Diary, 1/5 to 1/15/2020

I see here “Lisa Simpson observing the conjunction of the moon and Venus.”  I have subsequently realized that the moon is facing the wrong direction; that is, instead of “C” it should be “Ɔ”.  This “spooky” coincidence is the most surprising and remarkable I’ve ever experienced, I believe.  I see or assign no particular meaning to this “synchronicity.”

Diary, 12/1 to 12/11/19

A bleak morning, thinking of the role the United States has taken in the world throughout my lifetime and before.  Thinking of the role the greedy rich have taken in the United States throughout my lifetime.  Thinking of the ineffectual Democratic Presidents, the hope-betrayers...

Diary, 6/15 to 6/18/19

I read some of Georges Bataille: Visions of Excess last night. As I expected, it’s quite weird, but much of it was also dull and obscure. I most enjoyed the selection “Sacrificial Mutilation and the Severed Ear of Vincent Van Gogh.” It tells not only of the famous Van Gogh incident, but also of a man who chewed off his own index finger, persons who put out their own eyes, and of human and animal sacrifice generally. The stories...

Diary, 5/19 to 5/21/19

I’ve been depressed, I have to admit it. Around 6 pm I was ready to go to bed. But I got into Korzybski, finally, and now it’s 9:00. I stuffed myself with chocolate chip cookies instead of eating dinner. It’s been a long time since I’ve binged like that. How many cookies? About eight. Breakfast was also a mess—I felt kind of sick when I got up, so I started with two cookies and a banana. Then a diet Dr. Pepper...

Diary, 4/20 to 4/23/19

If the last chapter is “pungent,” which I doubt, the Prologue is something else—astonishing and touching. It tells of Emerson disinterring the corpse of his late wife, who had been seventeen at their engagement and twenty at her death, disinterring her after a year and two months of deep grief, in some Poe-esque kind of exorcism-gesture. I don’t know what to call it, but it was striking and weird.

Diary, 2/9/19 to 3/7/19

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.

Diary, 1/19 to 1/23/19

Persistent vertigo interfered with my Writers Writing this morning, as did the arrival of Pablo at about 9:30, but I put in three and a half hours, mostly working on KM. New macros I had added to my “ribbon” didn’t work, though they worked yesterday, so I still have confusion about how macros are saved and templates and so on. That’s pretty damned frustrating, though there have been workarounds so far. Even more frustrating is that the “help system” is generally useless and stupidly designed. I’ve been doing word processing since around 1980, and computer and macro programming for decades, yet when it comes to Word, I’m practically a beginner—despite extensive (though fifteen-year-old) experience with Visual Basic. Naturally, I blame Microsoft, not myself.

Diary, 1/3 to 1/7/19

The Hemlock Club was good today, though a bit shorter than usual. Four attended. I ate too much at Dagny’s. We talked about Poe’s poem, “Alone,” which Pablo had prepared for us, I took some notes (hence these details), D sang (from his phone) “Silent Night,” a very creditable performance, I talked about how I was a lousy employee and got fired from virtually every job I ever held, Salomé worked on a watercolored bookmark which she presented to me, I asked Salomé to marry me (a joke), I talked about Norman Cousins: Anatomy of an Illness (but had the title completely wrong), D mentioned The Biology of Hope by Bruce Lipton (which sounds really interesting), and we all went for a walk around downtown Bakersfield (it was fun).

My Diary, 12/23 to 12/26/18

There are some thoughts that are too horrible to be written down or even described. Some such thoughts came to me between 4:30 and 5:15 am this morning, thus I have no hope of getting back to sleep before I have to leave for the Hemlock Club at 9:00. Thus I again recognize my complete inability to control my own mind. At this moment, “free will” is (again) revealed to be a joke, an impossibility. This fact seems so certain and indubitable right now that I am forced to wonder why anyone ever believed in such a thing.

Prison Diary: Books and More Books

“The Danes in particular have made sloth a policy. Blithely unaware that Indians are working 35 hours a day [sic], the Danes average 22 hours a week. partly that’s the result of the ‘laziness’ written into law: employers must provide a minimum of 5 weeks paid vacation. The official week is 37 hours, but non-vacation weeks average 28. Worse, there’s paid maternity leave! The Danish minimum wage is $10 and health care is free…. Danes earned an average $26 an hour in 2001, a solid 61% more than Americans.”

A Discussion of To Kill A Mockingbird

Scout seems so enlightened the whole way through, although she's never quite right on the mark, she always has profound and insightful observations but they're never exactly right and I think one of the things is that kids are always wanting to understand the world in black-and- white, consistent terms where they could have a rule that would apply to everybody, and what they consistently learn is that it just never works that way.

More Book Thoughts from My Prison Diary

{8/16/08} Finished Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, a fine but ultimately disappointing ghost story. The disappointment is with the overdrawn villains and some illogical plot points. Of the latter: a ghost assaults our hero with a 400 pound desk, but fails to make use of the many knives in the kitchen or the knitting needles … Continue reading More Book Thoughts from My Prison Diary

My New Diary, 10/24/2018: Late-Night Book Thoughts

Woke some time after midnight and it’s now 1:20 AM. I was reading Wing-Tsit Chan: A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, just getting started and enjoying it, but I looked at the three books on my bedside table and saw Eugene Thacker: Infinite Resignation. And had this thought that I wanted to record here: how can I go back to that book while I have not read this one yet?

Getting Started in Philosophy

There are two general approaches to Western Philosophy (“WP”) for beginners, I think: review the history of philosophy from the beginnings, or jump right into discussions about the questions that most interest you. History is easier to talk about, but my own approach in this, as in all things, has been to follow my interests wherever they lead, and to hell with being systematic. My everlasting puzzle has been “the meaning of life” and a related question of “how should I live?”