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
April 01, 2015 - 12:54 p.m.
I can get totally lost in writing about writing now. That paragraph has absolutely nothing to do with anything I was planning on. It didn't write itself. I had to type it and I had to think it but I didn’t have to think about thinking it. I hope you get that that's not total nonsense just an imperfect use of language to describe my internal state. There's theory of mind going on. I hope that this has happened to you so you can go, "Oh yeah, I know exactly what he means." Of course you might be thinking, "Why the hell am I reading this? There are pictures of cats I haven't seen."
Yesterday morning I got a call from Brianne. You know that just getting a social phone call is exciting for me. She wanted to know if I wanted to go to a lecture one of her professors was giving in the City. I didn't even have to ask what it was about, said yes. I pretty much trusted that she wouldn't ask me if it wasn't something I liked. But of course after I said yes I did ask what it was on. Brianne's a photography major. Her professor has a project involved about this 19th century woman, Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander. The professor's roommate found a small trunk in the garbage (or picked it up from the curb where it was waiting to be loaded onto a moving truck) and the prof was intrigued by it. It was filled with Sylvia's personal effects. She has since spent years tracking Sylvia down. She came from a prominent family, one of her ancestors was the second richest man in America, and so there are some records. She then hit pay dirt when she found Sylvia's great granddaughter. Sylvia was born in the 1840s Does great granddaughter make sense? Let me see. Her song was born around 1870. So a grandson around 1900, and a great granddaughter around 1930. Yes perfect. She's in her 80s. The prof is taking photographs to represent events in Sylvia's life. That's what the lecture and slide show were on .There was a second lecturer about another 19th century woman, the photographer, Alice Austen.
I met Brianne at Penn Station, she came in on Jersey Transit. She went to the parts I never use, the special Jersey Transit entrance by 31st Street. While I walked there I saw what you often see in New York.
There was actually an entire marching band but only the sousaphones were not in cases. Cause I don't think they make cases for sousaphones. But again, this is an everyday thing in New York. I don't know why I bothered taking a picture. Days when you don’t see a sousaphone are the unusual ones.
Brianne is a friend of mine so of course she arrived almost two and a half hour early. That was fine except that it was cold and misting, not quite raining. We ended up taking a walk and ended up at Madison Square Park. We sat under an art installation that's being installed. Did I take pictures of that? No. Brianne did. So we were cold and wet and sat there talking. We might know enough to come in out of the well not rain but damp, but we know enough to have plenty to talk about. One of these days I'll record a conversation so I can just show you the flow. We all go through that of course. Conversations always go unexpected places. They also always go expected places. I'm with Brianne, Falcon Ridge is going to come up. Chester A. Arthur is far less likely, but he did, as did James Madison and William Howard Taft. If anyone knows how Arthur got in there I'll be impressed. This is actually something you can figure out if you have the right knowledge.
We stopped in a deli to get cookies and get warm. Then walked back to the lecture on 30th street. We were one of the first to arrive. Got the choice seats on the aisle. I enjoyed both lectures. It's fun listening to people with passions. I guess I should give their names, duh. Brianne's prof is Stacy Renee Morrison, and he other speaker was Ann Marie McDonnell. There were a lot of people using three names. At once point I took my cell phone out and googled something. I felt sort of guilty but I wanted to make sure to remember to do it. Stacy mentioned that Sylvia wrote about Edward Everett in her journals. She got the journals from the great granddaughter. The name Edward Everett rang a bell and I wanted to see if I remember correctly who he was. She didn't mention him. He has a minor claim to fame. So here's the second way you can impress me. Do you know who he was? If so post it as a comment. We are on the honor system here. Don't post if you had to google it. But if you don't know here's a link that will tell you. The Opinionator. Yes I'm patting myself on the back for knowing this.
After the lecture Brianne said goodbye to her prof and we headed back to Penn Station. She made her train with less than a minute to spare. The next one was in an hour. I would have waited with her so I got home much faster because of that too!. That's one of the easiest places for me to get to and from. I can just take the the whole way. It takes a about 35 minutes. It's even faster earlier in the day. Then I can take the in the Brooklyn and switch to or from the at Nevins. That zooms.
Are you happy I got commuting tips in there? OK today I have to do laundry. I have no options left. Well I have no clothes left.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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