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Sun Aug 30th, 2015


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03:39 pm - My rubbish life
Yesterday and this morning were autumn, and very pleasant. It is now summer again (hint: the sun came out) and not so very.

In my half-aware state I've succeeded in doing some basic cleaning, like the lower shelf of the perpetually unsatisfactory living room table. It's wicker, and the wicker was already sagging when I bought it at a yard sale a dozen years ago. Anything put on the shelf sags too, like books, so it became a kind of oubliette. Clearly needs a flat surface, so I retrieved a framed and glassed picture from the basement and inserted it there. Works very well. Would work better if picture wasn't of a clock, with real metal hands in front and a little battery box behind; but wicker's slump accommodates box just fine. Then leafed through a bunch of National Geographics from the Front Lawn Library that had got umm shelved there. Will keep the one from 2012 on the colours of the terracotta army and the 2000 one about Genghis Khan. The 1964 one about Tokyo just pre-Olympics... shall keep the 'general overview' map, which names streets and shows landmarks in relation to each other, which none of my dozen other Tokyo maps do, and trash the rest. They approve of the expressway, for one thing. Besides, there's this other article called "Cambodia: south-east Asia's 'neutral' corner", which is too painful to even read.

Other main achievment was to wrestle the desk chair that's been trashing my coccyx for half a decade, down the stairs and out to the sidewalk. No one will take it, and I shall have to leave it there, or ferry it back and forth to the porch, until a week Wednesday. Am currently sitting on much springier desk chair (wrested from the gomi, like the previous one) which is fine but needs an Obus form at the back. Luckily I have one of those as well: wrested from the gomi.

And started The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler, which has the stunning premise of a Jewish state in mid-8th century Asia Minor. Koestler is one of those antsy-making authors whom I had recommended to me in my teens and early twenties, along with ohhh Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, the memoirs of V.S. Pritchitt, the letters of the Bloomsburyites, and The Alexandria Quartet. All of these were impenetrable. What were they talking about? What does that mean? These people are Martians. Have since developed a theory that much British writing is opaque to anyone not brought up in that society and, more importantly, in that particular class. Our reviewers, back in the 60s, were still either British themselves, or brought up in the British tradition; they remembered the 30s and 40s, and shared the cultural nostalgia for the golden 20s and the secure Edwardians. The Edwardians to me, now, are as distant as the Tudors, but it was a lot different fifty years ago.

And in any case, googling about suggests I don't have to read Koestler's book, since it's a thesis book, not something that would segue into Gentlemen of the Road. (His thesis was that east European Jewry was descended from the Turkic Khazars, not the middle eastern diaspora, so the Jews aren't semites at all. If people would recognize this fact, anti-Semitism would cease to exist. The idea is as (pick an adjective) as the notion of Cambodia as the neutral corner of S-E Asia.

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