View Full Version : Barnes on Friday the Thirteenth

James Brody
April 13th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Four hours and 346 pages passed as if nothing, my trail marked by twenty Post-Its and the sticky edge of each tucked down to hold its place in the book. Earlier today, Barnes handed me the copy that I ordered of Arthur Wigan's A New View of Insanity: The Duality of Mind Proved by the Structure, Functions, and Diseases of the Brain and I folded up in a soft chair. Wigan, a soulmate from 1844, anticipated conclusions reached nearly 150 years later by Michael Gazzaniga and Roger Sperry: traffic between the two halves of the brain keep them in mutual sync. Kuramoto is right one more time. Mutual influence and similarity between two halves of the brain allow each to stabilize and modify its partner. Wigan, credited by Harrington, with best documenting split brain phenomena, gives almost endless case studies of people arguing with themselves, one half their mind monitoring the other, and able to do two tasks at once as seen in accountants who tell jokes at the same time, long before calculators, they add long columns of figures.

Background for appreciating Gretchen: Grammer's group studies the sequences that occur when a man makes a woman laugh and toss her hair and he feels better but cannot explain why. Gretchen, described earlier, probably a daughter of middle Europe, with light complexion, and the stride of a dancer or an igniting bipolar, tossed her long black hair as she lined up hundreds of copies of books that she regards as her children. She was in a skirt today and showed more than a few inches above her perfect knees. She also, likely equipped with two hemispheres, can both arrange books and be alert to an old geek who would rather watch her through binoculars or, better yet, a magnifying glass.

My left cortex deserved a treat and a contest after getting through Wigan nonstop: I asked her for a self-help book on brain transplants. She laughed and shook that glossy hair. I felt a little better although I can't tell when a woman lies.

Never could.

A lady with old eggs and an egg shape in a baggy pants suit announced to the world that lies in front of the Customer Service desk: "This store has pornography in the plain view of children." She threw a copy of the current Rolling Stones on the desk, the issue where twins are dressed in little more than ammo belts. She unfortunately caught me making eye contact and, unfortunately again, the escalator dropped me near her. I refused more eye contact and went to the Cafe where I asked Phil how a creature that starts life docked to a nipple soon finds obscenity in pictures of that same nipple? He laughed and asked if I wanted my scone warmed.

"No, I can throw it better cold."

"Alice, our community relations person handled that lady's complaint with the First Amendment."

I acted on an image of endowed Alice arching her back, clutching each side of her blouse, and ripping it open. Phil gave a much larger laugh, one from his belt that rolled him forward and exploded up and out.

"God"...another book out of dozens not to buy, every one of which argues with a gene. Mencken noticed the same tactics in the writings of that Polish guy, Fred Nietzsche: "He denied that human will was free and argued that every human action was inevitable, and yet he spent his whole life trying to convince his fellow men that they should do otherwise than as they did in fact. In a word, he held that they had no control whatever over their actions, and yet, like Moses, Mohammed, and St. Francis, thundered at them uproariously and urged them to turn from their errors and repent." (Mencken, p 112).

The book writers warm and sting empty air around Dawkins: the folks with a gene for religiosity are most likely to resist not only chatter from unbelievers but also the same gene in other cultures, novel partnerships of genes and customs that kill off secular skeptics. Criticizing deists could be slow suicide. Hope Nietzsche earned as much as Dawkins...

Finally, the Ex called about her taxes. Her receipt for storm windows was for late in '05 and, therefore, she lost a $200 credit. On the other hand, she found more mileage on her work car and balanced what she lost on windows. She wants to get together at 4 tomorrow to go over things which means I need to be done by 4 tomorrow. She offered to bring me a coffee, I asked how she felt about running a vac. Nope, she has no time until mid August...

Your turn is coming...



Harrington A (1989) Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain: A Study of 19th Century Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Mencken HL (1908/2006) The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. NY: Barnes & Noble.
Strogatz, S. (2003) Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. NY: Hyperion.
Wigan A (1844/2006) A New View of Insanity: The Duality of Mind Proved by the Structure, Functions, and Diseases of the Brain. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.

James Brody
April 15th, 2007, 03:16 PM
Guy in scraggled blond beard & leather jacket, sits in on one chair, I drop my bag on the floor next to a second chair and arrange my laptop, power cords, earphones, two books, and one cup of chocolate-reinforced latte. He and I ignore each other across five feet and forty years.

A few minutes later, a girl joined him, snuggling her padded behind onto his chair. He keeps reading. She nudges, bends over, and collects a puckered kiss, one signaled with a quiet smack. He keeps reading. She seems kind of ordinary and perhaps not only pudgy but depressed. Small wonder that he ignores her.

She pulls out her cell and calls a friend. She then hangs up and explains to the guy, "She's having a really bad time with her mother and needs to talk."

Mental yawn on my part and perhaps his. After all, I'm looking for important stuff, that is a weapon, a 2000 mm scope for a digicam.

She then moves to the empty chair to his far side and sits quietly.

He puts one book down and collects another, one on Aristotle's Ethics.

"Whaat!! You're reading Spark Notes?! I'm not paying for your education if you're going to study trash!"

Then I notice her level green eyes, pony-tail, clear skin and suddenly, she's beautiful and he's not only lucky but also a fool...