Halfway through the morning coffee crazy things often happen. For instance the other day I caught myself standing in the middle of my room and staring at a globe (of the Earth) which sits a-top a college-fridge. I could sense some sort of a calculation going on behind my eyes but my conscious-self wasn’t privy to the details so I waited. A few moments later an inaccessible part of my mind spit a calculation out onto the floor of a more accessible part; low-and-behold- I had a idea.
In my world flat, blank surfaces, ripe for putting stuff on are quickly swallowed up by said stuff. This is a constant dilemma for people like me who aren’t always great at putting shit back where it goes when done using it. Globes are kind of nice to have around but more often than not this one is just in my way. This and a telescope are the only things I own that are of no use to either my music or art endeavors. I’ve had to work pretty hard to make my 11’x11′ ”work-space” work. I have a ridiculous amount of hobbies and as much “stuff” as I do keep I’m definitely not a pack-rat. When I know something has no further practical use I see it as dead-weight and am quick to donate or sell.
So within a matter of seconds of my morning epiphany I’m reefing on this thing and trying to get it apart; which, by the way, is the best way to figure out how anything works. Directions are over-rated and anyways I only paid $2 for it at a yard sale. It didn’t come with paperwork.
The mount dismantled, parts in hand I hit the garage where I keep all sorts of tools and storage cases full of random screws and bits. In one of the bins is a molly-screw with identical threading; I had everything I needed to hang this thing upside down; suspended in my ‘space’.
Flash to smash this whole ordeal was probably only 15 minutes. Trading this sliver of time for a square foot of prime real-estate still seems like a pretty good trade. Now I have another convenient spot that’s perfect for quickly unloading my hands of small things that belong elsewhere.
See the hanging basket next to it? That is my recycling bin and it was thunk up with the same type of caffeine-addled sagacity. Also I no longer accidentally kick recyclables all over my room and it’s fun to throw things at it.
How I’m going to tie all this in with the rest of today’s post? I have no idea but my faith in the way caffeine randomly connects unrelated portions of my brain to yield unusual concoctions is unwavering.
So it’s just after noon here on Friday morning and I’m feeling rather dumb. For one thing I spent almost five hours face-timing last night with a wonderful girl who lives about 2000 miles away. She might as well live next door; it’s not like we could see each other anyways. I’m thinking I’d throw an unhealthy amount of caution to the wind for this sweetheart if she was really that close. Welcoming these unexpected sparks into my life and actively panning for more isn’t why I’m feeling dumb though. Not in the least. Though at a glance the long game here looks bleak but I just don’t believe in dropping something that feels this good out of some pragmatic or existential reasoning. People who play too safe and live by some chanceless, idealistic bent tend to cut themselves down before the finish line. They may be happy to trudge home with the “participant” ribbon but you know the whole while they’re wondering what it feels like to hold the gold.
I’ve learned that if you want something then you have to stay the course and deal with the obstacles as they present themselves. Not give up before there’s any resistance. In my experience this is the only way the impossible can become possible. Right now I don’t care that her and I doesn’t make sense on paper and that we are separated by three solid days worth of driving and that both of us are heavily embedded in our own locales. I can’t think about that now. If this is meant to work out then it will find a way. I mean, saying that is sort of a non-sequitur because we can never actually know what would have happened that time when we zigged instead of zagged. What’s that quote? and who’s it by? “You lose every chance you don’t take?”
I’m not so stupid to believe in something as empty and vacuous as “The Secret” or that simply praying to the universe will bring what you want. If that shit worked EVERY TIME then I’d be a believer. The fact is things sometimes work out and sometimes they fall apart; it’s always been that way.
Over the ages the charlatans have figured out that it’s easy to manipulate our feeble intuitions into believing there’s something behind random chance. People can’t help but to find patterns in the static, significance in the insignificant, spooks in the shadows. A face on the moon. We’re built for making sense out of this mystery we’ve been thrust into. Us human would never had made it this far without these great powers of deduction. But this machinery is still running on overdrive in a modern world that’s best understood through math and science. Those simplistic sentiments are as ridiculous as they are popular. I mean there’s very smart people who believe in numerology after all. I’m still waiting for them all to win the lottery. But winning the lotto is also chance.
My point? Look. Like each of you there’s tons of instances where I wanted something so badly and was even convinced my chances of living a good life depended on getting it… and in the end things still didn’t pan out and I didn’t die. All the praying, all the good thoughts to the universe, all the miles walking on the righteous path and most importantly, all the grit and grinding and still no reward… How do you square these moments with the results after telling yourself to just wish harder? For me the best way is to notice your surroundings and the very spot where you are sitting. All these dashed hopes and near misses contributed as much to where you are as all the success’s and wins did. As long as something feels good then I think you need to go for it. It doesn’t mean you’ll always get what you want but it might be that you get what you need. I have to give credit to the Stones for that tidbit of philosophy; I think they were dead on. Dawes, speaking of bands and songs, deftly grazed this fundamental truth of life as well. Dig the these lines from When My Time Comes.
“So I took what I wanted And put it out of my reach. I wanted to pay for my successes With all my defeats. And if Heaven was all That was promised to me Why don’t I pray for death?”
Right?!?! …and then there’s this line I rather like a lot…
“You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks. Yes, you can stare into the abyss, but it’s starin’ right back.”
Check out this Dawes song and their accompanying video here below. It’s stellar.
So I’m gonna keep leaning into what feels right because I don’t know how to do it any other way. The odds probably favor frustration and heartache if strong feelings develop but in the end (to use another well-worn cliche) you can’t win of you don’t play.
Okay, things just got pretty unspooled there; its been a long while since I’ve had a woman on the brain to such a degree and I’m no longer used to it… ah well. Moving on and I’m now realizing I still haven’t told you why I’m feeling so dumb today… It’s because throughout the duration or our five-hour chat I was sipping straight Tito’s vodka. This on the surface sounds nut, I know, but hear me out. This manner of imbibing has been a successful ‘life hack’ of mine I put into practice starting late last fall. I really like Tito’s vodka but not enough to gulp it straight. No way. The stanky burn of 80 proof spirits has a built in self-correction mechanism that works remarkably well for me. Part of my problem with alcohol has always been that I simply drink it too fast (i do the same thing with coffee and seltzer water). After a few drinks my governors often fall off and I lose the instinct to keep track; it’s just what happens when you’re having fun. By drinking it ‘on the rocks’ a single scotch glass worth tends to last me way longer than say a beer or a mixed drink would. Way longer. For instance, while playing in Key West with Ben Balmer in January one drink usually survived the full duration of our 4 hours sets. It has really worked for me but can’t I remember the last time that I drank for 5 fucking hours. So there-in lies my mistake. Live and learn right?
••• Trump in the time of COVID •••
Though the mental fog has dampened my day some there is still plenty of room for love, light and laughter. I mean the headlines this morning were just fucking priceless. Trump seems to think you can inject people with disinfectant to stop COVID… I wish the word “retard” was still permissible to use because it would have fit perfect here….
Oh and here’s a crazy yet related thought: Is it any wonder why the most ill-educated people in this country think Trump is the Second Coming of the Messiah?
Everyday I can’t believe things could get crazier but the alternative facts just keep flowing from the disgraced oval office.
In closing… maybe the president will save us all some pain and take his own advice:
••• “To my friends and relatives that still believe in Trump” ||| The DailyKos •••
A distant relative who I recently connected with sent me an article today. He said it made him think of me. Our values and sensibilities when it comes to scouring the planet for good information seem to be very much aligned. Not gonna get into the how’s or why’s but take my word on it. Had I found this bit of writing first I believe I would have sent it his way.
The opening venn-diagram really caught my eye. “Thoughtful People that read and think critically” in one circle and “Trump Supporters” in the other with VERY little overlap. Though this might seem like a easy jab it’s really not; it’s a clear fact for anyone willing to look with open eyes. For me this has been, and is, a constant and uncomfortable observation being that I’m related to a inordinate amount of Trumpers. Can’t say I have a single non-related “friend” who supports him though. I don’t really bother with anything less than great company and being able to think clearly is a prerequisite; every one of my close acquaintances are whip-smart.
Anyways it’s as impossible to not notice the lack of thoughtfulness in that tribe as it is to find pro-Trump arguments that are halfway coherent and don’t quickly devolve into something about Obama using those deflective “yeah-but-what-about” fallacies. The sad truth is that his supporters, for the most part, could give a fuck about a solid argument or they wouldn’t be supporting that one-dimensional sociopath in the first place. Seems they could give fuck about thinking all half the time. Instead they’d rather let the twisted fear mongering right-wing propaganda channels think their thought’s for them.
Let me share my youngest brothers opinion on tagged article; he’s always great for a smart take on something. Our sensibilities are also almost always in alignment. I count myself very lucky that I can send a good write-up like this to both of my brothers and it won’t be construed as an insult. But unfortunately I have my doubts that it will track much outside of the larger of the two circles.
“This article was great. It’s nice to read fact based things like this that try not to be partisan and still show how unqualified he is for the job. I know Trump supporters would still call it liberal propaganda but that’s the world we live in.”
Click the brilliant venn-diagram for the article.
••• Making Sense w/ Sam Harris: A Conversation w/ Caitlin Flanagan •••
Sam Harris is my jam. This dropped yesterday and I haven’t started it yet. But I will asap.
Hit his website at https://samharris.org/ and subscribe to his podcast
Also check out his awesome meditation app: Waking Up
••• Michelle Wolf: The Media Is Hopelessly Addicted to Trump ||| The Daily Beast •••
One of my little, but physically bigger, brothers sent me this opinion piece today. Really loving me the sharp-witted brain and tongue of Michelle Wolfe these days. She was on Joe Rogan awhile ago and I remember really loving the interview. (JRE with Michell Wolf) How comedians have become one of the best sources of truth is an important question. Maybe for a later time.
Like many of us my first introduction to her comedy was her unexpected and fitting roast of The-Orangy-One at the the White House correspondence dinner in 2018. That routine was a breath of fresh air for many of us silenced by our own fatigue over the years following the election. The human mind just isn’t built to grapple for so long with so much impossible information. Everyday the antics from the White House were out-doing the previous days with crazier and scarier shit… With the news cycle now being pumped into our faces in deafening 27/7 intervals it’s only natural that some of us have tune it out to survive. To get on with my life I learned to take small gulps of the insanity once or twice a week. It seems though that about 40% of the population learned to cope in a different way. They got free by taking their brains completely off-line. Guess they found it easier to accept the daily deluge of paper-thin lies and obvious contradictions as the truth than to deal with the cognitive dissonance the rest of us content with . These fine folks, mostly nestled far outside the ‘big cities’, learned to watch the action like a home team sporting event. They picked their team and root away even as the players are firing machine gun into the stands.
Another thing related to this line of thinking… Is it really surprising that someone so clearly detached from any of the decent moral teachings of the Bible has the evangelical vote? It’s not hard to find the tie that binds in this case. Back to it. Here’s Michelle’s great OP-Ed from the The Daily Beast.
Click for full article
••• 31: Ryan Holiday on the Portal w/ Eric Weinstein •••
Click to hear podcast.
A few hours ago I was gearing up for a run. Or paring down actually. It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Austin and I saw no point in anything besides the minimal clothing requirements. Before setting out I was flipping for the next podcast to dump into my head. I’d just finished the Joe Rogan episode I mentioned yesterday. When I run I don’t really enjoy listening to people talk. It’s usually some chill music for me. Or nothing besides my own rhythm and thoughts. Exercise I typically find to be a great time to disengage from the world and an even better time to get closer to some hypnotic, meditative state. Running is perfect for rocking the present.
Since CV19 however I’ve had little reason to go on long drives which is where I usually consume the bulk of my programs. Driving and cooking meals are my windows for this. Food always takes about 30 mins for me to dish a dish and it’s one of my favorite spaces in the day for podcasts (and phone calls for that matter) but I only cook twice a day and the shows are piling up.
Anyways I happened on episode 31 of the Portal; a show hosted by one of the most brilliant people on the planet Eric Weinstein. This guy is truly over the top in his encyclopedic like knowledge and infinite reservoir of curiosity for all things. He can be a bit much for some personalities to take and it’s understandable; there’s often an air of entitlement when he’s delivering opinions or interlocking with a guest. I’ve done my best to overlook all that because there’s an incredibly interesting mind beyond his more jarring and less-savory human qualities. When you’re an honest-to-god polymath at the top of the intellectual pack and and many of the brightest minds on the planet look up you maybe the underlings could cut some slack? No one is perfect and everyone is a little weird once you spend enough time with them.
His guest is Ryan Holiday who is a resident of Austin I just found out. Neat. I’m halfway through his book The Perennial Seller. He has a smooth flow that makes for easy and pleasant reading. This particular book, although short, is taking awhile because I don’t wanna miss anything. This one truly has my attention; it’s about making and marketing products (including art/music) that lasts for decades. Currently I’m in the 11th hour of releasing a long overdue album but great advice can’t be had too late.
I have only made it about 1/4 of the way through this 2:30hr show and posting here and now seems a little premature but I guess I am excited to share. It’s always a thrill to hear my favorite personalities talking the talk.
That’s it. If anything can be gleaned from these layers of chaos that are everyday being heaped on us then it’s just to trust smart people. No one really has their hands on the controls; there’s no all knowing being behind the curtain pulling the dials and levers. There’s just people, lost in the wilderness and trying to find their way safely out. And at the same time, much to our detriment, there’s mentally ill narcissist standing on the captains chair babbling and screaming incoherently. Yeah don’t listen to that fuck. He’s dangerous and he actually HATES our freedom. How his bald-eagle hat Walmart-buying-Chinese-made-USA-Flag-shirt wearing supporters don’t seem to see what he’s actually up to is a whole other subject all together.
Luckily for us there are serious people in the wings analyzing, predicting and adding to the pool of our current understanding with their wonderfully intact and fine-tuned brains. Heather Cox Richardson is one person I place in that category. A friend recently turned me on to her website where she publishes a good number of well-written and well-thought out writings each week.