Thomas Wictor

A crank responds

A crank responds

I posted about watching for patterns on Talkbass.com, the site that spawned Ghosts and Ballyhoo.

A Scottish fellow didn’t like it. Here’s how it went.

kohntarkosz: There is already a good thread on Ray Shulman on here. I guess Arthritic_Tom is the forum’s resident crank or something with his weird post-Abrahamic pseudo-religious chatter about synchronicity and stuff. I would like to talk about Shulman for sure, but instead I feel we are meant to be discussing Arthritic-Tom, who just happens to have a book out! Fancy that.

I don’t have much time for Temple Grandin harping on about what makes her tick (or otherwise) either, as groundbreaking as that apparently is.

Rickengeezer: It was an interesting read, in which I learned something I didn’t know about Gentle Giant, and the read took less time than harping about Temple Grandin, whoever that is. No sign of Abraham, unless he was waiting to catch a train in Park Forest in 1954.

kohntarkosz: Too bad you don’t know who Temple Grandin is. Check her out on Youtube. She is autistic, but able to speak in public about her autism. Interestingly, whilst neurotypical people tend to worship the ground on which she treads, autistic people seem to find her annoying, as NT people now expect them to all behave like Temple Grandin. If nothing else, watch a videos and make up your own mind. I don’t have much time for her as I can get a more objective understanding of autism elsewhere without listening to her saying “Now I don’t like X so much. A person with autism won’t like X so much” for hour after hour…

Likewise, comprehensive texts covering all aspects of Gentle Giant are out there. There is Gentle Giant wiki. You will learn all about Ray Shulman without ever once having to learn about Arthritic_Tom’s health and wellbeing or that his father shows up in a stock photo of a train station (or whatever it is) used in the cover art to their least successful album.

At the risk of even greater concern trolling, how many cranks does this forum welcome under its collective wing? Do you have to have a book in the works combining interviews with Z-list bassists, a slightly creepy obsession with Scott Thunes, some hippy dippy necromancy stuff and other forms of ‘me me me’ to be allowed to trample forum rules or is Arthritic_Tom the only special case allowed on here?

Artechnik: A Pity you don’t know who Thomas Wictor is, or his connection to the bass community.

kohntarkosz: Oh I do know. I’ve read through those megathreads. I’ve seen kooks drip-feed information on other forums as well. It is beyond frustrating. One guy knows which luthier ghost-built the Les Paul that Slash used on Appetite for Destruction, but takes 30 pages to get there by slowly leaking out useful information in every third post, filling the other two with tired ‘schtick’ and road-dog stories about LA in the early ’80s. Nothing anybody wants to read, written in an annoying font size and colour. Some guy knows about the deal that went down selling Peter Green’s Les Paul, but takes 30 pages of drip-drip-drip to get there.

I don’t see how one massive plug for Ghosts and the Ballyhoo is any different.

“Just wait until my next post where I will be talking about the time I interviewed a famous million-record-selling bassist over the phone”.

With all the good stuff left out, so that we may buy the book?

Interesting stuff, though the whole thing seems like a sales pitch, stirred in with weird tales about ghost cats, ex-girlfriends and medical history. In the end we are drip-fed stuff about Gene Simmons, Scott Thunes and Ray Shulman. You could condense it down into a single forum post. This is why blogs exist.

Arthritic_Tom: Thanks for proving that I’m a compelling writer by reading everything I write. I appreciate it.

There’s more, if you want to read it.  And this is Khöntarkösz.

A crank responds

It’s been my experience that only one kind of person reacts with great hostility toward any discussion of the metaphysical: those who are terrified of death. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re going to die anyway. My advice is to come to terms with it now instead of putting it off until you’re sitting across the desk from a doctor who’s telling you that you’re terminal.

Have you ever been on a ride-along with a cop? I have. They see things that you and I don’t. Studying crime has made them more adept at perceiving certain patterns than the rest of us are.

Those who immerse themselves in a field develop specialized eyes. The most vehement pooh-poohers of “weird post-Abrahamic pseudo-religious chatter” tend to be people who haven’t spent even a second researching the topic. Therefore they generally have strong opinions on something they know nothing about.

My interest in metaphysical issues began at the age of three. A woman and my parents were talking about an airliner crash, and I was worried that she’d been killed.

“Did you die?” I asked her.

She knelt in front of me and put her hands on my shoulders.

“No, lovey,” she said. “I didn’t die. I wasn’t on the plane.”

That was a relief. I really liked her and her brownies. It’s strange to perfectly remember not understanding death. I fully expected her to tell me that she’d died.

Beginning in elementary school, I read the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, The Upanishads, the Mahayana Texts, The Republic, and Metaphysics (Book VII). Those are the ones I can remember. I’ve also read hundreds if not thousands of titles by clerics, scientists, and laymen describing their theories about what happens when we die.

What I believe is based on not only what I’ve experienced but what I’ve concluded with my own little brain. None of what I blather about is weird, any more than a cop thinks that what he or she perceives is weird. It all makes sense to me. I’m used to using my brain to comprehend things that others apparently can’t. Or won’t.

I could be wrong about everything. But I’m pretty sure I’m not. Whether I’m right or wrong, if you find yourself getting angry at me, you’ve got a major problem. You’re going to end up just like my father, renouncing his entire life in a last, frantic effort to deny reality.

This is unsettling stuff, sure. But my view is that the system is benign, and we’re the masters of our own destinies. Why in the fuck would that anger you?

The truth is, I’m really bored with limited, frightened people who fly off the handle if the topic isn’t utterly mundane. When I mentioned my hippy dippy necromancy to my brother Eric, he found it all an intriguing possibility that he’d like to think about. Eric was here in SoCal after Mom died, so we talked about these weighty issues. He’s an engineer, born of a relationship that my father had with his Dutch office manager.

And he’s one of the most remarkable people I know. I’ve just discovered that he’s a brilliant writer, among his many other gifts. Currently he’s on a biking trip with his pals in Spain.

Eric2

That’s Eric in the yellow jersey.

What I like about Eric is that he’s an autodidact who always wanted to be better. He began visiting us every summer since he was seven, but Mom and Tim and I can’t take credit for how Eric turned out. He made himself the man he is today. And he’s still on a quest to improve. A Dutch engineer. That brings to mind all sorts of stereotypical qualities, doesn’t it?

Yet there isn’t a thing Eric hasn’t thought about. Literally not a thing. His mind is amazing. He can articulate concepts that have been on the tip of my tongue for years. Now, thanks to Eric, I can express them myself.

I’ll let him have the last word on people who react to my writing—and to me—with hostility and anger.

Eric1


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