Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Furious Activity

Be patient in misfortune, my soul, for all thou art suffering the intolerable; 'tis sure the heart of the baser sort is quicker to wrath. Be not heavy, thou, with pain and anger over deeds which cannot be done, nor be thou vexed thereat, nor grieve thy friends nor glad thy foes. Not easily shall mortal man escape the destined gifts of the Gods, neither if he sink to the bottom of the purple sea, nor when he be held in murky Tartarus.
- Theognis of Megara (1029-1036)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lessons for Posterity

Share not thy device wholly with all thy friends; few among many, for sure, have a mind that may be trusted.
- Theognis of Megara (73-74)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Secular Search for Meaning in the Heart of Universal Humanism

Exhortations to virtue?... or mischief?
Those interpreters who see Antigone as the proto-Christian figure are right: in her unconditional commitment she follows a different ethics that points towards Christianity (...)- why? Christianity introduces into the global balanced order of eunomia a principle totally foreign to it, a principle that measured by the standards of the pagan cosmology, cannot but appear as a monstrous distortion: the principle according to which each individual has an immediate access to universality (of the Holy Spirit, or today, of human rights and freedom) - I can participate in this universal dimension directly, irrespective of my special place within the global social order.
- Slavoj Zizek, "Living in the End Times"

Equality of access bypassing/ trumping social orders of "rank" and thereby undermining all notions of 'authority', be they by nature derived from education, experience or birth.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Home Exorcism Kits

From Melancholia to Mania

The impression which several psycho-analytic investigators have already put into words is that the content of mania is no different from that of melancholia, that both disorders are wrestling with the same ‘complex’, but that probably in melancholia the ego has succumbed to the complex whereas in mania it has mastered it or pushed it aside. Our second pointer is afforded by the observation that all states such as joy, exultation or triumph, which give us the normal model for mania, depend on the same economic conditions. What has happened here is that, as a result of some influence, a large expenditure of psychical energy, long maintained or habitually occurring, has at last become unnecessary, so that it is available for numerous applications and possibilities of discharge— when, for instance, some poor wretch, by winning a large sum of money, is suddenly relieved from chronic worry about his daily bread, or when a long and arduous struggle is finally crowned with success, or when a man finds himself in a position to throw off at a single blow some oppressive compulsion, some false position which he has long had to keep up, and so on. All such situations are characterized by high spirits, by the signs of discharge of joyful emotion and by increased readiness for all kinds of action—in just the same way as in mania, and in complete contrast to the depression and inhibition of melancholia. We may venture to assert that mania is nothing other than a triumph of this sort, only that here again what the ego has surmounted and what it is triumphing over remain hidden from it. Alcoholic intoxication, which belongs to the same class of states, may (in so far as it is an elated one) be explained in the same way; here there is probably a suspension, produced by toxins, of expenditures of energy in repression. The popular view likes to assume that a person in a manic state of this kind finds such delight in movement and action because he is so ‘cheerful’. This false connection must of course be put right. The fact is that the economic condition in the subject's mind referred to above has been fulfilled, and this is the reason why he is in such high spirits on the one hand and so uninhibited in action on the other.
- Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

John Dickson Batten, "The Garden of Adonis - Amoretta and Time" (1887)

The subject of Batten's painting is taken from Book III of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, which is devoted to the legend of Chastity. The twins Amoretta and Belphoebe were the daughters of the nymph Chrysogone. The two babies were adopted, Belphoebe by the goddess of the hunt Diana, and Amoretta by Venus, goddess of love. Venus took Amoretta to the Garden of Adonis, her `joyous Paradise', the flowers of which dame Nature doth her beautify, and decks the girlonds of her Paramoures. However, the faire flowre of beautie fades away, as doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray, for:

Great enimy to it, and to all the rest
That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Tyme; who with his scyth addrest
Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
Where they do wither, and are fowly mard:
He flyes about, and with his flaggy winges
Beates downe both leaves and buds withourt regard,
Ne ever pitty may relent his malice hard.


In this garden Amoretta was brought up by Psyche, and trained up in trew feminitee and goodly womanhead,

In which when she to perfect ripenes grew,
Of grace and beautie noble Paragone,
She brought her forth into the worldes vew,
To be th'ensample of true love alone,
And Lodestarre of all chaste affection
To all fayre Ladies that doe live on grownd.
To Faery court she came; where many one
Admyred her goodly haveour, and fownd
His feeble hart wide launched with loves cruel wownd.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another View from the Left

On the Root Causes of the Current Economic Crises
...because Marxists critiques are so "very rare" in academia today....NOT!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Viva Franco!

Spanish songs in Andalucia
The shooting sites in the days of '39
Oh, please, leave the vendanna open
Fredrico Lorca is dead and gone
Bullet holes in the cemetery walls
The black cars of the Guardia Civil
Spanish bombs on the Costa Rica
I'm flying in on a DC 10 tonight

[Chorus]
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón

Spanish weeks in my disco casino
The freedom fighters died upon the hill
They sang the red flag
They wore the black one
But after they died it was Mockingbird Hill
Back home the buses went up in flashes
The Irish tomb was drenched in blood
Spanish bombs shatter the hotels
My senorita's rose was nipped in the bud

[Chorus]

The hillsides ring with "Free the people"
Or can I hear the echo from the days of '39?
With trenches full of poets
The ragged army, fixin' bayonets to fight the other line
Spanish bombs rock the province
I'm hearing music from another time
Spanish bombs on the Costa Brava
I'm flying in on a DC 10 tonight

[Chorus]
Spanish songs in Andalucia, Mandolina, oh mi corazon
Spanish songs in Granada, oh mi corazon
Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.

Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.


Nothing like an art tour to inspire volunteers to join the communist/anarchist cause! The cannons require their fodder.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

La Part Maudite

from Wikipedia:

The Accursed Share presents a new economic theory, which Bataille calls "general economy," as distinct from the "restricted" economic perspective of most economic theory. Thus, in the theoretical introduction, Bataille writes the following:
I will simply state, without waiting further, that the extension of economic growth itself requires the overturning of economic principles—the overturning of the ethics that grounds them. Changing from the perspectives of restrictive economy to those of general economy actually accomplishes a Copernican transformation: a reversal of thinking—and of ethics. If a part of wealth (subject to a rough estimate) is doomed to destruction or at least to unproductive use without any possible profit, it is logical, even inescapable, to surrender commodities without return. Henceforth, leaving aside pure and simple dissipation, analogous to the construction of the Pyramids, the possibility of pursuing growth is itself subordinated to giving: The industrial development of the entire world demands of Americans that they lucidly grasp the necessity, for an economy such as theirs, of having a margin of profitless operations. An immense industrial network cannot be managed in the same way that one changes a tire... It expresses a circuit of cosmic energy on which it depends, which it cannot limit, and whose laws it cannot ignore without consequences. Woe to those who, to the very end, insist on regulating the movement that exceeds them with the narrow mind of the mechanic who changes a tire.
Thus according to Bataille's theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy which is destined to one of two modes of economic and social expenditure. This must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.

The notion of "excess" energy is central to Bataille's thinking. Bataille's inquiry takes the superabundance of energy, beginning from the infinite outpouring of solar energy or the surpluses produced by life's basic chemical reactions, as the norm for organisms. In other words, an organism in Bataille's general economy, unlike the rational actors of classical economy who are motivated by scarcity, normally has an "excess" of energy available to it. This extra energy can be used productively for the organism's growth or it can be lavishly expended. Bataille insists that an organism's growth or expansion always runs up against limits and becomes impossible. The wasting of this energy is "luxury". The form and role luxury assumes in a society are characteristic of that society. "The accursed share" refers to this excess, destined for waste.

Crucial to the formulation of the theory was Bataille's reflection upon the phenomenon of potlatch. It is influenced by Marcel Mauss's The Gift, as well as by Friedrich Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals.

Volume 1 introduces the theory and provides historical examples of the functioning of general economy: human sacrifice in Aztec society, the monastic institutions of Tibetan Lamaism, the Marshall Plan, and many others. Volumes 2 and 3 extend the argument to eroticism and sovereignty, respectively.


Perhaps the time has come to putting this "accursed share" to more productive and ritually chronolized employment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fount of Ego...


A Freudian desire of the organism to die in it's own way, and not in a manner directed or controlled by the Big Other?
Through thought the ego is posited; but hitherto one believed as ordinary people do, that in "I think" there was something of immediate certainty, and that this "I" was the given cause of thought, from which by analogy we understood all other causal relationships. However habitual and indispensable this fiction may have become by now--that in itself proves nothing against its imaginary origin: a belief can be a condition of life and nonetheless be false.
- Nietzsche, Will to Power 483 (1885)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A New Model for Thought

Government as Anti-Economic Capitalism

We've all heard of Double Entry Book-keeping. So what if for every dollar spent on consumption, we set aside a dollar (or some reasonable proportion thereof as "the cost of government") as an offset and gave it to someone to alleviate the systemetized social and environmental costs of that consumption? Imagine there were a government fund that was used to actually develop technology and clean up oil spills and remediate Superfund nuclear EPA waste sites instead of litigating them for decades and writing regulations that prevented future development? For every dollar spent on creating problems, there was a dollar spent on a competititively developed economic alternatives that focused upon undoing the social and enviironmental effects resulting from the dollar spent on conspicuous consumption?

The regulatory model is working AGAINST capitalism and stymieing growth. Perhaps what is needed is an alternate anti/opposed economic model where the private sector competes for federal dollars to solve waste remediation problems (instead of merely regulating them away and thereby stalling economic development). Imagine a case where instead of regulating industry into a green NIMBY stagnation, EPA focused upon bringing to market industrial solutions to specific environmental problems, designing solutions that would allow industrial facilities to be sited in ecologically sensitive/fragile areas and expediting permits (instead of tying companies up in court). Wouldn't our economy double? Wouldn't this result in a true-er government/industry symbiosis?

The goal of government should be to unleash technological innovation, NOT regulate it into submission, stagnation, and eventual death as it does today. We should incentivize and financially reward politicans on the basis of their ability to MINIMIZE regulations... for isn't THAT truly the ultimate goal of "liberalism"? To allow us each as individuals and members of smaller social groups/collectives to realize his/her ultimate potential, not tell us that we can't, we can't, we can't with laws, rules and regulations?

Would the result of such a scheme be a much better model for "Guilt-free consumption"? Perhaps. But instead of "toppling" the capitalist system, let's DOUBLE DOWN on it! Let's use it to offset the need for regulation and government. Instead of punishing polluters, let's work towards solving the problems of pollution. If every dollar donated to Greenpeace or the Sierra Club went to actually cleaning up messes instead of trying to outlaw practices, wouldn't you donate? And if you were a corporation, imagine if the people you donated to had the effect of actually REDUCING the regulations you had to follow and opening up more tracts of land for resource development and plant siting... wouldnt THAT donation be worth something to you?

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Zizek on OWS


According to Lacan, Hamlet was unable to mourn his dead father because his mother prematurely married his uncle and replaced the symbolic father. The mother, therefore, replaced the lost object with a new one before Hamlet could withdraw his desire and direct it elsewhere. The original lost object is the phallus and what Lacan is suggesting is that Hamlet is unable to mourn the loss of the phallus that will inaugurate the movement of his own desire. In this situation, Freud suggested that mourning turns into melancholia. In melancholia, the act of mourning is narcissisticly turned back upon the self and the subject identifies his/her own ego with the lost object. Melancholia, therefore, has the effect of blocking the natural process of mourning and freezing the subject in time.

...

Hamlet simply cannot choose between his own desire and the desire of the Other.... Hamlet confuses and distorts his own desire. This confusion can also be seen through Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia. Lacan reads Ophelia as the object of desire - the objet petit a, or object cause of Hamlet's desire.

---
"...his (Lacan's) point is that what happens in melancholia is not that you lose the object; you have the object but you lose the desire for the object: you lose the object cause of desire. Everything is here, you lose the desire for it."
- Slajov Zizek

In the Navy....

I have given thee wings to fly with ease aloft the boundless sea and all the land. No meal or feast but thou'lt be there, couched 'twixt the lips of many a guest, and lovely youths shall sing thee clear and well in orderly wise to the clear-voiced flute. And when thou comest to go down to the lamentable house of Hades in the depths of the gloomy earth, never, albeit thou be dead, shalt thou lose thy fame, but men will think of thee as one of immortal name, Cyrnus, who rangeth the land of Greece and the isles thereof —crossing the fishy unharvestable deep not upon horseback mounted but sped of the glorious gifts of the violet-crownad Muses unto all that care to receive thee; and living as they thou shalt be a song unto posterity so long as Earth and Sun abide. Yet as for me, thou hast no respect for me, great or small, but deceivest me with words as if I were a little child.
- Theognis of Megara (237-254)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Titian, "The Flaying of Marsyas" (1575)

The Fate of Marsyas

Scarce had the man this famous story told,
Of vengeance on the Lycians shown of old,
When strait another pictures to their view
The Satyr's fate, whom angry Phoebus slew;
Who, rais'd with high conceit, and puff'd with pride,
At his own pipe the skilful God defy'd.
Why do you tear me from my self, he cries?
Ah cruel! must my skin be made the prize?
This for a silly pipe? he roaring said,
Mean-while the skin from off his limbs was flay'd.
All bare, and raw, one large continu'd wound,
With streams of blood his body bath'd the ground.
The blueish veins their trembling pulse disclos'd,
The stringy nerves lay naked, and expos'd;
His guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd,
With ev'ry shining fibre of his breast.

The Fauns, and Silvans, with the Nymphs that rove
Among the Satyrs in the shady grove;
Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry swain
That fed, or flock, or herd upon the plain,
Bewail'd the loss; and with their tears that flow'd,
A kindly moisture on the earth bestow'd;
That soon, conjoyn'd, and in a body rang'd,
Sprung from the ground, to limpid water chang'd;
Which, down thro' Phrygia's rocks, a mighty stream,
Comes tumbling to the sea, and Marsya is its name.
-Ovid, "Metamorphoses" (Dryden translation)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Lacanian Theory Behind a Messageless OWS

....and why it won't work.

Can a void, an absence, manque, cause a hunger to grow? A hunger for hope and political change? Can the Left turn the American voter into an Erysichthon?

Not without it's opposite, and a dialectic with it. But everyone at OWS is on "the same side". The Wall Streeters aren't talking with the OWS protesters. They are on earth, and the OWS'ers all on Cloud 9. And there will never be lightening unless they get a LOT closer together. And the chances of that ever happening are slim to none.

Generation does come from opposites. But the opposites have to get within a close proximity. ;)

Ovid, "Metamorphoses" (Book VIII)

ERYSICHTHON AND MESTRA

[738] "Now Erysichthon's daughter, Mestra, had that power of Proteus—she was called the wife of deft Autolycus.—Her father spurned the majesty of all the Gods, and gave no honor to their altars. It is said he violated with an impious axe the sacred grove of Ceres, and he cut her trees with iron. Long-standing in her grove there grew an ancient oak tree, spread so wide, alone it seemed a standing forest; and its trunk and branches held memorials, as, fillets, tablets, garlands, witnessing how many prayers the goddess Ceres granted. And underneath it laughing Dryads loved to whirl in festal dances, hand in hand, encircling its enormous trunk, that thrice five ells might measure; and to such a height it towered over all the trees around, as they were higher than the grass beneath.

[751] "But Erysichthon, heedless of all things, ordered his slaves to fell the sacred oak, and as they hesitated, in a rage the wretch snatched from the hand of one an axe, and said, `If this should be the only oak loved by the goddess of this very grove, or even were the goddess in this tree, I'll level to the ground its leafy head.' So boasted he, and while he swung on high his axe to strike a slanting blow, the oak beloved of Ceres, uttered a deep groan and shuddered. Instantly its dark green leaves turned pale, and all its acorns lost their green, and even its long branches drooped their arms. But when his impious hand had struck the trunk, and cut its bark, red blood poured from the wound,—as when a weighty sacrificial bull has fallen at the altar, streaming blood spouts from his stricken neck. All were amazed. And one of his attendants boldly tried to stay his cruel axe, and hindered him; but Erysichthon, fixing his stern eyes upon him, said, `Let this, then, be the price of all your pious worship!' So he turned the poised axe from the tree, and clove his head sheer from his body, and again began to chop the hard oak. From the heart of it these words were uttered; `Covered by the bark of this oak tree I long have dwelt a Nymph, beloved of Ceres, and before my death it has been granted me to prophesy, that I may die contented. Punishment for this vile deed stands waiting at your side.' No warning could avert his wicked arm. Much weakened by his countless blows, the tree, pulled down by straining ropes, gave way at last and leveled with its weight uncounted trees that grew around it.

[777] "Terrified and shocked, the sister-dryads, grieving for the grove and what they lost, put on their sable robes and hastened unto Ceres, whom they prayed, might rightly punish Erysichthon's crime;—the lovely goddess granted their request, and by the gracious movement of her head she shook the fruitful, cultivated fields, then heavy with the harvest; and she planned an unexampled punishment deserved, and not beyond his miserable crimes—the grisly bane of famine; but because it is not in the scope of Destiny, that two such deities should ever meet as Ceres and gaunt Famine,—calling forth from mountain-wilds a rustic Oread, the goddess Ceres, said to her, `There is an ice-bound wilderness of barren soil in utmost Scythia, desolate and bare of trees and corn, where Torpid-Frost, White-Death and Palsy and Gaunt-Famine, hold their haunts; go there now, and command that Famine flit from there; and let her gnawing-essence pierce the entrails of this sacrilegious wretch, and there be hidden—Let her vanquish me and overcome the utmost power of food. Heed not misgivings of the journey's length, for you will guide my dragon-bridled car through lofty ether.'

[799] "And she gave to her the reins; and so the swiftly carried Nymph arrived in Scythia. There, upon the told of steepy Caucasus, when she had slipped their tight yoke from the dragons' harnessed necks, she searched for Famine in that granite land, and there she found her clutching at scant herbs, with nails and teeth. Beneath her shaggy hair her hollow eyes glared in her ghastly face, her lips were filthy and her throat was rough and blotched, and all her entrails could be seen, enclosed in nothing but her shriveled skin; her crooked loins were dry uncovered bones, and where her belly should be was a void; her flabby breast was flat against her spine; her lean, emaciated body made her joints appear so large, her knobbled knees seemed large knots, and her swollen ankle-bones protruded.

[809] "When the Nymph, with keen sight, saw the Famine-monster, fearing to draw near she cried aloud the mandate she had brought from fruitful Ceres, and although the time had been but brief, and Famine far away, such hunger seized the Nymph, she had to turn her dragon-steeds, and flee through yielding air and the high clouds;—at Thessaly she stopped.

[814] "Grim Famine hastened to obey the will of Ceres, though their deeds are opposite, and rapidly through ether heights was borne to Erysichthon's home. When she arrived at midnight, slumber was upon the wretch, and as she folded him in her two wings, she breathed her pestilential poison through his mouth and throat and breast, and spread the curse of utmost hunger in his aching veins. When all was done as Ceres had decreed, she left the fertile world for bleak abodes, and her accustomed caves.

[823] "While this was done sweet Sleep with charming pinion soothed the mind of Erysichthon. In a dreamful feast he worked his jaws in vain, and ground his teeth, and swallowed air as his imagined food; till wearied with the effort he awoke to hunger scorching as a fire, which burned his entrails and compelled his raging jaws, so he, demanding all the foods of sea and earth and air, raged of his hunger, while the tables groaned with heaps before him spread; he, banqueting, sought banquets for more food, and as he gorged he always wanted more. The food of cities and a nation failed to satisfy the cravings of one man. The more his stomach gets, the more it needs—even as the ocean takes the streams of earth, although it swallows up great rivers drawn from lands remote, it never can be filled nor satisfied. And as devouring fire its fuel refuses never, but consumes unnumbered beams of wood, and burns for more the more 'tis fed, and from abundance gains increasing famine, so the raving jaws of wretched Erysichthon, ever craved all food in him, was only cause of food, and what he ate made only room for more.
[843] "And after Famine through his gluttony at last had wasted his ancestral wealth his raging hunger suffered no decline, and his insatiate gluttony increased. When all his wealth at last was eaten up, his daughter, worthy of a fate more kind, alone was left to him and her he sold. Descendant of a noble race, the girl refusing to be purchased as a slave, then hastened to the near shore of the sea, and as she stretched her arms above the waves, implored kind Neptune with her tears, `Oh, you who have deprived me of virginity, deliver me from such a master's power!' Although the master, seeking her, had seen her only at that moment, Neptune changed her quickly from a woman to a man, by giving her the features of a man and garments proper to a fisher-man: and there she stood. He even looked at her and cried out, `Hey, there! Expert of the rod! While you are casting forth the bit of brass, concealed so deftly in its tiny bait,—gods-willing! let the sea be smooth for you, and let the foolish fishes swimming up, never know danger till they snap the hook! Now tell me where is she, who only now, in tattered garment and wind-twisted hair, was standing on this shore—for I am sure I saw her standing on this shore, although no footstep shows her flight.” By this assured the favor of the god protected her; delighted to be questioned of herself, she said, “No matter who you are, excuse me. So busy have I been at catching fish, I have not had the time to move my eyes from this pool; and that you may be assured I only tell the truth, may Neptune, God of ocean witness it, I have not seen a man where I am standing on this shore—myself excepted—not a woman has stood here.” Her master could not doubt it, and deceived retraced his footsteps from the sandy shore. As soon as he had disappeared, her form unchanged, was given back to her. But when her father knew his daughter could transform her body and escape, he often sold her first to one and then another—all of whom she cheated—as a mare, bird, a cow, or as a stag she got away; and so brought food, dishonestly, to ease his greed. And so he lived until the growing strength of famine, gnawing at his vitals, had consumed all he could get by selling her: his anguish burned him with increasing heat. He gnawed his own flesh, and he tore his limbs and fed his body all he took from it.

[879] "Ah, why should I dwell on the wondrous deeds of others—Even I, O gathered youths, have such a power I can often change my body till my limit has been reached. A while appearing in my real form, another moment coiled up as a snake, then as a monarch of the herd my strength increases in my horns—my strength increased in my two horns when I had two—but now my forehead, as you see, has lost one horn." And having ended with such words,—he groaned.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Manque

The tomb of Dionysius was acually inside the adyton of the Apollo temple at Delphi. Clea, Priestess to Apollo, lead the secret Dionysian rites from Delphi to the Korykian cave, 7 miles up the slope of Mount Parnassos, in the winter months when Apollo was said to be absent from Delphi. Men were not allowed to witness these women's rites, altough some are thought to have been chosen for the role of satyrs.

The Yin in every Yang. The fear at the heart of love. The contents (in this case, void) within the Holy of Holies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hans und Franz

"The Ambassadors", Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 - 1543)
...behind our desire is nothing but our lack: the materiality of the Real staring back at us.
Correcting for the Anamorphosis - the illusions of wealth & power

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Ungrateful Heart"

Caterina, Caterina, why do you say those bitter words?
Why do you speak and torment my heart, Caterina?
Don't forget, I gave you my heart, Caterina,
don't forget.

Caterina, Caterina, why do you come and say those words that hurt me so much?
You don't think of my pain,
you don't think, you don't care.

Ungrateful heart,
you have stolen my life.
Everything is finished
and you don't care any more!

Catarí', Catarí'
you do not know that even in church
I bring my prayers to God, Catari.
And I recount my confession to the priest: "I am suffering
from such a great love."

I'm suffering,
I'm suffering from not knowing your love,
I'm suffering a sorrow that tortures my soul.
And I confess, that the Holy Mother
spoke to me: "My son, let it be, let it be."

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Difference Between the Old '68 New Left and the 2011 Progressive Left

- Doing Good for Other's Under Capitalism is Preventing Us from Implementing Real Solutions. We Don't Know What those Real Solutions are, but We Need to Topple the Capitalist System so that We Can Find Out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moneyball Song

A tribute to Billy Beane and a paean to the Leftist ideal of NOT doing things simply for the money, but out of the smug satisfaction that comes from manipulating others lives so as to prove yourself smarter than everyone else. So long as everyone is MADE to see your point of view, who cares how many other people's lives you have to ruin?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Enceladus

Under Mount Etna he lies,
It is slumber, it is not death;
For he struggles at times to arise,
And above him the lurid skies
Are hot with his fiery breath.
The crags are piled on his breast,
The earth is heaped on his head;
But the groans of his wild unrest,
Though smothered and half suppressed,
Are heard, and he is not dead.
And the nations far away
Are watching with eager eyes;
They talk together and say,
"To-morrow, perhaps to-day,
Euceladus will arise!
And the old gods, the austere
Oppressors in their strength,
Stand aghast and white with fear
At the ominous sounds they hear,
And tremble, and mutter, "At length!"
Ah me! for the land that is sown
With the harvest of despair!
Where the burning cinders, blown
From the lips of the overthrown
Enceladus, fill the air.
Where ashes are heaped in drifts
Over vineyard and field and town,
Whenever he starts and lifts
His head through the blackened rifts
Of the crags that keep him down.
See, see! the red light shines!
'T is the glare of his awful eyes!
And the storm-wind shouts through the pines
Of Alps and of Apennines,
"Enceladus, arise!"

-HW Longfellow

Cocktail Republicans Need to Go Found a New RINO Party with Romney at Head?

New York Times columnist David Brooks has a tendency to upset a lot of conservatives because he takes positions that are usually more moderated. And his reasoning in making a case for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be an instance of just that, pragmatism trumping ideology.

On Friday’s airing of “NewsHour” on PBS, Brooks explained that while the country is clamoring for a GOP presidential nominee like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, his nomination might not be the wisest thing for the country.

“Yes, I mean as Mark [Shields] says, [Christie] has this phenomenal, rare skill of talking about wonky issues in a normal way and that is just not something that comes along every day,” Brooks said. “And so he has that skill. But to follow Mark’s metaphor, I agree the Republican primary electorate wants the guy with the leather jacket. But I think the country wants the guy from the rotary club. I think they want the Mitt Romney guy, because we are in a very scary period.”

Brooks warned that if crisis strikes, an aggressive individual like Christie would be less effective than the more moderated Romney.

“I expect, before the election, there is going to be more bad news from Europe or somewhere else. And my presumption is, on elections, people always vote for the candidate who seems safer and more orderly,” Brooks continued. “Obama seemed more orderly than McCain after the financial meltdown. Bush seemed more orderly. Whether they are really going to want somebody like Chris Christie, who is rambunctious and big and not exactly orderly, I`m not convinced. I think the Republicans should be pretty happy with Romney.”


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/01/david-brooks-insists-republicans-should-be-pretty-happy-with-romney/#ixzz1Zcvu4hap
On the orderly class, Plato, "Statesman"
STRANGER: The difference between the two classes is often a trivial concern; but in a state, and when affecting really important matters, becomes of all disorders the most hateful.

YOUNG SOCRATES: To what do you refer?

STRANGER: To nothing short of the whole regulation of human life. For the orderly class are always ready to lead a peaceful life, quietly doing their own business; this is their manner of behaving with all men at home, and they are equally ready to find some way of keeping the peace with foreign States. And on account of this fondness of theirs for peace, which is often out of season where their influence prevails, they become by degrees unwarlike, and bring up their young men to be like themselves; they are at the mercy of their enemies; whence in a few years they and their children and the whole city often pass imperceptibly from the condition of freemen into that of slaves.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What a cruel fate!

STRANGER: And now think of what happens with the more courageous natures. Are they not always inciting their country to go to war, owing to their excessive love of the military life? they raise up enemies against themselves many and mighty, and either utterly ruin their native-land or enslave and subject it to its foes?

YOUNG SOCRATES: That, again, is true.

STRANGER: Must we not admit, then, that where these two classes exist, they always feel the greatest antipathy and antagonism towards one another?

YOUNG SOCRATES: We cannot deny it.

STRANGER: And returning to the enquiry with which we began, have we not found that considerable portions of virtue are at variance with one another, and give rise to a similar opposition in the characters who are endowed with them?

YOUNG SOCRATES: True.

STRANGER: Let us consider a further point.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What is it?

STRANGER: I want to know, whether any constructive art will make any, even the most trivial thing, out of bad and good materials indifferently, if this can be helped? does not all art rather reject the bad as far as possible, and accept the good and fit materials, and from these elements, whether like or unlike, gathering them all into one, work out some nature or idea?

YOUNG SOCRATES: To, be sure.

STRANGER: Then the true and natural art of statesmanship will never allow any State to be formed by a combination of good and bad men, if this can be avoided; but will begin by testing human natures in play, and after testing them, will entrust them to proper teachers who are the ministers of her purposes—she will herself give orders, and maintain authority; just as the art of weaving continually gives orders and maintains authority over the carders and all the others who prepare the material for the work, commanding the subsidiary arts to execute the works which she deems necessary for making the web.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Quite true.
Weaving the Republican peplos is never an easy task. It can be as difficult as Athena's defeat of Enceladus in the battle against the Gigantes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Is Fear the Heart of Love?

...topic from Death Cab for Cutie, "I will follow you into the dark."
For there is nothing which men love but the good. Is there anything?' 'Certainly, I should say, that there is nothing.' 'Then,' she said, 'the simple truth is, that men love the good.' 'Yes,' I said. 'To which must be added that they love the possession of the good?' 'Yes, that must be added.' 'And not only the possession, but the everlasting possession of the good?' 'That must be added too.' 'Then love,' she said, 'may be described generally as the love of the everlasting possession of the good?' 'That is most true.'
- Plato, "Symposium"
But isn't there a fear of separation from it as well?

Taqiyya's Western Faces

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Establishment Doubles Down on Romney

JP Morgan honcho Jamie Dimon, once a “fat cat” ally of President Obama, seems to have strayed to Republican contender Mitt Romney.

Dimon, a lifelong Democrat who was rumored to be on Obama’s short list for treasury secretary before he settled on Tim Geithner, met privately with Romney on Tuesday morning before a fund-raiser at Brasserie 8¹/2 hosted by Highbridge Capital, a JPMorgan-owned hedge fund.

Dimon, who was spotted “in a discreet one-on-one” discussion with Romney, cannot publicly endorse a candidate because he sits on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. But he donated to Democratic candidates in 2008 and privately supported Obama.

While Dimon’s spokesperson declined to comment, a JP Morgan insider tells us that Dimon has not attended an Obama fund-raiser and has not made any contributions to his campaign during this election cycle. And Dimon has met privately with many of the Republican presidential candidates.

Political insiders are buzzing that a defection would signal further Wall Street hostility toward Obama, who famously called them “fat cat” bankers in 2009. Dimon responded, “I don’t think the president of the United States should paint everyone with the same brush.”

One insider said, “There is not a person on Wall Street, with the exception of the genetic Democrats, who would get anywhere near supporting Obama. The hostility to the administration is huge. Dimon will continue to look bipartisan, then work behind the scenes to get a Republican elected.”

There were few big Wall Street names openly linked to Obama’s fund-raisers in New York. And we’re told ticket sales for Obama’s Friday event with Warren Buffett have been slower than expected, with staffers calling and e-mailing supporters to shift tickets at up to $35,800. Obama’s team insist they are expecting a “packed house,” but didn’t get back to us about Dimon last night.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/obama_top_fat_cat_strays_C9qcrURkB9L9JkImemgBwL#ixzz1ZGvNSNLu

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Heard through the Grapevine Today...

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

from the Baltimore Sun
The fall theater season is just beginning, but the Everyman Theatre production of "A Raisin in the Sun" surely will qualify as one of its highlights. African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 classic is a period piece with timeless appeal.

It is really brought alive by an excellent cast that makes you feel as if you are witnessing social conditions in segregation-era Chicago in the 1950s. You feel grounded even before the first word of dialogue.

Set designer James Fouchard is quite a carpenter, because his construction of a faded but well-maintained apartment is so persuasive that it's not surprising when one of the characters actually makes scrambled eggs on the kitchen stove.

When family members talk about the dismal view through that kitchen window, the emotional effect admittedly is somewhat marred by lighting designer Jay A. Herzog's habit of having stage lights glaringly reflected in the apartment windows. A badly bungled lighting cue in a bedroom scene doesn't help matters, either.

It's worth making a note of such shortcomings, because they're so out of keeping with what otherwise qualifies as a triumph of set construction and period-suitable furnishings. Just as Hansberry constructed a play in which even the small talk has big implications, everything you see on stage places you within the world inhabited by the Younger family.

You feel secure as you survey this set and then get to meet the individual family members. "A Raisin in the Sun" has such fully three-dimensional characters that every family member completely holds your attention. Although the story indicates that Walter Lee Younger should qualify as the main character, it somehow would not seem right to thereby state that other family members are less crucial to the plot.

Seeing various productions of "A Raisin in the Sun" over the decades also serves as a reminder that the casting of a specific production can pull your attention — and your sympathy — to various family members.

As Walter Lee, KenYatta Rogers embodies the frustration of a young black man whose job as a chauffeur for white clients symbolically means he'll always be driving for somebody else.

Although Rogers certainly makes you feel that frustration, the most powerful emotional charge in this production comes from Dawn Ursula as Walter Lee's wife, Ruth, who quietly works as a maid for white families and yet who is not afraid to speak up when it's called for. Ursula, who has given many fine performances in local theater, has such a wonderfully expressive face that she anchors this production.

Walter Lee and Ruth's young son, Travis, is alternately played by Jaden Derry and Isaiah Pope.

Also no slouch when it comes to being expressive are Fatima Quander as Walter Lee's outspoken sister, Beneatha, who is a college student hoping to go to medical school; and Walter Lee and Beneatha's recently widowed mother, Lena (Lizan Mitchell), in whose long-occupied apartment everybody still dwells.

The socially pointed plot involves Lena awaiting a life insurance-related check that may change the family's fortunes. Individual family members have very different notions about where that money should be spent; and secondary characters also get to offer their opinions about how a black family can achieve upward mobility in a racially divided society.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ballet, Anyone?

Livin' the Good Life

Never take confident counsel, Cyrnus, with a bad man when thou wouldst accomplish a grave matter, but seek the counsel of the good, Cyrnus, even if it mean much labour and a long journey.
- Theognis of Megara (69-72)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SIlence is Golden

Never have I betrayed a dear and loyal comrade, nor is there aught of the slavish in my soul.
- Theognis of Megara (529-530)

Friday, September 16, 2011

On Congressional Super Committees

CHAPTER XXXV - THE REASON WHY THE CREATION OF THE DECEMVIRS IN ROME WAS HARMFUL TO THE LIBERTY OF THAT REPUBLIC, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT WAS CREATED BY PUBLIC AND FREE SUFFRAGE

The election of the Ten citizens (Decemvirs) created by the Roman people to make the laws in Rome, who in time became Tyrants, and without any regard took away her liberty, appears to be contrary to what was discussed above, that that authority which is taken by violence, not that which is given by suffrage, harms the Republics. Here, however, the methods of giving authority and the time for which it is given, ought to be considered. For when free authority is given for a long time ((calling a long time a year or more)) it is always dangerous and will produce effects either good or bad, according as those upon whom it is conferred are good or bad. And if the authority given to the Ten and that which the Dictators have are considered, it will be seen beyond comparison that that of the Ten is greater. For when a Dictator was created there remained the Tribunes, Consuls, (and) the Senate, with all their authority, and the Dictator could not take it away from them; and even if he should have been able to remove anyone from the Consulship, or from the Senate, he could not suppress the Senatorial order and make new laws. So that the Senate, the Consuls, and the Tribunes, remaining with their authority, came to be as his guard to prevent him form going off from the right road. But in the creation of the Ten all the contrary occurred, for they annulled the Consuls and the Tribunes, and they were given authority to make laws and do every other thing as the Roman People had. So that, finding themselves alone, without Consuls, without Tribunes, without the appeal to the People, and because of this not having anyone to observe them, moved by the ambitions of Appius, they were able in the second year to become insolent. And because of this, it ought to be noted that when (we said) an authority given by free suffrage never harmed any Republic, it presupposed that a People is never led to give it except with limited powers and for limited times: but when either from having been deceived or for some other reason it happens that they are induced to give it imprudently and in the way in which the Roman people gave it to the Ten, it will always happen as it did to them (Romans). This is easily proven, considering the reasons that kept the Dictators good and that made the Ten bad: and considering also how those Republics which have been kept well ordered have done in giving authority for a long (period of) time, as the Spartans gave to their King, and how the Venetians give to their Doges; for it will be seen in both these methods, guardians were appointed who watched that the Kings (and the Doges) could not ill use that authority. Nor is it of any benefit in this case that the people are not corrupted, for an absolute authority in a very brief time corrupts the people, and makes friends and partisans for itself. Nor is it harmful either to be poor or not to have relatives, for riches and every other favor quickly will run after power, as we will discuss in detail in the creation of the said Ten.
- Machiavelli, "Discourses on Titus Livy"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fears for Some Familiar Faces

Now wing I my way like a bird from the flaxen net, escaping an evil man by breaking the trammels; and as for thee, thou 'st lost my friendship and wilt learn my shrewdness too late.
-Theognis of Megara (1097-1100)
Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong--otherwise one will never become strong.
- Nietzsche, "Twilight of the Idols"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Always Sing from the Heart

Took a little love,
walking thru a garden
Who can I see,
in and around your hand?

Looking to the top,
as he feeds beside you
Humming bird,
close to your hand.

It was for a reason I did not see before,
it was;
someone did give me eyes
That is nature sounding within
In the face of it

In the face of it
there's nothing left to rhyme
and the more you try you'll understand
They'll be flying into your hand
tomorrow.
- Jon & Vangelis

Saturday, August 20, 2011

TheGuardians of Old

Jowett Summary of Plato's "Republic"
The art of war cannot be learned in a day, and there must be a natural aptitude for military duties. There will be some warlike natures who have this aptitude—dogs keen of scent, swift of foot to pursue, and strong of limb to fight. And as spirit is the foundation of courage, such natures, whether of men or animals, will be full of spirit. But these spirited natures are apt to bite and devour one another; the union of gentleness to friends and fierceness against enemies appears to be an impossibility, and the guardian of a State requires both qualities. Who then can be a guardian? The image of the dog suggests an answer. For dogs are gentle to friends and fierce to strangers. Your dog is a philosopher who judges by the rule of knowing or not knowing; and philosophy, whether in man or beast, is the parent of gentleness. The human watchdogs must be philosophers or lovers of learning which will make them gentle. And how are they to be learned without education?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Other Good Books


I cannot furnish thee, my soul, with all things meet for thee: be patient; thou art not the only lover of things beautiful. - Theognis of Megara (695-696)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Risk of Revolution

...unless you're a Leftist in modern London...
No risk... ALL reward. Burn, baby, BURN! Woo-hoo!
...has MY government check come yet? DOUBLE IT, or else!

from a recent article at FPM:

When society has removed all negative consequences to poor life choices, which keep people and their progeny nestled in the underclass (child abandonment, disdain for eduction, glorification of thug culture, etc.), it effectively rewards them. It is thus absurd to expect these behavioral trends to disappear rather than the reverse.

The situation is all the more exacerbated by a culture that shields the very segments of society that perpetuate these trends from any scrutiny and responsibility — primarily due to cowardice over racial matters. Hence the sweeping media silence on the disturbing trend of minority-perpetrated mob violence, evident in most of the reportage on these incidents. Here again, on even this most rudimentary level, negative consequences for self-destructive behavior are lifted. We cannot even identify the source of such criminality, nor demand change on the part of the offenders.

That inner-city American blacks have been subjected to these forces may explain why most of the flash mob violence has been perpetrated by them. But as England currently demonstrates, the original reason for the riots in Tottenham have morphed from a possible racial incident into one in which showing the larger society “we can do what we want” has become the ultimate rationale. If race was the match that lit the London conflagration, the culture of bitter class resentment and entitlement to unearned wealth, part and parcel of the socialist state, was the gasoline.

It is a rationale ignited by the cradle-to-grave expectations perpetrated by the welfare state. One that ignites anger, resentment and rioting when those expectations are threatened with extinction.
I knew before, but I know far better now, that there's no gratitude in the baser sort.
- Theognis of Megara (1038A-1038B)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Confession to FreeThinke

He sits at the table and writes.
with this poem you will not take power, he says
you will not make revolution, he says
nor with thousands of verses will you make revolution, he says

and what more, these verses wont make peons, teachers, or carpenters live better, eat better, or he himself eat, live better.
Not even for wooing a woman can they be used.

He wont make money with them
he wont get into the movies free with them
they wont give him clothes for them
He wont get tobacco or wine with them

nor parrots, nor scarves, nor boats, nor bulls, nor umbrellas will he get from them.
if it were up to them the rain would get him wet.
He wont reach forgiveness nor grace because of them

with this poem you will not take power, he says
you will not make revolution, he says
nor with thousands of verses will you make revolution, he says
He sits at the table and writes.
- Juan Gelman

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On the E-Qual

Delphi became the site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the famous prehistoric oracle. Even in Roman times, hundreds of votive statues remained, described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias. Supposedly carved into the temple were three phrases: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = "know thyself") and μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess"), and Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη (engýa pára d'atē = "make a pledge and mischief is nigh"), as well as a large letter E
YOUNG SOCRATES: I will try;—there appears to me to be one management of men and another of beasts.

STRANGER: You have certainly divided them in a most straightforward and manly style; but you have fallen into an error which hereafter I think that we had better avoid.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What is the error?

STRANGER: I think that we had better not cut off a single small portion which is not a species, from many larger portions; the part should be a species. To separate off at once the subject of investigation, is a most excellent plan, if only the separation be rightly made; and you were under the impression that you were right, because you saw that you would come to man; and this led you to hasten the steps. But you should not chip off too small a piece, my friend; the safer way is to cut through the middle; which is also the more likely way of finding classes. Attention to this principle makes all the difference in a process of enquiry.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What do you mean, Stranger?

STRANGER: I will endeavour to speak more plainly out of love to your good parts, Socrates; and, although I cannot at present entirely explain myself, I will try, as we proceed, to make my meaning a little clearer.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What was the error of which, as you say, we were guilty in our recent division?

STRANGER: The error was just as if some one who wanted to divide the human race, were to divide them after the fashion which prevails in this part of the world; here they cut off the Hellenes as one species, and all the other species of mankind, which are innumerable, and have no ties or common language, they include under the single name of 'barbarians,' and because they have one name they are supposed to be of one species also. Or suppose that in dividing numbers you were to cut off ten thousand from all the rest, and make of it one species, comprehending the rest under another separate name, you might say that here too was a single class, because you had given it a single name. Whereas you would make a much better and more e-qual and logical classification of numbers, if you divided them into odd and even; or of the human species, if you divided them into male and female; and only separated off Lydians or Phrygians, or any other tribe, and arrayed them against the rest of the world, when you could no longer make a division into parts which were also classes.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Very true; but I wish that this distinction between a part and a class could still be made somewhat plainer.

STRANGER: O Socrates, best of men, you are imposing upon me a very difficult task. We have already digressed further from our original intention than we ought, and you would have us wander still further away. But we must now return to our subject; and hereafter, when there is a leisure hour, we will follow up the other track; at the same time, I wish you to guard against imagining that you ever heard me declare—

YOUNG SOCRATES: What?

STRANGER: That a class and a part are distinct.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What did I hear, then?

STRANGER: That a class is necessarily a part, but there is no similar necessity that a part should be a class; that is the view which I should always wish you to attribute to me, Socrates.

YOUNG SOCRATES: So be it.
- Plato, "Statesman"

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Lady of the Camelias

This post dedicated to Marie Duplessis, a current resident of Montemartre Cemetary.

Sempre Libera
I will never like camelias,
ordinary flowers grown in clumps
'round stucco houses and
church school playgrounds.

Flowers of my childhood,
pink, white, red,
the same, but for the color,
around our home of
small neighborhood and similar mind.

Memories of friends who teased and taunted,
feeling hurt and sibling scalded,
like I don't belong.

Camelias lose their attachment,
fall, not yet faded,
alive, still red,
but disconnected.

-poem by Z in Los Angeles

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Wild Honeysuckle

FAIR flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet:
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.

By Nature’s self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.

Smit with those charms, that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died--nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts and Autumn’s power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.

From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came;
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.

--Philip Freneau (1752-1832)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Panem et Circenses!

When Ray Lewis talks, reporters investigate. When feminists talk, liberal reporters don't. Anybody besides me note a prejudicial "credibility bias" in any of this (tattamount to "liberal racism"?)

Now give me my candy, or I'll tear up your cities!
So … remember when Ray Lewis insisted that the longer the lockout went on, the more crime there would be? Turns out, there's no historical precedent for such a statement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's PolitiFact group.

In a recent ESPN interview, Lewis said that "if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game." Lewis' contention was that the lockout affected the fans as much or more than the players and owners.

"There's too many people that live through us, people live through us," he said. "Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I'm not talking about the people you see all the time."

The AJC accepted Lewis' invitation to do that research, contacted the Northeastern's Sport in Society center and was told that "there is very little evidence supporting Lewis' claim that crime will increase the longer the work stoppage lasts."

The AJC cited a similar crime study.

The Baltimore Sun also looked at crime in 1982 and found an increase during the strike in only one category: homicides.

The Sun tried some other methods to tackle Lewis' claim. The newspaper's Crime Beat blog looked at crime data last season when the Ravens had their bye (off) week. The Sun found there was slightly more crime during the bye week.

The Sun looked at crime in Baltimore the four weeks before the season started and the first four weeks of the season. There was the same number of crimes. The Sun also examined the crime rate there at the end of the Ravens' season and what happened afterward. What did it find? There was less crime after the season ended in early January.

The Sun stressed several times that its findings were unscientific.

The AJC then went to look at increases in crime during bye weeks, assuming that the no football/higher crime equation would fit a much shorter time frame. No real evidence was presented that would lead in one direction or another.

One criminologist we interviewed had a different take. Northeastern University professor James A. Fox heard Lewis' comments and did a study. He looked at key FBI data from the last three years available, 2006 through 2008, focusing on the week before the Super Bowl because there were no games that week and there was intense interest in football around that time of the year. Fox, who was referred to us by the FBI, found no increase in crime the week there was no football.

"I took the Ray Lewis(notes) challenge and I don't see any evidence of [a crime increase]," said Fox, the author of several books on crime who also writes a crime and punishment blog for the Boston Globe.

As far as player crime … well, aside from Kenny Britt(notes) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there hasn't been a huge increase during this offseason, and the closer both sides get to a settlement, the more most players will be putting their collective noses to the grindstone, leaving them too busy to get in trouble.

At least, that's one theory we hope will stick.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend, The Sequel

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland’s United Daughters of the Confederacy are holding a special ceremony in Baltimore to mark Confederate Memorial Day.

The event Saturday is meant to honor thousands of soldiers who served the Confederacy during the Civil War. The group is gathering at the Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore where 600 Confederate soldiers are buried.

The group says soldiers from nearly all the Confederate states are represented at the cemetery.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Partisan

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I've lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands e'taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, "Signe toi," (They said, "Sign yourself,")
mais je n'ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j'ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J'ai change' cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j'ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j'ai tant d'amis; (But I have so many friends)
j'ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache', (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l'ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.

Monday, May 30, 2011

To Those Who Serve, Thank You for Your Service!

... and to those of you who support them, may G_d Bless you!

This post is dedicated to the memory of Henry Lewis Wicks of 5th Marine Division's 27th Regiment, who died on February 19th, 1945 on the sands of Iwo Jima, and all who were with him on that fateful day.

The invasion of Iwo Jima began on 19 February, 1945. The 27th Marines stormed ashore at 0900 in its designated area of Beaches Red 1 and Red 2. The Regiment was initially assigned the mission of helping to cut off and isolate Mount Suribachi from the rest of the island. As the Marines pushed inland, resistance by the Japanese became more and more determined. Once Mount Suribachi was isolated, the Regiment was ordered to move north to join with the other units in continuing the attack on the main enemy defenses. Rugged terrain, heavy enemy fire, and well placed land mines all combined at times to hold the attacking Marines to a standstill. They repeatedly met the Japanese in hard, close combat.

On 16 March, Iwo Jima was declared secure, although some resistance continued for about two months. The severity of the fighting left 566 killed and 1703 wounded in the 27th Marines alone. Four Marines from the Regiment earned the Medal of Honor (the nation's highest award for valor).

As for the Division,

The division landed on Iwo Jima on February 19. They landed on the left northeast of Mount Suribachi and sustained heavy initial losses so much so that by that afternoon the 26th Marines had to be released as the division reserve. The 5th Marine Division would fight on Iwo Jima from February 19 until March 18 where they would sustain 1,098 killed in action and 2,974 wounded in action. This was the highest casualty rate amongst the Marine divisions involved in the invasion.
The Spearhead
5th Marine Division - Red Beach 1, Feb 19, 1945

"Then rushed to meet the insulting foe; They took the spear, but left the shield." - Philip Morin Freneau

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bring in the New Napoleons


The guns of Vendémiare: 5 October 1795

Napoleon's part in the saving of the Convention, and of its plans for the new regime of five directors, is a simple one. On being appointed one of the commanders to defend the seat of government in the Tuileries (with a force which looks like being outnumbered six to one by the rebels), he asks one simple question: 'Where is the artillery?' He has appreciated that in the straight streets around the Tuileries the issue may be decided by a few cannon rather than thousands of muskets.

Forty guns are known to be in a camp six miles away. Joachim Murat (a brilliant cavalry officer, and later Napoleon's brother-in-law) is despatched to fetch them.

A rebel force is already on its way to seize these valuable weapons but Murat, galloping at the head of a squadron of 200 troopers, reaches the camp first. His men drag the cannon to Paris.

Fortunately for the members of the Convention, waiting nervously in the Tuileries, the rebels decide on a direct frontal attack rather than anything more subtle. During the afternoon of 13 Vendémiaire (October 5) columns of armed men, marching to drums, arrive in the Rue St Honoré and turn into the streets leading to the Tuileries. They are exchanging musket fire with the Convention's troops when the first volleys of grapeshot from Napoleon's cannon tear into their ranks.

The encounter is repeated two or three times during the afternoon, but eventually the rebels scatter. The day belongs unequivocally to the Convention, enabling plans for the new Directory to continue on schedule.

Much credit, very possibly exaggerated, is given to the 26-year-old Napoleon for this narrow escape from disaster. In the early months of the Directory he is rapidly promoted until, in March 1796, he becomes commander-in-chief of the French army in Italy. His success in this role brings him such a reputation in France that by 1799 he is himself in a position to replace the Directory.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Signal to Noise Level - Undetectable

A view of the "Tower of Babel", an artistic creation of Argentinian artist Marta Minujin with thousands of books in languages from around the world and constructed in San Martin Plaze in Buenos Aires on the 7th of May, 2011. UNESCO has named Buenos Aires the World Capital of the Book for 2011.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Problem with "Progressive" Liberalism


... but much of what you think you know just isn't "true".
STRANGER: Human beings have come out in the same class with the freest and airiest of creation, and have been running a race with them.

YOUNG SOCRATES: I remark that very singular coincidence.

STRANGER: And would you not expect the slowest to arrive last?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Indeed I should.

STRANGER: And there is a still more ridiculous consequence, that the king is found running about with the herd and in close competition with the bird-catcher, who of all mankind is most of an adept at the airy life. (Plato is here introducing a new subdivision, i.e. that of bipeds into men and birds. Others however refer the passage to the division into quadrupeds and bipeds, making pigs compete with human beings and the pig-driver with the king. According to this explanation we must translate the words above, 'freest and airiest of creation,' 'worthiest and laziest of creation.')

YOUNG SOCRATES: Certainly.
- Plato, "Statesman"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Fine May Morn on the Banks of the Schuylkill

"Song for St. Tamminy s Day." - The Old Song.

Of Andrew, of Patrick, of David, & George,
What mighty achievements we hear!
While no one relates great Tammany's feats,
Although more heroic by far, my brave boys,
Although more heroic by far.

These heroes fought only as fancy inspired,
As by their own stories we find;
Whilst Tammany, he fought only to free,
From cruel oppression mankind, my brave boys,
From cruel oppression mankind.

"When our country was young and our numbers were few
To our fathers his friendship was shown,
(For he e'er would oppose whom he took for his foes),
And made our misfortunes his own, my brave boys,
And he made our misfortunes his own.
"At length growing old and quite worn out with years,
As history doth truly proclaim,
His wigwam was fired, he nobly expired,
And flew to the skies in a flame, my brave boys,
And flew to the skies in a flame.


More on the history of the 1st of May

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Indian Burying-Ground

In spite of all the learn'd have said,
I still my old opinion keep;
The posture that we give the dead,
Points out the soul's eternal sleep.

Not so the ancients of these lands—
The Indian, when from life released,
Again is seated with his friends,
And shares again the joyous feast.

His imaged birds, and painted bowl,
And venison, for a journey dress'd,
Bespeak the nature of the soul,
Activitiy, that knows no rest.

His bow, for action ready bent,
And arrows, with a head of stone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
And not the old ideas gone.

Thou, stranger, that shalt come this way,
No fraud upon the dead commit—
Observe the swelling turf, any say
They do not lie, but here they sit.

Here still a lofty rocky remains,
On which the curious eye may trace
(Now wasted, half, by wearing rains)
The fancies of a ruder race.

Here still an aged elm aspires,
Beneath whose far-projecting shade
(And which the shepherd still admires)
The children of the forest play'd!

There oft a restless Indian queen
(Pale Shebah, with her braided hair)
And many a barbarous form is seen
To chide the man that lingers there.

By midnight moons, o'er moistening dews,
In habit for the chase array'd
The hunter still the deer pursues,
The hunter and the deer, a shade!

And long shall timorous fancy see
The painted chief and pointed spear;
And Reason's self shall bow the knee
To shadows and delusions here.
--by Philip Freneau