Thursday, May 12, 2016


   John Darnielle, aka The Mountain Goats, played an amazing solo show at Durham's Pinhook tonight to raise money for groups working against North Carolina's anti-trans (and anti-Fight for Fifteen) HB2.

  He finished with "Home on the Range." And his version of that cowboy song included this excursus, which I've reproduced here as faithfully as I can because it brought me joy, and I wanted others to feel that as well.

How often at night when the heavens are bright,
With the light from the glittering stars,
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed

“Here the author of ‘Home on the Range’ makes a grave error. There are inconceivably many stars. And if even a billionth of those stars contain life, the lives they are living there must be so different we could not even imagine them. Maybe their ways of tolerating and living with one another are so far beyond ours that our most radical forms of openness and kindness would seem cruel and draconian to them. (Probably we would make war on them for that.)

            “And he asks a question of the stars: if their glory exceeds that of ours.
             “I think we can answer this in the affirmative.

“They are stars. We are flesh and bone. We could not even approach a star. We could not even approach the Human Torch. His touch would consume us in fire. And he’s just the Human Torch, not some star that has been sitting in the firmament for longer than you can imagine. Like, even if you understand math, you can’t really imagine how old the stars are.

            “If their glory exceeds that of ours.
            “Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam…”