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
December 29, 2016 - 12:29 p.m.
I woke up an hour early this morning and I'm still not writing till just before 10:00 There was a time I could be finished by 9:30. I'm not the man I used to be; I never was.
I realize that I often play a gambling game. When I go to pick up my mail from my PO Box I leave at the last moment where I can possibly get to there before the post office closes. That means sometimes, I get there just too late. I never think of it as a game. I think of it as I can't get myself moving till then. From here that means taking the 4:11 bus. I also plan to just make the bus. That has only not worked out once when the bus came early. Yesterday it worked perfectly. I arrived at the bus stop as the bus came into view. A woman acted strangely. She waited for the bus standing in the street where the bus pulls up. It wasn't so she could see down the street to see the bus. She stood there while the bus was stopped at the light in plain view. She didn't move to the bus was pulling into the stop. The driver pulled up short of where he usually does to not hit her.
When I got to the subway I saw that the train was leaving in 0 minutes. I ran up the stairs. The train started moving right after I reached the platform. I just missed it. I had to wait 6 minutes to the next train. Then when I switched to the W it kept stopping between stations. You know what happened; I got to the post office two minutes after it closed. That was my entire reason for going into the City. I made the best of it. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond for a basting brush. I had one but I was an idiot and tried to apply oil to a hot cast iron skillet and it melted. After that I went home. I traveled for almost three hours to get a basting brush.
Getting the brush let me make a Shai-Hulud aka Hasselback potato. I had taken out an enormous chicken breast fillet and made that with it. I tried something new; I made it in the oven, in the same baking dish as the potato. I usually pan grill it on the stove top but that seemed wasteful as the oven was on anyway. That is how I make sweet garlic chicken so I figured it would work. It did and was even better then pan grilling. It was so juicy and I spiced it perfectly. Have you noticed that I love my cooking? I don't make a huge variety of foods but what I make, I make well.
I should have gone shopping yesterday. Now I'll have to do it today and it's raining. That is very much me. I knew I should do that. I brought a shopping bag, but didn't. My psych problems manifest themselves in odd ways.
It's Thursday and I'm missing Dar's annual Bell House holiday concert tonight so I'm going to do the curmudge I didn't do the other day. I'm curmudgeon hear me roar.
Let's start with some things about the election. People are saying it shows how terrible Hillary is because she lost to Trump. She got a greater fraction of the popular vote than JFK and Jimmy Carter and they both ran after 8 years of a Republican presidency which gave them an advantage. She got a bigger fraction of the vote than George W. Bush and he followed 8 years of a Democratic president. When Carter won the last GOP President and VP elected both had to resign in disgrace. Yet he barely eked out a win. Clinton caught some very tough electoral college luck. It's a bad system. It shouldn't come down to that.
That's not my main rant though it's related. What gets me every day is the subjectification of truth. It's not even so much that people believe in what they want to believe in but that this is accepted by so many. People think they are being skeptical by not believing the liberal mainstream media (from the right) aka the corporate media (from the left). Instead they take as gospel myideology.com, which makes no pretense of being objective. Most often they have no reporters. They have no fact checkers. They just spread what they've read somewhere else. Here's a good rule, if they don't have reporters, then they aren't a news source; they are a soapbox. I saw someone, a very intelligent, educated professional, post a critical story about Obama that he admitted he didn't know if were true. He said other people should check it out. If he thought truth mattered, he would have done the research. He knows very well that the harm is done by simply spreading the lie. It's what Trump does all the time. "People say that … " Then people remember the lie and soon it becomes truth to them.
Trump dominated the vote of whites without a college degree. I read a lot of criticism to the effect that the Democrats have not addressed their problems. The Democrats want to increase the minimum wage, extended unemployment benefits, the ACA gave so many of these people health coverage and it would have been more if GOP governors hadn't blocked the Medicaid expansion. The Democrats support unions, the GOP fights them. What I often hear is, "They don't want government handouts, they want jobs." The same critics say they don't want to hear about retraining or getting degrees. The problem is that nobody knows how to create good paying jobs for people without a college degree. Trump lies and say she does and they believe what they want to believe.
I have thought what else can we do for these people as they should be helped. One problem is geographic. People live where the jobs were 50 years ago; technology has changed. The jobs don't cluster around where there is iron and coal anymore. Those areas have more people than can be economically supported. We could try and invest in the regions, to create new industries there, but that's difficult. Germany has been trying that for 20 years in the former East Germany, to no avail. One clear thing we could do is subsidize people moving to where the jobs are. But I can already hear the objections. "We've lived here for generations, we don't want to move." That's what the Okies and Arkies said; then they were forced to move to California and live better than those that stayed behind.
We could and should strengthen unions. There is no reason that service jobs can't pay as well as industrial jobs. Industrial jobs didn't pay well till they unionized. I'm all for that, more money should flow to labor instead of capitol. But the Republicans say, "Unions kill jobs." And people get afraid. We could have a much large earned income credit. We can raise the taxes on the wealthy and simply redistribute it to the poor and middle class. We know who would object to that.
As long as the truth is not seen as objective, as long as it's considered normal to believe what you want to believe, it will be hard to deal with any problems.
I always end these things the same way. It's very hard to change other people. What you can do is change yourself. Examine the things that make you feel good with more care, not less. You can't get rid of cognitive bias but you can mitigate it.
Now I will mitigate my hunger. Yesterday's omelet with peanut butter was perfect. I think todays it's grits ala Horvendile. That might change to hameggandcheese on a bagel before I get to the kitchen. It's a magical transformation.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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