"Know thyself" as applied in my life, an essay from years ago, with an update.
Cleese's autobio; The Wind; troubled dreams; Quine, the unspeakable, philosophy; Zack Snyder's Justice League; purchasing blunder; $300 for a reader.
My worst year started with a bang, literally. I was downtown for a meeting in the morning and walking toward Dagny’s when I saw a well-built black man running along 20th Street in my direction. I paused to let him pass, but he didn’t run past—instead, he punched me in the face while speaking loudly...
I like some horror movies and not others. The ones I like, including Psycho, Hellraiser, The Exorcist, and even something as overtly silly as Halloween (1978), may have some jump scares, but the movie as a whole is telling a story of a person, and the point is not simply to make you jump or to scare you. There is something deeper that the Paranormal Activity movies don’t have.
Christmas day. I had thought about going out and hanging around on Union in the hope of seeing Mr. D and giving him a twenty. Now it occurs to me to invite him over, perhaps to watch a movie or ...
Sometimes when I ponder events of my childhood or youth, I feel a twinge of rage against that stupid boy, wanting, sorta, to choke or punch him. Is this guilt, or shame, or what? Shopped at Barnes & Noble yesterday and spent about $120.00, coming home with three books...
At the last Hemlock Club, J said he doesn’t want to play board games, though he made an exception for Scrabble, “because it’s educational.” He was distinctly lukewarm about spending more time together. Also, when I brought out the puzzle box, and talked about it, neither of the “Hems” were the least bit curious about it. Clearly, I have mistaken my friends.
On a whim I went to see the movie Shazam! yesterday. It was terrible because they tried to make it funny and it wasn't funny on the whole (though I did laugh out loud a couple or three times). The action scenes generally involved Shazam running away, which got really old really fast. Other elements of the movie were competent but uninspired. The real problem was with the script, notably the dialogue. Marvel movies have led me to expect funny banter, alas.
A most pleasant surprise: Black Book, a WWII thriller with a stunning, charming, gutsy performance by 30-year-old beauty Carice van Houten. Very tense at times, with lots of twists and turns, lots of death, lots of bare bosoms. Good recreation of ’44 Holland. Happily, no concentration camps. Directed by Paul Voerhoeven of Starship Troopers … fame? I picked up this DVD somewhere cheap, perhaps the last library book sale. This one really got under my skin, well, she did, especially.
I've been off the Internet for a month due to software problems. This is the first of two long posts to get me caught up to the present in my Diary posts.
Browsing Amazon for philosophy books, I came across one called Practical Stoicism which makes me think that there might be room and an audience for “my philosophy book.” Philosophy books can become best sellers; at least, the “philosophy” books that Amazon has in their best seller lists. I had said to Pablo that I like to shop at Barnes & Noble because there I can find new books that interest me, but the Amazon lists, I see, can fulfill that function.
Writers Writing this morning was just me, finishing my first complete read-through/edit of my book-in-progress, Kick Me: A Lifetime of Humiliations. An easy milestone, but an important one. Next step is to edit the computer file, which will be harder and more labor-intensive. I’m hoping that that will be “enough,” but of course I’ll want at least one more reading before I’m done. It would help to get an impartial reader…
Finished Bateson, and I must confess that I got a lot out of this third reading, as the wealth of quotes above make clear. She is no [Rabbi Harold] Kushner, pushing for his “authoritative” absolutes, but a rich and mature mind fertile with ideas. Her writing is sometimes troublesome, but there was ample reward in wrestling with her prose. An author to read again.
What I most like here is the idea that we learn to be bored. It may be possible to study our boredom to learn ways to turn it into something positive, either to increased self-understanding or as a cue to something subtle. [Mary Catherine] Bateson suggests, when bored, taking a closer look at what’s happening in the environment. But then, she wasn’t in jail. How about the Perfect Moment?
I began drastically reducing my intake of sugar. First to go was sugared sodas. While I usually had diet sodas at home, the fast-food fountain sodas use saccharine or some other sweetener that I can’t stand, so I had sugared sodas (Dr. Pepper, if you must know) whenever I ate out, and was glad to get it; now I drink strictly water when eating out.
This isn’t much, but a few readers may like it. A couple of pages from my prison diary, dated 8/8, 8/10, and 8/13/2015:
What can one say about the human condition and human suffering to make it tolerable and not meaningless?
“You know, I do not understand why you are treating me like an an old shoe that’s tossed aside. But let me clue you in on a few things! I’m not one of your old shoes nor [?] am I anything you need to be tossing off or away! That’s certainly not the way you are supposed to treat a friend!...
I'm no poet, and I prove that here with my most recent work, written while I was in prison. A belated revision.
I'm no poet, and I prove that here with my most recent work, written while I was in prison.
In this book excerpt, I tell my humiliating experiences as an amateur clown.