I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
September 19, 2016 - 12:54 p.m.
Today I tried the experiment I proposed yesterday. I ate breakfast and had coffee before I started writing. I do feel somewhat less tired but I'm still a bit sluggish. As I never left the house yesterday that is going to make today's edition of Wise Madness a challenge. At one point yesterday the perfect topic hit me. If you know me, you know what's coming next. I have no memory of what it was. Why didn't I write it down? Oh right; I'm an idiot.
I watched the Mets-Twins game yesterday. The Mets playing a AAA lineup won. Hello most games half the team is AAA. I was not in favor of hiring Terry Collins but I was wrong. He's done an amazing job. The Mets have no right being a playoff team but two years in a row he's done the job.
I'll keep talking about easy stuff till I get inspired. I made a ham steak last night. I used to go and make a glaze for it and put in a lot of effort. Now I just pan grill it and it takes great. I made my very simple but great potatoes too, they are roasted with a bit of pizzazz. First cut the potato into small pieces. Small potatoes I cut into eight pieces, larger ones 16. Just keep cutting the halves in half. The pieces should remain wedge shaped. Then put them in a container with a lid and add olive oil and garlic salt. Be generous in the amount. I usually add something hot too either cayenne pepper or curry powder. If you have MSG around add that. Shake it up so it's well mixed. Then put it in a casserole dish or baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes at 425°F. Take it out of the oven and sprinkle shredded pepper jack cheese on top and pop it back in the oven for two to three minutes. Scoop it out with a serving spoon. It's delicious and so simple. Cooking does not have to be difficult.
Know what's difficult? Trying to get other people to change their behavior. Know what else is difficult? Getting myself to change my behavior. I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about doing both. The problem is that people think they are a lot more rational than they are. Studies consistently show that the way people make decisions are more often based on emotions than reason and that they later rationalize those decisions. It's the exact opposite process than the way people think about it. I at least try and be rational so I don't think I'm immune to this. Thinking you are purely rational is irrational. What that means is you have to actively fight your prejudices and challenge your beliefs. The internet has let people do exactly the opposite. It's now possible to get all your news from sources that you trust because they say exactly what you believe. If they don't you go to another source. There are media companies whose entire business model is existing on Facebook. They exist to get clicks, bring you to their site, and show you ads. They do this by giving outrageous headlines. People often share them without even reading the articles because they say what the person wants to be true. If I see a link to Addicted to Info and the like I will not link to it. If I'm interested, I'll find the original source. It isn't them. They don't investigate. They just find stories on the web and don't check them. What they care about is clickability not truth.
I think about religion just about every day. That isn't despite being an atheist it's because I'm an atheist. I find religion so strange. What's strangest is that other people don't think it's strange. They want to know why I don't believe. The best answer is, "exactly the same reason you don't worship Zeus or Thor." Have you even considered accepting classical or Norse mythology? I very much doubt it. I did when I was four or five and my father was reading a mythology textbook to me. I loved that stuff. I wanted Herakles to be real. I grew out of that though I still love it. The truth has nothing to do with how many people believe it. At the time of Jesus far more people believed in the Olympian gods than in Yahweh. It wasn't close. The reason that changed was politics, not religion. When the people in power became Christian the others followed.
Ok that was totally disorganized. The weather is miserable today and I don't want to go out but I should. I can buy bagels. I have only one left. I need eggs too. OK I'll do it. I'll trek into the City. Oh I have to pick up my mail too. I hope I don't end up all wet.
I just realized what this entry is really about. These are things I think about every day. What I am thinking is the theme of Wise Madness; thus the wise and the madness.
With Honor and on the Square - September 24, 2016
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