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

May 22, 2014 - 1:11 p.m.

Block that Writer!

I didn't do anything yesterday. It was not a good day. I did go out. I remember coming home. Where did I go? Was it just shopping in the neighborhood. It was. I just got a Korean potato, garlic, and okra. I have never tried okra. My plan was to make soup. I also went to McDonald's; not for food but coffee. They are having a sale, all coffee, all sizes, hot or cold for $1. They use Paul Newman's coffee and it's pretty good. I can't pass up the iced coffee. Of course they were out of large cups and they put way to much milk in. I asked for very little milk and she confirmed that.

I didn't cook when I got home as my nemesis was in the kitchen. My nemesis is the handyman that lives here and has stolen things from the kitchen since he arrived. Quite late I started to make my soup. I had everything ready then went to take the sausages I had taken out to defrost out of the fridge. That's what makes the soup for me. The sausages were gone. He stole them. I decided to make due with Taylor ham. He stole that too. I told the landlady I can't put up with this any longer. Something must be done about him. I wasn't going to eat the soup without the meat. I would not have enjoyed it. I had nothing else defrosted to eat. I was going to go out for dinner and the landlady agreed to pay for it. I was going to take the subway to Atlantic Terminal to get some dinner and some Taylor Ham at Pathmark when the phone rang. It was a call I wanted to take so I went back to talk. Then I realized that the subway stops running at night. So that was it for my dinner. I was going to have peanut butter but I lost my appetite. I had an egg cream because chocolate always helps. I was going to have Taylor ham for breakfast but that's out now too of course.

Getting back to dinner. I find that I'm not getting the joy out of food I usually do. Ice cream and chocolate and peanut butter still have their magic but nothing else, not even bacon. Tonight I'm going to Hill Country Barbecue, we'll see if that works.

Oh, remember how my Fantasy Baseball team was in first? That was short lived. Yesterday I had another offensive bonanza but the pitching was disastrous and we fell back to second But I'm being an optimist. The pitching was an aberration and the two huge offensive days in a row put the team in position to move up further in HR, RBI, and SB.

Know what saved the day? Talking to Brianne. Sometimes you just need somebody to do this.

I have writer' block. I never have writer's block. So I'll write about having writer's block. They key to writing is to write.

I wanted to write a poem the other day. Poems and songs are usually so easy for me. It was my speciality too, an acrostic. But t wouldn't come. I said to myself, "Why can't I write this damn poem, this damn poem, this damn poem." I realized I was actually singing it to the chorus of Radio Song by the Felice Brothers. The words flowed. It was pretty good. I planned on writing it down and posting it here. I was on the shuttle bus at the time and couldn't write it. I then got distracted with another poem and that one I got stuck on too but I figured when I sat down with a pen it would come. It didnt' and now when I went to write about my Radio Song filk it wouldn't come either. So I'm stuck writing about not being able to write. That's somehow appropriate. Writing's a big part of my life and Wise Madness is about my life.

But there's a writing lesson here. If you can't write one thing write another. Write something even if it's bad. I wanted to e creative today. When the poem failed I figured I'd do something I haven't done in years, written an edition of the Horvendile Inquirer. That was my comic news parody. Think The Onion except all I'd write is the headlines and blurbs. Here is the very first edition written back in 2004, Homage to Mr X . The thing is that unlike most of my humor those required work. I'd find something that inspired me and jot down the idea. I'd collect them till I had enough for an edition. So maybe I'll try that again.

So here's the thing. I couldn't write and now the words are flowing from my brain, down my arm, to my fingers and onto the keyboard. From there they are converted to binary digits, transmitted across the internet to your computer where they are decoded back to letters which you read and the words enter your head. That's what writing is, words flowing from one person's brain to another.

And that reminds me of something I have been meaning to write about. I think quite often of extraterrestrial intelligent life. That makes me think clearer of human civilization. What elements are essential and common to all civilizations on all planets? I often tell my students that the numbers  and e are built into the universe. Any civilization capable of communicating with us will have them. But what of more human things. What of art? Will all civilizations have art? Will they be the same arts? Have any totally new arts been invented in historical times? I think not. Painting, sculpture, dance, and music certainly predate civilization. There's no way to have proof of it as it requires writing to preserve it but I'm sure poetry predates civilization too. And of course there's story telling. That might be the oldest of all. Everything new is applying new technologies to those arts. Perhaps theater can be considered new. I'm not sure where I'd draw the line. I'm also not sure that people weren't acting out the tales of the story tellers before civilization. Kids play act all the time. My guess is that's prehistoric too.

But we never developed an art based on smell. I'm sure somewhere somebody has tried but it didn't take off. Or did it? Is perfumery an art? Maybe it is. But wouldn't be surprised if there were a civilization of some race with a more acute sense of smell than us that developed the olfactory arts. Perhaps there are arts based on senses we don't have at all. Electrical senses are a candidate. Are there arts we simply can't imagine, that are brains can't handle. Will there be civilizations that can hear but not understand music. And what of humor? Will all civilizations have jokes? Will they all do the equivalent of laughing?

What arts will be appreciated by other species and other planets. I'd guess music. Others feel the same way. We included musical recording on the Voyager spacecraft. I like biologist Lewis Thomas's take on this in "Ceti." He is answering the question of what to transmit to the universe in radio transmissions.

Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity. I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later.

Now I'm going to move on to the culinary arts. I decided what to do for breakfast, pancakes and sausage. Then I'll go shopping and replace what the thief stole. The landlady said she'd compensate me Tonight is a musical doubleheader. Spuyten Duyvil at 7 at Hill Country Brooklyn followed by Emily Elbert at 9:30 at Rockwood Music Hall.

OH and today's Wagner's birthday. So much for my listening to only soothing music. Operavore is playing Die Walkre. Kill the Wabbit is playing as I finish this.

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 May 22, 2014
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