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

February 19, 2018 - 11:36 a.m.

The Hill of Erin and the Valley of Anxiety

I didn't leave the house yesterday; that always makes blogging a challenge. I hope I remember one of the brilliant I ideas I had. I don't now but maybe one will come to me. One did, now it's just a matter of deciding if I want to write it. The problem is I'm driven to write about the music, food, and friends, by love; I'm driven to write about politics by anger. Acting out of anger harmful so I must shackle it with reason, and that takes a great deal of effort. I do enjoy the irony that one of the things I'm driven by anger to write about is the harm done by acting out of anger.

I'll start by writing about some safe topics. On Friday I told you that the heat went out in the house. The furnace repairman said he might come by Friday night otherwise first thing on Saturday. He didn't come Friday. At 11 o'clock Sunday he still hadn't arrive. There is no definition of first thing in the morning that includes after 11 AM; that's the last thing in the morning. Jane called him, and he said he'd be over in 40 minutes. When I left hear around 3:30 he still had not arrived. I got a text from Jane after 8 PM that the burner was fixed. Somebody he sent got here around 7 PM. Jane had called him again and he said he had forgotten about it. He doesn't live close by; when he said he'd be here in 40 minutes that implied he was leaving right away. How do you forget you are going to repair a furnace in the time between hanging up the phone and going to your van? That is a major flake out. Jane took this with a lot more equanimity than I would have.

That was inspired by anger but it's different. That was everyday annoyance. Those are the parts of life that you use as contrast to make the good things even better. Speaking of good things, last night's dinner. I made one of those very little effort very much flavor dishes, ham steak with cheese. My mother used to make ham steak with a brown sugar glaze. It was great. I used to make it the same way. Then I started experimenting and making it with other glazes including things like honey, maple syrup, and peanut butter. They were all somewhat labor intensive. Now I just grill it on a skillet and put cheese on top; sometimes It's a slice of American cheese, sometimes a slice of whatever is around, last night it was shredded jack cheese. Then I just put on some honey mustard when it's done. It's as enjoyable as any other way of making it.

Every day I look at my blogs from five, ten and fifteen years ago. I've been doing this a long time. The other day I read in my blog from five years ago, Deni For Your Thoughts about a great concert. As you can tell from the title the headliner was Deni Bonet. Bobtown was the opener. It was my first time seeing them outside of NERFA. That makes it a memorable concert. What I rediscovered was that there was a third act on the bill, Erin Hill, and that I loved her. She commented on Facebook when I tagged her and told me her music was available streaming. I added all her albums on Amazon music. I still love her music. She plays harp and writes nerd pop, filled with references to things like Star Trek and Twilight Zone. It's taken five years, but I have a new Gospel to preach. I've often mused on the different ways people describe my place in the folk music world. Right now, I'm leaning towards Folk Apostle. My tastes are broader than folk, but the Folk World includes a lot more than Folk Music. It includes all the musical step children. I should post a blog about my biggest discoveries of the previous year and call it, The Book of Revelations. Ages ago Carey, in a guest entry, said that when I love something I want to share it with the world. She was right. That's a truer calling for me than berating the world for it's failings. I just wrote a note to remind me of the political/philosophical topic I was going to write about. I'm saving it for another day.

I will add something else more personal and psychological. Last night before I went to sleep I read a scary email. This was not an email from a crazy person threatening me over what I wrote in Wise Madness. It was not a letter from a creditor saying that I now owe 22 million dollars. It was an email from a friend, yet I was afraid to read it. That's a concept foreign to many of you and self-evident to others. That's one of the ways my anxiety manifests itself. People don't understand mental issues and anxiety is more misunderstood than most. While people can say harmful things like "just cheer up" to people with depression, it's even more common with anxiety. I constantly hear people say, "just do it!" They take it as a character failing not a mental health issue. Saying "just do it" can make me feel the way you'd feel if someone said, "just jump out of the plane." Writing this now is making my heart beat fast. I am hearing My Gentle Readers judging and finding me guilty. That's after years of therapy and a year and a half on meds. What those have done is make it possible for me to fight through the anxiety more often, but not always. My dream is for it to not be a fight.

Yet I judge too. I always feel for people with mental health issue and I understand that there are times I won't be able to understand; that it's totally outside my experience. What bothers me is when people don't realize that the problem is within themselves. If I was saying, "reading emails from friends is a rational thing to do;" and tried to justify my not reading it as the normal thing to do I'd feel the same way I feel about the plumber "forgetting" he was supposed to come over and fix the furnace in the time between hanging up the phone and walking out the door. I have not decided if I should be more understanding of that.

Now back to spreading gospel. I wrote about yesterday's dinner but not breakfast. On Friday I bought two bagels and I had them for breakfast over the weekend. Yesterday it was sausageeggandcheese on a salt bagel. I always enjoy breakfast but that's so much better than the alternative breads I've been using. There is nothing like a good New York bagel. I'm out of them for now. I'm buying a dozen tomorrow if I can get my act together. A little self-indulgence is good for the soul. Today it's going to be hameggandcheese rolled in lavash. That's a much better thought to go out on.

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 February 19, 2018
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