Tuesday, April 30, 2024


In the Hour of the Wolf

Which is to say the hour of acute insomnia, all of the contingent facts about me are sinister.

My left thumb is double-jointed.  I had a tonsillectomy at age six.  I once flew upside down in a Yak-52.

Any contingent fact about me is like the contents of a black trash bag that lies in a landfill.  The mountain of trash bags is nearly, but not quite yet, complete.  A cherry at the top of this sundae will be most sinister, for what it portends, which is a completed life.

Compare and contrast facts that are necessary, logical, mathematical, geometrical.  (The analytic philosophers were obsessed with the distinction.)  Without the contingency, I can take comfort in them.  

So I broke the spell of the Hour of the Wolf not by counting sheep (as the wolf himself might), but by repeating to myself that C = piD.  The circumference of a circle will always be equal to its diameter times 22/7.  If I grasp hold of this and never let go, I thought, it may carry me off to a forever future, one free of contingency.

Sunday, April 21, 2024


In My Dream

I was placed in command, by default and by necessity, of a large sailing ship as it was making course in the Tropics, on a close reach.  I knew how to sail a dinghy.  I knew how to sail a ship of this scale in principle; in fact, I had no idea which line controlled the end of which yard, which halyard had a purpose to raise or lower a particular sail among the fifteen at my disposal (main and foremasts each carrying a main, lower tops'l, upper tops'l, topgallant and royal, and the mizzen supporting a spanker, topgallant and royal; two headsails.)  What's more, the mate was dead and I had earned no authority before the other men.

First I had to ascertain where we were and where we were going, at roughly what speed.  With luck, I thought, we could hold our course until we came to an island or an inhabited coast.  There I could at least bring her up into the wind, wait for her to stall out completely, and drop anchor.  The sails and the lines would be a mess, but perhaps that could be sorted out at leisure.

Indeed, this is what happened, and as we were sorting the mess, a captain's gig rowed out with a new "master and commander," short, befuddled expression, bad teeth.  My personal futility, in other words, gave way to a more generalized one.

Sunday, April 7, 2024


Rendered Fat

... by Photoshop and bad personal habits, Lizzo raises a ruckus, which only further inflates her notoriety and her net worth.