My New Diary, 11/3 to 11/6/2018

I rarely get hives, like almost never, and I’ve never been too sure about what caused them. Likewise this time. My “dinner” yesterday was thoroughly disgraceful, almost half of a Dutch apple pie plus, plus a whole package of Pepperidge Farm cookies. That was dinner. Did that cause the hives somehow? I guess so; but this is hardly the first time I’ve had total junk for dinner, not even the first time in the last month.

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A Discussion of To Kill A Mockingbird

Scout seems so enlightened the whole way through, although she's never quite right on the mark, she always has profound and insightful observations but they're never exactly right and I think one of the things is that kids are always wanting to understand the world in black-and- white, consistent terms where they could have a rule that would apply to everybody, and what they consistently learn is that it just never works that way.

More Book Thoughts from My Prison Diary

{8/16/08} Finished Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, a fine but ultimately disappointing ghost story. The disappointment is with the overdrawn villains and some illogical plot points. Of the latter: a ghost assaults our hero with a 400 pound desk, but fails to make use of the many knives in the kitchen or the knitting needles … Continue reading More Book Thoughts from My Prison Diary

My New Diary, 10/31/2018

I was “always” trying to make sulfuric acid and never succeeding, and trying to make gunpowder, but it never worked. Acids were pretty easy to make: combine two dry chemicals in a retort, and add heat. This gets you nitric and hydrochloric acids, but not sulfuric. I “burned” a fingertip with nitric acid, accidentally, but all that I remember is that it changed to orange. Gunpowder is made up of three dry chemicals, but mine never burned like gunpowder is supposed to.

My New Diary, 10/25 to 10/27/2018

My idea is to take cultural icons for the Major Arcana, and other bits of modern life as the other features, to remove the need for study and make richness of association readily available. I settled on Marilyn Monroe, Henry Thoreau, Muhammad Ali, the Automobile, the Atom Bomb, Adolf Hitler, Laurel & Hardy, Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln, and so on, as the Major Arcana, as I tried to adapt my personal interests and existing knowledge to the standard structure of the tarot deck.

My New Diary, 10/24/2018: Late-Night Book Thoughts

Woke some time after midnight and it’s now 1:20 AM. I was reading Wing-Tsit Chan: A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, just getting started and enjoying it, but I looked at the three books on my bedside table and saw Eugene Thacker: Infinite Resignation. And had this thought that I wanted to record here: how can I go back to that book while I have not read this one yet?

Knowledge and “Christopher Columbus”

“Columbus discovered America in 1492.” This paradigmatic bit of knowledge was taught to me in the innocent 1950s (were they “innocent”? Or was this just another of the Lies My Teacher Told Me?). It might still be taught this way somewhere in the U.S., perhaps in a few schools in Tennessee or South Carolina as required by state law, but a likelier formulation might be...