Life on the Mississippi / Loss of Innocence / The Trouble With Knowledge

      Now when I had mastered the language of this water and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something which could never be restored to me while I lived. All the grace, the beauty, the poetry had gone from the majestic river! I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steamboating was new to me. A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood; in the middle distance the red hue brightened into gold, through which a solitary log came floating, black and conspicuous; in one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface was broken by boiling, tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; where the ruddy flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines, ever so delicately traced; the shore on our left was densely wooded, and the somber shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single leafy bough that glowed like a flame in the unobstructed splendor that was flowing in the sun. There were graceful curves, reflected images, woody heights, soft distances; and over the whole scene, far and near, the dissolving lights drifted steadily, enriching it, every passing moment, with new marvels of coloring. I stood like one bewitched, I drank it in, in speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home.
      But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease from noting the glories and the charms which the moon and sun and the twilight wrought upon the river's face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them. Then, if that sunset scene had been repeated, I should have commented upon it, inwardly, after this fashion: This sun means that we are going to have wind tomorrow; that floating log means that the river is rising, small thanks to it; that slanting mark on the water refers to the bluff reef which is going to kill somebody's steamboat one of these nights, if it keeps stretching out like that; those tumbling "boils" show a dissolving bar and a changing channel there; the lines and circles in the slick water over yonder are a warning that that troublesome place is shoaling up dangerously; that silver streak in the shadow of the forest is the "break" from a new snag, and he has located himself in the very best place he could have found to fish for steamboats; that tall dead tree, with a single living branch, is not going to last long, and then how is a body ever going to get through this blind place at night without the friendly old landmark?

––from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi


Photography Was/Is Hard

Actually, I dig the bottom one now, in a  laissez-fiare pretentious street/life lomo sort of way. "It didn't work!" Also: "Date: ?"

Meretricious Costumes

     "Even in former times I always felt ill at ease in presence of a lady arrayed in all the splendor of a ball-dress: at present I positively shudder at the sight, for I recognize therein a palpable danger to people in general, a danger that has no legal right to exist; and I feel prompted to call in a policeman, to appeal for protection against this danger that threatens me, and to insist on its removal or suppression.

     ...Can it for a moment be pretended that that bedecking of the human body which our society connives at in women, and which is calculated directly to provoke passion, is devoid of social danger? Positively it is just the same as if you were to set traps and spread nets on the streets and public walks, on the highways and by-ways. Nay, it is still worse. Why is it, let me ask you, that games of hazard are prohibited, while women attired in meretricious costumes are not prohibited? And yet the latter are a thousand times more dangerous than the former!"
–Pozdnischeff, from Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata


What is Good

“With what shall I come before the Lordand bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God...

...to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

For I [the Lord] desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said,“Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

Micah 6:6, Deuteronomy 10:12, Hosea 6:6,  Romans 13:8, James 2:8


Coming Soon

White SX Ursa 1 P-Bass
Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pounders
Totally re-wired electronics, including new pots (250K, w/ no load @ 10 for the tone pot), a .047uF orange-drop cap for sexiness, gold-plated jack, cloth-wrapped wire, red and blue chickenhead knobs and copper shielding throughout
Rotosound 88 tapewound strings
new bass. 
gonna do all the work on it as soon as the parts come in.
I can't decide if I'm going to string it up BEAD or EADG
(BEAD would require committing; recutting the nut), 
or if I should just put the 88s on my Brawley, 
and keep the SX for rockin'.


Red River Gorge

Two friends from Perfect North and I somewhat spontaneously decided to spend 1.5 days at the Gorge this week. The trip was fraught with misadventures and backtracking, but also great moments on the hearty crust of the earth. We headed for Gray's Arch, and here are a few photos.

 Getting coniferous on the ridgeline.

 The Arch in all its glory.

Behind a small waterfall next to the arch. 
For scale, my backpack is on the ground to the right of the tree. 


Behind the waterfall again, looking back toward Joy and the base of the arch.

Jimmy on a hard rock shelf, chillin'.

Freaky rocks, freaky roots: errwhere.

Because of the bears, right? Because they'll tear you apart?


The Bikeriders

Danny LyonThis has long been one of my favorite post-Americans documentaries.On a somewhat-related note, I need to travel more. Recent conversations and weather  have reawakened the ramblin' man.


Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.