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
September 05, 2017 - 11:31 a.m.
I am sleepy today but I know why, I didn't get enough sleep. I didn't write yesterday so I'm going to write till my adrenaline starts pumping to get me through it. I will not fall asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. What? Sleeping? I was not sleeping, just reading my finger on the z key.
I'm back to going to Met games. It's becoming routine. That's a very good thing. I have not been exercising my sports brain nor seeing Alan enough since I became a gypsy. I'm getting a piece of my life back. Here's a pro tip, don't bring a bag to Met games. There was a long line to have your bag checked by security when I got there. I walked straight past it. I always carry a bag, I feel naked without it, but it stops being worth it when I go to Citi Field.
Instead of sitting in Alan's season ticket seats with the obstructed view we sat in the upper level right behind the plate. Those are the only section without the plexiglass screens by the stairways blocking your view. You are also closer to the action.
I told Alan that I was excited to see a Las Vegas 51s game. That's the Mets AAA affiliate. There are so many Mets injured; the team on the field was pretty pathetic. They played the Phillies a team that is even worse but was putting their best team out there. So, what happened? The Mets won 11-7. It was 10-0 but the Mets wanted to keep it interesting. See, they care about the fans in the stands.
I had terrible timing on the bus ride home. I waited 20 minutes for the first bus and 40 for the second. The ride there was so easy. This was unusual.
I did not buy food at the game. I wanted a no expense day. It's easy with a day game as I eat right before I leave. Then I ate a big meal when I got home. I had half of a large ham steak. I made it a new way, in a cast iron skillet in the oven. The glaze was diced garlic sautéed in olive oil with honey. It was the best ham steak I ever ate. I still have the other half of the steak as leftovers. I'll eat that tonight. The dessert was the sinful part. Bernie makes great bread pudding. I heated it in the microwave then topped it with chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. It was better than pie ala mode.
There is a save DACA protest today; I'm not sure if I'm going. I'm not sure that a protest in New York will do any good; I suspect it won't. Corporate America wants to keep DACA, that's its best hope. The Republicans in Congress need them for financing. The problem is that the Republican base is against it and they are worried about primary challengers. If you have a Republican congressman or Senator by all means call him or her.
On Sunday night, I finally watched Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. I knew it got good reviews and that it was based on Team of Rivals but that's it. The film was not what I expected; its focus was entirely on the passage of the 13th Amendment.
Section 1Adding these 47 words to the constitution was a titanic struggle. Lincoln wanted it with all his heart as did the Radical Republicans but the Democrats were opposed and the Conservative Republicans on the fence.
The film is a civics lesson that should be required viewing for the president, congress, and the electorate. I kept comparing it to two other films 1776 and The Missiles of October. Ben Franklin summarized one of the themes, "Revolutions come into this world like bastard children, Mr. Dickinson; half improvised and half compromised. The Thirteenth Amendment like the Declaration of Independence did not have an immaculate conception. Lame duck Democratic congressmen were offered government jobs to support it. Lincoln prevaricated about a commission the Confederacy sent to discuss a peace proposal. Thaddeus Stevens said that he supported only legal equality of negroes and did not think they were the equals of whites even though true equality was his deeply held belief. What Lincoln, Stevens, Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson understood was that the cause was more important than their moral purity. They couldn't afford to posture with so much on the line. When Stevens was asked by a Radical Republican what he wouldn't say to get the amendment passed he responded, that there was nothing he wouldn't say to gain the freedom of four million slaves.
The Missiles of October is the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis from the point of view of the president and the cabinet. If you haven't seen it you should. If you doubt the greatness of JFK it will disabuse you of that notion. The ultimate responsibility lay with him and he was up to the challenge. He could see the entire picture, not just parts of it. If someone else had been president we might very well have had nuclear war. He had to navigate Scylla and Charybdis, not triggering a war but also not allowing the Soviets to endanger the US.
Lincoln had to end the war, free the slaves, and reunite the country. The decision looks easy in retrospect, of course we needed to pass the 13th Amendment and end slavery. It looks easy as we don't face the decision ourselves. We had spent four years in the bloodies war in American history; every day the war continued meant more deaths and more suffering. Look around you at all the people that say that war is always wrong. That might mean looking at yourself. Are they to be condemned? Are they terrible people? Is peace to not even be considered? The Civil War was far worse than Vietnam or Korea and incomparably worse, at least for Americans, than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knowing that keeping slavery was the cost of the South making peace, it was difficult to accept the necessity for slavery's end. Lincoln thought long and hard and knew it was not an easy decision. He made the right choice but it was a struggle, as it should have been. There was no good solution, no matter what he did the consequence would enormous suffering.
Lincoln has been a personal hero of mind since childhood. I chose well. He combined great abilities with a great soul. He was flawed, all people are flawed, but when the country needed someone to save it he was there. The film ends with parts of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. I'm going to end with a re-enactment of the entire speech. Think of today's issues through this lens and you'll see them more clearly.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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