Conversations, Hemlock, and Sherlock

Diary 6/10 to 6/12/22: Two-year-olds; dementia; Hemlock Club and Jan 6th; talking with Nog; BBC’s Sherlock; Hedges on the Committee; diary clutter; A Dangerous Method.

Two-year-olds. Photo by Pixabay on

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

{6/10/22} Continued.

Posted a comment on another blog:

Very cool.  When my son was two he said something that astonished me:  “Clouds are snow in the sky.  Snow is clouds on the ground.”  Beautiful.  He also, reflecting his father’s influence, used the word “deciduous” correctly at two.

But enough of this hot laptop in a too-warm room.

Something from Neuroscience News:  “People with higher levels of omega-3 DHA in their blood are 49% less likely to develop dementia than those with lower levels. Researchers say adding additional omega-3 DHA to the diet, especially in those with the Alzheimer’s associated Apoe4 gene, could slow the development and progress of dementia.”  Link.


Summer schedule for the Hemlock Club—we meet at 8:00 am instead of 10:00.  Should be enough to talk about today:  the January 6th Committee (though we normally avoid politics) and maybe I’ll get into “self-guidance.”  Plus the usual.

I’ll almost certainly have breakfast at Panera Bread, which is where we meet, and go off veganism to eat an egg and cheese sandwich.  I’ll never be a strict vegan, and indeed, it’s a lifestyle that requires more attention and care than would be my preference otherwise.  That’s probably unclear, but let it be so.


Hemlock Club, the usual suspects

The Hemlock Club meeting yesterday was satisfying enough, but also disappointing.  I had hoped to hear some intelligent comments about the public hearing on Thursday, but Pablo diverted me onto Glenn Greenwald and “Russiagate.”  This was predictably unproductive, though he would not agree with that assessment.  Nog and I met at 8:00 am and had two hours or more to ourselves, but later I left him a voice mail asking that he call me because I had a question for him.  He did call, and we were up until 2:00 am talking (4½ hours).  One of our best and longest conversations ever.

What did we talk about?  First, I asked my question, that he had been to my place more than once, yet he had expressed no curiosity about my books, CDs, DVD’s, the artwork on my walls, and so on. His answer was essentially that he was shy about asking and about “prying” into my private life. I told him that when I visited people’s houses, I was most curious to see whether they read books, and perhaps what books they read, as well as other clues into who they were. This curiosity is more theoretical than actual, that is, I could not recall actually having asked anyone if I could look at their books. We talked about many subjects, spending a lot of time on why civilization was in so much trouble and whether anything could be done about it. I think we differed on both questions, primarily because of a difference of emphasis, my interest being political and moral, and his more focused on our limitations as biological beings. We also touched on the concept of “truth” and I explained my theories, comparing mathematics (“absolute truth”) and maps. That is, what is an accurate map is largely determined by how we plan to use it.  We also talked about sex, women, Pablo, and other favorite subjects.

Stars of BBC’s Sherlock

Watched the first episode of Sherlock (2010) from the BBC.  I think this is the most delightful and funny rendition of the famous “consulting detective” that I’ve seen in a lifetime of watching such efforts.  I read the books in my teens, sixty years ago, and have always been interested to see what the movie makers can come up with to revitalize a seemingly-tired old warhorse.  I was at first disappointed to see that a major plot element was copied from The Princess Bride, but made my peace with it because in the end it was worthwhile and more than a mere rehash.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have excellent chemistry together; other elements mostly didn’t stand out for me, but I liked the way texting was handled (this is “A new sleuth for the 21st century”).  Great pacing and suspense, with some surprises, mostly well-earned.  Scores from Rotten Tomatoes of 78% and 80% are averaged over the series; season one rates higher.  I got the DVDs for season one and two (six episodes) cheap from Hamilton Booksellers.

Chris Hedges writing about the televised hearings of the House January 6th Committee in “Society of Spectacle” was predictably and appropriately pessimistic:  “The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe. It is designed to present inaction as action and substitute role-playing for politics. It perpetuates, as Guy Debord writes, our “empire of modern passivity.”

I have been allowing my interest in blogging to contaminate and clutter up this diary; I’m going to try to focus more on my own thoughts and do less publicizing of links to other sources or mere data that doesn’t do much for me, like the table of “World Oil Reserves” in the last blog post.  The Hedges note above seems to me worthy of inclusion, however, as it’s something that, in coming months, I believe that I’ll want to revisit.

For lunch today I had popcorn and a granola bar, a substantial improvement, by all the numbers, over the ice cream and Cheetos I’d otherwise been heading towards.

Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley of A Dangerous Method

Watched A Dangerous Method (2011), a sort of biopic focusing on Carl Jung and his love affair with a patient, as well as his bromance with Sigmund Freud.  I thought it excellent on all counts, though perhaps an uneasy mixture of science and romance—by which I mean, I found the science (or “science”) fascinating and the romance essentially a distraction from what most interested me.  Keira Knightley is screen dynamite in this film, the most intense emoting I’ve seen yet from this talented and fearless actress.  Michael Fassbender as Jung and Viggo Mortensen as Freud are also very good, though Mortensen’s role is rather “thankless.”  Scores 78% and 50% (critics and audiences, respectively) from RT.  For me the main takeaway was the comment by Knightley’s character that males have a bit of the female in them, and females a bit of the male, something I’ve believed about myself (and in general) for a long time, probably since my turbulent twenties.  A couple of sadomasochistic sex scenes may be troubling for some viewers.

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

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