THE SIGNAL from David Katznelson

“All serious daring starts from within.”― Eudora Welty

Today in 1860 the Pony Express arrived in Sacramento creating a chain from the east to the west for correspondence and mail. Sounds great, right? A year later it went bankrupt and was replaced by the transcontinental telegraph, putting famous riders like Buffalo Bill out of a job.

Flash forward to now…and the hardships that the US Postal Service is facing in this new wild west, currently overseen by Trump appointee Louis De Joy. The postal service’s growing financial woes are not do to him, as John Oliver excellently points out in his recent show telling the history and issues of the USPS. Rules went into affect before him that saddled it with insurmountable debt. But his actions have in no way helped and we are facing a reality of longer mail delivery times and a less reliable system overall.

Can this be stopped? Damn good question. It seems (again, relating to Oliver’s piece) that there are ways to right the ship. And recently, stories have come out suggesting that interesting ideas (like around alcohol delivery) showcase potential good news.

On a day that we remember the first correspondence to reach the West from the East, its a good moment to grab the mail our of the mailbox and just stare at it with the understanding that it is pretty damn incredible that such a service exists and maybe even buy some August Wilson stamps….

Andria Lisle Interview

Andria Lisle, a dear friend, an incredible journalist and writer, and one of those music supporters that make the world a better place has finally (finally) had the camera turned on her for this career-introspective interview. Andria is as fun as she is knowledgable. The last good hoo-ha of a time I had….pre-pandemic…was partying with her and a bunch of family and friends in a cotton field in Taylor, Mississippi. And when the world opens back up…I hope to be doing it again. Hers is a story worth reading…

The Library of Congress recently welcomes four additional holograph manuscript scores of Charles Mingus

One of the scores included is a Mingus homage to Duke Ellington (he did a few). Just looking at the manuscripts give insight to the crazed energy he put into his compositions.

Lynd Ward’s Eerie, Early Graphic Novel, “Gods’ Man”

I had not known of Lynd Ward’s work before seeing this article…or I should say I had not seen his woodcut stories. His work in general has been showcased in so many illustrated novels over the years it seems like I knew his art long before I knew his name. Damn, is his work incredible….

Ancient Cave Painters May Have Experienced Hallucinations, Study Finds

…and I am hoping there were incredible bands playing as they were painting. Nice to see that history tends to repeat itself.

Personal Helicon

By: Seamus Heaney

As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.

A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.