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
March 17, 2012 - 11:16 a.m.
This will be another sleep deprived edition of Wise Madness. Everything was going well till I got multiple simultaneous pains a little before sunrise.. My knee hurt from Crohn's disease, my hip from unknown causes and my hemorrhoids from being well hemorrhoids. I could not get back to sleep. I was able to take a nap for a while sitting in my easy chair but that wasn't enough.
I had no plans for spring break and in a couple of days did a pretty good job of filling in my week.
Monday – Aoife O'Donovan and Kristin Andreassen at Rockwood Music Hall
I might try and hear some Irish music today; that or see Aubrey.
As bad as my class is I have developed a relationship with some of the students that come over and just talk to me after class. I wonder if they are doing it to be nice to me as I pretty obviously feel like I'm under siege when I'm teaching the class. Maybe they feel under siege too. Maybe they are just curring favor. Maybe they just like me. Whatever it is it makes things easier.
After class I hung out in the office for a while and did things on the computer. I helped another professor tutor a student. He needed help because the student's teacher made a mistake on the student's test. She says she didn't but she did; It's a calculus problem that I'm pretty sure can't be done; certainly not by a student. Neither my colleague or I could do it and it didn't look like something that either of us had ever seen before. I'm pretty sure the answer I an elliptic function which is way beyond the scope of the class. The teacher made a typo and when the student asked about it instead of checking she just said it was right. I make mistakes all the time but I check and find the errors when they are pointed out.
I think I have to find a time to go food shopping at Stop & Shop this week to stock up on meat. I've gotten spoiled shopping after school at Trader Joe's but there are still some things that I need to get other places. Aldi's doesn't quite do the job either. It's expedition time again. I'll try and hold out till Monday when the buses run more frequently but it might be easier today or tomorrow when I have nothing else planned. Last night I had bratwurst I bought at Aldi's. It was cheap but not that good. Now I know for the future that it isn't worth it. I had soup with it and that almost makes any meal special. I'm still addicted to it. That reminds me that I have to buy more garlic today too. I can't run out of that.
I finally edited the photos and videos from last weekend's We're About 9 concerts. First here are the slideshows.
Now for the videos.
Seth's might take a while to right itself. If it's sideways wait a bit.
Alan and I got friendly with some people that sit near us at Knick games. They are nice guys and fun to talk to but last game, one of them said the kind of thing that just drives me nuts. Back in 1985 the NBA had the first draft lottery. The names of the seven teams that didn't make the playoffs were put in envelopes and one was drawn at random and that team got the first pick in the draft. The Knicks won and drafted franchise player Patrick Ewing. The fan in front of us simply stated as a fact that the lottery was rigged. There has been speculation of that from the start but absolutely no evidence ever given. The logic was that the NBA wanted a strong team in New York so risked the credibility of the league by fixing it. It isn't like this was some wildly improbably event. The Knicks had a one in seven chance, just like every other team. Some team had to win. Moreover in the years preceding this the league made two huge decisions that killed the Knicks when they didn't have to. First the imposed a huge punishment when the Knicks tried to sign George McGuinness from the ABA even though they didn't have his draft rghts. Then in the early days of free agency in 1978 the Knicks signed Marvin Webster. The rule then was that the commissioner would then decide on how the team the signs a free agent would compensate the team losing the free agent. The commissioner made the Knicks give up so much that the signing weakened the team and strengthened Seattle, the team Webster had played for. Seattle went from being a good team to being the NBA champs and the Knicks got worse. The league essentially forced the Knicks to make a bad trade. So the evidence was there that the league wasn't trying to help the Knicks. Even without that there was no evidence they were trying to help them yet this fan stated it as a fact beyond dispute. That is my pettest of pet peeves. It's one of the most dangerous things in the world, believing things because you want to believe them, not the facts. It's the basis of so much of what is wrong in public policy. Yet is it so common. I hear people do it all the time. It might be how the majority of people base their decisions on health and medicine. Notice I said "might" because I haven't done a study or read evidence to that effect. That's my gut feeling which though based on evidence isn't scientific and I know it is not be trusted.
Basing decisions on how things make you feel is done by both sides of the political debate but it seems to be actually accepted by the Republicans. They don't feel the need to justify it at all. When Santorum said that federal law says that if Puerto Rico became a state it would have to adopt English as it's official language he was simply wrong. There is no such law. When called on it his campaign said, "it was how he feels' which they felt was a suitable explanation. No need for a retraction or apology. He felt that way and that makes it valid.
I think it bothers me even more though on a personal level with my friends. I don't want people I care about not respecting facts. Don't tell me that you heard that so and so is cure for this and that without any evidence. Someone else might have said the exact opposite and you just chose to quote the one that fits your prejudice and that's exactly what it is, prejudice. It's bigotry for and against ideas.
If I don't do anything fun till Monday I'll have to write more about ideas. I better get my thinking cap on. Doing some thinking maybe I will just stay home the next couple of days except for some shopping. Relaxation is good and I'll have home cooking.
Falling in My Head - March 16, 2017
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