Tuesday, February 26, 2008


One thing a Dilettante is really good at is quitting. In fact, if there is any leitmotif in a Dilettante's checkered life, it is the long succession of abandoning enterprises once they become tiresome, troublesome, or just plain difficult. A Dilettante's world is full of hot potatoes, and they all get dropped in their due course.

In my bailiwick, 9/11 has not yet achieved this status. It is still an endlessly fascinating subject with a surface nearly unscratched. There do seem to be snags and impasses, and detours from the Path of Truth onto which one is often directed by nefarious characters. When Judy Wood begins opining with Lisa Loopneresque resonances, the potato begins to warm alarmingly in one's hand. Yet in one's hand it remains.

Stamps fell by the wayside because the fascination with them diminished--and they weren't altogether that fascinating to begin with despite a panoply of Scott catalogue numbers that lodge in my brain. Nor do I truck much with Numismatics these days--coins, despite their intrinsic value, are duller than stamps and come in fewer colors. And my array of vintage typewriters holds at its current number--I haven't yet begun the restoration of my Oliver No. 2, and my hopes of obtaining a Blickensderfer, Yost, or Jewett remain unfulfilled. They're all rather heavy to tote around, and I'm weary of opening eBay parcels to find them smashed.

As I write, I'm very much on the verge of dropping another such tuber. This one from a difference of opinion on how much respect I feel I should be accorded in a current volunteer endeavor of mine. I have been adjudged guilty of expressing an opinion, and was threatened with "probation" for the deep sin of being myself. Since I am of a certain age, I am unmoved by such posturing. Does this person not know I am the Dilettante--and will quit anything on the slightest pretext? The game here may turn out not to be worth the candle. I may be a Dilettante, but I am not a child or an idiot. "Probation," indeed! Harrumph!

A Dilettante quits a thing not because he is fearful, but because he is bored. And the deep mysteries of 9/11 do not cloy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I was tidying some of the random piles in my library (and they're all random) when my mind drifted to some of the rhetoric employed by those who seek to keep those of us who sincerely question the Official Story of Sept. 11, 2001 "in our place"--our "place" being, in their view, on the far margins of public discourse with UFO abductees and recent acquaintances of Elvis. Such "skeptical" people are entitled to express those opinions, particularly if they need to maintain their standing as columnists in a newspaper syndicate or as highly-paid opiners on cable television. You can't go out and start telling the truth if you've got car payments to make or are putting children through college. As far as we're concerned, the major difference between fiction and non-fiction is the prefix "non."

Nonetheless, certain of their more egregious semantic techniques should be delineated here, the chief of which is daubing us with the epithet "conspiracy theorist" and asserting that we're "obsessed with conspiracy." To be blunt, every human being alive today is a "conspiracy theorist" of one sort or another, even if they feel that hip-hop music played loudly from passing cars is a vile plot to distract them from accurately grading their Barber half-dollars or arranging their Scroll Victors in strict numerical order. Calling someone a "conspiracy theorist" is like calling Albert Einstein a "relativity theorist." And? So? Your point being?

But to say that one is "obsessed with conspiracy" is another matter entirely. No dilettante is ever obsessed by anything. To those who go around classifying and labeling others we would seem to suffer Attention Deficit Disorder, and perhaps require Ritalin. The truth is that we boast Attention Surplus Disorder, in that we can look at everything all at once, and cross-reference if necessary. The conspiracy at hand, which has made us the target of so much of abuse, more nags at us in the manner of a mosquito buzzing just out of reach or a magazine subscription that needs to be renewed.

The 9/11 Conspiracy has not stayed us from the appointed rounds of our numerous other interests, but it can be as annoying as all get-out. I hope to think of something else this afternoon as I hit the treadmill to relieve myself of those few (dozen) extra pounds.

Monday, February 11, 2008


It had been a while since I made a pizza, but this past Saturday seemed opportune for such a venture. And this pizza, like the Dilettante, turned out to be a thing of many parts--hot sausage, pepperoni, onions, bell peppers, black olives, and mushrooms with the requisite Don Pepino pizza sauce (slightly diluted for smoothness) and plenty of mozzarella. The dough was quite fresh and rose to the occasion admirably. Unlike professional pizzas, baked quickly in ovens heated at about 700 degrees Fahrenheit, this pizza was done to perfection (as the menus say) at 350 degrees over the course of about 35-40 minutes.

Which leads one to the speculation--could the heat generated by the supposed airliners crashing into the towers of the World Trade Center have been sufficient to bake a pizza--a standard pizza with one topping, let alone an EBA (everything but anchovies) as described above? And if the heat were not prolonged nor intense enough to bake said pizza, how could it have been able to melt the steel columns and trusses within the buildings?

I'd dwell on this further, but I have to catalogue some scarce Vocalions that chanced to drop through the slot today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Is 9/11 Truth Just Too Boring?

I was rinsing out my fountain-pen collection this morning when my thoughts wandered (as they are oft wont to do) onto the topic of 9/11 Truth. As fascinating as it can be (and thus far has been) to me, I couldn't help reflecting that certain public speakers on the facts of the case do go on a bit. When they start offering up all the detailed physics of "conservation of momentum," etc., my eyes glaze over and suddenly I am back in the tenth grade with dear old "Cosmic Ray" Vittucci instructing us in the finer points of Newton, not heeding his words but gazing at the nape of the neck of the girl in front of me, whom I desperately wanted to get to know better but was actually terrified to speak to. When I finally mustered the courage to ask her a significant personal question (more in the nature of a request) she flat-out laughed in my face. I often wonder what became of her, if she ever found the happiness that she had crushed in my heart at that moment, and if she could have envisioned that her action further edged me along the road to Dilettantism. Perhaps she'd be gratified, or distressed, or indifferent--or a little of all three.

But at-length discussion of 9/11 does create a hypnotic thrum in one's brain. The ranting and bellowing of Alex Jones is rhythmic,

and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk

Likewise the fulminating and enthusing of James Fetzer--his speech, uninterrupted, is like white noise. I frequently use his program to block out the sounds of traffic when I am in the mood for a doze. Also soothing are the particular speech rhythms of David Ray Griffin and Steven E. Jones--they offer more of a gently relaxing susurration, in the manner of the burbling of a nearby rill or the whispering collision of autumn leaves.

All this leads to the observation that outrage and activism is unlikely if one is simply being lulled. There was a great crime committed on September 11, 2001 by somebody, and that above all needs to be addressed.

But now it's time for my nap.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I think it's high time (for the time being) for all those of a desultory nature to direct their wandering gaze to the issue of 9/11, and who was really responsible for it. I'm fairly sure it wasn't the proverbial "19 Muslim hijackers with boxcutters" though my convenience-store clerk gives me a dirty look whenever I go into the Good 'n' Easy, possibly owing to that time I tried to remove the Times of London crossword puzzle from the New York Post without paying for the whole paper. I mean, most people who read the Post can't do the Times puzzle, so where's the harm? They're all doing that Su Doku thing, which strikes me as being a very entertaining hobby if you're Rain Man. It's too much like math--and I vowed I'd never again do math once I left school. Anyway, I don't think he's a terrorist though he's far from cordial.

Obviously, the first order of business is to prove conclusively for once and for all that the Official Story is bogus. Here's where my fellow dilettantes can be of great service, owing to their ability to give their full and laser-like attention for brief periods of time. But we do get bored easily. Thus digressions are to be expected and are not necessarily counterproductive. The point is not convince the mass of humanity, who are too focused on one thing to consider alternative things. They don't know the Emperor Has No Clothes, because they've always been told otherwise. Dilettantes focus on everything--though not all at once. We realize it is the thing in itself, and not what it may lead to. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is delicious.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


It may be just sort of a cabin-feverish thing, but a bunch of us thought we'd get involved in this 9/11 Truth deal. The stamp club just wasn't cutting it anymore. Seriously, how long can you go on about the Farley imperforate issues? Blah, blah, blah. Before that we were rock hounds. But you've seen one geode, and you've seen them all.

So we sat around one Saturday night and watched Loose Change. I made some of my special popcorn for the event, sprinkled with fresh-grated parmesan. It's quite delicious. Anyway, we got thinking that there's something to all this 9/11 Truth stuff. I mean, it's sad and all that that all those people died, but how they were able to bring those buildings down is fascinating. It obviously couldn't have been planes, if planes were even used. I was amazed to hear that there's some doubt about that, even.

So we'll be discussing all those issues on this site, until of course we get bored with the topic and move onto something else. It's winter--and at least it's something to do.