Oscars: Diary, 3/25 to 3/27/22

Fun with Pablo; Ukraine and America; doomed by panicky monkeys; 3 birthdays; writing binge; Oscars review; a moth; Derrick Jensen quote/review, and more.

Amy Schumer at the Oscars, 2022

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{3/25/22}

Dreamt this morning about The Andromeda Strain (movie), reviewed here yesterday.  Also, that I was walking to the bathroom and saw a wad of hair larger than my fist, lying by the bathroom doorway; the hair was darker than mine, making me think it came from Pablo.

Wrote 2½ pages this morning, a restart of TLC.

Got dragged out of the house around noon to “help” Pablo, which it turned out he didn’t need.  This was particularly annoying because the morning had been productive and I wanted to build on that.  So, when I got home around 2:30, I proceeded to piss away the rest of the day (it’s now 7:43) by watching TV and dozing and eating.  To be fair, he did buy me some date rolls “as a birthday present.”  But when he wanted to come over here, I told him no, but that “it’s nothing personal.”  Which is true; but my excuse turned out to be as questionable as his “need” of me today.  Whatever.

Took a look at Truthout and found a very good “interview” with Noam Chomsky on the Ukraine situation (more like a rather short monologue), then went to Matt Taibbi on Substack and read a sensational piece called “Orwell was Right.”  Of course these things are depressing and make me want to withdraw into deep fantasy to make the world all better again, for a few hours.  But at the end of civilization, what kind of behavior is sensible?  If you think that we are NOT at the end of civilization, well, God bless you—you’re already embedded in your deep fantasy, and I really can’t blame you for not poking your head out to take a sober look around.

The only problem is, the more we do that, the worse it will be for everyone.  I don’t know whether the human species will survive in some form; my gut tells me, yes, it will.  I’m less sure that it will be a life worth living.  We’re on a rock that has been going around the sun for five billion years or more and it hasn’t been destroyed yet; but I think now it would be a “blessing” for the earth to go into a black hole fairly soon.  Because fairly soon, the mass of suffering will far outweigh the mass of good in the world, if it doesn’t already.  But feel free to dismiss my calculus—in the long run, it will make no difference whatsoever, who is right.

So it turns out that our beloved Constitution is the ruin of the world, because now that we really need cool heads and science to prevail, the panicky monkeys and SCFs won’t let that happen, because they are too useful to the sociopaths in charge.

{3/26/22}

Had the Hemlock Club meeting today, which was mostly given over to the celebration of three birthdays:  Pablo’s, Peanut’s, and mine.  I will be 75 tomorrow; Peanut will be 74 on Monday; Pablo turned 66 (I think) last month.  I have photographs of the “cake,” which is four cinnamon rolls from Panera Bread, and my sandwich, but I’m not going to include those here.  I will include a picture of the five of us (add TC and Nog to those already named), taken by Olivia.  I wanted to take a picture of Olivia, but she refused permission.  Discussion was mostly of personal subjects and I took no notes, so I have nothing more to say about that.

L to R: Author, TC, Nog, Pablo, Peanut, Panera Bread, 3/27/22

I wrapped presents for Pablo and Peanut, Suzuki’s Zen and the Culture of Japan I think, a volume in the Bollingen series, and a fan, respectively.  They both seemed pleased.  These were not new items, and I would like to have kept them, though there’s an excellent chance that I never would have read the book.  The fan was purchased after a rather lengthy search, both online and in at least three stores.  I finally found it, two or three years ago, in a church gift shop.  Now I’ll be looking again for one for myself.  These were the only gifts presented, though TC bought meals for everyone.  I also gave a book (Cindy Crabb: The Encyclopedia of Doris) and a CD of French language instruction to Olivia, because I had promised these things.

Now, the real news, I suppose, is that I have written eight pages and started a ninth on a rewrite of TLC, most of that yesterday after my return home.  This is unusually productive of me, but I have added little or nothing today.  Given that it’s after 8:00 pm, it seems unlikely that I’ll add much tonight—though I “could” and “would like to.”

Perhaps it’s indicative of my mood that I couldn’t find a DVD that I wanted to watch, though I have about two dozen that I haven’t watched yet.

Academy Awards tomorrow.  I watch the show every year, but I have seen none of the movies this time except Dune, which I didn’t like much.

{3/27/22}

75 years old today; I feel no urge to celebrate.

Wrote half a page this morning, feeling depressed and wanting to apply my “cure” (that is, getting some fiction writing done makes me feel better throughout the day).

I’ve written an update on my experiences with Viagra, “for mature adults only”; it has been posted to my blog separately, as an update here.

Watched the Oscars show.  Amy Schumer’s opening monologue was brilliant, hilarious.  Will Smith’s long, boring, reverent acceptance speech had me in agony.  “Endless.  Stop!  So full of himself.”  These are things I wrote while he was speaking.  I’d like to see Don’t Look Up, Nightmare Alley, and CODA (Best Picture winner), and maybe Free Guy, Affairs of the Art (Animated Short, not the winner), Encanto (Animated Feature), The Worst Person in the World (International Feature nominee), and maybe Lead Me Home (Documentary Short nominee).  There was endless angst over Ukraine, but not one mention of the elephant (climate catastrophe).

Also watched Missing In America (2005) which was pretty good up to a point.  The basic plot, old curmudgeon is won over by the orphaned waif thrust upon him, is a cliché, but there’s an angle that’s interesting:  Vietnam veterans living in the forest in permanent dropout conditions.  The last fifteen minutes ruin it for me, however:  annoying, then excessively sentimental and reverent.  Starring Danny Glover.  No critics’ score on RT, 71% from audiences.

Blurry moth picture

Earlier in the evening I noticed a small moth sitting on the wall.  A close look and checking the “Peterson Field Guides” Insects persuaded me that it was a Cabbage Looper or Trichoplusia ni (Hübner).  It was a surprise to me to see “threadlike” antennae; I thought that moths all had feathery antennae.  I had just read something from Derrick Jensen (quote below) which led me to not want to kill the moth, so I put a shot glass over it—it flew up into the glass, so I slid an index card underneath and so transported the fellow outside, hopefully to find a cabbage somewhere.

Here’s the quote, from Derrick Jensen: A Language Older Than Words, Context Books, New York, 2000:

“What if we stand the notion of ownership on its head? What if I do not own the barn, but instead it owns me, or better, we own each other? What if I do not view it as my right to kill mice simply because I can, and because a piece of paper tells me I own their habitation? What if, because their habitation is near my own, I am responsible for their well-being? What if I take care of them and their community as the grandfather ponderosa outside this window takes care of me, and as before that the stars soothed me? This relationship of mutual care doesn’t mean that none shall die, nor even that I won’t kill anything, nor eventually be killed; it simply means we will treat each other with respect, and that neither will unnecessarily shit where the other bathes. The bees, too, stand in my purview, and so it becomes my responsibility to make sure, to the best of my abilities, that they can sustain their community. The same can be said for the communities of wild roses, native grasses, trees, frogs, mosquitos, ants, flies, bluebirds, bumblebees, and magpies that, too, call this their home. We all share responsibility toward each other and toward the soil, which in turn shares responsibility to each of us. What if all of life is not what we’ve been taught, a ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’ competition to see who may own or kill the others before the others can own or kill them? What if we don’t need to live our whole lives alone? What if life is a web of immeasurably complex and respectful relationships? What if the purpose—even the evolutionary purpose—is for each of us to take responsibility for all those around us, to respect their own deepest needs, to esteem and be esteemed by them, to feed and feed off them, to be sustained by their bodies and eventually to sustain them with our own?” p. 113-114

Here’s my original book review from maybe twenty [forty?] years ago:  “This book is provocative and consistently interesting and entertaining. However, I disagree with many of his conclusions. Specifically, he talks about the necessity of our “giving back” to the earth and other species. This is not strictly necessary. I think it is fair to say that no animal species gives back as much as it takes. We can get away with this because the sun provides tremendous energy input to the earth. The earth is not a closed system.

“Also, I am not persuaded that stars, trees, or even coyotes have much to offer regardless of how hard we listen. I say this as a confirmed “nature lover.” We (as a culture) have abandoned animism because we found better ways (or, at least they are better in some respects), and not because we’re evil or stupid. Also, living in cities probably has something to do with our “deafness.”

“And I find the idea of the necessity of death before a rebirth pretty underwhelming.

“So, I think there’s plenty to carp about in this book, but there are also riches, as I hope the above quotes have shown. I recommend this book highly.”

Given my agonies over our climate catastrophe and the end of civilization, I would write this review very differently today.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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