Personal


…and it made me very sad. I tried to explain it to a normal human being today and while he was very sympathetic in terms of response because he’s such a great guy, I could tell he thought I was nuts.

In blogging terms, I grew up with the Tunchinator. Clearly a kick-ass cat.

Then THIS happened and made me happy. If you don’t read the comments, you don’t learn that the animal shelter getting the Tunchster’s posthumous proceeds hadn’t “received a donation in weeks.” They’ll be over $10K by the weekend. Glorious!

(Tunch? Named after a Pittsburgh Steeler, of course. John’s a Pitt guy.)

I don’t blog much anymore because of John Cole, as he speaks for me on politics and humanity and pets and other shit much better than I do for myself.

One is that dogs aren’t allowed to wander in our National Parks.

Just because I think it is so good:

“…The second great-seeming thing is that television looks to be an absolute godsend for a human subspecies that loves to watch people but hates to be watched itself. (Ed: Fiction Writers) For the television screen affords access only one-way. A psychic ball-check valve. We can see Them; They can’t see Us. We can relax, unobserved, as we ogle. (Ed: Fiction Writers.) I happen to believe that this is why television also appeals so much to lonely people. To voluntary shut-ins. Every lonely human I know watches way more than the average US six hours a day. (Ed: Not there yet. Do good movies count?) The lonely, like the fictive, love one-way watching. For lonely people are usually lonely not because of hideous deformity or odor or obnoxiousness–in fact there exists today support- and social groups for persons with precisely these attributes. Lonely people get, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly. Let’s call the average US lonely person Joe Briefcase. Joe Briefcase fears and loathes the strain of the special self-consciousness which seems to afflict him only when other real human beings are around, staring, their human sense-antennae abristle. Joe B. fears how he might appear, come across, to watchers. He chooses to sit out the enormously stressful game of US appearance poker.”
“But lonely people at home, alone, still crave sights and scenes, company. Hence television. Joe can stare at Them on the screen; They remain blind to Joe. It’s almost like voyeurism. I happen to know lonely people who regard television as a veritable deus ex machiina for voyeurs. And a lot of the criticism, the really rabid criticism less leveled than sprayed at networks, advertisers and audience alike, has to do with the charge that television has turned us into a nation of of sweaty, slack-jawed voyeurs. This charge turns out to be untrue, bit it’s untrue for interesting reasons.”
“…”
“But the analogy between TV and liquor is best, I think. Because (bear with me a second) I’m afraid good old average Joe Briefcase might be a teleholic. I.e., watching TV can be malignantly addictive. It may become malignantly addictive only once a certain threshold of quantity is habitually passed, but then the same is true of Wild Turkey. And by “malignant” and “addictive” I again do not mean evil or hypnotizing. An activity is addictive if one’s relationship to it lies on that downard-sloping continuum between liking it a little too much and really needing it. Many addictions, from exercising to letter-writing are pretty benign. But something is malignantly addictive if (1) it causes real problems for the addict, and (2) it offers itself as a relief from the very problems it causes. (I didn’t get this definition from any sort of authoritative source, but it seems pretty modest and commensensical.) A malignant addiction is also distinguished for spreading the problems out and in in interference patterns, creating difficulties for relationships, communities, and the addict’s very sense of self and spirit. In the abstract, some of this hyperbole might strain the analogy for you, but concrete illustrations of malignantly addictive TV-watching cycles aren’t hard to come by. If it’s true that many Americans are lonely, and it’s true that many lonely people are prodigious TV-watchers, and it’s true that lonely people find in television’s 2-D images relief from their stressful reluctance to be around real human beings, then it’s also obvious that the more time spent at home alone watching TV, the less time spent in the world of real human beings, and that the less time spent in the real world, the harder it becomes not to feel inadequate to the tasks involved in being part of the world, thus fundamentally apart from it, alienated from it, solipsistic, lonely. It’s also true that to the extant one begins to view pseudo-relationships with Bud Bundy or Jane Pauley as acceptable alternatives to relationships with real people, one will have commensurately less conscious incentive even to try to connect with real 3-D persons, connections that seem pretty important to basic mental health. For Joe Briefcase, as for many addicts, the Special Treat begins to substitute for something nourishing and needed, and the original genuine hunger–less satisfied than bludgeoned–subsides to a strange objectless unease.”
“TV-watching as a malignant cycle doesn’t even require special pre-conditions like writerly self-consciousness or neuroallergic loneliness. Let’s for a second imagine Joe Briefcase as now just an average US male, relatively unlonely, adjusted, married, blessed with 2.3 apple-cheeked issue, utterly normal, home from work at 5:30, starting his average six-hour stint in front of the television. Since Joe B. is average, he’ll shrug at pollsters’ questions and answer averagely that he most often watches television to “unwind” from those elements of his day and life he finds unpleasant. “…” But would mere distraction ensure continual massive watching? Television offers way more than distraction. In a lot of ways, television purveys and enables dreams, and most of those dreams involve some sort of transcendence of average daily life. The modes or presentation that work best for TV–stuff like “action,” with shoot-outs and car wrecks, or the rapid-fire “collage” of commercials, news, and music videos, or the “hysteria” of prime-time soap and sitcom with broad gestures, high voices, too much laughter–are unsubtle in their whispers that, somewhere, life is quicker, denser, more interesting, more…well, lively than contemporary life as Joe Briefcase knows it. This might seem benign until we consider that what good old average Joe Briefcase does more than anything else in contemporary life is watch television, an activity with anyone with an average brain can see does not make for a very dense and lively life. Since television must seek to attract viewers by offering a a dreamy promise of escape from daily life, and since stats confirm that so grossly much of ordinary US life is watching TV, TV’s whispered promises must somehow undercut teleivision-watching in theory (“Joe, Joe, there’s a world where life is lively, where nobody spends six hours a day unwinding before a piece of furniture”) while reinforcing television in practice (“Joe, Joe, your best and only access to this world is TV”).

It’s difficult. I have the opportunity to start over, from root to tulip, with a business opportunity in Southern CA. I hated SoCal the one time I was there, but I was in LA. SF I dug.

I wouldn’t be in LA. Closer there, though, than SF.

The opportunity suits me, except for my native risk-aversion and fear in general.

I miss him so.

My favorite writer ever, by far. I hope he’s not depressed anymore. But nobody wrote it better, and I’ve read my share of the depressives.

People who don’t or can’t get through IJ are people, in general, without much mental illness. Bless them.

I have old golfer’s disease:  I get to 10 feet and in and I can’t make them anymore, because in my old age I’ve accepted in my head how hard golf actually is.  My 20 year old nephew pours in 10 footers like they’re nothing.  And like I used to.

Shot 88 with a late 8 and didn’t make ANYTHING.  Closed with a nice two-putt birdie, though, after covering 515 with my first two.  Haven’t had a look at eagle on the green in a long time.  

I’m about 10 hours of practice, and 10 years of aging away from my old golfing self.  

50/50?  Contagion?  I dunno.

An excerpt from my favorite book, and why it’s my favorite book in part. This is a thing that is very hard to describe, and it is described very well here:

…[He] isn’t old enough yet to know that this is because numb emptiness isn’t the worst kind of depression. That dead-eyed anhedonia is but a remora on the ventral flank of the true predator, the Great White Shark of pain. Authorities term this condition clinical depression, or involutional depression, or unipolar dysphoria. Instead of just an incapacity for feeling, a deadening of soul, the predator-grade depression [she] always feels [when she is triggered] is itself a feeling. It goes by many names–anguish, despair, torment, or q.v. Burton’s melancholia or Yevtuschenko’s more authoritative psychotic depression–but [she], down in the trenches with the thing itself, knows it simply as It.

It is a level of psychic pain wholly incompatible with human life as we know it. It is a sense of radical and thoroughgoing evil not just as a feature but as the essence of conscious existence. It is a sense of poisoning that pervades the self at the self’s most elementary levels. It is a nausea of the cells and soul. It is an unnumb intuition in which the world is fully rich and animate and un-map-like and also thoroughly painful and malignant and antagonistic to the self, which depressed self it billows on and coagulates around and wraps in Its black folds and absorbs into Itself

…snip…

Its emotional character, the feeling [she] describes It as, is probably mostly indescribable except as a sort of double bind in which any/all of the alternatives we associate with human agency–sitting or standing, doing or resting, speaking or keeping silent, living or dying–are not just unpleasant but literally horrible.

It is also lonely on a level that cannot be conveyed. There is no way [she] could ever even begin to make someone else understand what clinical depression feels like, not even another person who is [themselves] clinically depressed…

…snip…

The authoritative term psychotic depression makes [her] feel especially lonely. Specifically the psychotic part. Think of it this way: Two people are screaming in pain. One of them is being tortured with electric current. The other is not. The screamer who’s being tortured with electric current is not psychotic: her screams are circumstantially appropriate. The screaming person who’s not being tortured, however, is psychotic, since the outside parties making the diagnoses can see no electrodes or measurable amperage. One of the least pleasant things about being psychotically depressed on a ward full of psychotically depressed patients is coming to see that none of them is really psychotic, that their screams of are entirely appropriate to certain circumstances part of whose special charm is that they are undetectable by any outside party. Thus the loneliness. It’s a closed circuit: the current is both applied and received from within.

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill [themselves] doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill [themselves] the same way a trapped person will jump from a window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me just standing their speculatively at the same window just checking out the view, i.e., the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’ can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt the flames to really understand a terror way beyond the fall.

…snip…

I’m glad It and I are only casual, if lifelong acquaintances.

(The author hung himself 15-20ish years after he wrote that.)

So that’s just what I’m going to go do. Perfect day here in Chicagoland.

I try to minimize all of this:

This actually happens

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