Former 2:24 marathoner, now pushing 50 and reduced to a pitiable spastic shuffle • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on distance running since 1999; mostly a crank since approximately 2016 and possibly long before • Coach and adviser of less pessimistic perambulators • Dobie-mix owner Sentence-fragment impresario

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Instead of tweets, Vol. 3


  • One mark of true, far-reaching intelligence I have never seen mentioned is the ability to not only learn a second language as a teenager, but later become so proficient that you can discern good writing from mediocre writing in that second language. Ruben Sanca has this talent. As a monoglot, I am not sure how to internally evaluate this skill, but I think it;s impressive.
  • I imagine some performance-art version of Bitter Sweet Symphony where the "sex and violence" vocal part of the fade-out is voiced by a group of men and the "melody and silence" is a return volley from a female chorus across the stage. Imagine the costumes and the whole psychodrama that could be organized around it. Such an amazing and timeless song anyway, and one whose story underscores the wisdom that the world would be measurably improved if every lawyer in the entertainment industry tore his own shitgourd of a head off his neck, inverted it, and clumsily shit into the exposed foramen magnum and the pinkish, blood-ejaculating matter beneath before unceremoniously expiring. Except, that's a lie, because it would be one hell of a ceremony if anyone could pull that off. Sadly, too few ever try.
  • The App Police are going to come to my house and charge me with being too old to do certain shit I like to do; I will welcome the intrusion. Since abandoning Facebook and Twitter, I have generally become more sedate and more productive owing to both the tranquility factor and the additional time. Still, I find that additional time being bled away in the form of benign, but still wasteful, online and offline explorations. I have rearranged all of the furniture and at times begun behaving like Richard Dreyfuss' character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • Speaking of which, obliquely: As a child of 4 or 5, with my dad in an official rock band that played covers of what passed for metal in the 1970s, my favorite song was Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple. I can't believe that now. It's fucking horrible, and a four-year-old with one arm could pick it up on a xylophone within minutes. The alien techno-fart sequence at the end of the Spielberg classic I just mentioned is more complicated. I hate it so much I wasted an hour playing to it in my newly arranged home music studio, which includes a desktop computer running Windows 7 as a critical component. As I improve, so will the electronic shit in my surroundings. Anyway, it is a song meant for Donald Trump's funeral and nothing more, and I hate it all the more fiercely now. I think my excuse for liking it as a child was trying to figure out what the hell the lyrics mean -- that can be hard enough as an adult, when you know not to take things literally. Unless it's Metallica, or ZZ Top, or any band who usually have at least one representative in county lockup during any tour.
  • It might not be the most hopeful sign that I have begun drawing my personal philosophies more heavily from cringe comedians, nihilist, and public commentators who receive thousands of hateful messages per week. Not a good sign for you guys, I mean. Its a great sign for me, because I need something on which to anchor my attitudes, which combine resentment-ravaged humanism with the kind of jaunty nihilism I never quite accepted for what it was as a younger, more aggressively self-defeating bloke. At some stage, it's reasonable to accept that nothing is really worth agonizing about. Don't get the idea that this reeks of another strain of Rocky Mountain Buddhism, because it's not; it is, in fact, a faith bled of all pretense at hope or continuity of self. It manifests doing a few good things for deserving faces here and there, usually anonymous ones, and it always amazes that this is possible given the thoughts I have about our frivolous species, few of which I bother to censor when it occurs to me to type about them here. And I strive to exhibit quality workmanship in all things.

    I also, however, see no clear reason for prioritizing things like paying for health insurance (which I almost forgot is, you know, mandatory, meaning you have to go shopping again when you no longer qualify for your current plan) or an official retirement account (who fucking "retires" from typing words into a corporate database or a word-processing program?). I know it's facile, but it's pretty hard to get worked up about things, at least to the extent I do, when for me this planet is a gigantic carry-in, carry-out campsite. I hate the sight of litter on the ground, especially on trails or along the Blue Ridge Parkway, more than I hate just about anything else, and despite my tepid bearing here, the list of things I despise and actively malign is long indeed. But as far as "the environment" goes, I'm afraid it's a losing battle, at least in terms of where hopefuls and activists have set the bar. I have also quite capably lived for eight days now without a car, which is undergoing extensive and in some cases optional renovations. I like driving that car, and I got a great deal on it, but I would absolutely recommend against anyone buying a MINI Cooper unless your plan for it is to simply drive it with no maintenance it until something serious enough happens to it to cripple it forever, at which point you could simply kick it into the woods and wait for some old hiker to find it and mistake it for a Tonka Truck from the 1970s.
  • I'm almost three-quarters of the way into a year-long running streak. That's about the height of my running: grudging persistence. I do enjoy it, and I have gone on a few Rosieless runs lately and used the opportunity to make some tentative incursions onto the track. It also looks like I had 41 Sciencing articles published in the month of June, probably another personal record. 


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