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
February 28, 2016 - 1:49 p.m.
Yesterday I was supposed to go to Skyler's chocolate party but had a queasy tummy so felt that digression was the better part of valor. I'm going to stay home today too. So here's the thing I think of so many things to write about when I'm home but then I don't remember what they are when it comes time to write. I am tempted to wade back into politics. I said I wouldn't discuss the Democratic contest but some things get me so mad. I have to remember that being mad is a reason to not write. I will just say that the hatred I'm seeing on the part of some is scary. Let's leave the fear stoking to the Trumps and Cruzes. Let's leave the strict defense of ideological orthodoxy to the Tea Party.
I'm on both the Bernie and Hillary mailing lists. I have supported both long before they were candidates. I am now on a first name basis with them, they call me by my first name when they write. Chelsea just wrote me and used my first name too. Chelsea wants me to give a dollar to her mom. Bernie is a bit more demanding he wants $3 but he'll take $2.70.
My tummy I acting up but I was able to eat. I made the simplest thing possible, pan grilled chicken breast fillet. It came out better than it ever has. I timed it perfectly. One important tip, flatten it with a meat mallet first so it's of uniform width otherwise the thin parts will be overcooked by the time the thickest part is cooked.
I have no sweets in the house so I made a ridiculous dessert, a chocolate syrup sandwich. I just poured some U-Bet on a piece of bread and covered it with another piece of bread. It was good despite being made with terrible bread. The bread serves two purposes, it keeps the chocolate off my fingers and it dilutes the syrup. I have on many occasions had the syrup straight but it's not at all filling. I just keep wanting more.
Back to a bit of politics. The right's new thing is that Donald Trump is Obama's fault. Now of course this is consistent as everything is Obama's fault in their minds. The fall of the Roman Empire was Obama's fault. Eve eating the apple was Obama's fault. Right after this trope appeared in Douthat's column in the Times I saw it in a comment on a friend's anti-Trump post. I rule is to not argue on Facebook comment but I couldn't resist a little swipe, "OOO the latest right wing trope that Trump is Obama's fault. It's amazing how these things spread." He of course responded but I will not get drawn further in. How do you reason with someone that has abandoned reason? The right is better at spreading these things but it happens on the left too. It's a downside of social media. James Branch Cabell understood this before the internet existed because that's not where it started. He said something along the lines of "Once society became literate people didn't have to think to get their ideas."
So now I've wandered into one of my most common topics to think about, the ways people avoid thinking. As I go back and read my old blogs from 5, 10, and 15 years ago I see that it's been a running theme from the start. My biggest peeve is people basing their beliefs on what they want to be true not the evidence. People will even explicitly say it. "I have to believe in X because I couldn't bear it if it weren't true." You've heard people say things like that. You've heard it in so many movies and TV shows. People perceive reality to fit their ideas not change their ideas to fit reality. Run down your Facebook timeline. I guarantee you'll see it multiple times. One of my favorites was a link to an article about X. Poster supports Z and hates Y. the Poster said about the article which mentioned neither Y nor Z, "that's why X doesn't endorse Y." I resisted saying "Why didn't the Poster endorse Z?" The Poster knew what she wanted to believe and didn't need any evidence and could ignore evidence to the contrary.
That reminds me there's an entire book and movie about this, Being Their. Chance the Gardner is a mentally challenged man who has spent his entire life tending a garden and watching TV. When the owner of the estate where the garden is he is forced to leave and for the first time enter the world. Everyone sees him as what they want him to be. The Russian ambassador sees him as an appreciator of Russian literature. The neglected wife views him as someone who loves her and gives her attention, the gay man sees him as gay, politicians see him as a presidential candidate. But all he is someone whose only interests are tending a garden and watching TV.
I want to believe that the one egg I have in the house has fissioned and grown into two full-sized eggs. I will discover if this is true soon. If not, I will have a small breakfast this morning.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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