Haruspicator of Sinks and Plates (i)

September 16, 2022

Irregular stack of dirty plates on the sink side, …. the way they were stacked something particularly displeasing… a burdensome thought “stacked” upon another burdensome thought, a “soiled” thought; the thought of the unseemly soiled plates: it is a disorderliness on top of a dirtiness, an ordinariness on top of a disorderliness, it is an inevitability upon a randomness (things were usually messed up and off in precisely this fashion)… Overcoming this revulsion (which was, again, not for the extent or degree of dirtiness, or the work it implied, but for its particular arrangement and type, and for the vague awful thought it implied) and bringing to bear upon it now my own wet dirty hands

The white “Avon anniversary plate” between two rose-colored dinner plates, (a plate of smaller diameter between two of the same diameter: why not two dirty plates of the same diameter beneath a third dirty plate of a smaller diameter?), cream cheese on the sides of the bottom-most rose-colored dinner plate (why not cream cheese on a bagel plate, a plate on which items with cream cheese are served?); soup bowl on top of the higher of the two rose plates; another rose colored plate on top of the soup bowl; and a white bagel plate upon that (something very frustrating, to the point of being maddening, about the sight of a plate on top of a bowl. I would much sooner have a bowl facing down upon a bowl that is facing up — which there can be no reason at all for and is totally absurd — than having the bottom of a plate on the top of a bowl.)

(Were there a seer or haruspicator who could read the entrails of the crumbs of that bagel plate, so to speak — what would he read into what remains on the plates — the bowls being not bowls but bowels, the utensils intestines, the sinks inverted altars– that cream cheese mingled with the soggy red roasted pepper in the corner portends a favorable conclusion to our armed conflict –. (What is the significance of the scraped-off havarti? What do I read into the presence of that isolated single bean sprout there? in the swirls of grease on the dinner plate? in the half-eaten potato chip, which is green around the edge, and stuck upward in a remnant of quiche crust?)

The haruspicator thinks, though as a general matter he appreciates disorder, he does not like it in the particular flavor that is represented by these plates — where the circles of all the diameters of plates conflict and are at odds, the orbit of their rims all eccentric, where a maximum of instability has been assured. The haruspicator thinks, how his annoyance with other humans and haruspicators can be as irrational and pointless as that he now feels toward these plates: if only the largest plates of that person were on the bottom, and the small toward the top, and the bowel (bowl) at the very top, and the intestines (utensils) inside the bowel (bowl) then I would not be so annoyed with that person as I now am.

September 14, 2022

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Excessive Pronunciation. How Summs got himself to fold the laundry

September 13, 2022

“For — later”: he is pronouncing the sounds and mouthing the words as slowly and carefully as he would write them.

“Fo-o-o-o-r”: it seems to him that the R-sound occurs in the same second and instant as the F-sound: as though a syllable were an indivisible unit, a circle with no front and no back.

“Fo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r”: this time taking twice as long to say it.

“Fo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-r”: this time taking three or four times as long to say it.

In particular Summs could not figure out at what point the FO- sound became the OR-sound — did the O belong more to the R or the F? And when, as an experiment, he tried to say “for” with the R-sound first, he was astonished to find himself saying not ror but fur…!

Yet this was no mere idle attempt to understand the phonetic underpinnings of syllables, but a special trick he employed to motivate himself to do things he didn’t want to do. The idea behind the trick, which he called Excessive Pronunciation, was that by distorting the expression of his negative will and intention he could actually nullify or reverse the negative will or intention itself.

In the present situation, moments ago he had told himself “I’ll save folding the laundry for later,” displaying the negative will of procrastination, but now thanks to this special Will distorting technique, he was standing upright in front of the big pile, rubbing his hands together in excitement at the opportunity to fold.

People would ask him how it worked and he would say “who cares — just be happy that it does!” but so far as he could tell there were two possibilities: one was that you were making a mockery of your intentions, so that they just seemed too silly to follow, but this was a view he disfavored since it implied one’s good intentions might also be dispelled through self-ridicule. The other explanation was that, at the bottom of one’s expressions of will, was the will itself, and by pronouncing them with such painful slowness one was, in a manner of speaking, carefully untying this spiritual knot. This knot of Will you had tied from the inside with unarticulated thoughts you were now unwrapping from the outside with expressed words.

None of which of course helped him with the fact that he was not very good at folding laundry, for which he had long supposed he would need the “special trick” of having a wife. Which was a to say (he hastened to add, even in his thoughts) — a wife who was good at folding laundry and who would also be willing to fold his from time to time, perhaps in exchange for health advice or “other” services. Also, it would be good if she had a house. (Summs had not gotten in the market when he should have, it was to be admitted, and now the valuations were sky high, unless you wanted to move way out.) Of course, one couldn’t be too picky about a spouse at this time of life, but it would be good if she had a house, on top of sharing his views on politics and alternative medicine and such things.

He said again the entire phrase “for later”, this time normally, which was a bit of a relief, and laughed to see his laundry was done — folded a bit lumpily for sure — but ready to be put away, which he supposed he would do a little later.

Which did one more passionately resist: the Federal Government, or dressing in a lively and becoming fashion

September 11, 2022

Revolutionary Suicide. Bolted upright out of bed this morning with the thought I was a “reactionary suicide.” (Meaning, in Huey Newton’s parlance, I was being killed by my obligations; being killed by doing as was expected of me; being killed by having no moral qualms with being killed by doing the obligatory things) and toward the conclusion of the day (having in the interim read about Newton for the first time from a writer who was not Newton himself) realized he may have had his own problems in this regard, which did not and ought not neutralize, but did for the time somewhat diminish, the impact of his rhetoric and ideas . . . .

More interestingly, when I thought of those not dying our stupid obligatory addicted deaths, I thought suddenly and possibly erroneously of the person who dressed extremely well, the person who dressed with extraordinary panache, the fashionistas, as we say, as the antidote; these were the true revolutionary suicides, I suddenly believed. Not the ones with guns, with arguments, with slogans and banners and books; but snappy dressers the ones who “put it out there” everyday, while the rest of us not only did not “put it out there” very often. No, indeed, we often concealed.

Question of: which does one more passionately resist, the Federal Government, or dressing in a lively and becoming fashion?

The foamy armrest crack

September 9, 2022

What has happened? I’ve realized suddenly that three or four of the fingers of my left hand have been inserted into the foamy crack in the old busted open armrest of my office chair. That I’ve been digging my fingers into that foamy crack.

It’s temperature? — what is the temperature of the interior of the crack? (Very cool.) You have looked at the crack? (Yes, I’ve looked.) If you turn the armrest away from me (it is on a swivel) its shape is that of a “left human foot.” If you turn it back toward me, it is, I suppose, more like a comma or apostrophe. As for the contours of the crack, these roughly describe the west coast of South America, the “east coast” analogous to the interior of the ‘comma.’

Is there a crack on the other arm rest? Yes. It makes the armrest look like the bottom of a hoof. So you got one South America within a left foot and one hoof of undetermined handedness, within a comma. What had you been doing previous to the discovery of your fingers in the crack? (Well you’d better get back to it in any case.)

September 7, 2022

128 cars passed, 18 from behind, most along the “diaphysis”, worn down worn away “diaphysis”, ten minutes, two mailboxes. Spiritual journey or opposite. (opposite.) Musical score or reverse (reverse). Three times, 2 times, 52 times, fifteen plus or minus minutes, couple cars, astonishingly regular box trucks. Healthiest president ever (who else would pardon Mohammad Ali?) Same general times of day; seasons amok intershuffled collided; April-August; Warm or December; November or oddly temperate July;  rotating kernel of his or her thought. “Inerrant brain click track” “darning the digital sock”: where it ripped are old warped loud trucks, flowering colored or black flocks, and The Atlantean Zoo of Disappointment; bringing hands and fingers to my face, can you smell, from yesterday, the nursing home? (imagine it?) In her own head’s internet the circling Mu, can she ever be “so small”

September 5, 2022

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Perhaps you’d succeeded after all

September 4, 2022

“To be Chateaubriand or nothing” (Victor Hugo) but it is actually hard to be absolutely nothing other than that thing one most admires or aspires to be. (And yet to be not a father, nor a professional, nor a wealthy person, nor a man about town, nor a master of a trade, nor otherwise important, is thought by many to be essentially absolutely nothing — so perhaps one had succeeded after all)

Nekton (swimming) was the opposite of Plankton (drifting) while Neuston referred to waterbugs. (Plankton are considered “uncountable” and a mass noun, like information, which is why you don’t have plankta or planktons, same as why you don’t have informations). (Interesting, plankton comes from πλάζω “to wander, drift” while planet comes from πλανάω “to wander, stray” — could there be a connection?) (Wiktionary’s already thought of it, — and while it does seem likely, it says, no, a formal link has not yet been discovered.)

We already have that

September 2, 2022

Mischievous attendant, seeking to be provocative with regular customers, asked one of his “challenging questions” and received an answer he didn’t expect.

Provocative question was, why not ethnic nationalism? White people went to white churches and black people went to black ones, it was obvious people preferred their own kind, so why not have nations like that too, with black countries for black folks and Latin countries for Latin folks and so on — why not? what was the argument?

The attendant, that would-be provocateur, had a number of arguments against it, but right out of the gate one of the customers responded with a sort of obvious one he hadn’t thought of, which was — we already have that.

We already have that, the customer said. We have the black country, which is Africa, and the white country, which is Europe, and the yellow country (or whatever) which is Asia, and the Latin one, etc. and the best place of them all is this country right here, where it isn’t one race or the other, but is racially diverse.

Etymology of Capitalism

August 31, 2022

Looked up Samuel Coleridge. Had died in his early seventies. Had been prescribed laudanum first for chronic ill health…. I had meant just to check how old Coleridge had been when he died but am now reading the full biography, and now reading the poem Kubla Khan, and now looking up Mount Abora, which is mentioned in Kubla Khan, and which doesn’t appear to have been a real mountain, though there is one with a similar sounding name at the border of the Central African Republic and what is now South Sudan. (I guess I didn’t realize the C.A.R bordered South Sudan, which seems very far east to be “central.”) And now looking up spelling of koan. (You are incorrigible, I suddenly recall my mother having said, but can’t recall what prompted her remark or what prompted my having recalled it — a “random thought.”)

Pondered: that my blog was not a thing but an anti-thing. Not only was it without positive value but was being used to serve the nefarious ends of Russian mobsters or some other gang. Indonesian click farms, Kenyan scammers. Like all things of non-positive value — with substance but no real presence– it was being exploited by Evil Powers. (Spinoza counsels us to try and form “clear and distinct ideas” of our passions to alleviate their influence. Did I have a clear and distinct idea about blogging? That was something I should do.) A more abstruse question: how did Spinoza’s “clear and distinct idea” relate to a poetic notion of the inner existence of things? (When one saw the inner existence of a thing one was passionate about what did that mean for the clear and distinct idea of ones passion?)

Looked up etymology of Capitalism. (Right-wingish Customer had said it was a Marxist term and that no true supporter of free markets would call the belief in free markets that, and I wished to investigate the claim.) My source said it dated from the French Revolution, though one could imagine it having been popularized by Marx. “Marx was also a terrible person,” had said the customer. “That’s said of a lot of figures with that kind of significance,” I replied, but looking up Marx in Wikipedia now I do find the entry itself rather suspiciously exculpating Marx of behaviors it doesn’t fully disclose. An irascible temperament brought on by chronic health problems exacerbated by immoderate alcohol and tobacco use, it mentioned. (Customer had alleged wife beating.)

The enduring koan of what to do with one’s blog. That koan to which the only response can be — stop thinking of this koan.

August 29, 2022

Looking up at the clouds, I tried to have an Idea of them, but the only Idea that occurred to me was of the clouds of the previous day — “upside down mossbed” — which I hadn’t thought to call them then. All cirrus clouds in blue skies evoke plains, beaches, deserts above, I then thought. (Though not necessarily “upside down” because “you seem to see them from within an airplane.”)

Had read Apollinaire the previous night. Description of the flares overhead, which I recall because I am looking overhead, but I can’t recall the French word for “flares” presently. I can’t even recall the French word for “above.”