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
July 18, 2016 - 10:31 a.m.
I'm writing before the WFUV Question of the Day is over. Put that in the win column. Corny is playing Ella's Too Darn Hot that's a win too. I suggested Heat Wave but I'm not complaining.
Yesterday I got off the Island just to get off the Island. I wasn't sure what I'd do till I heard it was National Ice Cream Day so I went to my favorite ice cream parlor, Cones on Bleecker Street. I've written about it many times before. It has been my go to ice cream for ages. I haven't been in the neighborhood that often this year and have been going more often to my other favorite ice cream parlor Davy's in the East Village. Davy's is a hair behind Cones, but it's within the margin of error. The Cones dark chocolate ice cream is out of this world. They have other flavors but I find it hard to not go with what might be the greatest food in the world. Yes, it's that good.
I did need something a bit more nutritious for dinner and went for what's become my standby of this summer, poutine. I didn't go all the way to Brooklyn, I went to Pomme Frites which is just a few blocks away from Cones; it's on MacDougal between 3rd street and Bleecker. It's not quite as good as Mile End but it's quite a bit cheaper. I educated the people that came in right after me on the glory that is poutine. You might have noticed that I love to extol the things I love. You know what I didn't do? Schmooze with the owner of Cones. I usually tell him how much I love it. I should learn his name. It was busy though so I left him to serve the next person.
I love extol what I love and I also get mad when inferior things are more successful. Grom ice cream is quite good but it's not close to Cones. It's right down the block from Cones and had a long line while Cones was busy but nearly as much. I felt like telling everyone, "Why are you waiting on line for Grom when there's much better ice cream at Cones a minute away from here!" I feel the same way about musicians. Things that are transcendental need to be recognized.
I had an interesting encounter on the way to the Village. I changed from the to the at 51st Street. While waiting for the I saw a woman studying a subway map. I asked her if she needed help. She was a French tourist there with her older teen daughter. They wanted to go to Brighton Beach. I thought that was an odd destination but I gave her directions. Then realized I was wrong., I was sending her on the when it's the that goes there. But she looked at the map and saw the goes to Coney Island and wanted to know if that was an interesting place to see. Of course I got excited and tell her that it is. She wanted to know if there were places to eat so I told her to go to one of the ultimate New York experiences, Nathan's. She was worried about the change of trains so I told her to just come with me. I was going to West 4th Street anyway so I rode with her till there where she could catch the . Yes, she could have done it at 7th Avenue but this was easier and I could be with them the whole time. It was so much fun talking to her, the daughter didn't say much. I'm not sure if she spoke English. She told me how nice New Yorkers were! She said in Paris, "Everyone is in a rush and nobody stops to help." Maybe everyone feels that way about where they live. See New Yorkers we are too hard on ourselves. I was very happy to act as an ambassador for the City.
Now to move to graver things. We've had a wave of headline killings, the black men killed by the police in Baton Rouge then Minnesota followed by the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. These are all horrible but that doesn't mean civilization is falling apart. I'm saying that because the feeling that civilization is falling apart is a great danger. When people feel insecure they look for a strong man to protect them. That's what leads of authoritarian states. It’s a feeling that Trump exploits. Historically it's been the route to power for countless dictators and democratic leaders that have trampled civil rights.
There are 320 million people in this country. Even infrequent events add up. We have far too many people killed each year but the numbers are declining not going up. Things are getting better not worse. A few well publicized tragedies does not change that. Fight the narrative that things are falling apart. Fight the urge to live in fear. That fear is what leads to things that need to be feared.
I was about to post this but when I went on Firefox I saw this article in the Times; On Eve of G.O.P. Convention, Law and Order Takes the Floor. Trump is doing exactly what I said. "The attack on police officers in Baton Rouge, La., cast a grim mood over the opening of the Republican National Convention here, as Donald J. Trump responded to the killings with a stark warning that the country was falling apart." Don't let him control the narrative. Look around not at the Internet. In your daily life do you see rioting in the streets? Do you see everything falling apart? Are you afraid to leave your house? I see a woman from France saying how nice New Yorkers are, unafraid to ride the subways in a strange City.
News is about the exceptions not the rules. These things are headlines because they are not what happens most of the time. Want to make things better? Change the one person you can change, yourself. Go out of your way to be nice. Want to help race relations, go extra out of your way to be nice to someone different than you. That’s' totally within your power. Enough people do it and society changes. Society is the sum total of the individuals in it.
Now for breakfast. The world never looks too bad with bacon and eggs in your belly.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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