Archive for July, 2022

July 10, 2022

In the morning, I look at the second counter of the microwave clock at what must be the very moment after it has become one second until the very moment before it has become the next second, which has given it the impression being an unnaturally long second.

In the afternoon, the same effect, first with a car’s blinker, then with a woman’s eyes. Then a similar effect the following morning: three clocks, each set a bit later than the next, viewed in succession, so that 8:32 AM seemed somewhat over two minutes long.

Exercise regimen guaranteed to improve forearm strength: opening and closing Plato’s complete works

July 10, 2022

Question: how did the attendant get such outstanding pectoral muscles? “By picking up thousands upon thousands of muffins individually over time. An incremental approach comparable to the creation of the grand canyon.”

Question: and his forearms, powerful as lions’ calves or lobster claws? How did they come to be? “His substantial forearms owe themselves to two factors: his unique “mode of attack” in the application and extraction of cream cheese; and his constant raising and lowering (as well as opening and closing) of Plato’s Complete Works.”

Cost of housing

July 9, 2022

Customer was believer in supply and demand, he said, but it didn’t work with rental prices, because there are just a few big renters and they are insulated against market pressures. “It sucked.”

It reminded me of the customer who said the answer to higher rents was to build more single family homes, which on the face of it was absurd (restricting supply). But what he was probably driving at was this same things as this customer — get these big management companies and property owners out of here and you will see prices go down, because they are keeping prices above market rates.

(Finally, wasn’t there a way to prevent banks and investors from buying up the housing stock? Couldn’t houses be, you know, for people who were actually going to live in them?)

Summs: headache cure and “the true size of Summs.”

July 9, 2022


When you had a headache this is what you did according to Summs — you imagined as clearly as you could a number of boxes in an attic storeroom, regular medium-sized cardboard boxes as you might use when moving from one home to another. Then you imagined picking up the boxes and carrying them out of the room, and this would relieve you of your pain. The way that it worked was that the imagined boxes in your mind were the same as the real pain in your head, discrete parts of it, and as you carried them out of the imagined “room” you also released the real pain.

It was extraordinarily simple but it always worked. However one thing you must be careful never to do is to imagine the actual room that you’re carrying the boxes to, which, unless you have really become a master at this, will result in a mere transference of the pain from the head to another part of the body — a part which, moreover, you’ll probably have much less control over. This had happened to Summs himself once long ago; he had envisioned taking the boxes down a long series of staircases to a storage facility only to discover that, while his headache was gone, there had emerged a sharp pain in his hip, comparable to a pinched nerve. He had asked his guru at the time, so where do I take the boxes if not to the storage facility that are located down the staircases? He had even seen signs that had pointed that way… and what he had been told at the time was that you simply don’t imagine that part: you drop them off “where the mind ends” (which, in a certain sense, was everywhere), you drop them “beyond where the mind can envision.”

On another occasion, he took a box to a place he couldn’t find his way back from, which proved to be one of his strangest adventures yet — and one from which he finally a woke with a screaming headache and case of pink eye. Another time he had looked inside the boxes — which was another thing one must never do. Also: if someone appears and asks if you need help — say no. 

There, said Summs, tapping his temple with a finger and opening his eyes –but “there” what? The pain was gone but had there even been any pain to start with? (He smiled to think of how the mind played tricks.) Anyway, it was fine now and if Imp Peter said it was alright it was time to levitate. (Imp Peter said it was alright.) (Thank you, Peter, said Summs.)

LEVITATION: the true size of Summs

Summs usually did this on the bridge over the interstate and magically he appeared at that very spot. Of course, it hadn’t seemed exactly “magical” as he was making his way to that spot; it had seemed to take time, to involve space, to even exact a toll of effort to have gotten there. Thus, for example, he was perspiring now, having taken the elevator down from his building and walked the four or five blocks from his building to the overpass over the large highway, which was now very busy with evening traffic. The magic of it was this; he had wished for something — to be at this spot — and that wish had been realized — now he was here. And what had happened in between those events was as nothing — a smoke in the mind one could easily release, a gas, an evaporant, — which, once that smoke had been cleared from out of the house, who could say what had really happened, who could say what Djinni had fulfilled the wish? What mattered was that he was suddenly not where he’d been. What mattered was that his wish had been realized.

Until one had attained to full mastery one had to visit the bridge to levitate and one had to visit it at the height of rush hour traffic. Having reached full mastery one of course understood that all the world was such a bridge (or not) and all the world is energy ever passing under it (to which you could say “be still”), but he was not yet at that point. The trick was of course to make oneself feel very light, endowing the weight of the body, which was like concrete, the concrete of the bridge, with the immaterial levity of the imagination. One must realize one was only the act of imagining itself. One must realize one was only ones thought.

He wasn’t doing it very well today: he could feel his feet lifting from his shoes but he couldn’t feel his shoes lifting from the ground, except this one time when a large box truck rumbled beneath, then it was as if he had leapt up by about a foot, though he hadn’t exerted his legs at all; in fact, his legs had rarely felt so relaxed. (Levitation would be an excellent joint therapy, he supposed.) His walks back and forth across the short bridge, even when they did not in the strict sense result in levitation, brought with it the deep relaxing feeling of having a body massage. Then he was back in his armchair at home, as if he had never left, saying aloud to himself with closed eyes “I have wished” — perspiring but at ease. In fact, if he hadn’t been perspiring he would have doubted he’d ever left. It could have been more of the mind’s smoke.

Also, an unpleasnant incident had occurred on the way back, which he now remembered. Summs had come across somebody smoking a cigarette and told him to stop “you’ll get wrinkles.” The man had become abusive and so Summs had been compelled to become a fifty foot giant. He didn’t threaten the man or lose his calm naturally (you can’t become a giant without having a giant calm) but looked at him with kind and curious eyes. And of course the man backed off in terror and promised to quit smoking — after he saw the true size of Summs.

Intelligence is a lie / I am not strong

July 9, 2022

–There attendant goes again, said customer, claiming there is this “being smart” claiming there is this so-called “intellect”, this “intelligence,” when all a person has to do is concentrate with all their might in order to achieve understanding in even the most complicated problems — to believe they can do it and imagine, yes imagine they can do it! Intelligence is a lie!

— Look, attendant said, here is a math problem that I can solve easily and here is another I have no problem solving, but this one is taking me a little while longer, and this one I’ll never solve no matter how long I take, while another person can solve all the problems I find easy, as well as the ones I find hard, and in half the time, and isn’t that because that person is smarter? It seems to me just like it is with physical strength: here is a weight that is easy to pick up, and this one’s a little heavier and a little harder to pick up, and this one I will never lift up no matter how hard I train, and why? It’s not because I don’t “concentrate” or lack imagination — it’s because I’m not strong. And so with the difficult math problems: it’s not that I don’t concentrate, it’s that I am not smart.

In conclusion

July 8, 2022

In conclusion a job of this sort is potentially a good fit for a person of charitable inclinations — a social worker, a church volunteer — but who is skeptical or otherwise unsuited for work with institutions and who is at least partially buffered against economic considerations. (Without “buffering” you’d probably need two such jobs.)

The service that you can provide is first that which any service worker can do, treating as a human being any person who should fall under your sphere of influence;

— then as an honest and reliable employee to a hard-pressed small business owner, who can’t pay much;

— then as a person who knows English well where that is not always the case, particularly in writing, even among native speakers — who can help fill out job and unemployment applications, write and read official letters, etc.;

— then as a person who has basic computer and smartphone literacy, where people are old and may not have that;

— then as a person needed in emergencies (you’re moving? you’ll be in the hospital?) and gives alms and has time to spare;

— then as a person who listens attentively and without judgment to frequently boring and sometimes egregious monologues;

— then as a constant presence, a reliable fallback, the interlocutor of last resort;

— then as a voice of convention, a voice of what a “normal” person thinks about such topics as — Bitcoin, when to invest, various organic powders and pills, various pseudo-science stuff, various crazy political stuff, with which the uninformed or geographically disoriented are inundated (not telling anyone what to think, but giving people access to conventional wisdom and mainstream accounts);

— and such.

Not to oversell it, but something like this is the way that a service-oriented person could be of service in a career of this kind hypothetically.

July 7, 2022

Actively looking for something I’ve not seen before (but everything I see is the echo of my own looking). Maybe the outward skin of objects is our idea of them, is thought — the furthest extension of a thing, of its atoms’ charge, occurs when we notice and think of it — and this is why when, beholding them, we fail to look “outward.” (“And we spectators,” Rilke wrote, “always everywhere, turned toward the world of objects, never outward.”) Why was the outward world not the world of objects was wondered. A lasso shaped twig. A woman police officer. A bearded delivery man trying to make a turn.

Stepping on grass to left of sidewalk, littered with small cherry blossom petals. (A crack: what had Rilke said was cracked like a teacup?) Getting “small in myself.” — This meant the same thing as the Moby Dick passage (which passage?) I was deep within my own blubber (blubber?) I was far from being affected by even what was right beside me? (Sounds serious but you’re not expressing it well.) (Heart of the whale was far from the exterior of the whale.)

Oh. Now I’m in the parking lot having passed the thick grass and tree petals and now there is the crunch of the parking lot, which was heavily sanded over this winter. (A non littoral feeling though?) I’m trying to “center myself” you could say but I find something already in the center, which I cannot dislodge, so as to put myself my life in the center and it’s like who are you and what is that (is it me?) already there, and so, uncentered still, I once again float away, “do what I’m doing.”


July 6, 2022

Looked up Calanque (narrow rocky inlet) and sought out why British English speakers will use the future perfect to describe events in the past, then looked up uncaught third strike, the baseball rule, and Pegasides, the ancient Greek stream spirits, which were birthed of the hooves of Pegasus, and Battle of Jaji, which occurred toward the end of the Soviet’s war in Afghanistan with Mujahedeen.

Read an interesting article about Chinese Americans in the U.S. during the 19th century. It wasn’t that Chinese immigrants were particularly suited to become merchants and grocers — they had been farmers — but the law at the time pushed them into those occupations. (One recalled the story of Jews having become bankers in Europe since white Christians had been prevented by law from charging interest.) Why, around here, did Ethiopians drive cabs while Latinos more worked construction and SE Asians were in the convenience stores? (That was the men, while among women, Ethiopians seemed to dominate coffee shops and Latina worked in banks.) Was it law, natural proclivity, chance? In the case of these Chinese grocers it seems to have been U.S. law and specifically The Page Act of 1875, according to the Post article, though when I looked up The Page Act in wikipedia there seemed at least a layer of haze between what it said and the claims made by the Post.

Been a long time since I’d read Cannery Row but I believed it had a Chinese grocer in it. Close, shrewd, was the characterization. Reminds me I should read some of the Steinbeck I haven’t, Sweet Thursday perhaps.

July 6, 2022

Two vacuums, kouros statues, solemn ruins of anything, standing over a small dirty sock pile.

July 5, 2022

Customer: why were there so many novels? Why did people write all these novels when so few of them sold? Customer: it doesn’t matter if they sell them. They hope to get the movie rights for them, which is where the money is. Attendant: Because people worship creativeness. They want to be thought of as creative and want actually to be creative.

July 5, 2022

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