Observations 2021-09-01

  • One very loose formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative goes like: Do what you wish everyone else would do. And by the same token: If the world would be worse off if everyone were to do what you’re considering doing, don’t do it. But it’s kind of strange to make decisions based on notions of collective action without integrating ideas about how collective action itself works (e.g. how people influence each other, how the consequences of a Kantian “maxim” change depending on the specific quantity of people living by it). I suspect that Kant and many others have written about the interaction between his Categorical Imperative and group dynamics but I haven’t read them yet.
    • Cases that make me consider how the Categorical Imperative interacts with group dynamics: voting for third party candidates; participating in boycotts.

Observations 2021-09-02

Observations 2021-09-03

  • A pleasant day of renovation, delivering hot dogs to Zaid, cooking and watching Bachelor in Paradise with Casey.

Observations 2021-09-04

  • The strata of years in my tour laminate memory box.

Observations 2021-09-05

  • George Saunders’ incredible, so freakin’ good, beautiful new story in The New Yorker. [9-19: Weeks later, still thinking of the floaters in the dog bowl as a symbol of all the things we do, you know, to feel like we’re trying…]
  • Spencer Wright in The Prepared: “More than almost anything else in my professional life, I enjoy the idea — the illusion, usually — that I’m doing a good job at a wide variety of things. It’s an elusive feeling, compounded by the need to continuously discover new and weird skills in order to maintain it. Each old skill then slowly atrophies, leaving me with only the vague sense that I’ve grown wiser from having learned and then forgotten something.”

Observations 2021-09-06

  • Basil sunbathing.

Observations 2021-09-07

  • The woman pushing a baby in a stroller through the park bustling with music festival preparations: forklifts, trucks, golf carts.

Observations 2021-09-08

  • One of the cardinal contradictions of slavery: enslavers deny the humanity of the people they enslave, calling them animals, while simultaneously treating them with more peculiar cruelty than they would ever treat animals. Doing things that can only hurt a being who has dignity and self-perception.

Observations 2021-09-09

  • Admiring a coworker’s pair of orange rubber boots.

Observations 2021-09-10

  • The purple sunrise light seeping in the bedroom windows.
  • Speaking to a person who wants to teach peace through hacky sack.

Observations 2021-09-11

  • The absolute overrun of inchworms all over the festival park. Descending from the trees. Crawling on the tables.
  • Buzzcocks’ “Why Can’t I Touch It.”

Observations 2021-09-12

  • The last day of the festival, and a swift, smooth load-out.

Observations 2021-09-13

  • My friend Warner telling me that my jawbone looks like that of “some cool lizard skulls” he’s found.

Observations 2021-09-14

  • Ruminating upon a friend’s comment to me about targeted ads. That without them, the only entities that could afford to advertise on the internet would be huge corporations.
  • The rabbit (or rabbit-adjacent animal) hole in the backyard that Basil monitors obsessively.

Observations 2021-09-15

Observations 2021-09-16

Observations 2021-09-17

  • At the Wilco show in Green Bay, WI, a guy looking for his wedding ring in the astroturf of Capital Credit Union Park. Bystanders turning on their phone flashlights to help him. More bystanders turning on their phone flashlights in an expanding ring of tiny search lights. I don’t think the guy found his ring. He was quite drunk.

Observations 2021-09-18

  • Casey’s and my revelation that City of Chicago Divvy e-bikes are super fun and practical.

Observations 2021-09-19

  • Birthday dinner for Zaid’s eighty-eighth birthday!

Observations 2021-09-20

  • Finding the only good use for a MyPillow charlatan pillow: dampening in a kick drum.

Observations 2021-09-21

  • The teenager with a piece of “CRIME SCENE” tape decoratively attached to his bike seat.

Observations 2021-09-22

  • The little lights blinking on the stationary barges on the Mississippi River.
  • The sweet Iowan couple dining next to us, a loud-ish band, on a patio: “Are you all a band? I can smell a band from a mile away.”

Observations 2021-09-23

  • Tossing a baseball around with members of Shy Boys before our show at Lemonade Park in Kansas City.

Observations 2021-09-24

  • The older couple wrapping birthday gifts in the trunk of their minivan, in the drizzly parking lot of a rural gas station.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

Observations 2021-09-25

  • Playing Turf Club in St. Paul with Liam. Going to a Twins game in the long stretch between sound check and the show.

Observations 2021-09-26

Observations 2021-09-27

  • Episode 202 of the Tweedy Show.

Observations 2021-09-28

  • Casey trying, in vain, to find the Cardinals game on TV in a Chicago sports bar. (Can’t blame her; it’s a friendly, woman-owned bar with a big cable plan.)

Observations 2021-09-29

  • Case Oats band practice!

Observations 2021-09-30

  • The confluence of contractors’ five spray paint colors on the pavement in our alley, each marking different gas lines and sewer thingies.