Ed and Me Part 1


This next anecdote deals with a moment in a series of medical events. The decision to proceed with heart surgery had actually been made a few years earlier but before they could get down to it I was diagnosed with cancer. On that hangs another tale but this one is pretty good on its own.

I thought I posted this last year but I see that only the second part of it is up. So here’s Part 1.
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with a little (selp) helf from my friends

Hey Danny
I'm reading your writing now -- No Self, No Help  ..
About 9 years ago i recorded (but never really released) a little indie-folk/comedy cd called  "Selp Helf "
Attached is one of the songs from it which appeared on a later album called "Low Cool".
Thought i'd pass it along..  Lyrics are below
Hugz, m

…well lyrics and music are below Read More...
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Fragments from the ultimate self-help book

Fragment from: No Self, No Help _ the ultimate self-help book

Of self-help Wikipedia tells us:

“Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. Many different self-help group programs exist, each with its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders. "Self-help culture, particularly Twelve-Step culture, has provided some of our most robust new language: recovery, dysfunctional families, and codependency."

Of self-help books Wikipedia tells us: A self-help book is one that is written with the intention to instruct its readers on solving personal problems. The books take their name from Self-Help, an 1859 best-seller by Samuel Smiles, but are also known and classified under "self-improvement", a term that is a modernized version of self-help. Self-help books moved from a niche position to being a postmodern cultural phenomenon in the late twentieth century.”


And who are we to doubt Wikipedia.

20193827

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A Belated Birthday Dream Part 1

Yesterday after posting Mark’s anecdote entitled, The Persistence Of The i, I noticed an anomaly. I was going to make sure that all the anecdotes I’d posted episodically were also available under the “Stories” drop down menu on my home page. But the first part of A Birthday Dream wasn’t listed in English, though the Spanish version was there.

So here it is, a belated part one. Complete with a doodle courtesy of R. Edward’s. I’ll also be listing it under the Stories/anecdote heading.

See you soon.
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The Persistence Of The i

It’s been a while since I’ve written. And I still haven’t; not much any way. Today’s literary contribution is by my friend, and perhaps yours, Mark Lesseraux. Mark is widely known as a musician, composer. Now he is revealed as a writer.

Here’s a bit of the correspondence that passed between Mark, Rafael Edwards and me regarding this short tale, and the anecdotes that can be found in this blog or under the menu heading “Stories”/ “anecdotes”

Our discussion went like this:

Rafa:
Man! Kafka was a teddy bear compared to you.
What a night! I think Danny should put you up as a guest writer in his blog.

Mark:
Wish i could say i created it ... all i did was record what happened ... can't beat ready-made metaphors! 

Danny:
This kind of realism that catches a moment as it was lived (i.e. not as fiction) but stripped of normal contextualizing deserves its own designation. That's why on (dzuckerbrot.com "anecdotes" under the "stories" menu) I wrote: "This collection of writings bears the title Anecdotes, not very inspired perhaps but I wanted, as described below, make it as clear as possible that these weren’t stories in the sense of fiction." The explanation continues...

"I know that you are not too fond of Borges but I will quote him anyway. It will let me setup what this is not about, as well as supplying some missing literary veneer. That old blind librarian says: “…There is no satisfaction in telling a story as it actually happened. We have to change things, even if we think them insignificant; if we don’t, we should think of ourselves not as artist but perhaps as mere journalists or historians…”
...So let me be very clear, what follows then are not, as Borges would have it, stories. These are merely a few anecdotes that, I believe, hold a certain; lets call it, psychological interest. Perhaps I should title them something like: “notes toward a psychopathology of everyday life”.”

and with all that back and forth I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this "story".
Thanks Mark

Rafa:
Very enlightening Danny. A good theme this one. When I read Mark's story, as it happens to me with your anecdotes, and more recently with Tony Robinson's coffee, is that the first thing that strikes me is that I'm reading a honest account of something peculiar, and the writer makes it wonderful and superb, not by exaggerating or adding things to the soup, but simply because they themselves are capable of being in awe in front of these unfolding events. Then I'm not following a story, but a story-being-told, where my interest is more and more on the writer than in the writing. I don't know, does this make sense?
PS: it's the same that got me hooked on Vonnegut in the 1st place.

Danny:
I agree. It's not a specific style, more a sensiblity - whether more or less articulated. Not magical-realism, maybe realistic-magicalism.

Rafa:
Yes it does make sense, what you say Danny - Realistic-magicalism - nice

Danny:
Mark do you mind if I repost your story and some of this conversation to my blog?

Mark:
No, that'd be great. Thanks! did i include the title?  "Persistence Of The i"
ps:  Do you think "Christ Roach" is a better title? ... it did walk across toilet water... or is that too much of a give away?

And that’s way longer than Mark’s anecdote (by whichever name) that you can read here. Read More...
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Deliverance - a meandering tale Post Script

This is a postscript written more than 40 years after my murderous adventure hitchhiking across Canada.
It describes an interesting and troubling encounter I had with my erstwhile shoeless girlfriend so many years later. Sadly after all that time I managed to make her uncomfortable and make myself look foolish. Well perhaps that’s a role I should be used to by now. And after all what’s wrong with a little foolishness. Read More...
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Deliverance - a meandering tale part 4

Well here’s the denouement, the big finale... drum roll please Read More...
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Deliverance - a meandering tale part 3

Deliverance - a meandering tale part 3

Here’s part 3, it’s where we start to get to the heart of the story. It’s weird how much shoes (of all sorts) and the absence of foot wear figures into this tale. Read More...
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Deliverance - a meandering tale part 2

By popular demand... part 2 of Deliverance. More later!

click below to read the story Read More...
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Deliverance - a meandering tale

So here’s another anecdote with pictures courtesy of Rafael Edwards. As I explain in the beginning of that tale it was chronologically the first of the events recorded in these anecdotes. Well, in a sense it was. The earliest events described here date to my early childhood, the key event took place when I was 16. I wrote up the initial version when I was in my mid-30s, and revised it 10 years later. Another 15 years would pass and chance or luck, or destiny would lead to an unexpected reunion and an epilogue which I believe casts an interesting light on those decades of writing. Guess why I titled it.
“Deliverance
— a meandering tale”

Sadly I have no updated Spanish version to post. Maybe later.
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my plans for this website, various links, magic, bees

My last posting was Paul Tooby’s intriguing writing about a recent experience. It sent me back, as I’m sure it did many of you, to re-read Silo’s Day of the Winged Lion. If you are reading this blog than you probably know it has a deep and unusual connection with me personally.

More about that connection another time… or not; I’m not sure there is any real purpose in going down that road. I’ll take it under advisement.

You’ll soon be able to follow me on twitter, so if you can’t get enough of these musings (?!?!?) or if you simply get bored because of their length you’ll be able to find more and even shorter ones soon at #dzuckerbrot. I’ll let you know when that happens.

I’ve got a number of postings still pending. I had promised something about time, coincidence and literary precognition, a couple of stories and some on-going biographical stuff. I hope to get caught up soon.

Meanwhile I’m wrestling with just how inclusive to make this website. I feel I’ve over thought it (self-censorship) it was intended to include a web of subjects that interest me -- just because they interest me. However, in practice I’ve wrestled with what would just be too boring for anyone -- even my friends who share some subgroup of those interests..


Too read more just click where it says “read more” Read More...
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The Transmission Has Been Made

Today’s posting is not something I wrote but a letter I recently received from my friend Paul. It details an intriguing story to use Paul’s term, I would call it an anecdote - for reasons I outline elsewhere. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. I look forward to the graphic novel (as well as the sound track or the full opera).

Dear Danny,
I hope this letter finds you well. I haven’t written for some time, but a recent memorable experience has led me to send you this account, which I thought you might find interesting, especially given your connection to Silo’s story “Day of the Winged Lion.” I have some trepidation about even trying to describe this experience, which is so far from everyday life, and in its most important aspects really not describable. So I hope you will bear with me in this effort, and enjoy what, if anything, you are able to make of it.
First I want to clear up a possible misunderstanding that may arise. When showing this account to a few friends I found that they often took it to be a work of fiction. But I want to assure you that this is not the case, and this is simply an attempt to describe events, however inexplicable, that actually took place.

Take a look at the rest of Paul’s letter...

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Ed y Yo Part 2 (conclusión)

Here’s the second and final part of Ed and Me -- In Spanish. Illustrations courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Edwards. I think his doodles are great even though I don’t quite approve of his renderings of the author.

More soon.
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Ed and Me Part 2 (conclusion)

Here’s the second and final part of Ed and Me. Illustrations courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Edwards. I think his doodles are great even though I don’t quite approve of his renderings of the author.

More soon.


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Ed y Yo Part 1 Spanish

Esta anécdota enfoca un momento en una serie de situaciones médicas. La decisión de proceder con una cirugía al corazón de hecho había sido tomada hace algunos años, pero antes de concretarla, se me diagnosticó un cáncer. En torno a eso cuelga otra historia, pero esta como tal es en si bastante buena. Read More...
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Social Science, Medical Adventures, Ed and Me Part 1

I’ve been writing about science and especially medicine of late. As you know I think we have to always keep in mind that science is a deeply empirical, experimental task, and that means results are more or less tentative. For the sciences that claim to understand human beings, their motivations and actions, they tend to be very tentative. No problem, if you take the results as suggestive but a real disaster if you believe they are “capital T”, True.

Consider:
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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 4

And here’s the th and final instalment of Un Sueño de Cumpleaños
with Rafa’s doodles of course.

Hopefully the technical problems that caused the loss of the last few postings are resolved. The highly technological fix I came up with is to save and backup more frequently. In any case I reposted the deleted postings as best I can. So if you read further you’ll find the 4th and final instalment of A Birthday Gift.

More soon... I hope Read More...
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A Birthday Dream Part 4

Hopefully the technical problems that caused the loss of the last few postings are resolved. The highly technological fix I came up with is to save and backup more frequently. In any case I reposted the deleted postings as best I can. So if you read further you’ll find the 4th and final instalment of A Birthday Gift.

With Rafa’s doodles of course

More soon... I hope Read More...
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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 3

Same as the previous but the Spanish version. Read More...
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A Birthday Dream Part 3

A number of updates to the website that include: new links, additions in the glossary, a new (old video), the next instalment of Birthday Dream complete with Rafael Edwards illustrations and more.

The video is Called
Blink of an Eye it was made around 20 years ago but I think you’ll find it timely. It was based on an idea Silo explored in Letters to my Friends. It was designed to use the ideas around the acceleration of time in order to open discussion about what would it take to change the world (nothing less!).

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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 2


Lots of new stuff and links to lots more. 2nd part of A Birthday Dream. And more.

Unfortunately Isa you’ll have to wait a little longer for the promised continuation.

I apologize for the delay in updating but I’ve been on the road quite a bit working on our latest CBC production (
A Dog’s Life for The Nature of Things). Roberto Verdecchia’s film on Alzheimer’s which we have had the pleasure of producing. We have some other films in development but more about them in some future update.

and another instalment in Spanish of
Un sueño de cumpleaños .

Thanks again to Rafa for pix and comments and to H. and other anonymous and semi-anonymous friends who have contributed to this site in so many ways.

more stuff coming soon including material on synchronicity and other weird shit…..

Meanwhile... Read More...
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A Birthday Dream Part 2


Lots of new stuff and links to lots more. 2nd part of A Birthday Dream. And more.

Unfortunately Isa you’ll have to wait a little longer for the promised continuation.

I apologize for the delay in updating but I’ve been on the road quite a bit working on our latest CBC production (
A Dog’s Life for The Nature of Things). Roberto Verdecchia’s film on Alzheimer’s which we have had the pleasure of producing. We have some other films in development but more about them in some future update.

and another instalment in Spanish of
Un sueño de cumpleaños .

Thanks again to Rafa for pix and comments and to H. and other anonymous and semi-anonymous friends who have contributed to this site in so many ways.

more stuff coming soon including material on synchronicity and other weird shit…..

Meanwhile...

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Un Sueño de Cumpleaños (en Español)

And here’s the anecdote Un sueño de cumpleaños (in Spanish obviously)

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A Birthday Dream Part 1

As of June 9, 2013 there was lots of new stuff here. The complete text (with illustrations) of Patanjali’s Circus can be found in the anecdotes menu. There is also an unusual conversation with Silo about the virtue of individuality. In my blog you’ll find the first instalments of A Birthday Dream in Spanish and English appear in my blog with some Illustrations by Rafael Edwards. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about when Silo first told me about this apparent violation of times customary flow.

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El Circo de Patanjali 4

Update and Patanjali Part 4
Today I posted a number of things on this website.

What’s new as of May 18, 2013
The home page has changed.
There’s yet another intro page to be found in the menu “more about this site”.
I’ve posted some memories entitled “Hello Shain” in the “before Silo” biographical notes
And here’s the concluding instalment of Patanjali’s Circus in Spanish. You’ll also find it here in English. Read More...
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Update and Patanjali Part 4

Update and Patanjali Part 4
Today I posted a number of things on this website.

What’s new as of May 18, 2013
The home page has changed.
There’s yet another intro page to be found in the menu “more about this site”.
I’ve posted some memories entitled “Hello Shain” in the “before Silo” biographical notes
And here’s the concluding instalment of Patanjali’s Circus. You’ll also find it here in Spanish. Read More...
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Patanjali Part 3

Patanjali Part 3 along with more art work from Rafael Edwards
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El Circo de Patanjali 3

Here’s Patanjali part 3 in Spanish with illustrations by Rafael Edwards Read More...
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teenage memories, notes from Rafa


Among the other things uploaded in the last few days is my first entry about life before Silo. This one is a few pages about an interesting character (and related issues, like drugs and other things appropriate to that era of the late 60s). Pure Sound Jack was the nom de guerre of one of the people who frequented a house I lived in with some friends when I was 16.

On a very different note you’ll find in the body of this post (click where it says “read more”) some comments from Rafa along with some notes about how he remembers the making of Sage of the Andes...

In the near future, more tales of my mis/well spent youth, anecdotes about Silo, another instalment of Patanjali’s Circus, more video, and more on attention, the Pure Form, and…

In an upcoming blog I’ll put forward a very simple hypothesis about prayer. Though simple it may, at first, sound like a very odd notion. It can be expressed like this: atheists, and theists, believers, semi-believers and non-believers all pray. And what’s more everyone’s prayers are heard, and answered, even if there is no transcendental entity that hears them.

As an important British biologist said (back when the word queer only meant strange or odd), “Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose”.
J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964)


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news and El Circo de Patanjali 1 y 2

Thanks to all of you who have checked in so far and your comments and advice. I’m hoping that we can turn all this into a bit more of a conversation with your comments and observations. In fact, to all of you who shared these experiences and adventures, please feel free to contribute your anecdotes, stories, observations or corrections of my observations. I’ll post them here or link to another site.

Meanwhile especially for my Spanish speaking friends is
Patanjali’s Circus parts 1 & 2 with Rafa’s artwork but this time it’s El Circo de Patanjali and the text is in Spanish - including the short intro to my friend Patrick Watson! This translation is courtesy of a number of friends, who I’ll credit as soon as my memory kicks in… Read More...
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Patanjali part 2

This is the second instalment of Patanjali’s Circus, along with another doodle courtesy of R. Edwards. If you can’t find it by just scrolling down the page. You can find it as a blog entry for 13-04-19 or just search for it by name (it’s tagged as Patanali). After all the instalments are posted here you’ll be able to find a full copy on the website under “stories”. Read More...
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Patanjali's Circus

Below you will find the first part of an anecdote that was written in the fall of 1988. It describes events that occurred around the occasion of The Russian Academy of Science presenting Silo with an honorary degree. You can read the talk he gave on that occasion here. Along with the various instalments of this story you’ll find illustrations by my friend and co-conspirator, Rafael Edwards.

After Silo read these anecdotes I received a number of requests for copies from friends to whom he had mentioned them. Hence, the Spanish translation which was a deeply flattering gift from some of my friends who thought it worth their trouble to render into another language, something I know from much experience is never an easy task.

Through the usual mechanism, of friends forwarding things to friends, a short manuscript with four of these anecdotes reached Karen Mulhallen a scholar, and writer as well as publisher of Descant , a Canadian journal of the arts. Karen suggested I submit it for consideration and the editors were kind enough to ask if they might publish a representative sample. They chose A Birthday Dream, which I’ll republish here eventually.


When A Birthday Dream was published in Descant a , the same prologue was included. And so to continue that tradition I include it here:

Hello Patrick:

Here’s a couple of things that I hope you will find interesting, at least in respect to their content—if not their form. I haven’t circulated these writings very much and you will see why if you look through them. It’s not just that I don’t think the writing will pass muster—they are both goofy and klutzy. It’s also that I don’t need a bunch of people wondering about my sanity. I guess for both those reasons no one but Donna and the kids have read all of these tales, until now.

I know that you are not too fond of Borges but I will quote him anyway. It will let me setup what this is not about, as well as supplying some missing literary veneer. That old blind librarian
says: “…There is no satisfaction in telling a story as it actually happened. We have to change things, even if we think them insignificant; if we don’t, we should think of ourselves not as artist but perhaps as mere journalists or historians…”

So let me be very clear, what follows then are not, as Borges would have it, stories. These are merely a few anecdotes that, I believe, hold a certain; lets call it, psychological interest. Perhaps I should title them something like: “notes toward a psychopathology of everyday life”.

These anecdotes are in chronological order (with one exception that I’ll explain when we get there). They all involve some distortion of perception, or drastic change in perspective. In the first example the change is evidently spatial.

If these were literary works I’d edit them to make them more straightforward and less pretentious. But it is not a work of fiction and so…



Patanjali’s Circus Part I

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