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
April 25, 2012 - 8:30 p.m.
I'm going to try writing again. This should be fun because my brain feels like it's underwater, I have a cough, and a Crohn's attack. That's on top of still being down the rabbit hole. So this will not be a fun entry about music. I don't think it's going to be the what would be fun, to me at least, entry on religion. I'm irritable so I'll write about people irritating me. That should be easy.
I'm finding myself less and less able to tolerate some people. That makes me feel guilty as want to be nice. I want to make people feel good. But I'm not a saint. I have moral issues about one of the people I can't tolerate so I feel less guilty about him. The others are nice people that I very much don't want to hurt. They hurt my brains but they don't mean to. They can't help it that they push so many of my buttons. But that doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with them. I'm sorry if you come over to me when I'm busy doing something and try to draw me into a serious discussion of Nostrodomus I'm going to get annoyed. I am not going to take it seriously. I thought I did a good job by not saying, "Are you an idiot? Using the name Hisler once is not predicting the Holocaust." Saying something is a prediction after the fact is not a prediction, it's pointing out that a cloud sort of looks like something. You can always do that. I didn't say any of that. When they said Isaac Newton predicted the end of the world in 2060 I said, "There isn't a year that somebody hasn't predicted the end of the world. It's still here." A discussion of why people keep predicting the end of the world is interesting. Taking the predictions seriously is not.
I got drawn into a discussion between someone that describes himself as extremely liberal and someone who I know is at least economically conservative. Guess whose side I was completely on, the conservative. He wasn't being an idiot. He wasn't even taking a position on anything that is actually disputed by anyone with any actual knowledge. The liberal was the one that was saying things with no rational foundation. He thinks the idea of a mortgage, any standard mortgage is morally wrong. He thinks the way it should work is that If take out a 10% mortgage on a $100,000 mortgage that at the end of loan you should return $110,000 period. He doesn't get that 10% means 10% a year. What's worse is that he has no interest in learning it. He didn't want us to explain how it works. He didn't care that nobody would ever lend money if that's how it worked. It's what he thinks is fair and he didn't want to hear anything that contradicted it. That's so much of why it's so hard to get governments to do the right thing. People are innumerate and ignorant and don't want to spend the time thinking and learning, they want simple solutions. So when a politician comes up with a slogan that sounds good they'll go for it. It's how Obama can be blamed for an economy that was wrecked before he was president. It's how he can be blamed for the obstructions the Republicans have thrown at him. All people know is that the economy is bad and they don't want to be bothered to learn the facts and think them through.
This is not to say that Obama is blameless of course. He failing is not being Roosevelt. The ignorant, innumerate people aren't bad people. They don't want to believe wrong things. They need to be educated and inspired. They need leadership. That's what Roosevelt did. He was in charge and let everyone know it. When the courts and the Republicans obstructed he let everyone know they were getting in the way. He fought with passion and people could see that and trusted that he was fighting for them. It's what we need.
So who else is bugging me? People on crowded LIRR trains that try to take up two seats. They want one for their body and another for their stuff. Sometimes they just take an aisle seat knowing that some people are intimidated and won't ask them to move. I'm not intimidated so what I do is not look for the first seat that easy to take but the first next to a person trying to sit alone. I say "excuse me" and they have to either take their stuff off their seat or do that and get up so I can take the window seat or slide over to the window so I can sit on the aisle. So my way of being altruistic (to those that are too shy to ask people to move so they can sit) is making other people do things that they don't want to do.
I'm doing my first reread of a Discworld novel, The Fifth Elephant. I forgot that I had read it from the title and the first few pages. Now I'm hooked. The problem is that the plots are not what fascinated me with Discworld. It's the ideas and the characters. I thought of this as the Uberwald story. It's where I learned about the vampires, werewolves, Igors, dwarfs and the Scone of Stone. No that is not one of my typos. If you think I did you have insulted all dwarfs everyone and I'd be very careful about your knees. You might not have them soon.
I said "dwarfs" because Pratchett does but as a race apart they plural should be "dwarves" as per Tolkien. It should actually be dwerrows but that's too pedantic even for me.
The annoying thing about reading a Discworld book is that it remind you that all the intractable problems in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and North Korea could be taken care of by Havloc Vetinari, Sam Vimes, and Captain Carrot if they had the simple decency to live in our reality. Sometimes I think they don't just to be difficult. Well not Captain Carrot. He pretty much always tries to be good so he must have a good excuse.
So should I stay out late and see Amy Speace tonight? I really want to but I think I'm not going to have the energy. She doesn't go on until 10. That's sad. I miss Amy.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Follow on Feedly