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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?

I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.

Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.

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"The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson


"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin


"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton


"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan


"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule -- and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken


"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt


"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley


"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss


"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire, the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind; and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon


"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon


"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon


"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders and they love to chatter instead of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
-- Socrates


"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook


"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook


"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr


"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion


"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson


"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices, intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation; a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition -- to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand


"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri


"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams


"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France


"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke


"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology; it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant


"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville


"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis


"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis


"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis


"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon, but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant


"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand


"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal


"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.


"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible, and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus


"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814


"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort, are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true, the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated. This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944


"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News


"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas


"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
-- Cicero


"Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue." -- François, duc de La Rochefoucauld


"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." -- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson


"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example." -- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower


"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance." --
H. W. Fowler


"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place." -- Kate Wilhelm


"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein


"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms


"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho


"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).


"Nothing would be done at all, if a man waited till he could do it so well, that no one could find fault with it."
-- Lecture IX, John Henry Cardinal Newman


“Nothing is more common than for men to think that because they are familiar with words they understand the ideas they stand for.”
-- John Henry Cardinal Newman


"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
-- James Madison


"Those who are free from common prejudices acquire others."
-- Napolean I of France -- Napoleon I of France


"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.


"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.


"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128


"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)


"American life is a powerful solvent. It seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native good will, complacency, thoughtlessness, and optimism."
-- George Santayana, Character and Opinion in the United States, (1920)


"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days


"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs


"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign


"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden


"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
-- Batman



 

 
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit. He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.

The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cute panda. Don't you love pandas?

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And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world


[Blogroll now far below the sea line! Dive, dive, dive!]


You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Gary Farber! Jeez, the guy is practically a blogging legend, and I'm always surprised at the breadth of what he writes about.
-- PZ Meyers, Pharyngula


...Darn: I saw that Gary had commented on this thread, and thought: oh. my. god. Perfect storm. Unstoppable cannonball, immovable object. -- Hilzoy

...I think Gary Farber is a blogging god. -- P.Z. Myers, Pharyngula

...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow

‎"Gary Farber is a gentleman, a scholar and one of the gems of the blogosphere." -- Steve Hynd, Newshoggers.com

"Well argued, Gary. I hadn't seen anything that went into as much detail as I found in your blog." -- Gareth Porter

Gary Farber is your one-man internet as always, with posts on every article there is.
-- Fafnir

Guessing that Gary is ignorant of anything that has ever been written down is, in my experience, unwise.
Just saying.

-- Hilzoy

Gary Farber gets it right....
-- James Joyner, Outside The Beltway

Once again, an amazing and illuminating post.
-- Michael Bérubé, Crooked Timber

I read Amygdala...with regularity, as do all sensible websurfers.
-- Jim Henley, Unqualified Offerings

Okay, he is annoying, but he still posts a lot of good stuff.
-- Avedon Carol, The Sideshow

Amygdala - So much stuff it reminds Unqualified Offerings that UO sometimes thinks of Gary Farber as "the liberal Instapundit."
-- Jim Henley

...the thoughtful and highly intelligent Gary Farber... My first reaction was that I definitely need to appease Gary Farber of Amygdala, one of the geniuses of our age.
-- Brad deLong

Gary is a perceptive, intelligent, nice guy. Some of the stuff he comes up with is insightful, witty, and stimulating. And sometimes he manages to make me groan.
-- Charlie Stross

Gary Farber is a straight shooter.
-- John Cole, Balloon Juice

I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber


Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
-- Ogged

I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow

One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
-- oakhaus.com

One of my favorites....
-- Matt Welch

Favorite....
-- Virginia Postrel

Amygdala continues to have smart commentary on an incredible diversity of interesting links....
-- Judith Weiss

Amygdala has more interesting obscure links to more fascinating stuff that any other blog I read.
-- Judith Weiss, Kesher Talk

Gary's stuff is always good.
-- Meryl Yourish

...the level-headed Amygdala blog....
-- Geitner Simmons

The only trouble with reading Amygdala is that it makes me feel like such a slacker. That Man Farber's a linking, posting, commenting machine, I tell you!
-- John Robinson, Sore Eyes

...the all-knowing Gary Farber....
-- Edward Winkleman, Obsidian Wings

Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged

We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!

Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!

Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog


Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog


GARY FARBER IS MY AROUSAL CENTER. -- Justin Slotman

Gary is certainly a non-idiotarian 'liberal'...
-- Perry deHaviland

Recommended for the discerning reader.
-- Tim Blair

Gary Farber's great Amygdala blog.
-- Dr. Frank

Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott

Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit

My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal

If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.

Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks

I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes

Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this?
-- Natalie Solent

You nailed it... nice job."
-- James Lileks

Gary Farber is a principled liberal....
-- Bill Quick, The Daily Pundit


Archives:
December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 December 2011 January 2013


Blogroll is Always In Progress:

Roger Ailes
Alas, A Blog
AlterNet
The American Street
The Aristocrats
Avedon Carol
Between the Hammer and the Anvil
Lindsay Beyerstein
The Big Con
bjkeefe
CantBlogTooBusy The Center for American Progress
Chase me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry
Chuckling
Doghouse Riley
Kevin Drum
elementropy
Eschaton
Fables of the Reconstruction
Gall and Gumption
Gin and Tacos
House of Substance
Hullabaloo
The Hunting of the Snark
If I Ran The Zoo
Lawyers, Guns & Money
Lotus: Surviving a Dark Time
Matters of Little Significance
Nancy Nall
Charlie Stross bastard.logic
Daniel Larison
Afro-Netizen
American Conservative
American Footprints
Andrew Sullivan
Angry Bear
Attackerman
Attempts
Balkinization
Balloon Juice
Beautiful Horizons
Bitch Ph.D.
Brad DeLong
Cato-at-liberty
Cogitamus
Crooked Timber
Cunning Realist
Daily Kos
Debate Link
Democracy Arsenal
Edge of the American West
Eschaton
Ezra Klein
Feministe
Glenn Greenwald
Governing.com: 13th Floor
Hit & Run
Hullabaloo
Juan Cole
Kevin Drum
Lawyers, Guns and Money
List Project (Helping Iraqis who worked with us get out)
Marc Lynch
Mark Kleiman
Katha Pollit
Market Square
Matthew Yglesias
Megan McArdle
Metro Green
Mightygodking
Newshoggers
Orcinus
Pam's House Blend
Pandagon
Paul Krugman
Pharyngula
Philosophy, et cetera
Radley Balko
Sadly, No!
Shakesville
slacktivist
Southern Appeal
Stephen Walt
Steve Clemons
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Taking It Outside
Talking Points Memo
TAPPED
The Poor Man
The Progressive Realist
The Sideshow
TPMCafe
U.S. Intellectual History
Unfogged
Unqualified Offerings
VetVoice
Volokh Conspiracy
Washington Monthly
William Easterly
Newsrack Blog
Ortho Bob
Pandagon
Pharyngula
The Poor Man
Prog Gold
Prose Before Hos
Ted Rall
The Raw Story
Elayne Riggs
Sadly, No!
Snarkmarket
TAPped
TBogg
Texas Liberal
Think Progress
3 Weird Sisters
Tristram Shandy
Washington Monthly
Ian Welsh
James Wolcott
World o' Crap
Matthew Yglesias
Buzz Machine
Daniel Larison
Rightwing Film Geek About Last Night
can we all just agree
Comics Curmudgeon
Dum Luk's
Glenn Kenny
Hoarder Museum Juanita Jean
Lance Mannion (Help Lance!
Last Words of the Executed
The Phil Nugent Experience
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen
Vanishing New York
a lovely promise
a web undone
alicublog
alt hippo
american street
city of brass
danger west
fact-esque
fierce urgency of now
get fisa right
great concavity
happening here
impeach them!
jensscholz.com
kathryn cramer
notes from the basement
sideshow
talking dog
uncertain principles
unqualified offerings
what do i know
balkinization
crooked timber emptywheel
ezra klein
Fact-esque
The F-Word
glenn greenwald
governmentality
hullabaloo
Lifehacker
schneier on security
ta-nehisi coates
talking points memo
tiny revolution
Roz Kaveney
Dave Ettlin
Henry Jenkins' Confessions of an Aca-Fan
Kathryn Cramer
Monkeys In My Pants
Macadamia
Pagan Prattle
As I Please
Ken MacLeod
Arthur Hlavaty
Kevin Maroney
MK Kare
Jack Heneghan
Dave Langford
Epicycle
Onyx Lynx Atrios
Demosthenes
Rittenhouse Review
Maxspeak
Public Nuisance
Scoobie Davis
MadKane
Nathan Newman
Whiskeyfire
Echidne Of The Snakes
First Draft
Corrente
Rising Hegemon
NTodd
Cab Drollery (Help Diane!
Hullabaloo
Southern Beale
The Kenosha Kid
Culture of Truth
Talk Left
Black Ag=Q< Report
Drug WarRant
Nieman Watchdog
Open Left
Meet the Bloggers
Dispatch from the Trenches
Frameshop
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People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost, Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry, Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny. It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out. And She of whom I must write someday.










Amygdala
 
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
 
ANOTHER. In point of fact, lifelong recurring severe clinical depression is the primary health factor that I don't discuss, as a rule, as regards why I'm so constantly broke.

It's why I dropped out of college (and because I desperately missed Anna, who was 12 hours away). It's why I have trouble holding a job. Or doing much of anything that requires sustained effort.

I'm not naturally terribly comfortable discussing these issues in front of the world. But, what the hell, they say honesty is the best policy.

They lie, of course.

But everything I write on the internets is one long vamp; the constant reading and writing is a non-stop frantic attempt to distract myself from the fact thatt the world sucks, and me most of all. (No, I don't entirely believe that; I have developed a touch of self-awareness over the years; but knowing and feeling, are, of course, the different.)

If I were a better person, I'd instead go help people in Darfur, or something. Instead, I'm a lazy bastard. Who talks to himself in front of other people (also when alone). Oh, well, I've never claimed to have a terrific sense of the appropriate.

Nice weather we've having, isn't it? (I also have trouble writing about the personal, because I immediately bore even myself when I do.)

12/27/2005 12:57:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 12 comments

12 Comments:

Rent a lot of movies and veg in front of the television.

And keep in mind that people with, like, major illnesses don't tend to go volunteer in Darfur.

By Blogger bitchphd, at Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:19:00 PM  

I'm with you. I finally managed to graduate from college, nineteen years after starting and failing out twice because I would go six weeks at a time without leaving my apartment except to get food at the convenience store across the street. After all that time, putting thing back together by working entry level jobs after I met my wife-to-be. Eventually, I lucked out and found the perfect boss, and spent seven years running parking lots, and went back to school. Got my degree in Statistics, and I even found that perfect job that I wanted to go to every day, trading options for Citigroup Derivative markets.

Did you know that working on an options desk isn't the best idea for someone with stress issues and chronic depression? I have to admit that it didn't occur to me at first. I started having shaking episodes over the summer, and by October, I found myself going to my wife at about three o'clock in the morning, saying that I really, really wanted to swallow a whole bottle of Xanax and wash it down with vodka.

Sorry for having turned this into my own not-so-private unburdening (as if I didn't have plenty of other people to talk to about it), but I'm now on disability, and looking at going back to school to find something still interesting but less stressful. So, Gary, I'm totally with you. It's trite, but I understand. Unfortunately, until I get another job, I probably won't be able to toss anything more into your tip jar. If I win the lottery, I'll let you know.

By Blogger J. Michael Neal, at Tuesday, December 27, 2005 10:55:00 PM  

Does this really feel like discussing such issues in front of the world? I found I could be a lot more open about the way I felt (as a rule, I'm not very) before I knew that people I might well see later that day or week were reading. Now, living with my two brothers, I don't say much at all, because they're nice people and would want to talk to me about it, which I wouldn't want.

Wanting to talk and having to talk are quite different, of course.

And anyway, writing about the personal is hardly likely to bore people (though it doesn't stop me assuming the same about myself) - think how successful Reality television is. Of course, then you get issues of not giving absolutely everything; but people will watch. That's why people are so fond of gossip. The personal touch nearly always brings 'em in.

But I know enough about getting depressed quite easily myself (not sure if it's the Celtic blood, or the artistic temperament, or none of the above) to know that I wouldn't want that to last days on end or longer. I've been for days at a time, but in varying degrees. When I've been utterly, utterly black, the depth has never been kept more than a day, really.

By Blogger James Casey, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 12:59:00 AM  

lifelong recurring severe clinical depression ... It's why I dropped out of college ... It's why I have trouble holding a job. Or doing much of anything that requires sustained effort.

That sounds all too much like my husband.

I don't have much advice to offer. [Despite the Mars/Venus stereotypes, I always default towards making practical suggestions rather than providing emotional support.]

But I will point out that disability <> lazy bastard, so try not to beat yourself up over what you can't do.

By Blogger Lis Riba, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 9:52:00 AM  

"disability <> lazy bastard"

I second that. I have always found it helps to imagine that I have found myself in the middle of "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids", and am now an inch tall. Things that used to be easy aren't any more: I have to rappel down the stairs, fight my way through the shag carpet, exercise all my ingenuity to figure out how to eat normal foods (a jar of peanut butter? A death trap! A tangerine? But it could roll over and crush me! Etc.)

At least it amuses me; and laughter is depression's deadly enemy.

By Blogger hilzoy, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 10:28:00 AM  

"But I will point out that disability <> lazy bastard, so try not to beat yourself up over what you can't do."

It doesn't help that from early childhood, one of the loudest points from my mother -- and she was a frequent screamer -- was "you're not trying hard enough, you're not making any effort, you're just not trying."

Now, most of us get that to varying degrees from our parents, of course. Yet all our families are unhappy in different ways. And as I lazed my way through high school, it only got worse (which is why, along with the rest of the degeneration of my relationship with my mother I moved out in senior year, and we didn't speak for a long time).

It then turned into "you are a complete failure, you just never tried, you don't care, you don't care about me or anyone else, you lazy bastard, get out," and a fair variety of other expressions along those lines.

And so the last time we spoke, after the last time she told me never try to communicate with her again, was back in the 90s.

And for other reasons, that's why it's hard for me to not just blame for myself for doing more.

The curious thing is that my crazy father was a psychiatric social worker, until he lost his last job, and my mom had been a social worker, and then an "attendence teacher" (dealing with truants, in other words), and then a reading teacher, and the milieu of their friends were that many or most were psychogists and psychiatrists, and the like.

Yet, my parents never once thought of sending me to therapy, and when I first started speaking of it in my 20s, my mother had anything other than complete mockery that it was anything other than my sheer lack of caring, my laziness (and my primary motive, of course, being simply being that way to spite her), and my general lack of character. Every time the subject ever came up again, versions of that, and mockery of "psychological crap" were all I ever heard.

Thanks for commenting, all. It does feel a bit less conspicuous to be personal in comments, although that's possibly a bit silly.

I usually manage to preserve a certain doleful level of self-mockery and cynical humor, even when highly depressed, Hilzoy, save until I get down to the bottom couple of rungs or so. It's one of my survival mechanisms, and why I've never, at least really been suicidal, save by inertia; before I could get suicidal, history says, I just get paralyzed and literally can't get out of bed.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 2:07:00 PM  

"...of my relationship with my mother I moved out in senior year, and we didn't speak for a long time)."

It would be clearer to say: "...and thereafter only spoke intermittently, with great tension, ever again," although some periods were better than others.

"...when I first started speaking of it in my 20s, my mother had anything other than complete mockery that it was anything other than my sheer lack of caring...."

Should be "my mother had nothing other...."

I'm not correcting the other typos I made. I'm a lazy bastard.

;-) (I actually do have a good self-image about myself in some areas; really; it's why I do think I have some good things to offer a relationship, although in general I have no problem understanding why few would be presently interested, given various circumstances.)

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 2:14:00 PM  

Doleful levels of self-mockery can be a godsend. Because the fact is that, viewed in a certain slightly perverse light, depression is completely ludicrous. And it (or: my it, at any rate) hates it when I recognize that.

I really do think of depression as something requiring all-out war. Bob McManus thinks that because I'm "reasonable", I don't do all-out war. That's just because he has never been one of my depressions.

By Blogger hilzoy, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 4:17:00 PM  

I know you've probably thought of this (and perhaps even tried it) - but are anti-depressants any help? Have you talked to a doctor about them?

It just makes me sad to read this - I wish that you felt better, both physically and psychologically.

Well, I'm sure that cheered you up!

Take care of yourself.... rebecca

By Blogger Rebecca, at Wednesday, December 28, 2005 11:54:00 PM  

"I know you've probably thought of this (and perhaps even tried it) - but are anti-depressants any help?"

I've done a number over the years, but didn't find one that seemed to do much for me, other than cause sexual dysfunction; I found inability to orgasm more depressing than being depressed.

Of course, there were various others to try, and always new ones, but it's also only been some of the time that I've been able to afford prescriptions, for one thing.

More importantly, while 2001 was a lousy year for me depression-wise, around four or five months or so into 2002, I picked up, and was able to get myself relatively un-depressed, and this continued, for the most part, through 2004 until the news about Anna broke; 2005 largely therefore sucked for me, although I certainly made great progress once past around June in slowly getting less sad about Anna; getting to the point of the anniversary of it all has been bad, but I always knew it would be, and that I'd just have to get past it; I'm hoping to start picking up again by February or so; if not, I'll certainly be looking into anti-depressants and/or therapy again. I also have other intentions of things to change in my life to break the cycle of depression, like resuming walks every day we're not innundated with snow, and trying volunteering (I'm thinking of the Boulder Homeless Shelter), and otherwise doing things to get out and meet local people, and make local friends. And to clean my apartment. And so on and so forth.

I really have made great progress over the years, particularly recent years, in unkinking many of the longtime kinks in my head, or at least in finding walk-arounds, honest. I'm, generally, vastly better than when I was, ahem, last living in Brooklyn. Pinky-swear.

(Not incapable of partial relapses when the great love of my life dies, irrational as that, by definition, is, though.)

I'm sorry I made you sad, Rebecca; that sort of thing is also why I'm reluctant to write about this subject.

Also, I'm unthrilled to encourage people to find me sad, surprising me not as that does. Putting up a false front on that front is a lot safer.

(Also, pretending not to be ridden with anxiety and depression isn't infinitely distant from actually not being so, within certain limits.)

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:12:00 AM  

Dear Gary,

I'm glad I did say something - it's good to hear that you are doing better than your last sojourn in Brooklyn, despite your sadness about Anna (which I fully understand - anniversaries are very hard).

And since it's your blog, I don't see why you shouldn't write about how you feel. After all, you're not writing a news story for the New York Times! Plenty of people write about their feelings on their blogs.

I agree that putting up a false front can help one to eventually get to feel the way one appears to feel - but again, it's not bad to let down the front every now and then (preparatory to the good things like taking a walk every day - something I should also do to get out of my bouts of depression also).

Perhaps one reason I felt sad is because I also struggle against depression, and have to remember to do the healthy things that get me out of it.

May you have sunny days (literally!) in Boulder.

Rebecca

By Blogger Rebecca, at Thursday, December 29, 2005 7:21:00 AM  

I even worked full-time, non-temporary, jobs for most of 2002-2004. And the couple I had before the last I lost because they went out of business; they otherwise thought I was great; and I managed to be on time according to an absolutely rigid schedule (anything within three minutes late got you docked), and take no excessive sick days.

And the last job, which went for most of a year, I lost because of my physical ailments, which eventually caused an excessive number of sick days; mentally and emotionally I was fine, at least for me. Again, they otherwise loved me; I was "Employee of the Month," whoopie.

"...but again, it's not bad to let down the front every now and then...."

And so I do, sloppily. It's just not my plan for regular blogging. And, also, while talking about this stuff can be cathartic in doses, I long ago found that talking about it muchly simply made me focus on all my negative feelings and thoughts, and that this was highly counter-productive. This is yet another reason I found therapy a mixed bag at best.

"May you have sunny days (literally!) in Boulder."

Not a problem most of the time. And when it snows, we get the reflections off the mountains at the edge of town.

What drives me crazy is the powerful sunlight that floods this tiny studio apartment that has a huge front window, and a normal back one, but also two skylights (and a fireplace, which I've yet to use; also a bathroom window, of course).

This makes it hard to see my ancient, long-dimming, monitor, and from about 2-4 p.m. in the afternoon in winter, makes it almost impossible to see anything on it (in summer, a longer time period, of course).

The mountains (Front Range) are absolutely gorgeous to gaze at during walks, though, any season. I had really thought that Anna would come visit sometime, given our many-hours-long phone conversations every three months or so, so they also make me think of that, as well, but with vastly fewer tears now than a year ago.

When I do write about depressed stuff, naturally I simplify, exaggerate a bit for simplicity's sake, and make things sound as if there's Nothing But Bad in my life, which is depression talking, not An Objective And Accurate portrayal.

I hope you have a happy secular new year!

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Thursday, December 29, 2005 7:57:00 AM  

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