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
-Bertrand Russell

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

June 04, 2014 - 12:46 p.m.

I Have an Attitude

Yesterday was weird. I had total lethargy. I never even got dressed. But I felt fine and was happy. Maybe it was just "take a break" day. I had some good food. I bought cashew butter when I was at Fairway and had a sandwich. Yes that's my idea of good food. I had chicken garlic sausages and cheese on a roll for dinner with roasted blue potatoes. The blue does not have a flavor. Why do I only buy blue potatoes now? It is because of George Carlin? It's just more fun eating blue food.

When I was cooking I left the kitchen for a few minutes but was clearly in the middle of cooking. My nemesis came in and decided that was a good time for him to make dinner. The kitchen is too small for two people. I always wait for him to be finished before I start. He just has no idea how to live with people.

As I had time I finally sat down and watched Kill Bill: Volume 1 on Amazon Prime. I loved Reservoir Dog and Pulp Fiction and saw them both in the theater. I read bad things about Kill Bill and didn't. Now that I have seen it I have mixed feelings. Some parts were way over the top. The blood spurting just looked comic. That works in Monty Python but not elsewhere. The climatic fight scene was just ridiculous. Why did nobody just take a gun and shoot her? And of course as she wasn't a superhero she couldn't really have a chance. So there was no actual tension you know that reality was suspended. And it wasn't that much fun to watch. But Tarantino can always make it worthwhile. I think my biggest complaint is that his films all feel the same. The snake code names in Kill Bill are just like the color code names in Reservoir Dogs right down to someone complaining about the name they got. Mark tells me that Volume 2 justifies volume 1. I'll let you know if I agree when I watch it.

I am considering a new project. In Judaism every day has a reading from the Torah. On Simchat Torah you finish then start again then the next day. I often say that The Lord of the Rings is my bible. I am considering dividing it up into 365 sections and reading it over the course of a year. It will be about 3 pages a day. Then I can give quotes from the daily readings here. It sounds way too organized for me to actually do.

I've been writing a lot about Tolkien recently but now I'll move to another of my favorite writers, James Branch Cabell. Of all my favorites, Tolkien, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Twain, Asimov, Clarke, and Pratchett, he's the most personal. Nobody else has him as a favorite writer. He belongs to me. He pretty much summed up my life in two quotes.

  • What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught methat 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 matterexcept to show how very dull we are,
  • The comedy is always the same. In the first act the hero imagines a place where happiness exists. In the second he strives towards that goal. In the third he comes up short or what amounts to the same thing he achieves his goal only to find that happiness lies a little further down the road.

My life is a balance of those two things. When I try and turn my mood around I concentrate on the exquisite wonderfulness. Perhaps I should just remember that the second quote is a comedy

All the book Cabell wrote till he was fifty were part of one vast book, The Biography of Manuel. The conceit is that the life that began as Dom Manuel in 13th Century France continued in his children and their descendents. All of he protagonists are descended from Dom Manuel or Jurgen the hero of his most famous novel who has a child witnessed Dom Manuel's apocalyptic end, or said he did so he wouldn't get in trouble for staying out late. One of the later descendents in something like the 23rd generation was Felix Kennaston, a writer. the first quote is his. He lived a separate dream life as Horvendile, that's where I got the name.

I so often put my life in context of Cabell's ideas. This is totally me and it's spoken by Horvendile.

"I fight against the gluttony of time with so many very amusing weapons--with gestures and with three attitudes and with charming phrases; with tears and with tinsel, and with sugar-coated pills, and with platitudes slightly regilded. Yes, and I fight him also with little mirrors wherein gleam confusedly the corruptions of lust, and ruddy loyalty, and a bit of moonshine, and the pure diamond of the heart's desire, and the opal cloudings of human compromise: but, above all, I fight that ravening dotard with the strength of my own folly."

Does that resonate with you like it does with me? No? That's why Cabell is mine. Like Jurgen I find nothing as amusing as observing the workings of my own mind.

I wish I had the books here. I can't find he quotes I want online. Cabell writes of the three attitudes towards life, Chivalry, Gallantry, and Poetic. The Chivalrous view themselves as god's representative in a foreign land. Often the devotion turns to a woman to love in domnei. The Gallant view life as a game, with it's pleasures to be enjoyed and the travails as simply discomforts, not to be taken too seriously. The poets find satisfactions in their own creations. Like Jurgen I'm a poet that sometimes affects Gallantry. Unlike Jurgen I have a lot of Chivalry in me too. That might seem odd for an atheist but it isn't. You've heard me preaching.

OK, today I'm going to face the world. It's a beautiful day. After brunch I'm going to go to the park and play outside. Then I'm off to Heather's. We are going to bake a cake





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile June 04, 2014
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