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
February 21, 2014 - 11:38 a.m.
I wonder if my readership is down because of Folk Alliance. It's nice that my idea of down is twice as many readers is in the high thirties.
I wrote late afternoon yesterday and have not done much since then. I should write what I left out then but at the moment I can't remember what that is. So I what I do when I'm stuck, I vamp till the muse hits me. She always does.
I had the best meal that I cooked in ages last night. The main course was a blackened eye round steak that I made perfectly! The key to using a cheaper cut of steak like that is to tenderize it first with a mallet. I should try marinating it. I have never done that. I'll need to find a good recipe for a marinade. I know honey is good. It has enzymes that break down the fibers. I also made my second attempt at roast plantains. The day before I followed an online recipe that said to cook it for 50 minutes at 425˚. It came out as charcoal briquettes. Last night I tried 20 minutes and took them out after 16 and that was slightly overdone. But they tasted great. All you do is take a black plantain and cut it into half inch slices. You put them in a container with olive oil and shake it till they are coated. Then roast them on a sheet.
I never told you how my precalculus class did on the last quiz. They did great! More than half the students got all the questions right. Now I give this quiz every semester in a variety of classes. It's just memorizing these five formulae. I give them the left side and they have to provide the right. Some classes can never learn it. I point out how they are all related especially if you leave out the third. The exponent of A in the first term matches the exponent on the right size. the exponents go down one each term for A and up one for each term for B. When there is no B the exponent is 0. The coefficient of the second term always matches the exponent of the first. If the let side has a minus sign then the signs on the right alternate. And some classes do learn it. But other's can't. I teach I the same so I think it's just the collection of students. Some have simply never learned how to memorize things and they might be too old to start now. Or they can't be convinced to make the effort.
I announced a test a week from Tuesday. One precalculus student said, "what's the date?" I didn't know and didn't care and didn't bother to figure it out. What difference does it make? If you are putting it in calendar then the calendar will tell you the date? He kept asking me. I finally told him that he could figure it out and that if he can't he doesn't belong in pre-calculus.
I once again headed straight home from school. I'm trying to get comfortable spending time in my room. When I had my own home I loved spending time there. A day home alone was a treat. It might not be a treat with just a room but it should be bearable.
OK I remembered one of the things I left out yesterday but I have to get up to write about it. I'll make even that sacrifice for My Gentle Readers. I did it. I got my copy of The Name of the Wind the book I'm reading. I made a note on my bookmark of the page of a passage I want to discuss. The hero Kvothe is a super genius but all of 16-years-old and inexperienced in love He's courting Denna a year his senior. She's a great beauty, brilliant, and a great singer. She's had too much experience dealing with men. In this unequal fray she asks him what kind of flower he would get her after telling him that she doesn't like roses.
"But what suits? When a man gives you a rose what you see may not be what he intends. You may think he sees you as delicate or frail. Perhaps you dislike a suitor who considers you all sweet and nothing else. Perhaps the stem is thorned and you assume he thinks you likely to hurt a hand to quick to touch. But if he trims the thorns you might think he has no liking for a thing that can defend itself with sharpness. There's so many ways a think can be interpreted." I said. "What is a careful man to do?"Isn't that all heartfelt communication? There's always the gulf between what is intended and what is perceived and if you are like me you are aware of that gulf and double, triple, and quadruple think things. And that can make it worse. Things can go wrong even with people that know us extremely well. It's a miracle we an communicate at all. But somehow we do. Most often things come out fine. The thing is we remember the blunders more.
I'm not on page 496 of the book and Kvothe is still just 16 and not a hero though he just performed his first act of heroism, saving a fellow student from a fire. We know he becomes a great warrior and he has not yet picked up a sword. Patrick Rockfuss has a unique approach to story telling. I love it but I'm shocked it's a best seller. The book is 722 pages and is just the first volume of the story. The second volume has over a thousand pages and I'm pretty sure he is working on a third.
Last night I finished watching The Civil War. That helped me deal with staying home. It is life changing. One of the greatest things I've ever seen on television. I see how remiss my education was. Americans should at least spend a semester on the war. It is the central event in American history. It's still influences our lives to this day. The division between the north and south continues. Here's a map of the 2012 Election.
The only states of the Confederacy that voted for Obama, a black man, were Virginia and Florida. Both those states have had a large influx of Northerners moving there and tipping the balance. And it was only by a small margin. Here's a map of the confederacy.
You'll see it also aligns with views on gay marriage.
What I thought about the most though is what happened? How does it become common wisdom that people can be property. It goes beyond that. They weren't thought of as fully human. Yes even in the north there was great prejudice but not to the same degree. And how did it get that way in the North? How can Germany turn into a country of anti-Semites? How can a entire countries turn evil when in so many other ways the people can be like people everywhere?
It's because people aren't nearly as independent minded as we like to think. As it says in the bible and quoted in the Messiah, "All we like sheep." When everyone knows something it's very hard to not know that thing. Even when it's wrong. And that sets up a feedback loop. The more people believe in something the more people believe in it. Look at any conflict you don't have emotional stake in and you'll see how irrational people are, that they believe in things that simply aren't true. But it's hard to see when you are part of the society it's happening in. Then you think nobody else understands your peculiar institution.
OK now it's late and I have to eat and get to school.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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