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, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Oh, it's pleasant sitting here,
Seeing all the people pass;
You beside your bock of beer,
I behind my demi-tasse.

Chatting of no matter what.

You the Mummer, I the Bard;
Oh, it's jolly, is it not? --
Sitting on the Boulevard.

More amusing than a book,
If a chap has eyes to see;
For, no matter where I look,
Stories, stories jump at me.

Moving tales my pen might write;
Poems plain on every face;
Monologues you could recite
With inimitable grace.

(Ah! Imagination's power)
See yon demi-mondaine there,
Idly toying with a flower,
Smiling with a pensive air .

Well, her smile is but a mask,
For I saw within her muff
Such a wicked little flask:
Vitriol -- ugh! the beastly stuff.

Now look back beside the bar.

See yon curled and scented beau,
Puffing at a fine cigar --
Sale espèce de maquereau.

Well (of course, it's all surmise),
It's for him she holds her place;
When he passes she will rise,
Dash the vitriol in his face.

Quick they'll carry him away,
Pack him in a Red Cross car;
Her they'll hurry, so they say,
To the cells of St.

What will happen then, you ask?
What will all the sequel be?
Ah! Imagination's task
Isn't easy .
let me see .

She will go to jail, no doubt,
For a year, or maybe two;
Then as soon as she gets out
Start her bawdy life anew.

He will lie within a ward,
Harmless as a man can be,
With his face grotesquely scarred,
And his eyes that cannot see.

Then amid the city's din
He will stand against a wall,
With around his neck a tin
Into which the pennies fall.

She will pass (I see it plain,
Like a cinematograph),
She will halt and turn again,
Look and look, and maybe laugh.

Well, I'm not so sure of that --
Whether she will laugh or cry.

He will hold a battered hat
To the lady passing by.

He will smile a cringing smile,
And into his grimy hold,
With a laugh (or sob) the while,
She will drop a piece of gold.

"Bless you, lady," he will say,
And get grandly drunk that night.

She will come and come each day,
Fascinated by the sight.

Then somehow he'll get to know
(Maybe by some kindly friend)
Who she is, and so .
and so
Bring my story to an end.

How his heart will burst with hate!
He will curse and he will cry.

He will wait and wait and wait,
Till again she passes by.

Then like tiger from its lair
He will leap from out his place,
Down her, clutch her by the hair,
Smear the vitriol on her face.

(Ah! Imagination rare)
See .
he takes his hat to go;
Now he's level with her chair;
Now she rises up to throw.

God! and she has done it too .

Oh, those screams; those hideous screams!
I imagined and .
it's true:
How his face will haunt my dreams!

What a sight! It makes me sick.

Seems I am to blame somehow.

Garcon, fetch a brandy quick .

There! I'm feeling better now.

Let's collaborate, we two,
You the Mummer, I the Bard;
Oh, what ripping stuff we'll do,
Sitting on the Boulevard!
- Robert William Service, "On the Boulevard"

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Uncanny...

from Wikipedia
In aesthetics, the uncanny valley is the hypothesis that human replicas that appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit feelings of eeriness and revulsion among some observers. Valley denotes a dip in the human observer's affinity for the replica, a relation that otherwise increases with the replica's human likeness. Examples can be found in robotics, 3D computer animations, and life-like dolls among others.

Smoke em if you've got em

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.
- William Blake, "Ah! Sun-flower"

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Animation Can Be

Latter Ophelias

My shoes are unpolished, my words smudged.
I come to you undressed (the lord, he whispers
Smut; that man, he whispers such). I bend
My thoughts, I submit, but a bird
Keeps flying from my mind, it slippers
My feet and sings—barren world,
I have been a little minx in it, not at all
Domestic, not at all clean, not at all blinking
At my lies. First he thought he had a wife, then
(of course) he thought he had a whore. All
I wanted (if I may speak for myself) was: more.
If only one of you had said, I hold
Your craven breaking soul, I see the pieces,
I feel them in my hands, idle silver, idle gold...
You see I cannot speak without telling what I am.
I disobey the death you gave me, love.
If you must be, then be not with me.
- Meghan O’Rourke, "Ophelia to the Court"

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

...but I don't Feel any Taller!?

"Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything."
- Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, December 16, 2016

From Caligari to Hitler....

If you've never seen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari..., or just wish to re-interpret it... in new ways.
Lad and Bull
Aix-en-Provence, Mid-September, 1926

"A lad kills a bull." This sentence out of a school primer appears in a yellow ellipse in which the sun is boiling. Everyone is gazing down into the oval from the stands and trees, where the locals hang like overripe bananas. The bull careens through the arena in a stupor. Facing the drunken mass, the lad stands alone.

He's an orange point with a pinned-up braid. Thirteen years old, with the face of a boy. Other youths his age sweep across the prairie in magnificent costumes and rescue the white squaw from a martyr's death. Confronted with a bull, they'd have run away. The lad stands there and smiles ceremoniously. The animal succumbs to a marionette.

The marionette goads the gale according to the rules of the ritual (hat magnifies it. Even a little puppet could dangle the red cape that the bull recognizes as its counterfetish. It tries to assault it, but the cape floats away, transformed into an arabesque by the little puppet. A thing of nature could be gored, but powers wane when confronted with the weightlessness of the flowing pleats.

The marionette turns into an orange lass, who lures the oafish creature. She approaches it with swaying steps, her hands hoisting two small colorful lances. The upright heroine's theatrical laugh announces the start of the love battle. The bull falls into the snare of the cleverly calculated rhythm. But the web is elastic, and before you know it the tiny wizard has thrust the small lances into its flanks. Three pairs of lances adorn the patch, knitting needles in a ball of yarn, with waving ribbons. The bull tries to shake them off, but in vain: the geometry is firmly set in the bulges.

The lad unfolds a cloth as red as a cock's comb. The dagger he conceals behind the curtain is so long that he could use it to climb up into the air. The characteristics of the plane and the line indicate that the end is drawing near. The marionette makes the cloth scintillate and draws ever narrower circles with the dagger. The bull is seized by a trembling in the face of the ornaments' power. Those who earlier hovered about like rings of smoke and then struck it in numerous places now close in upon it ever more threateningly, so that it will expire on the scene.

Up to this point, it is still a game. The dagger could still pull back; the redness would not necessarily have to encounter itself in blood. It is a single stab, a rapid stabbing sparkle, that surges through the barrier. The dagger darts forth from the marionette; it was not the lad who wielded it. The astonished element recoils and glares. The curving of the sinking mass triumphs over the line of the dagger. Now colors and sweeping movements dominate the scene.

Caps and bags fly into the air as the miniature victor runs a lap, bouquets of jubilation. The sun glows in the ellipse. The lad stands there and smiles ceremoniously.
-Siegreid Kracauer, "The Mass Ornament"

Thursday, December 15, 2016


ξεῖνός εἰμι· σκοτεινὸν ἀπέχων ψόγον,
ὕδατος ὥτε ῥοὰς φίλον ἐς ἄνδρ᾽ ἄγων
κλέος ἐτήτυμον αἰνέσω

I am a guest-stranger. Keeping away dark blame [ psogós ]
and bringing genuine kléos , like streams of water, to a man who is phílos,
I will praise [verb ainéō ] him.
-Pindar, "Nemean (7.61–63)"
in Sparta, the law was based on two fundamental principles, namely épainos 'praise' and psógos 'blame'. The social function of this antithesis can be seen from the objects of praise and blame respectively: kalôn épainos 'praise of the noble' compared to aiskhrôn psógos 'blame of the base' (Plutarch Lycurgus 8.2, 21.1, 25.2; also 14.3, 26.3). Furthermore, the prime medium of praise and blame was poetry.
- Plutarch, "Lycurgus"

“In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.”
- Franz Kafka
...and Praise...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Slavoj Zizek Explains Why the Lazy Left Will Lose the Next Generation

... because they will NEVER take his good advice!


Yesterday and today
I thought very differently.
I thought I was
becoming too wise.
I thought I was
becoming almost unwise.

I thought I was trapped
in a labyrinth of calculations.
Everyday weighing everyone
With a measuring stick
of past deeds, misdeeds
I found no one was perfect.

Everyone I found defective
Undependable, selfish.
Thinking this way everyday
I found I was becoming lifeless.

I thought I needed people to talk,
People to have a chat.
They need not be very perfect
They need only be people.
I felt an urge to meet a friend,
a relative or just anyone
Just someone to talk to me.

So keeping away all reasons aside
day before yesterday
I visited a friend
To day again visited a relative.
Now I'm feeling comfortable
now I feel I'm
coming back to my life again.
- Palas Kumar Ray

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Zizek on Rage, Rebellion and New Power

An interesting introduction on the nature of feminism and how it supports the dominant hegemonic capitalistic order.