davidbrucehaiku: original






original look

no one else is like this girl

original brain


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davidbrucehaiku: someone’s intriguing






someone intriguing

so now take a photograph

that someone is you


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David Bruce: Music Anecdotes

Paul W

Despite losing his right arm in World War I, Paul Wittgenstein continued playing the piano. He played the melody of the right hand using his forefinger and left thumb, and to play a chord he broke it up into two notes, but by making clever use of the pedal he was still able to give the impression of playing the whole chord. Of course, little music was written for the left hand only. However, several composers, including Benjamin Britten, Paul Hindemith, Sergei Prokofieff, Maurice Ravel, and Richard Strauss, wrote music for the left hand only for Mr. Wittgenstein to play. Far from being a mere curiosity, Mr. Wittgenstein played concerts for more than 40 years, wrote a three-volume book titled School for the Left Hand of pieces arranged for the left hand, and recorded two albums: Paul Wittgenstein plays Piano Music for the Left Hand and Transcriptions for Piano Left Hand.

Who drummer Keith Moon did not take criticism kindly. He once stayed at the Hyatt House on Sunset Strip in LA. Walking through the lobby, he loudly played a tape recording of a Who rehearsal. People complained to the manager, who told him, “Turn that noise off.” Mr. Moon went up to his room, where he had stashed away several detonator caps that were intended to be used at a Who concert. He affixed the detonator caps to the door of his room, then he called the manager and said he needed to talk to him immediately. The manager came to his room, knocked on his door — and Mr. Moon set off the detonator caps, exploding the door into pieces. He pointed to the pieces of the door and told the manager, “That was noise.” Then he pointed to his tape recording of the Who rehearsal and said, “This is The Who.”

On the old TV game show Name That Tune, the two contestants were a beautiful French woman and an American sailor. The orchestra played the tune they were to guess, “The Anniversary Waltz.” The French woman guessed, “Oh, How Ve Danced on Ze Night Ve Vere Ved,” but emcee Red Benson correctly pointed out that that wasn’t the name of the song, but only a line from it. Then Mr. Benson turned to the sailor and gave him a hint to help him guess the title of “The Anniversary Waltz”: “If you were married to this beautiful girl tonight, what would you be singing a year from now?” The sailor answered, “Rock-a-Bye-Baby.”

Hermes Pan once needed to work out a dance to some music by George Gershwin. He asked the rehearsal pianist in the studio to play the song, but was dissatisfied with it, so he asked the pianist to play the song at a slower tempo. Again, he was dissatisfied, and he said, “Gershwin or no Gershwin, I think this stinks!” Later that day, Mr. Pan was able to meet Mr. Gershwin and discovered he was the pianist at the rehearsal. Mr. Pan apologized to him, but Mr. Gershwin replied, “You know something? You might be right!”

On a trip to Southern Rhodesia, which was then part of the British empire but is now the self-ruled country of Zimbabwe, jazz musician Louis Armstrong insisted that he play only in front of integrated audiences. For the opening concert, 25,000 people showed up and the seats were filled with both blacks and whites. During his concert, Mr. Armstrong looked out over the audience and said, “I gotta tell y’all something — it’s very nice to see this.”

One mother thought that her three-year-old daughter might be a musical genius because the little girl remembered where the middle C key was located on the piano keyboard after being shown it once. However, one day the mother cleaned the piano keys, and her little daughter couldn’t pick out middle C anymore — the middle C key had been the one with the egg stain.

Young, impoverished musicians sometimes made musical instruments out of cigar boxes. Blues singer Big Bill Broonzy made a fiddle out of a cigar box when he was 10 years old and played it until a friend gave him a real fiddle. Another blues singer, Big Joe Williams, aka Poor Joe, made a guitar out of a cigar box and played it until he got a real guitar at age 15.

Popular culture has many gay icons, including Stevie Nicks of the pop group Fleetwood Mac. In New York, the Jackie 60 club holds an annual Night of a Thousand Stevies in which gay men dress as their idol. (Being a gay icon is a major compliment. It means that you live your life with flair and elegance — and you look fabulous.)

When Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, was sailing in the South Seas, he used to dictate stories to his stepson, who typed them. South Sea natives observed this procedure, then explained it by saying that Mr. Stevenson was singing and his stepson was accompanying him on a musical instrument.

As a child, opera singer Mary Garden took violin lessons. She once asked her teacher, “Mr. Phelps, how long will it take me to become a good violinist and how good will I be?” Her teacher was honest and replied, “Mary, you will probably become a good amateur in 20 years.”

Before the beginning of World War II, contralto Marian Anderson’s reputation spread rapidly, and she was invited to sing in Germany, which was then ruled by Adolf Hitler. However, when the Germans discovered that Ms. Anderson was an African American, they withdrew the offer.

The Keith theater chain often censored performers’ work, thus earning itself a name as the “Sunday School circuit.” Sophie Tucker was once told that she couldn’t sing the song “Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle While Rip Van Winkle was Away?” She quit.

Weird comedian Andy Kaufman once came out on stage and started singing “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” The audience hated it, but when Mr. Kaufman left the stage after getting down to “2 Bottles of Beer,” the audience wanted him to finish the song.

Annabel Cowan once went to a book store and asked a college freshman working there for a copy of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. The freshman replied, “Oh, he didn’t write carols — he wrote books.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All


A.E. Housman: Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,

The hour when earth’s foundations fled, 

Followed their mercenary calling, 

And took their wages, and are dead. 


Their shoulders held the sky suspended; 

They stood, and earth’s foundations stay; 

What God abandoned, these defended, 

And saved the sum of things for pay. 


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Lao-Tzu #13: Love the whole world as if it were your self; then you will truly care for all things.



Success is as dangerous as failure,

and we are often our own worst enemy.


What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?

He who is superior is also someone’s subordinate.

Receiving favor and losing it both cause alarm.

That is what is meant by success is as dangerous as failure.

What does it mean that we are often our own worst enemy?

The reason I have an enemy is because I have a “self”.

If I no longer had a “self”, I would no longer have an enemy.


Love the whole world as if it were your self;

then you will truly care for all things.


Tao Te Ching

By Lao-Tzu

A translation for the public domain by j.h.mcdonald, 1996 


Aesop: The Hares and the Frogs

THE HARES were so persecuted by the other beasts, they did not know where to go. As soon as they saw a single animal approach them, off they used to run. One day they saw a troop of wild Horses stampeding about, and in quite a panic all the Hares scuttled off to a lake hard by, determined to drown themselves rather than live in such a continual state of fear. But just as they got near the bank of the lake, a troop of Frogs, frightened in their turn by the approach of the Hares, scuttled off, and jumped into the water. “Truly,” said one of the Hares, “things are not so bad as they seem: