They're opening a Starbucks and a Duane Reade directly across from the Grove Street PATH station, where I catch the train to work each morning. This will certainly bring more people to my growing neighborhood. This morning, the train was so crowded that I couldn't read my book, Murakami's colorful Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. So, instead, I did what I always do when there's no room to read:
Beautiful listening in Munich. Photo: Michael Lavorgna
We have to ask ourselves: Can all hi-fi shows be as efficiently run, popular, successful, and downright fun as the Munich High End Show? Is it possible to cultivate, here in the United States, that combination of heartfelt enthusiasm, relaxed atmosphere, and healthy balance of substance and style?
Since the transformation of my living room into a listening room, my record collection has been a woeful, helpless mess. Albums are grouped together more by my fleeting mood or by date of purchase than by anything usefully intelligible, or at all resembling order, such as genre or artist name. If, on some strange and rainy Saturday, I happened to have listened to albums by Mal Waldron, Crazy Horse, and Beach House, these albums will be found shelved together.
I’m on the N train heading to Manhattan from Bay Ridge and there’s a fat Mexican baby in a dull red stroller. She is screaming her heart out. I’m trying to read an article in New York magazine recommended to me by a co-worker, but I don’t think I’ll make it to the end. I’ve read enough about addiction to know how ugly it can be; I don’t want to live through it again.
I just got off the phone with Henry Fiol. Though his singing voice ranges from ethereal to ferocious, his speaking voice is that of the common mana City accent, a casual flow, the blurring of sounds the dropping of syllables a friendly slang. He sounds like a relative, one of my father's cousins. He sounds like family.
Several weeks ago, a dear friend reminded me of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs on June 12, 2005, at Stanford University. The entire speech heaves with wisdom, hope, and love, and I tend to come back to it every now and then, just as I do Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grassfor comfort, compassion, direction, perspective. I meant to write something about it then, but things got in the way.
Here’s a pertinent excerpt:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everythingall external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failurethese things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.