controller that was affordable, but they don’t open till noon. I emailed them.

In the meantime, I went to the FacePlace and asked the hive mind, and within ten minutes I had some guidance. I found and have ordered the Korg microKEY2, 49-key version.2

Free shipping, it will be here Thursday, and then I can get back to whining about how hard it is to write Mike’s song.3


1 Finale has its own issues. Grrr.

2 Just so you know, there are buttons on a 49-key keyboard that allow you to play the lower or upper octaves.

3 I mean, what do I know from Dixieland/gospel?

Summer Countdown: Day 9

Since I spent the morning under general anesthesia for the purposes of entertaining an upper endoscopy, it is safe to say that I accomplished nothing. (The procedure revealed no problems, other than a nodule that appeared to be a healed ulcer, which they biopsied. The source of my gastrointestinal distress, which seems to have calmed down in any case, goes unspecified.)

I was able to read more in Opening to Inner Light, chapters on Finding the Source and on Returning Home. This is a very good book. Everyone should have a copy.

And I was able to get a stack of New York Times cleared out. Somehow this summer I have not been very assiduous in my news reading. I had nearly two weeks of papers stacked up. What I discovered is that I have tended to read Mondays and Tuesdays—the crossword puzzles are very easy on Monday and Tuesday —and then get behind on Wednesday. In my defense, for the last three weekends, we have left town on Thursday and not returned until Sunday.

But otherwise, not so much.

Summer Countdown: Day 11

Step one to re-entering productivity: take my laptop back upstairs to the study. I’ve been sitting in the living room and it’s hard to write productively when I’m using the thing actually in my lap. And it’s impossible to compose.

Not that this produced anything. My batteries are still depleted. The only valid stuff I did today was more reading in Opening to Inner Light and Cleansing the Doors of Perception.

Now I’m off to visit GHP. Tonight is the dance concert, along with the ongoing student art exhibition, and tomorrow night is the Prism II concert. Then Saturday morning, as soon as everyone has gone to majors, I will come home.

Work may resume on Sunday. Maybe.

Summer Countdown: Day 13

My brain continued in lockdown mode. There was no point in attempting any composition or painting. I had thought I might get by with the color exercises, but it seemed that this simple—ha!—task would require too much thought.

So since the weather was clearing up, I decided to toil in the earth. I went outside to the labyrinth.

[ed. note: you can skip to the next section if you like]

I began clearing the “planting area” of the patio. This patio is an area on the upper level of the back yard that I plan to level and pave over with stones. The side next to the fence will be a raised planting area with flowering plants. I’m not a big fan of flowers; they require a lot of care to look good, and as the Japanese might say, they “hot up the blood.” The labyrinth is all green. But the patio is Ginny’s area, a kind of a sitting/dining area that is not the labyrinth, and she likes flowers, so flowers it is.

Because of one unexpected expense or the other, we can’t afford the patio this summer, but I have plants that need to go into the ground: the cute little bat-faced cuphea plant known as “Tiny Winnie” (in honor of our late pet), and a couple of gardenia bushes given to us by our neighbor in the same vein. So I figure I will do the planting now and the paving later.

To that end, I mowed down the weeds in the area; transplanted a couple of irises that our former neighbor planted on the bank between our yards and which now sprout in the decline under the current neighbor’s fence; weeded the vinca major from the monkey grass; and sprayed Round-Up on the vinca major on the decline. Kill it, kill it all.

At some point I will have to figure out how to build the retaining wall for the planting area, but that’s for another day.

I also moved the remaining bricks from their perch over behind the firepit area over to the paving brick staging area. That counted as today’s exercise. Then I mowed down all the undergrowth in that area. It’s an area for which I have no defined landscaping plan, but now it’s clear at least, clear enough for me to start looking at it. Also, it reminded me that I need to install the bamboo fencing along that last stretch of the chainlink now that the diseased pecan tree has been taken down in the other neighbor’s yard. (Taken down, yes, but not removed. I don’t know what that’s about.)

All in all, a fun afternoon of sweat and toil.

All this is boring, I know, but it was therapeutic. I regained a sense of purpose and what our 19th century friends would call vital energy. It was fortuitous then that the mail brought the painting DVDs I had ordered a couple of weeks ago, and a book: Opening to Inner Light: the transformation of human nature and consciousness, by Ralph Metzner, ©1986.

I decided to stow the DVDs for the time being and plunged into Inner Light. This is a book that was referenced in a monograph I’m reading, and its author’s thesis is that “metaphor, symbols, and analogies are essential to describing [psychological transformation] and that there appear to be about a dozen or so key metaphors—from dream to awakening, from captivity to liberation, from fragmentation to wholeness—and symbols for tranformation that occur over and over in all major cultures and sacred traditions throughout the world.”

You can see the appeal.

Preface, introduction, first chapter/metaphor: “Awakening from the Dream of Reality.” And there was a quote from fourth-century Christian theologian Gregory of Nyssa:

All who are seriously concerned with the life of heaven must conquer sleep; they must be constantly awake in spirit, driving off, like a kind of drowsiness, the deceiver of souls and the destroyer of truth. By drowsiness and sleep here I am referring to those dream-like fantasies which are shaped by those submerged in the deceptions of this life: I mean public office, money, influence, external show, the seduction of pleasure, love of reputation and enjoyment, honor, and all the other things which, by some sort of illusion, are sought after vainly by those who live without reflection. For all those things will pass away with the flux of time; their existence is mere seeming; they are not what we think they are.

Well. This is not a new idea to me, of course (vid. Marcus Aurelius, Lao-Tzu, et al.), but it was a gift from the universe. It enabled me to rethink my state of funk and almost miraculously shed it. (Sorry to be so opaque about the issues which have been troubling me, but this is a blog, not a diary.) I was able to cook supper and build a fire for the evening and peacefully contemplate my perfect life. A good thing.

Summer Countdown: Day 14

I got nothing done. It was a rough day, and you’ll pardon me for not going into details here on the World Wide Web, and the only thing I could manage was the anodyne of surfing the web. There are those of you who might have noticed the strong uptick of forwarded URLS.

We traveled to Valdosta last Thursday to visit GHP. We saw Mike Funt’s theatre students perform two “silent movies” and a “Bat,” i.e., an in-the-dark improvised radio play. And it was good, of course. The slapstick movie was quite charming, and the table chase sequence was primo.

We also stayed to participate in the annual Hogwarts Event. We had more than 24 people take part this year, including a house elf: Tom Fulton, math, had his whole family dressed as the Malfoys, including his two-year-old son. The students, as usual, went nuts.

An interesting event: the two RAs portraying Harry and Draco are engaged (I know, the slashfic writes itself), and as I was passing through the lobby they were working on their wands. (We build our own wands.) They asked if I had a moment, and I sat. They wanted to know if I would officiate at their wedding next June. I was quite touched and immediately agreed. Details to follow.

And yes, I am as confused as you are as to how this works, since the state of Georgia does not recognize such a marriage. But it was a good part of the weekend.

Group portrait:

We were still missing Harry, Draco, Cho, and Cedric at this point. They still had desk duty.

Summer Countdown: Day 26

Lichtenbergian goals:

I got almost nothing done. I opened up the Resignation file and played around with a couple of idea for variations, but I soon gave that up. Did the same thing with “Prelude (no fugue) No. 2.”

Well, it was Lichtenberg Eve.

Lichtenbergian distractions:

Instead of being creative, I did some major updating in Quicken. For some reason, I’ve failed to balance my credit card statement for some months. I don’t know why, unless it was some kind of subliminal avoidance thing , and if you saw my balance you’d completely agree. This required reconstructing the statements for two of those months, because amazingly not all of the documents I required were buried on my desk.

This simple task took a great deal of the morning. Then UPS delivered the St. Augustine grass plugs I’d ordered. I’m trying to find something that is shade tolerant, and this seemed to be the thing. However, upon opening the box, I was not so sure. The fescue I’ve been trying to grow is so pretty, and the St. Augustine is more weedlike. I’m conflicted about where to plant it, or even whether to plant it.

However, I do remember that the back yard at our house in Macon, when I was a wee thing, was St. Augustine. Maybe it will be a good thing.

On the other hand, I fear that its spreading habits will create a constant battle to keep the paving stones uncovered. What will be, will be. I will plant them Friday. Maybe guidance will appear before then.

After lunch, I still had no inspiration. Well, actually I did: I was inspired to make some scrumptious chocolate cookies from Dessert in Half the Time. Twelve minutes from start to finish. Yum.

Then the mail delivered, from Netflix, the first disc of The First Churchills. This series was the first Masterpiece Theatre presentation, way back in 1970 or so. Starring Susan Hampshire , for whom I had the true hots , and John Neville, it traced the career of the Duke of Marlborough and his formidable Duchess from their early love in the court of Charles II through their ultimate power and sidelining in the days of Anne.

What’s not to like? Costumes, power, intrigue, wit , this show had it all. Half the flavor of Hofvonstein came from this depiction of the Stuart court. I watched it religiously, often with the Encyclopedia Britannica at my side so I could learn who was who in more detail. (It always amazed me at how closely the performers resembled the historical characters they played.)

After having gone more than six months with the same three Netflix DVDs sitting on the television, I finally watched two of the three (The Station Agent and Hedwig and the Angry Inch , excellent, both, but uninspiring) and shipped them all back, after manipulating Churchills to the top of the list.

So I have my soap opera to watch, and I have chocolate cookies to scarf down while doing so. Was there ever a better Lichtenberg Eve?


My lack of productivity has reached shocking levels, so much so that my concern over it has invaded my brain like a worm and awakened me at 4:00 a.m.

I have not sketched, composed, or blogged in weeks, and I don’t see any such activity in my future, either. The other day I was seriously considering a moratorium on all such endeavors, just being honest about it and saying, “You know what? I don’t have it in me right now, and I’m hanging it up. See you guys later.”

But I can’t be honest about it. I have to delude myself into believing that I will make the time to sit down and work on something. Sometime.

Part of my problem is the old Leaf by Niggle dilemma. I have “responsibilities,” and those tend to multiply. For example, tonight I will have Lacuna (yes, that’s creative; but productive?). Tomorrow is the Newnan Crossing open house. Friday is sort of open and I may get some sketching done. Saturday I am hosting my fellow Lichtenbergians.

Monday is Masterworks. Tuesday… I need to meet about the Masterworks website and publicity. Wednesday, Lacuna. Thursday is open. Then it’s Labor Day weekend, and we’re wanting to travel.

Over on the Lichtenbergian website, we had an assignment to list the five rules for creativity. One of mine was “Defend your time.” I think I have failed at that.

Inertia, inertia, inertia.

An anniversary

It was one year ago today that I stopped working on the Symphony No. 1 in G major. And since that day, I have written no music.

Yes, I’ve done a few exercises, one of which is promising, but on the whole I just haven’t been able to get back into that part of my brain. It’s not that I haven’t tried, although of course I have not tried very assiduously, it’s just that I’ve not been “inspired.”

And so I’ve piddled around, revising “Sir Christémas” and arranging “Blake Leads a Walk on the Milky Way” for two-piano accompaniment; I’m supposed to be revising the orchestral score as a standalone piece. But new, exciting work? Nada.

It’s not that I haven’t been creative, because I have. I have been taken aback at how strongly my interest in painting has elbowed its way into my brain. Probably a Lichtenbergian strategy to keep me from writing music. We got Coriolanus up and running, and Lacuna keeps plugging along on Wednesdays. I write. I sing in Masterworks.

But I haven’t written any music for a year. Maybe I can make myself feel bad enough about it to want to do something.