And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus
Saturday, July 30, 2016
A Man's Limits Form His Character
'Figure is the limit of form.'- Plato, "Meno" (selected excerpts)
'Colour is the effluence of form, sensible, and in due proportion to the sight.'
'Figure is the only thing which always follows colour.'
'To what then do we give the name of figure? Try and answer. Suppose that when a person asked you this question either about figure or colour, you were to reply, Man, I do not understand what you want, or know what you are saying; he would look rather astonished and say: Do you not understand that I am looking for the 'simile in multis'? And then he might put the question in another form: Meno, he might say, what is that 'simile in multis' which you call figure, and which includes not only round and straight figures, but all?'
'Colour is an effluence of form, commensurate with sight, and palpable to sense.'
'I define figure to be that in which the solid ends; or, more concisely, the limit of solid.'
Friday, July 29, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
At Ease, Gentlemen!
- Layla Thurman, "The Familiar Devil" (10/14/14)
The devil looks familiar
When I pass him in the streets
Something about his hair and eyes
reminds myself of me
Or you perhaps.
His face is never clear
But the devil is always
Familiar to me
I am so familiar with him
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Childe Hassam, "The Avenue in the Rain" (1917)
"The Avenue in the Rain . . . is one of some 30 related paintings of flag-decorated streets that the artist [Childe Hassam] produced between 1916 and 1919, during and immediately after the First World War. . . . [T]hey are intensely patriotic works . . . .
". . . The avenue is Fifth Avenue, frequently decorated with American flags as American sentiment moved . . . from isolationism toward intervention. The artist's most striking device here is the projection of flags into the picture from points of unseen anchor beyond the frame . . . . In one sense the flags become the surface of the painting . . . .
"Observing shadows to be bluish rather than black, the Impressionists often became mannered in their use of blue, making it a dominant hue in many of their paintings. . . .
[H]ere the rain and the rain-slicked streets give [Hassam] an excuse for a literal wash of blue and blue-gray, enhanced by a profusion of reflections."
Hassam (pronounced HASS'm;) (known to all as Childe, pronounced like child; named after an uncle) was born in his family home in Dorchester, Boston, in 1859. His father Frederick was a moderately successful cutlery businessman with a large collection of art and antiques. He descended from a long line of New Englanders. His mother, Rosa, a native of Maine, shared an ancestor with American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. His father claimed descent from a seventeenth-century English immigrant whose name, Horsham, had been corrupted over time to Hassam. With his dark complexion and heavily-lidded eyes, many took Childe Hassam to be of Middle Eastern descent - speculation which he enjoyed stoking. In the mid-1880s, he took to painting an Islamic-appearing crescent moon (which eventually degenerated into only a slash) next to his signature, and he adopted the nickname "Muley" (from the Arabic "Mawla", Lord or Master), invoking Muley Abul Hassan, a fifteenth-century ruler of Granada in Washington Irving's novel Tales of the Alhambra.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Friday, July 22, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
"Splitter!" Portrait of an American Journalist Covering the Republican Convention
Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person's thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism used by many people. The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual's actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground).from Wikipedia
People matching the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder also use splitting as a central defence mechanism. Most often the narcissist does this as an attempt to stabilize their sense of self positivity in order to preserve their self-esteem, by perceiving themselves as purely upright or admirable and others who do not conform to their will or values as purely wicked or contemptible. Given "the narcissist's perverse sense of entitlement and splitting ... [s]he can be equally geared, psychologically and practically, towards the promotion and towards the demise of a certain collectively beneficial project".
The cognitive habit of splitting also implies the use of other related defence mechanisms, namely idealization and devaluation, which are preventative attitudes or reactions to narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury.
Monday, July 18, 2016
An anarchist is someone who doesn't need a cop to make him behave.A. Hennacy, "The Book of Ammon" (1965)
The dictionary definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ; kind, kindly, Christ-like. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation for good, with the right of secession. A Christian anarchist is therefore one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Now Entering the Church of Batman the Redeemer
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
NOT Gene Kelly...
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
-Shakespeare, "King Lear"
Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still,--Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man.
MY first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that purs’d and scor’d
Its edge, at one more victim gain’d thereby.
What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,
And ask the road? I guess’d what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch ’gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,
If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
Nor hope rekindling at the end descried,
So much as gladness that some end might be.
For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
What with my search drawn out thro’ years, my hope
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring,—
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.
As when a sick man very near to death
Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
And hears one bid the other go, draw breath
Freelier outside, (“since all is o’er,” he saith,
“And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;”)
While some discuss if near the other graves
Be room enough for this, and when a day
Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
With care about the banners, scarves and staves,
And still the man hears all, and only craves
He may not shame such tender love and stay.
Thus, I had so long suffer’d, in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among “The Band”—to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower’s search address’d
Their steps—that just to fail as they, seem’d best.
And all the doubt was now—should I be fit?
So, quiet as despair, I turn’d from him,
That hateful cripple, out of his highway
Into the path the pointed. All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.
For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
Than, pausing to throw backward a last view
O’er the safe road, ’t was gone; gray plain all round:
Nothing but plain to the horizon’s bound.
I might go on; nought else remain’d to do.
So, on I went. I think I never saw
Such starv’d ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers—as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You ’d think; a burr had been a treasure trove.
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In the strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
Or shut your eyes,” said Nature peevishly,
“It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
’T is the Last Judgment’s fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”
If there push’d any ragged thistle=stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopp’d; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock’s harsh swarth leaves, bruis’d as to baulk
All hope of greenness? ’T is a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute’s intents.
As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
In leprosy; thin dry blades prick’d the mud
Which underneath look’d kneaded up with blood.
One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
Stood stupefied, however he came there:
Thrust out past service from the devil’s stud!
Alive? he might be dead for aught I know,
With that red, gaunt and collop’d neck a-strain,
And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
I never saw a brute I hated so;
He must be wicked to deserve such pain.
I shut my eyes and turn’d them on my heart.
As a man calls for wine before he fights,
I ask’d one draught of earlier, happier sights,
Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
Think first, fight afterwards—the soldier’s art:
One taste of the old time sets all to rights.
Not it! I fancied Cuthbert’s reddening face
Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
An arm in mine to fix me to the place,
That way he us’d. Alas, one night’s disgrace!
Out went my heart’s new fire and left it cold.
Giles then, the soul of honor—there he stands
Frank as ten years ago when knighted first.
What honest man should dare (he said) he durst.
Good—but the scene shifts—faugh! what hangman hands
Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands
Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!
Better this present than a past like that;
Back therefore to my darkening path again!
No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain.
Will the night send a howlet of a bat?
I asked: when something on the dismal flat
Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.
A sudden little river cross’d my path
As unexpected as a serpent comes.
No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
This, as it froth’d by, might have been a bath
For the fiend’s glowing hoof—to see the wrath
Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.
So petty yet so spiteful All along,
Low scrubby alders kneel’d down over it;
Drench’d willows flung them headlong in a fit
Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
The river which had done them all the wrong,
Whate’er that was, roll’d by, deterr’d no whit.
Which, while I forded,—good saints, how I fear’d
To set my foot upon a dead man’s cheek,
Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
—It may have been a water-rat I spear’d,
But, ugh! it sounded like a baby’s shriek.
Glad was I when I reach’d the other bank.
Now for a better country. Vain presage!
Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage
Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank
Soil to a plash? Toads in a poison’d tank,
Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage—
The fight must so have seem’d in that fell cirque.
What penn’d them there, with all the plain to choose?
No foot-print leading to that horrid mews,
None out of it. Mad brewage set to work
Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.
And more than that—a furlong on—why, there!
What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,
Or brake, not wheel—that harrow fit to reel
Men’s bodies out like silk? with all the air
Of Tophet’s tool, on earth left unaware,
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.
Then came a bit of stubb’d ground, once a wood,
Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
Changes and off he goes!) within a rood—
Bog, clay, and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.
Now blotches rankling, color’d gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil’s
Broke into moss or substances like thus;
Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.
And just as far as ever from the end,
Nought in the distance but the evening, nought
To point my footstep further! At the thought,
A great black bird, Apollyon’s bosom-friend,
Sail’d past, nor beat his wide wing dragon-penn’d
That brush’d my cap—perchance the guide I sought.
For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains—with such name to grace
Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
How thus they had surpris’d me,—solve it, you!
How to get from them was no clearer case.
Yet half I seem’d to recognize some trick
Of mischief happen’d to me, God knows when—
In a bad perhaps. Here ended, then,
Progress this way. When, in the very nick
Of giving up, one time more, came a click
As when a trap shuts—you ’re inside the den.
Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right,
Couch’d like two bulls lock’d horn in horn in fight,
While, to the left, a tall scalp’d mountain … Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool’s heart,
Built of brown stone, without a counter-part
In the whole world. The tempest’s mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.
Not see? because of night perhaps?—Why, day
Came back again for that! before it left,
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay,
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay,—
“Now stab and end the creature—to the heft!”
Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it toll’d
Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
Of all the lost adventurers my peers,—
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knell’d the woe of years.
There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”
Monday, July 11, 2016
All along the watchtower, princes kept the view While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
1 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.- Isaiah XXI (KJV)
2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.
3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.
4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.
5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.
6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.
7 And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:
8 And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:
9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.
10 O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.
11 The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.
14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.
15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.
16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:
17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it.
(On a watchtower of the citadel of Agamemnon in Argos.)- Aeschylus, "The Oresteia"
A long watch. It has been years now of peering
into this blackness. High on the citadel tower,
my eyes fixed on the sky's blank slate, I wait
and pray for a sign, a discernible gleam. I stare
at nothing. A dog's life! Chained up, I can feel
that single sharp bark, a lump in my throat
I shall, in time, cough out.
Meanwhile the lofty
stars overhead spin in contempt or, worse,
in unconcern, as the seasons they signal come
and go and the wind blows hot or cold.
I'm stuck here, black behind me, a deeper black
out there, until the spark of that signal fire
shows red as blood or the flames raging at Troy.
She commands it, whose strength of will is such
that, if she were not queen, she would be our tyrant.
At the thought of her narrowed eyes, my own grow wide
in fear that sleep would close. I stamp my feet
through the long night, or sometimes sing or recite--
anything to keep awake. Or weep
at the fate of our royal house with its dire troubles,
the price, sometimes, of grandeur.
is an unendurable knife edge, but all together
they stretch out making a plane of time ... I pray
for that signal of my release from this hard duty
to flash out in the indifferent heavens.
(The signal fire flashes.)
Is it? Can prayers at last be answered? Yes!
The blaze of truth! The light at the end of the night
that breaks as we were about to despair. Rejoice,
and dance the dance of thanksgiving.
Ho, there! Ho!
Let the queen be summoned. Rouse her from bed
and bid her light the torches of joy that gleaming
light in the distance kindles. Sing and dance,
for Troy is taken. We are at peace!
watch it was, but it's over. The master comes
bringing us the richest gift of his triumph,
the miracle of ordinary days.
(A slight pause, as his mood changes.)
Words fail. Like a dumb beast I will stare
at his face and kiss his hand.
What can we say,
any of us who have lived to see this day,
of the troubles of his house?
Not a single word!
For "princes", the watchtower that stands above their high walls receives signals that their enemy's reign is finally over. But how "secure" is their own? Or is there a new threat, a enemy deploying, upon their horizon? May the "oil" of justice liberally anoint your shields, my princes. For the enemy worth fearing approachest not from without.
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Welcome to the Political Arena, Mr. Trump...
...the Very Venue Name (The 'Q') Portends the Problems You Will Face
"It is not the critic who counts;
Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Monday, July 4, 2016
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Happy Co-Dependence* Day!
*Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity.from Wikipedia
Anybody sensing a theme here?
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