Now that I have it (greetings, Dunbar people!), it occurs to me to offer a few regular items to justify your attention. So here’s what I’m…
Category - Digest
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.
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.
Just read this.
If you have been getting the old Cohesion Arts Weekly Digest, you’re already subscribed to the new version, “Buster Sez Hey!” But the Dunbar List will have a slightly different purpose, so if you want to be on that sub-set of the master list, please let me know.
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:
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.
From my walk this morning.
How can there possibly be snow in the forecast for tonight?
Oh yeah. March.
…there’s a hole in the clouds!
I think this has been the coldest winter I can remember since moving to Nashville… ohmigod, 28 years ago.
There hasn’t been much snow to speak of. We had our one annual ‘winter precipitation’ event back in January, a few inches of snow that stayed on the ground for a couple of days until the sun came out.
What’s notable about this winter is just the daily temperatures seem lower than I recall. I’m sorta thinking daily temps during these months are in the 30s and 40s. This year it seems like the 20s and 30s, and often in the teens when I go out for my 2-3 miles ‘morning constitutional.
And this past week has been just one cold, grey day after another. And that’s just when it wasn’t raining buckets.
I guess the good news is it has stayed warm enough that there hasn’t been any snow. I know a lot of people like it when it snows. I like it too… until I have to go somewhere. It’s the mix of snow and travel that I find un-tempting. Of course that hasn’t been much of a problem over the past month, since I haven’t really had any place to go…
Anyway… I went out this morning around 7:30 for a three-miler, and as I was walking across Lone Oak Drive about a half mile from my house, I saw the strangest damn thing: an actual patch of blue in the sky!
And whenever that happens, I immediately start thinking of this song by John Smith:
Look up ahead… there’s hole in the clouds.
And, hallelujah, it looks like we’ve got some sunshine to look forward to in the week ahead.
I hope I can find some place to go, it’s been too long since I’ve had the top down…
I made this picture of the studio in the back of my house last Saturday, February 19, 2002.
That might have been the last time anybody in these parts saw the sun. It has been cold and grey, wet and dreary ever since. Winter.
All of my websites have been offline for a week, thanks to GoDaddy. It’s a long story . The TL;dr version is: we tried to upgrade our sight, GoDaddy botched the transition and it took them a week to figure out how badly they’d fucked it up and fix it.
It’s fixed, so enjoy this week old memory of sunshine.
Just something that caught my eye on my ‘morning constitutional’ the very cold morning of this past January 23.