Saturday, October 9, 2010

Henry David Thoreau Says No to Big Government

Here are some quotes from Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, which we are discussing in my senior seminar tomorrow.  What do you think Thoreau would have made of O'Reilly or Chris Matthews?

* That government is best which governs not at all

*   Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well disposed are daily made the agents of injustice

*A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority

*…any man more right than his neighbors already constitutes a majority of one

*Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison 

*A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority…but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight

*Know all men by these presents that I, Henry David Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any incorporated society which I have not joined.

*They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humility; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird  up their loins once more and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.

Friday, October 8, 2010

On Roy Orbison, Synchronicity and the Theater Row Diner

Roy and Barbara Orbison
I blogged last week about Roy Orbison but haven't blogged since because I visited my 96-year-old dad in Deerfield Beach, Florida (which is just south of Boca) and left my car at home. He's still driving his Ford Crown Victoria.  The weather in Florida was ok but not great.  Returning back to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, the plane from West Palm Beach arrived at 8 pm and I had to catch a 9:30 bus to Kingston, NY.  As luck would have it there was a traffic jam at the Queens Midtown Tunnel and  I missed the Kingston bus.  I thought I'd find a diner until the last Kingston bus, the 11:30, but all of the eating places near Port Authority were a bit chichi or fast food, and I wanted a Greek salad.  So I wandered around the bus depot, walking west along a desolate super-block.  No one seemed to know where a diner might be.  Then I walked north on Dyer Avenue, which is west of 9th Avenue, and right as I came to 42nd Street and Dyer, there was the cozy Theater Row Diner.

I sat down at the counter and noticed a "reserved" sign at the leftmost counter stool.  I sat two stools away from the sign.  Nothing is cooler than a Manhattan diner at 10:30 pm, and a "reserved" sign at the counter gave the Theater Row just enough idiosyncrasy. I ordered the Greek salad.  As I was enjoying it, a fiftyish guy sat down at the seat with the reserved sign.  He and the owner started talking about the Yankees. Then the subject turned to Roy Orbison.  He talked for a few minutes about how great Roy Orbison was and all his great songs like "Only the Lonely", "Dream Baby" and all the others.  I chimed in "Yeah, like 'Blue Bayou'".  We got into a conversation. He told me that Orbison started in Sun Records in Memphis and that he also was a big Elvis Presley fan.  The guy is a FedEx driver who grew up in Long Island City, and I come from Long Island City and my parents' apartment is still there (I stayed there last Sunday night on the way to LaGuardia).  Then he told me the owner lives in neighboring Astoria and we got into a conversation about it, and the owner's friend works in the development next to where I live.

Previously, Tanja Crouch of Roy Orbison music had e-mailed to send me a thank you for blogging about the great rockabilly star. When I arrived home after catching the last bus out of Port Authority,  a package from Barbara Orbison Productions containing a four CD set "Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock and Roll" was waiting for me.