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
January 27, 2015 - 11:35 a.m.
Yesterday I wrote about doing so many things and hadn't update the day before but hardly anyone read it. Today is a snow day for many of you so take advantage of it to catch up, read Mucca Luck. OK back? That was fast. You must be a very good reader.
We just had the great blizzard that couldn't. There were all these warnings of perhaps the greatest snowfall in the history of the City and we ended up with six to ten inches. I'm still going to go outside and play in the snow today. I'm considering walking to Heather's house. It's 3.6 miles from here. I might just walk to Broadway and take the subway from there as it isn't going to be pretty under the El. Before I go I have to set up two Facebook events for John Platt's On Your Radar.
Because of the snow I didn't do much yesterday. I of course went to therapy. I might end up talking about psychology here. Not sure yet. I went to get my half-priced bagels and they didn't have them! They were charging full price because they were closing early. I was so disappointed. This is going to be an English muffin week. I still have three bagels. I'll ration them.
Getting home was a bit of an adventure. I usually take the to Atlantic Terminal then switch to the . Because it takes a more direct route it's faster than taking the all the way. But it involves going over the Williamsburg Bridge so I feared there might be weather related delays so it was best to stay underground. I got on the and shortly after it pulled out of Union Square Station it stopped. there was an announcement that because of a smoke condition in the East River tunnel the train was turning at either Brooklyn Bridge or Bowling Green. Nobody on the train knew what turning meant? Was the train going to turn around? If so I could take the . It was never explained. But they then announced to get to Brooklyn take the train to Fulton and switch to any of the trains there. That includes the which can take me home though it's local in Brooklyn. When it got to Fulton they switched the announcement to the train was terminating at Bowling Green. I wonder if they actually said "Terming" not "turning" initially. Whatever it was they were using a term of craft not something that was understood by the public they were trying to inform.
So I got on the and took that to Nevins street where under normal conditions I could switch to the running express. I hoped that they were running the in Brooklyn. I was lucky they were.
When I got home I was still tired from the pledge drive. I didn't get much done. I did make a delicious dinner, kielbasa and Hasselback potatoes. I made them perfectly. I had a hot chocolate as an aperitif. Then I watched a classic Doctor Who the Fourth Doctor episode, The Arc in Space. Not one of the greats but still so much fun. The companions were Harry Sullivan and my favorite Sarah Jane Smith. This is the season that was my introduction to the series.
Today is the birthday of two of my personal heroes. There are lots of great people but we don't take each of them to heart. I adore the works of Shakespeare but I don't think of him as one of my people. I value him the way society as a whole does. No these two guys are mine! Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You don't know Dodgson? He was a mathematician who wrote Euclid and his Modern Rivals, An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations, Symbolic Logic, and The Game of Logic. Oh yeah, he also wrote some non math books, what are they called? Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Yes as I'm sure most of you knew his pen name for the popular works was Lewis Carroll. I bet you don't know that he derived that by revering his first and middle names, translating them into Latin, then back into English. That is just so Carrollinian. He loved playing games like that. That's why he's a kindred spirit. He was a logician and perhaps that's why he saw how illogical the world is. Like Terry Pratchett he created worlds that were totally absurd but followed their own internal logic.
He delighted in the imprecision of language.
"I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!" the Queen said. "Two pence a week, and jam every other day."Humpty Dumpty stated his philosophy, "When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean; neither more nor less
Was he a pedophile? He certainly had a fondness for young girls. Alice Liddell the model for "little Alice" his most famous protagonist, was just the favorite of many. And yes he took nude pictures of many of them. But it was always with their parents present. There's no evidence he ever did anything sexual with any of them. He was a master of the new art form of photography and he combined that with his platonic affection for young girls. He was a stutterer and they were the only ones he didn't stutter in front of. OK do I know for sure he wasn't a pedophile? No but as he's otherwise a hero I will take him as innocent till proven guilty and no proof has emerged in the 116 years since his death.
Without knowing they share a birthday I always associated Carroll and Mozart and I just figured out why. It's because I associate them both with children. Mozart is of course THE child prodigy. Did anyone ever embody the concept of artistic genius more than Mozart? Ideas came to full formed effortlessly. He wrote his last three symphonies and his Requiem, all masterpieces, in the final six weeks of his life. He died at the age of 35. Beethoven had only gotten to his third symphony by then. His first draft of scores looked like copies for publication with nary a correction on them. Like Athena springing fully grown and in armor form Zeus's head.
When I was at my lowest I calmed myself by listening to Mozart and nothing but Mozart. His life was turbulent but his music was in perfect harmony with the universe. Nothing happier has ever been created in any medium than Pa Pa Pa Pa from Die Zauberflöte.
Carroll and Mozart both make me happy. That's what it comes down to. Even in the darkness of the Don Giovanni and even in the Requiem he touches me and brings me peace.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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