‘Twice Daily’ ? — Sure, Let’s See You Do It…

When I was younger, I heard about some of the details of organ transplants—that the recipient had to take pills for the rest of his or her life to keep the body from rejecting the organ. As a healthy young man I thought, how awful—I’d just as soon pass on the whole thing. Imagine having to remember to take pills every day. And what if there was an apocalypse, huh? No more pills factories—bye-bye, little post-apocalyptic transplant patient! It would hardly be living at all, I thought.

I don’t know if I took my morning pills. A handful of pills in the morning, a different handful at night, continue ad naseum until you reach a fog of backward spiraling memories of having taken pills, pills, pills. Result: I have no idea if I took my morning pills—and they’re the important ones, though oddly enough I’m not referring to the prescription morning pills, but the OTC remedies for 24-hr acid suppression pills and anti-squirts pills (alas, I blush to admit!) The lack of them often prompts me to the realization that morning pills remain untaken, one way or another.

But you know how it is—fourteen hours of sleep, ten hours of relative consciousness—the metabolism of a coma victim, most days. So that morning problem lags behind, lurking ever nearby. And if I err on the side of caution, I get sick from doubling up on all those meds—it’s either be sure, or endure.

I amazed myself earlier with a passable read-through of a piano transcription of the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony—made it all the way to the end (which, if not a first, is certainly a second-time achievement). I’m always surprised by the amount of playing I can do when I stay relaxed.

Strangely, staying relaxed while playing the piano takes focus—not a tense focus, but a floatation type of focus, noticing ‘rigidity-creep’ and willing the muscles to be slack, or at least slacker, and maintaining a posture that is most supportive for my exertions, reducing the amount of muscle required to keep me upright and redirecting that power towards the arms.

And while that may sound very alert, it is only possible if one is quiet and not agitated. I do best upon waking in the morning, or from a nap. I pretend that I don’t care what goes on around me—I am in the living room, after all—but the simple truth is that silence is the best canvas to paint music on. So, half asleep, in a silent room, without the camcorder watching, I can do wonders. Too bad their nature makes them impossible to reproduce in front of other people, or even a camera lens—if people could only hear some of the stuff I get up to when I’m really on my game—oh, well. It’s good to have a private life—one has got to hold something back—and for a chatter-box like myself, being physically unable to display my best is the best (and only) way I can hold anything back—so that works out, if I look at it that way.

‘Twas ever thus’, as my dad used to say—I could draw a crowd while sketching in my pad in the old days—and an audience was an exciting addition to my sketches al fresco, especially at school, where cool points were counted. But my best drawing only ever happened in complete solitude—without interruption. Nor can I sparkle in conversation with the sort of easy erudition I can voice at the keyboard—like now, fr’instance—I could never sling this verbiage orally. It is only possible because I am alone and comfortable—and when I am not, nothing is possible. I have poor social skills, to put it mildly.

But peace of mind is vital. Whenever I’m worried, it gets in the way of my piano playing—being open enough to play and feel the music means being open to stray thoughts and when I’m worried, a whole flock will rush in. Sometimes it’s so bad I forget I’m playing the piano—weird, huh? You’d think a person would forget their troubles at the piano—but it’s just the opposite. But there’s a silver lining to the ‘peace of mind’ conundrum—when I read a good book I lose all awareness of my surroundings; I grow deaf to even loud noises; I am enthralled.

I couldn’t be more inside the story—I am a very good reader. To be a ‘good’ reader is a vague term—I’m specifically very good at vicarious experience. And as I look back at a lifetime’s book-worming, I’d say that my vicarious experience very likely exceeds both my conscious experience and my subconscious experience, i.e. I’ve spent more time lost in a book than I’ve spent not reading a book, or sleeping. Other people may talk about vicarious experience, but none who haven’t travelled in the world of books can ever truly understand its meaning.

I’ve often had occasion, upon being asked how my day went, for stopping myself from describing the adventures of the character in my book, and remembering to answer, “Just read a book, is all.” Here’s a good one—have you ever been reading about someone speeding through a dark woods and felt your eyes squint up at the danger of being poked by ‘twigs’? Have you ever eventually noticed a cramp in your arm from swinging a long-sword for so long in a ‘battle’? Then I hail you brother, or sister, in the Fellowship of the reaDing.

This Is The Dawning….

I remember listening on the radio to the Fifth Dimension singing “Aquarius (Let The Sun Shine)” as a boy—it was about astrology, of course, but in the middle of the ‘race to the moon’ aspect of the Cold War, I had no scruple against star-gazing of any type. I loved space, and still do—and I’ve read far more than my share of Science Fiction novels. In the category ‘hard’ sci-fi, I make bold to claim I’ve read it all, from 1965 to today. That may not be literally true, but it conveys my sense of it, anyhow.

And that song was so trippy, talking about ‘Ages’ and generations and people as a whole—as if we were a big tribe, which, in that sense, we were—and are. But now I also hear in those lyrics the inclinations towards excessive trust in, and faith in, anyone with a spiel—as long as it was outwardly non-conformist, people were ready to turn to anything new—even Jones of Jonestown, and Manson of California, and cults like the Branch Davidians in Waco and the ‘Moonies’, who spread their ‘fundraising’ from coast to coast.

With the tunes taken from “Hair”, the 1967 Broadway musical, the Fifth Dimension created a medley of two songs, and their recording of “Aquarius (Let The Sun Shine)” was a number one hit in the US in 1969 for six weeks—the same year I watched on TV as Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the Moon. Between “Hair” and Hippies, LSD and pot, astrology and space exploration, 1969 gave me a satisfying sense that life was about reaching new frontiers, going higher and faster. And while I had my age as an excuse, there were many grown-up, so-called adults who had the same nebulous sense of go, go, go—which is why we cancelled the Apollo program as soon as we realized we had neglected to plan what we would do with the Moon, or on the Moon, once we had made it there.


And from there, the whole ‘go, go, go’ thing perverted its course, from actual achievement to mere business success, which pursuit has, ever since, bred the vipers now feeding so greedily at the breast of the good ol’ USA. There are no challenges greater than becoming fat with money, power, privilege, and influence—or so we, as a society, seem to perceive it. We see news items that speak of progress in the march towards ‘eternal health’—a way to live forever—without the slightest mention of how one would spend one’s eternity of days or justify one’s place in the breadline.



And this wasn’t done to us by the government. We did this to ourselves. Every time big corporations have shaved a piece off of our workplace quality of life, our importance to that business as the engine of its goals (and our right to form Unions), or our very rights to express ourselves as individuals and maintain the same privacy we are due as taxpayers—every time we let one of these go past, we have traded our dignity for mere job security. Well, we can see where all that job security went—away, that’s where it went. Now they can make whatever draconian workplace policies they like—and slash your salary, too—without a one of us not being too scared of being unemployed to say, ‘boo’ about it.


I’ve seen it happen many times—we all have. The company starts to post notices about some new policy, like ‘clocking in and out’ or some such. Now, you don’t much care for that—seems like you’ve been trusted up until now to give the company your hard work for your salary, without being ‘time checkpoint-ed’. It’s a little insulting, really. You don’t like it—you’re pretty put out about it. Plus, everyone knows that people ask their work friends to cover for them when they need to get around a time clock, anyhow—which turns what was a natural flexibility of the workplace into a criminal conspiracy. But no one else seems to think that it’s worth quitting over (of course, if everyone acted in concert, it would only be a ‘threat of quitting’—an entirely different thing that doesn’t guarantee being fired, like standing alone would).

So, I had to ask myself every time, ‘Do I want to go job-hunting and lose my steady paycheck, just for the principle of the thing—which no one else deems worthy of being championed?’ I didn’t always give in, but sometimes I did—it’s not my responsibility to be perfectly politic when no one else wants to bother. But the unwillingness of the others to go against the established authority, even when it exceeds its rightful scope, is definitely the majority opinion of the employed. Frustratingly, that is the opposite attitude from one that could prevent such fiat-creep.

And the worst of all are the self-righteous: ‘I have to take care of my children, wife, sick mother—Nothing is more important than that.’ But that rational only justifies effort, not complacency.  Putting our families first is a point of pride for us—I was not aware that it is also an acceptable excuse to be a rug for our employers to walk on.

Then they bring up the axiom, ‘never quit a job before you have a job’. That is a hard one to counter, I’ll grant you. But if one is serious about one’s dignity and self-worth—and that of others, especially one’s co-workers, as well—a way can be found to bring collective action against management. But people are too ‘sophisticated’ these days to act as a group—it’s all ‘I’ll do my thing, you do your thing’—I confess, it is a favorite of mine too. We have no defense against this war of attrition that has degraded the American workplace and the American worker.

But, now that the quality of the jobs available to Americans is little better than the quality of jobs illegal aliens hold, I expect there will be discord. It will be aimless, angry discord—and stands every chance of making things worse instead of better. But it’s only a matter of time before the number of people in the streets, cold, hungry, and desperate, will so outnumber the ten or twenty people who still live a comfortable life that those ‘one percent-ers’ will feel trapped in their own apartments. I exaggerate to illustrate my point, but you see it nonetheless, I trust.

Most people are happy being led—and those who are happy leading are only too happy to oblige. Neither group wants to hear any guff about fairness and dignity—business is business, right? Well, no, actually. ‘Business’ is a polite label for the chaos of capitalism. Nobody planned to create Microsoft. The guy who invented Google probably just woke up from a nap one day and decided to make an online search engine service available to everyone on the web. Most chemical discoveries, like x-ray photography and penicillin, were discovered by accident. Businesses use mathematics—but only when they want to—the rest of the time, they just argue among themselves. That’s what corporate lawyers and public exchanges are for—to facilitate the arguing.

These corporations appear to be made of people, but they are actually autonomous engines with greed-guidance systems that tear through the fabric of whatever humanity they come upon in their quest for the ownership of everything. The list of jobs that they are creating includes multimillion-dollar annual salaried jobs for top managers, slavery-like child labor jobs in underdeveloped countries, and humiliating, depersonalized, underpaid jobs to people who earned (and had to pay for) college degrees to prove they were smart enough to be trusted with a workstation cubicle.

And all the words spewed out of the modern media, out from our speaker systems into our ears—an unending caravan of trite, pompous, self-contradictory, spun, stretched, and sibilanced word salad as random as that heard in any psych ward, only perhaps crazier for being such a near-miss impersonation of measured wisdom.

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize a con—just a little widening of the eyes will usually suffice. And I think that’s where Roosevelt’s ‘the only thing to fear is, fear itself’ comes into play. Our world has become so anarchic, so full of blind inertias, so destructive of old ways and old things—that most of us want to just keep our heads down and carry on. But that is the wrong way to fix our problems. The best way to fix a problem is to take a good, honest look at it—and at ourselves, while we’re at it.


Six (6) covers of Old Standards a la ‘American Songbook’



How Do I Spell Successes? With Six Esses!
In other words: these six (6) song titles all start with ‘S’:

XperDunn plays Piano Covers on July 27th, 2013
Six Song Covers Starting With ‘S’

(“Love is Lovelier”) “The Second Time Around”
“The Shadow Of Your Smile”
“Shangri La”
“Softly, As I Leave You”
“Stairway To The Stars”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“The Second Time Around” is a song with words by Sammy Cahn and music by Jimmy Van Heusen. It was introduced in the 1960 film High Time, sung by Bing Crosby with Henry Mancini conducting his orchestra, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Its theme is captured by its first two lines:

Love is lovelier the second time around,
Still wonderful with both feet on the ground.

It is especially associated with Frank Sinatra, who released multiple recordings of the ballad.
Jane Morgan sang the song on a 1961 episode of The Jack Benny Program.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“The Shadow of Your Smile”, also known as “Love Theme from The Sandpiper”, is a popular song. The music was written by Johnny Mandel with the lyrics written by Paul Francis Webster.
The song was introduced in the 1965 film The Sandpiper, with a trumpet solo by Jack Sheldon and later became a minor hit for Tony Bennett (Johnny Mandel arranged and conducted his version as well).
It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The ‘finale’ song from ‘Shangri-La’, a 1956 musical with a book and lyrics by James Hilton, Jerome Lawrence, and Robert E. Lee and music by Harry Warren. Based on Hilton’s classic 1933 novel “Lost Horizon”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Siboney” (Canto Siboney) is a 1929 classic Cuban song by Ernesto Lecuona. The music is in cut time, originally written in C major.
The lyrics were reportedly written by Lecuona while away from Cuba and is about the homesickness he is experiencing (Siboney is also a town in Cuba, and can also refer to Cuba in general)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Softly, as I Leave You” is a popular Italian song composed by Giorgio Calabrese and Tony De Vita (1932–1998), translated into English by Hal Shaper.
It was originally an Italian success by Mina, at the Sanremo Music Festival, entitled “Piano” (“Softly”). Mina published a recording of the song first as a single in 1960 and later as well on an EP and on three LPs.

The English songwriter Hal Shaper noticed the song and in November 1961 wrote English lyrics to the melody, calling it “Softly, as I Leave You.” The best known versions are those by Matt Monro (#10 on the British charts in 1962) and Frank Sinatra (#27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the adult contemporary chart in 1964).
The Sinatra family announced Frank’s death on May 14, 1998 by placing an announcement on their website that was accompanied by a recording of the singer’s version of the song.
“Stairway To The Stars” -from the United Artists Motion Picture “SOME LIKE IT HOT”-original song 1935 lyrics by Mitchell Parish, music by Matt Malneck and Frank Signorelli. Glenn Miller’s version has alternate lyrics.

Artwork for Annual Pig Roast (2013Jul27)

Long ago, in a decade far, far away, my friend Randy owned a big spread up in the Vermont hills–a beautiful idyll with meadows and wood-trails and ponds and streams. Randy made his own pond (and stocked it) but still, he had a pond. On one visit, I designed and built a footbridge over his stream–my one and only engineering project.

rough sketch 1 for Directions Map

I was already losing focus, losing fine motor control in my drawings, and suffering from chronic fatigue, etc. So I would make short visits up there to build bridges and draw flyers, but then I went home and only heard about the huge galas that followed my visits. Randy described one gathering where my footbridge was the access to all the big tents and lean-tos. The bridge was such a big hit that someone eventually drove a car over it. To their surprise, the bridge was unfazed by an automobiles weight. Soon they were all driving back and forth over the bridge–until some wiseguy decided to ‘push the envelope’ and drive a big pick-up across. My bridge was fazed, and no one would ever again build a usable bridge over that stream.

rough sketch 2 for Directions Map

The Annual Pig Roasts were huge affairs. The police citations from previous fests were nailed up on a wall of honor–no party ever got cited less than three times. It was a three-day event–people would caravan in with huge RVs, tent cities, and a host of less-easily described people and living quarters. But the only way to get all those people together was to send out invitations–which was where I came in. The first flyer had a sort of ‘last supper’ drawing of a bunch of cartoon pigs seated at a long table, drinking and eating–the best drawing of all but, unfortunately, one for which I have lost all the art and flyers.

The next year, I would be unable to draw as well, and Randy had to settle for two pigs toasting with beer mugs. The year after that, Randy had to settle for re-using the same art, and just updating the words. This was one of the hardest periods for me–I was becoming a shell of my former self and still believed that I just wasn’t getting enough rest–and it hurt me to have to say ‘no’ when people asked me to draw–they couldn’t understand that my ability had simply dried up and blown away, and neither could I.

If you’ve never drawn a map of directions to a party, be advised that it isn’t as easy as it looks–fortunately (from my POV at that time) a map done properly once need never be drawn again.

final drawing for Directions Map:

There were early sessions between Randy and I as he explained what he wanted the picture to look like…

early sketch 1 ‘party pig’

…and I drew rough sketches to see if we were talking about the same thing.

After fixing upon the figures, we then discussed the ‘scene’:

rough sketch – left-side ‘toasting pig’:

rough sketch – left-side ‘toasting pig’:

toasting pigs

final art

Randy was very kind, always offering to put me and Claire and kids in his House (which he designed and built himself!–the only permanent structure with utilities and running water). Alas, we were raising young kids and I was falling apart inside, so we never did get to see the roasts. (I had been to the very first one, but had spent the two days in bed, sick and exhausted.) Still, they were wonders of the art of hospitality and it’s a shame Randy doesn’t live there any more.

randy’s Invite & Thank You:

Randy has been writing poetry lately, under the URL cloudfactor5.wordpress, and very good poetry, IMHO. You can judge for yourselves at:   cloudfactor5

more art to come…..

The Activity Daisy

Activity Daisy (w/out 'activities')


Activity Daisy (w/out ‘activities’)

activity daisy

Activity Daisy (with ‘activities’)

This is one of my many illustrations for “Teachers Update”, a newsletter for teachers K-3, which was published in 1988 – 1989.

New Covers and Improvs


Click to Watch ‘Wing Nut’

Click to watch "Help Me Rhonda"

Click to watch “Help Me Rhonda”

Click to watch 'Woo Hoo!'

Click to watch ‘Woo Hoo!’


Change Is Good?


Tuesday, July 16, 2013             10:47 PM

Feeling kind of strange tonight. It doesn’t help that I’ve just watched the PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery “Endeavour” episode with an early serial killer case. It’s even spookier that it’s set in the seventies, in and around Oxford, in England—I’m fairly certain that ‘Masterpiece Mystery’ is just the American product-label for some extremely fine BBC programming in ‘Criminal Procedurals’ that is worlds ahead of our L&O:SVU ghoulishness.


Nor does it help that the Dragon Lady landed a few shots, much as I tried to appear as if I were laughing her off, and now I’m a tetch anxious—it is so easy to be wiped away from the Internet. Cancel my WordPress account and I lose an immeasurable amount of uploaded artistic expression—just because I’ve decorated them with various images that pop up in Google Image search—it’s not as if I try to sell anything, or even ‘build a following’ (which seems to be the current coin of the online-realm). And you won’t find my images altered to try and hide their source—if I was a real pirate, I could ‘wash’ all my downloads through various graphics programs I have and make them all indiscernible as to their original appearance—to human eyes, or to computer analysis.


But I would be as likely to expect to be arrested for hanging a magazine illustration on my living room wall, as to be called to account for my sharing of images that I find on Google Image search. There are methods available to prevent unlicensed downloads—the museum sites and the art sites use them all the time. If the Dragon Lady wants to hang fire, allowing her graphics to show up in a public search (no doubt in hopes of trademark exposure and attention) without any safeguards against casual use, that’s her business decision. I shouldn’t worry—such as her will probably grate on the nerves of her WordPress contact as much as she grated on mine.


But I’ve been clouding up recently—I’ve just completed reading the ‘Century Series’ (or is it ‘Trilogy’?) by Ken Follett, which begins at the turn of the 19th century and through the two World Wars—an epic involving Americans, British, Russians, and Germans—with interconnections of characters, generational sagas of ‘houses’,etc. and so forth. And I’ve just this very day finished re-reading Virginia Woolf’s “The Years”, a sweeping story centered on the English, but affected by the same historic changes and struggles. Add to those the watching of “Downton Abbey”, the newly-ressurected “Upstairs Downstairs”, and “Selfridges”… well, you can see that I’m just one more English-accented, historic dram-edy on VOD away from thinking myself more a member of the Bloomsbury Group than a suburban New Yorker of the 21st Century.

photo-shopped image of original scan

photo-shopped image of original scan

And here’s the most awful part. These people—Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Roger Fry, Selfridge—they are all antique subjects for the historian, yet their works speak of a sea change in the story of humanity (not including Selfridge, who was more an engine of that sea change). They decried the end of the placid, changeless life of pre-industrial times whilst giving in to all its modern temptations—democracy, socialism, the rise of wealth, the end of many jobs that were always done by the peasants, the lower class, whatever label they’ve had put upon them by the comfortably powerful.


Steam-engine trains didn’t just change the world’s transportation, they destroyed every form of travel that had preceded them. They made a whole amalgam of Inns and Coaches and Retinues (and horses, lots and lots of horses!) obsolete. Everyone whose trade was involved in those earlier modes had to find something new, or starve. And choo-choos were just the very beginning—in a relatively short amount of time, steam was replaced by diesels, dynamos, and daredevil flyers—people who actually flew!


Then, as all this industrial explosion is going on, weapons increased their killing range and power by orders of magnitude, the comfortable little wars that were a kind of habit to Europeans became WWI—an endless slaughter, as militarists came to terms with the obsolescence of valor, of honor, and of the reality of modern weapons as instruments of mass slaughter.


So the society of the Old World is atomized, replaced with anarchy, socialism, communism, and capitalism—the myths and legends of old begin to pale in contrast to the reality of automobiles, manned flight, electricity, factories, nuclear power—the traditions of generations were swept aside with an almost violent speed—the rate-of-change in a hitherto changeless world. They thought they were going mad sometimes—and so they were. They were changing themselves into a civilized society of nominal justice and equality—a complete reversal of the previous millennia of mankind as the only-slightly more intelligent animal over all the other animals.


Now, this line I’ve drawn between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is an arbitrary one, with respect to my point—mankind began to abandon its happiness with that first crop of domestic grain, the baby-steps of our evolution towards ‘us’. There is some evidence of a schism in those earliest times—some ‘tree-huggers’ of the early sapiens opposed the greedy, twisted practice of raising a crop, storing a crop, and (with all this food lying around) maintaining an army with the surplus of grain. The ‘conservative’ pro-nature group felt that this new invention, ‘cities’, was an evil thing—but the other side had the army, so….

Our first steps out of our hunter-gatherer forebears’ cycles of natural, wild life were also the origins of crime—for the first time we weren’t entirely absorbed in foraging—and we proceeded to think up ways of taking control of that surplus, those original ‘assets’, by hook, crook, or bull-puckey.


And every step since that first one has been down the artificial, technology road, further and further away from the mindless bliss of wandering the fields and woods. But technology is a tough nut to crack—those first thirty-thousand years were a slow climb up to the cusp of industrialization. And when those early-twentieth century artists expressed their views of the world, they were by and large unanimous in perceiving it as a whirlwind of change, confusion, and the ugliness of human brutality once it had obtained steel industries and scientific laboratories to draw upon.


So, naturally, I thought of how it parallels our own age—how we see lifestyles and employments evaporate as digital technology begins to replace our minds, just as industrial technology once replaced our muscles. And, like it or not, we should not be surprised to see societal changes that exceed our imaginations, to go with all these practical changes. When a human worker becomes an option, rather than a necessity, how can we be expected to stick to the traditional notions of a middle-class employee or small business owner? Even now, after less than a full decade of enforced idleness, my ego struggles to justify my integrity, my place in the community. Someday soon it will become ludicrous to think of doing some average job, staying employed and solvent for a lifetime—while the world becomes a laser-guided starship of machines and processors and AIs.


We are removing our own necessity—the ultimate end of technological development is the automation of everything. We will need some new way to live as a community, as a nation, as people. We will have to see socialism as our friend, not our enemy. We will have to take that ‘I don’t take charity’ chip off our shoulders and start adjusting to a life without challenges other than those we set for ourselves. And we will somehow (don’t ask me!) have to end the competition of capitalism in favor of cooperationalism, if that’s a real word. Otherwise, the end of all our grand and mighty progress will just be a reset, back to primitivism—with one difference: our poisoned planet will not support us as it did when we were nearer to the other animals.


2 Song Covers: “Three Coins In The Fountain” & “Time On My Hands” (2013July16)

XperDunn plays Piano Covers – July 16th, 2013
Two (2) Songs: “Three Coins In The Fountain” & “Time On My Hands”

WIKI sez: “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Time on My Hands” is a popular song with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Harold Adamson and Mack Gordon, published in 1930. Introduced in the musical Smiles by Marilyn Miller and Paul Gregory. Sometimes also co-credited to Reginald Connelly.”

and WIKI also sez: “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Three Coins in the Fountain” is a popular song which received the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1954.[1]

The melody was written by Jule Styne, the lyrics by Sammy Cahn.[1] It was written for the romance film, Three Coins in the Fountain and refers to the act of throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome while making a wish. Each of the film’s three stars performs this act.”

Cover: “There’s a Kind of Hush” (2013July16)

XperDunn plays Piano
July 16th, 2013

Cover: “There’s a Kind of Hush” (All Over The World Tonight)

“There’s a Kind of Hush” is a popular song written by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens which was a hit in 1967 for Herman’s Hermits and again in 1976 for the Carpenters.

[NOTE: The video says July 14th, but this was recorded on July 16th, 2013]

“The Years” by Virginia Woolf: A Book Report


Tuesday, July 16, 2013             5:12 PM

I’ve just finished re-reading Virginia Woolf’s “The Years” and I’m feeling extremely introspective all of a sudden—I wonder why that is? The novel is considered by many to be the crown jewel of her entire opus—and I am certainly not someone who would argue with that—it is a great favorite of mine, as are all of her strange novels, essays—and her biographies!

One is a biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s pet dog, Flush; another is a biography of a creature named Orlando, who lives for centuries and changes sex every time he/she has a fainting spell. But then there is a biography of Roger Eliot Fry (Dec. 14th, 1866 to Sept. 9th, 1934)—a contemporary of Woolf’s and a member of the Bloomsbury Group—which took his sudden death at a young age very much to heart and decided amongst themselves to intrust Virginia with the task of writing his biography. Fry (an English artist and critic who established his reputation as a scholar of ‘Old Masters’ and was an advocate of then-modern trends in French painting, giving it the name ‘Post-Impressionism’) was Woolf’s only non-fiction book. I confess, I haven’t read this biography—or at least I can’t remember reading it, which comes to the same thing.


The incredible thing about Virginia Woolf is that she successfully dodges all the tripwires of convention and grammar and—while never officially breaking any rules for writing—manages to put down words in the same way that our interior voices do. There is a kind of doom to it—the message seems to be ‘if you want to fully know yourself, be prepared for existentialism’. Self-regard, the hard, ‘objective-ish’ kind (for true objectivity about ourselves is impossible) is a cold end to a lonely journey. Our minds are not such clockworks as we should like to think them; our verbal communications are not so efficient as we would like to think them; our understanding of each other is a worn patch-work of superficial observations, constantly being interrupted by our self-regard.


Such (partial) truisms are hard won—many levels of self-deception must be breached to even approach such understanding of oneself. Most people have the sense not to go there—but a brutalized and repressed mentality such as the young Virginia Woolf’s is driven by her need to get at the Truth, with that capital ‘T’. Those who should have protected her have attacked her—those who should have been minding her were unconcerned for her—when everything a child has learned is put at odds against a cruel reality, the search for meaning becomes a compulsion.


Ms. Woolf’s self-awareness was not an achievement per se, it was more like a scar left on her soul by a horrid family. We can comfortably (from seventy-five years after the publication of “The Years”) look back at her amazing artistry as a wordsmith and as an observer of the human race, the community, the family, and the pageant of time’s passing. But she, like Van Gogh, is one of those artists whose tormented life gave rise to supernatural efforts of artistry, yet display through those artistic expressions that horror of real life, that despair over true love and goodness.

I was impressed, as a young man, reading this giant of a novel—as sharp and quick as a dagger, as broad and open as the heavens. As a fifty-seven year-old I can barely enjoy the reading while the knowledge of her suffering hangs so opaquely above every page.

20130716XD-Wiki-TheYears-Virginia Woolf378px-Virginia_Woolf_(5)_2

The Dragon Lady (2013July15)


Monday, July 15, 2013             10:31 PM

Finally—something new to write about. Long ago, when I worked for a living, I noticed something that is a universal constant—the Dragon Lady. Every job has one, every business has a Grand High one; no matter what you do or where you go, she is always there. Newbies are her favorite prey—the poor things still expect rational behavior in the workplace—but she is their best teacher. Once you have learned to defend yourself against your own Dragon Lady, nothing else will present a greater challenge—you’re set for life (or until you switch jobs).


There are some free-floating ones out there, just ‘public-service’ Dragon Ladies who make life miserable for every person that crosses her path. Most of those are phenomena of neighborhoods and communities—but I’ve just come across a new type—the online Dragon Lady! I’ve been out of work so long, I actually enjoyed crossing swords with her (I tried to send her a friend request on FB, but she isn’t listed.)

Well, nothing gets the literary juices flowing like a bee in my bonnet—and, boy-howdy!—this one’s a doozy. Check out our ‘conversation’ from today:

[And please note: the graphic image being discussed is no longer the first pic in my blog entry—I replaced it, immediately upon receiving this first comment, with some other ‘kaleidescopic’ image.]


Joy McKenzie       Submitted on 2013/07/15 at 5:22 pm

Please Cease and Desist using MY copyrighted image on your page: XperDunn is Here  -Post: Essay “Kaleidoscope”

If it is not removed within 24 hours, WordPress will receive a DMCA take down notice.

The cost of usage of my image is $500.00 per day and I assume it has been up since at least May 2012

signed: Joy McKenzie

Opnamedatum: 2012-08-31

XperDunn    Submitted on 2013/07/15 at 6:07 pm | In reply to Joy McKenzie.

I took your stupid old picture down and replaced it with someone else’s.

You couldn’t get $500.00 per day for a stupid old picture if you were Da Vinci himself–so cease and desist all your blatherings.

Why do you have a whole page of downloadable images if you don’t want anyone to look at them?

Please do not ‘sign:’ your WordPress comments–it doesn’t make it any more official than a regular comment and it only reflects negatively on your personality.

Opnamedatum: 2012-06-28

Joy McKenzie         Submitted on 2013/07/15 at 8:47 pm | In reply to XperDunn.

My images are posted on Fine Art America and ALL are copyrighted.

It’s people like you who think artists do their work for free and for everyone’s use.

It’s people like you who get slapped with DMCA notices.

You’re obviously very ignorant about copyright…just because an image is on the internet, it doesn’t mean you can steal it for your own use. I am contacting WordPress regarding this matter since you were childishly rude to me.

You have no idea what my giclee prints sell for! Most likely you have MANY copyrighted images on your pages here and it is against WordPress’s Terms of Service.

Go read them. Talk about reflecting negatively…you STEAL people’s art.


XperDunn    Submitted on 2013/07/16 at 1:05 am | In reply to Joy McKenzie.

You sound like a horrible person.

I use plenty of my own art–and if you want to use it for YOUR blog, I could care less.

Most people enjoy getting exposure outside of their own little circle of friends, but if it’s a pet peeve of yours I have no intention of bothering you ever again.

I do so know what your prints are worth and I can only say that the energy you use with this negative head-game could be of much more benefit put to some other use….


XperDunn    Submitted on 2013/07/16 at 1:33 am | In reply to Joy McKenzie.

OK I get it now–I just checked out your ‘fine arts’ website and I understand what you are doing here–you are being a professional, and you’re running a business.

I’ll stick to images of my own, or the old masters, or the million other people online who don’t see art as a business–you are completely unnecessary to my illustrative and decorative needs.


And that’s where things stand (until tomorrow?) I love a good argument, especially with someone so easily teased. But I think I know why this lady gets under my skin—it’s always been a pet-peeve of mine—I don’t hold with folks who do Euclidean geometry with lots of colors and call it ‘art’—and the idea of someone taking their spiro-graphs so seriously as to claim a copyright on them—well, she’s just lucky Euclid isn’t vigilantly guarding his Intellectual Property Rights, that’s all I’m saying.

It makes me wonder—just how complex and parti-colored do vertices and rays have to get before you can lay claim to them as your own Intellectual Property? When does a Mandala reach the point of personal creativity? Always? Never? It doesn’t seem like a safe business plan, having one’s assets resemble some tenth-grader’s homework.


Talking Heads like to ‘address the issue’ of Intellectual Property Rights and how laxity about ownership poses a gigantic threat to the music, art, and entertainment industries. These businesses provide jobs for millions of people—what would happen if they all went bankrupt from piracy? It would be horrible! Until the next day, when we would realize that art and music haven’t been destroyed, they’ve just become poor investments. I don’t know what to say about the jobs lost—it would certainly hurt a lot of people.

But a lot of people are losing jobs and business because the war in Afghanistan is wrapping up—should we maintain our war-time footing when there is no war at the moment—just to help the economy? Major religions are losing their flocks in droves—should we start burning witches at the stake again, just to keep that industry healthy?


I’m starting to wonder about that whole ‘losing jobs’ rationale. The ‘bought’ politicians are always waving that scarecrow at us, to maintain support for an otherwise execrable industry or banking sector. But it is a paper tiger—in the end, the money has to circulate, people need jobs and groceries, if one business has to suffer because it is polluting our environment or mistreating its employees or misleading its consumers—then so be it. This ‘terror’ business has got to stop. We can’t allow our fears to guide our choices—whether it’s traveling by airline or putting a good-sized gouge in a business that’s been asking for it for way too long.

And, as for Dragon Ladies—well, we all knew the internet was going to get all Eff’ed-Up by city-slickers and money-grubbers—why should we exclude the female component of that tribe?


Some Music (2013July08)

Here are some song covers with lots of pretty pictures to look at:


XperDunn plays Piano     July 7th, 2013

Three (3) Song Covers :    “I Think We’re Alone Now”    “If I Fell”    “Kansas City”




XperDunn plays Piano    July 7th, 2013    Improv – Starship Blues




XperDunn plays Piano     July 7th, 2013       Improv – Sabbos Goy



XperDunn plays Piano    July 6th, 2013      Improv – Wing Dang It





A Capitalist Fourth (2013July04)


A lot of people seem to think the American Dream is a success story. But I’ve never seen it that way. To me, the American Dream is not very different from Martin Luther King’s— “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” For me, it is important to note the difference between our nation’s spirit and its reality. There is hatred, fear, poverty, greed, and disillusion in our everyday lives—and my American Dream is that we fight these evils on a daily basis, pushing back against ignorance, defying bigotry, helping those who can’t help themselves, and always seeking a better life. Not a life full of cash and comfort and security, but a life full of care, understanding, and happiness.


During the age of Alchemy it was both a precaution and a tradition to keep one’s knowledge a precious secret, not to be shared. But modern progress didn’t start until we began to see knowledge as a legacy that scientists leave to humanity. The free exchange of ideas was the highest ethical position for a long time—during the Cold War there were scientists on both sides who got into trouble with their governments because they felt an obligation to share scientific knowledge with the whole world. These people faced firing squads or worse because their ethics wouldn’t allow them to keep information and research secret from ‘the enemy’. They felt that freedom of speech implied the freedom to speak the truth, to share scientific knowledge with everyone.Image

But the stranglehold on information was never fully realized by National Security policies—it required Money to suppress researchers’ and experimenters’ scruples against secrecy—the dread NDA, the Non-Disclosure Agreement, placed a lien on one’s livelihood as hostage against their openness and honesty. Nowadays we see Corporate culture holding their cards so close to their chests that we are deprived of medical safety, nutritional data, and side-effects, both medical and industrial. The corporations want to be more than ‘people’—they want to be people who can sue their whistleblowers for informing the public of information we are morally entitled to. If someone tells on me, I can’t sue—then again, I don’t ask people to sign any agreements before becoming friends of theirs.


Thus, I see in this instance another point at which Capitalism has encroached on human rights. Capitalism started out as freedom—doing business with anyone, for any product or service, regardless of their ‘station’ in society, was a guarantee to the middle class their trade could not be restricted. But centuries of lobbying and influence have carved out a ‘favored status’ for the biggest corporations that no individual American would ever dare to ask for. Capitalism has turned and bit the hand that fed it. And we all watch helplessly now as it begins gnawing on our collective elbow-joints on its way towards devouring our freedom and equality entirely.

So sadly I celebrate our day of independence from oppression by our former monarchial government—while asking myself how we can ever free ourselves from the oppression of the almighty Buck.


I Insist On Having A Dragon To Kill by XperDunn (2013July03)

I Insist On Having A Dragon To Kill by XperDunn (2013July03).

via I Insist On Having A Dragon To Kill by XperDunn (2013July03).


I’ve been looking over my juvenalia lately (my high school poems, that is) and I found this one written to my (or I should say Our) late friend, Carol Rosenberg. You’ll notice it’s a gift poem, not a love poem–we were friends and it was her birthday and I was writing poetry about anything I could think of, trying to learn all the classical forms, and trying to sound like a grown-up, and this was the sort of thing that came from me at that time.

The Sun
(crossed out)
AKA – Birthday Acrostic to C.R. (Which just happens to be a sonnet)
(crossed out)

Sonnet Acrostic in Honor of Carol’s Birthday

Chariot bright with the gift of day
After the roots of night are broke
Run with my shackles and debts away.
Open the door with a savior’s stroke,
Letting loose the white unicorns which, released,
Run ‘cross the dome with majestic mirth
Over blue plains where the stars increased
Since the emerald birth of the buxom Earth.
Even Diana must fall to your power
No star can but falter and fade and dim.
Beneath the gray tomb of the dark’s dread tower,
E’en though I can’t see your sharp eye or gold rim,
Remembering, I can hear wealth where you’ve run,
Glittering, burning, my jewel, the Sun.


(NOTE: If you forget what an acrostic is, it means that the first letters of all the lines spell out CAROLROSENBERG.)


Sonnet to the Dawn in Summer

The Sun hurls out in surprising showers
Woven bolts dyed in fiery tints
Which unrolled as the rippling cloths of Dawn
And turn the clouds’ boiling, pearly towers
Into heaps of coal through which the sky glints
As Venus is ambushed and, shuddering, is gone.
All the Giants of Earth wash their faces with splashes
Of the fiery streams from the chariot bright
And laugh like mountains to greet the morning
While their eyes mirror back the blood-rubied flashes
Or monstrously blink at the early sight
Whose flare of of the hot noonday Sun is a warning—
For though the Dawn’s music is pleasing to hear
The summer-day’s fire can blister and sear.

[I signed this ‘CJAD’, my invented name, Christopher Jonathan Abraham Dunn. I was born and christened Christopher Dunn. At some time in grade school I asked my mom why I was the only one without a middle name and she said, “I thought your first name was long enough. But, if you want to, you can pick your own middle name.”

What she didn’t realize was that I was applying for my social security card—which I then signed Christopher Jonathan Dunn (and that is still the Social Security Card in my wallet). But for taxes, phone listings and legal contracts, I am ‘Christopher Dunn’, my Birth Certificate name.

Not long afterward I was Confirmed as a young Catholic, which sacrament requires the choosing of a saint’s name as my Confirmation Name. I was a big Lincoln fan and I said ‘Abraham’. The nun told me I was supposed to pick a saint from the New Testament, but I insisted he was in the Bible. She had a hurried conference with a priest and finally turned to me and said, “Abraham is acceptable.”]
Thus, in High School, when I was feeling fancy and eccentric, I would introduce myself as Christopher Jonathan Abraham Dunn and I would initial my poems and drawings with ‘CJAD’.]