“They ruined us,” Garvey told me before putting in his papers. “This was a great unit and it was like they had a plan to ruin it.”

For my part, I had come to feel much the same in my own world, having seen some of the best reporters at my newspaper depart for the New York Times, the Washington Post and other papers—chased by an institutional arrogance that was every bit equal to that of the police department.

Struck, Wooten, Alvarez, Zorzi, Littwin, Thompson, Lippman, Hyman—some of the best reporters the Baltimore Sun had were marginalized, then bought out, shipped out and replaced with twenty-four-year-old acolytes, who, if they did nothing else, would never make the mistake of having an honest argument with newsroom management. In a time of growth, when the chance to truly enhance the institution was at hand, the new regime at the Sun hired about as much talent as they dispatched. And in the end, when the carpetbaggers finally departed, their mythology of heroic renewal intact, they had managed to achieve three Pulitzers in about a dozen years. During the previous dozen, the newspaper’s morning and evening editions achieved exactly the same number.

Listening to Garvey over drinks that day, I came to realize that there was something emblematic here: that in postmodern America, whatever institution you serve or are served by—a police department or a newspaper, a political party or a church, Enron or Worldcom—you will eventually be betrayed.

It seemed very Greek the more I thought about it. The stuff of Aeschylus and Sophocles, except the gods were not Olympian but corporate and institutional. In every sense, ours seems a world in which individual human beings—be they trained detectives or knowledgeable reporters, hardened corner boys or third-generation longshoremen or smuggled eastern European sex workers—are destined to matter less and less.

—David Simon, Homicide

To Ireland in the Coming Times

Know, that I would accounted be
True brother of a company
That sang, to sweeten Ireland's wrong, 
Ballad and story, rann and song; 
Nor be I any less of them, 
Because the red-rose-bordered hem
Of her, whose history began
Before God made the angelic clan, 
Trails all about the written page. 
When Time began to rant and rage
The measure of her flying feet
Made Ireland's heart begin to beat; 
And Time bade all his candles flare
To light a measure here and there; 
And may the thoughts of Ireland brood
Upon a measured quietude. 

Nor may I less be counted one
With Davis, Mangan, Ferguson, 
Because, to him who ponders well, 
My rhymes more than their rhyming tell
Of things discovered in the deep, 
Where only body's laid asleep. 
For the elemental creatures go
About my table to and fro, 
That hurry from unmeasured mind
To rant and rage in flood and wind; 
Yet he who treads in measured ways
May surely barter gaze for gaze. 
Man ever journeys on with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem. 
Ah, faeries, dancing under the moon, 
A Druid land, a Druid tune! 

While still I may, I write for you
The love I lived, the dream I knew. 
From our birthday, until we die, 
Is but the winking of an eye; 
And we, our singing and our love, 
What measurer Time has lit above, 
And all benighted things that go
About my table to and fro, 
Are passing on to where may be, 
In truth's consuming ecstasy, 
No place for love and dream at all; 
For God goes by with white footfall. 
I cast my heart into my rhymes, 
That you, in the dim coming times, 
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.

-W.B. Yeats

Life, whatever it may be!

“There is nothing in the world more difficult than candor, and nothing easier than flattery. If there is a hundredth of a fraction of a false note to candor, it immediately produces dissonance, and as a result, exposure. But in flattery, even if everything is false down to the last note, it is still pleasant, and people will listen not without pleasure; with coarse pleasure, perhaps, but pleasure nevertheless. ” 

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Inspiration That Defies The Norm

Nathan Milstein was an amazing musician from an early age.  However, in this video he is in his eighties and yet still displays the prowess of seemingly prime years.  We all form conceptions of what is normal, particularly relating to the aging and retirement process.  Milstein discontinued playing only later after breaking his hand, and to me his willingness to continue to create into his later years serves as inspiration to anyone who feels restricted by circumstance.



Affirmation In Sound

Christian Tetzlaff, world-famous violinist, said in an interview for Strings magazine, "We are living in a culture of anxiety and distrust.  Concerts provide fantastic moments of communication and pleasure, but the real life is the life you live."  You can find the full article here:  

The first sentence resonates with people especially now, in the wake of troubling news and world events.  And it is also true that music is not the full composition of human life.  But there are moments that matter.  For anyone who is new to classical music, or the orchestra, I would encourage you to listen to this short example at a rather hefty volume, and be suspended within it for a brief moment in a probable hectic day.

Berlin Philharmonic.



And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.
— John Steinbeck, East of Eden