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
April 29, 2015 - 11:29 a.m.
I'm supposed to know what to write about today .I had a whole bunch of moments yesterday where I said, "Yes that's what I'll write about." And now I'm not so sure. It doesn't help that I didn't have a good mental health day and didn't leave the block. I should have at least done laundry.
I didn't even make exciting food. I had hot dogs again but this time with roasted garlic salt potatoes. Ok that was sort of exciting. And finished the leftover cake from Meg's party on Sunday. Thank you Coco.
As I spent most of the day on my computer I'll write about cyberspace. Well first off I am starting to enjoy Game of Thrones. I think I've seen four episodes. Still don't think it’s special or particularly good but now that I know the characters it's easier to follow. What it doesn't do is get me thinking. I'm never sure of what I think of the X-Men. My real introduction to it was the animated series on TV. Half of the episodes would be mind-numbing fight scenes but there was always an interesting story that made me think too. Same goes for the movies. Even though parts are idiotic, most of the action is still intellectual. The upshot is I always think about it after I stop watching.
And now I'll get to the two things that I really want to write about. The first is what's happening in Baltimore, the Freddie Gray killing and its aftermath. This is dominating the news. There are four columns on it in the Opinion Section of today's New York Times. I wrote about it yesterday. Now I want to write about people's reactions to people's reactions. That's not as byzantine as it sounds. Several of my friends have written how they have unfriended people on Facebook because they used those reactions as a litmus test for racism. I wasn't seeing any of that on my feed … till I did. Then one friend attacked Freddie Gray. This was not a close friend, more of an acquaintance but still someone I know and will always say hi to and visa versa. My first reaction was to write a comment to the effect that even if Mr. Gray sold drugs he didn't deserve to have his neck snapped. That his life still had value. But I didn't say it. Confronting the person wouldn't help. He's read all this. He knows all this. And more to the point I am trying to make I didn't unfriend him. I don't want him retreating into the bubble where he only sees and talks to likeminded people. I want him to see that I think otherwise. That I can deplore both the rioters AND Mr Gray's killing, AND the social conditions that created the anger released in the riots. If we shut ourselves off from people that disagree we will never understand each other and things won't get better. It's a sad but true fact that people don't base their opinions as much on facts but on what the other people they feel affinity towards feel. You want to make more people agree with you, get more people to consider you part of their sense of us. It's where the rapid strides in gay rights have come from. How many times have you read of a conservative changing his mind because he or she found out that her son or daughter was gay? So don't shut out people that disagree.
OK now for the second point. I kept seeing on Facebook that Joni Mitchell was in a coma. But when I looked at all the articles linked to they all cited as their source TMZ. That is not a trusted new source. I had my doubts. I kept looking for better sources and couldn't find any. All I would see is "Web Site TMZ says Joni Mitchell is in a coma. Then Jenny made a post saying:
Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma. Joni is still in the hospital - but she comprehends, she’s alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected. The document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her longtime friend Leslie Morris the authority - in the absence of 24-hour doctor care - to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the hospital. As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere near giving up the fight. Please continue to keep Joni in your thoughts.I asked her for her source and it as Joni's own website. Now that is giving its source; "Leslie Morris, who is with Joni in the hospital, has approved the following statement to be made through JoniMitchell.com." So this is from someone on the scene.
The moral of the story is do your due diligence. We should all know to not believe things just because they are on the internet. TMZ has no reputation to maintain. They don't care if they are wrong. They just want to be sensation and be first. People knock traditional media but they do care about their reputation. Track things down. If it all comes from one source don't believe it. Might it end up being true? Sure and you'll find out soon enough if it is. Is it so important to know things first that you'll risk believing in falsehoods? I was going to quote Mark Twain, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." But I realized I didn't know what that's from and people often misattribute things to Twain. So I followed my own advice and did some research and found different forms of the quote but none giving a source. Where and when did Twain say it? More research found it attributed to Josh Billings in an alternate wording. Finally I found the Wikiquote Talk Page on Mark Twain where there is a discussion. "Frequently attributed to Twain, and often to Will Rogers, Satchel Paige, Artemus Ward, as well as others. ([wellnowbob.blogspot.com/2008/07/it-aint-what-you-dont-know.html])." I bet it was said by somebody unknown then got attached to famous people. Quotes find the people that should have said them.
There's a reason I so often source what I say. I care about my reputation. I want to be accurate and I want to be perceived to be accurate. I also want bacon so I'm going to eat breakfast now.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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