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

September 06, 2017 - 11:58 a.m.

The Cat Came Back and So Did Immigration

Yesterday's biggest adventures took place right here in the sun room that I use as my base of operations. Alex said they were reluctant to ask for recommendations to use on an application for a winter writer's retreat in Iceland. I jokingly offered to write one in Old Norse verse. Then I did it. I didn't write it in Old Norse, but in the poetic style. I've tried my hand at it before. I've read the Elder Edda and Tolkien wrote a long poem using it. I read up on it enough to fake it. I'm a dilettante with a large portfolio. I can write poetry quickly in a given style. I put those talents together and come up with this.

Allwise American Alex      seeks solstice solace.
Northern lights leaping     will aid their writing
Author of fiction and fact     skilled scribe of speculative stories
Researcher of crime       baker of scones
Grant them this boon      a retreat to Iceland
There have been times that original poetry was a common element in Wise Madness. Should I start writing poetry again?

The other adventure happened after the Met game ended and I finished cleaning the kitchen, around 11 o'clock. I sat on the couch, right where I am now, and I heard mewling out my window. That's not unusual but it sounded like it was right outside my window and I'm on the fourth floor. I went over to investigate. It was hard to see because it was dark but there was a black cat on the window ledge. We have a black cat, May, but how did she get there? I opened the window and with some struggle opened the screen. Because of the screen she could not have climbed out that window when it was open. She came inside, I grabbed her so she couldn't go back out, and closed the screen then the window. Here's the mystery, how did she get there. In the morning, I had left the trap door to the roof deck open. She could have climbed up there and I didn't notice when I closed it after brunch when I turned on the AC. That would mean that she was up there all day without us noticing her absence and somehow made her way down from the roof. Or she could have gone out through Bernie and Jane's window. She often does that but it's a floor below mine and there's just a small section of roof outside it that does not connect to my window. I suspect that is what happened. She found a way up here, perhaps using the scaffolding that's being used by the people pointing the bricks. Then once she was here she couldn't find her way back.

This morning I asked Jane if she saw a strange cat in the house. There was the possibility that it wasn't May. I didn't think I would make that mistake but one black cat with a collar looks much like another and I don't see well. No, it was May. Unless she becomes less reticent we will never know what happened.

There's an item in my ideas been that's become timely, "My thoughts on immigration and trade." I'm not sure I'll deal with latter but the former is in the news with Trump's announcement to phase out DACA in six months.

This goes back to my childhood. It was at the nadir of America accepting immigrants but all four of my grandparents were immigrants. The same could be said for most of my friends growing up. For some the immigrant was their parent. The girl I had a crush on in kindergarten might have been an immigrant, her parents were. She spoke fluent Greek in addition to unaccented English.

I would read or hear about the age of open immigration when people poured into Ellis Island and wish that the Golden Door was still open. I saw it as what made America great. So many great Americans were immigrants or the children of immigrants. Allowing immigration was living up to the American ideal that all men are created equal; not all men born in America. America is not like old world countries, based on blood and soil, it's a country of people that chose to come here; with the lamentable exception of African slaves. I would look at the immigration numbers in the almanac and see how paltry they had become compared to what it was before they shut the Golden Door in the 20s. It seemed unfair that we would let people languish in poverty and repression just because they were unlucky enough to be born in countries where those conditions prevailed.

Then in the 70s things changed. The country once again welcomed newcomers and this time we did it even better, allowing people of color, Asians, Africans, and Hispanics. I was delighted. This was the America I wanted to live in; the one that tells the world; give us your tired your poor/your wretched refuse yearning to breathe free.

I look around New York, a City that was always a City of immigrants, and see it filled with unfamiliar faces speaking unfamiliar languages and revel in the variety. I love that every day I see people from all around the world.

America is divided between those that think like I do and those that look at those foreign faces and are fearful. There are some that say, "But what about the people here that live in poverty?" Are those that live outside the US less human? Less deserving of our compassion? Are they less "us" than those that by accident of geography are Americans?

When I see people willing to take huge risks, willing to give up their old lives, suffer great hardships, to get to America, I see people that I want to be Americans. When I see the Dreamers, those who grew up here, that have known life nowhere else, I see Americans.






Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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