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
August 27, 2015 - 12:17 p.m.
I sat down to write an hour ago and just started. I hate when I do things like that. I have a lot to write about, two days' worth. I could write two entries. Maybe I should, my plans for today were canceled. Of course I should do laundry, it's that or walk around in dirty clothes or naked. Why did you cringe at naked? You couldn't even pretend to be excited?
OK so I'm still a day behind and writing about the Paleolithic Era, aka two days ago, so my memory can be excused for being fuzzy. I have totally forgotten my commuting story. I know I had one. Oh well, I hope you can live without hearing of my adventure on the .
Yesterday Mel came down to civilization from the wilds of Connecticut with her grandson Dathan, his first visit to New York. They wanted to go to the American Museum of Natural History and I was their tour guide, a role I relish. Mel is an infrequently recurring character in Wise Madness so I should tell My Gentle Readers who she is. She is part of my once a year Falcon Ridge family. She is not part of the Steeple Tent but always camps in our vicinity, hangs out with us, and gives me desserts that involve bacon. This year it was Reese's peanut butter and chocolate oreos wrapped in bacon. Now on with the tale. Mel and Dathan came down on the MetroNorth and I met them at Grand Central Station. The plan was to meet under by the information booth in the great hall. That is the classic place to meet in New York. It's been used in movies. They once did a study, they asked people, "If you were told to meet somebody in New York with no other information where would you look for them?" The most common answer was under the clock at Grand Central. There's a clock above the information booth. It was at one time the Front Door of New York City. It was the first thing visitors would see. That should be Grand and it is. It's a crime that people coming in on Amtrak, LIRR, or Jersey Transit have to enter through the hellish Penn Station. The airports aren't much better. Grand Central Terminal is still the Entrance to the City, it's just that most people come in through the side doors.
Their train was due in at 10:13 and I got there a few minutes earlier. She was supposed to call me when they got to Stanford and I didn't get the call. I left anyway figuring if something were wrong she'd have called and I had to leave when I did to get there on time. When I arrived she still hadn't called or texted so I texted her that I was there. Then I got a message saying the text couldn't be sent. Then I saw I had a text that Boost Mobile couldn't process my payment on credit card number xxxx. No wonder as that was my old credit card that expired. Last month I called and gave them the new number. I was a bit frantic as Mel's train had already gotten in and I didn't see her. I tried updating the information through the automatic system and was stymied. It's terrible and I was not sure if I was going to be paying $40 or $4000. It also didn't say what I owed which was a bit more than $40 because of the tax. So I put in that I was paying $0 and after a few more clicks got to talk to a person. He handled it fairly well but couldn’t get that I was rushing to get off the phone so I could reach Mel. I finished off the call then took selfies with the station in the background and texted them to Mel so she could find me. Then the phone rang, it was Mel. By the way you know it doesn't actually ring, it plays Talk About Heaven. Mel was at the information booth but the one on the lower level, not the great hall. I should have gone down to meet her but told her to come up and meet me and she did.
Then we were off to the museum. It's messy to get there by subway, it's two trains with an avenue block long passage or three trains. I'm not sure but I think I took the fastest route, the to the to the or .
I have a friend that works at the museum and was able to get employee passes for us. They were on an email on my phone. Of course I didn't get a signal down in the subway entrance to the museum so we had to walk up to the street. On the bright side it meant that Dathan got to see the beautiful front of the building and the Main Entrance Hall. We still had to wait on the line to get tickets. The museum was busy for a weekday. The two special exhibits that Dathan wanted to see were "Spiders Alive" and "Life at the Limits." We started at the top floor where we saw "Life at the Limits." That was about animals living in extreme conditions. The poster animal was the tardigrade or water bear. This is from Wikipedia:
Tardigrades can survive in extreme environments. For example, they can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water (100 °C), pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more than 10 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce. They are not considered extremophilic because they are not adapted to exploit these conditions. This means that their chances of dying increase the longer they are exposed to the extreme environments, whereas true extremophiles thrive in a physically or geochemically extreme condition that would harm most other organisms.They are damn impressive even though only half a millimeter long. There were also cave dwelling animals, the deep ocean thermal vent ecosystem, high flying birds and all the stuff I'm forgetting. After that we did the fourth floors evolution of vertebrates. That includes the halls of dinosaurs.
Then we went down to the first floor. We had 45 minutes before our viewing of the spiders so I showed him something else he wanted to see, the Hall of Ocean Life where the live sized blue whale is. I remember when that hall opened. I'm old. Guess that they have in "Spiders Alive?" Yes live spiders. Some are quite large. Many are hard to see so they stick little arrows on the plastic cages pointing at them. They don't move much so it points at them for a long time. Putting the arrows on is a weird job. How do you describe that on your resume? There was also a spider demonstration with a live spider and several carapaces. Did you know that scorpions fluoresce? I didn't. Scorpions are not spiders but they are arachnids so were special guest stars.
Next up was the all-important lunch. I was with Mel so I had a bacon-cheeseburger. Traditions should be respected. Then we were off to rocks and minerals. That's where we finished our visit. We did not rush through the museum, we saw less than half of it in close to six hours. Oh no what I forgot? The Planetarium. The sky show was closed for maintenance but saw the big bang film and walked down the spiral ramp history of the universe.
When the museum closed we walked through Central Park to Columbus Circle then down to Steak and Shake for milkshakes. They wanted to take a train that left after 8 PM as that's off-peak. They could have made the 8:01 but that was down a ways and the 8:07 that arrived just three minutes later was right in front of us so they took that.
I had another good day, this time with a friends.
Yesterday's adventure was also with a friend, I met Erika for lunch at our usual place, Joe Allen on 46th street. One problem, it was Wednesday, Matinee day. We couldn't get a table. We walked up to the Times Square Diner on 8th avenue. I had slept late and didn't have breakfast so I had breakfast there. Erika had a very early breakfast but she had a second breakfast. So our lunch date was breakfast. We did nothing exciting but I always enjoy having a meal with a friend. It's something I don't do as often as I like. And as always I have to say that I don't see Erika enough.
Then I went up to my mailbox and found the new album Roots by the Terrific Tomoko Omura. Then of course I forgot about it and didn't listen. When I put things in my bag they are clearly removed from my memory. That's why I always forget my bagels till the next day.
I had planned on seeing Harpeth Rising today up at CHIRP in Ridgefield CT but my ride canceled and you can't really get there without a car. It would take two hours and 22 minutes and I'd have to take a cab the last four miles. Very sad, I hate missing Harpeth Rising and I wanted to see Barbara the one that runs the series. Hey if you live anywhere near Brooklyn, have a car, and want to go tonight let me know
Now for breakfast. I have leftover pancakes from Monday. I hope they are still good.
Annoying People - September 03, 2016
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