I Used To Work on Illuminated Manuscripts

At least that’s what it feels like in memory, from an era before Evelyn Berezin made the typewriter an antique. Doing papers in college was hell — I could type fluently since I had learned early in grade school because my handwriting was mere scribbles, but there would always be enough typos and lame-ohs to require at least one edit. Meant marking up the manuscript with a pencil and typing the whole damned thing again. Good that I was young, with boundless energy. Did I mention the last time I stayed up all night was 12 years ago?

In Reality Begin Dreams

Captivating meditations on sleep and esp. dreams. I may have mentioned this before, but Mother was fixated on her dreams, many mornings recalling them in detail. I have a very peculiar book of hers that purported to explain everything in dreams as some sort of signifier or signal or warning. Offers no research justifications beyond the way obvious: yes, dreaming dead people you knew have come back to life is scary and probably a warning that something unexpected is going to happen.

R.I.P.: Stephen Hillenburg

Animated cartoons are supposed to revel in the absurd, which is a lot harder to do than wallow in the ridiculous, obnoxious or obscure. “SpongeBob SquarePants” captivated me right from when I saw it very early on. Starting with the looney-but-perfect notion that he was a kitchen sponge instead of one of those wacky globs that live in the real ocean. The core of characters was a perfectly realized team (best cohort: Sandy Cheeks — starting with her name, how’d they get away with that one?) (poorest concept: Mister Krabs’s money-grubbing, which got more than a little icky-poo over time) (best bonus: Plankton has one of the most corrosive asshole-voices ever).

Favorite episode — the one where SpongeBob and Patrick paint the inside of Mister Krabs house. Ending worthy of Surrealist immortality.

Favorite joke line that nobody coming across it for the first time in the future will understand: “You aren’t going to make me read old magazines, are you???”

PS: Second-favorite episode is the one about Sandy hibernating. Her mean-Texas dreamtalk made me scream with laughter when I first heard it. Still wondrous.

Conundrum of Isolated Human Tribes

This has puzzled me since I was a kid. Over the years, the romantic notion of the ideal-civilization “Lost Tribe” became obvious bullshit — they were much more likely to be impoverished and hostile — even murderously hostile — to outsiders.

This was the first spectacular incident that I can remember.

And now we have another one.

(For the record: explorers get sympathy; “missionaries” get their proper place in Dante’s universe.)