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 โ 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 โ except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
April 12, 2014 - 12:51 p.m.
I got a late start for school and had to fly from my office to class. Why when my first class is 9:30 do I plan on getting to school at 9:00 but when I have a nice late first class, 2:00 do I get there just in time? Next week I leave earlier.
This is a frustrating semester, the classes are just so ill prepared that I have to go very slowly. I have to stop and explain simple algebra to precalculus students. I always get the feeling that nobody ever made them stop and think about what they are doing before. But it can be rewarding. I have one student who clearly does not have a strong math background. She also lacks self-confidence. But she can ask the best questions and when something is totally novel figure things out. I can see her expression change as she comprehends what's going on. I see that gives her pleasure. One student like that makes up for those who just ask about the tests and the grades.
I'm giving a test on Thursday. The class was pretty much up in arms demanding a review sheet. They were ready to carry torches and pitchforks and come after me if I didn't give them one. So after class I stayed late in my office and made a review sheet. Know how I did it? I went through the book and made up a problem of each type that we covered. They could have gone through the book and looked at homework problems of each type on their own. They could have done the even numbered problems I don't assign. But they won't take that initiative. I just don't get it. What's so hard about that? None of my teachers ever gave a review sheet. I am afraid it might be because they paid so little attention they don't even know what topics we covered.
Making up tests and review sheets is one of the two hardest parts of teaching, the other is grading. It's the part I don't enjoy. I do enjoy working out methods to make up problems but once I do that the fun is gone.
I stayed after class two hours doing that. I wanted to talk to Katherine and to motivate myself I said I couldn't call her till I was finished. When I was and called her I told her that she was my reward. My self-reward system revolves around food, beautiful women, and music.
Speaking of beautiful music and women (it works either way) I headed straight from my office to Ok you should have a good guess where I headed. where do I head more than anyplace else when music's involved? Why do I always see the same hands up? Rockwood Music Hall to see Caitlin Mahoney's triumphant return from Germany show.
This was a full band show. She seems like the kind of performer that would be better solo but she's not. She rocks with her rockin' band.
I should know her bandmates but I don't. I'm pretty sure the women singing backup vocals is Robin. It's odd how these things work. I know Caitlin and Jo because they sing with Kat Quinn. I because friends with them the first time I saw them. Yet other bandmates of friends I go years without getting to know.
Maybe it's because I have been thinking of the importance of not being fungible but it struck me that what Caitlin does very well is NOT try to sound like somebody else. Or maybe she does and fails. But somehow I don't think so.
She was joined on, was it only one song" By the Bangs Collective, Caitlin, Jo, and Kat. Is just me or does that sound like a series of YA novels? Here's the cover picture of the first book in the series.
I took a zillion pics of them because they were playing hide and seek with the mics and I wanted to get one where you can see all of their faces. I actually got a few and I broke all my rules and kept a bunch of them because I love the ways they interact on them.
I keep asking them to do another Bangs Collective Show. They know how to work with harmony. It's not just something that sounds pretty, it's a means of expression.
I also got good solo pics of Kat and Jo.
One more of Caitlin.
Doesn't she look like a young Linda Ronstadt?
After the show I didn't hang out with them as long as usual. I hadn't eaten and I headed home. I resisted going to Georgia BBQ in favor of my home cooking. That meant a stop at Trader Joe's. I made my soup and was out of sausages. This time I got their chicken andouille. I also through a blue potato into the mix. It doesn't taste that different but it's much prettier. See George Carlin was wrong, there is blue food.
Now tonight I am torn as to what to do. Ian Fitzgerald is at the Way Station at 8:00 and Dietrich Strauss, Jefferson Hamer, and Robert Sarazin Blake are at Jalopy from 9:00 till Midnight. I might see Ian, and miss the beginning of Dietrich's set.
I noticed my entries have been shorter of late and with less philosophizing. I don't know why. I think about things as much as always but they don't seem to come to me as I write. I know when I had my midnight snack last night I was thinking about religion. I often think about religion. It just seems so strange to me. And now it looks like I'm going to philosophize and write about god. Well about people believing in god.
The watershed moment in my atheism came in Hebrew school. We were told a story about Joshua picking up huge boulders and throwing them at the enemy in battle. This was such a typical folk lore story that can be found in almost all mythologies. I asked, "Are we supposed to believe this? It isn't in the bible." The teacher said, "it's oral tradition and we know it the same way we know the bible." And I realized that she was right. But I took from it the opposite of what she intended. I realized there's no reason to believe the bible either. Now I always had doubts and was probably closer to an agnostic than a deist but after that I was a full-bore atheist. I was somewhere between eight and ten. And as an adult I really can't see why anyone does believe the bible. The only reason it's authoritative is that society treats it as authoritative. If people had never been exposed to it and picked it up in bookstore do you think they'd believe everything in it? Think they'd believe anything in it?
But I accept that's the way the world is; I never argue religion with believers, just agnostics and the very few people that I pick up are in the state I was in before the encounter in Hebrew School. Not really believing but not realizing that they only reason they accept it at all is that they just accepted common wisdom.
But I would never think of challenging someone's deeply held beliefs or even arguing with those on the fence. I am open about my lack of belief to make it easier for others to be open about theirs. I'm a great admirer of Harvey Milk. He had the right idea. Accept yourself and let the fact that other people like you get them to accept what they have trouble accepting.
I remember a conversation from years ago I had with a religious friend who is also one of the smartest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and one of my favorite people on earth. I won't say who and will obfuscate a bit about what happened. We were talking about something related to religion and I started to say, "I have a question " She interrupted and said, "Do I believe in god?" She sounded defensive. I said "No. that's the last thing I'd ask." I asked something technical about how something was done. I just wanted cultural education. Discussing beliefs just makes everyone uncomfortable. That's what the freedom of religion in the constitution is about. Tbe founding fathers remembered the Thirty Years War and even closer to home, the English Civil War.
So I let you know how I feel and I love reading or hearing your monologues about how you feel. But I never want to have a dialogue about it.
Now I feel better. I said something of substance. But that put off breakfast. Matsoh brei to the rescue!
Oh the title is form a Bowery Boys Movie.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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