School Shootings (and less important stuff)

Diary 5/28 to 5/29/22: Poker win; Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations reviewed with quotes; bureaucratic nonsense; Anne Brontë; report on “the best way to address…tragedies”; “kayfabe”

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


So I did work on the story, a very little, but it got it (and me) moving again.  I also added extensive marginal notes this morning, fleshing out the setup of Jake’s family and business.  He may be working on restoring a 1972 Plymouth “Woody” station wagon, already has a buyer lined up.  But he works in Ising as a mechanic.


Yesterday was very interesting and this morning also.  First was the Hemlock Club, though nothing much happened there.  In the evening I played poker with TC and his son M1, M2, and three others.  I won several hands by having a better “kicker” than an opponent.  I won $47.  Not bad for three hours of enjoyment. OTOH, I feel bad when I win, and I feel bad when I lose.

I also played two games of chess with M3.  In the first, playing a Sicilian Defense, I blundered away a pawn and walked blindly into a quick, easy checkmate.  In the second, playing against his Dutch Defense, I won the exchange and had a strong endgame after a pawn sacrifice and some errors by M3; he resigned because the poker had started.

Chess with hand

This morning I woke at 4:00 or 4:30 and soon was out of bed.  I finished reading Ludwig Wittgenstein:  Philosophical Investigations, G. E. M. Anscombe (tr), The Macmillan Company, New York, 1953.  On the title page I wrote, “Begun studying 4/6/22.  Finished reading 5/29.  Many questions and provocative observations, few conclusions. Exactly the right title. Well worth the effort to read thoughtfully, but quite dry. The general point seems to be to fully explore the ideas expressed in and stimulated by the quote from Augustine on page 2. It would have been very helpful to have understood this at the start. See also the highlight on p. 206, and on p. 133. In part, there is much here reminiscent of his On Certainty.  An excellent, excellent book.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)

The quote from Augustine: “When they (my elders) named some object, and accordingly moved towards something, I saw this and I grasped that the thing was called by the sound they uttered when they meant to point it out. Their intention was shewn by their bodily movements, as it were the natural language of all peoples: the expression of the face, the play of the eyes, the movement of other parts of the body, and the tone of voice which expresses our state of mind in seeking, having, rejecting, or avoiding something. Thus, as I heard words repeatedly used in their proper places in various sentences, I gradually learnt to understand what objects they signified; and after I had trained my mouth to form these signs, I used them to express my own desires.” p. 2.

The other quotes noted above: “(In giving all these examples I am not aiming at some kind of completeness, some classification of psychological concepts. They are only meant to enable the reader to shift for himself when he encounters conceptual difficulties.)” p. 206.

“464. My aim is to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.” p. 133.

Opened a card from the Bakersfield VA Clinic confirming my appointment on 6/7.  In the lower half is a box containing general instructions.  Below that is a box containing these cryptic words:  “This is the message box, it contains a message to tell you about the message.”  Was this hilarious sentence written by a human being and approved by his boss?

Feeling cash rich, I spent $29.92 at Hamilton; I was sufficiently restrained to not buy the four-volume set of Samuel Beckett.  If I want to read Beckett, the library system has 19 books by him.  I likely would have looked through the books when they arrived, then onto the shelf (ha! fat chance) to sit for some time.  I have plenty of fiction I already want to read.  So I’m getting the Elements Trilogy (I have one volume in beaten up paperback) and seasons one and two of a Sherlock Holmes series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

I’m reading Anne BrontëAgnes Grey, so far an underwhelming story of a young governess and the miserable children and useless parents she’s forced to try to cope with.  I haven’t cracked the Charlotte Brontë I also have from the library (Shirley).  Most of my reading time has gone to a reread of Walter Truett Anderson:  Reality Isn’t What It Used to Be, a discussion or whatever of postmodernism.  Well worth reading this time, too.  (In my previous reading, I made no notes and copied no quotes.)

Caitlin Johnstone today:  “The single most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of our society is the fact that immensely powerful people are continuously working to manipulate the thoughts we think about the world. Whether you call it propaganda, psyops, perception management or public relations, it’s a real thing that happens constantly, and it happens to all of us.”  One part of the class war.

Neuroscience News today:  “Summary: In the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, psychologists report on the best way to address such tragedies to young children and explore how to help teachers and those directly affected by the events.”

Another quote:  “Children can sense if you’re upset, so if you don’t share what is bothering you, you might actually make your child worry more.”  Useful and important if you have children or are distressed yourself.

Chris Hedges today, “How to Defeat the Billionaire Class”:  “Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative (SA) party have, for nearly a decade, waged one of the most effective battles against the city’s moneyed elites. She and the SA have adopted a series of unorthodox methods to fight the ruling oligarchs and, in that confrontation, exposed the Democratic Party leadership as craven tools of the billionaire class. Her success is one that should be closely studied and replicated in city after city if we are to dismantle corporate tyranny.”

Caitlin Johnstone yesterday, “Kayfabe Populism: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix”: “It’s so important that the public have no real say in US politics that the empire not only set up two oligarchic puppet parties which pretend to oppose each other, but also set up fake populist movements within each of those factions which pretend to be fighting the establishment within those parties.

“It’s a very clever illusion that sucks up almost all real opposition.”  The word “kayfabe” is discussed here; an inadequate synonym would be “fake.”

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

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