Diary, 5/13 to 5/18/19

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Stephanie Miller:  I watch her, but also criticize her

{5/13/19}  Weight 220.6.

A disturbing dream:  I was brutally choking a woman to make her talk.  I can’t remember any more of this.  Also dreamt that there was a pile of hair, leaves, and dirt next to my living room chair.  WTF?

I went to bed early last night, like eight o’clock, and reread my “The Bleak Philosophy:  A Preliminary Sketch.”  I thought it quite interesting, though choppy and ragged.

World Book again:  in the article on Richard Strauss, a throwaway definition of “dissonance” is outrageously wrong, something like “music not in a key.”  Given that this encyclopedia is intended to be useful to, among other groups, elementary school children, I suppose the throwaway definitions are forgivable; what’s not forgivable is how terribly they are written.  Stupidly inaccurate, sowing ignorance.

Watched The Eyes of Orson Welles, a wonderful documentary by Mark Cousins about the life and vision of O.W.  In the World Book, Welles gets five column inches and a postage-stamp photograph.  Made in 2018, shown on TCM.  Many thanks to TCM.  I don’t always love Orson’s movies, but they’re always worth a look.  I’ll have to give The Lady from Shanghai another try, based on what I saw in this documentary.  (I gave up after fifteen minutes or so, the one time I tried it.)

Did I get rid of my DVD of The Trial?  Does it matter?  I reviewed it here on 4/20.

Beto O’Rourke (sp?) says we should, indeed, support the pretender in Venezuela.  Looks like he’s “avoiding controversy.”  Yeah, I won’t be voting for him, then.  I wonder what Bernie says, or Warren.

The vile repugliKKKans have started three investigations of the “oranges” of the Mueller investigation.  Welcome to 1984, Hitler-style.

The next presidential election I think will be very disappointing to me, and to the human species.  I’ve never backed a winner yet.

Salomé moved to Florida with the understanding that she would be living with an old friend of hers from Ukraine.  Now, just a couple of days later, the friend has told her to leave.  I want to help Salomé, and I could send her a few hundred dollars in about ten days, when I get paid.  But I think I’m not going to do that.  First, she hasn’t asked.  Second, it’s not like I can make up for all her deficiencies on my income.  I can buy her a bus ticket if she needs to relocate, or possibly a plane ticket, but I can’t supply her rent.  That’s always the big problem.  I’ll send her an email, making no offers, and see what she has to say, what she wants to do.  [5/18/19: I did send her an email, but forgot my decision not to make an offer.  Fortunately, she says she’s okay for now.]


{5/14/19}  Weight 220.8.  8:00 am:  220.2.

These days, most days, I seem to be waking in sadness.  Part of that may be that I rarely sleep as late as I want to, in the morning, so I start most days with a minor frustration.  But I can’t really say that I’m depressed…yeah, maybe I can say that.  Though it’s never a deep depression—but maybe it doesn’t have to be “a deep depression” to be a depression.

I’m getting twinges from my lower abdomen, and have been since making the effort to get the encyclopedia home.  I mentioned this on 5/12.  It seems to be both intestinal and muscular.


{5/15/19}  Weight 221.2.

Weltschmerz.  That’s a word I can use these days.  To think that I should be alive to see, if only as a vision, the end of human civilization—the modern Midas story of our masters being so greedy for ever-more gold that they will burn the world to get it.  How many bad teleplays have we seen with that very moral?  Villain clinging to the gold as he drowns.

Had a very long dream in which I seemed to be telling the story of a story I don’t know, A Wrinkle in Time, in an old Disney-animated version, like Beauty and the Beast with an overlay of golden haze.  An adolescent boy living in a cottage with his family, yada yada, with a love interest appearing late, attracted to a rival.

Watching slap-happy, nose-wiping, annoying-in-so-many-ways Stephanie Miller, who has a “happy clappy” poster on the wall behind her.  The hopefulness-squashing, heart-stabbing news story this morning:  the Trump Justice Department is not going to defend the 20-year-old law banning female genital mutilation.  This seems über-horrifying, but what about circumcision, i.e., male genital mutilation?  Her t-shirt saying “Separation of church and uterus” is cool.

Rode the trike this morning.  Yay!  Washed my dishes yesterday, all of them.  Yay!  These are “real accomplishments” in the sense that they required the overcoming of depression and inertia, in addition to the work itself.  Of course, this isn’t getting Kick Me written.

Now I’m ready for a nap.


{5/16/19}  Weight 219.8.  At 7:30 am, 219.4.

The last time my weight was below 220 was on 4/7/19.  How did it happen this time?  I stopped eating ice cream after every meal, and I have gotten stricter about my “no lunch” policy.  Having chicken instead of cheeseburger for dinner one time, also.

Now, if I could just cut down on TV in the morning.  I could easily do without Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann, which are both “talk radio on TV.”  And here’s another thing:  for a couple weeks I’ve been writing down things from these two shows and other Free Speech TV shows—names, book titles, and web sites—and in looking back I find only mental blanks.  Even when things impress me enough to write them down, a week later it’s all gone.  So:  I need to consume less, and write fuller notes.

But:  if I cut down on TV, what do I do instead?  More reading?

This morning I can hardly feel any ill effects of my trike ride yesterday.  This is very different from the previous jaunt, which had my legs aching for a couple of days, even though I was harder on myself yesterday (fewer stops to rest, same distance covered, same overall time, so, apparently, longer stops).

Been browsing through Arthur Schopenhauer:  Essays and Aphorisms, R. J. Hollingdale (tr. and ed.), Penguin Classics, New York, 1970-2004, and finally came up with a couple of things I liked:  “On Thinking for Yourself” and “Religion:  A Dialogue.”  A quote:  “The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable.”  p. 117.

Stephanie Miller this morning says, “We are beyond a constitutional crisis.”  Sure.  It’s a moral and social crisis, an existential crisis.

Finished reading A. E. van Vogt:  The Players of Null-A.  It was fun and more than interesting, in that his “Null Abstracts” leading off some chapters were stimulating enough that I plan to type them up as a separate document and put it in my Collected Quotations.  The plot was very complicated, and the revelation of “the player” was an interesting surprise, but on the whole it’s perhaps not as great as one might like.

Watched and greatly enjoyed a 90-minute documentary on Kate Bush’s album, The Hounds of Love.  I bought the DVD about a week ago.  It made me long to buy all her albums again, but that would be a mistake because I had sold off most of them before.


{5/17/19}  Weight not recorded.


{5/18/19}  Weight 221.0.  Phooey.

Sitting here thinking, “I don’t want to.  But I need to.”  In reference to riding the trike this morning.

I face this kind of question more or less every day:  vacuuming, washing dishes, taking a shower, doing laundry, writing.  And more or less every day I shrug them off.  According to Morita Therapy, the key to mental health is to “do what needs doing.” So I must be very, very sick?

No doubt it can be questioned how often vacuuming “needs doing.”  A commercial for the Roomba says that if you own one, “you can forget about vacuuming for a week.”  I laughed out loud.  In a good year, I might vacuum four times.  If I had small children, or teenagers, presumably I’d need to vacuum more often.  I feel no particular urge to vacuum more than I ordinarily do, so I suppose that the above paragraph is in error.  If I had visitors frequently, I suppose I’d vacuum more often.  But I have visitors less than twice a month, on average.

What are the real issues here?  I suppose showering and writing and tooth brushing.  Compared to the average homeless person, I do pretty well.  I mean that as a joke, not as an excuse.  Do I feel a need to excuse myself?  Only to others, not to myself or for myself, and perhaps not very much to others, either.  I feel like I am unnecessarily fending off “social norms.”  I don’t need to be persuaded—which makes me wonder why I raised the issue at all.

The problem with mainstream media—which for me means MS NBC—is that they go after the low-hanging fruit rather than digging out, via reporters, the stories that require actual work.  Any doofus with a computer can report every day on the latest tweets of our vile President, and on stories “broken” by other media; and any important media outlet can report on “news releases” sent to them by the government and other organizations and individuals.  But to report on actual conditions and situations in Venezuela or Iran (or Flint, Michigan) requires contacts with people in those places, or at least judicious review of their media.  MSM “cares” about their news only to the extent necessary to get their viewers, because what they really care about is their bottom line.

To do news the right way is expensive and produces little return for great effort.  Who does it right?  “Breaking news” typically comes from newspapers:  the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and so on.  “Muckraking” comes from Mother Jones, The Nation, and others I don’t even know.  Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes on MS NBC are pretty good about coming up with stories that others haven’t covered.  And, of course, there’s Democracy Now, which I watch almost every day.

So, why don’t I subscribe to Mother Jones and The Nation?  I have done so, and found, issue after issue, little to interest me.  Subscribing to the NYT is very expensive, and to review it every day would be very expensive in attention—and quite unnecessary, because their “breaking news” gets covered by the MSM.  But there are things in all newspapers that the MSM does not cover, because the MSM has corporate owners who must not be offended.  And so we get some censorship.  And so we have neglect of crucial stories, like climate change, which only now is getting the kind of attention that should have started fifty years ago.  Other crucial stories eventually get covered in books, and then the author gets interviewed and so the story gets out, slowly.

But I know that I’m not getting the news that I want, not often enough, and I’m getting “news” that I don’t want, all too often:  the latest rants from the comedian-in-chief, the all-too-predictable “reactions” from Congresspersons, the 2020 “horse race” that the media wants to settle in mid-2019…enough.

So:  no more hours and hours of morning news, watch Democracy Now, and subscribe to Foreign Affairs.

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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