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, 2016 - 3:11 p.m.
This might be interesting, my heads hit me very strongly this morning. I'm wondering if I somehow took an extra pill. When I started taking the Hydroxyzine it made me very sleepy. I did spend a lot of this morning sleeping but it was more to avoid the feeling I had when I was awake and the difficulty concentrating. I usually feel my anxiety concentrated right below my sternum. That's very common. Today it's moving all around the place. I feel it in my back and hips at the moment. It also has a hint of a smell. It's not quite an olfactory hallucination, it's almost a memory of a smell. I can't even say what it smells like. The feeling comes then goes away. It's easing up a bit now, I've been awake for four hours. I want to go out today and if it's possible to do so I will. I'm going to take a break in writing this in a little bit and eat but I wanted to get started writing first.
That paragraph is so much me. I'm very willing to dispassionately discuss my health and try to explain the subjective aspect of it to others. Many people consider things like that private. I don't. I'm always fascinated by hearing what other people have to say and I think it's useful to others.
OK now on to yesterday. I have pictures but I'm not going to post them yet. Picasa will no longer upload to Google photos so I had to find another host for my pictures. I tried FlickR but the HTML they give you is faulty. I have to edit it for each picture. You can't just get the pictures URL. Milton suggested Windows 10 Pictures and I'll try it but now as I'm writing is not the time to learn it.
I'm about to make brunch. When I'm done I'll come back and tell you about my day and discuss Labor Day.
I'm back; food, coffee, and time have had a positive effect. I'm feeling quite a bit better now. Walking up the stairs my legs were a bit wobbly and there's a slight buzz in my head but that's it. It's all relative. I'm going to get off the Island today for the first time since Friday.
One way of looking at it is that I spent Labor Day weekend on City Island. It's a popular spot for that. I of course did not get to the Nautical Museum because I spent so long preparing yesterday's blog that it was too late by the time I was done. It's because Picasa no longer works as online photo hosting so I had to try something new. I used FlickR and it drove me nuts. I couldn't get the URL of the pics so I had to use their embedding HTML and there was a mistake in it. So for each one I had to delete garbage text. I loved Picasa and will never forgive Google for getting rid of it. I was going to name my first kid Google, no longer. I'm not naming him or her FlickR or Yahoo either.
What I managed to do is go to the Pelham Cemetery a few blocks from here. I took pictures but because of the photo issues I'm not going to post them here. They'll be on Facebook after I edit them. I won't link to the photos on Facebook because Facebook changes URLs. When I look at old blogs I see the Facebook pictures no longer work.
I love cemeteries, especially old ones. There are people buried there from as long ago as the 1870 and others are brand new. The Cemetery is not large but not that many people live on City Island so it hasn't been filled yet. It's on a beautiful location right on the water. If I thought the view from my grave made a difference, I'd want to be buried there. Of course I don't so I'm donating my body to medical school and when they are done with it I'll be cremated. I love cemeteries even though I'm against them on environmental grounds. If I had my druthers I'd opt for a sky funeral where pieces of my body are fed to vultures, that's eco-friendly. I have never visited a relative or loved one at a cemetery, that's not what I like about them. I like two things, they are peaceful and they are pieces of history. I read every single headstone that was easily legible. If you had no idea where you were and just looked at the headstones you'd know that you were in a port. So many of them had pictures of boats on them. Several of the interred were captains. There were whales and other sea life.
I also look at the ethnic mix. Most were Christian, lots of Catholics, but also a few Jews. There was not much representation from the world outside of Europe. The one Spanish name was probably Hispanic but that's about it.
There were so many families buried there. You'd see many generations buried sometimes together and sometimes scattered. One was the Fordhams. I live on Fordham Street. I wonder if it's the same Fordhams as the University. That's not that far from here so I imagine it is.
Within the cemetery there was a small fenced in area that had two large stelae in it. the gate was open so I went to look at them. I figured the people in there must have been snooty and didn't want to mix with the common folk so even in their graves they live in a gated community.
I spent well over an hour there. There were a few other people there for short times but in the main I was by myself. There are houses abutting it on either side. I'd love to have that cemetery as my neighbor. When I was a kid I'd have wanted to play in it. If my friends didn't want to join me, it would be my alone place. Debbie, Kim, Joanne, and Barbara, would you have played in graveyard as a kid?
I cooked a late dinner last night. There wasn't a lot of cooking involved. Jane and Bernie had a big thing of leftover mashed potatoes so I just had to nuke them. I made a Brooklyn Banger cheddar sausage so I had bangers and mash. I love bangers and mash so that made me happy. There was also vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. I got to channel my father and be happy that since there was just one serving yet I didn't have to dirty a dish. I poured the syrup right into the carton. I watched the Met game. They won! That adds up to a good day.
Today is Labor Day and I can't ignore that. Well OK, I could but I don't want to but I will keep it short. Labor Day is not about cookouts and the ritual end of summer. It's about working people. It's about Labor with a capital L as opposed to Capital with a capital C. We all know that since the 80s there's been a steady shift of income from Labor to Capital. There are a multiple reasons but one that we can easily do something about, the decline of private sector unions. There has been a continued assault on them since Reagan. Without unions there are many competing individuals up against a far smaller number of powerful corporations. The corporations have far more bargaining power if the workers aren't united. The right has such a good job demonizing unions that even working people have negative feelings about them. I talk to my progressive friends and they say derogatory things. So that's my Labor Day message, support unions. That's the key to fighting income inequality. We need to not only revive them but expand their reach. We often hear about the loss of manufacturing jobs. That's a red herring. During the industrial revolution there was a huge loss of agricultural jobs. Was that a bad thing for workers? No, at least once they became unionized. There is nothing inherently better about working in a factory than in retail. The difference is that factory workers have collective bargaining and for the most part service workers don't. We are never going to get the factory jobs back, the economy has changed and rolling back the clock is not going to happen; anyone that promises that is mistaken or lying. But we can get more money and benefits for the baristas and waiters and people working retail. In fact, it should be easier than unionizing factories; a restaurant is not going to outsource their staff to another country or a "right to work" state.
I usually insert a Pete Seeger video here but I'm not today. You can find one yourself. It will do you some good.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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