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In The Unavoidable Absence Of Mice

Then on a tyme there were many grete clerkes and rad of kyng Alysaunder how on a tyme as he sholde have a batayle with ye kynge of Inde. And this kynge of Inde broughte with hym many olyphauntis berynge castelles of tree on theyr backes as the kynde of the is to haue armed knyghtes in ye castell for the batayle, them ne knewe Alysaunder the kynge, of the olyphauntes that they drad no thing more than the jarrynge of swyne, wherefore he made to gader to gyder all ye swyne that myghte be goten, and caused them to be dryuen as ny the olyphautes as they myghte well here the jarrynge of the swyne, and thenne they made a pygge to crye, and whan the swyne herd the pygges a none they made a great jarrynge, and as soone as the olyphauntes herde that, they began to fle eche one, and keste downe the castelles and slewe the knyghtes that were in them, and by this meane Alysaunder had ye vyctory.

Liber Festivalis, printed by W. Caxton in 1483

Silver Elephant
Viennese Elephant Spice Box - The Judaica Museum

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Unrequition

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at 6:00 pm (High Germany, Other Writ, Poetry)

My heart, this heart is dead,
However glad the May;
Standing against a lime
Which beside the old bastion lay.

Beneath, the waters blue,
The moat calmly gleams;
A whistling lad rows his craft,
Casting to catch his fishy dreams.

Further lie bright-coloured,
The little shapes of men;
Trees, cots with their gardens,
Cattle, trees, fields and trees again.

Girls bleach out linen,
Dancing in the hay.
A mill-wheel grinds out diamonds,
It's buzzing hurts from far away.

Up on the old grey keep,
Beside the sentry-box,
A scarlet-jacket strides
Each way, this and that, above the rocks.

He trifles with his musket,
Glinting in the dying sun.
Presents and shoulders arms.
Why won't he kill me with that gun ?

Heinrich Heine : Mein Herz, mein Herz ist Traurig

Newport

William Trost Richards - Harbor Entrance On Bullpoint Newport Rhode Island

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Thanatos’ Little Helper

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at 11:30 pm (Animals, Correctitude, Generalia, Self Writ, The King of Terrors)

The net is awash with self-righteous weirdos stating how they don't understand how anyone --- could be/would let a son or daughter be/should approve of --- a suicide-bomber. One fellow, who also compared PETA to the nazis going so far as to suggest eliminating families post hoc, no doubt under the iron law of sippenhaft.

Personally, I am not in favour, but mainly because if I had a cause for which this barbarity would be useful it really wouldn't kill enough people: I'd want to take at least 50,000 with me --- not only because I feel my life is worth double that number of other persons ( even if I was planning to die anyway ), but because if you take out over a certain number, it's military prowess and not murder: the ethics of war under any age confirm this platitude.

Anyway, since obtuseness is fully as sickening as moral weakness, I hope this little chap makes a personal visit to the moralising weirdos above, as quickly and safely as his paws can carry him. Even better if he has a private helicopter gifted him with unlimited fuel.

Oscar the Cat
Oscar - Death's Pussy

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Keep Your Pen-Knife Sharp Beside You

I have come to be very much of a cynic in these matters; I mean that it is impossible to believe in the permanence of man's or woman's love. Or, at any rate, it is impossible to believe in the permanence of any early passion. As I see it, at least, with regard to man, a love affair, a love for any definite woman --- is something in the nature of a widening of the experience. With each new woman that a man is attracted to there appears to come a broadening of the outlook, or, if you like, an acquiring of new territory. A turn of the eyebrow, a tone of the voice, a queer characteristic gesture --- all these things, and it is these things that cause to arise the passion of love --- all these things are like so many objects on the horizon of the landscape that tempt a man to walk beyond the horizon, to explore. He wants to get, as it were, behind those eyebrows with the peculiar turn, as if he desired to see the world with the eyes that they overshadow. He wants to hear that voice applying itself to every possible proposition, to every possible topic; he wants to see those characteristic gestures against every possible background. Of the question of the sex-instinct I know very little and I do not think that it counts for very much in a really great passion. It can be aroused by such nothings --- by an untied shoelace, by a glance of the eye in passing --- that I think it might be left out of the calculation. I don't mean to say that any great passion can exist without a desire for consummation. That seems to me to be a commonplace and to be therefore a matter needing no comment at all. It is a thing, with all its accidents, that must be taken for granted, as, in a novel, or a biography, you take it for granted that the characters have their meals with some regularity. But the real fierceness of desire, the real heat of a passion long continued and withering up the soul of a man is the craving for identity with the woman that he loves. He desires to see with the same eyes, to touch with the same sense of touch, to hear with the same ears, to lose his identity, to be enveloped, to be supported. For, whatever may be said of the relation of the sexes, there is no man who loves a woman that does not desire to come to her for the renewal of his courage, for the cutting asunder of his difficulties. And that will be the mainspring of his desire for her. We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist. So, for a time, if such a passion come to fruition, the man will get what he wants. He will get the moral support, the encouragement, the relief from the sense of loneliness, the assurance of his own worth. But these things pass away; inevitably they pass away as the shadows pass across sundials. It is sad, but it is so. The pages of the book will become familiar; the beautiful corner of the road will have been turned too many times. Well, this is the saddest story. And yet I do believe that for every man there comes at last a woman --- or no, that is the wrong way of formulating it. For every man there comes at last a time of life when the woman who then sets her seal upon his imagination has set her seal for good. He will travel over no more horizons; he will never again set the knapsack over his shoulders; he will retire from those scenes. He will have gone out of the business.

Ford Madox Ford : The Good Soldier

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Laika

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at 10:20 pm (Animals, Music, Videos)

Warning. This is pretty grim.

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Trentemøller - Moan

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If I Should Die, Think Only This Of Me

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at 12:30 am (Generalia, Places, Self Writ, War)

In six hours I begin the Pilgrimage to Calais, and shall attend the shrine of cheap smokes at Holy Adinkerke with a devotional coach excursion. By all accounts Calais is rather a dump, having had to be rebuilt in the modern style after the Germans bombed it in 1940, and the English in 1944. Yet the French still retain their old warm hospitality to the stranger within their midst.

This, Bertha No. 2, from World War I won't be trained on the place; but I'm sure that after a while I'll wish it was, and that I had the handling of it.

Bertha2 Canon

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Mirror Of Nature In Minneapolis

Interesting exhibition here: Nordic

Gallen-Kallela
Akseli Gallen-Kallela - Lake Keitele

And pace the post mentioning Brezhnev, a blogger here points out one of the great soviet achievements, ordered by that very Chairman, in destroying Königsberg Castle and replacing it with...

*blinks*

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Arabian Days

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at 11:56 pm (Generalia, Self Writ)

Due to meditation on intimate eschatology of late, I've been neglecting the news. Time to check up...

I should really add to my usual exclusions of sport, finance, celebrities, Great Britain, health, tv: the entire Middle East; personally having not the faintest interest in Islam nor judeo-christianity, nor any concern for Arabic cultures, I should not care greatly what happens there so long as the West stays out and supports none of the sides --- let alone impertinently rushing hysterical troops into bedrooms at night to enquire as to whether the family have anti-American attitudes ( 'Well... not before... ) --- and avoids pointless invasions. It could be made clear that aggression by individuals for the purpose of islamic imperialist fantasy would mean the instant extinction of each such individual: both the Germans and Austro-Hungarians strung up guerilla saboteurs with an entire absence of emotional distress in most wars they reluctantly engaged in. It is part of the decadence of the dominant American model that it's excess legalism, combined with a brutish scrupulosity will not allow for swift and final action against each terrorist. Although this does allow for torture and mass-bombing against people far away who have nothing to do with the terrorists.

Life would be so much simpler if the Middle East could be utterly ignored, except for their present artistic and cultural achievements fraternally offered in the cause of World Peace. They'd still sell us oil...

So the news is...

75 Afghanis killed by troops.

Hamas takes over Gaza.

Libya releases convicted medics ( accused of deliberately injecting children with AIDs ) 8 years too late. The EU instantly promises to improve Libyan hospitals.

Pakistani terrorist kills himself with hand grenade.

The Taliban promise to release hostages on a one-to-one basis.

The United Nations will send nuclear inspectors to Iran.

Iran arrests 14 Squirrels for spying.

 
Back to the Four Final Things.

Ground Squirrels

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The Fat Little Man’s Attitude To Rain

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at 6:58 pm (Literature, Other Writ)

Samuel talks to a tramp

Leisurely he returned to the path. Should he wait for nightfall or make a circuit of the town ? --- there must be a road west of the rolling mills to the north or past the big cheese factory to the south. Or should he walk boldly through the main street, endure the questions and admonitions of a vigilant constabulary, and risk being run out of town, so long as they ran him out at the right end ? He had elected for the first course even before he gave the matter consideration. The town way was too dangerous. Red Beard might be there and the fat little man who ran so surprisingly fast and threw knives with such extraordinary skill.

Another pedestrian was coming --- walking so softly on rubber shoes that Robin did not hear him until too late. He was a lank young man, very smartly dressed, with a straw hat adorned with a college ribbon tilted over his right eye. The buckle of the belt which en­circled his wasp waist and supported nicely creased trousers, was golden, his shirt beauti­fully figured. He might have just walked out of any advertisement page of almost any magazine.
The rather large mouth twisted in a grin at the sight of the ragged figure sitting by the path side.
"'Lo, bo' !"
"'Lo !" said Robin.
"Going far ?"
"Not far --- Canada, I guess. I'll get ferried over from Ogdensburg."
"Fine: got your passport 'n' everything ?"
Sarcasm was wasted on Robin.
" I'll get past on my face," he said.
The young man chuckled and offered a very silvery case . . . thought better of it and withdrew the cigarette himself. Robin respected the precaution; his hands were not very clean.
He lit the cigarette with a match that he took from the lining of his hat and smoked luxuriously.
''You won't find it easy. Those Canadian police are fierce. A fellow I know used to run hooch across, but you can't do that now --- too fierce."
He was enjoying his condescension, his fellowship with the lowly and the possibly criminal. He was broad-minded, he explained. He had often talked with the genus hobo, and had learnt a lot. Only a man of the world could talk with tramps without loss of dignity. One need not be common because one associated with common people.
"That's what I can't get our folks to under­stand," he complained. " Old people get kind of narrow-minded --- and girls. Colleges ruin girls. They get stuck up and nobody's good enough for 'um. And Europe --- meeting lords and counts that are only after their money. I say 'See America first.'"
Robin the tramp sent a cloud of grey smoke up to the pine tops.
"Somebody said it before you," he suggested. " It sounds that way to me."

The young man's name was Samuel Wasser. His father kept the biggest store in Littleburg --- Wasser's Universal Store. Samuel believed that every man was entitled to live his own life, and was careful to explain that a young man's own life was an altogether different life from any that was planned for him by people who were "past it."
"I made seven thousand dollars in one year," he said. " I got in with a live crowd fall before last --- but the Canadian police are fierce, and the Federal officers are fiercer. . . still, seven thousand !"
He was very young; had the joy of youth in displaying his own virtues and superior possessions. He rattled certain keys in his pocket, hitched up his vivid tie, looked despisingly at the main street of Littleburg and asked :
"Did you see a young lady come along ? Kind of stripey dress ? "
Robin nodded.
"I'm getting married to-night," said Samuel lugubriously. "Got to ! It's a mistake, but they're all for it. My governor and her uncle. It's tough on me. A man ought to see some­thing of life. It isn't as though I was one of these country jakes, jump at the first skirt he sees. I'm a college man and I know there's something beyond... a bigger world " --- he described illustrative circles with his hands --- "sort of --- well, you know what I mean, bo'."
Robin knew what he meant.
"Seems funny talking all this stuff to you --- but you're a man of the world. Folks look down on you boys, but you see things --- the wide open spaces of God's world."
"Sure," said Robin. The tag had a familiar ring. " Where men are men," he added. He had not seen a movie show since --- a long time; but his memory was retentive.
"Have another cigarette. . . here. . . two. I'll be getting along."

Robin followed the dapper figure of the bride­groom until it was out of sight. He wished he had asked him for a dollar.
Looking up into the western sky he saw above the dim haze that lay on the horizon, the mass of a gathering storm.
"Maybe it will come soon." he said hopefully.
Red Beard did not like rain, and the fat little man who threw knives loathed it.

Edgar Wallace : The Northing Tramp

 
Raven in Rain

Unknown - Raven's Heart

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Keep The Crossing-Stakes Beside You

KABUL town’s by Kabul river ---
Blow the bugle, draw the sword ---
There I lef’ my mate for ever,
Wet an’ drippin’ by the ford.
Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark !
There’s the river up and brimmin’, an’ there’s ’arf a squadron swimmin’
’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Kabul town’s a blasted place ---
Blow the bugle, draw the sword ---
’Strewth I sha’n’t forget ’is face
Wet an’ drippin’ by the ford !
Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark !
Keep the crossing-stakes beside you, an’ they will surely guide you
’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Kabul town is sun and dust ---
Blow the bugle, draw the sword ---
I’d ha’ sooner drownded fust
’Stead of ’im beside the ford.
Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark !
You can ’ear the ’orses threshin’, you can ’ear the men a-splashin’,
’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Kabul town was ours to take ---
Blow the bugle, draw the sword—
I’d ha’ left it for ’is sake ---
’Im that left me by the ford.
Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark !
It’s none so bloomin’ dry there; ain’t you never comin’ nigh there,
’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark ?

Kabul town’ll go to hell ---
Blow the bugle, draw the sword ---
’Fore I see him ’live an’ well ---
’Im the best beside the ford.
Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark !
Gawd ’elp ’em if they blunder, for their boots’ll pull ’em under,
By the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Turn your ’orse from Kabul town ---
Blow the bugle, draw the sword ---
’Im an’ ’arf my troop is down,
Down an’ drownded by the ford.
Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark !
There’s the river low an’ fallin’, but it ain’t no use o’ callin’
’Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

Rudyard Kipling : Ford O' Kabul River

Seal Drowning
Drowning Seal

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II : A Small Suitcase">Book-Sorting II : A Small Suitcase

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at 3:41 am (Charles I, High Germany, Literature, Royalism, Self Writ)

It continues, as cheerful a task as picking samphire, hanging with one hand to the cliff-edge. The boxes are too large, yet the only bulk purchase available and strong enough, so they'll do for storage at least; the trouble being that for the top 3" one has to add light goods, of which the stock is diminishing.

A brighter note ensued after a visit to the damp garage I maintain far away, filled with boxes that are to be transferred here. Among those I retrieved was a wooden-framed leatherette suitcase, just 12" x 18" x 6". Inside were some things I hadn't seen for at least four years.

Item: Sismondi's History of the Italian Republics, interpreted and recast by Willam Boulting around 1900. I adore this book: admittedly they are just a bunch of republics, and de Sismondi was a 19th century liberal; but... he's not biased against the Ghibellines, either the Imperial earlier type or the later party type. There's just so much there...

Item: Two casts of seals, riders on horse: one, Richard III ( ? ); one Charles II. Typical Victorian plaster-of-paris stuff.

Item: Two stiffed wrist-watches.

Item: Two German Reichbanknotes 1912, 1000 marks each; one 10 mark note of the state of Altona, Oct 1918; three 50 pfennig notes of 1921, two of Mühlhausen, one of Württemberg.

Item: A reproduction set of Mlle. Lenormand's Fortune Telling Playing Cards. Unused. As they shall remain to be.

Item: Perhaps the oldest book I have, a tiny broken 1643 copy of John Sleidan's 1556 'Of The Foure Chiefe Monarchies - or - The Key Of History' ( De quator summis Imperiis libri tres ). A previous owner was Richard Hurt who repeats his signature seven times and the date, 31st May 1661, twice all on one page. One wonders what side he took in the Civil Wars... ( Sleidan died of melancholy. )

Item: assorted paperback histories, modern.

Item: Two small, very old teaspoons; one bronze and perhaps formed with a mallet.

Item: A nibble stick for a hamster. I have never owned a hamster.

Item: Edwardian postcards of Gabrielle Ray.

Item: Edwardian postcards of cats.

Item: sub-MacGill seaside postcards, rather vulgar.

Item: A silver coin of Charles I.

Item: Ripped-off pb covers of girls.

Item: a modern faded reproduction of Durer's squirrels.

Item: A Roman military buckle.

Item: A corkscrew. I don't drink wine.

Item: Assorted magazines

Item: A packet of Wild Forest Blackberry herb teabags. It is totally unlikely I would try any herb tea; and certainly not one whose sell-by date states 1995, so I can only guess I kept in for the box.

Item: An insane pamphlet about the pseudo-royal family, the RCs, the Germans, British Intelligence, The Templars. etc. etc.
Maybe it's unfair to call it insane, since as the author ( N. H. Merton, 1994 ) is democratic, republican, nationalist, and cromwellian, it is as sane as any other production of the minds of people who adhere to any of these creeds. --- It warns that Charles of Windsor understands himself to be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, and that he has plans for his oldest son's birthday

'The Prince and his supporters now want William ritually slaughtered when he reaches the age of eighteen on the first summer solstice of the millennium.'

Maybe it rained.

 
There's more in the box, but that's enough to rifle through.

postcard 1

Gabrielle Ray 01

Muhlhausen banknotes

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Realm Of Night

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at 11:48 pm (High Germany, Music, Videos)

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Wagner - Liebestodt

Having listened to a lot of performances of the Verklärung the last two days, this seemed best. Maria Callas leaves me rather cold, and the orchestra is tinny, but... *shrugs*

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Ghost Constellation

If I were to hear you sigh
For a kiss or a letter
From the one that is by
Or away, and a better
Who could chain my heart down ? What
Reasoned consideration deter it
From beating civilization flat ?

Ah, she grows too wise for love ---
As her fool ever sings
Adonis spoiled in the love-grove,
All, all those ruined lovely things Love put his hands to, hears beneath
Elaborate urgency of love’s breath
Him domineered, fascinated by death.

Or have you transformed me from love’s stuff
From cryptic attacker turned
Ghost constellation, burn and move
Remotely about your heavens of love:
Orion may cry but never follow after
Far away where, wanderer by wanderer,
The moon lies down with the west water.

Ted Hughes

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“My Only International Rival Is Tintin”">My Only International Rival Is Tintin”

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at 1:01 am (Art, Generalia, Self Writ)

Quoth de Gaulle.

The Belgians went mad in May, for the centenary of Hergé; in 2006 the Dalai Lama gave Tintin the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth.

In Britain, a spokesthing for the Commission for Racial Etc. attacked and shrilled: "How and why do Borders think that it's okay to peddle such racist material ?" --- "The only place that it might be acceptable for this to be displayed would be in a museum, with a big sign saying 'old-fashioned, racist claptrap.'" ---"It's high time that they reconsidered their decision and removed this from their shelves," she added. The book's publishers Egmont said the book comes with a warning that it features "bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period - an interpretation some readers may find offensive".

They have warnings on books now ? As on cigarette packets and bottles of alcohol ? Weird. And the irony of bourgeois paternalism getting off on bourgeois paternalism is rather sweet. How and why ? Still, it surely makes one feel like stocking up on la Vie de Tintin. ( Although I feel it would have been a delicate tribute had M. Hergé instead retained the name of the reporter who inspired the character, M. Sexé. )

 

Tintin Ottokar cover

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Gil-Martin Tripping The Antinomialist Light Fantastic In The Parish Of Colmonel

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at 8:11 pm (Correctitude, Generalia, Royalism, Self Writ, Spengler, The Enemy)

'It is impossible to evaluate the moral compass of George W. Bush without reference to James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner'

Not only because of the theology involved, nor yet additionally because it is one of the most influential and greatest of Scots novels, explaining much about Knox's corrupting legacy that sours that troubled land.

But because I wanted to say that.

The innate manic manichaism of the pressie's inmost self does at least add an extra edge to the stern boredom of contemporary international politics: the particular wars may be strictly dumb, yet without war we are nothing; so at least he's fulfilling at least one useful function: entertainment. Much like Arnold Bennet's famous Denry Machin, 'The Card', "he’s identified with the great cause of cheering us all up.” Future generations --- if they retain the habit of reading --- will consider the War on Terror much as the same as la Grande Peur, or previous American hysteria over bolshevism...

After the Russian Revolution, Americans based their ideas of Bolshevism on the sensational half-truths of newspaper reports and on the portrayals of Communist activity in films like Dangerous Hours... . In this picture, Russian infiltration of American industry was foiled by Lloyd Hughes. The political complexities were ludicrously simplified. Audiences were shown the most heinous crime of all time: the nationalization of women. This abominable act involved a number of extras on horseback rounding up women, throwing them into dungeons, and beating them.

Kevin Brownlow - The Parade's Gone By

With all that to be said for Bush though --- and I should quote Solzhenitsyn's gnomic Russian saying that those who speak for the wolf should also speak against him, were it not for that fact that identifying Americans with lupines seems so terribly, terribly wrong, they being much the same as the stalwart, yet not immensurately daring, Slavs, as Mencken noted in the last century: ' ...nearer to the Russians than any Europeans. Russia was not like Europe, but it was strangely like America. In the same way the Russians were like Americans. They, too, were naturally religious and confiding; they, too, were below the civilized average in intelligence; and they, too, believed in democracy, and were trying to give it a trial.' --- the lack of character consequent to the Calvinist doctrine of the Elect --- it makes men mere puppets in the end --- shall finally condemn him as it condemned the deluded Wringham.

In the parish of Colmonel
By bloody Claverhouse I fell.
Who did command that I should die
For owning covenanted Presbytery.
My blood a witness still doth stand
'Gainst all defections in this land.

The Cloud of Witnesses

Damn good job well done too.

Eastman collodion print battle

Royalists and Covenanters mixing it --- George Eastman Collection

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Idealist Finishing Schools

The word dokhodyaga... applied in the camps to the men who have been reduced to such a low level mentally and physically that even as workers they are of very limited value. The name dokhodyaga is derived from the verb dokhodit which means to arrive or to reach. At first I could not understand the connection, but it was explained to me: the dokhodyagas were 'arrivistes', those who had arrived at socialism, were the finished type of citizen in the socialist society.

Vladimir Petrov

CCCP Device

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The Waters Of Separation

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at 2:00 am (Other Writ, Poetry)

By the sad waters of separation
Where we have wandered by divers ways,
I have but the shadow and imitation
Of the old memorial days.

In music I have no consolation,
No roses are pale enough for me;
The sound of the waters of separation
Surpasseth roses and melody.

By the sad waters of separation
Dimly I hear from an hidden place
The sigh of mine ancient adoration:
Hardly can I remember your face.

If you be dead, no proclamation
Sprang to me over the waste, gray sea:
Living, the waters of separation
Sever for ever your soul from me.

No man knoweth our desolation;
Memory pales of the old delight;
While the sad waters of separation
Bear us on the the ultimate night.

Ernest Dowson : Exile

Bird in field mauve

 


Edward Elgar - Enigma Variation 12 : "B. G. N."

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“So Do Muslims And Jews Not Like Each Other ?” or: When You Live In Oklahoma, You Learn To Just Not Talk About Politics.">So Do Muslims And Jews Not Like Each Other ?” or: When You Live In Oklahoma, You Learn To Just Not Talk About Politics.

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at 11:33 pm (Generalia, Other Writ, The Enemy)

Here’s a 29%-er story for y’all. I went to “A Mighty Heart” with a friend of mine, a 24 year old female. I adore her, and have nothing bad to say about her. But she thinks that George Bush is a “good man”. She likes his “morals”. I should mention that I live in (not born in) Oklahoma. Bless her heart. But she doesn’t know shit about what’s going on in the world. While we were watching the movie, I had to explain what Moussad was and why it was bad that the terrorists thought Daniel Perl was Moussad. Okay, that didn’t surprise me too much. But here’s the kicker … a little bit after, she looked at me and said, “So do Muslims and Jews not like each other?” Aye caramba. So it’s obvious all she’s really heard is the propaganda that GWB is a Christian. (if only he were)

I love her; but I share this story because it underscores part of where the 29% come from. She’s a wonderful girl with a good heart. She’s not stupid, ignorant to world events, yes. But the reason she thinks George Shithead Bush is so great, is that she actually knows nothing about him.

I don’t really bother debating politics with her, because she couldn’t bring any facts to the discussion. Anyway, when you live in Oklahoma, you learn to just not talk about politics

By PurplePatriot at Crooks and Liars 29 june 2007

Impeach Bush Girl

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Deliberate, Hesitant Pessimism: In Business

Slightly dated, but interesting, examination of America for a German perspective:

Excerpts:

The American parties are located to the right of their German counterparts. Former President Clinton for instance, a Democrat, would have to be placed at the right wing of the German conservative party CDU. Some people at the right end of the American Republican party are so extreme that they would probably be under surveillance in Germany.

I am constantly amazed by the poor quality and backwardedness of many technologies routinely employed in the US. Sometimes I think that while Germans tend to tolerate outrageous prices without complaint, Americans tolerate substandard quality.

The term "freedom" is ubiquitous in the political and public debate of the US; it is indeed a very important, if ill-defined, concept for ordinary Americans. The quotation "Whoever is willing to give up essential freedoms in order to gain some temporary security deserves neither" is repeated over and over again; I'm sure that there is at least one usenet article circulating at any given time which contains this sentence.

By contrast, Germans like their security quite a bit and are uncomfortable with the dichotomy Freedom vs. Security. They want both. In fact, when told that in the US one can be fired when getting severely ill (or for no reason at all -- so-called "at will" employees), at which point the health insurance coverage is also lost, Germans ask puzzledly "But how can people live like that?"

In the US, individualism is so deeply rooted in the public mind that many people outright deny the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively (no one denies the right of capitalists to organize in huge corporations though...).

The common stereotype of the diligent hard working German and the laid back TV watching American is rather wrong. It is my experience that Americans are generally much more hard working than Germans. For example, it is not uncommon to meet people who work two 40-hours-a-week jobs, or who work full time while also taking a full time course load at a college. Both are completely non-existent in Germany (there are rules against working too much, intended to protect workers; two full-time jobs are not allowed). Many Germans work only 35 hours a week, others 37.5, all take long vacations, and I estimate that over the whole year, the average German with a job works about two thirds the hours of the average working American.

In Germany, where it is taboo for a successful company to lay off any workers, many workers are still not very loyal to their employer: basically, the employer is the enemy who forces you to come to work every day.

In Germany, lie detectors are considered to be unreliable hocuspocus and are not used at all.

Americans smoke a lot less than Germans and virtually all public spaces except bars are smoke free. People generally look down on smokers as losers. Americans also exercise more, typically in fitness centers, which again many Germans find slightly suspect because of the closeness to body-building, which is generally considered to be utterly ridiculous.
To be fair: nowhere will you see as many drunken people as in Germany.

By contrast, the rich are not particularly well-liked in Germany. In politics, being extremely rich would certainly be an obstacle. In the back of the German's mind there's still the assumption that someone who owns that much must have exploited others to get it.

People are generally more polite and friendly. Phrases like "please", "thank you", "excuse me" and "you are welcome" are a lot more common in the US. It happens all the time that a nice girl that you have never met before smiles at you for no apparent reason. (In Germany, they do it only if they have a very good reason, which means that you're in business.)

If I had to boil it down to a word or two, I'd say naive optimism characterizes the American mentality and deliberate, hesitant pessimism the German one. This is a crass simplification and does not mean that most or even many of the people share those characteristics; it just means that, assuming these mentalities, it is possible to explain many of the differences between the two countries, such as the much higher crime rate in the US, the higher need for security and lower degree of mobility in Germany, the much lower birth rate in Germany, and the higher level of friendliness in the US.

The American friendliness is fragile however and is mixed with a strange moralistic streak: if somebody does something considered morally wrong, the normal sympathy and empathy is immediately and utterly withdrawn and exchanged with heart-felt condemnation.

Axel Boldt's Subjective Comparison Germany & USA

A rebuttal here ( including parts of the above text ):
Toybox

The author does neglect to mention that a prominent part of American mental discourse is not refraining from reminding the world that Germans were nazis back in the day, and that Americans were not.

Cat with swastika joke

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To-morrow Is My Working Day

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at 3:13 am (Other Writ, Poetry, The King of Terrors)

O my trade it is the rarest one,
Simple shepherds all ---
My trade is a sight to see;
For my customers I tie, and take ’em up on high,
And waft ’em to a far countree !

My tools are but common ones,
Simple shepherds all ---
My tools are no sight to see:
A little hempen string, and a post whereon to swing,
Are implements enough for me !

To-morrow is my working day,
Simple shepherds all ---
To-morrow is a working day for me:
For the farmer’s sheep is slain, and the lad who did it ta’en,
And on his soul may God ha’ mer-cy !

Thomas Hardy : The Stranger’s Song

 

Death with scythe

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The Lady For Ransom

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at 1:38 am (Art, Literature, Self Writ)

Alfred Dug­gan was rather an odd writer of mediæval fic­tion: he was much praised by a subtler author, a con­frère at Oxford, Evelyn Waugh, yet from the astound­ing flat­ness of his nar­rat­ive style one might be per­suaded that it was his devout cath­oli­cism and Argen­tine riches that appealed to the lat­ter aside from friend­ship. Non­ethe­less, there is cer­tainly good, if unin­tric­ate, plot­ting and a cer­tain vigour; yet in the end, lazy world-weariness and affable cyn­icism as to motives can­not quite match up to the deep­er des­pair of abso­lut­ist rectitude. The stor­ies remain pleas­ur­able to read though, in their dis­play of place and peri­od; and incred­ible know­ledge of his­tor­ic­al fact.

Any­way, I have always found The Lady For Ransom excel­lent  —  set in the last part of the 11th cen­tury, and spoken by a half Nor­man, half Byz­antine inter­pret­er, attached to the Nor­man mer­cen­ary, Rous­sel de Bal­liol, who marches from Sicily to the east to serve any Byz­antine Basili­us who hap­pens to be in power, to gain his own fief, and to die incred­ibly wealthy. Unfor­tu­nately Man­zikert occurs, which battle inter alia doomed the East­ern Empire to it’s ( very ) pro­trac­ted decline.

Best of all are the two cov­ers, neither of which in the least matches the robust heroine, Mat­ilda de Bal­liol, wife to the afore­men­tioned Rous­sel. For some reas­on, the NEL one has been one of my favour­ite book­cov­ers of all time.

Lady For RansomPD

Lady For RansomNEL

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The World Remains The Same

Poolets of gas, wholly unseen
lurk upon the straight journey
not one difference hold
these little self-held atmospheres:
no harm do they
the world remains the same
previous, within, and out.
If you refuse the walk, they float,
and catch one even still.
Yet whichways they know you,
you may be sure
a deeper understanding fills and kills:
corruption of the past;
the empty present;
future voided.
Use continues to the normal air,
though slighted dead time.
After, one can say endure,
--- but not then.

Johann Winterfelt : The Moments.

Odin Stone

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Showgirls And Bruckner

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at 12:57 am (Art, High Germany, Music, Self Writ, Videos)

I may have seen the flawed masterpiece Showgirls at one time, if so I barely remember, since the dialogue and plot was kind of boring. Best to concentrate on the visuals. However, I came across some interesting sets of images relating to the subject:

Showgirls I

Showgirls II

Showgirls III

Still... the ever-present problem of cinematic art remains: why is it that the US and British industries have been purposefully degenerating and rarely can offer work of the least integrity, whereas the Europeans, no matter how dull many films, with exceeding longuers, still manage to present attempts at the Higher Art ? I never really saw many British films that weren't stilted or embarrassing; and few American films since 1939 that weren't tiresome or infected with gross sentimentality. Anglo arthouse films are generally of a liberal bias, faulted with the propagandist intent of the dedicated didactic..

Here are excerpts from a 1995 film called Bruckner's Decision, from Pars Media [ The dramatization of a severe professional and personal crisis in the life of Anton Bruckner, who has to make the most important decision he will ever make: whether to stay in his hometown of Linz as a teacher and organist or go to Vienna to work as a composer ], the first is included for completeness, yet even there the music redeems the longuers...

And I've just realised that Linz's most famous son no doubt had his passion for Bruckner enhanced by hometown pride.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

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Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner

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at 10:03 pm (Generalia, Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy)

"The hate criminal probably needs rigorous deprogramming like the extreme measures taken by parents to counter the brainwashing of children by lunatic cults. It is bizarre that criminal justice officials try to do more to change the belief and behaviour of johns charged with prostitution than they do with the Ernst Zündels and Jim Keegstras of the world. We send the consumers of prostitution to "john school." We send the bigot to jail to sit and stew, and the suffering is just used by the bigot to reinforce the righteousness of delusional views."

"Just as some cancers require invasive surgery, the hate crime needs intrusive measures. The usual out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach to modern punishment just won't work in this case. For crimes of supreme stupidity we need Clockwork Orange justice -- strapping the hate criminal into a chair for an interminable period, and keeping his eyes wide-open with metal clamps so he cannot escape from an onslaught of cinematic imagery carefully designed to break his neurotic attachment to self-induced intellectual impairment."

"In the context of hate crime, I do have some regrets that we have a constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. I don't think coercive persuasion or deprogramming is necessarily cruel, but as a state sanction it is unusual. However, if the crime is unique the sanction should be also. Simply dishing out more prison time or a larger fine is a dead-end. We need a punishment that can kick-start a brain."

"Regrettably when it comes to punishment, our system rarely exhibits ingenuity, audacity and courage."

Dr. Alan Young
Toronto Star 28 March 2004

L. I. Brezhnev on bier

L. I. Brezhnev lying very still

"I thought you brought the stake..."
"No, you were supposed to."
"My knife broke, and I was too drunk after the party, and the woodcutter was out."
*shrugs*:
"Aww, well: nobody will notice."
"Da: it'll all be the same in a hundred years..."
"I'm thirsty."

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Book-Sorting I

At present I am des­ultor­ily pack­ing books into card­board boxes: now this, by the nature of books and boxes can’t be done sequen­tially; fit, rather than sub­ject or which shelf or stack, dic­tates the order of pro­ced­ure. Which of course applies to life as well.

How­ever, I do, or shall, try roughly to get one sec­tion elim­in­ated at a time as much as pos­sible; yet in order to fill a space one resorts where one will. With the last box a thin flat space remained and I went to a shelf in my bed­room untouched so far  —  not merely for the reas­on given, but because it is about 6′ long and 2′ 6″ high and is filled to the shelf above with wide flat books and magazines  —  and with­drew one of the requis­ite size. Now, I should not want to give the impres­sion that my books are of value: only about 20% of all have any great charm, and few deal­ers would buy them; the last 25% are of no interest even to me, and only kept because someone has to keep them pre­served. Which is the point of this post regard­ing the par­tic­u­lar volume selec­ted.

I had not the faintest idea I had ever pos­sessed this work, and have no recol­lec­tion, not unnat­ur­ally, of buy­ing it; how­ever, with the cov­ers com­ing off, I can see it cost £2, and bear­ing in mind it’s place on the shelf, was prob­ably bought in the last five years. Not read­ing sheet-music, I’d not sat down to enjoy a steady per­us­al, and so, again nat­ur­ally, had found some­where to shove it and for­got.

But the point is the book was safe, and no doubt many times in the last two cen­tur­ies had faced being scrapped at any time. How long will it sur­vive my death ? One can safely estim­ate that the phys­ic­al life-span of most books is under 500 years; and that the major­ity cer­tainly don’t reach their cen­tury. In a coun­try where, under pro­gress­ive rule, the status of old books is roughly equi­val­ent to that of old build­ings: things that are not-so-secretly desired to be scrapped for bright new edi­fices that will make some happy scum, some­where, rich­er; a place where in the last dec­ade lib­rar­ies have dumped 18th cen­tury and older works in skips: the out­look is not that good for any lit­er­ary remains.

Any­way, one of my few gifts is a fairly sound apprais­al of the date of a book just by hold­ing it and look­ing. I would say that it is prob­ably about 1823. It has been heav­ily used since that time, and around 7 gen­er­a­tions of house­wives, just, failed to throw it out.

Even odder to con­sider is the life of each who has owned it since that time, the lives of their fam­il­ies branch­ing out and inter­twin­ing into the rest of the world; the lives of the pub­lish­ers and sellers through the years; the people who marbled it, and the people who sewed it ori­gin­ally… Every world item is mul­tum in par­vo from the view of all­being.


Mozart Cover A


Mozart Cover A


Mozart Cover A

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