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
November 20, 2017 - 11:24 a.m.
As I planned I didn't leave the house yesterday. I don't think that many people plan days like that. When I do, I don't get out of my sweats. Not getting dressed and especially never putting on shoes is part of what makes is pleasurable. Another thing is home cooking. I just had roasted chicken thighs. I no longer call them anything else. I use some jerk seasoning, but I use so many other things it doesn't taste like jerk chicken. There's no real recipe, it's based on how I feel, it's always good, much better than my mother used to make; hers always had too much paprika. I suspect any paprika is too much.
As I was home I got to listen to John Platt's show, WFUV Sunday Supper. He played his NERFA discoveries, many of which were also mine; I'm listening to one of them as I write this, Mama's Broke. I can do that because while I was listening I started ripping the CDs I got at the conference. Then I finished editing my photos. I still have the videos to get to. A little insight into my anxiety and how I'm improving. I got a Facebook message from one of the artists whose picture I posted. In the preview I saw, "Hi Gordon, It was great seeing you at NERFA … ." How did I mentally fill the ellipsis? "… but can you please take down those terrible pics you took." On the bright side I did read it anyway. The reality was she wanted me to email her the high res versions to use on her website. What's strange is that I have confidence in my photographer's eye. My camera is not the best, the pictures aren't the sharpest, but I have a good sense of composition and what moments are worth capturing. That doesn't stop the anxiety from kicking in. The artist is a friend, not one I see often, but one I get an immediate hug from. Imagine if it were a stranger.
After dinner I started my new binge watch. I asked My Gentle Readers to guess the show. Did you guess The Punisher? You should have. My TV tastes are not intellectual, I love the comic books shows.
I was going to say that when I'm home I spend a lot of time thinking. The reality is that I always spend a lot of time thinking. It's what I do, like Jurgen I enjoy nothing as much as observing the workings of my own mind. I often consider writing about what I'm thinking then usually forget or change my mind. This is my segue into politics and history. I'm so smooth
Have you been following the saga of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? He has been a bugbear of mine for decades. He leveraged his position of liberation leader into ruling as a brutal dictator. One of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, turned a blind eye to Mugabe's crimes against humanity, massacring the opposition, and only saw the liberating hero. He is still honored by many in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa as a liberator while his cruelty and corruption are ignored. That is the power of being a national hero. Trumped bragged about the sexual molestation he could get away with because he was famous, it's nothing compared to what a national hero can do.
I'm not writing this to raise ire against Mugabe, who is finally removed from power, or even to criticize those that have and still support him. I'm talking about the workings of my mind, and what reading about Mugabe does is make me appreciate the greatness of George Washington. As a kid I was a strong Lincoln man, those were the two presidents whose birthdays were holidays and I preferred Lincoln. I still do but my respect for Washington has soared. He was an elitist that let his cabinet, especially Hamilton make policy, but he did the greatest single action that any president has ever done, he resigned after two terms. At the time he was universally acknowledged to be the greatest American. He was revered. Like Mugabe and virtually all liberation leaders he could have remained president for life and most people would not have objected. He could have ruled as a tyrant and people would have accepted it. There's the marvelous song in Hamilton that portrays King George III's shock at Washington stepping down. He wasn't even aware it could be done. Next to Washington they all look small. Yet Washington did it. It's not his birthday but give thanks today to George Washington for not becoming Robert Mugabe.
Home from the Holidays - November 26, 2017
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