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Acqua Alta

api
(Correctitude, Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

Elec­tions are of such futile import it is best to ignore the sad res­ults of the feb­rile com­bin­a­tion of the illu­sions of a trav­el­ling show and a horser­ace, yet in this case the white smoke will pro­nounce Pope Don­ald the Golden, a man of such imper­i­ous awful­ness that only a couple of reas­ons should give him the grass crown: he is not Hil­lary; and the estab­lish­ment of dunces, includ­ing the ludicrous mass media who were so firmly in the bag for this scoundrel’s unbear­able oppon­ent, will hope­fully implode in shock and awe.

For the rest of us, it not being a mush­room cloud, as would announce Hil­lary, must needs suf­fice.

 

Chester­ton was pretty much a scoun­drel him­self, start­ing off as a foul repub­lic­an, and with his cloy­ing devo­tion to Rome ( and anti-Germanic French ras­cal­ity ) which today is served by the most nut­tily devout Cath­olic blogs; but he was a great poet, and still great­er romantic. And to his death he moved, as did Shaw, some­what near­er the truth of Roy­al­ism: had all these old chaps of that gen­er­a­tion lived another 100 years, they might have approached the throne of Legit­im­at­ism they had rejec­ted so vehe­mently in press and print their whole lives.

 

 

Out of the mouth of the Mother of God,
More than the doors of doom,
I call the muster of Wessex men
From grassy ham­let or ditch or den,
To break and be broken, God knows when,
But I have seen for whom.

“Out of the mouth of the Mother of God
Like a little word come I;
For I go gath­er­ing Chris­ti­an men
From sunken pav­ing and ford and fen,
To die in a battle, God knows when,
By God, but I know why.

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
‘No more of com­fort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows dark­er yet
And the sea rises higher.’”

 

Gil­bert Keith Chester­ton : The Bal­lad of the White Horse

 

 

Drowned Landscape

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Once, I Lived The Life Of A Millionaire

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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The Lost Soul’s Cry

international
(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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The Rats’ Requiem

api
(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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Marisa's Destruction Chart

 

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

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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To Attach The Electrodes Of Knowledge To The Nipples Of Ignorance

international
(Correctitude, High Germany, Literature, Manners not Morals, Other Writ)

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

api
(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

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

international
(Correctitude, High Germany, Other Writ, Poetry)

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 Pleasure Was Enhanced

api
(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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The Most Important Truth You Will Ever Know

People can be persuaded to believe anything provided they understand that this is what they are expected to believe

 

That took years to formulate, but the comforting part is that very few of the mass will ever believe it.

 

German Crusader

 

Anyway, it can be tied into a Russian fable quoted later. In the mean time, the instability of server 'Amp' appears to have perhaps stopped, and Serene Falcon is back to it's previous quiet efficiency: however the sloth of page-opening is also part of that normal state, so sooner or later it will be moved to the fastest servers in the west, Teksapiens, whom I found on the faintest of hints from this source.

Still, however unlikely, the Internal Security Division of Serene Falcon had to look for any evidence of hacking; which was not found: to the easily awestruck 'hacking' appears like some rough magic by which the threatening deliver some arcane spell at a site like a videogame wizard easily manipulating all though a mysterious and unnameable exploit which vanishes when suspected. In prosaic real life traces are always left, and for php even the powerful c99madshell needs to have been uploaded via FTP or through allowed uploads for the attacker to work; simply doing a date search for the most recent files will show if any of those was compromised... Should one find evidence in Wordpress, there are the options of looking for backdoors and eliminating them or cleaning the install.

To some others, including alas, state authorities, hacking is childsplay. Literally.

A new survey has revealed that while 78 percent of them agree that it is wrong, a quarter of the kids asked admitted that hacking really is child's play.
The survey of more than 1000 children discovered that the boy hacker stereotype no longer holds true, with 47 percent of those who put their hands up to hacking activity being girls.
The most common scene of the crime would appear to be the relatively safe haven of the bedroom with 27 percent saying this was where they hacked from, while 22 percent were hacking in an Internet Cafe, 21 percent using the ICT suite at school and 19 percent a mate's machine.
...
Cumbria Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde ACPO lead on E-Crime Prevention and President of the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (POLCYB) says "what this survey starkly highlights is that hacking into personal online accounts whether email or Facebook can be child’s play if users do not protect their own passwords. It illustrates the importance of keeping your passwords strong, secure and changing them regularly to help protect your accounts from unscrupulous people of all ages. We live in a world where social networking, email and the internet are embedded into our every day lives from a far younger age so early education is essential to ensure young people know the devastating consequences this activity can have...."

Whilst offering some reluctant admiration for whoever came up with 'Policing of Cyberspace', and much less admiration for the feeble attempt to emphasize the tenuous reach for supposed feminist equality in the hackosphere, it is unnerving to realise that police consider breaking into a friend's Facebook account by guessing their password as expert hacking or cracking.

Over in Africa they are a little more sophisticated --- which is not something said very often, considering that in South Africa setting people on fire is a pastime and up in Somalia they drive a truckload of stones into a stadium to punish a 13-yr-old girl for reporting her rape ( a few of the 1000 strong spectators protested ): a touch of modernity was provided by having nurses discover whether she was dead yet, and finding this not so, reburying her for the next volley of stones. A touch of multiculturalism makes the whole world kin --- and if this is what may be expected from there, still more ingenious efforts will be forthcoming from Russia and China as they and we spiral downwards.

Imagine a network of virus-driven computers so infectious that it could bring down the world's top 10 leading economies with just a few strokes. It would require about 100 million computers working together as one, a "botnet" — the cybersecurity world's version of a WMD. But unlike its conventional weapons equivalent, this threat is the subject of no geopolitical row or diplomatic initiative. That's because no one sees it coming — straight out of Africa.
Cybercrime is growing at a faster rate in Africa than on any other continent in the world, according to statistics presented at a conference on the matter in Cote D'Ivoire in 2008. Cybersecurity experts estimate that 80 percent of PCs on the African continent are already infected with viruses and other malicious software. And while that may not have been too worrisome for the international economy a few years ago (just like the continuing war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not affect our daily lives), the arrival of broadband service to Africa means that is about to change. The new undersea broadband Internet cables being installed today will make Africa no further away from New York than, say, Boston, in the virtual world.
Broadband Internet access will allow Africa's virus and malware problems to go global. With more users able to access the Internet (and faster), larger amounts of data can be transferred both out and inward. More spam messages in your inbox from Africa's email fraudsters will be only the beginning.

Franz-Stefan Gady NPR

 

At least the admirable Dancho Danchev's Blog - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge helps maintain some record of current threats. But apart from the superstrikes of the future being far more intense, there are still more pressing dangers than common criminals or the purely spiteful.

 
From Dark Reading, Mr. Gadi Evron reports:

Today I'd like to introduce you to one of the main thinkers on information warfare, who most of you never heard of. S.P. Rastorguev (Расторгуев C.П.). He is a Russian strategist who unfortunately, as far as I can find, hasn't been translated.
He wrote several books, but the one I will be speaking of is called literally Information Warfare ( Informatsionnaya voina -- Информационная война ). In it, he discusses the human animal and how viruses of the mind can work just as well as viruses in computer systems, exploring many models of exploitation.
While he covers many concepts, the one I was introduced to originally is the story of the fox and the turtle.
Here is a slightly altered, and shortened, version ( full and accurate version below ):

A turtle walks through the forest, enjoying the view. She runs into a fox, who says: "Turtle, turtle, get out of your shell and you can fly."
The turtle stares skeptically at the fox, and keeps on walking.
Eventually, traveling through the forest the turtle comes across a television set. She watches as hundreds of turtles get out of their shells, and fly.
She gets out of her shell, and she flies.

I'm gonna say I found this as clear as crystal, as I suspect really did the writer, who goes on,

When I first heard this story, I was confused. What was the moral of the story ? Deception ? Perhaps strategy ?
A friend of mine explained it as Sergei Rastorguev did at the end of the story: "The turtle didn't know and never will, that information warfare --- it is the purposeful training of an enemy on how to remove its own shell."

...

The following translation of the fox and turtle story was done by Ilya Konstantinov, as a favor to me. As to why the fox is female, you better ask a Russian literary expert, as that's just how it is in Russian fables.

There used to be an ordinary turtle who constantly carried a heavy shell on its back. The shell pressed her to the ground and every step she took was hard effort for her. That's why her life, measured by the number of those uneasy steps, was also hard.

On the other hand, when a hungry fox came running from a nearby forest, the turtle hid her head inside the shell and patiently awaited until the danger was over. The fox kept hopping around, trying to bite at the shell, trying to turn her upside down; all in all, trying all the steps typical of an aggressor, and yet the turtle prevailed.

Once upon a time, the fox got a big wallet, brought in a lawyer and, sitting across the turtle, proposed a buyout offer for the shell. The turtle considered it throughly, but due to her limited imagination, she had to refuse. And yet again, the fox left with nothing.

Time passed, the world changed, new means of telecommunication have entered the forest. One day, coming out of her house, the turtle saw a TV screen hanging off a tree, showing films of flying turtles, shell-less. Breathless with excitement, the woodpecker-announcer spoke of their flight: "Such a lightness ! What a speed ! How beautiful ! Such an elegance !". The turtle watched the show that day, and the next day, and the day after...
And then a thought arose in her little mind, about how stupid she is to carry around that weight - the shell. Wouldn't she be better getting it off? Life would be much easier. Scarier ? Yeah, a bit scarier, but the news anchor-owl announced that the fox has turned to the Krishnas and became vegetarian.

The world is changing. The forest is also completely different; there are less and less trees and distinctive animals, and more and more indistinguishable stray dogs and jackals.
"And really, why shouldn't I fly ? The skies --- they're so big and wonderful!"
"If only I gave up the shell, and --- right away - - life would be easier !" --- thought the turtle
"If only she gave up the shell, and --- right away --- she'd be easier to eat" -- thought the fox, signing on the bill for yet another advertisement of flying turtles
And one beautiful morning, when the skies seemed larger than ever, the turtle has made her first and last step towards freedom of her protection system.

The turtle didn't know and never will, that information warfare -- it is the purposeful training of an enemy on how to remove its own shell.

 
Thanks to the useful idiots of liberalism --- which includes every ideology since the 17th century, the Decline of the West is assured.

 

 

Eve and Apple

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& Saxt">Jamie First & Saxt

international
(Correctitude, High Germany, Manners not Morals, Other Writ, Royalism, Stuarts)

Fre­d­er­ick now asked his father-in-law, as a part­ing gift to him, to grant liber­ty to one of the unhappy band of polit­ic­al pris­on­ers whose lifelong deten­tion in the Tower was a pub­lic scan­dal. His can­did­ate was the least obnox­ious pos­sible. Lord Grey de Wilton, the young Pur­it­an noble who had been con­demned to death for par­ti­cip­a­tion in the Bye Plot, had been now immured for ten years, and his spir­it was repor­ted much broken. Fre­d­er­ick made his request, and caught a ter­ri­fy­ing glimpse of a James Stu­art hither­to unknown to him, not the Prin­cess Elizabeth’s “dear dad”, learned, lax and lov­ing, but the James Stu­art of the Gowrie Con­spir­acy and Gun­powder Plot.

Car­o­la Oman : Eliza­beth of Bohemia.
 

 

Kitten Staring

 

 

And just to drive home a point with icy charm…
 

James’s even­tu­al dis­missal of Frederick’s suit was well cal­cu­lated to crush a nervous youth. “Son, when I come into Ger­many I will prom­ise you not to impor­tune you for any of your pris­on­ers”.

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The Condition Of All Earthly Things

api
(Charles I, Correctitude, Other Writ, Royalism, Spengler, Stuarts)

If all these things aforesaid were indeed performed, as we haue shewed them in words, you should haue a perfect Orchard in nature and substance, begunne to your hand; And yet are all these things nothing, if you want that skill to keepe and dresse your trees. Such is the condition of all earthly things, whereby a man receiueth profit or pleasure, that they degenerate presently without good ordering. Man himselfe left to himselfe, growes from his heauenly and spirituall generation, and becommeth beastly, yea deuillish to his owne kind, vnlesse he be regenerate No maruell then, if Trees make their shootes, and put their spraies disorderly. And truly ( if I were worthy to iudge ) there is not a mischiefe that breedeth greater and more generall harme to all the Orchard ( especially if they be of any continuance ) that euer I saw, ( I will not except three ) then the want of the skilfull dressing of trees. It is a common and vnskilfull opinion, and saying. Let all grow, and they will beare more fruit: and if you lop away superfluous boughes, they say, what a pitty is this ? How many apples would these haue borne? not considering there may arise hurt to your Orchard, as well ( nay rather ) by abundance, as by want of wood. Sound and thriuing plants in a good soile, will euer yeeld too much wood, and disorderly, but neuer too little. So that a skilfull and painfull Arborist, need neuer want matter to effect a plentifull and well drest Orchard: for it is an easie matter to take away superfluous boughes ( if your Gardner haue skill to know them ) whereof your plants will yeeld abundance, and skill will leaue sufficient well ordered. All ages both by rule and experience doe consent to a pruining and lopping of trees: yet haue not any that I know described vnto vs ( except in darke and generall words ) what or which are those superfluous boughes, which we must take away, and that is the chiefe and most needfull point to be knowne in lopping. And we may well assure our selues, ( as in all other Arts, so in this ) there is a vantage and dexterity, by skill, and an habite by practise out of experience, in the performance hereof for the profit of mankind; yet doe I not know ( let me speake it with the patience of our cunning Arborists ) any thing within the compasse of humane affaires so necessary, and so little regarded, not onely in Orchards, but also in all other timber trees, where or whatsoeuer.

Of the right dressing of trees

William Lawson -- A New Orchard And Garden : Or, The best way for planting, grafting, and to make any ground good, for a Rich Orchard: Particularly in the North and generally for the whole kingdome of England, as in nature, reason, situation, and all probabilitie, may and doth appeare. 1631

 

 

Charles at the Commons

Charles West Cope --- Attempted Arrest of Five Members of the House of Commons by Charles I

 

 

17th Century Garden

 

 

A. Al these squares must bee set with trees, the Gardens and other ornaments must stand in spaces betwixt the trees, & in the borders & fences.

B. Trees 20. yards asunder.

C. Garden Knots.

D. Kitchen garden.

E. Bridge.

F. Conduit.

G. Staires.

H. Walkes set with great wood thicke.

I. Walkes set with great wood round about your Orchard.

K. The out fence.

L. The out fence set with stone-fruite.

M. Mount. To force earth for a mount, or such like set it round with quicke, and lay boughes of trees strangely intermingled tops inward, with the earth in the midle.

N. Still-house.

O. Good standing for Bees, if you haue an house.

P. If the riuer run by your doore, & vnder your mount, it will be pleasant.

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The Sacredness Of Human Life

Her father swallowed something.

"You shock me sometimes, Jean," he said, a statement which amused her.

"You're such a half‑and half man," she said with a note of contempt in her voice. "You were quite willing to benefit by Jim Meredith's death; you killed him as cold‑bloodedly as you killed poor little Bulford, and yet you must whine and snivel whenever your deeds are put into plain language. What does it matter if Lydia dies now or in fifty years, time ?" she asked. "It would be different if she were immortal. You people attach so much importance to human life --- the ancients, and the Japanese amongst the modern, are the only people who have the matter in true perspective. It is no more cruel to kill a human being than it is to cut the throat of a pig to provide you with bacon. There's hardly a dish at your table which doesn't represent wilful murder, and yet you never think of it, but because the man animal can talk and dresses himself or herself in queer animal and vegetable fabrics, and decorates the body with bits of metal and pieces of glittering quartz, you give its life a value which you deny to the cattle within your gates ! Killing is a matter of expediency. Permissable if you call it war, terrible if you call it murder. To me it is just killing. If you are caught in the act of killing they kill you, and people say it is right to do so. The sacredness of human life is a slogan invented by cowards who fear death --- as you do."

Edgar Wallace : The Angel of Terror [1922]

 

 

The Scarlet Sisters

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The Expression Of Correct Concepts

international
(Correctitude, High Germany, Manners not Morals, Other Writ, Royalism)

        I have never attached another value to words than that of the expression of correct concepts, to theories never the value of deeds, and I have always regarded preconceived systems as the product of leisured heads or the outburst of emotional minds.
        Not in the struggle of society towards progress, but rather in progression towards the true goods: towards freedom as the inevitable yield of order; towards equality in its only applicable degree of that before the law; towards prosperity, inconceivable without the foundation of moral and material peace; towards credit, which can rest only on the basis of trust — in all that I have recognised the duty of government and the true salvation for the governed.
        I have looked upon despotism of every kind as a symptom of weakness. Where it appears, it is a self-punitive evil, most intolerable when it poses behind the mask of promoting the cause of freedom.

        The concept of the balancing of powers ( proposed by Montesquieu ) has always appeared to me only as a conceptual error of the English constitution, impractical in its application, because the concept of such a balancing is rooted in the assumption of an eternal struggle, instead of in that of peace, the first necessity for the life and prosperity of states.
        The care for the inner life of states has always had for me the worth of the most important task for governments.
        As the foundations for politics I recognise the concepts of right and equity and not the sole calculations of use, whilst I look upon capricious politics as an ever self-punitive confusion of the spirit.

        My conduct is a prosaic and not a poetical one. I am a man of right, and reject in all things appearance where it divides as such from truth, thereupon deprived as the foundation of right, where it must inevitably dissolve into error.

        For me the word “freedom” has not the value of a starting-point, but rather that of an actual point of arrival. The word “order” denotes the starting-point. Only on the concept of order can that of freedom rest. Without the foundation of order, the call for freedom is nothing more than the striving of some party after an envisaged end. In its actual use, the call inevitably expresses itself as tyranny. Whilst I have at all times and in all situations ever been a man of order, my striving was addressed to true and not deceptive freedom. In my eyes, tyranny of any kind has only the value of absolute nonsense. As a means to an end, I mark it as the most vapid that time and circumstance is able to place at the disposal of rulers.
        The concept of order in view of legislation --- the foundation of order --- is, in consequence of the conditions under which states live, capable of the most varied application. Considered as constitution, it will prove itself best for any state that answers to the demands of both the material conditions and those moral conditions peculiar to the national character. There is no universal recipe for constitutions, just as little as there is some universal means for the boosting of health.

        I did not govern the empire. Therein the powers at every level were not just strictly administered and directed to their competences, but rather in this regard were even relinquished to trepidation, which brought hesitancy to the course of affairs. The principle of government of the Emperor Francis was set forth in the motto “Justitia regnorum fundamentum”, not only as it lay in his spirit and character, but also as it served him as strict guide in all governmental affairs. He agreed with my observation that the axiom, correct in its point of origin, could be abrogated in the excessive practice of particular cases, but he usually added: “I was born and through my status appointed for the execution of justice; the inevitable hardness in particular cases is better than the slackening of rule through too many exceptions.” My motto is “Strength in Right”. Both sayings run together in meaning, except that the imperial motto has an abstractly judicial significance, whereas mine has a significance more grounded in state law. In this regard, the motto “Recta tueri”, suggested by me to Emperor Ferdinand upon his most supreme accession, bids a further nuance.

Excerpts from The Political Testament of Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein, as translated by Deoholwulf, Keeper of The Joy of Curmudgeonry

Full text here.

 

 

Cock Robin

The Spirit of Eternal Justice Succouring the Stricken State

 
Actually, Kathleen Wallis Coales --- Cock Robin and the Flower Fairy

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Ye Strong and Holy Angels

api
(Correctitude, Self Writ, The King of Terrors)

"I Conjure and Call upon you ye Strong and Holy Angels Good and Powerfull in a Strong Name of Fear and Praise, Ja, Adonay, Elohim, Saday, Saday, Saday;
 
Eie, Eie, Eie;
 
Asamie, Asamie;
 
and in the Name of Adonay the God of Israel who hath made the Two Great Lights and Distinguished Day from Night for the benefit of his creatures and by the names of all the Discerning Angels Governing Openly in the Second House, before the great angel Tetra, Strong and Powerfull, and by the name of his star which is called Mercury and by the name of his Seal which is that of a Powerfull and Honoured God;
 
and I call upon thee Raphael and by the names ( abovementioned ) thou Great Angel who presidest over the Fourth Day and by the Holy Name which is written in the front of Aaron created the Most High Priest and by the names of all the Angels who are constant in the Grace of Christ and by the name of Ammalium that you assist me in my labours.

 
The General Conjuration of Wednesday
 
From Cunning Murrell's "The Book of Magic and Conjurations." ---unpublished.
 
 

Cunning Murrell was perhaps the greatest local conjurer or wiseman of the 19th century. Born in Rochford, Essex in 1780, James Murrell, the seventh son of a seventh son, he died --- having predicted the moment of passing --- in 1860, having passed most of his life in Hadleigh, Essex. Consulted by thousands, some from as far as London, which was further afield than now to our ancestors, he was memorialised by Arthur Morrison, the once famous writer of short stories around the '90s, and could counter baneful witchcraft in many of it's attacks, including in the case of Sarah Mott one so afflicted that she ran upsidedown upon ceilings 'like a bluebottle'.
 
Apart from his astronomical learning --- he could point to a star and name her --- and rough medical practise with both humans and other animals, he had a meagre education and lived in a tiny cottage, and his success was obviously more due, after his fairly unique psychic gifts, to force of will.

 

A cunningman has no connection with witchcraft in it's myriad forms; some witchcraft can be good and much of it is bad and barren, but wisemen and wisewomen utilized their powers to shield the unwary from the terrors it inflicted upon the minds of the guileless.

 
 
 

Young Witch

A Good Witch

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Why I Don’t Eat Eggs

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 
 

One gets soon bored with people arguing that milk and poultry farming pose no harm to animals; as a vegan I've neither objection to straight vegetarianism nor any wish to convert people to the straiter gate: but, whilst I once made the finest omelettes imaginable, I do so no more.

From Mercy for Animals comes this video, Tiniest Victims, which was further reproduced on Google-Youtube.

 
 

Thrown, dropped, mutilated, and ground-up alive. This is the shocking reality faced by hundreds of thousands of chicks each day at the world's largest egg-laying breed hatchery – Hy-Line International in Spencer, Iowa.

New hidden camera footage obtained at this facility during a Mercy For Animals undercover investigation gives a disturbing glimpse into the cruel and industrialized reality of modern hatcheries.

The warm, comforting, and protective wings of these newly hatched chicks' mothers have been replaced with massive machines, quickly moving conveyor belts, harsh handling, and distressing noise. These young animals are sorted, discarded, and handled like mere cogs in a machine.

For the nearly 150,000 male chicks who hatch every 24 hours at this Hy-Line facility, their lives begin and end the same day. Grabbed by their fragile wings by workers known as "sexers," who separate males from females, these young animals are callously thrown into chutes and hauled away to their deaths. They are destined to die on day one because they cannot produce eggs and do not grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat. Their lives are cut short when they are dropped into a grinding machine – tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator.

Over 30 million male chicks meet their fate this way each year at this facility.

For the surviving females, this is the beginning of a life of cruelty and confinement at the hands of the egg industry. Before even leaving the hatchery they will be snapped by their heads into a spinning debeaker – a portion of their sensitive beaks removed by a laser. Workers toss and rummage through them before they are placed 100 per crowded box and shipped across the country.

 
 
 

Chick in Bed

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Like A Small Grey Coffee-Pot

international
(Animals, Correctitude, Self Writ)

Further to the last, let us consider the squirrels...

In the dying days of the Bushie Reich, the old buster omitted either to spend half of the income on covering the USA with concrete, presumably feeling this was redundant, or more pertinently, to shoot his fool head off --- then again he never had a traditionalist bone in his body --- but did find time to take West Virginian Flying Squirrels off the Endangered Species List.

We can only hope that Obama, despite coming not to destroy the Bush Law or the Neocon Prophets, but to fulfil, will rectify both the plight of the squirrels and the leaving of the White House in the approved manner. If only he could be persuaded to regard them as furry little bankers, wisely hoarding their nuts for the benefit of all... bankers.

However, disreputable little shysters are not really this post's remit; but rather to mention that I have lived my entire life without knowing that Sugar Gliders existed --- then again, on mentioning this to some New Zealanders, neither had they; despite the Gliders' habitat being down under.

These noble little creatures are very similar to their cousins, Flying Squirrels, other than being marsupial. I came across them by accident whilst looking up Geothermal and finding this charming page of pets. Neither look very like regular squirrels, who both Red and Grey are adorable enough.

This slightly compensated for finding out in the search for Geothermal Installations that American business, true to that old Yankee shrewdness of yore, when they spent great time and effort in creating wooden nutmegs for sale to others, when it would have probably have been just easier to grow the damn nutmegs, have once again managed their time-honoured tradition of bait n' switch by producing a different --- not necessarily inferior, but usually so --- technology and calling it by the same name the rest of the world applies to the original. When we think of geothermal installs the futuristic example of Iceland is to the fore ( admittedly this is helped by certain geological features, but it's not as if the Western USA is stranger to earthquake, ex-volcanoes or geysers [ an Icelandic word ] ), yet according to a post on TerraPass...

True geothermal energy which is used as a prime energy source uses an underground heat source, such as hot water/geysers often heat by volcanic activity. This is what is common in Iceland. The heat may be used to heat a building or converted into electricity for other uses.

Ground-source heat pumps uses the earth as a semi-infinite heat exchanger/heat sink in order the greatly increase the efficiency of a refrigeration system, but still required outside energy input. This should not be considered 'renewable energy' - this would be akin to calling the atmosphere an energy source for a traditional refrigeration system. Unfortunately, in North America this system is also frequently referred to as 'geothermal'.

This type of confusion has helped bring Google searches to the value they now possess...

 
 
 

Flying Squirrels
Flying Squirrel

 
 

Sugar Gliders
Sugar Glider

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There Is No God But Chemistry

api
(Art, Correctitude, Other Writ)

And in like man­ner, if cot­tages are ever to be wisely built again, the peas­ant must enjoy his cot­tage, and be him­self its artist, as a bird is. Shall cock-robins and yellow-hammers have wit enough to make them­selves com­fort­able, and bull­finches peck a goth­ic tracery out of dead clematis, —  and your Eng­lish yeo­man be fit­ted by his land­lord with four dead walls and a drain­pipe ? That is the res­ult of your spend­ing 300,000l. a year at Kens­ing­ton in sci­ence and art then ? You have made beau­ti­ful machines, too, where­with you save the peas­ant the trouble of plough­ing and reap­ing, and thresh­ing; and after being saved all that time and toil, and get­ting, one would think, leis­ure enough for his edu­ca­tion, you have to lodge him also, as you drop a pup­pet into a deal box, and you lose money in doing it ! and two hun­dred years ago, without steam, without elec­tri­city, almost without books, and alto­geth­er without help from “Cassell’s Edu­cat­or” or the morn­ing news­pa­pers, the Swiss shep­herd could build him­self a châ­let, dain­tily carved, and with flour­ished inscrip­tions, and with red and blue and white ηοικιλία ; and the bur­gess of Stras­burg could build him­self a house like this I showed you, and a spire such as all men know; and keep a pre­cious book or two in his pub­lic lib­rary, and praise God for all: while we,  —  what are we good for, but to dam­age the spire, knock down half the houses, and burn the lib­rary, —  and declare there is no God but Chem­istry ?

What are we good for ? Are even our engines of destruc­tion use­ful to us ? Do they give us real power ? Once, indeed, not like hal­cy­ons, but like sea-eagles, we had our homes upon the sea; fear­less alike of storm or enemy, winged like the wave pet­rel; and as Arabs of an indeed path­less desert, we dwelt in the pres­ence of all our brethren. Our pride is fallen; no reed shaken with the wind, near the little singing halcyon’s nest is more trem­u­lous than we are now; though we have built iron nests on the sea, with walls impreg­nable. We have lost our pride  —  but have we gained peace ? Do we even care to seek it, how much less strive to make it ?

John Ruskin : The Eagle’s Nest

 
 
Alice M gracious living

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Ingrata Patria, Né Ossa Quidem Habebis

In the daies of Tiberius the Emperor, there was a yong Raven hatched in a neast upon the church of Castor and Pollux, which, to make a triall how he could flie, took his first flight into a shoomakers shop just overagainst the said church. The maister of the shop was well ynough content to receive this bird, as commended to him from so sacred a place, and in that regard set great store by it. This Raven in short time being acquainted to mans speech, began to speak, & every morning would fly up to the top of the Rostra or publicke pulpit for Orations, where, turning to the open Forum and market place, he would salute and bid Good morrow to Tiberius Cæsar, and after him, to Germanicus and Drusus the yong princes, both Cæsars, every one by their names: and anon the people of Rome also that passed by. And when hee had so done, afterwards would flie againe to the shoomakers shop aforesaid. This duty practised he and continued for many years together, to the great wonder and admiration of all men. Now it fell out so, that another shoomaker, who had taken the next corviners shop unto him, either upon a malicious envie that hee occupied so neere him, or some suddaine splene and passion of choller (as he would seeme to plead for his excuse) for that the Raven chaunced to meute a little, and set some spot upon a paire of his shoes, killed the said Raven. Whereat the people tooke such indignation, that they rising in an uprore, first drove him out of that street, and made that quarter of the city too hote for him: and not long after murdered him for it. But contrariwise, the carkasse of the dead Raven was solemnely enterred, and the funerals performed with all ceremoniall obsequies that could bee devised. For the corps of this bird was bestowed in a coffin, couch, or bed, and the same bedecked with chaplets and guirlands of fresh floures of all sorts, carried upon the shoulders of two blacke Mores, with minstrels before, sounding the haut-boies, and playing on the fife, as farre as to the funerall fire; which was piled and made in the right hand of the causey Appia, two miles without the cittie, in a certain plaine or open field called Rediculi. So highly reputed the people of Rome that readie wit and apt disposition in a bird, as they thought it a sufficient cause to ordaine a sumptuous buriall therefore: yea, and to revenge the death thereof, by murdering a cittizen of Rome in that citie, wherein many a brave man and noble person died, and no man ever solemnized their funerals: in that citie I say which affoorded not one man to revenge the unworthie death of that renowned Scipio Æmylianus, after he had woon both Carthage and Numantia. This happened the fifth day before the Calends of Aprill, in the yeare when M. Servilius and C. Cestius were Consuls of Rome.

C. Plinius Secundus --- The Historie of the World trans: Philemon Holland

 
[ Scipio Aemilianus being the despicable liberal Optimate, of course, and not the brilliant Africanus: so why should any honest man care about the death of the enemy of Africanus's grandsons, the admirable Gracchi ? ]

 

Crow with Stars

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God Rest Us, Everyone

international
(Correctitude, Music, Self Writ)

Had I slaves --- the moral issue of ownership discarded, it being the natural state of mankind: the majority of my, your, and even the Kings of this earth's, ancestors having been slaves in one form or another [ we do our best not to boast of those producing for us from the poorest to the wealthiest in 15 hours a day Chinese factories or coffee plantations under the beneficent order of free-trade, yet they too exist in the peripheral view of our consciousness ] --- I should be a damn fine owner and probably only have them work two hours a day, and in the same conditions of life as I do; ideally, I would prefer neither slaves nor servants, merely utterly faithful retainers who fawned a lot and nodded acquiescently whenever I gave out a pithy gnomic utterance fitted to their state of understanding; however, no matter how ideal their lives and how well-protected I should keep them from harm, illness or education, under no circumstance would I ever swap places for a day with them, even in so limited a fashion as was minimally performed by the ancients. I not only have a tedious sense of propriety, but it's imperative never to give them ideas; so rather cheerful Yule, or happy Solstice than the orgy of Saturnalia... Still, all three undoubtedly included one tradition that has carried over into our modern Christmas, which is some depressing guest wondering aloud how many of those present will see the next. In that spirit I offer a foretaste of Christmas, with many ingredients I should undoubtedly overlook were I to wait a few months for the real thing. Even supposing we were all alive then.

 

Drew Carey crow

 
Firstly, two contrasting Swedish renditions of O Holy Night ( O Helga Natt ), by Jussi Bjorling and Sissel ( not together ). [ No video. ]

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

maid at window

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

Kids with snowman

 
A lone Swedish girl offered her love to the world last Christmas:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

Winter Miracles

 
Whilst some others briefly sang the by no means Christmasful, but undoubtedly perfect, song: Mein Hut der hat Drei Ecken [ Full Lyrics: Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken, drei Ecken hat mein Hut. Und hätt' er nicht drei Ecken, so wär' er nicht mein Hut ! ]

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

Polar Family

 

Santa Lucia
Santa Lucia Day

 
Then, flying on a goose's back straight from Rumsfeld's Old Norse Europe to the raw energy of the New, one can see the immediate contrast from the decadence of ruins with 'Hannah Montana's' vibrant Rocking' Around The Christmas Tree; not only has American civilisation the pure innocence of vacuity, and an awesome instantaneous sharing of screaming community --- along with godknowswhatthosecreaturesare; but it appears to be set in summer's lease.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

Grack

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As Cold As Ice

api
(Animals, Correctitude, Manners not Morals, Melancholy, Music, Self Writ)

Depression came early this autumn. Sufficiently accounting for going AWOL; yet viewers would be correct to strongly demand a notification such as this, yet ennui waits for no man

 

2 Girls

 
 
Glancing through one of those not unamusing collections of fake-medieval detective stories, and was so struck by this beginning sentence by a Mr. Paul Harding, I fast checked the reference online, yet could not find any such thing in the work quoted.

'I was reading Bartholomew the Englishman's The Nature of Things in which he describes the planet Saturn as cold as ice, dark as night and malignant as Satan.'

A quick check astrological showed the ruling house of the hour i was born to be Saturn : not believing in this discipline in the least, this was previously unknown to me, it just seemed kinda inevitable...

[ Why I disbelieve may be shown, not only by the unlikelihood of vast symbols influencing our self-wrought nature, but by the interpretation given:

This astrological combination indicates a headstrong individual with a fiercely passionate nature. Your likes and dislikes are intense, and you tend to impose your will and taste upon others. You will rise to positions of leadership, for you display unusual courage and independence. Your nature is practical, and your goals are very much tied to matters of this world. You are stubborn in your views and you are ardently jealous of your possessions and values. Although you conduct your own affairs in semi-secrecy, you have to probe into the life of your love partner. Much about you is deep. You store away your emotions, hide your resentments, bury away knowledge. The key to a more harmonious self lies in cultivating humility and greater self-control of your one-directional, assertive personality.

Apart from the fact I can't recognise any of this; I love the sheer unsubtility of the gross flattery astrologers offer: no wonder they were so popular in braver times. And I've already got enough humility. ]

 

Ice Towers

[ Possibly the first image I ever had on my first computer aons back ]

 

***

Neanderthal Days and Neanderthal Ways

And of Ice, I read up on Afrocentric 'history' just for a laugh, and came across some work by a Michael Bradley referenced, popular in the Farrakhan School, The Iceman Inheritance : Prehistoric Sources of Western Man's Racism, Sexism and Aggression, which promulgated that white people descended partly from those crazy red-haired neanderthals, and that modern pathologies particular to western civilisations are caused by sexual dysfunction of cold neanderthal hearts --- my lack of faith in psychosexual therapy, really all therapies, indicates that I am quite sure that it is as fully successful in analysis conducted at a range of 40,000 years as in the immediate present --- still, I was slightly pleased, since if we are all different species rather than merely different races, then all our white 'sins' are both natural and indeed, ineluctable.

Apparently the book proffered the additional delight that the jews are the purest form of neanderthals; amusingly referenced here in a resigned list of things certain peoples believe about the jews. Just remember that every believer is entitled to their vote under any democracy, and marvel that anyone is truly stupid enough to believe in democracy.

I took a few online sociopathy tests for fun, which results varied as wildly as astrology, although all gratifyingly scored around the higher marks. Although I can scarcely doubt being an amoral sociopath, honour and the vagaries of luck forbid the more volatile expressing of such tendencies; the trouble is that I really couldn't care enough about people to want to kill them; even minute non-violent injury such as blowing up their empty car seems to mark being over-passionately engaged in the mundane world [ as does noticing they live, of course ], unless they offer really serious provocation, natüralich. As with all other animals, each gets individual respect, and should not be killed or injured in the slightest unless they threaten --- if a bear is likely to harm one, then murdering it is justified: old lunatics like this fellow who shot a nursing bear eating birdseed really ought at least to receive enough punishment to send them to Hell. P'raps being fastened to a steering wheel and blown up with plastique as happened to the fellow in Ambler's Send No More Roses, or something of that order ? [ Actually, I knew until fairly recently a chap who claimed to have invented plastique, or some form of it at least. Very useful stuff. ] Hopefully he would not protest unbecomingly. Being cold I always abhore unnecessary suffering: but even more the suffering inflicted by victims' lack of pride. One of the most horrific and repulsive acts of modern cinema was the notorious, 'Look into your heart' scene from Miller's Crossing: Just kill the disgusting little fucker already...

 

Red Ridinghood on skulls

 

***

And They Fight Like Girls...

I also took the Inner Dragon Psych test...

 
First, tell me which breath-weapon you'd most like to control:
Lightning / Storms ~ ZOT! he he he he...

Okay, what size do you feel like inside ?
Size? Who cares? I'm the baddest dragon on this planet

Next, where would you prefer to live ?

Secluded mountain valleys, away from everything.

Which statement best describes how you feel about humans ?

They look funny. They talk funny. They act funny. They taste funny. And they fight like girls.

Select the sentence that best describes how you feel about other dragons:

Nah, that whole community thing isn't for me.

And how do you view yourself as a dragon ?
I am the shadow, the mist, and the wind. My intentions are hidden and my reasons are my own.

What's your most likely course of action if threatened ?
Just pass on by and hope they're not dumb enough to try anything - for their sake.

Given the chance, would you use magic or spells ?
Yes (including "yeah, sure, whatever", "because they might make pretty colors", etc.)

How much treasure would you hoard if you could have all you wanted ?

You cross me and I'll take what you've got. Otherwise, not much.

Lastly, which genre of music do you prefer ?
Classical, Marches, Instrumentals.

I turned out to be a White Dragon.

 

Elf with Dragon

 

The Blackbird Whistling

Other news being that I converted to Blackbird as primary music player, if solely because I love the fat little fellow. It works perfectly, even on Windows 2000 for which it is not designed; I had hoped to add one of these permanent links here, yet apart from being paralysed by choice of these charming images, they are transparent pngs, and may not come out well on this darker theme...

 

Blackbird in Space

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Fiat Justitia Ruat Cælum

Sample Jury Questions:

 
14. Where were you born ?

Near the Atlantic Ocean.

 
39. While in school, what was your favorite subject ?

Eng Lit.

 
40. What was your least favorite subject ?

Maths.

 
49. Spouse-partner’s place of birth ?

N/A --- also the compound 'spouse-partner' makes me think of mice.

 
142. Have you ever had any personal interaction with a celebrity ( such as writing a celebrity a letter, receiving a letter or photograph from a celebrity, or getting an autograph from a celebrity ) ? Yes? No ? If yes, please explain:

As a child I once wrote to an author. Got a form reply too.

 
145. Please name the person for whom you are a great fan and describe why you are a fan of that person ?

Are you hitting on me, or something ?

 
161. Do you have any affiliation with professional sports ?

Define affiliation; define professional; define sports; define never in a million years.

 
162. Have you ever experienced domestic violence in your home, either growing up or as an adult ? Please describe the circumstances and the impact it has had upon you.

Hit as a kid. No impact by now. The ashes cool.

 
172. Do you think using physical force on a fellow family member is sometimes justified ?

Certainly; s'pose they come at you with a knife ?

 
184. How do you feel about interracial marriage ?

Wholly uninterested.

 
186. Have you ever dated a person of a different race ? Yes ? No ? If yes, how did you feel about it ?

No.

 
191. When you were growing up, what was the racial and ethnic make-up of your neighborhood ?

The Celto-Saxon branch of the Nordic Race; white English. Prot in a catholic school.

 
193. Before the Simpson case, did you read any book, articles or magazines concerning DNA analysis ?

Of course.

 
201. Do you have a religious affiliation or preference ? Yes ? No ? If yes, please describe. How important would you say religion is in your life ? Would anything about your religious beliefs make it difficult for you to sit in judgement of another person ? Yes ? No ? Possibly ? How often do you attend religious services ?

a/ No.

b/ Faith informs but does not dictate.

c/ Not in the least.

c/ Annually.

 
202. What is your political affiliation ? ( Please circle ) 1. Democrat 2. Republican 3. Independent 4. Other ( please specify )

[4] Absolute monarchist by hereditary primogeniture [ Legitimist ].

 
203. Are you currently registered to vote ? Yes ? No ?

Dunno.

 
204. Did you vote in the June, 1994 primary elections ? Yes ? No ?

I have never voted. Voting is bad.

 
205. Do you consider yourself politically: Active ? Moderately active ? Inactive ?

Inactive.

 
211. Have you ever provided a urine sample to be analyzed for any purpose ? Yes ? No ? If yes, did you feel comfortable with the accuracy of the results ? Yes ? No ?

No. *coldly*.

 
212. Do you believe it is immoral or wrong to do an amniocentesis to determine whether a fetus had a genetic defect ? Yes ? No ? Don’t have an opinion ?

Never thought about it. Seems a good idea.

 
213. Have you or anyone close to you undergone amniocentesis ?

No.

 
215. Did you take science or math courses in college ?

See 40. above.

 
222. Do you have ( please check ) Security bars ? Alarms ? Guard dog ? Weapons for self-protection ?

a/ No.

b/ No.

c/ No.

d/ Various items coyly scattered here and there, [ However if threatened by an intruder I would instantly use what is to hand until they stopped twitching and life itself had fled. Prolly not my computer monitor, though, as it weighs 60lb. ]

 
230. Have you ever seen a crime being committed ( other than where you were the victim ) ? If yes, how many times and what kind of crime(s) ?

Never.

 
244. What type of books do you prefer ? ( Example: Non-fiction ? Historical ? Romance ? Espionage ? Mystery ? )

Yes.

 
248. Have you ever written a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine ? Yes ? No ? If yes, what was the subject matter of your comment:

a/ Yes.

b/ Pointing out that the use of the stunningly correct phrase 'Let Justice be done though the heavens fall' was being verminously interpreted into an utterly opposite meaning to it's true reality. Which is that you should go to the max, never blink, and damn the torpedoes.

 
249. Do you watch any of the early evening "tabloid news" programs ? Such as "Hard Copy," "Current Affair," "American Journal," etc.

*blinks* I think we have very different interests.

 
251. Which television news shows do you enjoy watching on a regular basis ?

Old Clinton era American sitcoms on my computer. Nothing else.

 
252. What are your leisure time interests, hobbies and activities ?

This and that. Might I ask why you want to know ?

 
254. What accomplishments in your life are you most proud of ?

Nothing. Pride is a vanity utterly beneath me. Every day in every way I grow more and more supercilious, though.

 
255. What groups or organizations do you belong to now or have you belonged to for a significant period of time in the past ? ( For example, bowling leagues, church groups, AA, Sierra Club, MECLA, National Rifle Association, ACLU, YWCA, PTA, NAACP, etc. )

Some Stuartist interest societies, and some wargames organisations. I was never a member of the Party.

 
257. Are there any charities or organizations to which you make donations ? Yes ? No ? If yes, please list the organizations or charities to which you contribute:

a/ Sometimes.

b/ Certainly not.

 
265. Are you a fan of the USC Trojans football team ?

You made that name up, right ?

 
270. How many hours per week do you watch sporting activities ?

-1.

 
271. Name the last three sporting events you attended.

Does school count ?

 
273. What are your favorite sports ? Why ?

Anything which involves sportsmen and spectators being quietly and painlessly killed en masse. Or at least quietly.

 
274. Name the most significant sport figure, sport program, or sporting event scandals you recall.

Back in the twenties I believe there was a baseball team in Brooklyn who threw matches or something. There was a film about it. A very dull film.

 
275. Does playing sports build an individual’s character ? Yes ? No ? Please explain your answer whether you answer yes or no:

About as much as does habitual masturbation.

 
276. Do you seek out positions of leadership ? ( Please check answer ) Always ? Often ? Seldom ? Never ?

Always if offered.

 
277. Please name the three public figures you admire most.

You're joking, aren't you ?

 
281. Do you own any special knives ( other than for cooking ), such as hunting or pen knives ?

Yes. But not for stabbing ex-wives with.

 
285. Would you like to be a juror in this case ?

Boredom is the most integral part of life; so why not ?

 
 
Back many, many years ago, there was a celebrated case of a sportsman accused of murdering his wife and her friend; I would refrain from uttering any opinion as to his guilt or innocence, because, frankly, how the hell would I know ? If the affable Mr. Simpson visited, I guess I might hide the knife-drawer though, as we say in my country. Anyway, he was tried and acquitted; various white racialists vocally forming the idea that this was due to the vast majority of the jury being black --- which is dubious at best: the main reason undoubtedly being that an equal majority were women; with a strident female prosecutor of doubtful ability. It was after all, a case difficult for a prosecutor to lose.

Among other loopy American law procedures --- such as judges being elected from the community of those who are liable to be judged; or insane sentences that exceed life-length by a factor of 10 or more [ outdone by the similar Spanish who hopefully sentence terrorists to 40,000 years ] --- is the odd idea of Voir dire whereby both prosecution and defence have the extraordinary power of selecting/rejecting putative jurors; packing juries has an old and honourable history in most jurisdictions, but only in political cases: in ordinary trials you take what you are given. In this case the procedure took 250 potentials and two months. To aid the winnowing, the prospectives were issued with a book of questions. It is a sobering thought that had I been there and answered these thus I might have been chosen. Were I black, female and mentally retarded of course.

 
There were 294 of these ridiculous questions.

 
 

Othello Poster

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“Oh, Good” Quoth The Dodo, “New Friends.”">Oh, Good” Quoth The Dodo, “New Friends.”

international
(Animals, Correctitude, Melancholy, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The King of Terrors)

In the year 1598 AD, Portuguese sailors landing on the shores of the island of Mauritius discovered a previously unknown species of bird, the Dodo. Having been isolated by its island location from contact with humanity, the dodo greeted the new visitors with a child-like innocence. The sailors mistook the gentle spirit of the dodo, and its lack of fear of the new predators, as stupidity.

 

Dodo
Sculpture by Gustav Gonne

 
About 1638, as I walked London streets, I saw the picture of a strange fowle hung out upon a clothe and myselfe with one or two more then in company went in to see it. It was kept in a chamber, and was a great fowle somewhat bigger than the largest Turky Cock, and so legged and footed, but stouter and thicker and of a more erect shape, coloured before like the breast of a young cock fesan, and on the back of dunn or dearc colour. The keeper called it a Dodo, and in the ende of a chymney in the chamber there lay a heape of large pebble stones, whereof hee gave it many in our sight, some as big as nutmegs and the keeper told us that she eats them ( conducing to digestion ), and though I remember not how far the keeper was questioned therein, yet I am confident that afterwards shee cast them all again.

Sir Hamon L'Estrange

[ A normal royalist who wrote a life of the Great King, and father of Roger, an extreme royalist journalist who battled against usurping filth in youth and age; and even gave the Dr. Goebbels of the Commonwealth, the depraved Johnny Milton a metaphorical drubbing. Goebbels without the charm, of course; for he was as inferior to the good doctor as his unspeakable master was to his tedious disciple Adolf. ]

 

Dodo 1602

 
It is near dusk in The Hague and the light is that of Frans Hals, of Rembrandt. The Dutch royal family and their guests eat and talk quietly in the great dining hall. Guards with halberds and pikes stand in the corners of the room. The family is arranged around the table; the King, Queen, some princesses, a prince, a couple of other children, and invited noble or two. Servants come out with plates and cups but they do not intrude.
On a raised platform at one end of the room an orchestra plays dinner music—a harpsichord, viola, cello, three violins, and woodwinds. One of the royal dwarfs sits on the edge of the platform, his foot slowly rubbing the back of one of the dogs sleeping near him.
As the music of Pachelbel's Canon in D swells and rolls through the hall, one of the dodos walks in clumsily, stops, tilts its head, its eyes bright as a pool of tar. It sways a little, lifts its foot tentatively, one then another, rocks back and forth in time to the cello.
The violins swirl. The dodo begins to dance, its great ungainly body now graceful. It is joined by the other two dodos who come into the hall, all three in sort of a circle.
The harpsichord begins its counterpoint. The fourth dodo, the white one from Réunion, comes from its place under the table and joins the circle with the others.
It is most graceful of all, making complete turns where the others only sway and dip on the edge of the circle they have formed.
The music rises in volume; the first violinist sees the dodos and nods to the King. But he and the others at the table have already seen. They are silent, transfixed—even the servants stand still, bowls, pots and, kettles in their hands forgotten.
Around the dodos dance with bobs and weaves of their ugly heads. The white dodo dips, takes half a step, pirouettes on one foot, circles again.
Without a word the King of Holland takes the hand of the Queen, and they come around the table, children before the spectacle. They join in the dance, waltzing ( anachronism ) among the dodos while the family, the guests, the soldiers watch and nod in time with the music.

Howard Waldrop's most famous story: The Ugly Chickens; which can be found here. In a most irritating layout.

 

waterhouse Dodo

 
"Let us mention the Dodo whose body is big and round. His corpulence gives it a slow and lazy walk. There are some nearing 50 pounds in weight. Its sight is of more interest than its taste and he looks melancholic as if he was sorry that Nature had given him such small wings for so big a body. Some have their head capped with a dark down, some had the top of their head bald and whitish as if it had been washed.They have a long and curved bill with the nostrils openings half way to the tip. It is greenish yellow. Their eyes are round and shiny and they have a fluffy plumage. Their tail looks like the sparsely beard of a Chi­nese made up of three or four short feathers. Their feet are thick and black and their toes powerful. They have a fiery stomach allowing them to digest stones like ostriches do"

Teylandt's Mauritius --- mentioned on a page: Le musée du Dodo

 
Reunion Dodos

Pieter Withoos -- Reunion Dodo with friends

 
A Dodo Blog; the Dodohaus; some 1850 notes here; a newspaper article here, and a creationist view there. Which last ends rather correctly:

Now that the bird has been extensively studied, we realize that the facts do not support the evolutionary myth, but do support the moral bankruptcy of humankind.

Yes.

 

Savery --- Dodo
Roelandt Savery - Dodo

 
The sentimental view of animals, that they are created for our purpose, and the mechanistic view that we are all animals and thus anything we do to them is merely one species outsmarting another come together in self-loving smug congratulation to justify any atrocity. As is only commonplace. It's fairly difficult for most people to realise that, as with humans, animals are by no means equal, yet are each an individual: and as individual souls they get from God an individual respect which we need to emulate to act correctly. As difficult as it is for the birds of the air and beasts of the land to remember the most important thing when they see a human: Run like Hell.

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The Skewed Perspective

api
(Correctitude, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

Of course, the Greek works that survive are those that the Christian Byzantines choose to preserve for us. Hence they give a very skewed view of what Greek thought was actually like. For instance, we have seen that the medical works of Galen make up a full fifth of the entire surviving classical Greek corpus. Add Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy and the mathematical works and we find that Christians were by far the most keen on copying scientific and medical writings. The papyri from Egypt and epigraphical evidence show that this was not the concern of most Greeks. In other words, we think Greeks were a rational lot because Christians were interested in their rational thought. Hence, the preponderance of Greek science in the surviving corpus tells us that the Christians who preserved it were very interested in science --- not that the classical Greeks were. Oddly, Stoicism, the Greek philosophy that comes closed to Christianity is severely under represented as is Epicurianism and Cynicism. And yet these three schools rejected much of reason and science, concentrating instead on ethical issues. We are left with the strong impression that it was Christians who appreciated Greek science a whole lot more than the Greeks did.

James Hannam Loss and Preservation of Ancient Literature','The Skewed Perspective'

Nice. Though a caveat might be that the Greeks gave us so much more than scientific rationalism that the debt civilisation owes them is beyond measure: cool helmets; the theatre of the angst; and, of course, Democracy buttressed by slaves... * The Greek loving Oscar Wilde confesses in his socialist musings that slavery is inescapable in an ideal democracy --- someone has to actually do the unpleasant bits --- although the obvious conclusion that democracy is fraudulent as a concept from this and a dozen other reasons was naturally eluded. Democracy is the ultimate feel-good ideal; and it's devotees know that however many millions are slaughtered, tortured, enslaved, robbed, lied to, and disappointed, that mankind may enter the miragic City upon a Hill, they are absolved by the moral purity of the mission.

It would be salutory if they would simply look at a single group selected at random in order to examine whether they truly want these exact people to have any say in their own lives. Not necessarily the demonized, such as communists, nazis or scientologists, but a community of ordinary people come together to celebrate anything one likes. At random, I proffer the unspeakable Gor. Google = 94 million results.

Professors of philosophy rarely are going to be productive of anything helpful; yet American ones seem rather less so, and their results positively harmful on occasion --- well, certainly on this occasion... Gorean studies are prominent on the Web, the enthusiasts being mostly women [ It is ironic, therefore, that the largest single group among the creators of webpages, and in the Gor chatrooms are female. ]; the rest being wimps. It can best be summed up by a famous parody, Houseplants of Gor ( The cactus plant next to the spider plant shuddered. It attempted to cover its small form with its small arms and small needles. "I am plant," it said wonderingly. ), and what one really, really, needs to establish is whom exactly, apart from themselves maybe, would select these people as having a valid input into any choice that effects others. And, this is merely one subset of humanity: there is no logical reason why any other selected group would fare any better. To take one party mentioned above: much of the internet gets over-excited about scientologists; accusing them of numberless offences: personally, I think their religion and practices sub-optimal, but nothing to concern my life, yet regarding their entirely legitimate beliefs, which they have every right to hold, I find it offensive that believers in L. Ron's idiocy should have a vote to determine government. However, no more offensive than that anyone should have a vote; including myself.

 
Medea

Virginia Frances Sterrett -- Medea and the Snakes

 
Here's a blog with a lot of jolly nice dragons. I never cared for the duplicitous Jason, nor St. George either.

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