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
-Bertrand Russell

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 09, 2013 - 2:30 p.m.

New World Symphony

My plan was to leave out my internal world today but as I just taught a class with a full-fledged anxiety attack that's still going on that's tough. Is it a panic attack? I don't know where the line is drawn. I can see someone thinking this was a heart attack. On the other hand I'm not showing anything on the outside and I don't know if you can do that in a panic attack. Maybe dealing with extreme physical pain has inured me to the psychological kind too. I always did like the stiff upper lip thing.

After updating on Sunday Ethan, Robin, and I had another post-Thanksgiving breakfast that couldn't be beat at Mad Martha's. I called it Martha's yesterday which is pretty close for an idiot. It is worth a trip out of your way to eat there. I had scrambled eggs with sausage, bacon, and ham, al mixed right in with the eggs. It's called the big shag. It made me feel very masculine. I even know that name of people there, the owner is Kendall and our waitress was Haley. Not sure I'm spelling either of them right. Making an effort on names actually works. We went back to the house, picked up my stuff and drove down to Boston. We made such good time I was there two and a half hour early. Of course my computer wouldn't work. I made good use of my time though. I finished tallying the grades on the test and I wrote out a very neat answer key. I used my computer for that! I couldn't turn it on but it made an excellent writing surface on my lap. I am actually proud of my handwriting on it. If I go very slow I can write legibly. Thats all I aspire too, letters not chicken scratch. The early class did great, a median grade of 84, the afternoon class OK, 74. Giving the class a practice test has raised my classes averages tremendously. The problem is that I'm not sure they are learning any more.

The ride home seemed fine but we got in a hour late. I guess it's just the weather, we drove slower without hitting traffic. It did let me be above ground instead of on the subway when I got a phone call so that was good. I got my computer working again during the ride and pretty much stayed on the slow Bolt Bus internet the entire ride.

We made a rest stop and I got annoyed at the woman sitting next to me. I got off and she didn't. She didn't get up to make me easy for me to get out. Worse she left her bag sitting on the floor in front of her so in the cramped space I had to step over it. That's just discourteous. When I came back she did the same thing. I didn't say anything to her.

I talked a lot of music this weekend and digested more on the ride home. We discussed the three dimensions of being a performing musician, songwriting, musicianship, and showmanship. But the more I think of it that leaves off what is to me the most important, genius. It's the difference between Mozart and Saliari. Genius remakes the world in the mind of the beholder or listener. I don't give a feather or a fig about technical skills. They are tools to enhance what you are doing and many a performer has been held back by their lack. But it's still craftsmanship not art. I'd say necessary but not sufficient and I'm not sure if they are even necessary, just extremely useful. Almost everyone needs them to succeed, but not everyone. Think of Van Gogh. Could he even draw a circle? Da Vinci said anyone that can't do that is not an artist. But Van Gogh made up for it with enough genius for five artists. Many people think they can get by without the craft, those are mainly the wannabes. They can pretend to be professionals but they are pretending. Amongst professionals the more common failing is lack of originality.

I won't use names here even though I'm going to only talk about people that I like quite a bit. I also have decided to stop flipping coins. For now on all people of indeterminate gender will get female pronouns. I'll make up for years of doing it the other way.

There are musicians I see who know how to craft a song, they know how to sell a song. They know how to play and sing. But what they are playing and singing is the same thing that I've heard over and over again. It's a Dick and Jane primer written in flawless iambic pentameter. It's still a primer.

On the other hand I know people who don't know how to draw a circle but can move me. There is one person I know that breaks all my personal rules. Her songs don't vary in tempo and they are all the dreaded drone. It doesn't matter. I adore her because they all do the best thing in the world, they make me think. They take me to places I wouldn't visit on my own. I know she isn't for everyone. I have a hard time recommending her, but if you can get your head into her world you're rewarded.

Dylan is very much like that. His language took you by surprise. He was often like Jabberworky, you knew things had meaning but weren't quite sure what it was.

The best artists are like the best scientists, they leave you knowing more about the universe.

I'm back from my second class. As I was writing my anxiety waned. I got back to teaching and it blew up again. I did some silly things, like copying questions wrong and starting to do the same question twice in a row because I was distracted. Of course I'm an idiot so I do those things all the time and I'm sure the students didn't sense anything was wrong. I'm going to therapy now. That's a good thing but thinking about discussing the anxiety is giving e anxiety. It's all marvelously non-linear. That is not meant ironically or sarcastically. It really is marvelous and I can always see that kind of thing just as I always see the humor.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile December 09, 2013
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