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
July 06, 2016 - 10:45 a.m.
I did nothing interesting yesterday; will I find something to write about? I could kvetch about people on the subway. I will but there's something musical that I want to write about first.
A friend wrote on FB how she didn't get people who didn't appreciate music. That got me thinking. I have a huge appreciation of music. It's a big part of my life. It's one of the things that gives me the most pleasure. But I realized that people that don't like music aren't that different from me. While I love music, I don't love most music. I like a fairly small fraction. My tastes are broad but within each genre I don't love that many artists. And it's about love, not just thinking a song is somewhat pleasant. Of the thousands of artists making music today there are maybe 50 I love that are worth a significant effort to see. If those artists didn't exist I might say, "I don't appreciate music." It's very much like one of my favorite arguments for people who say that they don't understand atheists. Most people don't believe in all the religions but one, so atheists simply disbelieve in one more religion than them.
I had a strange day yesterday, there were two musical acts that I love playing and I didn't go to either. Arc Iris rarely play in New York. I adore them. They are doing a residency in the City and it looks like I won't be able to see the other shows. So I should have jumped at the chance to see them. I even started to go. But it was in Bushwick. It would take me two hours to get there and more importantly two hours to get home and I might have missed the last bus to City Island and had to take a taxi home from the subway. I decided that was too much money. And not just money but I felt tired and not up to it. I didn't even feel up to see Anthony da Costa at Rockwood where I'd have the extra expense of having to buy two drinks. So I did neither and feel bad about it.
So now back to annoying people on public transit. I will never get the people that insist on walking into a bus or subway the car while the people are getting out. It's uncomfortable and slows everything down. If they wait they will still be the first one on the car so it won't affect getting a seat. But that's not the person I wanted to talk about, it was this one woman who got on the same bus as me that indicates a larger human foible that effects the well-being of the country. I take the BX 29 bus home from the subway. It's a short run, from City Island to Co-op City. The subway is at the halfway point. The buses in both directions stop at the same place. There are for much of the day two buses in operation theoretically moving in opposite directions, sometimes there are three. Of course sometimes there are delays on one bus and the other bus catches up so fairly often there will be two buses in a row going in the same direction. I watch their progress on my phone. We had a not that long a wait for the bus. There were two buses in a row towards Co-op city first. I was waiting right where the door will open on the bus. That should not surprise you, it's what I do. I was a step back from the curb as it was by the bus shelter and I would be totally blocking the walk if I was at the curb. This woman comes and stands right in front of me blocking the walk so she could get on the bus before me. Then a BX 5 bus showed up first. Right afterward our bus showed up and pulled up behind it. She said, "too bad about the Bx 5 the Bx29 should be here. They both stop at the same stop. She was just incensed that she had to walk a bus length to where our bus was. Then came the part that's significant. She started ranting that one of the Bx 29 buses to Co-op City that passes was really going to City Island and they put up the wrong destination sign for some nefarious reason. I told her that I'd been following the buses on my phone and that it went to Co-op City. She wouldn't hear from it. She insisted that it took off like a bat out of hell because the driver knew the bus said the wrong thing on it. She seemed to think it was all done to inconvenience her. And that's the significant part. We see this in the paranoid strain of American politics. There are people that feel the need for someone to blame. It has to not just be someone's fault but it had to come not from honest mistakes but from evil motives. That pretty much precludes rational debate. I know someone that thinks the entire presidential election is rigged; that the Illuminati choose both candidates. Just as the woman couldn't see that everyone that got on the mislabeled bus would soon be screaming bloody murder that the bus went in the wrong direction some of the millions of people that would need to be involved in the presidential conspiracy would talk. Just look at Watergate which was far less elaborate than conspiracies that people believe in. Nixon wasn't rigging the election he was just trying to get information on his opponents to help him win.
OK now to make breakfast and head out. I need to buy sausages and cheese so I can make breakfast sandwiches. I think today I'll make an omelet. OOO, I'll make a peanut butter omelet. That will make me happy.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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