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Strolling on

Monday 9/9/19

Briefly. I am rushing out the door to a long day of work with scarcely looking up at the Starbucks. It is important that I perform well this week. And that I start doing something about this crippling fear. It is overrunning me. I cannot live like I live anyway; I need that change to come. But these ceaseless waves of terror roiling within myself are now like incoming layers, snapping into place, click, snap, of a personal Judgment Day. You know how at the end of the Book of Revelation, the end of days, one wave comes, then another, then another? Death is piled, again, again. A layering of the installments of the end until a palimpsest of absolute cessation is achieved. Then this came, then that came, then this, and there was no more. (Well, there was a Second Coming.) That stackage.


That is where I am at internally. I have so much to go into here. Hundreds--nay, thousands--of things. Hundreds of recent things. Some high-profile works are coming out soon. Different stackage. This rate and level of creation and innovation of mine has exceeded all prior points, almost made them seem quaint by comparison, even when they themselves exceeded--trounced--all prior levels of productivity and invention.


My armory is loaded with worlds of weaponry right now. I have so much. If you want twelve new books of all kinds, finished, right here, right now, I have twelve new books of all kinds. If you want seventy-five peerless works of short fiction, I have them. New forms of invented fiction, too? Have them. If you want stacks of personal essays, dozens of top-shelf op-ed ideas, hundreds of ideas for future pieces, works to turn into screenplays, radio programs I can roll on, fifty other short stories worked out, I have all that. Want a jazz book, a film book, a sequel to Meatheads as the sequel to the ultimate humor book? (Is it even funnier than the first go-round? Let the debate begin.) I have them. I have everything one could want and lots of it. The doors of this fortress in which this corpus, a sun-sized corpus, are locked, with the windows covered in sheets of steel, which admit of no light--because the powers that be will not allow the light in, to match the light of the outside to the beams of my sun--buckle and striate. Bulge, buckle, warp. But there is so much. There is truly so much. If I never wrote another word again, I think I would have ended up writing more than anyone has. But I also feel like I'm still in a first phase, or not even arrived at the first phase. I have a universe of work here. One would not even believe, perhaps, what I created last week. But you'd have to upon seeing it. Presumably.


I was working at the desk on Saturday morning in my nighttime uniform of Boston College black sweatpants--though I detest Boston College, and will make those myriad reasons plain--which are shocking that such things could come to pass--in a future journal post on here--and maroon Gloucester Fishermen sweatshirt, my hood up because it was cold and I also feel some measure of comfort that way, when there was a knock on my door. It was Emma, in black sweatpants and a black sweatshirt that said Poland on the front--in Polish--who wanted me to go to Starbucks with her.


She had a headache and I said I would get her some Advil and being impatient as she can be she said no, let's just go, but I dashed back in and got her two tablets and some water. She also had her hood up so we looked like a couple of druids. She had Benny with her and we tied him up and left him outside the Starbucks, but a little boy kept walking over to play with him and one is never quite sure how Benny will behave so I went out and sat with him to make sure there was not an incident.


An enormous mountain of a man walked over, a bald guy with a huge white beard, tattoos on his neck, bedecked in Harley garb, leather jacket, with this tiny little girl who came up to his knee. A gentle giant, it seemed, with his grandchild. He was very polite, and asked if the girl could pet Benny. This was a quandary. Meanwhile, the cute little kid is all smiles and outstretched arms because she wants to hug Ben. "Is it okay?" he said. "Um...he's usually fine," I replied, then thought, "okay, Ben, hang in there, please don't attack this child." He was fine. He's a good dog, just a little unpredictable. His presence, of course, has helped Emma a lot.


Emma came out and we sat until she complained about the cold though she likes the cold and fall and winter. It's uncanny how similar our tastes are in many areas. She likes to sit on the stairs in our building. Like it's our clubhouse. So we did that. She asked me if she could play "Strawberry Fields Forever" on her phone, I said of course, then I taught her about how the song was spliced together from two works of music and pointed out the splice when we got to it, what a Mellotron is, what Strawberry Fields--the historical place--was, how the artist might utilize and re-channel the past to make timeless work, forever forward-looking work.


For contrast, we then queued up the first take of the song and I told her what a slide guitar was because she liked the part that sounds like one. That song was one of the first things we bonded over. I shared it with her in the winter, and she wrote me back straightaway about the beauty of Lennon's voice in that first take. Emma has a gift for seizing upon the most salient points of something. Quickly. My friend John is that way. My dad was that way as well. Then Emma played Joy Division's "Colony." We listen to that one a lot.


I went to see Blow-Up at the Brattle.



Antonioni could have done a better job with the Yardbirds scene, but it retains an intensity. (Note how Antonio cribs from Vertigo.) Beck's guitar looks too much like a prop, and it's clumsy the way the sound loops, like five or six times. Surprised how many people were at this screening. It was at 12:30 and I'd say the theatre was 3/4 full. Some of the long scenes work, others needed curtailing. The last sequence, with the mimes at the tennis court in the field, is excellent. On Downtown this week I'll discuss the film, the Yardbirds, this inanity about how well Friends has or has not aged well, and Orson Welles's witheringly accurate takes on people like Woody Allen and Coppola. I hate those Godfather pictures. It's like someone smeared rotten vegetable matter over a lens and decided to shoot scenes of people with absolutely no reality to them. Or a squid squirted ink on everything. Completely uninteresting to me and cinematic failures that make me giggle over their ineptitude. I find The Exorcist the horror version of that. No idea how anyone finds that scary.


I really want to get into this idea of "the standards of today." There are no standards of today. Nor of yesterday. There is reality. Right, wrong. Unwell people saying "these are the new rules" does not make for a standard, a new way of order, of how things are. You don't get to impose your unwellness on reality and then have it be the way of things, the way of the world, the way of reality. Reality does not change. It is one of the ultimate constants. People are worse now than ever. They're not these clear-eyed observers of reality and truth at its distilled, unvarnished essence. So, what, I have to get caught up in their dysfunction and short-sightedness and selfish motivations? Because that is what people mean by "the standards of today." There is truth, reality, right, wrong. Those are the only standards that there are. They are always the same. Always have been, always will be. What you see right now are the caprices of sickness, desperation, depression, self-loathing, manipulation, selfishness, disingenuousness.


Many people are not precise enough in their language with all of this. When they say, "the standards of today," they are tacitly, unintentionally, approving this brand of rule-making whose design is a matter of enabling people to lie to themselves to feel better about themselves. You're enabling addicts. You're playing along, and that grants approval to this passive aggressive maneuvering to warp the world into a zone where broken people get to dictate rules and in effect try to rape reality. But, no, I'm not going to try and help you pin down reality so you can rape it, sorry. Reality is ultimately going to beat the bag out of you anyway when you are like this kind of person. Reality already is, which is why they are sucking chest wounds on the inside, and why they must take this tack, or feel they must.


Right and wrong are the exact same things in 2019 as they were in 1419 as they will be in 3619. You see abusive relationships where some guy will have all of these rules. To break one of his rules is to do something bad to him. It's framed that way as part of the rule-based-victim-in-waiting set-up. That gets the person being hammered into docility--into forsaking their identity--to behave the way this other unwell, controlling person wants them to behave. To break a rule is to be "bad." It becomes this shell game of morality.


It's no different with "the standards of today." People use it nonchalantly, but that also fuels its sick cause because that becomes more casual, more of an unchallenged given. It normalizes this, helps it become casual, accepted, status quo, diurnal/unchecked/unchallenged. Somebody might say that it's all relative, that there are no absolutes, which is risible and worrying as that is an absolute unto itself. There are only absolutes. The difference being, we cannot often see what that absolute truth is, nor can we be expected to. But that does not mean it's not there. It's always there. That is the very nature of truth. It is also a challenge of truth: to see it.


Yesterday I had my best ever workout out day as I also hit 1204 days without a drink. Mostly I've been climbing anywhere from one to five times a day. Last Sunday I ran nine miles, walked eight, climbed five times, but yesterday I ran nine miles, walked five, and climbed the Monument sixteen straight times. Personal best. I did not stop once. My previous record for consecutive climbs was fifteen, with some stopping near the end, but you can't really fault me on that--it comes down to the weather, the humidity. I am not sore today. After my workout I went to a little sandwich and coffee place in Beacon Hill that I like and read Agatha Christie's Hallowe'en Party. This was late in her career--1969--but she writes very well still. I also listened to a number of old radio programs: the Suspense episodes of "On a Country Road" (Cary Grant with an intriguing role), "The House in Cypress Canyon" (Christmas horror in California), "Ghost Hunt" (meta); and "Poltergeist" from Lights Out. It is later than you think indeed.


What a drubbing the Patriots dished out last night. During the game I texted John, "They have so many good players." They really do. Playmakers as well. A playmaker is different than a good player. Or can be. A good player is not always a playmaker. You can't tell a ton after week one. I know people will say, though, "Imagine if they had Gronkowski?" The greatest baseball team of all-time is probably the 1939 Yankees. They lost Lou Gehrig early that season. One idea I have for a piece is something on the final on-field photograph ever taken of Gehrig. Nobody knows about it. He gave his famous "I consider myself the luckiest man" speech on July 4 of that year. But he was at the World Series, in uniform, to support his ex-teammates. There is a shot of him, alone, back to the camera, walking off of that field as everyone rushes upon it to celebrate.


I had posted on Twitter that I did not expect the Patriots to sign Antonio Brown. Was I wrong there. I mentioned that someone would sign him, and the Colin Kaepernick people would resume their moaning. The people who back Kaepernick are, most commonly, people who know nothing about sports. I could care less if you kneel or don't kneel. No one should care. That's your right to express your belief. Now, it's not your right to express your belief that your boss is a Neanderthal but you automatically get to stay on the payroll, but kneeling or not kneeling is different. It's not a personal affront. It's not even really a protest, is it, given how basic it is? It's just a right, like having the right of way in a crosswalk.


But the reason Kaepernick is not in the league has nothing to do with his stances or positions, and I don't think he really has any stance or position other than, "Shit, I need a new business model that will get me paid without me having to do anything, because I am a lazy guy and I'm not good enough to be a quarterback."


It has to do with the fact that in that meritocracy--and it is a meritocracy--he is not good enough as a player. That's basic. A basic understanding of sports and how performance is quantified and measured. If you sell ads and you sell fifty percent less ads than the next closest person at your ad firm, you don't get to have a job there. What is confusing about that? What is up for debate? There are so many bad people in that league. Horrible, horrible people. If you can play, they'll have you play. Look at the numbers.


But the Woke brigade doesn't get sports, just like they have no concept of how a meritocracy works. I remember when that fraud and ultimate system shill, Harold Augenbraum, editor of the Yale Review, posted something like, "I've never even owned a pair of tennis shoes"--tennis shoes--"but now I will buy a pair from Nike because of Colin Kaepernick." A guy who just wants to get drunk on the false piety of the Woke crowd, a guy who knows nothing about sports, vetting numbers, never seen a quarter of football in his life, let alone poured over analytics. But will just pop that narrative in his mouth and drink down every last spurt. "Love me love me love me please love me upper middle class people of my clique of people who also desperately need to think we are the true intellectuals love me love me." As a matter of course. Complete and willful ignorance, just as someone like this handles every last aspect of their life, one giant, totally-in-the-dark pose for points with the right people. He hooks up people who think like him, people who write the fiction version of this person he is, with the requisite lifelessness, truthlessness, humorlessness, joylessness, nuancelessness, all completely entertainment-free. An entire world view as cronyism and pose, the forever faux view. It's a kind of ideological eugenics. That's what you get with much of publishing right now, and here is but one example. Sad. Pathetic, certainly. Pitiable, if this make of person was also not a speed bump--with nails sticking out of the top--on the road of culture and societal sanity, who impedes the ride at the moment.


Some woke hipster--it's often that kind of person from a basement, with a spare tire around their center--without the balls to use their real name calls me a name and suggests I take a social studies class. Social studies. Are there even social studies classes, or is that a term that was phased out in the early 1990s? Shouldn't bother me. Doesn't, except insofar as the imbecility out there, coupled with blinding arrogance, gets me down. Bad people don't even get me down nearly as much as stupid ones. Smug stupid ones are the worst. They will penalize you for being intelligent. The more intelligent you are than they are, the more they will fear, envy, and hate you. It's a direct ratio. It is not my fault that I understand red zone efficacy, third down stats, how often a quarterback locks in on his primary receiver, what his completion percentage, such as it is, owes to checking down to the running back and an inability to get the ball down the field. That I understand what the baseline is for those stats, the threshold one needs to be above. It's not my fault that I understand that a player beneath that threshold is not going to be the lone player put into a league, with a job, a job which he has proven, many data-determined ways over, to be incapable of doing, to have that job just because of some prescriptive idea of social justice.


That would actually be pretty racist.


"Eh, you suck, you are hapless out there, but as an act of good faith and charity for society, and to spread the gospel of your message, which isn't even really a message, because if you had a message, you'd discuss it daily on a blog, write books about it, make films about it, but that would take actual work and commitment and not being a liar, we are giving you this job you are unfit for, which you cannot perform. Otherwise, we're bad people."


It's math.


If you are an NHL goaltender, for instance, and your save percentage is .880, you are not going to be in the league. That's not my fault for correctly understanding why you are not in the league. That's not because of politics--his, yours, mine, anyone's. That's just the statistical reality of a numbers-driven, numbers-measured meritocracy, which is what a league like that is. Little else in life is, but that is, and it is quantifiable, measurable, obvious to anyone with eyes, a brain, and a contextual grasp of those numbers. These people hate cognizance--or even just being vaguely informed beyond a headline and a click--because they possess none, and most got a note to get out of gym class, being the least athletic people and largely thinking sports are bad, never mind that so many great artists loved, played, understood sports, not that they'd ever be so well-informed as to have read a biography or two.


(Ever notice, too, that the white people who shout about racism the most, who are sufficiently racist that they think all black people think alike and need them to rescue them, come from predominantly white towns, don't have black friends, and it's not like they're sitting down to learn more about Bessie Smith, because they could not give a toss, since it's all lip service and posturing?)


Then they pull a Band of Freaks thing, make their clubs, network online with each other because they don't have real relationships in life and this is the stand-in form, call themselves enlightened, labor over and update their preferred pronouns like that was the work of art they were giving entire stores of themselves to because, of course, they have nothing in actuality to give to anything.


This is the lowest form of fool in 2019. I would say that they are sheep-fools, but sheep are wiser. Certainly not as speed bumpish--those of us on the course of sanity have to detour around these sub-individuals--and certainly not as pathetic. Sheep do get groomed. This guy looked like an apple fritter dipped in cat hair.


Going to contact Boston Ballet and see if I can get review tickets to take Emma to Giselle and The Nutcracker. What I would then do is write a piece about the two of us going. She's never been to the ballet. My enthusiasm, though, for it seems to be rubbing off somewhat on her, as she is going to start taking lessons. This morning I texted her to have a good day at school. She texts back, "You too son."


The Red Sox fired Dave Dombowski. Mildly surprising. I like how quickly things can change in sports.