*** Wisdom From A Typewriter #62 ***

Marianne Williamson is the only presidential candidate that has made it to a national TeeVee debate stage that I ever had lunch with.

That was back about 1990, when she was just getting started on the lecture circuit, talking about A Course in Miracles.  Long before “A Return to Love,” Oprah, or the 2020 Democratic Party primaries.

At the time I met her, I was in Los Angeles training for my brief career (1990-1991) as a Series 7 securities peddler.  I heard Marianne at one of her lectures at a church in West Los Angeles,  talking about how she was financially insecure, so I approached her after the lecture and we arranged a lunch meeting.  Nothing came of it beyond that, other than the recollection that that was one of the most intense lunch meetings I ever had.

If nothing else, she and I are both Truman Babies (she 1952, me 1950).

This quote above is lifted from a profile in a recent edition of the New York Times. 

How Is This Even Possible?

(Reflections on a Numerical Milestone)

by Paul Schatzkin
November 15, 2020

For the past few months, I have been looking at this photo and thinking I should have something to say about it pertinent to the occasion of my 70th birthday.

These are “the Schatzkin men.” In the center, my father, Harvey; on the left, my brother, Arthur; on the right, yours truly. The photo was taken in our backyard in Rumson, New Jersey in March, 1954 (note the white picket fence in the background). I was 3. Arthur was 6, and Harvey… well, we didn’t know it at the time, but Harvey had only a few years left on the planet: multiple myeloma dispatched him in 1958 at the age of 37.

Arthur died in 2011, just a month shy of his 63rd birthday. Glioblastoma – the same kind of brain cancer that nicked Ted Kennedy and John McCain.”Heart disease runs in some families,” my brother’s widow said at the time. “In your family it’s cancer.”

So here I am, having outlived them all, the only one of “the Schatzkin men” with a first-person need to learn how to spell “septuagenarian.”

How is this even possible? Read More

This Just In:
Why Ya Gotta Love Baseball

In the 1980s, when I was living in Hawaii, Ted Turner’s WTBS cable superstation was our only live TeeVee and I started watching Atlanta Braves games My new-found fandom was eventually rewarded with tickets to the first World Series game ever played in the former Confederacy, Game 3 of the 1991 Series between Atlanta and the Minnesota Twins.

Sometime during those years I went to San Diego to see the Braves play the Padres.  I was rooting for the visiting team.  What surprised me was the derision and verbal abuse directed at me (and my then first future ex-wife Georja) just because we had come to San Diego to root for the Braves.

How absurd, I thought.  Show some respect for the opposition: If there was no opposing team there would be no game for fucksake*.

I think that’s why I found this story so heartwarming:

Watch Blue Jays fan’s gesture after Aaron Judge
 home run bring young Yankees fan to tears

(I originally saw this story in an online publication called The Athletic, but that site is behind paywall so I found another source with similar footage)

I hope to read in tomorrow’s sportsball news that Aaron Judge found Derek Rodriquez before today’s game and signed that ball for him.

Baseball: possible evidence that there is a loving God.  Even in San Diego.

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*This rule does not apply in Boston.  If you go to a Yankees/Red Sox game at Fenway Park, you root for the Red Sox, I don’t care what team you grew up with.

 

A Word About This Month’s ‘Buster’

Back in May of 2020 – during the pandemic –  I got a kitten.

The woman who gave me the kitten told it was a male, and for some reason now lost to posterity I started calling him “Buster.”

When I took Buster to the vet, they informed me that the kitten was actually female.  I was relieved because snuggling a male cat seemed oddly gay to me (yeah, I know, #homophobic).

However, In the interest of gender neutrality I kept the name (does that mean I have to declare her pronouns?).

Buster is now a full grown cat,  but for the sake of those who are new to the list or missed the original posts, I think I’ll go back and use photos from the first year in the banner for the weekly(ish) ‘Buster Sez Hey!’ emails.

The one that I’m using this month (May, 2022) is from the first weekend I had her.  She’s pretty much ‘fresh outta the box’ I brought her home with in this one.

Buster Comes Home, May 28, 2020
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Signs of the Season 5
The Elusive “Green Fringe”

Fall is my favorite season, but the middle of April is my favorite time of the year.

That’s  when the foliage begins to return, when the grey landscape of winter takes on a fringe of green.

I see it everywhere – on my morning walks,  when I’m driving around and see a hill in the distance that has begun to show hints of the green to come.

It’s the fringe, and its suggestion of renewal (another winter survived!) that appeals to me.

But, boy, is that fringe hard to capture in a photo.

Here are a few attempts.

Not my best work ever, but, well… you get the idea.

In another week or two, the foliage will be filled in, summer will near, and the scene won’t change much util October.

These photos were shot with an iPhone 13 Pro and edited in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar Neo.

And if you have any doubt as to the fleeting quality of the weeks just past, well, this is what my neighborhood looks like now (May 2, 2022):

The Last Dandelion

Every morning for the past several years now (thanks, Jerry), the first thing I do once I hoist myself out of bed is put on my sneakers and go for a two-or-three mile walk before I re-plant myself in a chair with my coffee and laptop.

Over the past week  or so (late April) it seems this year’s crop of dandelions have all come and gone.  Mostly they look like this now:

…which is to say, they have scattered their seed to the wind and what remains will return to the earth for another year.

But a couple of mornings ago, I found one that was nestled in among some bushes, still completely intact in its ‘just before it all gets blown away’ phase.   It made a nice image with the macro lens on my iPhone 13 Pro.

***Wisdom From A Typewriter #65***

I was not familiar with the author Emily St. John Mandel until earlier this year when I tuned into the HBO Limited Series Station Eleven – the ‘show about a pandemic created in the middle of a pandemic.’  That series was simply one of the most compelling things I’ve watched on the TeeVee in the past year, at least.

This past week I learned – via Ezra Klein’s podcast – that Mandel (St. John Mandel?) has a released a new novel, Sea of Tranquility. 

I found this quotation in the in the first few pages.  Kinda reminds me of myself… I go through life with the pin in one had and the grenade in the other, wondering where I’m gonna toss it….

Also, it’s a perfectly sublime Sunday afternoon here in the Treehouse with Buster.  I am not missing working in the mall on weekends.

Why I Got Off Facebook

It’s been almost a year since I deactivated my Facebook account (in June, 2021) – so I guess this is long overdue, but now that I have embarked on “My Dunbar Project I suppose a bit of retro-perspective is in order.

I stopped using Facebook for three reasons:

 1. Vanquishing the ‘Poke and Scroll.’  Anybody who has ever used social media recognizes the impulse:  you poke at the screen and scroll to the next thing, and the next thing, and all the things after that. Surely the next thing will satisfy the craving.  Sound familiar? This compulsive behavior is not a bug, it’s the whole fucking point of social media: to keep you on the platform.  Maybe others have better self-control, but it’s not a safe temptation for anybody who is even slightly OCD (and in the digital era, who is not?) – or recovering alcoholic types.

2. The environment is a toxic swamp.  Yes, services like Facebook have their merits, even if it’s often just an illusion of connection more than the real thing.  But much what passes for ‘conversation’ on Facebook quickly descends in to chaos and rage.  What’s the slogan, “if it enrages, it engages” (which brings us back to point #1 above).  The stated mission of Facebook is “a more open and connected world.”  But it’s actual purpose, it’s business model, is to keep people using the site and hoovering up as much personal data as possible and then capitalizing on that data.  Which brings us to reason #3:

3.  In the digital economy, we are all vassals and peasants: I’ve written about this before, and others have expressed it more eloquently than I ever will:

“when the service is free – then you are the product”

Every minute that we spend uploading ‘content’ – photos, posts, comments, replies – to social media, we are supplying our labor for free while unimaginable wealth rises to the top of the pyramid.  I suppose it was ever thus, wealth has always ascends in one form or another.  And sure, there are some who make their living plowing the digital fields of social media.  But as long as I’m one of the unpaid peasants, I’ll toil in my own non-remunerative fields, thank you very much.

That’s it in a nutshell.  And while I can say that I don’t miss the whole poke-and-scroll-enragement-feudal-environment, I do miss the occasional brush with people I actually care about.

If you might be one of those people, then please check out My Dunbar Project  and fill out the form.

And if you have any doubt about how pernicious this Neo Feudal Digital State is, then watch the entirety of this expose by John Oliver (April 10, 2022).  By all means keep posting and commenting, but don’t kid yourself what’s really going on:


 

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Hello…. What’s This?

And…. who are all you people?

For the past ten years or so, I have been using  MailChimp to send out an automated “Weekly Digest” of things I posted to my personal (i.e. vanity) website/blog, CohesionArts.com.

When I looked my MailChimp account recently, there were ~500 subscribers to the list.  I found about 150 obvious ‘bot’ subscribers.  After purging those I still have about 350 names on the list.

When I look through that list… I have no idea who most of the subscribers are.  And I suspect a lot of them are still bots.

I mention this for a couple of reasons.  First, I got off Facebook last year, and now I am making a genuine effort to find my tribe outside the feudal (and futile?) estates of ‘social’ media.

Hence the question… who are you people??

If you’re real, this might be a good time to identify yourself somehow.  Try sending message to this email address and I’ll make sure you’re added to the ‘Dunbar List‘ (no need to resubscribe if you’re already getting the automated emails).

The other thing that’s going on here is a rebranding.

I’ve dropped the “Cohesion Arts” domain and now everything has been relocated to IncorrigibleArts.com.

“CohesionArts” was something I came up with when I thought my then-future-ex-wife and I  were going to do photography projects together. Well, that never happened, and the marriage itself went the way of 50% of all marriages three years ago.

Besides, I’ve never been entirely coherent or cohesive (if you doubt that, read my second book).

But I’ve always been incorrigible.

Read More

Signs of the Season 4

I took myself to Cheekwood yesterday…

… and aimed my macro lens into some tulips.