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
May 21, 2017 - 2:20 p.m.
I strongly considered not writing today. I didn't go out yesterday and I slept late this morning and I am going out this afternoon. I'm still considering not writing as I write. I'll see if this goes anywhere. I'm going to take a break and eat in 10 minutes. Maybe that will inspire me.
I'm so mad, I should have gone out last night, Kristin Andeassen played last night and one of my favorite house concert series and I didn't find out about it till it was too late. Stupid Instagram algorithm doesn't show the latest posts. I love Kristin and she has new songs. She moved to Nashville and I no longer see her often. I'm going to cry. She's playing tonight at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn but that's very inconvenient. Let me check the time. Maybe I can do it. It's a double bill with Front Country and I love them too.
I'm going to eat breakfast and drink coffee. Let's see if that inspires me.
I'm back If bacon and eggs on pita and a coffee can't inspire me I should just give up blogging. I know I've said this before but people aren't trying it so I'll say it again. Serve your bacon and eggs over easy on top of flat bread. Either warm the bread and brush it with olive oil or just fry it briefly in the bacon fat. Either way it brings it to a new level. Much better than toast on the side. How do I know people haven't tried it? Because if people had they'd be posting about it. I need to take pictures; food porn is worth a thousand words. Who wants to finance, manage, and do the cooking of my 24-hour breakfast restaurant? I'll create the menu, book the live music, and take home the profits. Somewhere in the past I posted the menu; there are new editions so I should do that again. Not today. Today I'm going to return to one of my recurring themes.
People like to see the world as narratives. As Tom Stoppard put it, "I want a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end." Lauren, do you remember what play that's from? I know I saw it with you. We quoted it often enough. Fiction can follow that desire but the real world doesn't so we do the next best thing, we shoehorn it into stories. There are many sources of bias but this lies behind many of them. It leads to the type of things that we usually think of as prejudices; immigrants are ruining the country, blacks are dangerous, women are too emotional, Jews are greedy, America is always right, and America is Satan. Much of politics is based on similar narratives; The poor are lazy, the welfare state destroys incentives, corporations are evil, They are keeping Us down. The identity of Us and They varies by who the speaker is. But it's always Their fault and We are always the victims.
These are the big things but it happens most often on the personal level; we see the world as a story and ourselves as the hero or heroine. I would like to say that we all do that but that might just be me trying to make the world fit my narrative, so I'll be more circumspect. I do this and I often see other people doing it. We want the world to be interesting and we want to be interesting. I'll give an example where I have done it. I will often say that Met announcer Howie Rose sat next to me in Earth Science. Thinking back, I'm not sure of that. He was in my high school and in the right year, two years ahead of me. He looks and sounds like the guy that sat next to me. Back when he hosted a call-in show on WFAN he'd tell stories about Coach Loach who we both had. But to be honest I'm not sure. Someone else, who I won't name, told me that Michael Jordan was her student. Years later she did what I did with Howie she admitted that all she is sure of is that it was someone from the basketball team.
I never believe when people told me that they predicted something unless I heard the prediction before the event happened. I don't think they are lying, I think they misremember in a way that makes things more interesting. The other day I told you how I was singing, The Hammond Song and when I looked at my phone I got an alert that Carey had just posted a video of her singing all the parts. If magic fit my narrative I could start remembering other times things like that happened and say that I'm psychic or maybe other stories where Carey and I thought the same thing at the same time. When we talked every day I'm sure we did. That comes from talking every day. We don't now and think what happened this time was just coincidence. It might be a bit more than coincidence as I've been talking about seeing Terre Roche for over a week and subconsciously that might have influenced what song she recorded.
I watched the Preakness Stakes yesterday. There was a time I'd have gone out of my way to do that but not for decades. It just happened to be on when I was preparing dinner. I didn't know who was running but in the pre-race, they did a bit on the owners of Always Dreaming, the Kentucky Derby winner. They are two Brooklyn guys so I had to root for them. If it wasn't for them I'd have rooted for Cloud Computing because I'm a nerd. I rooted for Cloud Computing to come in second. He won! How hard would have been to convince myself that I was all for Cloud Computing and told myself that I don't live in Brooklyn now so I was never that much behind Always Dreaming. If Cloud Computing had run out of the money my money would have been on that I'd not even remember thinking about him before the race. But I do love the name. It would make a good band name too.
Now I have to get going. It's a beautiful day and I'm going to Washington Square Park to see Brianne do performance art. She'll be there from noon to 5. It's 2:18 now and it's not clear I'll get there in time. From there it's on to see "Fearless Girl" or Kristin Andreassen or both.
Cole, Nakoa, Treacher, Watkins, and the Oxford Comma - May 26, 2017
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