WILL WORK FOR FOOD

There is a rumor, perpetuated by television shows, that bloggers earn a living. By blogging. Someone in Hollywood seriously thinks people like me make money doing this. I am depressed to admit it, but not one cent have I ever made from this site — not counting the occasional free book for review.

I don’t advertise on this site. In fact, I pay WordPress to not put their advertisements here. My dream is not to monetize my site, but be such an incredible writer that the world will shower me with money — just because I’m me. I won’t have to ask, and I will owe nothing to anybody. And I could … pay the bills! Yes!

Money for nothing. It brings tears to my eyes.

Somewhere, some blogger must be making money on his or her site, but I don’t know them. I’ve been around the world, blog-wise. I have yet to see a single blogger bringing in the big bucks. A few people have tried to at least keep even by putting advertisements on their sites, but the amount of money this earns them wouldn’t add up to a good meal in a mediocre restaurant. Moreover, advertising annoys readers. Sites with spammy ads and weird pop-ups make me want to go somewhere else. Since the Internet remains one of the last, free places on earth, that’s what I do. I go elsewhere.

I don’t do this for money. I don’t even do it in the hopes that someday it might make money. I don’t run advertisements, have no connections to any organization who will pay me for anything. I get offers for free applications for an “honest review,” but between the lines I read “positive, glowing review.”

I turn them down. “Money for nothing” is a delightful dream … and that is all it is.

If for some obscure reason, you want to buy me off? You’ll have to do a lot better than any offer I’ve gotten to date. I’m sure everyone has a price, so I probably have one too. No one has come close to meeting whatever my price turns out to be. But — please, feel free to keep trying!

Meanwhile, there will be no succumbing on this blog. Not without one humongous payoff.

LOOKING OUT MY BACK DOOR

It isn’t as glorious an autumn as I have seen, but when I woke up this morning, the sun was shining and the woods were glowing gold.


Our backyard with the table, the glider, and the shed.

This is as pretty as our woods get. We don’t get that gorgeous scarlet because we have no maple trees. The dark shade from the tall oaks makes it impossible for maples to thrive.

The first leaves to change color, the first to drop from the tree

We do have one maple directly in front of the house. It is turning scarlet. I’m not sure, but it may be the only maple on our property. 

LAUGHING ALONG WITH THE MUSIC – FROM NPR

WITTY – IF YOU FIND MUSIC FUNNY


This is one of those posts that requires you to have a passing familiarity with a variety of classical (by which I mean, not modern pop) music. If you played in the orchestra in high school, studied piano or bass or flute or violin, or have a secret passion for Chopin, Beethoven, Vivaldi … well, the list is a bit too long, but hopefully you get the idea. These are for you.

My favorite is BERLI-OS! With a Harold In Italy action figure in every box! And the Walking Dead Composers.

I hope I’m not the only one who could read the notes in Brahms …

MIGHTY PRETTY

THAT’S A MIGHTY PRETTY PIECE OF ART YOU HAVE HANGING THERE, FELLA


Let’s talk about art and why a “paint by number” kit you bought at a hobby shop is not art, even though it’s “mighty pretty.”

Many things are pretty. Wallpaper, printed by the ream is pretty. Remember all those paintings you could buy in the “art department” of department stores? You could get a blue one, a green one, or a red one. Each “hand-painted” picture was perfectly designed to match your furniture and could often be bought as part of your living room set.

Each picture was “hand painted” because someone’s hand was employed to paint it. Even then, no one said “an artist painted it” because the hand that painted it wasn’t an artist.

Now, with Artificial Intelligence, it won’t even be hand-painted. I’m sure it will be technically far superior to anything a human artist could achieve. Human art is imperfect — intentionally imperfect as often as not. There won’t be a stroke out-of-place and everyone will absolutely agree that it is “mighty pretty,” uh huh, yup, absolutely mighty pretty hanging on your wall there.

Things made by machine can be beautiful, but they aren’t art. Art is wrung from the soul of an artist. Even so, there is good art, better art, great art — and awful art. None of which has anything to do with the mechanical ability of the artist. Art — music, painting, sculpture and so much else — connects feelings, meaning, depth, breadth, vision. The big and the little, the achievements and the broken little pieces. It shows the value of life, the meaning of death, the reason we live, the sadness of loss. It isn’t only something mighty pretty to hang on a wall or pump through your speakers.

If A.I. can totally master the technique of Rembrandt and the “style” of Dali, it still won’t be art because it is without passion. No soul, no heart, no meaning, no depth. The style will not keep changing as the artist’s sensibilities change. It will never evolve into something unique, new, and refreshing because machines don’t evolve or grow.

For those of you who think “art” is a technique of brush strokes on canvas and that any “style” can be reproduced — even improved on — by a more “accurate” mechanical application … or you think if something  sounds like Chopin, it IS Chopin, you don’t understand anything. Not only do you not get it, you will never get it.

Since “fake art” is pretty much always “old or classic art,” consider buying originals from a living artist — the person who actually painted or wrote it. It will be the real deal.

The good news? An A.I. world will be perfect for you. You will be happy in your A.I. world with reproductions that look MIGHTY NICE on your walls. I bet all your furniture will match, too.

THE ENTERTAINER – BY SCOTT JOPLIN (POPULAR AS “THE STING” THEME)

THE STING


The Sting in which Robert Redford and Paul Newman back together under the direction of George Roy Hill remains to this day, one of the more joyous movies I’ve ever seen. Part of energy comes from the wonderful music of Scott Joplin used as the movie’s theme. Scott Joplin was long overdue for his music to be heard by the greater world, even though most people continue to think of it as “the music from that movie … you know … “The Sting” …”

It was wonderful music and great fun for the performer. Before the movie, those of us who studied classical music could still play Joplin who wrote out his music just like every other “real” composer. Perfect for the me who never could play unless every note was written out in advance.

This is yesterday’s post because yesterday, WordPress couldn’t get it done. Again.

Dear, dear WordPress — the Daily Post is naught but one single word. One single word per day. Surely you can get this right if you tried a little harder. You think maybe?


CRESCENDO! PIANISSIMO! STACCATO!

CRESCENDO!


Well do I remember my days and years of piano lessons. Of arching fingers and the rising crescendo of sound in my baby grand, from the softest touch to the heartiest strike on the keys.

I still have some of the books from way back when I was a child, including all the markings on the books. My piano teacher had her own “system” of indicating exactly how I was to lift my fingers and hands from the keys to get just the right sound.

I had — still have — such small hands. It made playing “big” piano pieces difficult. Impossible, sometimes. I love big music, but mostly, I played a lot of Chopin, Mozart, Bach, and eventually Scott Joplin …

… because that was the music that best suited my abilities. Now that I can’t play, I listen. Hours of Beethoven, symphonies, concertos. Grieg. Mahler. All the grand music.

During the long years when I was playing, I almost forgot how much fun it is to simply listen. I do miss playing … but listening is good for my soul, even if I don’t make the music myself.

ALMOST SEPTEMBER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The calendar is about to change. Again. Just a few months for this year. A few brief weeks of tee-shirt, shorts, and boat shoe weather. Walter Houston is singing in my head. Raspy and bittersweet.

It’s the beginning of baseball’s stretch drive. Our Boston Red Sox are in the mix for the post season. It’s high anxiety time if you’re a die-hard fan. Will the hitters cool off? Will the starters maintain their newly discovered success? Will the bull pen purge those relievers who are serial arsonists?

Pro football is also back. If you belong to Patriots’ Nation, you wonder how it will go this year, with Brady a year older. Time will have its way, even with the best of them.

Facebook is full of posts and pictures from parents crying as they send their kids off to school for the first time. There are no posts for drop-outs. We offer requiems for our fading summer flowers. It’s difficult to watch them as they slowly die.

The late night talk shows are packed with “stars” promoting their new series which sound like old series. I particularly object to reboots of old shows that weren’t particularly good back in their first run.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Political analysts are dizzy, trying to explain Orange Head’s bizarre and unprecedented presidency. If you want to really call it that.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Labor Day weekend will offer a brief time out for memories about summers past when we were younger and our world a bit more innocent. Think “Moon Glow” and “The Theme from Picnic.”  I’m William Holden dancing with Kim Novak. Snapshot memories of faded love affairs.

This is a brief respite.

Walter Houston is now singing louder in my head about those once lazy days dwindling down to hurricanes, raging fires, floods, mass shootings and Orange Head tirades blurring our collective sanity.

September Song.

These precious days I’ll spend with you…….