Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mojo's Mailbox #5

Events in the real world have complicated my schedule, which was already battling the headwinds of my considerable inertia and less than laserlike focus, but I do want to try to maintain something here on a fairly stable basis, so it behooves me to thank the various contributors who give me reason to. Since the last mailbox, I have been inexcusably indolent, but still several of you found reason to drop me comments and thereby earn honorable mentions here. I'm going to try to resurrect this as a weekly feature, which of course requires having something to intersperse mailboxes with. Fortunately, I left myself a laundry list of items in progress last time out, so I at least have the material - it's just a matter of spinning it out...

I begin with the Mindbender, at which Heather gamely attempted an answer, which I can now confirm was incorrect. A future post will discuss the correct solution and pose a new Mindbender for the cryptically inclined to cogitate upon. Heather has been an encouraging presence on this baby-stepping blog, and I'll be speaking more of her later.

Karen was nice enough to thank me for my fortune-cookie-lite offering on her blog, which I find very perceptive and thought-provoking, so really if anybody should be thanking anybody it ought to be the other way around. I encourage anybody reading this to imbibe some wisdom from her if your other commitments so permit.

The "Project" Project - which, like many a Project to be discussed therein, is on official hiatus right now, although persistent rumors suggest it may yet emerge like a B-movie serial killer in the last reel - kicked off with a review of one of James Randi's sting operations, and brought a truly wonderful aphoristic response from Laurie about the scope of "the natural" - Laurie's blog deals with holistic themes that blur the boundary between the scientific and the mystical, and is another I'd highly recommend. Heather, for whose comments I can't express sufficient gratitude - Pirandello wrote about characters in search of an author, and I think many bloggers are characters in search of an audience - spoke eloquently to another aspect of magic: the wonder of it. I agree with her that we can get preoccupied looking for the man behind the curtain, and take the fun out of having our senses beguiled and deceived for a time. I have a few ideas for future blogs that arise out of this comment, and I appreciate the stimulus.

Although I don't get out and about around the blogosphere nearly enough, and I'm going to have to figure out a way to discipline myself into doing that because there are so many talented and interesting writers out there, I still doubt I'll find a title that delights me more than Fabulosity Nouveau. Wendy's blog weaves personal and global narratives and always has something, well, fabulous and nouveau to peruse. We are now clearly engaged in a war of compliments, since she said very nice things about my blog back when I was still writing it - although actually the nicest for me was that she intended to go look something up because I'd mentioned it. The idea that I can serve as a doorway onto something new for a reader is very satisfying for me, and it's certainly true that everybody who's commented on these pages has done as much for me in turn.

Lee, whose multifaceted creativity is partly responsible for what you see here, anticipated one of my blogs-in-progress in referencing 1984; Orwell's examination of the relationship between thought, language, and political action is very pertinent in today's media-saturated environment. I've got a couple more Agencywatch pieces lined up for days when I'm feeling political, and hopefully I'll be able to address the point Lee made in his comment without getting fitted for a tinfoil hat.

And so to the Round-up, which, I was pleased to observe, earned itself a thumbs up from Bryce that I'm happy to return: as a fellow alter-ego, I'm always gratified to see a creative talent married to a personable voice, just like what I'd like to be when I'm growed up. Bryce is the latest in an already uncountably vast sea of gifts from the generous and artistic Heather, with whom this mailbox fittingly ends as it started. She tagged me with questions, which I shall herewith attempt to answer.

1. What's the first thing you do in the morning? This is appallingly soppy, but the first thing I do in the morning, which is also the last thing I do at night, is tell my wife I love her. Sometimes I use those words, sometimes I use others, but that's always what I'm saying (and what she says back, unaccountably). A Cambridge professor found - for such men are always finding such things, presumably in lieu of such other things as fashionable haircuts or matching socks - that we can read words, even if the letters are scrambled, as long as the beginnings and endings are where they should be. I find I can live through days on the same basis.

2. How old do you feel? Ageless, I guess. One of the factoids I like to drop in the path of conversations - much as vandals drop breezeblocks in the path of oncoming trains - is that I was born a blue baby; strangulated by the umbilical cord, and revived only after some time in the infamous blue light by a dedicated team of doctors to whom I am on most days profoundly grateful. This is too convenient a scapegoat to pin all of my oddities on, but prolonged reflection upon the circumstance has left me with an outlook that has elements of the fatalistic acceptance of the very old and the perennial wonderment of the very young. I am remarkably blessed by this, and one of the several side-effects of it as a condition, if it's reasonable to refer to it as such, is that I generally feel myself to be the approximate age of whoever I'm dealing with, although they invariably feel I'm either younger or older than is actually the case. Very occasionally, I'll meet someone who doesn't know Germany was once divided, or that the Challenger was a shuttle that exploded in the sky over Florida, or that music was once recorded on cassettes (I no longer even expect anybody to remember vinyl), and be reminded of my provenance in the linear-time stream; but for the most part I live either in the moment or outside it, and in neither wise am I much troubled by concerns over my age, or lack of it.

3. What's your sign and does the description match your personality? I'm a great believer in the parasimplicity principle - not least for the egotistical reason that I formulated it myself. The parasimplicity principle is itself parasimplistic, by which I mean that it can be expressed in myriad ways all of which mean the same thing in different paradigms: one of the simplest is one adopted, long before my strangulation and subsequent birth, by Oscar Wilde - "nothing is itself alone." There is a neat symmetry in the fact that one of the more difficult expressions of parasimplicity is the reciprocal of Wilde's dictum: that "everything is other than itself." This seemingly irrelevant prolegomena leads to an observation about the descriptions appended to the various zodiacal signs, which are in my experience sufficiently lengthy and wide-ranging that it would be remarkable if I didn't identify with them. That said, I am both a textbook Pisces and a textbook Dragon, to a remarkable degree in both cases. Whether this is an application of the parasimplicity principle, or merely another example of it, I'm not sure; and, happily, neither frame alters the convenience of fit.

4) How do you like your caffeine? I very rarely drink coffee - by 'very rarely,' to qualify, I've drunk perhaps half a dozen cups this millennium - although I drink tea, both in the quaint English hot-with-milk-and-two-sugars and the adopted Southern iced-and-sweet varieties, much more frequently. Almost all of my caffeine, however, comes from Pepsi products. I drink far too many soft drinks, but everybody has to have a vice.

5) Favorite cartoon character? This question made me laugh, because another of those train-wreck factoids of mine concerns my youthful fondness for certain anthropomorphic female cartoon characters (Jessica Rabbit wasn't my style; oddly, Brittany Chipmunk was). But, in a more - shall we say - cerebral sense, my favorite is probably the Pink Panther.

I now need to find some victims to tag in turn with these same questions... and that concludes today's mailbox. Please don't attempt to unbuckle your seats until the ride comes to a complete halt. Thank you.


Erin Kane Spock said...

If you are Rupert Giles, I may come asking to borrow some coffee. :) If you are Rupert Grint, please make that "OH NO!" face.
Thanks for tagging. I've not been as active in the blogosophere of late, but I've missed it. It helps me be a better... me. I will answer the questions in my next post.

Heather Henry said...

I am so glad to see that you're still alive and kicking. I was beginning to get a wee bit concerned. :)
Thank you for the compliments. I do enjoy your blog, it really does make me go a little deeper into my thoughts and occasionally I have to go in search of my dictionary or encyclopedia. The mind stretching keeps me alert and for that, I am very grateful.
I'm so glad you participated in the blog tag. I love to see how others respond to the questions. It gives us all a chance to catch a closer glimpse of our blog friends and get to know them a bit better.
I love that you begin and end your day with telling your wife you love her, that is tremendously sweet and romantic.
Your explanation of your sign is awesome. You went about it in a very round about way. I would have to look up Pisces to see what it says. I had to do the same with Taurus, (I don't tend to follow signs, I am who I am regardless) but weirdly it described me very well.
Thank you again for your generous compliments. So glad to have you back on the blogging bandwagon. Will keep my eyes open for your next post.
Have a happy week! Peace be with you.

Name: Luana Krause said...

Hi, Mojo: Great to hear that you're back in the saddle. I know how it can be to have blogger overload. It's hard for me to find time to keep up with all the new friends I've made in the Blog Challenge.

I'm a Taurus/Rooster. My fave cartoon character is Underdog. The last thing I do before going to bed is read and the first thing I do when I awake is brush my teeth.

Keep telling your wife you love her. That's great way to start and end each day. God bless.


Sylvia Ney said...

Good post. It's hard to keep up with and find a balance for life, writing, blogging etc. I really enjoyed reading your answers.