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
November 03, 2016 - 4:06 p.m.
I'm starting this hours too late but what matters is that I'm starting. That's the attitude I need to adopt in more important things than blogging. Yes, there are things more important that writing Wise Madness. This is important though; it's as much a part of my mental health care as my meds and therapy. Writing makes me look outward, it makes me look inward, and it makes me put those two views together.
I'm listening to Madeleine Peyroux sing Bird on a Wire; I love living on the right planet at the right time to hear this.
I did a lot yesterday; I'm going to take things in chronological order even though that means burying the lede. Word did not know the word "lede;" I corrected that oversite. Is it that obscure? Do all My Gentle Readers know it? Tell you what. If you want to start reading at the Villa Palagonia concert skip down to the first horizontal line. If you want to start with the world series skip to the second one.
Yesterday was Wednesday; that usually means therapy but my therapist is away this week. That didn't stop me from seeing my psychiatrist. I had to see her as I needed my prescription refilled. There was a time when psychiatrists were also therapists. When did that end? When psych medications came to the fore? Dr. Perez is the first psychiatrist I've seen regularly. It's a different experience from seeing other MDs or a therapist. In some ways, it's a combination of the two. It's quite enjoyable. She doesn't push me like the therapist does. We just spend half an hour talking about how I'm doing. I discuss stressful situations but it's just so she can judge how I'm doing. I'm a good patient. I know what to tell doctors. It's much better to bring up little things that might seem unimportant to me but that with the doctor's training she'll see affects my treatment. She treats me the way the doctors I like best do, she isn't afraid to talk technically. She taught me how Neurontin works. It doesn't cause you to make more serotonin it lets you use it more efficiently. L-tryptophan is the only that that increases serotonin production. Does the name sound familiar? It's the thing in turkey that makes you sleepy. It's also in warm milk but not unheated milk. The folk wisdom that warm milk makes you sleepy is true. What always gets me is that there are people that would not take l-tryptophan because it's a "chemical" but would take the "natural" remedy, warm milk, even though the active ingredient in both is identical.
After seeing the shrink, I realized that if I walked quickly I could get to the train station in time for the next train to New York instead of hanging out for half an hour for the bus. I race out and started walking and remembered; I hadn't picked up my medication. I run out of one of them at the end of this week. I headed back to the hospital and went to the pharmacy. The prescription was ready; they are very fast. Now it was too late to walk and make the train so I sat in the lobby and read till it was time for the next bus. The annoying thing is that it gets there a little over five minutes before the train leaves and I have to wait 25 minutes for the next one. That's why I like to walk when I can and it was such a beautiful day. But I'm good at waiting and took the train to Grand Central then the subway to the lower east side.
As I tipped off before I was going to see Villa Palagonia at Rockwood Music Hall stage 3. The show was at 7:00 but I was doing merch and videography and needed a lesson in how to use the camera. I sat at my usual table up front and shot from what I think of as the Fred Angle. I didn't sit in Fred's seat even though he wasn't there as my seat was next to Coco. This was my first time seeing her with her new knee. They let her come downstairs before doors as she had to manage the steps which is not easy. I went down with her.
When I arrived, I went right downstairs. Colleen was sitting at the door of the performance space. What's a shorter word for that? Rockwood has three stages. But the stage is where the performers are. What do you call where the audience is when it isn't an auditorium? Look a bunny! OK I'm back. Colleen is the real videographer. I'm just the second camera operator. She showed me how to use the camera. Then I distributed raffle tickets on the tables. Then I went upstairs to set up the merch. The lamp to illuminate the table wasn't there. Someone got it for me but that took a while. This is why I have to get there early. When I was waiting for the light is when Coco and Bruce showed up.
The show was great and ended early enough to watch the World Series. I told you to show up, you missed a great hour of music. I always love VP and I see them every chance I get. As a regular, I was very happy to hear some great new songs. Don't ask me what they were about. Some were in Italian. What I remember is the clarinet part of one of them. It wasn't the usual mellow clarinet sound. It was staccato; it sounded like what you'd expect from a trumpet than a woodwind. I'd have been less surprised hearing it in a modern jazz band. I don't know where it comes from but I loved it. There was also the usual lively tarantella and the sing-alongs and music that makes your body want to move. What makes it extra special is that there are songs with deep lyrical meaning mixed in. The songs have something to say. It's not just party music. It is party music but there's more to it.
After the show, we retired to upstairs and then went to get pizza and Rosario's down the block. The "we" is Allison, Joe, Colleen, and the drummer whose name I'm blanking on. Hey I remember Colleen's name. You can't expect me to remember two names. I know the sound guy's name too. It's Gordon. That's cheating.
The World Series was on in Rosario's. That worked out perfect as we all wanted to watch and we all were rooting for the Cubs. Joe jinxed things in the fourth. He said, "I hope that Maddon doesn't pull Hendricks and bring in Lester too early. As soon as he said that Hendricks walked someone and Maddon did exactly that even though Hendricks had been pitching great. what reason did he have to think that Lester would be better than Hendricks? Hendricks led the league in ERA this season. He was on full rest. He can throw to first, Lester can't. And it mead pulling Contreras for Ross, Lester's personal catcher but not as good as Contreras. There was an error but Lester gave up two runs. The safe four-run lead was no longer safe. At least Ross made it look better by hitting a home run in the fifth. We all left after the sixth. I had to race to make the last bus. The Cubs were winning 6–3 and I was feeling good about the game. I followed it as much as I could on my phone. As soon as I went above ground I could watch pitch by pitch. I saw the Indians tie it up. NOOOOO! I was happy when there was a rain delay while I was waiting for the bus. I would have made it if it were on time but it came late. I wanted to get back as fast as possible. Schwarber was on deck and I decided that he was going to hit a home run, win the game, and ascend directly to Olympus. I even said so on Facebook. I got home and Jane and Bernie were watching the game. I had missed Schwarber's at bat. All I knew was that he was on base. Was it a hit? You all know what happened after that. The Cubs rallied and won! The 108-year wait was over.
The best part might have been sharing the experience on Facebook. Everyone was posting. Everyone was dying from the suspense. One friend posted, "Who else is dying?" I responded, "I already died." I checked in with friends in Chicago to see if they had heart attacks. When the Cubs won, everyone did an online cheer. I posted the video of Go Cubs Go and listened to it while keeping the post-game celebration. In a season where people were dividing and arguing on Facebook, last night we were all on the same page. We all said Ich bin ein Cubsfan. This was unity. This was a common cause we could all agree on. It was an experienced shared by millions and more intimately by our Facebook world. It's like going to Falcon Ridge. It's like landing on the moon.
The country was given the choice of two historic underdogs and chose the one that had suffered longer. The Indians championship is in living memory of people I know. As for the Cubs; Hardly a man is still alive/Who remembers that famous day and year. That says something good about the country. If the election is getting you down on the American people just look at your Facebook feed from last night. We are better than we've been showing.
It just hit me that Cubs winning helps Hillary? Why? Because the Trump campaign is filled with dissatisfaction and anger at the status quo. People are happier today. Think that doesn't make a difference? The Mets winning in 1969 boosted Mayor Lindsay. Hillary is even a life-long Cubs fan. I would love it if she did what my mother did when Bobby Thompson hit in the home run in 1951, she ran outside and screamed! There was no Facebook, it was the only way of sharing the experience. That sharing is a deep need. That also helps Hillary, people will feel better about Hispanics when they think of Baez, Contreras, and Chapman.
The Cubs puzzle for next year is what to do with Schwarber. There is no position for him when they aren't playing in an American League park. My solution is to take advantage of the players' flexibility. Baez can play just about anywhere, Zobrist second base and outfield, I think third too. Schwarber can play first or outfield. Can Rizzo play outfield? What you do is every day one of Schwarber, Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Bryant, Zobrist, and Heywood sits. Or Epstein can trade one of them, Zobrist is the natural as he's the oldest. I know he was the Series MVP but he's not a great player, just a very good one and not as valuable in the outfield as the infield. Theo if you are reading this I'm open to the job as being your assistant. It's a step to my dream job of being GM of the Mets but I can see staying in Chicago if offered the right package. Carey, Neal, and Susie, look out for a nice place to me to live. The job should come with a six-figure income so find someplace suitable for my station in life.
Times that Try People's Souls - November 09, 2016
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