Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself because no one seems to understand what I’m saying, but other times I feel like I’m talking to myself because people say exactly what I’ve thought before.
In the first case people are usually totally bored and think you’re stupid because they really can’t quite follow what you’re saying or it does not seem important or true to them.
It’s like you’re speaking an Alien language. When this happens to you a lot it can either mean you’re crazy or you’re a genius.This happened to me so much that I decided to just call my personal alien language “Voynich”.Of course I believe I’m a Genius. Some close friends say I’m just slightly “off my rocker”.
How many people do you think enjoyed chatting with Einstein about what it would be like to be “sitting on a lightbeam” ? How many sailors do you think were wondering what kind of brew Columbus was drinking when he first tried to convince them that the world was really round ?
The second type of “talking to yourself ” is even more fascinating. In this scenario people are now quite excited to talk to you about some idea, they find amazing and novel, but while they are expressing it your eyes are the ones that might just glaze over because they are merely telling you something you already knew. They’re speaking to you with your own “voice”.
Years ago I said on a personal website that “Chess is the Martial Art of the Mind.” People in Jamaica were silent or a few just snickered. Chess has no similarity to Martial Arts, I’ve never heard that before, this guy is crazy, they all thought.
I was already being called the Chess Ninja by a few who knew my personal theories of the game, they thought it was an insult or a joke. I didn’t mind the name though and considered it a badge of honour because I understood that I was merely speaking Voynich to them. They could not understand. My site was called Chess Ninjas Dojo and I couldn’t even get the local chess federation to put a link to my site.
Someone who worked with Kasparov, the world’s best chess player at the time, came upon my website. He wrote me telling me he was very impressed by my site. He put a link for my site on Kasparov’s site. Kasparov’s site was the most popular chess site in the world at that time.
Strangely, it seemed that the World understood Voynich.
This man who worked for Kasparov later launched a website entitled http://www.chessninja.com . Chessninja.com became one of the world’s most popular chess sites. It is built on the concept of teaching chess like a martial art.
Now fast forward into 2010 and one of the most popular chess videos features Jamaican born grandmaster Maurice Ashley. In this video he promises to teach the secrets of chess.
Grandmaster Ashley makes a startling statement in the video “Chess is Intellectual Karate”. He is telling me my own idea. It’s like I am speaking to myself. My eyes glaze over. The world Applauds. It’s a standing ovation.
Remember this the next time someone says you’re crazy or they can’t understand. You’re possibly just speaking Voynich. One day the world will applaud and perhaps even beat a path to your door.
Indeed while it is true that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come, it is also very true that big ideas will most likely be questioned and rejected, then perhaps ridiculed and worst of all… be ignored… long before some latter-day champion , like Newton, “stands on the shoulders of Giants” and the ideas then become accepted as brilliant and then later on they’re considered obvious.
This strange, hump-backed, looking fellow is Harvey Pekar and he’s actually one of my heroes.
Harvey Pekar really loved collecting stuff. At one point he collected comic books and then later on he began to collect rare Jazz records.
This somewhat obscure hobby led him to meet Robert Crumb. Crumb had a love of rare Jazz music also. Crumb was also beginning to become well known as an underground comic book artist. Crumb’s adult-themed art work impressed the normally cynical Pekar.
Through reading his friend’s material Pekar began to realize the immense untapped potential of the whole comic book medium. Sure the medium had it’s full range of masked superheroes but Pekar felt there was a huge range of stories still waiting to be told.
“Comics could do anything that film could do,” Pekar realized. “And I wanted in on it.” he said. However it took Pekar some time to decide just what he wanted to do. “I theorized for maybe ten years about doing comics,” he says.
Pekar laid out some stories with crude stick figures and showed them to Crumb. Crumb became the first artist to illustrate American Splendor.
American Splendor was a groundbreaking series of Comic Books. The comic documents daily life in the aging neighborhoods of Pekar’s native Cleveland, where Pekar worked throughout his life (even after gaining fame) as a file clerk in a large Veterans Administration hospital.
American Splendor basically chronicles all the everyday events of Harvey who is a kind of everyman character. Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff seems to be the basic theme.
It’s laced with a realism and subtle humor that reminds me of Woody Allen or Seinfeld at their best.
Pekar gets material from anything at all. For this reason I think bloggers (especially those that write about anything like my Blogfather Madbull) will really enjoy learning more about him and his work.
For example Pekar would write about things like “How do you pick the best line to join while waiting at the Supermarket ?” or he might ponder his own name and write about what happened when he looks up his own name in the directory (and who hasn’t done that ?).
More poignantly though he wrote about his personal battles with Cancer. Later on as he got famous and appeared extensively on popular shows like Letterman’s Late Night Show he wrote about that new found fame also.
A recent movie about his life presents an easy way to learn about him. In the movie entitled “American Splendor”, Pekar finds love, family and a creative voice through the underground comic books he creates. Along the bumpy journey, he meets, marries and falls for Joyce, an admiring comic book seller.
The movie also shows the real life Harvey and his friends in some revealing snippets that enrich the heart-warming film. Be warned this film may even make you cry at a few points and will certainly make you laugh at many points.
It gets my highest recommendation, when you see the story of my hero Harvey you will be inspired too and you’ll realize it’s really a Splenderously Crumby World, full of Unexpected Possibilities.
I know you think I’m just another album in an old record store but I’m not. After all how many albums talk to you like this ? Huh ? How many ?
I see you come in here, looking at all of us, the old eighties music Albums and I know what you’re thinking. Rick Astley and the Purple Symbol, over there, couldn’t care less about you, but I’m different.
They want you to just forget but I need you to remember.
I’d like to rip some silly thoughts out of your head right now. Get Envy out of there. I’d like you to stop envying people, you see on tv and read about in magazines, and those you hear on the radio. I’d like you to realize that nothing ever comes easy and whatever a man achieves in Life he’ll have to answer for on his own.
Who says he’s a success anyhow ? Suppose he never got to be the war hero he was destined to be. Do you even know the truth ? Suppose instead of fighting the war he’s addicted to drugs with names you can’t even pronounce. Suppose the singer with the movie star looks and all those top Billboard hits never got a chance to raise his own child.
Imagine if the Star had a son, who cried daily , just hoping to talk to his Dad.
Dad was busy, busy making music and well…just Imagine. His son told the other kid’s at school he was the son of a Star but they never believed because the son never even had the Star’s last name. Do you still envy him ? It’s sad man but it has to stop.
So, I’m gonna steal your brain. Too much envy in you, it needs to stop.
Like your friend from the old neighborhood who you were envying the other day and saying to yourself “He’s so lucky. He has the perfect marraige and a great business”. Would you still envy him if you knew he had AIDS or even just plain old Diabetes ?
Work with what you have to get what you want. Start right where you are. Right here and right now.
You little punk. You want the glory and can’t handle the pain. It’s a package deal, you all signed the contract before you were even born. You little weasel face, it’s too late now. I think you’re going to remember, most people forget conversations like this. Just don’t envy anyone for their contracts that’s what makes me angry.
Fulfill your purpose. No time for envy. Don’t make me angry.
You think you’re tough ? You think you can handle it ? I’m gonna rip out your brain.
You can’t walk a day in his shoes and you don’t even want to.
I want to rip your brain wide open. Yeah and first thing I’m gonna take out is that Envy.
Yeah that stupid envy , that stupid belief that you can claim another man’s glory without feeling that man’s pain.
If you want glory go get your own. Blood, Sweat and tears. Experience the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Do it for yourself.
I want to Brainjack you. You can’t stop me. But I’ll see how you do with your contract first. Stop being a punk and be a Real Man or else I’ll be back and I’ll tear your Brain wide open. Live your own Life or I will Shake you Down.
The awesome performance of Usain Bolt in the 100m finals recently requires a new word to be coined.
His display was simply “Soboltious”. The new word means Sublime, perfection, it contains elements of what the Japanese call Shibumi or what the Italians call Sprezzatura. It’s poetry in Motion. Unbelievable Brilliance that appears almost effortless.
Second place finisher, Tyson Gay ran the race of his life, his astounding time of 9.71 seconds was a new American record and suggests to me that his complaints of a groin injury were really just a devious psychological ploy.
At this level at least 90% of the battle is psychological and Asafa Powell, who usually falters in that department, by coming third also performed at his best.
The Master Psychologist Bolt however was Soboltious. Bolt eased through the 100 m heats, clocking the fastest ever pre-final performance of 9.89 seconds with such ease that he almost appeared to be jogging.He made it look easy through all the heats and then false started in the semis (I personally believe this was intentional). This false start ploy took away the
only weapon that might be used against him by his slower
opponents and completely threw off Tyrone Edgar of the UK who false started after and thus missed the final.
The final was the first time Bolt and Gay had met in the season, and the American ran 9.71 seconds, 0.02 off Bolt’s world record run in Beijing. However, Bolt finished some distance ahead of Gay, improving the world record to 9.58 seconds to win his first World Championship gold medal. Taking over a tenth of a second off the previous best mark, this was the largest ever margin of mprovement in the 100 m world record since the beginning of electronic timing.
Such stellar performances cause ignorant skeptics to suggest that he is on drugs but this really only shows their ignorance of Bolt’s early success. He was a sprinting prodigy, at sixteen years old, Bolt had reached times that the great Michael Johnson did not register until he was twenty.
His rivalry with Tyson Gay is just what the sport needs. In fact Tyson Gay did us all a favor by showing that Bolt is not super human and if the “Lightning Bolt ” ever gets complacent, he not only can, but will, be beaten.
Their rivalry is not new. Previously finishing second to Gay in the 200m of the 2007 Osaka World Championships boosted Bolt’s desire to run, and he took a more serious, more mature stance towards his career ever since.
Under the guidance of Glen Mills, Bolt achieved the feat of being the first sprinter, since Donald Quarrie, to hold both 100 m and 200 m world records simultaneously and the first since the introduction of electronic timing to do so.
Bolt’s new personal best of 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres is the fastest ever legal time. Bolt also holds the second fastest time of 9.69 seconds. Tyson Gay recorded a time of 9.68 s at the 2008 US Olympic Trials, but was aided with a tail wind of 4.1 m/s, exceeding the legal limit of 2.0 m/s set by the IAAF and nullifying its inclusion as a world record. Obadele Thompson’s run of 9.69 s in 1996 is also not recognised as it was aided by a 5.0 m/s tail wind.
“Sobolious” is a word with no known meaning, probably first used by the Jamaican Dancehall performer L.A. Lewis in a radio interview with Barbara Blake-Hannah.
Bolt’s performance though is Soboltious !
Just realized that two of my all-time favourite Comic Book Heroes growing up were Batman and Daredevil. It suddenly occured to me that apart from not having any Superman like super powers these two guys were basically both blind heroes.
Batman is not literally blind but Bats are and he does pattern himself on the Bat. It’s kinda like how an American Indian warrior might have an animal totem that he considered his brother. Daredevil is blind but his sense of hearing and some weird Radar sense compensate for this.
Blind Heroes, what does that say about Me ?
There’s a proverb that says “In the land of the blind the one eyed man would be king”, but I believe H. G. Wells was much closer to the truth. In one of his classic science fiction tales Wells tells the story of a planet full of blind people who kill a mutant that was born with sight and call him crazy. They go back to their regular existence once the “visionary” is out of the way.
Ignoring Jamaica’s national anthem, which says “Give us vision lest we perish”, in this story having Vision leads to death and the blind happily go back to leading the blind.
We all want to remain in our comfort zones so it’s probably not really that amazing after all to have Blind Leaders or Blind Heroes. In fact maybe they are more apt to stay focused on what’s really important politically and not be scared by the realities surrounding them day to day.
Zatoichi. Daredevil. Batman. Those are still my Heroes and if I ever accidentally get some Vision I’ll keep my mouth shut about it.
The title should have been a warning, but, like most warnings, it was not even understood, much less heeded, until way too late.
As a comics fan, who voraciously read anything and everything in the sequential art world, I was already aware of the profound impact that the Watchmen stories have had, raising the bar, gaining literary respect for the art.
Alan Moore, the author, of the Watchmen graphic novel series, was now even being studied in various University courses, worldwide, like the great Bard himself , I was told. Acclaimed, finally, as the modern day story-telling genius he truly is.
Sadly though the release of the movie version of this great tale has not generated the same buzz. At least the buzz has been generated for different reasons. Judging from the majority of blogs and websites, I’m reading, it seems that the movie has generated more buzz for the nudity of the all-powerful Dr. Manhattan, than for the subtle, and profound, intricacies of the storyline.
Why has this powerful super hero been depicted nude in the movie ? Well that is how he was treated in the graphic novel by Alan Moore. I believe that the nudity was simply a device used to show the innocence of the character and his openness and vulnerability in the realm of social interaction. It may also be that the nudity is a symbol of his power.
Unfortunately, like we saw when the statues at Emancipation Park were unveiled, many people are not ready to handle (no puns intended) such “effrontery” especially by so-called heroes. They have become fixated on this small detail rather than the story as a whole.
Moore is a master of detail and surely has his reasons for depicting Dr. Manhattan this way. One thing I’ve noticed with his work, it makes you think.
Many people however don’t want to think. They prefer to become sidetracked by trivialities, they focus on the obvious, the superficial and thereby miss the subtle.
I hope you don’t. I hope instead that you see the story as a whole. It’s a very good one and sure to satisfy you. The story I mean.
“No Reading Allowed”. I disobeyed the ridiculous sign and squinted furiously, searching quickly, through all the covers on display and I found a comic book, among the many old, and weathered, magazines on the rack.
“Swamp Thing”, the title said and I guessed correctly that that was the name of the big green monster on the cover. Behind him was simply an American Flag. Not very appealing as far as comic covers go but the artwork inside looked fairly interesting and there was simply nothing else. No other comics were there.
I’d have gladly snapped up a Daredevil or a Spiderman, but there was nothing else, not even another green monster, named Hulk, was on display. Only this Swamp Thing.
I glanced over and saw that my mom had finished shopping and I handed her the comic along with lunch money I’d saved up to buy this treasure. She paid for it and it got packed in with the groceries.
Not till I’d reached home and helped unpacking the groceries did I get to read this amazing story and finally learn the name of the most profound modern writer I’d ever read.
This tale made me a fan for life. It spoke simply about monsters. Turns out the big green monster on the cover was really the hero and the real monster, the Boogey Man, a serial killer who remembered all his victims eyes was really not monstrous, in appearance, at all.
The story opened my eyes to the paradoxes all around us. All because I had disobeyed a simple sign.
“No Reading Allowed”.
Once a lady came up and hugged me in Mega Mart , only to look into my face closely and suddenly realize she had mistaken me for her dentist. I never realized that dentists were so chummy with their patients and her look of total embarrassment, upon realizing her mistake, was really priceless.
You see, aside from the unusual and largely useless super power of, “Always being asked for advice”, I also have the even less useful and potentially dangerous “Familiar Face” super power, that Ruthibelle perfectly described, in her recent blog.
Basically anywhere I go, no matter how remote or distant, no matter how far removed, from my normal circles of orbit, I always encounter some curious person, who swears they’ve met me before.
“Haven’t I met you somewhere before ?”, they ask.
Sometimes, after talking with me they realize they’ve made a mistake at which point they swear that the person they know, “Joe Blow”, or whoever, looks exactly like me.
Sometimes I know the person who they say looks like me or I get to see a photo of the “doppelganger” later on. Sadly, I’ve found that these people they think look “exactly” like me are invariably “unprepossessing” or downright ugly and of course have no similarity to me at all.
This got me thinking and I realized it’s similar to how many people think all Asians look alike or the way “every Jamaican looks the same” to some tourists.
In Jamaica where people are habitually lumped into racial classes, “cooley”, “whiteman”,”browning”, “chiney”, it’s easy for people to mistakenly think you look just like someone else from whatever group. They don’t take time to look for anything more that might identify you.
Every Chinese (and even the Japanese too) becomes “Mr. Chin” to them. It’s even sadder if your name really is “Mr. Chin”. Everyone thinks they know you, yet they don’t know anything about you at all.
When you’re racially mixed, and belong to maybe three or more of such groupings, it’s even more likely you’ll look like someone they know, “exactly the same”, to them, in fact.
Clothing and accessories can help create problems too. Wear glasses and you look like every other nerd out there. Wear the brand that their friend sports and your alibi is permanently screwed-up. Heaven forbid if you drive the same type of car.
” But you must be Joe Blow Chin, the Cooley from Manor Ghetto, because him drive a Honda too.”, they will tell you with all sincerity.
Ok, I guess I don’t know my own name then.
My advice is to beat a hasty retreat, smile if you must but don’t even wave. Being the wrong person at the wrong time can get you killed. Looking like Joe Blow is my daily grind but looking like Joe Grind can get your head blown off (no puns intended). I mean some jealous husband out there could really kill you.
Once when I was in high school just walking home a guy in a car stopped and politely asked me if my name was Jason. I said no at which point I was met with a stream of obscenities. ” I’m looking for that guy Jason, who lives around here, him dead if I ever find him.”, said the irate driver and then the car sped off. If this person had been a trifle more hot headed I would have been seriously hurt while the real Jason or Joe Grind continued to have his fun.
Coincidences do happen but it’s a real dumb way to get killed.
Strangely enough there was a time when my next door neighbor had the same last name as my mom and drove the same type of car and they were both members of the same church and even had the same occupation. It was an incredible coincidence but very real. They didn’t look much alike though.
Even more bizarre however was this particular instance when a lady, I used to work with, kept telling me she knew someone that looked just like me. Of course with my super-powers I thought nothing much of it. “Yes, yes, I’m sure you do, he looks just like me, I’m sure.”, I replied sarcastically with a smug smile. Finally with an air of haughty satisfaction she brought a company magazine with Joe Blow’s photo. I stared at the photo. I stared again. I felt kind of tired, suddenly, I had to sit down. I stared one more time.
The smug smile was completely wiped off my face. It was the Horror of Horrors. I’d have preferred to stare at a monster, a Frankenstein, a Creature from the Black Lagoon. Instead it was …myself. A real doppelganger. I felt like Leonardo Di Caprio…The Man in the Iron Mask…he looked more like me than my own brothers do. I had thought it was fiction, but his baldness, his sharp eyes, his every handsome feature…they were all mine too. I was looking at myself and I did not know him.
I was looking at myself and I did not know him. That’s deep.
Since then other people have mistaken me for this person also. The guy works at some credit union and he really looks like he could be my brother or something, at least in the photo I saw. Then to top it off his last name was very similar to mine, just slightly different. That is kinda scary, makes you wonder. Are we really that unique ?
“Haven’t I met you somewhere before ?”.
Nah, you just saw my face on Facebook.
“Haven’t I met you somewhere before ?”.
Not in this lifetime. Keep on moving.
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