31 July 2021
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find warm food
And friendly faces when you return home.
Consider if this is a man
Who works in mud,
Who knows no peace,
Who fights for a crust of bread,
Who dies by a yes or no.
Consider if this is a woman
Without hair, without name,
Without the strength to remember,
Empty are her eyes, cold her womb,
Like a frog in winter.
Never forget that this has happened.
Remember these words.
Engrave them in your hearts,
When at home or in the street,
When lying down, when getting up.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your houses be destroyed,
May illness strike you down,
May your offspring turn their faces from you.
Primo Levi was born on this day in 1919.
Even in this place one can survive, and therefore one must want to survive, to tell the story, to bear witness; and that to survive we must force ourselves to save at least the skeleton, the scaffolding, the form of civilization. We are slaves, deprived of every right, exposed to every insult, condemned to certain death, but we still possess one power, and we must defend it with all our strength for it is the last — the power to refuse our consent.
Primo Levi, from Survival in Auschwitz
30 July 2021
White wine is Apollonian, the wine of polite and dulcet discourse, frippish gossip, banal phone calls, Aunt Ethel’s quiche, a wine for those busy discussing closure, healing, the role of the caretaker, the evils of butter, the wine of the sincerity monolithic. It occasionally, of course, rises to greatness, and you may have some if you’ve been economically diligent or are an heir of some sort. I’m sure that even the cheaper varieties have brought thousands of soccer moms sanity-healing sex fantasies.We drink with with our entire beings, not just our mouths and gullets. Temperaments vary. My mother used to torture me with the question “What if everyone were like you?” I have it on good authority that both Dionysus and Beethoven drank only red wine while Bill Gates and a hundred thousand proctologists stick to the white. Peter Lewis added in a letter that we’re not crazy about white wine because we don’t get crazy after drinking it, because we tend not to break into song or quote García Lorca after drinking it, because white wine doesn’t make us laugh loudly, because it fatigues us and doesn’t promote unbridled lust, because it pairs less well with the beloved roasted game birds whose organs we love to suck and whose bones we love to gnaw.
Kermit Lynch's rebuttal ...
Jim Harrison quotes Peter Lewis’s remark that white wine “fatigues us and doesn’t promote unbridled lust,” but he must be referring to those kinds of whites that Jim finds syrupy enough to put on pancakes, because a good white starter should relax and stimulate at the same time. You want something dry and crisp, chilled and lucid, with some zing to it.My reaction to Jim’s article? Never a red without a white to precede it; never a white without a red to follow it. I am convinced that the Creator had a plan, if only in this specific instance.
Resolved, that the United States flag must no longer be used as a form of pop culture detritus.
Stop it ...
4 U.S. Code
§ 8.Respect for flag
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b)The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c)The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d)The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e)The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f)The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g)The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h)The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i)The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j)No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k)The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Vasari, Self-Portrait, 1574
Giorgio Vasari was born on this day in 1511.
No one ever became excellent in any exercise whatsoever without beginning from his childhood to endure heat, cold, hunger, thirst, and other discomforts; wherefore those men are entirely deceived who think to be able, at their ease and with all the comforts of the world, to attain an honorable rank. It is not by sleeping but by waking and studying continually that progress is made.
Giorgio Vasari, from The Lives of Artists
From Andrew Graham-Dixon's Travels with Vasari ...
An exploration of the extraordinary achievement of the chronicler of the Italian Renaissance, Giorgio Vasari, author of the monumental Lives of the Artists.On a spectacular journey through Renaissance Italy, Andrew Graham-Dixon searches for the shadowy figure who wrote one of the most important books on art and looks at some dazzling works, including masterpieces of the early Renaissance by Giotto, Masaccio and Donatello.
29 July 2021
"Hang care!" exclaimed he. "This is a delicious evening; the wine has a finer relish here than in the house, and the song is more exciting and melodious under the tranquil sky than in the close room, where the sound is stifled. Come, let us have a bacchanalian chant—let us, with old Sir Toby, make the welkin dance and rouse the night-owl with a catch! I am right merry. Pass the bottle, and tune your voices—a catch, a catch! The lights will be here anon."
Charles Ollier, from "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington"
RUSH, "The Camera Eye"
The euphony transformed me and inundated my soul in a roguish countenance, the likes of which I had know well in younger days. Such impishness soon drove out the complaints of the day.
WHEN the SHOE FITS
Ch'ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere.
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.
No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.
So, when the shoe fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
"For" and "against" are forgotten.
No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are a free man.
Easy is right.
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.
The coming peril is the intellectual, educational, psychological and artistic overproduction, which, equally with economic overproduction, threatens the wellbeing of contemporary civilisation. People are inundated, blinded, deafened, and mentally paralysed by a flood of vulgar and tasteless externals, leaving them no time for leisure, thought, or creation from within themselves.
Thanks goes to The Man in the Green Shirt.
Weave it now, sing and moan and sing!
For shadows my throat are clouding
and again the January light comes in.
Trembling bushes and the air of stars
lie between your love and mine,
a dense mass of anemones picks up
an entire year with a muffled moan.
Revel in the open country of my wound,
break apart its reeds and delicate rivulets,
drink from my thigh my pouring blood.
But be quick! And then, together entwined,
with love-broken mouths and frayed souls
time will find us utterly destroyed.
Federico Garcia Lorca
The attack could have been a territorial squabble with the electronic foe, or just a hungry eagle.
I saw a great bumper sticker on an F-750 at The Hawk's Nest the other day ... "F@?k Around & Find Out".
I've taught nine to twelve year-old kids for seventeen years and I've yet to meet one whose curiosity was the product of teachers, grades, or a parent's overzealous social media posts.
Wonder germinates through experience, trust, and independence; essential ingredients that are sorely lacking in schools. Having had the experience of being left alone to wander, knowing that "it's an endless quest without knowing what the quest is", kids will figure "it" (and themselves) out. As Secondari said, "Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward."
I don't mean to imply that I am an expert. The longer I'm around squibs, the more I understand that I haven't got a clue ("I get older and they stay the same age.") But there are a few things I've noticed that will guide them away from learned helplessness ...
- Don't give them answers. Ask them questions.
- Don't get frustrated and take over. Wink and encourage their unique approaches. Don't give in.
- Trust the wonder of curiosity. It's addictive.
"Nobody can decide what you will do except for you" ...
Being given an answer is passive. Asking a question is active. Remember e.e.cummings' advice ...
28 July 2021
It's later on a Wednesday, the sun is going down
I'm standing naked by a swimming pool, there's no one around
My imagination wanders back, red dust is always there
We lay together in the jungle, and love was in the air
As I dive into the water, both time and motion freeze
I'm hanging there suspended like a feather in the breeze
Below is your reflection, like an image from the past
But I can't be sure if it's really you, because you're wearing a tribal mask
Roger Glover, from "The Mask"
Beatrix Potter was born on this day in 1866.
The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden. I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense.
The Strange Life of Beatrix Potter: A Story of Rabbits and Mushrooms ...
While I have the gravest doubts about the durability of any of my writing, few can beat me at the graceful dance of knife, fork, and spoon across the plate or the capacity to make a pickle last as long as a sandwich. I have thought of rigging tiny lights to my eating utensils and getting myself filmed while eating in the near dark: imagine, if you will, the dancelike swirl of these points of light. Just last evening in my cabin, the performance took place over a humble, reduced-calorie Tuscan stew (very lean Muscovy duck, pancétta, white beans, copious garlic, fresh sage, and thyme). Since I was alone in the twilight, the applause rang a bit hollow.
To be sure, our limitations strangle us, letting us know who we are. On a semireligious level, normally we have a secret animal we favor, but this is dangerous territory. Never tell a government official your secret animal, since it will one day be used against you. On a more mundane plateau, if you were a boat, what kind of boat would you be? You must be honest, since I can't interrogate you, what with each of us being alone. No dream boats, grand sloops, ghostly galleons, if you please. As for me, and I'm doing the writing here, I have long confessed to being a tugboat: slow, rather stubby, persistent, functional, an estuarine creature that avoids open water.
Jim Harrison, from "The Tugboats of Costa Rica"
I'd be -- I am -- a simple Sunfish.
27 July 2021
There is great good in returning to a landscape that has had extraordinary meaning in one’s life. There are certain villages and towns, mountains and plains that, having seen them, walked in them, lived in them, even for a day, we keep forever in the mind’s eye.
They become indispensable to our well being; they define us, and we say, I am who I am because I have been there.
It is here that I can concentrate my mind upon the Remembered Earth. It is here that I am most conscious of being, here that wonder comes upon my blood, here I want to live forever; and it is no matter that I must die.
N. Scott Momaday
AC⚡DC released Highway to Hell on this day in 1979.
Nobody's playing ManilowNobody's playing soulAnd no one's playing hard to getJust a good old rock 'n' rollRonald Belford Scott, from "Get it Hot"
It's sandwich time.
If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.
Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
- Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
- General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
- General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.
- Consider everything an experiment.
- Be self-disciplined: this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
- Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
- The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
- Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
- Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
- We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.
- Always be around.
- Come or go to everything.
- Always go to classes.
- Read anything you can get your hands on.
- Look at movies carefully, often.
- Save everything. It might come in handy later.
Once in our lives we ought to concentrate our minds upon the Remembered Earth. We ought to give ourselves up to a particular landscape in our experience, to look at it from as many angles as we can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. We ought to imagine that we touch it with our hands at every season and listen to the sounds that are made upon it. We ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. We ought to recollect the glare of noon and all the colors of the dawn and dusk ...
I am interested in the way that we look at a given landscape and take possession of it in our blood and brain. None of us lives apart from the land entirely; such an isolation is unimaginable. If we are to realize and maintain our humanity, we must come to a moral comprehension of earth and air as it is perceived in the long turn of seasons and of years.
N. Scott Momaday
Remembered Earth ...
Hilaire Belloc was born on this day in 1870.
The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him -- that he can have his cake and eat it too. He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marveling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers. In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.
We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.
Barry, Edmund Burke, 1774
We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation. All we can do, and that human wisdom can do, is to provide that the change shall proceed by insensible degrees. This has all the benefits which may be in change, without any of the inconveniences of mutation.
26 July 2021
I'm proud to say that my sis has had an article published in Guy Harvey magazine detailing the efforts of the American Zoological Association's Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project.
The article begins on page 42 of THIS link.
The Aquarium of the Pacific's "Florida Coral Rescue: A Great Adventure Story", a panel discussion my sister was a part of last year ...