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

February 14, 2014 - 5:04 p.m.

Yesterday an Informal History

School was closed yesterday due to the snow. My plan was to go to WFUV if that happened but I woke up, thought of the trip up there, thought of the rough emotional time I've been having and decided to take a mental health day. For someone as screwed up as I am I have a very good sense of how to take care of myself. Perhaps that's not strange, I have lots of practice.

I called up LORi and talked to her for long enough to lose track of time. I mocked both cats and figure skating but she still talked to me. I am perhaps skating on thin ice. One of the most satisfying things was being able to tell her something that totally flabbergasted me but that I can't write about here. I got the pleasure of hearing her say, "Oh My God!" It's good to know that the thing I considered so shocking really was that shocking. I also like writing "flabbergasted." What a marvelous word. Now I have to look up its origin. This is from the OED.

First mentioned in 1772 as a new piece of fashionable slang; possibly of dialectal origin; Moor 1823 records it as a Suffolk word, and Jamieson, Suppl. 1825, has flabrigast to gasconade, flabrigastit worn out with exertion, as used in Perthshire. The formation is unknown; it is plausibly conjectured that the word is an arbitrary invention suggested by flabby adj. or flap n. and aghast adj.
Oh well that didn't help. But talking to LORi did.

My plan was to go out and play in the snow but by the time I got going it had warmed up and started to drizzle. Playing in the snow is a lot of fun. Playing in the drizzle is not. So the day's entertainment was going to Trader Joe's. If I still had my apartment I'd have just stayed in all day and not gotten dressed.

For dinner I made a hot dog and a jalapeo chicken sausage. I know I just had that the other day but I had to finish the hot dog rolls before they went bad. I won't freeze bread. It just isn't worth it. I had roasted potatoes with it. That's a nice simple meal that I love. It gave me pleasure. I didn't have any apple cider so I just drank water. That's what I do most meals. I never buy soda. That the water was good enough for me reminded me of a quote and a line of thought.

When I first got sick with Crohn's disease back when I was 12 my parents bought me two books to read in the hospital, Baseball's 50 Greatest Players and Douglas Wallop's. Baeeball An Informal History. The latter is one my essential books. It still might be the best baseball book I ever read. It's where I learned the early history of the game. It's where I learned the canonical stories. It's where I learned that baseball has poetry. It starts with two lists. The first is Cy Young's Rule's For Pitching Success. Cy Young won 511 games, the most of any white player. Rule 2 is what got me thinking about this.

  1. Pitchers like poets are born, not made.
  2. Cultivate good habits: Let liquor severely alone, fight shy of cigarettes, and be moderate in indulgence of tobacco, coffee, and tea... A player should try to get along without any stimulants at all: Water, pure cool water is good enough for any man.
  3. A man who is not willing to work from dewy morn until weary eve should not think about becoming a pitcher.
  4. Learn to be patient and cool. These traits can be cultivated.
  5. Take the slumps that come your way, ride over them, and look forward.
  6. Until you can put the ball over the pan whenever you choose, you have not acquired the command necessary to make a first-class pitcher. Therefore, start in to acquire command.

It then contrasts them with Satchel Paige's rules for how to keep young. Satchel won maybe 2000 games pitching in the Negro Leagues and exhibitions. He was not allowed to play in the majors till he was over 40, nobody really knows how much over. You have heard his last rule.

  1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
  2. If you stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
  3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
  4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain't restful.
  5. Avoid running at all times.
  6. Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.

If you take the pitching specific references metaphorically these are as good lists of how to live your life as you'll find. I've never seen a self-help guru, philosopher, or prophet do better.

When I finished dinner I watched Red Dwarf. I'm up to Thanks for the Memory from Season 2. It was very appropriate for me the day before Valentine's Day.

I also read more of The Name of the Wind. I'm 300 pages into it and the Kvothe is still just 15-years-old and he is not yet a hero. It's moving slowly but captivating me. It's a fantasy that takes place in a world unconnected to any other mythology. I love the world even if it doesn't have the good sense to sit on the back of four elephants that stand on the great turtle A 'Tuin. Kvothe is not just a hero but a musician. Today I was reading of his joy making music. Like Peter Tork I'd sell my soul to make beautiful music.

My mental health day involved going to the places where the magic is right at the surface. I wasn't up to digging deep for it. I know it's always there and I needed to touch it. All the things that were bothering me are still bothering me but I'm handling it better. I'm being patient and cool. I'm taking the slumps as they come, riding over them and looking forward. I'm not looking back.

Today I was back at WFUV. I was late this morning! The Metro North was running on a Saturday Schedule so the 5:40 train I raced to make didn't run. The first train was at 6:25. So I got there closer to 7:00 than 6:00. They are going to dock my pay.

There was a volunteer that I didn't know that taught Latin and Greek! So I pumped him as a font of wisdom. We had a lot of fun talking about the pronunciations of Uranus. Proper Latin is Your-in-uss but Victorians were embarrassed because it started with "urine" so they went to the modern pronunciation "Your anus" apparently unperturbed by the fact that it ends with anus.

Jim and I were up to our usual hijinks. Linda called us Mutt and Jeff.

I went from there to school and taught class with my name tag on. Nobody said a word about it. I have an awkward amount of time to kill. I could go home now and get there at a little before 6:00. But then I have to leave at 7:15. So it is worth it to spend so much time traveling? I could just eat dinner in the City and leave hear at 7:15 instead. I think that's what I'll do. I'm going to a house concert in Red Hook. That isn't the easiest place to get to.

Ugh, people came into the office. It is not nearly as pleasant here when I'm not alone. Someone sees I'm busy writing and is trying to talk to me. So notice I complain that I have nobody to talk to but complain when somebody talks to me. That of course isn't contradictory. The important thing is who is doing the talking. There's only a small number of people that I want to talk to. There's a larger group that's OK to talk to and the biggest group is people I don't want to talk to. My current mix is bad. I spend way too much time talking to people I dont like and not enough talking to the few whose company feeds my soul. But I'm not looking back. Something might be gaining on me.





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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Horvendile February 14, 2014
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