Eight Things to Think About Instead of the Crushing Inevitability of Our Fate

  • Spring is bustin’ out all over!
  • Those new Marvel series are a lot of fun!
  • Everyone lends a hand when someone is beset by crippling medical expenses that could easily be addressed by a national healthcare system!

  • Ruth Buzzi is still dropping lines on Twitter!
  • Half the country is vaxxed!
  • Ant-vaxxers are increasing their odds of suffering a horrible, painful, premature death!
  • Penguins mate for life, which will probably be shorter as we melt the poles!

I like cats.

Who’s that guy with the stick up his nose?

@JNOV: Dali. Famous photo among art types. I used to have it on a postcard on the wall.

@nojo: Thought so, but I thought he was holding drumsticks.

A lot of things suck about being an atheist, the worst being that I won’t have a happy reunion with Jr. after I die.

Another crap thing about being an atheist is the knowledge gaps I won’t have time to fill. There is so much I want to learn.

So, this death thing. I’m not a fan. I’ve been binge reading and trying to fill those gaps. I think it started with some book about the fight between the US, Britain, Russia, and a tiny town in Russia over who would have the honor of testing the DNA of some bones that might have belonged to Nicky Romanov and fam. Then I moved to Catherine the Great and then some real histories, like boring tomes that were fascinating. I ended up buying an atlas so I could keep track of the moving lines. Then I read about Young Stalin and then his fucking red court, and I was like, oh boy. How could I have not known this? And he grew up how far from Saddam Hussein? Man.

I took a break from Russia and read about Operation Paperclip.We had a known nazi in NASA? And people wrote songs about it? And still he was there? Fuck the moon. Kill the Nazi.

IIRC, young James Jesus Angleton was one of the people vetting which Nazis were too hot to handle and needed to BE HOUSED IN A FUCKING AUSTRIAN SPA during the interviews. And then I moved to the British intelligence service where a double-barreled surname got you in the door. Unbelievable.

Then I moved on to female code breakers and female spies (did you know that the leader of the largest French resistance network was a woman, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, and they didn’t want to tell Churchill because, you know, she was a woman), I read about Svetlana Alliluyeva – Stalin’s daughter, and then I moved to friggin Wormwood mind control crap – I highly recommend Poisoner in Chief. It’s possible that Whitey Bulger was subjected to daily doses of LSD when he was incarcerated early in his criminal career. If so, did it turn him Jack Nicholson crazy? Who knows. But he sure as shit did not give informed consent.

So I’m reading all this stuff and I keep wondering what the hell were people thinking? There’s a holiday in Gori Georgia where people go outside and kick the shit out of each other all day? They would all turn out and the little kids would fight little kids, adults would fight adults…it was like, “okay – we’re going to keep this fair, so don’t punch under your weight.”

Yeah, so today I’ve been reading about a non-chemical means of Canada thistle suppression that will also provide non-toxic forage for my ducks using a combination of buckwheat and sorghum-sudangrass ground cover.

I need a palate cleanser.

Being of the philosophical persuasion, I’ve had death covered a very long time. Hard to get out of sorts about a fact of existence; if anything, it shows how precious life is, and our ability to contemplate it. Realizing that, I’ve lived my life as an adventure — a series of adventures — and I’m pretty satisfied I’ve made good (fun!) use of my inherently limited time.

As far as palate-cleansing goes, anything that brings you joy. I’ve watched In the Heights more than a dozen times.

@nojo: I’m not sure what brings me joy because I’m not sure what joy feels like.
Please don’t roll your eyes and think, “Here she goes again.” Please believe me; this isn’t self indulgence. Rather I’m trying to work through something, and I think you are a good sounding board.
I try to avoid this site when I’m feeling nutty just like I try to avoid talking to friends. I’m difficult. My dean of students said that she loves talking to me, but boy is she exhausted when I leave her office. Maybe she’s rethought that open door policy of hers.
I lost the ability to discern happiness and joy from hypomania when I was diagnosed with a mood disorder. They consider me high functioning, and I suppose that’s why my illness went undiagnosed for so long. My pressured speech and tendency to interrupt others was attributed to growing up in Philly where we all talk fast and sentences are funky elisions.
My past and present behavior that many might and probably should consider bizarre is dismissed as quirky. “JNOV is a block party all by herself. She brings the fun.” Nope. I brought mania that pairs well with parties.
I always knew something was wrong with me, but when I voiced my concerns, folks replied with that bullshit cliche that if you think you’re crazy, you’re sane.
Actually, sometimes you are crazy.
But people liked me when I was high, and they told me I thought too much when I was low, and as long as I wasn’t drooling, all was well.
So, joy.
When I was diagnosed, I was relieved. Then I was scared. Roughly thirty percent of bipolar people commit suicide. Shit odds. The onus is on me to meticulous assess and manage my moods. Am I joyful or hypomanic? If I’m hypomanic, I need to stop that mood in its tracks because you always, always pay for a mania with a depression. The higher you are, the lower you go.
People don’t intentionally injure themselves while in the throes of mania, unless they ask someone to hold their beer and their prefrontal cortex takes a nap.
Enough about that.
The problem as I see it extends beyond the mentally ill because it concerns the effects of giving something a name. Does naming something inherently change its nature? Does language limit, expand or change understanding? Does English stunt understanding of ourselves and others? Does it effect intimacy? Can your vocabulary be too large, and must you self-censor and moderate it so you don’t sound like the teacher in a Peanuts movie?
Joy, also the name of my dog, is meaningless if you lack the ability to assess its source but must monitor your moods daily as they swing hither and yon with you nailed to the pendulum.
Sometimes I think fuck it. A rose by any other name is trite but possibly true. Enjoy the nameless ride.
Then I take my pills. Their names change when their patents expire. But maybe not their efficacy assuming they were ever efficacious.
So, nojo. What’s in a name? When is a conflict a war? When is peace keeping occupation? Can we call the occupation of Palestine slow rolling ethnic cleansing yet? Does language affect honesty?

Well. Looks like I’m channeling baked and her iffy html business. If I start forgetting my password several times a day, I might become a theist.

@JNOV: Had to go into WP Admin to clean up that one bad tag, but fixed.

@JNOV: Many, many questions, but let’s start with language:

Shit is what it is. Sometimes it’s really hard to say what shit is, because many folks have a deep stake in calling it something else. War is war. Occupation is occupation. Usually takes me an hour to spit out 500 words, and often that involves whether I can say what shit is, and defend it if challenged. That’s why I have a master’s in philosophy. Saying and defending is pretty much every seminar.

And joy? It can be all fireworks like Beethoven’s Ninth, but I’m usually referring to little moments that bring a little happiness, like watching a crew dance up a storm in Washington Heights. Or, forever ago, driving to campus while blasting Dust in the WINNNNNND on my self-installed VW stereo. (Or, more recently, the Pointer Sisters on my airpods.)

Or, y’know, critters — a happy dog, satisfied cat, squirrel who can’t figure you out from behind a tree. Moments, small moments, here and there, coming and going.

Or even just getting off a good line.

Joy doesn’t take much, but what it does is separate before from after, a break from whatever else you’re enduring. And that little moment of relief helps keep it from getting a lot fucking worse.

@nojo: Yes, I know what you’re describing. I had to rewind the mental tape aways to find some of those moments, but they’re there. And I’m smiling. Thank you, nojo.

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