Book Corner 2021.3

A Map that Reflects the Territory

Does this count as a “book”? It doesn’t have an ISBN number. It’s a set of five little physical books collecting essays written by a group of bloggers called Less Wrong. You could read them all online. I prefer reading books, so I paid money for the books.

I didn’t finish every essay. Some weren’t interesting, some required too much work.

Best quotes:

“We’re looking at a collapse of reference to expertise because deferring to expertise costs a couple of hedons compared to being told that all of your intuitions are perfectly right.”

And I didn’t tag it so I won’t put quotation marks, in case I got a word or two wrong, but: We are each of us basically 3.5 billion years of hacks in a fragile trench coat.

V-Day Plus

V-Day – date on which they tell me that my vaccine has reached its complete intended efficacy.

V-Day + 1:

  • Make appointment for haircut & eyebrow wax
  • Make reservation for Trattoria d’Elia
  • Make reservation for Single Pebble
  • Plan date for North Carolina (dependency: Xopher)
  • Plan date for southwestern road trip (dependency: Maggie)

V-Day + first 6 available weekends:

  • Go to Montreal. (dependency: border is open)
  • Go to VPB
  • Go to Pizzeria Verita
  • Go to Doc Ponds

V-Day + first available birthday:

  • Go to Cirque du Soleil

V-Day + first available September:

  • Go to Acadia/Bar Harbor

V-Day + first available March:

  • Go to Virgin Islands

V-Day Planning

I realize that the day I get my vaccine is a long, long way off. I get that.

I realize that just because one gets a vaccine doesn’t mean that a damn thing is going to change, because apparently, you still aren’t allowed to do a damn thing that you couldn’t do before, so just stop before you even start with the doomphasis (my own coinage).

But because I am basically at the bottom of the list – I mean literally, I am probably the absolutely positively last person on the list – let’s see, Tytania Incognito (flips to the very very last page, drags finger down to the very very bottom) – oh yes. (Rummages at the bottom of the bin, looking for that very, very last syringe.) I know it’s here somewhere – ah!

As I was saying, because I am literally going to be last in line, that means that by the time they get to me, herd immunity will either be achieved; or they will have a much better idea of how contagious vaccinated people are or aren’t. I will know what I am “allowed” to do, and I’ll be allowed to do something. For pete’s sake, I’m going to at least get a haircut & an eyebrow wax (hallelujah).

And so hey, because it is such a long, long way off, it is a perfect vehicle for dreaming. More to come.

Book Corner 2021.1

John Cleese’s memoir of his life up to the moment Python started recording its first show.

It’s a pretty low-key life, as I was expecting. But the Cleesean humor is consistently there. (Fun fact – surname “Cleese” was originally “Cheese.” So in a parallel universe, we are calling it “Cheesey” humor.)

Cleese grew up an only child in the southwest of England and had a loving father and difficult mother. He went to law school at Cambridge, and graduated, with an offer to work at a law firm; but somehow comedy pulled him away. It’s funny to think Cleese was a bona fide lawyer and Graham Chapman an actual doctor, as one watches them act out their ludicrous skits.

The happiest segment of Cleese’s life feels to me like the two years he taught various subjects to 10-year-olds at his alma mater, while waiting for his place at Cambridge to open up. His love for the place is evident… as is the other love that shines through even more, that for his writing partner and brilliant, wonderful, wonderfully “complex” and difficult lifelong friend, Graham Chapman, RIP.

The book came out in 2014 and ends with a (forgotten, by me anyway) Python reunion. Terry Jones was still alive. Cleese gets in some surprisingly sharp yet not-quite-cruel digs at Jones only at the end; and, throughout, makes very cutting remarks about Terry Gilliam – I had not heard of any ill will between the two of them, but by the end I was feeling like it was all a big joke.

The Pythons were amazing. Cleese later won acclaim for FAWLTY TOWERS and FISH CALLED WANDA, but apart from at most two or three episodes of TOWERS, none of this later work lives up to his collaborative Pythonian work. He and Chapman lent the logic that balanced the ludicrosity offered up by the other Pythons. Like the Beatles, they were more than the sum of their parts; and every part was indispensible, perhaps Cleese more than any other. Just try to watch the final season after he’d left the show. It’s like trying to listen to a Ringo Starr album. (  )

Fiber 2021: 1

Here’s my first yarn of the new year. I’m going to do solids for a while now. I also broke out the loom:

No, I don’t know what it’s going to be, if anything. Don’t ask me. Everything is ultimately useless.

I saw something recommending you begin each day thinking of three very specific thing to be grateful for, and one great thing that happened in the last 24 hours. This is the greatest thing that happened in the last 24 hours:

Spicy beer. That’s all I’ve got.

PS: I’ve added number of vaccinations to the daily COVID statistics that I keep. We (Vermont) are up to 15,478. A 4,000-jump from a few days ago. We should be going much, much faster, but I’ll take heart where I can.

Its Days Are Numbered

I love Tree.

Meanwhile, in Burlington yesterday…

We went to Burlington on a small errand which turned out to be a bit of a fail. We walked up & down Church. We only went into Homeport, for my errand, and Kiss the Cook, because they were keeping the door open & that made me feel good about their ventilation. At KtC, X saw a pie plate for cheaper than what he had just recently paid online for the same. Although it was in the 30s, there was a cold breeze and no sun, so we felt colder than I’d hoped we would. Altogether, a lot of things to feel down about. On the upside, we stopped for refreshment at an outdoor kiosk specializing in Frenchy baked goods and drinks. X got a ham sandwich and I got a Belgian hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was the greatest. There’s nothing better than real hot chocolate made out of chocolate and not from a mix. Like drinking a hot candy bar.

I didn’t feel great but I didn’t feel awful, seeing all the places of business that were verboten for us to go into. I felt like that world was not gone forever, but rather just waiting to burst into life again. It’s not just that I want to go to a restaurant per se. We like to go to different places. Walk into a store with some odd thingamabobs in it. X is drawn into little details most people don’t see. He will see something odd in a store that catches his fancy and he just lights up, gets lost exploring it. It’s like the world is our museum. That’s what I miss.