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The Emperor’s Invention

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at 7:30 am
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(High Germany, Literature, Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy, War)

A couple of years before the débâcle  —  as impli­cit within  —  Louis-Napoléon med­it­ated, which is what he was best at, some wish-fulfilment . An accom­plished author, his only known fic­tion had been, in hered­it­ary fash­ion, offi­cial pro­nounce­ments.

 

 

Plot of a Novel by the Emperor’

 

  “M. Ben­oît, an hon­est gro­cer, resid­ing tn the Rue de la Lune, left, in 1847, for Amer­ica. After hav­ing trav­elled in the coun­tries extend­ing from Hudson’s Bay to the Mis­sis­sippi, he returned to France in April, 1868, hav­ing been nearly nine­teen years out of the coun­try. He had been only vaguely informed as to the events which had taken place in France since 1848. Some French refugees had told him that, if he vis­ited France, he would find it crushed under a sys­tem of des­pot­ism, with poverty abound­ing every­where; a France, in fact, very dif­fer­ent from that he left flour­ish­ing under the reign of Louis Phil­lippe. Our friend Ben­oît arrives at Brest in a trans-Atlantic steamer, full of uncer­tain­ties, regrets, and appre­hen­sions. ‘What are those black-looking ves­sels, so ugly when com­pared with the beau­ti­ful sail­ing ves­sels that I have left behind me ?’ he asks of the first sailor he meets. ‘Why,’ replies the sailor, ‘they are iron-clad men-of-war, the Emperor’s inven­tion; covered in iron, they are impreg­nable; and this trans­form­a­tion has des­troyed, to a cer­tain extent, the suprem­acy of the Eng­lish fleet on the seas.’   ‘That may be pos­sible; but I am sorry for our old ships, with their poet­ical masts and sails.’ [ On the mar­gin, oppos­ite the lat­ter phrase, are writ­ten these words : “Pass­ports sup­pressed.” ] He sees the crowd rush­ing to the Court-house to record their votes. Aston­ish­ment at wit­ness­ing the exist­ence of uni­ver­sal suf­frage; aston­ish­ment at the rail­ways which run through­out the whole of the coun­try, and at the tele­graph. Arrived in Paris; embel­lish­ments. The Octroi ( city dues ) car­ried to the for­ti­fic­a­tions. He wishes to make some pur­chases, which are cheaper, in con­sequence of the Treaty of Com­merce; some half-price, &c. He fan­cies that there are a num­ber of writers in prison. Error. No dis­turb­ances; no polit­ical pris­on­ers; no exiles. No more pre­vent­at­ive deten­tions; accel­er­a­tion of trial; brand­ing sup­pressed; civil death sup­pressed; Soci­ety for Assist­ance to the Aged; asylums at Vincennes; coali­tions; Police de Roul­age sup­pressed; mil­it­ary ser­vice shortened, pay increased, medal insti­tuted, pen­sion aug­men­ted, reserve increas­ing the reg­u­lar force; funds for infirm priests; arrest for debt; brokers; a trades­man who sent his assist­ant to buy and sell goods was arres­ted; Councils-General.”

 

The Secret Doc­u­ments of the Second Empire. Pub. by the Com­mis­sion of the Govt. of National Defence. L. 1871 Trans­lated from the French by T. Curry.

 

 

Bivouac devant le Bourget, après le combat du 21 Décembre 1870 - 1872

Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville  —  Biv­ouac devant le Bour­get

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Silver Threads Among The Gold

S. N. Behrman’s magis­terial life of Duveen is always a great com­fort to the young, not merely from the feli­city of his style.

 

 

The pas­sion of these newly rich Amer­ic­ans for indus­trial mer­ger yiel­ded to an even more insist­ent pas­sion for a mer­ger of their newly acquired domains with more ancient ones; they wanted to ven­eer their arriv­isme with the tra­di­tional. It would be grat­i­fy­ing to feel, as you drove up to your porte-cochere in Pitt­s­burgh, that you were one with the jaded Renais­sance Vene­tian who had just returned from a sit­ting for Titian; to feel, as you walked by the ranks of gleam­ing and authen­tic suits of armor in your man­sion on Long Island — and passed the time of day with your private armorer — that it was only an acci­dent of chro­no­logy that had put you in a count­ing house when you might have been joust­ing with other kings in the Tour­na­ment of Love; to push aside the heavy dam­ask table­cloth on a mag­ni­fi­cent Louis XIV dining-room table, mak­ing room for a green-shaded office lamp, beneath which you scanned the report of last month’s profit from the Saginaw branch, and then, look­ing up, catch a glimpse of Mrs. Richard Brins­ley Sheridan and flick the fantasy that presently you would be order­ing your sedan chair, because the love­li­est girl in Lon­don was expect­ing you for tea.

It was Frick’s cus­tom to have an organ­ist in on Sat­urday after­noons to fill the gal­lery of his man­sion at Sev­en­ti­eth Street and Fifth Avenue with the majestic strains of “The Ros­ary” and “Sil­ver Threads Among the Gold” while he him­self sat on a Renais­sance throne, under a bal­dachino, and every now and then looked up from his Sat­urday Even­ing Post to con­tem­plate the works of Van Dyck and Rem­brandt, or, when he was enthroned in their spe­cial atelier, the more frol­ic­some impro­visa­tions of Fragonard and Boucher. Surely Frick must have felt, as he sat there, that only time sep­ar­ated him from Lorenzo and the other Medi­cis. Mor­gan com­mis­sioned the Eng­lish art author­ity Dr. George C. Wil­li­am­son to pre­pare cata­logues of his vast col­lec­tions. Wil­li­am­son spent years trav­el­ling all over the world to check on the authen­ti­city and the his­tory of cer­tain items and to super­vise the work on the cata­logues. The last one he com­pleted for his pat­ron was “The Mor­gan Book of Watches.” For the illus­tra­tions, gold and sil­ver leaf was used, laid on so thick that the engraved designs of the watches could be repro­duced exactly. Mor­gan was in Rome when he received this cata­logue, on Christ­mas Day, 1912, and he cabled Wil­li­am­son, in New York, “IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK 1 HAVE EVER SEEN.” It was lying by Morgan’s bed­side when he died in Rome, early in 1913.

Duveen boas­ted that he under­stood the psy­cho­logy of his dozen biggest cus­tom­ers much bet­ter than his com­pet­it­ors did. In his pecu­liar semantics, “to under­stand psy­cho­logy” meant to be able to guess how much the traffic would bear, and under that inter­pret­a­tion his boast was not an empty one. He always knew how to shift the interest of his cus­tom­ers — or, more accur­ately, his protégés — from their ori­ginal fields of accu­mu­la­tion to his own, and to per­suade them, moreover, that his was the more exal­ted. The truth was that after hav­ing spent a life­time mak­ing money, Duveen’s protégés were rich enough to go any­where and do any­thing but didn’t know where to go or what to do or even how to do noth­ing grace­fully. After the Amer­ic­ans had splurged on yachts and horses and houses, they were sty­mied. There were no noble titles to be earned — or bought — and lived up to, as there were in Europe, and if they ever made an attempt to do noth­ing grace­fully, they were hampered by the Pur­it­anic and demo­cratic tra­di­tion that held such a life sin­ful. Whenever they let them­selves go, they had a feel­ing of guilt. Stotes­bury, in a gray busi­ness suit and a high stiff col­lar, with a Panama hat clamped down on his head, stood in the blaz­ing sun­shine of the tre­mend­ous patio of El Mira­sol, his Palm Beach home, and said to one of his archi­tects, who had recently added a wing to it, “It cost too much for ninety days!” And when his wife spent two hun­dred and seventy-five thou­sand dol­lars on Wing­wood House, their place at Bar Har­bor, he said the same thing again. He felt the same way about White­m­arsh Hall and Winoga, his two places at Chest­nut Hill. A European of com­par­able means who spent ninety days in one of his res­id­ences would very likely have felt that whatever he had spent on it was jus­ti­fied, on the prin­ciple that ninety days was a seg­ment of time that was worth enjoy­ing even if at the end of it he went some­where else. When the Amer­ican mil­lion­aires of the era said, “I don’t care what it costs,” as they often did, they were silently adding, “So long as I have some­thing to show for it.” And what they had to show for it had to be at once envi­able and uplift­ing. Duveen was like an answer to a prayer.

 

 

Self-Ending Sacrifice for Dead Lover

Vissi d’arte

 

 

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Once, I Lived The Life Of A Millionaire

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(Correctitude, Music, Places, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, Videos)

Belong­ing to the Old School, one of whose ten­ets is ‘Never trust any­one wear­ing a suit’, I was struck a couple of years back by how sat­urnine and excess­ively form­al­istic most world lead­ers  —  and minor lead­ers, since it was the occa­sion when some awful little fel­low who was gov­ernor of South Car­o­lina went AWOL for a week to visit his mis­tress  —  are nowadays. Mess­ers Yeltsin and Kohl undoubtedly had faults, yet they man­aged a pos­sibly spuri­ous atti­tude of bon­homie and bene­vol­ence like a couple of drunk Cheeryble broth­ers: these sin­is­ter scoun­drels com­bine devout self-belief with the ami­ablity of minor inquis­it­ors’ assist­ants. Recent world gath­er­ings indic­ated they were issued with the same dark suits and blue ties by some cruel demob depot seek­ing to save costs.

 

One of their key man­tras is eco­nomic reform, which is code for mak­ing the poor poorer; the shifty Mr. Sarkozy doesn’t seem to have obsessed about this so much as Anglos do, con­cen­trat­ing more on domestic reforms which are prob­ably silly yet less harm­ful. Nor, with his increase in pres­id­en­tial spend­ing to 10,000 euros a day on food and 121 cars to ride in unsim­ul­tan­eously, would he impress as an avid cost-cutter. Still, he could not help claim­ing recently that He Had Saved France, joing the long list of men who claimed to have Saved France, from Robe­s­pi­erre to Mira­beau to Napo­leon to Thiers to Clem­enceau to Petain to De Gaulle et al. None of them really did. One of his ‘reforms’ was steer­ing the Three Strikes law against file-sharing, which is fairly doomed any­way as any fight against tech­no­logy, not with­stand­ing his palace was found to have indulged itself  —  and mer­ci­ful heaven, they chose to down­load a Ben Stil­ler ‘com­edy’…

How­ever, he per­haps has some sym­pathy with the down­trod­den, cer­tainly his charm­ing and very friendly wife appre­ci­ates what it is to be poor as can be seen in her excel­lent singing here:

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. 

Carla Bruni  —  Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out

 

 

Marisa Kirisame Sleeping in the Air

For­tuna  —  in a style of Mucha

 

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Several Days In March

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at 2:00 am
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(Melancholy, Self Writ, Spengler, The Building Blocks of Democracy, Weaponry)

It is now three years since Mr. Obama was sworn in as POTUS; and if he has not been much of a pres­id­ent  —  not that much should be expec­ted from any­one elec­ted by the mor­o­n­ate; after all, it should never be for­got­ten that any pres­id­ent is merely a politi­cian who got lucky  —  any sane look at those who are the very best the Repub­lican party can put for­ward in com­pet­i­tion must instill a heavy good­will wish for the Chicago Thug to con­tinue through a second term. Prob­ably he won’t need much luck, since last year thanks to those inter­ested in his pro­gress it was ensured that he spent more than any other, and that this year he plans on break­ing the magic Bil­lion Dol­lar threshold.

 

Still, people may have too soon for­got­ten that his inaug­ur­a­tion was for­tu­it­ously marred by a for­tu­it­ous assas­sin­a­tion attempt by two for­tu­it­ous white racists who were for­tu­it­ously arres­ted in time, thus sav­ing him and the nation for the bene­fits of the Leader’s intel­lect and wise guid­ance over the com­ing years: Wig­gum was elec­ted because he was African-American, highly intel­li­gent, athe­istic, young, and inspir­ing: plus he had rich friends  —  actu­ally, he was none of these things, apart from the rich friends bit. I am not inter­ested enough to select by race: all I can say is that the Rev­er­ends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jack­son, or even Charlie Ran­gel would have struck me as infin­itely prefer­able choices were one to have black­ness as a decider. Integ­rity still means some­thing.

Yet this incid­ent was to be over­shad­owed by a far more ter­ri­fy­ing plot, one that very nearly suc­ceeded in over­throw­ing the repub­lic, had which it had done, would have sealed Amer­ica into a hor­ri­fy­ing future as a bru­tal fas­cist ter­ror state, ruled by the arbit­rary force of the con­spir­at­ors and theo­cratic lun­at­ics and cyn­ical cor­por­ate interests.

 
 
Michigan State Police Vehicle
 
 

The upcom­ing trial with anonym­ous jury of the Hutaree Mil­ita start­ing today, by remind­ing them of the agon­iz­ing events of March 2010, when a nation’s fate twis­ted in the wind, should awaken the United States to the per­ils within. To put it at the simplest inter­pret­a­tion of the Government’s case, these rich men, liv­ing in their trailer parks and heav­ily armed with power­ful state-of-the-art weaponry and unlim­ited access to the media, planned to first kill a gov­ern­ment law offi­cial  —  as yet unknown to them and unde­cided by them  —  des­troy the mourn­ers at the funeral of the first; seize the state; abol­ish the United Nations; ‘replace all forms of gov­ern­ment’; and found The Colo­nial Chris­tian Repub­lic, ruled by the Radok with the assist­ance of the Boraman­der and the Zulif.

This is noth­ing more than naked fas­cism.

To counter this grave threat the state was com­pelled to util­ise the resources of the state police to cap­ture those behind this shad­owy Cat­ilineseque con­spir­acy, and smash it to bits  —  in a dif­fer­ent time and world send­ing a bobby around to knock on the trailer door of the Pres­id­ent of Peas­moul­dia and give a stern lec­ture would have been suf­fi­cient, but now the threat of fas­cist ter­ror is too great for such simple non-mechanized meth­ods.

 
 
Michigan Police Vehicle
 
 

Since, some of the eight con­spir­at­ors have been out on bail for the last 18 months  —  another pled guilty to weapons charges, and may give evid­ence  —  elec­tron­ic­ally tagged to pre­vent escape to sym­path­etic coun­tries; and an unseemly dis­pute has arisen con­cern­ing the accused’ lodgings for the trial; being indi­gent they obvi­ously can­not afford to travel 100 miles each day for 6 to 8 weeks, and the judge says the gov­ern­ment can­not afford to pay for hotel rooms, so she has offered to put them in uncon­fined jail for the dur­a­tion.

Only by stand­ing firm, and hav­ing highly-trained per­form­ing law­yers scru­tinze every word of those hun­dreds of pages of pro­sec­utorial evid­ence, can Amer­ica provide a fair trial and send them away to life impris­on­ment: show­ing her utter rejec­tion of state fas­cism.

 
 
Michigan State Police

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Returns At Break Of Dawn

There’s one pet I like to pet
And every even­ing we get set
I stroke it every chance I get
It’s my girl’s pussy

Sel­dom plays and never purrs
And I love the thoughts it stirs
But I don’t mind because it’s hers
My girl’s pussy

Often it goes out at night
Returns at break of dawn
No mat­ter what the weather’s like
It’s always nice and warm

It’s never dirty, always clean
In giv­ing thrills, never mean
But it’s the best I’ve ever seen
Is my girl’s pussy

There’s one pet I like to pet
And every even­ing we get set
I stroke it every chance I get
It’s my girl’s pussy

Sel­dom plays, never purrs
And I love the thoughts it stirs
But I don’t mind because it’s hers
It’s my girl’s pussy

Though often it goes out at night
And returns at break of dawn, break of dawn
No mat­ter what the weather’s like
It’s always dry and warm

I bring tid-bits that it loves
We spoon like two turtle doves
I take care to remove my gloves
When strok­ing my girl’s pussy

 

 

Harry Roy & his Bat Club Boys  —  My Girl’s Pussy  — 1931

 

 

Girls with Cats
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Dark The Woods Where Night Rains Weep

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(Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry, Royalism, Stuarts, The King of Terrors)

Full of grief, the low winds sweep
O’er the sorrow-haunted ground;
Dark the woods where night rains weep,
Dark the hills that watch around.

Tell me, can the joys of spring
Ever make this sad­ness flee,
Make the woods with music ring,
And the stream­let laugh for glee ?

When the sum­mer moor is lit
With the pale fire of the broom,
And through green the shad­ows flit,
Still shall mirth give place to gloom ?

Sad shall it be, though sun be shed
Golden bright on field and flood;
E’en the heather’s crim­son red
Holds the memory of blood.

Here that broken, weary band
Met the ruth­less foe’s array,
Where those moss-grown boulders stand,
On that dark and fatal day.

Like a phantom hope had fled,
Love to death was all in vain,
Vain, though her­oes’ blood was shed,
And though hearts were broke in twain.

Many a voice has cursed the name
Time has into dark­ness thrust,
Cruelty his only fame
In for­get­ful­ness and dust.

Noble dead that sleep below,
We your valour né’er for­get;
Soft the her­oes’ rest who know
Hearts like theirs are beat­ing yet.

 
Alice Mac­don­ell of Kep­poch : Cul­loden Moor ( Seen in Autumn Rain )

 

 

Self-Ending Sacrifice for Dead Lover

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No Child Left Behind

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at 10:00 am
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(Generalia, High Germany, Manners not Morals, Melancholy, Self Writ, The Enemy, The King of Terrors, War)

The ongo­ing sep­ar­ate war the United States is waging to erad­ic­ate the Gad­dafi clan by tar­get­ing it’s smal­lest mem­bers pro­ceeds apace with the suc­cess­ful tar­geted killing of some more of his young­est des­cend­ants, “I Do it for the Gip­per.” Wig­gum mur­mured as he gave the order, con­tinu­ing his sed­u­lous quest to ful­fil the man­dates of his Repub­lican ment­ors. Yet, equally impress­ive the Chicago Hit he ordered on the demonic bin Laden, another death fore­told, actu­ally as well as achiev­ing the primary pur­pose  —  gain­ing votes from those scream­ing hordes who would pub­licly cel­eb­rate a death  —  was the final act in Interpol’s War­rant to cap­ture the demonic bin Laden, which was first issued in ’98 at the request of… Libya.

 

One might think that how­ever tra­gic the deaths on 9/11  —  the destruc­tion of the Towers sans deaths would merely be a bless­ing, as would be vir­tu­ally every build­ing since 1920 ( but includ­ing the deaths of all foul present mod­ern­ist archi­tects and scum bas­tard build­ing work­ers every­where who des­troyed the old and erec­ted the point­less vile con­crete new )  —  the swap of 30,000 Afgh­ani civil­ians since would pla­cate the manes of the 3000 murdered then

Any­way, for the demonic bin Laden, the present choices are: that he was either dead long ago in the Caves of Tora Bora; dead from his numer­ous ail­ments ( which included Marfan’s, kid­ney dis­ease, liver dis­ease etc. etc.); killed in Abot­tabad; or snatched for a life of impris­on­ment and tor­ture under the aus­pices of the venge­ful state  —  which has not treated those on Guantá­namo, ever unclosed yet, whose guilt in much less culp­able crimes than those of bin Laden was unproven, at all well. Or he may have escaped and a double killed, yet his cha­risma and mys­tique van­ished.

The ‘DNA evid­ence’ is as value­less as any­thing else the pro­pa­ganda machine issues, since we have to rely on, the retrieved bits actu­ally com­ing from the corpse in Abot­tabad, the match­ing being done by the state who killed him, and the con­trol sample actu­ally hav­ing been taken from his sister’s corpse  —  bear­ing in mind that it was recently dis­covered that the piece of skull held by the Rus­si­ans which they alleged was that of Hitler really belonged to some poor woman  —  and that in all reports the admin­is­tra­tion con­trols what inform­a­tion is released, and how­ever gen­er­ous they are in releas­ing in suc­ces­sion utterly dif­fer­ent stor­ies, this means believ­ing in the good faith of Obama, a man rarely cap­able of under­stand­ing, let alone telling, truth; the Pentagon; and the vari­ous state secur­ity forces. One thing that is cer­tain is that the corpse, real or not, was actu­ally about his height: since the killers had omit­ted, under­stand­ably enough, to bring along a tape meas­ure, one of them of a sim­ilar length lay down besides the body to provide a datum.

And even if the event is broadly true, whilst the raid was a credit to the hit squad, killing a bewildered old man was evid­ently pre­ferred to cap­ture, as exe­cu­tion of the unright­eous; espe­cially since they said that any­thing less than utter sub­mis­sion  —  dif­fi­cult to man­age for the least alarmed when being shot at  — didn’t qual­ify as sur­render, and that attempt­ing to retreat, as was the demonic bin Laden before he was rubbed out proved res­ist­ance. Since when they killed this sick old fel­low crawl­ing on the floor, in front of his 12 yr-old daugh­ter, he seemed incap­able of a fight to the death with tooth and nail, being unguarded and unarmed, which seems extraordin­ary care­less­ness on the part of a supervil­lain.

 

While this affair reminds one of the hor­ri­fy­ing 2004 murder of Shiekh Yassin, which tem­por­ar­ily changed my inter­net sig­na­tures to:

If you could have heard the old man scream as he fell, and the noise of his bones upon the pave­ment !’

[ from The Story Of The Young Man With The Cream Tarts by RLS ]

&

I have to kill a 67-yr-old man
Con­sid­er­ing he’s para­ple­gic, should I choose a knife fight ? Or as he’s blind, it might be pis­tols at dawn: in order to demon­strate my sheer fight­ing cour­age per­haps I should use a heli­copter gun­ship when his wheel­chair is exit­ing morn­ing pray­ers.

the men­tion of dreary old Adolf may as well include here my very favour­ite joke, as told in Ger­many in late ’45, and per­haps almost rel­ev­ant in this mat­ter:

 

When they found the Führer’s body, there was a little note attached: ‘I was never a Nazi.’

 

 
Down in the Val­ley

And with all this cav­il­ling, the fact remains the aging pris­oner in Abot­tabad was wist­fully plan­ning yet more wacky may­hem: his com­puter files, as released by the admin­is­tra­tion showed his metic­u­lous plan­ning for a new atro­city. “…was look­ing into try­ing to tip a train by tam­per­ing with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a val­ley or a bridge.”; yet worse, this was to be spe­cific­ally aimed at Amtrak’s 805 km per hour trains  —  which I’ll assume can cross the con­tin­ent in three and a half hours  —  no doubt as the dole­ful plumes of smoke rose from the val­ley below the opera-glass gaz­ing con­spir­at­ors would toss their tophats into the air and fondle their waxed mous­taches whilst cack­ling fiendishly.

 

For someone who hated Amer­ica so, I’m guess­ing he had very little idea of daily life in Amer­ica; let alone Amtrak.

 

And at the last the final ques­tion remains: What sort of per­son is ter­ri­fied by a weird old loony such as bin Laden ?

 

 

Pretty Locomotive

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The Little Cult

As Pres­id­ent Wig­gum details yet another bomb­ing of a muslim coun­try for their own good  —  I swear, part of America’s cur­rent mis­sion policy state­ment is to rain death from the clouds upon each and every coun­try in the world, in turn and pro­lly end­ing up with them­selves  —  it can’t hurt to visit one of my favour­ite pas­sages, from Her­bert Gorman’s mag­ni­fi­cent 1947 fic­tion­al­iz­a­tion of L’Affaire Boulanger, Brave Gen­eral, paint­ing the general’s unfor­tu­nate  —  in con­sequence  —  visit to Prince Napo­leon’s Château at Prangins, in the can­ton of Vaud [ Obit ]. When did a Plon-Plon bene­fit any­one ? Suit­able no doubt since Obama shares with Georges his ami­able nullity, com­bined even yet with the fad­ing aura of one also once claimed as mes­siah who brought death and dic­tat­orial misery as trav­el­ling com­pan­ions.

Yanks of a lib­eral dis­pos­i­tion now try to dis­as­so­ci­ate them­selves and Bush-Lite from any sus­pi­cion of Obamamania, claim­ing that it was their oppon­ents who fastened the unreal expect­a­tions of a new dis­pens­a­tion upon the repu­ta­tion of a remark­ably shifty can­did­ate and soon to be dilet­tante pres­id­ent, yet none who actu­ally lived through Novem­ber of ’08 will for­get the revolt­ing gen­u­flec­tions and hosan­nas which accom­pan­ied that vic­tory; like Boulanger, who twis­ted in turn to soli­cit sup­port from cor­rect legit­im­ists and the slip­pery fac­tions who com­posed the body politic of the cor­rupt Third Repub­lic, orlean­ists, bona­partists, social­ists, cler­ic­als etc. etc., all real­ising in turn that he lacked spirit to do good for any, and not even for him­self, the pres­id­ent cour­ted fool­ishly his alleged enemies for bi-partisan sup­port without hav­ing much of a plan for even the semb­lance of vic­tory. As to whether being a hol­low man is bet­ter than being a crim­inal wor­shipped war-lord, I can’t say; but try­ing to be both is a respect­able recipe for dis­aster.

 

 

As Gor­man includes: In Polit­ics one insisted to the last that one’s party was win­ning, and when one’s party did not win one spent the the next week invent­ing extraneous excuses for the defeat. The simple fact that one’s party had lost because it had not received as many votes as the other fellow’s party was never a con­clus­ive explan­a­tion in itself. Polit­ics, it appeared, was a con­stant self-justification. If I had done that, if I had done this, if the ques­tion had been prop­erly presen­ted, if my agent in that par­tic­u­lar place… if the funds had been dis­trib­uted as… if… if… if… Ah, that was polit­ics. It was an absurd game of chess with crazy moves and cheat­ing ant­ag­on­ists who stole your pawns when you were not look­ing. There was more polit­ics, she thought, in repub­lics than there were in king­doms or empires for the simple reason that in repub­lics there was no defin­it­ive iron hoof to stamp it out. That was good. So every­body said. The People spoke. Some­times they spoke in a dozen clash­ing voices and noth­ing was resolved, or, if was resolved, it took a long time and the res­ol­u­tion lost a part of its strength. Like the Amer­ican Con­gress. A wil­ful minor­ity in that Para­dise of demo­cracy could indef­in­itely obstruct the will of the major­ity. That was called rule by the people. It soun­ded more like rule by the sed­i­ment that was too clot­ted to go down the drain. It held back everything.

 

 

*******************

 

Twi­light was fall­ing

 

Twi­light was fall­ing when the Prince, look­ing very much like a blown-up cari­ca­ture of his august uncle, waddled into the large lib­rary with the Gen­eral at his heels.
      “If you enter polit­ics,” he was say­ing, “you will soon dis­cover it to be a nasty and mer­ci­less busi­ness. Have you a for­tune ?”
      “Not a sou, “replied the Gen­eral.
      “Well,” said the Prince, as he thrust his hand into the front of his waist­coat, “if you run aground you will never be a stranger here.”
Thiébaud, who was stand­ing by one of the glass cases of rel­ics with Berthet-Leleux, turned smil­ingly towards the two men.
      “I have been thrilled by some of the objects in this case, Your Imper­ial High­ness,” he declared. “Look here, my Gen­eral. Here are some things that will stir your soldier’s heart.”
Boulanger advanced towards the rel­ics eagerly, and the Prince fol­lowed, his broad face wreathed with smiles.
      “Yes,” he said, “I inten­ded to show you some of these sac­red souven­irs. Berthet-Leleux, hand me the keys.”
The four men gathered before the case, while the Prince awk­wardly unlocked the glass-panelled door.
      “There are the spurs that He wore on the return from Italy,” he explained. “And there is the cock­ade that was in His hat the day He made them eat grapeshot at the Church of Saint-Roch. There are two of His pis­tols and the sash He wrapped around His middle when He drove the recal­cit­rant Coun­cil of the Five Hun­dred out of the Oran­gerie. And here… here…”
He reached into the case and with­drew an Egyp­tian sabre in a gold-plated and bejew­elled sheath. He exten­ded it towards the Gen­eral.
      “This is the sword the First Con­sul car­ried at Mar­engo,” he said sol­emnly.
For an instant the magic of the Cult impreg­nated the still air in the lib­rary. After­wards Thiébaud swore that he heard the dis­tant grumble of gren­adier drums as the Gen­eral stretched for­ward a respect­ful hand and lightly touched the hilt of the glit­ter­ing weapon.
      “Are you sure that this is the sabre of the First Con­sul ?” he deman­ded in a hushed voice.
The Prince smiled.
      “Do you think that this is bric-à-brac I have col­lec­ted in flea-markets ?” he asked proudly.
      “It is a beau­ti­ful souvenir,” declared the Gen­eral in a rev­er­ent tone.
His hand again caressed the hilt of the sword as lightly, as ten­derly as though it were the upturned face of a beloved woman. Thiébaud saw the grave mel­an­choly vis­age of a pro­fes­sional sol­dier to whom war­fare was a reli­gion and in whose eyes the saints wore burn­ished epaul­ets. Like the Moor in the Eng­lish play his pro­fes­sion was his life and without it he would have no life at all… noth­ing, indeed, but exist­ence. What, then ? What, then ? The journ­al­ist closed his mind to the answer. The Prince, too, observed the General’s emo­tion and instinct­ively under­stood it. After all, he was a Bona­parte. Turn­ing, he care­fully placed the sabre back on the vel­vet in the open case.
      “Gen­eral,” he said, “when you have returned Alsace and Lor­raine back to France I will offer you this sword.”
Justin entered the shad­owy lib­rary with a lighted can­de­labra.

 

 

*******************

 

 

As else­where, earlier in the book, eternal truth remains for some of us out­side all such mon­te­banks of appar­ent power…

 

It was after four o’clock in the morn­ing when the Pol­ish waiter, lean­ing like an old col­lapsed scare­crow against the cor­ridor wall, saw the door open and the octet emerge in a com­pact group. They were no longer laugh­ing.
      “Remem­ber,” said Laguerre. “My din­ner is tonight. You are all invited. In the mean­time…”
      “In the mean­time we have accom­plished noth­ing,” snapped Clem­enceau.
      “We are mov­ing to an under­stand­ing,” said the Gen­eral mildly.
Ignace observed how Clem­enceau turned a brief sour glance at the hand­some gen­tle­man with the blond beard.
      “Whose under­stand­ing ?” deman­ded the Bre­ton abruptly.
Nobody answered.
As they were going down the stairs Ignace turned to Mon­sieur Frédéric.
      “They all detest one another,” he remarked in a sur­prised tone.
Mon­sieur Frédéric, who had been a
maître d’hôtel for thirty years, shrugged his shoulders.
      “After all,” he replied, “we live under a Repub­lic. They have the liberty to detest one another. As for me… I am a Roy­al­ist.”

 

 

 

Black Pussies on Roofs

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I’m On Your Speed Dial, Y’Know

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(Music, Self Writ, Videos)

 

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The Dol­lyrots  —  Because I’m Awe­some

 

 

Chick Engine

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The Lost Soul’s Cry

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(Correctitude, Melancholy, Other Writ, Places, Poetry)

And super­sti­tious dread came to the unsu­per­sti­tious Soames; he turned his eyes away lest he should stare the little house into real unreal­ity. He walked on, past the bar­racks to the Park rails, still mov­ing west, afraid of turn­ing home­wards till he was tired out. Past four o’clock, and still an empty town, empty of all that made it a liv­ing hive, and yet this very empti­ness gave it intense mean­ing. He felt that he would always remem­ber a town so dif­fer­ent from that he saw every day; and him­self he would remem­ber — walk­ing thus, unseen and sol­it­ary with his desire.

He went past Prince’s Gate and turned. After all he had his work — ten-thirty at the office ! Road and Park and houses stared at him now in the full light of earli­est morn­ing. He turned from them into the Park and crossed to the Row side. Funny to see the Row with no horses tear­ing up and down, or trapes­ing past like cats on hot bricks, no stream of car­riages, no rows of sit­ting people, noth­ing but trees and the tan track. The trees and grass, though no dew had fallen, breathed on him; and he stretched him­self at full length along a bench, his hands behind his head, his hat crushed on his chest, his eyes fixed on the leaves pat­terned against the still bright­en­ing sky. The air stole faint and fresh about his cheeks and lips, and the backs of his hands. The first sun­light came steal­ing flat from trunk to trunk, birds did not sing but talked, a wood pigeon back among the trees was coo­ing. Soames closed his eyes, and instantly ima­gin­a­tion began to paint, for the eyes deep down within him, pic­tures of her. Pic­ture of her — stand­ing pass­ive in her frock flounced to the gleam­ing floor, while he wrote his ini­tials on her card. Pic­ture of her adjust­ing with long gloved fin­gers a camel­lia come loose in her corsage; turn­ing for him to put her cloak on — pic­tures, count­less pic­tures, and ever strange, of her face spark­ling for moments, or brood­ing, or averse; of her cheek inclined for his kiss, of her lips turned from his lips, of her eyes look­ing at him with a ques­tion that seemed to have no answer; of her eyes, dark and soft over a grey cat purring in her arms; pic­ture of her auburn hair flow­ing as he had not seen it yet. Ah ! but soon — but soon ! And as if answer­ing the call of his ima­gin­a­tion a cry — long, not shrill, not harsh exactly, but so poignant — jerked the blood to his heart. From back over there it came trail­ing, again and again, pas­sion­ate — the lost soul’s cry of pea­cock in early morn­ing; and with it there uprose from the spaces of his inner being the vis­ion that was for ever haunt­ing there, of her with hair unbound, of her all white and lost, yield­ing to his arms. It seared him with delight, swooned in him, and was gone. He opened his eyes; an early water-cart was near­ing down the Row.

Soames rose and walk­ing fast beneath the trees sought san­ity.

John Gals­worthy : Cry of Pea­cock, 1883 from On For­syte ‘Change

 

 

Atkinson Grimshaw Wintry Moon

John Atkin­son Grim­shaw — A Wintry Moon

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I Just Wanna Be Back Where I Belong

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Leo Kot­tke — World Turn­ing : Kaneva

 

 

Wheel of Fortuna
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The Rats’ Requiem

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(Correctitude, Manners not Morals, Self Writ, To Know Know Know Him)

More Jamie

Neigh­bour intro­du­cing new movee Mr. Hand­slip into neigh­bour­hood:

On your other side is Mrs. Egre­mont, a widow. A very nice lady, Phil­ippa is mar­vel­lous, the chil­dren are OK, most of them.” with a quick­en­ing.
“How many got ?” startled.
“Four. Paul’s the old­est, he’s going in the Army when older. Not the sort of life I’d choose, but it’s a good thing we’re not all alike, isn’t it ? two girls, Yso­belle and Nancy, and… the young­est, James.” A stil­ted note mod­u­lated his enthu­si­asm, unnoted by the ques­tioner.
“Any of them noisy ?”
“They won’t be any trouble at all.” Eagerly, “The girls are very pretty, and although they could be bois­ter­ous and cause dif­fi­culties, they don’t. The old­est lad is square strong affable, very decent young man.”
“And the younger ?”

As I said Paul’s going into the Army, which I think such a waste.” Mr. Pigg was by way of being a paci­fist, which the two boys had always respec­ted with the great tol­er­ance of which they were both very proud. “He really could do any­thing, very bril­liant mind indeed.” respect­fully, “And unas­sum­ing with it. You always feel he’s work­ing out for­mulæ with a part of his mind while talk­ing eas­ily to one…”
“And the other ?” Hand­slip enquired bluntly. Mr. Pigg nearly cringed.
“Um, Jamie. Well, he’s dif­fer­ent.”
“You mean, er, men­tally dis­turbed ?” with a faint shy­ness intrud­ing into the brusque­ness of the bald enquiry.
“Good God no ! And you’d bet­ter not ever hint of such a thing. I doubt if he’d care a rush,” bit­terly, “but any of the oth­ers, let alone his dear mama, would be very offen­ded if any­one con­sidered such a thing. No, he’s nor­mal enough, and bright enough, even if he doesn’t shine at school from all I hear.”
He sighed, Phil­ippa had con­fided at length enough times to weary him with the sub­ject; but hav­ing done badly him­self when young he was suf­fi­cently scep­tical to won­der if school­ing was as import­ant as it was cracked up to be. Con­versely he respec­ted bril­liance, and was anxious to get back to Paul’s men­tal prowess. In fact he had long decided never to ini­ti­ate com­ment upon, or pro­long dis­cus­sion upon, James Egre­mont.

Well, what’s wrong with him ?” bluntly
Pigg looked around.
“Jamie,” pick­ing his words, “is not someone to annoy; or com­plain about; or piss off. Do not cri­ti­cise any of the fam­ily where he can hear you. He has a strong fam­ily feel­ing. I said the oth­ers are no trouble: one reason is that they… con­tinue, upon the lines he lays down. If any per­son con­fronts his feel­ings, or does some­thing he con­strues as unpleas­ant, things some­times hap­pen.” Del­ic­ately.
“You mean he’s one of these viol­ent youths ? Some kind of yob ?” won­der­ing what sort of brute was going to appear.
Pigg was shocked and amused. “He’s only 11 or 12 ! I for­get which; and weak with it. He’s as pretty as the girls in fact. I guess he’s bul­lied at school: but that’s there: in his patch, it’s dif­fer­ent. As say, an old-fashioned squire vis­it­ing Lon­don might be vul­ner­able in the great world, but mas­ter of his own domain; which was one reason they usu­ally pre­ferred to cul­tiv­ate their own gar­dens. With exper­i­ence he may be able to grow and handle parts of the great world. I hope not. Very cour­teous. They all are: but him the most. He’s the hid­den pat­ri­arch of a pat­ri­archal clan. They do what he dir­ects with only half know­ing the fact.”

You know we have an excel­lent Guy Fawkes Night and they all used to come. At least when it was the par­ents and the two older kids. Then the year before Mr. Egre­mont died that kid, he was very small, took against it  —  wasn’t scared by the bangs; some bloody non­sense about not lik­ing the Guy being burnt: he knew it was just a, a lay-figure, not real: but he still hated the idea. Now you or I would have left him at home with a baby-sitter, but they’ve never come since. 

I can’t ima­gine how any­one would listen to a bloody tod­dler, Phil­ippa, well some­times I reckoned she was weak-minded or some­thing: I mean, yes well now, if he was my child, I’d prob­ably do pre­cisely what he said; life would be sim­pler that way, and he’s the sort of kid who would be right most of the time: but back then… he was so small. We thought well, she’s just lost a hus­band, that’s why not: but the next year they wouldn’t come. Asked her why not: ‘Jamie says it’s wrong to pre­tend to burn people, and you know, I think he’s right.’ Look, he… he wasn’t dom­in­ant back then, even in that weird fam­ily; he is now: back then he’d just argued at them. I’d have told him to take a run­ning jump; some fuck­ing small kid talk­ing back at me. Pity that because Chris­tian and Phil­ippa were always gen­er­ous about join­ing in vil­lage stuff.”

So does one have to show him one’s friendly ?” uneas­ily.
“What’s to prove ? Just be nice to him and don’t say any­thing to make his mother unhappy.”
“About him ?”
“No.” He laughed at the mis­take. “Not about him: about any­thing. What I meant was try never to do aught that doesn’t con­duce to Philippa’s hap­pi­ness in life. Mrs. Hutchin­son, who is sep­ar­ated from her own hus­band, had a nervous break­down and moved away a year ago. She’d been snip­ing at Phil­ippa in the Mother’s Union. Appar­ently someone pos­ted her phone num­ber as emer­gency coun­sel­lor for mar­ital break­downs; a 24 Hour Plumb­ing con­sult­ant; and Police Liaison Officer for the local Police Author­ity, spe­cial­ising in all reports from con­cerned vic­tims for Follow-Up Action. I remem­ber that,” he con­tin­ued reflect­ively, “since it never stopped after she denied the post in the local rag, and the police, con­fused them­selves since half the time they’ve no idea what fur­ther idiocy the Home Office has shoved at them, not only didn’t deny any­thing, they even referred a few people to her. That was actu­ally the least annoy­ing thing that happened to her. Both boys have an unpleas­ant sense of humour. Unlike Paul he acts on it.”

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He Who Told Every Man That He Was Equal To His King Could Hardly Want An Audience

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(Charles I, Manners not Morals, Other Writ, Royalism, Stuarts, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

But the truth is that the know­ledge of external nature, and the sci­ences which that know­ledge requires or includes, are not the great or the fre­quent busi­ness of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or con­ver­sa­tion, whether we wish to be use­ful or pleas­ing, the first requis­ite is the reli­gious and moral know­ledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaint­ance with the his­tory of man­kind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth and prove by events the reas­on­able­ness of opin­ions. Prudence and Justice are vir­tues and excel­lences of all times and of all places; we are per­petu­ally mor­al­ists, but we are geo­met­ri­cians only by chance. Our inter­course with intel­lec­tual nature is neces­sary; our spec­u­la­tions upon mat­ter are vol­un­tary and at leis­ure. Physiolo­gical learn­ing is of such rare emer­gence that one man may know another half his life without being able to estim­ate his skill in hydro­staticks or astro­nomy, but his moral and pruden­tial char­ac­ter imme­di­ately appears.

Milton when he under­took this answer was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was for­ward, and what was want­ing of health was sup­plied by zeal. He was rewar­ded with a thou­sand pounds, and his book was much read; for para­dox, recom­men­ded by spirit and eleg­ance, eas­ily gains atten­tion: and he who told every man that he was equal to his King could hardly want an audi­ence.

His polit­ical notions were those of an acri­mo­ni­ous and surly repub­lican, for which it is not known that he gave any bet­ter reason than that “a pop­u­lar gov­ern­ment was the most frugal; for the trap­pings of a mon­archy would set up an ordin­ary com­mon­wealth.” It is surely very shal­low policy, that sup­poses money to be the chief good; and even this without con­sid­er­ing that the sup­port and expence of a Court is for the most part only a par­tic­u­lar kind of traf­fick, by which money is cir­cu­lated without any national impov­er­ish­ment.

It has been observed that they who most loudly clam­our for liberty do not most lib­er­ally grant it. What we know of Milton’s char­ac­ter in dome­st­ick rela­tions is, that he was severe and arbit­rary. His fam­ily con­sisted of women; and there appears in his books some­thing like a Turk­ish con­tempt of females, as sub­or­din­ate and inferior beings. That his own daugh­ters might not break the ranks, he suffered them to be depressed by a mean and pen­uri­ous edu­ca­tion. He thought woman made only for obed­i­ence, and man only for rebel­lion.

 

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The wis­dom of the nation is very reas­on­ably sup­posed to reside in the par­lia­ment. What can be con­cluded of the lower classes of the people, when in one of the par­lia­ments, summoned by Crom­well, it was ser­i­ously pro­posed, that all the records in the Tower should be burnt, that all memory of things past should be effaced, and that the whole sys­tem of life should com­mence anew ?

Samuel John­son : The Lives of the Poets  — Milton

 

 

Sigh No More My Lady
“Sigh No More”

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Do The Chairs In Your Parlor Seem Empty And Bare ?


Oscar Grogan & The Columbi­ans — Are You Lone­some Tonight ? 1927

 

 

Wanton

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Full Goth Metal Marx

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(High Germany, Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

I am always stup­i­fied by an aspect of mil­it­ant athe­ism never remarked upon: these curi­ous little chaps so out­raged and so angry at a non-existent God they devote time to refut­ing Him and belief in Him  —  for time is the one thing they can­not afford.

Let us sup­pose that God does not Exist. OK then, if not thrown by even­tual noth­ing­ness  —  which on the con­trary they glee­fully embrace  —  there’s very little to be said; and cer­tainly noth­ing of eternal value: how­ever one may as well live one’s life out as pleas­antly as pos­sible accord­ing to one’s own choices. It is tough to spend half of that time labour­ing at a job one detests, yet this too is not a prob­lem for them, since they enjoy whatever weird stuff they do  —  such as being a pro­fessor or eco­nom­ist; but time runs out no mat­ter how one uses it. If men­tally unstable they may sub­sti­tute Human­ity as their ersatz-religion of choice, chosen solely because they hap­pen to be human, and insist on work­ing for and lec­tur­ing to human­ity, ( and if so inclined, work­ing for the erad­ic­a­tion of social ele­ments opposed to their own social philo­sophy of choice for the bet­ter­ment of all man­kind [ except those ele­ments erad­ic­ated ] ) des­pite the fact that all of human­ity is destined for noth­ing­ness just as much as they when time runs out. And that noth­ing will be left of them, their acts and thoughts, nor those of any other, when time runs out.

So let us sup­pose one of these: he is say, 40, that gives him roughly 40 more years of exist­ence until he is extin­guished to the point that he will never know he was extin­guished or was ever alive. Not to men­tion that the memory of him will be as van­ished as most in 10,000 years. Allow­ing two-thirds of time for eat­ing, sleep­ing, work­ing, wor­ry­ing about money or wor­ry­ing about social sta­bil­ity etc., that leaves 13 years of pos­sible enjoy­ment. Instead he uses up this time on earth self-righteously per­suad­ing oth­ers that they will go into noth­ing­ness and unim­port­ance with no sal­va­tion, and arguing about a deity in whom he does not believe. All the time the clock clicks to his ter­min­a­tion and his remain­ing time runs out, as in a death cell. This has to be a defin­i­tion of insan­ity: to spend the sole amount of time you will ever have, not even in anger at not going on to an after­life, but rail­ing against a God one thinks non-existent, hat­ing the idea that oth­ers believe they go on, and mock­ing those whose faith is sure.

 
Karl Marx was one such, and des­pite his sem­inal work as a social philo­sopher and eco­nom­ist, all for an aim he believed he could never be con­scious to see and which would end in noth­ing­ness itself, was largely inspired by early nine­teenth cen­tury romantic rebel­lion against the God he didn’t believe Exis­ted, and Whom ration­ally he should not have cared about in the least, as a mag­ni­fi­cent essay by Mur­ray N. Roth­bard I have ref­er­enced else­where makes clear.

 
Here are lyr­ics to Mother Noth­ing­ness ( The Tri­umph Of Ubbo Sathla ) from The Vis­ion Bleak, and some of Marx’s poetry from that essay: try and guess first…

 
Worlds I would des­troy forever,
Since I can cre­ate no world;
Since my call they notice never

I shall build my throne high over­head,
Cold, tre­mend­ous shall its sum­mit be.
For its bul­wark –– super­sti­tious dread.
For its mar­shal –– black­est agony.

I shall howl gigantic curses on man­kind.
Ha ! Etern­ity ! She is an eternal grief.
Ourselves being clock­work, blindly mech­an­ical,
Made to be foul-calendars of Time and Space,
Hav­ing no pur­pose save to hap­pen, to be ruined,
So that there shall be some­thing to ruin
If there is a Some­thing which devours,
I’ll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins ––
The world which bulks between me and the Abyss
I will smash to pieces with my endur­ing curses.
I’ll throw my arms around its harsh real­ity:
Embra­cing me, the world will dumbly pass away,
And then sink down to utter noth­ing­ness,
Per­ished, with no exist­ence – that would be really liv­ing !

In the steam­ing mor­ass
Of a new­born earth
Lies the form­less mass
Which to all gave birth

In a sea of sludge
Of immense extend
Lies the thought­less mass
Which is source and end

We all must fol­low
Into her void
To her fetid womb
We all return

Her voice­less howl
Resounds through time
From primal mud
And fenses foul

A limb­less thing
Mind­less and coarse
This wretches guise
Is end and source

We all must fol­low
Into her void
To her fetid womb
We all return

Fall through the aeons
Onward to the earth in it’s prime
Fall through the aeons
Becom­ing the spawn
Of the great old slime

…the leaden world holds us fast
And we are chained, shattered, empty, frightened,
Etern­ally chained to this marble block of Being,
… and we – We are the apes of a cold God.

 
Harpist of Destruction

 
 

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The Vis­ion Bleak — Mother Noth­ing­ness ( The Tri­umph Of Ubbo Sathla )

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‘Will Fuck For Weed’">Will Fuck For Weed’

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(Animals, Correctitude, Places, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

Once when young I saw an old album cover which rather stuck in my memory,  —  des­pite then and now being mostly unin­ter­ested in prog rock, as I here dis­cover it was  —  it’s not every­day one sees a budgie wav­ing a gun, let alone wear­ing a ban­do­lier ( down-under, budger­igars roam in huge flocks, although I doubt they cover the sun with their wings nor the sound drowns out the wind and thun­der: over here they are stuck singly or in pairs in small cages and called Petie ). Although it stayed, I never expec­ted to find out where it was from. How­ever, an hour back, from mere chance I typed the first word I thought of into Demon­oid search under Music, not expect­ing any res­ults at all  —  it was ‘napo­leon’  —  and it came up with ‘Budgie’s Ban­do­lier’. With the instinct that only pure genius can achieve in men­tal com­par­ison and pat­tern­ing, like a flash I real­ised that it might quite pos­sibly be con­nec­ted to that ancient image. Which it was.

 

Mounted budgie wearing bandolier and rifle

 

Budgie was a Welsh band of the 1970s ( Amazon ) and here there are pic­tures of them then and now. The music’s fine enough…

 

*******************************

 

More recently, here I made a post a few years back reff­ing Robert Brown­ing with a post­card  — com­plete with camel in those inno­cent days  —  of pre-Great War Venice Beach. The almost imper­cept­ible joke being that Venice Beach is rather dif­fer­ent now and whilst still worldly enough to sat­isfy Browning’s mag­ni­fi­cent judge­mental gloom, has not the qual­it­ies to sat­isfy the exact­ing stand­ards of the Haute Ton. Still, I daresay one can find cameltoes there if one looks suf­fi­ciently hard…

Although none of the com­ments can quite match mj88’s per­fect cri­tique of Cali­for­nia in a City Data For­ums’ thread

I’ve never been to CA but they both sound like great and lovely areas (NOCAL or SOCAL). I always seem to hear pos­it­ive things about CA such as the weather, friendly people, and beaches. The one and only draw­back I have heard is that it occa­sion­ally gets con­ges­ted on that one free­way in LA — can’t remem­ber its name at the moment.’

which car­ries sub­tlety to a new level, Yelp has a list of com­ments on Venice Beach which enga­gingly shows why it has an espe­cial place in the hearts of it’s coun­try­men:

The best way to describe Venice Beach is as a psy­chi­at­ric hos­pital on a beach. Depend­ing on how you feel about that, you can eas­ily be entertained…or lose faith in human­ity. Clas­sic examples include guy col­lect­ing funds to rebuild Death Star and recruit­ing to kill off Jedi, guy in alien mask read­ing book in corner, and kids telling me how marijuana is the cure all drug (i.e. stub your toe…smoke a joint). In a one mile stretch, there were no less than 25 of these kids passing out cards. The numer­ous stands and booths all get hor­ribly repet­it­ive. Essen­tially, the board­walk plays like one of those old time car­toons where the artists just recycled the back­ground over and over. Food options are lim­ited to mainly pizza places with a few bur­ger places sprinkled in…and the occa­sional fruit cart.

Incense waf­ted every­where like a light, per­fumed fog it coiled about and hung over the Strand to mask or enhance the trans­it­ory and brief wisps of burn­ing sage, scen­ted candles, marijuana and body odor. Furry freaks danced with bespeckled nerds while tat­tooed rasta­far­ian wanna-bes pulled stunned, pale and over­weight tour­ists into impromptu reels as drums poun­ded incess­antly to the accom­pani­ment of piano, flute and elec­tric gui­tar. Bleached blond surfers, salt-licked from a morn­ing go-out passed by ancient hip­pies still ped­dling peace signs while cops turned their heads like they never saw the kid with the fat joint.

I espe­cially thought the bums with a “Par­ents killed by ninja mon­key. Help me pay for kar­ate les­sons” sign and a “I’m not going to lie, I want weed” sign were spe­cial.

If you don’t like Venice Beach, you don’t belong in Cali­for­nia…
No, ser­i­ously get the hell out! This place is awe­some! I love the atmo­sphere! Everyone’s so chill. My only advice is be picky about the crazy people who per­form their stunts, some of them aren’t worth it, lol and I think they just spend the money on crack

2. I always see that guy who sells tongue whistles. I think the price is 5 dif­fer­ent whistles for a dol­lar. I can’t think of any­thing in this world that I would want less to spend a dol­lar on.

The cre­ativ­ity of the beg­gars is also not­able. Just today I saw signs stat­ing “Need fuel for my lear­jet”, “Will fuck for weed” and “the happy wino”.

I guess you have to love it or hate it. More on yelp love this place, but I have to dis­agree yet again with the yelp­ers. This place is nasty. Nasty in a dirty, home­less, shady, don;t bring your kids, way. My baby dropped her hat, (just pur­chased) and in 2 minutes it was gone. Someone stole a hat for a BABY that said Prin­cess on it!!!! What real and I do mean real losers would do that? Even the home­less can­not pos­sibly wear it.

What you get when you arrive, regard­less of your reason for being there, is a dis­mal, des­press­ing waste­land, and if you’re from Neb­raska or some­where else decidedly non-Californian, much of what you’ll see here you’ve already seen on your State Fair’s sad mid­way. Decrepit and depress­ing tat­too par­lor after tat­too par­lor, sad and dejec­ted t-shirt shops, and grimly appoin­ted pizza stands make up the bulk of the board­walk. The same aston­ish­ingly depress­ing people from your State Fair mid­way are here, too.

 

Sadly, Mr. Mozena has not yet become mayor of LA, and worse will not become write-in gov­ernor of CA, although there is no pos­sib­il­ity that he could do worse than the laugh­able Arnold or either unholy front-runner in the present race between rich retards. How­ever, on the credit side, Venice Beach has inspired many, many artists.

 

Madonna of Venice

Sir Peter Blake RA  —  Madonna of Venice

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The Glassy Deep At Midnight When The Cold Moon Shines

After dawdling around Monaco itself, we went round to the ‘Jeux’  —  a large gambling-house estab­lished on the shore near Monaco, upon the road to Mentone. There is a splen­did hotel there, and the large house of sin, blaz­ing with gas lamps by night. So we saw it from the road beneath Tur­bia our first night, flam­ing and shin­ing by the shore like Pan­de­monium, or the hab­it­a­tion of some romantic witch. This place, in truth, resembles the gar­dens of Alcina, or any other magician’s trap for catch­ing souls which poets have devised. It lies close by the sea in a hol­low of the shel­ter­ing hills. there winter can­not come  —  the flowers bloom, the waves dance, and sun­light laughs all through the year. The air swoons with scent of lemon groves; tall palm trees wave their branches in the garden; music of the soft­est, loudest, most inebri­at­ing pas­sion swells from the palace; rich meats and wines are served in a gor­geously painted hall; cool cor­ridors and sunny seats stand ready for the noon­tide heat or even­ing calm; without are olive gar­dens, green and fresh and full of flowers. But the witch her­self holds her high court and never-ending fest­ival of sin in the hall of the green tables. There is a pas­sion which sub­dues all oth­ers, mak­ing music, sweet scents and deli­cious food, the plash of melodi­ous waves, the even­ing air and free­dom of the ever­last­ing hills sub­serve her own suprem­acy.

When the fiend of play has entered into a man, what does he care for the beau­ties of nature or even for the pleas­ure of the sense ? Yet in the moments of his trial he must drain the cup of pas­sion, there­fore let him have com­pan­ions  —  splen­did women, with bold eyes and golden hair and marble columns of imper­ial throats, to laugh with him, to sing shrill songs, to drink, to tempt the glassy deep at mid­night when the cold moon shines or all the head­lands glit­ter with grey phos­phor­es­cence and the palace sends its flar­ing lights and sound of cym­bals to the hills. And many, too, there are over whom love and wine hold empire hardly less than play. This is no vis­ion; it is sober, sad real­ity. I have seen it to-day with my own eyes. I have been inside the palace and breathed its air. In no other place could this riot­ous daugh­ter of hell have set her throne so sedu­cingly. Here are the Sirens and Calypso and Dame Venus of Tannhäuser’s dream. Almost every other scene of dis­sip­a­tion has dis­ap­poin­ted me by its mono­tony and sor­did­ness. But this inebri­ates; here nature is so lav­ish, so beau­ti­ful, so softly lux­uri­ous, that the harlot’s cup is thrice more sweet to the taste, more steal­ing of the senses than else­where. I felt, while we listened to the music, strolled about the gar­dens and lounged in the play-rooms, as I have some­times felt at the opera. All other pleas­ures, thoughts and interests of life seemed to be far off and trivial for the time. I was beclouded, car­ried off my bal­ance, lapped in strange fore­bod­ings of things infin­ite out­side me in the human heart. Yet all was unreal; for the touch of reason, like the hand of Gala­had, caused the boil­ing of this impure foun­tain to cease  —  the wizard’s castle dis­ap­peared and, as I drove home to Mentone, the sol­emn hills and skies and seas remained and that house was, as it were, a mirage.

John Adding­ton Symonds : Diary

 

 

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The Color of Crime

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(Music, Self Writ, Videos)

 

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Sofie Alvén — Tie A Yel­low Rib­bon

 

 

An elec­tri­fy­ing per­form­ance by 18-yr-old Sofie Alvén at Tivoli in Copen­ha­gen in 2008.

 

I only found out about the recent Gen­eral Elec­tion in Bri­tain, as with the Olympics, and other sport­ing events, after the fact  —  hav­ing made a con­scious decision to avoid mind-corrupting trash  —  how­ever, after sud­denly choos­ing to hear this song again, expect­ing the usual per­form­ance by an elder cap­able of appear­ing a grizzled old con, and being enchanted by this, I found that appar­ently that song is being used to sig­nal the Tory/Lib-Dem Alli­ance. Yel­low being the col­our of Lib­er­als, whilst Con­ser­vat­ives can always pro­duce jail-fodder. One old joke when Lady Thatcher’s mob were in office went: ‘Which cab­inet min­is­ters are in prison ?’  —  ‘Not enough.’.

In Brit­ish polit­ics Blue is the col­our of Con­ser­vat­ives; Red of Labour, Old or New; and Yel­low for Lib­er­als. Which leaves Green for the Greens.

T’was not always thus: Dark Blue, Red or Scar­let and Blue for 18th cen­tury Tor­ies and Orange or Buff and [ Light ] Blue for the Whigs ( both being equally ances­tral to the present Con­ser­vat­ive Party ).

 

Still, on the wider world stage exclud­ing the hues of regal fam­il­ies or national flags, col­ours go:

White : Roy­al­ist

Black : Fas­cist ( or Roman Church parties )

Blue : Con­ser­vat­ive

Red : Com­mun­ist

Pink : Social­ist

Yel­low : Lib­eral

Brown : Nazi

Green : Green or Islam­ist

 
Wiki endear­ingly says: ‘Sym­bols can be very import­ant when the over­all elect­or­ate is illit­er­ate.’ Which mixed mes­sage says a lot about the sort of people who believe in demo­cracy.

 

 
Sofie Alven at Tivoli

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Tell Your Children

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(Melancholy, Music)

Sinéad O’Connor  —  The House of the Rising Sun

 

 

Dark-Haired Beauty

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To Attach The Electrodes Of Knowledge To The Nipples Of Ignorance

Fre­d­er­ick Schle­gel ( and after him Col­eridge ) aptly indic­ated a dis­tinc­tion, when he said that every man was born either a Pla­ton­ist or an Aris­totelian. This dis­tinc­tion is often expressed in the terms sub­ject­ive and object­ive intel­lects. Per­haps we shall best define these by call­ing the object­ive intel­lect one that is emin­ently imper­sonal, and the sub­ject­ive intel­lect one that is emin­ently per­sonal; the former dis­en­ga­ging itself as much as pos­sible from its own pre­pos­ses­sions, striv­ing to see and rep­res­ent objects as they exist; the other view­ing all objects in the light of its own feel­ings and pre­con­cep­tions. It is need­less to add that no mind is exclus­ively object­ive or exclus­ively sub­ject­ive, but every mind has a more or less dom­in­ant tend­ency in one or the other of these dir­ec­tions. We see the con­trast in Philo­sophy, as in Art. The real­ist argues from Nature upwards, argues induct­ively, start­ing from real­ity, and never long los­ing sight of it; even in the adven­tur­ous flights of hypo­thesis and spec­u­la­tion, being desirous that his hypo­thesis shall cor­res­pond with real­it­ies. The ideal­ist argues from an Idea down­wards, start­ing from some con­cep­tion, and seek­ing in real­it­ies only vis­ible illus­tra­tions of a deeper exist­ence. The achieve­ments of mod­ern Sci­ence, and the mas­ter­pieces of Art, prove that the grand­est gen­er­al­isa­tions and the most elev­ated types can only be reached by the former method; and that what is called the “ideal school,” so far from hav­ing the superi­or­ity which it claims, is only more lofty in its pre­ten­sions; the real­ist, with more mod­est pre­ten­sions, achieves loftier res­ults. The Object­ive and Sub­ject­ive, or as they are also called, the Real and the Ideal, are thus con­tras­ted as the ter­mini of two oppos­ite lines of thought. In Philo­sophy, in Mor­als and in Art, we see a con­stant ant­ag­on­ism between these two prin­ciples. Thus in Mor­als the Pla­ton­ists are those who seek the highest mor­al­ity out of human nature, instead of in the healthy devel­op­ment of all human tend­en­cies, and their due co-ordination; they hope, in the sup­pres­sion of integ­ral fac­ulties, to attain some super­hu­man stand­ard. They call that Ideal which no Real­ity can reach, but for which we should strive. They super­pose ab extra, instead of try­ing to develop ab intra. They draw from their own minds, or from the dog­mas handed to them by tra­di­tion, an arbit­rary mould, into which they attempt to fuse the organic activ­ity of Nature.

If this school had not in its favor the imper­i­ous instinct of Pro­gress, and aspir­a­tion after a bet­ter, it would not hold its ground. But it sat­is­fies that crav­ing, and thus deludes many minds into acqui­es­cence. The poet­ical and enthu­si­astic dis­pos­i­tion most read­ily acqui­esces : pre­fer­ring to over­look what man is, in its delight of con­tem­plat­ing what the poet makes him. To such a mind all con­cep­tions of Man must have a halo round them, — half mist, half sun­shine; the hero must be a Demi­god, in whom no valet de chambre can find a fail­ing ; the vil­lain must be a Demon, for whom no char­ity can find an excuse.

Not to extend this to a dis­ser­ta­tion, let me at once say that Goethe belonged to the object­ive class.“‘Every­where in Goethe,“said Franz Horn, “you are on firm land or island ; nowhere the infin­ite sea.’ A bet­ter char­ac­ter­iz­a­tion was never writ­ten in one sen­tence. In every page of his works may be read a strong feel­ing for the real, the con­crete, the liv­ing; and a repug­nance as strong for the vague, the abstract, or the super­sen­su­ous. His con­stant striv­ing was to study Nature, so as to see her dir­ectly, and not through the mists of fancy, or through the dis­tor­tions of pre­ju­dice, — to look at men, and into them, — to appre­hend things as they were. In his con­cep­tion of the uni­verse he could not sep­ar­ate God from it, pla­cing Him above it, bey­ond it, as the philo­soph­ers did who rep­res­en­ted God whirl­ing the uni­verse round His fin­ger, “see­ing it go.” Such a con­cep­tion revol­ted him. He anim­ated the uni­verse with God ; he anim­ated fact with divine life ; he saw in Real­ity the incarn­a­tion of the Ideal; he saw in Mor­al­ity the high and har­mo­ni­ous action of all human tend­en­cies ; he saw in Art the highest rep­res­ent­a­tion of Life.

George Henry Lewes : The Life & Works of Goethe

 

 
Marisa Kirisame Sleeping in the Air

AoBlue —  Mar­isa Kir­is­ame sleep­ing on the Air

 

Title from Third Rock From The Sun.

 

 

 

With His Pecu­liar Look And Emphasis

As an extra… Lewes in a foot­note adds a per­sonal note of the old loon Carlyle:

I remem­ber once, as we were walk­ing along Pic­ca­dilly, talk­ing about the infam­ous Büch­lein von Goethe, Carlyle stopped sud­denly, and with his pecu­liar look and emphasis, said, “Yes, it is the wild cry of amazement on the part of all spooneys that the Titan was not a spooney too ! Here is a god-like intel­lect, and yet you see he is not an idiot ! Not in the least a spooney !

 
Read­ers not cur­rent in early 19th cen­tury Eng­land may note that ‘Spooney’ means soppy, soft, wet: sis­sies, but not neces­sar­ily includ­ing the present-day con­nota­tion of sexual mal­ad­ap­tion.

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A Tabernacle To Æsop

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(Animals, Correctitude, High Germany, Other Writ, Places)

About this time, as a relief from the graver mat­ters which claimed his atten­tion, Luther engaged in the occu­pa­tion of turn­ing. In a let­ter to Wenceslas Link, he begs his friend to pur­chase for him the neces­sary tools at Nurem­burg… Luther returns his acknow­ledge­ments in a let­ter in which his char­ac­ter­istic gaiety of expres­sion is appar­ent.

We have received the turn­ing tools, the quad­rant, the cyl­in­der, and the wooden clock. We greatly thank you for the trouble you have taken. One thing, how­ever, you for­got: you did not men­tion how much more you expen­ded, for the money I sent [ One guilder ] could not have been enough. For the present, we have got all we need, except you could send us some new machinery, which will turn by itself when Wolfgang is lazy or sleepy. The clock suits me per­fectly, espe­cially for show­ing the time to my drunken Sax­ons, who look more to the bottle than the hour, caring but little whether the sun, or the clock, or its hands show wrong.”

Wolfgang had been for some years in Luther’s ser­vice, and remained with him through­out his life. He was a worthy, hon­est fel­low, devotedly attached to his mas­ter, and pos­sessed but one fail­ing, a fre­quent propensity to go to sleep over his work. This uncon­quer­able drowsi­ness was often the sub­ject of Luther’s mock com­plaint. The mas­ter, with his own immense capa­city for work without much inter­val for rest, was amused by the dull, heavy som­no­lence of his hon­est fam­u­lus. On one occa­sion, Wolfgang built a floor, and upon it fixed a con­triv­ance for catch­ing birds. Luther, whose nature was lov­ing and feel­ing as that of a child, did not approve of this plan to entrap the feathered song­sters, and drew out a Bird’s Indict­ment against their foe. The birds besought Luther’s pro­tec­tion against Wolfgang, whose sleep­i­ness, they said, mali­ciously, every­body knew, as he never left his bed until eight o’clock in the morn­ing; they required that every even­ing he should spread grain for their morn­ing meal, as they rose up hours before him; and that his atten­tion through­out the day should be devoted to catch­ing frogs, snails, daws, mice and other pests, whereby he would be enabled to grat­ify his destruct­ive instincts, without endeav­our­ing to ensnare the poor birds, whose songs fully paid for the little grain they con­sumed. The Bird’s Peti­tion, brim­ful of soft plead­ings on behalf of one of the Creator’s sweetest gifts to charm the ears of that lordly creature, Man, con­cluded with a threat that if Wolfgang, their enemy, did not mend his ways, they ( the birds ) would pray to God to cause fleas and other insects to crawl about him at night, and tor­ment him bey­ond endur­ance.

Luther took great delight in the simple hap­pi­ness to be gained in his garden, cul­tiv­at­ing the flowers, listen­ing to the plash­ing of the waters of the foun­tain he had him­self erec­ted, to the singing of the birds, and to the gam­bols of the fish in a small pond. These small mat­ters often took from his mind much of the trouble and anxi­ety insep­ar­able from his pos­i­tion, and broke the hard intens­ity of intel­lec­tual and spir­itual care.

 

Coburg Castle

 

…on the 3rd of April [ 1530 ], the Elector, unarmed and accom­pan­ied by one hun­dred and sixty horse­men, set out from Tor­gau on his way to meet the Emperor at Augs­burg. Luther, Mel­anch­thon, Jonas, Agri­c­ola, and Spal­atin were with him. When they reached Coburg, the Elector dir­ec­ted Luther to remain there. The ban of the Empire pre­ven­ted his appear­ance at the Diet. Without hes­it­a­tion Luther obeyed the com­mand of his prince. He pro­ceeded to the fort­ress of Coburg, where he remained dur­ing the time of the pro­ceed­ings at Augs­burg. The elector with his fol­low­ers reached Augs­burg on the 2nd of May, and there awaited the arrival of the Emperor, which did not take place until the 15th of June. Luther, from the castle, wrote con­stantly to the Elector, to Spal­atin, and to Mel­anch­thon. The solitude and inac­tion to which he was con­strained to sub­mit were irk­some and dis­tress­ing. Writ­ing to Mel­anch­thon on the 22nd April he says: “I have arrived at my Sinai; but of this Sinai I will make a Sion: I will raise thereon three Tab­er­nacles, one to the Psalm­ist, another to the Proph­ets, and lastly, one to Æsop…” He was at this time engaged in the trans­la­tion of these fables.

 
Elsheimer - Ruin

Cas­par Friedrich  —  The Tree of Crows

* Col­our altern­ates
 
There is noth­ing here to pre­vent my solitude from being com­plete. I live in a vast abode which over­looks the castle; I have the keys of all its apart­ments. There are scarcely thirty per­sons within the fort­ress, of whom twelve are watch­ers by night, and two other sen­tinels, con­stantly pos­ted on the castle heights.

On the 9th of May he wrote to Spal­atin an amus­ing account of the rooks and jack­daws, the den­iz­ens of the wood beneath the elev­ated part of the castle in which he lived. 

I am here in the midst of another diet, in the pres­ence of the mag­nan­im­ous sov­er­eigns, dukes, grandees, and nobles of a kind dif­fer­ent to those at Augs­burg. Mine con­fer together upon State affairs with all the grav­ity of demean­our; they fill the air with unceas­ing voice, pro­mul­gat­ing their decrees and their preach­ings. They do not seat them­selves shut up in those royal cav­erns, you call palaces, but they hold their coun­cils in the light of the sun, hav­ing the heav­ens for a can­opy, and, for a car­pet, the rich and var­ied ver­dure of the trees, on which they are con­greg­ated in liberty; the only lim­its to their domains being the bound­ar­ies of the earth. The stu­pid dis­play of silk and gold inspires them with hor­ror. They are all alike, in col­our as in coun­ten­ance  —  black. Nor is their note dif­fer­ent one from the other; the only dis­son­ance being the agree­able con­trast between the voices of the young and the deeper tones of their par­ents. In no instance have I ever heard them speak of an Emperor; they dis­dain with sov­er­eign con­tempt the horse which is so indis­pens­ible to our cava­liers; they have a far bet­ter means of mock­ing the fury of can­non. In so far as I have been able to com­pre­hend their decrees, they have determ­ined to wage an incess­ant war dur­ing the present year against bar­ley, corn, and grain of all sorts; in short, against all that is most enti­cing and agree­able amongst the fruits and products of the earth. It is much to be feared that they may become con­quer­ors wherever they dir­ect their efforts; for they are a race of com­batants, wily and adroit; equally suc­cess­ful in their attempts to plun­der, by force or by sur­prise. As for me, I am an idle spec­tator, assist­ing will­ingly, and with much sat­is­fac­tion at their con­sulta­tions. But enough of jest­ing ! Jest­ing which is, how­ever, some­times neces­sary to dis­pel the gloomy thoughts which over­whelm me.”

The clam­our of the rooks and crows, by which, as in another let­ter he wrote, “they char­it­ably intend to bring sleep gently to my eye­lids,” was not alto­gether suc­cess­ful in divert­ing his atten­tion from the grave busi­ness of the diet.

John Rae : Mar­tin Luther  — Stu­dent, Monk, Reformer

 

 
Elsheimer - Ruin

 
*
Note that the More tag no longer works on this par­tic­u­lar blog — it des­troys the lay-out: for which lack we apo­lo­gise…
 

 
Caspar Tree of Crows darker

 
Caspar Tree of Crows lighter

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And All Your Bodies Drown In The Salt Sea

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(Correctitude, Music, Poetry, The King of Terrors, Videos)

From St. Peters­burg, the Scot­tish Trib­ute Bal­lad to Andrew Bar­ton…

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Sher­Wood  —  Henry Mar­tin

 

 

The Naiads

Gioac­chino Pagliei —The Nai­ads

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Unendlichen

THE GODS GIVE EVERYTHING

The gods give everything, the infin­ite ones,
To their beloved, com­pletely,
Every pleas­ure, the infin­ite ones,
Every suf­fer­ing, the infin­ite ones, com­pletely.

Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe
[tr. Stephen Spender]
 

 

AEsir Girl

 

 

Alles gaben Göt­ter die unend­lichen
Ihren Lieblin­gen ganz
Alle Freuden die unend­lichen
Alle Schmerzen die unend­lichen ganz”. 

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The Silver Sail Of Dawn

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(High Germany, Music, Other Writ, Poetry)

The fair­ies break their dances
And leave the prin­ted lawn,
And up from India glances
The sil­ver sail of dawn.

The candles burn their sock­ets,
The blinds let through the day,
The young man feels his pock­ets
And won­ders what’s to pay.

A. E. Hous­man : The Fair­ies Break Their Dances

 

Richard Wag­ner  —  Over­ture to The Fair­ies

 
 
Fairy Ring

–George Cruikshank — A Fantasy –The Fairy Ring

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The Pleasure Was Enhanced

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at 12:30 am
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(Correctitude, High Germany, Manners not Morals, Other Writ, Royalism, War)

Great was the excite­ment in Paris when it was announced the King of Prus­sia and the Tsar would arrive in close suc­ces­sion at the begin­ning of June [1867]. Although the lat­ter was the real guest of hon­our ( high polit­ics decreed it so ), it was King Wil­helm of Prus­sia and his massive Chan­cel­lor, Count von Bis­marck, who attrac­ted all eyes. On the train they passed pos­i­tions the old King had occu­pied in 1814, when he had con­trib­uted to the down­fall of his present host’s uncle. Though some Parisi­ans detec­ted a note of typ­ical Teutonic tact­less­ness as the King com­pli­men­ted, ecstat­ic­ally, on ‘what mar­vel­lous things you have done since I was last here !’, on the whole they thought his beha­viour quite unex­cep­tion­able. In fact he stole many hearts by his kindly dis­play of affec­tion for the fra­gile Prince Impérial, then recov­er­ing from an ill­ness. A com­fort­able fig­ure pro­ject­ing an image of some bene­vol­ent coun­try squire, he set the nervous French at ease, and indeed seemed utterly at ease him­self; as someone remarked unchar­it­ably after the event, he explored Paris as if intend­ing to come back there one day.

Even the ter­rible Bis­marck, whose great stature made Wick­ham Hoff­man of the U.S. Leg­a­tion think of Agamem­non, pos­it­ively glowed with good­will. Beau­ties of Paris soci­ety sur­roun­ded him. admired his dazzling White Cuir­assier unform and the enorm­ous spread eagle upon his shin­ing hel­met, and attemp­ted to pro­voke him; but in vain. In con­ver­sa­tion with Louis-Napoleon, he dis­missed last year’s Austro-Prussian war as belong­ing to another epoch, and added ami­ably ‘Thanks to you no per­man­ent cause of rivalry exists between us and the Court at Vienna’. The fest­ive atmo­sphere tem­por­ar­ily obscured the full men­ace of this remark.

On April 12th, the Emperor atten­ded the première of one of the great enter­tain­ments to be pro­duced in hon­our of his Royal guests: Offenbach’s La Grande Duch­esse de Gérol­stein

…Now here was this new tri­umph about the amor­ous Grand Duch­ess of a joke Ger­man prin­cip­al­ity, embark­ing on a point­less war because its Chan­cel­lor, Baron Puck, needed a diver­sion. Its forces were led by a joke Ger­man gen­eral called Boum, as incap­able as he was fear­less, who invig­or­ated him­self with the smell of gun­powder by peri­od­ic­ally fir­ing off his pis­tol into the air. The farce, tal­ly­ing so closely with Europe’s private view of the ridicu­lous Teutons, was too obvi­ous to be missed. When the Tsar came to see it, his box was said to have rung with unroyal laughter. Between gusts of mirth, mem­bers of the French court peeped over at Bismarck’s expres­sion, half in malice, half in appre­hen­sion, won­der­ing if per­haps King Wilhelm’s lack of tact about his pre­vi­ous visit to Paris had not been revenged to excess. But nobody appeared to be show­ing more obvi­ous and unres­trained pleas­ure than the Iron Chan­cel­lor him­self; one might almost have sus­pec­ted that the pleas­ure was enhanced by the enjoy­ment of some secret joke of his own.

Alistair Horne : The Fall of Paris

 

 

Girl with Prussian Colours

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