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So Tired….

Tired of trying to have fruitful debates with tea partiers, webforum libertarians, spiritual warfare christians, zealots of all stripes… and it seems the GOP has been overrun by these folks, I know they exist on the left too, but geez–it anguishes me, actually, I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to stop trying to have discussion with these folks, but it’s hard to have a discussion with someone for whom listening, really listening and considering what the other person is saying, even if it doesn’t fit your belief system, is considered a weakness. Typical conversations go like this: me: that’s interesting, here is another way to look at that; them: platitude/talking point that changes that subject. me: ok, well, that’s interesting, here is another way to look at that; them: platitude/talking point that changes that subject. And on and on and on, until I get frustrated and quit, or they start calling me names (this happens a lot, as anyone who tries to have these conversations can attest). What do I do? I don’t want to give up, I believe in talking and sharing ideas and learning new things, and in the power of dialogue to enrich our…
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Energy…

As we near the end of the (Western/Gregorian/Post-Julian) year, and indeed of the first decade of a new (Western/Gregorian/Post-Julian) century, various and sundry chatterers have begun flavoring their “year in review” ruminations with additional of “decade in review” spice. It’s a lazy trope, a foolish and shallow and distracting bit of “holiday” crud meant, as is so much of what the chatterers produce, to distract people from real, thoughtful reminiscence buy offering them a quick, high-calorie, no-protein substitute: remember when Miley did that to Snookie and Bristol hit them both with an ipod plushie! Hahahaha…. and remember when Janine Pommy Vega/Steve Landesberg/ Mitch Miller/Pat Fanning died? I cried, oh time… Among politically-oriented chatterers, the idea that “austere” times lie ahead, that we all must become more frugal and hitch up our pants and put our noses to the grindstone and right the ship, has become gospelly, if not exactly gospel, but as per usual, no one explains adequately WHY this is so. There are charts a plenty, statistical indices and analyses by the bushelful, but no real discussion of any alternative plan that involves, say, the redistribution of wealth from them that fomented our economic “hard times” to the rest of us, or even that the wealthy should also be willing to put their nose…
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No CDs in this one…

I am, like many people, obsessed with death, particularly my own. That everyone is not quite so obsessed is very strange to me, but perhaps they are and simply don’t let on… in any case, the idea that at some point there will be no more ideas, no more glasses of ice water, no more thunderstorms, no more walking sticks or baseballs thwacking a catcher’s mitt or handfuls of dirt is something I have dwelt upon since I knew it was there, waiting. And I know nothing is waiting, I know I have personified death, I know it so well I find nothing to believe there, I cannot even believe in death because I have no experience of it, and nor does anyone else. For a great long while, I never made a leap to any sort of afterlife, since such a prospect seemed as ludicrous as the idea of death itself; then I fell in love, and continued falling deeper and deeper in love, and now I have been married to the person I love for 11 years, and I love her with a depth of feeling that eludes perception, though it’s fun to try. All the time we…
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The Salon

The hair salon, that is. Took my wife to get her hair cut, as we were on our way to see Henry Grimes  and hadn’t time to go back home before heading down to Buffalo, and was reminded of every other time I’d been in a salon because of the smell, a composite of multiple kinds of product, sanitizer, and a slight undercurrent of scorch… so, I’m sitting and reading the book I brought with me, trying to make sense of this sentence: Now it may be asked how it is possible for any kind of quality, property, entity, level, domain, etc., to have even an approximately autonomous existence, in the face of the fact that an infinity of relatively independent kinds of motions with contradictory tendencies are taking place in its environment and in its substructure. (David Bohm, “The Qualitative Infinity of Nature”) when suddenly the canned background music intrudes, the song “God Is Watching Us” is playing, and my brain shifts uncomfortably in the throes of cognitive dissonance. The answer, by the way, is that “the existence of any particular quality, property, entity, level, domain, etc., is made possible by a balancing of the processes that are tending to change it…
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Piazzolla…

I get spambots posting to this site fairly regularly, many in Cyrillic, so I’m not always sure how they are trying to sound conversational… until yesterday, when one was kind of enough to leave a message in english, too: “Deeply good post. Blame you.” Nice. I’m halfway through the 10 CD Astor Piazzolla box set, which is more lovely than I can describe. There’s some swinging 70’s synthy, rocking kind of stuff, which I didn’t expect, and several fine vocal guests. I can definitely understand why some surrealists thought tango was the perfect music, it manages to stir both intellectual and emotional passions, is prickly and dreamy all at once–what if tango occupied the place a 4/4 rock and roll beat does now? This is pretty cool: 200 Versions of “Adios Nonino”. Please order my new book! It’s cheap! And if enough people pre-order, it might get released sooner than late December… Also, I have started a net label: fubar bundy presents. Please go have some free music, though we’ve only one release up yet. (quick CD dump, I’m going on vacation in a few days. I have also listened to these CDs, as I try to listen to all…
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Is a map an argument?

I read something the other day that has occupied my head ever since: the author was talking about the lukasa, a sacred object that the Luba people use in various rituals and which has a wealth of information encoded in its designs, cognitive cues meant to help the skilled reader tell stories, give advice, render judgment, and so forth. Many ritual objects serve this purpose, of course, but then the author went on to say that it was “more of a map than an argument.” The author is quite fastidious about acknowledging western bias elsewhere, so it’s not just that he is denigrating the lukasa, he is in fact delighted and amazed by it. He just thinks that maps are not arguments. I certainly understand his distinction; maps do not make overt attempts at persuasion… but they do, really, they persuade the person reading the map that the map is an accurate representation of whatever it is mapping, that it will help the reader get from here to there, and the act of successfully reading and using a map argues that maps are good for this kind of thing. And yet, maps leave out so much, they reduce 4 dimensional…
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Ambition…

Here’s a good one: “tradition is based on pride in collective habit, on the conscience that approves the pride, and on the fear that if habit and conscience fail, the result will be social chaos, the fear of which is in turn based on a particularly low assessment of human nature” (Ami-Scharfstein). I am trying to write a novel, which is a fairly traditional thing to do, and I suppose I do have pride in the collective cultural habit of producing novels. My conscience, the moral judge seated in every person (well, almost every person) by the same collective habit, approves this pride, believes novels are  “good to think” (as Levi-Strauss put it). I do not think that we would descend into social chaos if people stopped reading and writing novels, however, though I do find the idea very sad. I am fairly certain, actually, that we will grow beyond reading and writing at some point in the near future, though i think we will retain a grammar for things, however we do manage to communicate them. Ah well, time is long. I managed to write 6,000 words yesterday, then was overcome by the need to go get ice cream….
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Trackback

That’s interesting, I posted a link to a review David Blaine did of my 2nd book here, and the whole post appeared automatically as a comment under the review on the outsiderwriters website. They must also be using WordPress too, I guess? unhappy hipsters.