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
December 06, 2016 - 11:34 a.m.
I almost started to write before 9 AM. I was up, I was ready, I was sleepy. I woke up too early and needed to catch a few winks, Not 40, maybe 15. I'm still sleepy I suspect it will take coffee to put an end to that. How can anyone not believe in God in a world where there is coffee? I don't know but I somehow manage it.
I don't know where this entry is going. My mind has been going in many directions; which one will come out of my fingers? I'll let my fingers decide.
It was Monday so I went for bagels at Bagel Bob's. My first stop was the post office, I had several packages waiting for me in my box. That's not quite true, they were waiting in the back room, the notices saying I have packages were in my box. I got my new WFUV hoodie! That means I can finally retire the one I use to hang around the house and sleep in. the thing you use to pull the zipper is gone. Does that have a name? Do you know what I'm talking about? It's missing from my leather jacket too. I have three zippers that need repairing. I will try and remember to have one fixed today. If they do a good job, I'll have them fix the other two. There's one jacket that I can't zip at all. I'd tell you what was wrong but the parts of zippers don't have names that people know. They should. OK let me try. The part you zip is on your right side. On the left at the end of the zipper there's a little rod that the you insert in the part that slides. That rod is being held on by only a thread so doesn't stay still enough to engage with the right side. Do any of you know the parts of a zipper? I bet I could find it online but it's more fun to ask My Gentle Readers.
After bagels, I went to Stop & Shop and bought about 500 lbs of groceries that I somehow fit into one bag. My own cloth bag of course. I'm environmentally conscious. Too bad the cashier wasn't. she put things in bags and then put the bags in my bag. Yeah, this wasn't Trader Joe's. I can't believe they don't have self-checkout. Who else prefers that?
When you don't have a car 500 lbs of groceries are problematic. I have several options to get home but the easiest is two buses, one which leaves from right near the store so that's what I went for. I had perfect timing, the bus arrives seconds after I got to the stop. I waited a bit for the second bus, that's not too bad. Then I got involved on reading the Times on my phone and the bus made very few stops and I missed mine and had to walk back with my 500 lbs of groceries. Part of the 500 lbs was Taylor ham so it was all worth it.
Everyone has been recommending great shows for me to watch on HBO, Showtime, Netflix, etc. Sophisticated shows with great writing. So, what show am I hooked on now? The Arrow, comic book network fare. I love shows like that. They are modern myths. Yeah sometimes I get mad at the writing but it keeps me entertained and I find myself thinking about it afterward. That's the key.
I had peanut butter on a bagel for dinner, not very exciting, but the hot chocolate was great. I used my last Trader Joe's pop and a packet of Land O' Lakes mix in a very large cup of milk. It was heavenly. Even better now that that's gone I can use the No Chewing Allowed mix which is even better. I look forward to cold weather as that's conducive to hot chocolate. Yes, I have hot coffee all year round but hot chocolate needs the cold to bring out all the magic.
I write quite a bit, not just here but on Facebook posts. I do it to fulfill inner needs but it's still communication which means it's pointless if it doesn't affect others. I am always gratified when I find that something I said connected with someone. That happened yesterday. When I linked to The Dangerous Myth That Hillary Clinton Ignored the Working Class I wrote, "… People sadly do not empathize with them as much as us. The trick is to realize we are all us." That last sentence resonated with Amy. I'm particularly glad that's the part that connected, it's the part I like the most. It's a core value. The history of civilization is the expansion of who is considered us. It has gone from family, to band, to tribe, to collections of tribes, to nations. Religion is a branching point for a separate hierarchy. For many it stops earlier down the line. In America, it that most frequently means collections of tribes more commonly called ethnicity, or with religion. All over some expand us beyond nations; many think of themselves as Europeans, some think of "the West" or "The East.' Then there are the cosmopolitans that consider themselves citizens of the world. That's where you'll find me. Donne was right,
No man is an island entire of itself; every manThat's not the first time I quoted that here and it won't be the last. Maybe you don't feel like that person who doesn't look like you, doesn't talk like you, doesn't think like you, is a part of us but you should know it intellectually and act on that. We can be better than our gut feelings. If you do it enough your gut will follow. Yesterday or the day before I heard two women sitting right near where I was standing talking rapidly and somewhat loudly in what might have been oddly accented Spanish. I couldn't nail it down. Here's the thing, my gut didn't like it. I felt annoyed. I didn't feel anger, or hate, or fear, just annoyance. I love hearing people speaking foreign languages but this rubbed me the wrong way. What did I do? I thought about how stupid that was. How I'd be offended and anyone who said something like "Why don't they learn to speak English?" Or even worse, "Why don't they go back where they came from?" I'm not one of those people I felt something, I can't control gut reactions but I can work at changing them when they go against my morality. We all have biases; the trick is to recognize them and not let them make decisions for you. If your gut doesn't like someone or some group don't start looking for reasons to justify the feeling. You can always find them. We are all flawed. Go out of your way to find the good things. It's harder to do but it makes the world a better place.
When you fail at that don't beat yourself up. Like I said, we are all flawed. It doesn't help to be hate yourself any more than it helps to hate others. We're people. We are complex. One word, good or bad, cannot sum us up. We are each a multitude and the multitude are part of us. Act like you care about them, and about yourself, the way you can about those your gut says is us.
So now I'm Buddha? Nah. I'm a guy in sweats sitting on a couch with his feet up on a chair and nice cozy slipper socks on. Don't listen to me because I'm some sort of wise man, not even a mad one. But if what I wrote resonates with you because what I wrote is wise, that will make me happy.
Know what else will make me happy? Breakfast. English muffins were buy one get two free so I'm going to have sausageeggandcheese on an English Muffin today instead of a bagel. Tonight, I'm off to see Kat Quinn at the Sidewalk Café. She goes on at 8:00. There's no cover. Come join me, she's great.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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