Welcome to the Halfman newsletter. You may be asking yourself just how you got here, and why. I’m not really sure. It could just be that sort of day. But know this, you are welcome and in safe space of pretty random stuff and attempts at light hearted humour and even worse attempts at poignancy. Strap in.
Forwarding this to those near and dear to you is compulsory.
Last month’s newsletter received probably the most replies ever. Funny what a line or two about Bjork brings out in people.
There are a couple of blog posts, like this one about alphabets which is super short and this one which is a longer and more meandering rant about the thing formerly known as blockchain.
Chief Metaverse Officer for basically Central Europe. That’s (now) me. I’m calling it. Taking over. Virtual blitzkrieg right over them there Alps and doing it. Speaking of the Alps, check this:
I saw a wild ibex the other day and it was amazing. During the entire 3+ hours hike uphill to seeing this selfish fucker that just wouldn’t stay still for a picture or do anything more majestic of a pose, I had Led Zeppelin’s “You Shook Me” stuck in my head. That same head has been spinning for days trying to figure out the connections. Or right, there aren’t any besides both being totally awesome. But imagine the solo around 05:37 of that Zeppelin classic and that scene and then maybe there is something.
In other non-news, if I’ve managed to pull my head out of the sand properly this month, you will be viewing this via the magic of Ghost. This means that I’ve ported over about a decade of something akin to blogging, website flotsam and jetsam, brain puss and generally typing into the aether and shoehorned it from the unholy union of Wordpress, Mailchimp and God-knows-what-else gently like a sledgehammer into this new thing that does the blog, newsletter and page thing all at once. That sentence was a doozy but so was this. The jury is still out, but since nobody asked I’m giving you the details of my internet publishing travails. If you were just musing to yourself how awesome and timely it is that the CMS I just moved to is called Ghost and this is coming out on Halloween, the irony isn’t lost on you either.
Oh what now Jim you might be asking yourself? What you haven’t blown me away yet with the amazing content I’ve come to expect from a creator-influencer of your stature? Just where are you crushing it? That’s right, in Top 10 - Oct2022.
The Jim Kosem Short Story Explosion
It’s back. Again. And will be until I don’t even know when, so get ready. Just be ready always for the poignant chuckles that That Ghost Is Totally Racist will bring to you in 1 minute 28 seconds.
Three things that can happen in a London Heathrow Wetherspoons on a Friday afternoon
- You realise that your life has no meaning in terms of the physics of the universe, but that there, that Friday afternoon, indeed no one else’s pint-blurred lives sitting matters either. You then order another pint and watch the closed captioned commentary on BBC of the imminent collapse of the British government/economy/etc. and smile about the beautiful absurdity of it all.
- You drink 2–3 pints in record time because you have 1hr15min until your gate opens which leaves you in a state of wonder about the randomness of life and consummate joy that you have those brief minutes to observe it all float past you. You hum to yourself Run the Jewels’s “Ooh LA LA” and ponder the comparatively short lifespan of globalised capitalism.
- You come to the conclusion that, hands down and without question, mature cheddar is the best crisp flavour there is, not just there, but anywhere and at any time on our sweet, tortured earth, and quite possibly the pinnacle of British culture.
The much loved philosophy section is back for this month’s issue. Calm down.
It’s said that Pliny the Elder died, going to investigate Mt Vesuvius at Pompeii, after saying, “Fortune favours the brave.”
So much of what we’re told about The Ancients or The Classics (read ‘white’ dudes from ‘Greece’ and ‘Rome’ who were half the time from what is now someplace else like Egypt or Turkey so sorry white power types, your sense of classicism is pretty inaccurate, oh and why I’ll I’m at it, Greece was not a “country” then either) and how they thought is great in small doses. I for one, prefer someone who at least lived in the age of the steam engine or who had some other problem in a world vaguely like mine. Sure, I guarantee Epictus or whoever complained about his kids as much as I do, but he has no clue about the extent of information anxiety we have in our world today is like. He had no clue about the concept of instant mass destruction or machines one day telling people what to do.
That said, the staggering valorisation of these guys and their can-do attitude is the very stuff of American Self-Help which is of course everywhere, and the carrion call for everyone, no matter where they are or what their situation, to realise that their lives are entirely their fault. If you don’t go out there and optimise and achieve the greatest thing every damn day and nobody is putting those laurels on your head, then you are a piece of shit. If they could only manifest true power and self determination then they could totally get that start-up going despite being under the thumb of crushing student loans or just not being born well off.
The fact is, whether Pliny indeed was brave or said that they deserved fortune seems to neglect the fact that at best, probably only half of how your life is, is your fault. We are as much victims of our circumstances as we are our decisions. We need to remember that when we think about how we are now dominated and philosophically brutalised by people making money telling you it’s all your fault.
The question is, do they choose to self identify as a killer whale or orca?
This question came up during a design conversation. You can clearly tell by the calibre of that design by the conversation. But for real though, killer whales (to which I’ll refer to them because it’s way more bad ass) are sentient mammals with some say more advanced social and emotional intelligence than our own, so maybe it’s not super ridiculous to think about their identity issues. Or wait, maybe it is.
I’ve not given much thought to orcas for most of my life until the past couple of years. This might have been brought on by the film Blackfish and having flashbacks of my childhood going to Sea World. That’s right, one of the three Sea Worlds they had for a couple of decades they decided to put into the exurbs of Cleveland, Ohio for inexplicable reasons.
But recently I’ve been thinking about killer whales for the forthcoming comedy that is sort of, sort of not being written about a black metal band being really bad at being scary. It seems things have taken a turn and they decide to liberate a captured killer whale. If you’re wondering if this blatantly rips off the plot of the feel good 1993 film Free Willy, you would be absolutely right.
More awesome: Killer whales have cultural trends, some of which make them into revenge-fuelled nautical teenagers out to raise hell in the ocean.
Super Serious Forwards
Just in time for Halloween for your dear reader! Here’s an insane thing about some very smart people, as in people writing academic papers taking pot shots at each other’s mathematical models, spent a bunch of time calculating how long it would take vampires to wipe out humanity.
Oh my days, this is proper long, but amazing. Apparently, the original Qanon was a fictional character in a novel based in Baroque Germany written by an Italian leftist collective and just took a life of it’s own.
A Simple Request
Historical fiction recommendations
If you have any good ones. Send them. I want them. I’ve already read Tyll which is a complete psychedelic mind blast, but not nearly as much as what is quite likely my favourite book Sudden Death which is about tennis today, my favourite painter Caravaggio playing tennis and Mexico all spiralled into one. So there’s two recommendations. Now give me one. Just hit that good ole reply button and let it rip.
Why you ask? The answer is simple. Imagine world events, you know like in the news which hounds and decimates your will to live, but it never happened. Imagine dropping yourself every night into a world that could have happened but didn’t. You need not feel bad about the events because they never happened, but are close enough to reality that you can maybe empathise and understand.
As always, ride, shoot straight speak the truth. Take care of yourself, treat yourself to a nice piece of cake. - Jim