Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sheldon Kopp's Laundry List

At the end of his book, If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!, Sheldon Kopp offers ‘A Partial Register of the 927 (or was it 928?) Eternal Truths’, 43 items in total. This list exists elsewhere on the World Wide Web, but still worth reproducing here:

  1. This is it!
  2. There are no hidden meanings.
  3. You can’t get there from here and besides there’s no place else to go.
  4. We are all already dying and we will be dead for a long time.
  5. Nothing lasts.
  6. There is no way of getting all you want.
  7. You can’t have anything unless you let go of it.
  8. You only get to keep what you give away.
  9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
  10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.
  11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
  12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.
  13. You don’t really control anything.
  14. You can’t make anyone love you.
  15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
  16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.
  17. There are no great men.
  18. If you have a hero look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.
  19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends (yes, you too, and most certainly I myself).
  20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.
  21. All of you is worth something if you will only own it.
  22. Progress is an illusion.
  23. It can be displaced but never eradicated, as solutions breed new problems.
  24. Yet it to necessary to keep on struggling toward solution.
  25. Childhood is a nightmare.
  26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
  27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
  28. The most important things, each man must do for himself.
  29. Love is not enough but it sure helps.
  30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that’s all there is.
  31. How strange that so often it all seems worth it.
  32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
  33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
  34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
  35. No excuses will be accepted.
  36. You can run, but you can’t hide.
  37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
  38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
  39. The only victory lies in surrender to oneself.
  40. All significant battles are fought within oneself.
  41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.
  42. What at do you know … for sure … anyway?
  43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again…

Friday, November 6, 2015

Looking Back

 
 
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman gave the world what is clearly a  great musical achievement. Here is a critique lifted from Music Direct: John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman  (1963-IMPULSE)

" ... Hartman's voice is right there and full-throated; again, I've never heard all the subtleties of his vibrato or all the slight accents in his phrasing. Coltrane's saxophone is in the room. Elvin Jones' drums bang and whisper. (Listen to that brush-wooshing! You get every wisp and sizzle.) Even McCoy Tyner's piano, often hooded in Van Gelder sessions, rings clear. Jimmy Garrison's bass may be a little forward, but it sounds like the pick-up amp, not a recording artifact. This is a gorgeous album, gorgeously mastered and essential."

- Fred Kaplan, The Absolute Sound, June/July 2005, Issue 154

The clarinetist Tony Scott, who trod the same musical path as Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, once called the number “Lush Life” “the Mount Everest of Jazz soloists.” Thousands have stood at the foot of the mountain but only a couple of dozen ever made it right to the top. Among these few were the singer Johnny Hartman and the John Coltrane Quartet in March 1963 — not just with that song but with other favorites too. The list extends from “They Say It’s Wonderful” which sounds as though it is clad in black silk, to the lyrical “My One And Only Love,” right up to the light-footed rumba “Autumn Serenade,” here are six true masterpieces which will get right under your skin. Just listen to how relaxed and self-assuredly the crooner’s great voice carries the melody, which is then taken up and continued by John Coltrane on his instrument.

Guy Wood; Robert Mellin

The very thought of you makes my heart sing
Like an April breeze on the wings of spring
And you appear in all your splendor
My one and only love

The shadows fall and spread their mystic charms
In the hush of night while you're in my arms
I feel your lips so warm and tender
My one and only love

The touch of your hand is like heaven
A heaven that I've never known
The blush on your cheek whenever I speak
Tells me that you are my own

You fill my eager heart with such desire
Every kiss you give sets my soul on fire
I give myself in sweet surrender
My one and only love


Hearing this music for the first time in San Francisco in the late 70s in that period right before Anita Bryant attacked the gay community and wanted to "Save the Children" in Florida provided warmth and insulation against what was to come down the pike in the form of political persecution, assassination and disease.

A handsome loving man made scrambled eggs and platanos in the morning following a night filled with Mr Hartman's crooning, Mr Coltrane's playing and the man's embrace. It was an event that only enhances the appreciation of this exceptional music. As life progresses and brings with that progress hitherto unknown feelings and experiences, looking back on the person that one once was, affords not only comfort, but new clarity ...