QOTW

I start with the recognition that we are at war, and that war is not simply a hot debate between the capitalist camp and the socialist camp over which economic / political / social arrangement will have hegemony in the world. It’s not just the battle over turf and who has the right to utilize resources for whomsoever’s benefit. The war is also being fought over the truth: What is the truth about human nature, about the human potential? My responsibility to myself, my neighbors, my family and the human family is to try to tell the truth. That ain’t easy… We have rarely been encouraged and equipped to appreciate the fact that the truth works and it releases the Spirit and that it is a joyous thing. We live in a part of the world, for example, that equates criticism with assault, that equates social responsibility with naive idealism, that defines the unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and wisdom as fanaticism… — Toni Cade Bambara

Via Ernest Hardy’s Blood Beats

Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature; but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows nothing of this.

–Blaise Pascal

Borders on the border

I was at our local Borders bookstore the other night rediscovering how crummy it is even for a Borders. It’s also right on the east-west divide of town, where the haves meet the have-nots and a few of the latter live in desperate circumstances in motels.

Surrounded by soccer moms, clip-art cute college students, and red-faced businessmen, I looked through the map section. Next to me an undergrad-aged East Asian-American guy was thumbing through a Parisian travel book, and next to the computer books a nerd of some kind with a shoulder bag and headphones was peering at an ASP howto book.

Suddenly the bathroom door next to us burst open and out lurched the other Costa Mesa: a 35ish tweaker with long dirty blond hair, sweaty t-shirt, bad acid-washed jeans, and a wild 1000-yard stare. He looked around with that bus crazy bugeyed face that says “look me in the eyes and I own you,” so I studied a map of Turkey carefully. Without a particular victim to address, Motel Guy emitted this statement to the bookstore in general:

GOD DAMN, I HATE THE SMELL OF ASS!

He left, so he couldn’t see me giggling helplessly into the maps, or the soccer moms blanching.

They had sushi but it was all raw and stuff and totally gross!

It is about the civilians, the civilians, the civilians, and the civilians are not capable. I don’t care how beautiful you are if you drive on my lawn. Hey, okay, what are they going to test you for? I don’t want to move anywhere without dumplings. I had to use the “Rite-Aid voice” on them.

The only other place you see those is rest stops on the Jersey Turnpike. Yeah it looks like a restaurant but it’s just a room where you sit and people bring you food. Why did we respond an engine company for hiccups? This isn’t organic and it isn’t magnetic either.

My point was that in the years he sat at that he had worn the carriage return wafer-thin from a minimum of 1/8 inch, to frail. The psychoactive vegetable material is way past the oil and vinegar stage.

I don’t know why I dated him. He wasn’t even any good at real estate.

I can’t talk to her. She’s against shit she can’t even pronounce.

The Midnight Van

After last night’s fun, I went to bed at 6 am and slept until 2. The rest of the day was… slow. Fortunately nothing else broke at work. I was bummed at missing Nicole’s wedding, but there was no way that mission could have been accomplished without loss of life.

I finally dragged myself out of the house after dark and bought food, etc. I ended up at Ruba, which was full of weird ghosts of ten years ago. I don’t think I’d seen Sabrina since Indian Burial Ground Night at Totally Coffee. She didn’t acknowledge my existence, for which I am grateful.

Choice “Overheard at Ruba™” quotes:

“I live the same place she does. She has a nice rack. It’s been okay.”

“Oh, that Dennys. One of my best friends got busted for selling drugs to a minor there! It was awesome.”

“You and I have a lot the same background, but you’re good-looking.”

“You know her. She’s the racist secretary.”

“I know it was illegal before, I asked you how old is she NOW?”

“No, man, I can’t afford any tools. I just do shit to shit, you know?”

Ahh, Ruba.

It was 80 degrees F here at midnight with humidity around 50%. In coastal Orange County. I do not understand.

Elliot Valenstein, the history of lobotomy, and more

“Physicians get neither name nor fame by the pricking of wheals or the picking out thistles, or by laying of plaisters to the scratch of a pin; every old woman can do this. But if they would have a name and a fame, if they will have it quickly, they must do some great and desperate cures.” —John Bunyan

Great and Desperate Cures: The Rise and Decline of Psychosurgery and Other Radical Treatments for Mental Illness

Interview with Elliot Valenstein on the History of Lobotomy

Elliot Valenstein’s page at umich

The War of the Soups and Sparks, The Discovery of Neurotransmitters and the Dispute Over How Nerves Communicate, by Elliot Valenstein.

Existential isn’t just a buzzword.

Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature; but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows nothing of this.

— Pascal, Pensées