The 1890s prototype:
"In 1899, Freelan and his wife Flora drove one of their cars to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The ascent took more than two hours and was notable as being the first time a car had climbed the 7.6 miles (12.2km) long Mount Washington Carriage Road; the descent was accomplished by putting the engine in low gear and braking extensively. The twins later sold the rights to this early design to Locomobile, and in 1902 they formed the Stanley Motor Carriage Company. -- La Wik"
"The identical twins Francis Edgar and Freelan Oscar Stanley both had teaching careers before beginning to experiment with photographic formulas for their younger sister Chansonetta, an accomplished photographer.
They perfected their emulsion, invented a plate-coating machine and formed the Stanley Dry Plate Co. in 1894. Their plates were good enough that George Eastman bought the company for a reported one millon USD in 1904. The brothers had rather wide-ranging enthusiams and dabbled in not only photographic plates but air brushes, drafting equiptment, steam engines and musical instruments. With their windfall from the Eastman sale they pursued their next interest and formed the Stanley Motor Carriage Co. to manufacture a stream-powered automobile nicknamed, appropriately enough, the Stanley Steamer. It became one of the first successful automobile companies and by 1907 they were building more than 750 cars a year." Codex 99
UPDATED with this comment from American Digest reader Jimmy J.:
I actually met F. O. Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado in 1938. He built the Stanley Hotel (of "The Shining" fame) there in the early 1900s. My grandfather, W. E. Baldridge, was hired to do the electric wiring. After the hotel was completed, F.O. kept my grandfather in his employ to maintain the hydro-electric plant, which he built by damming Fall River just east of Horseshoe Park in Rocky Mountain National Park.
When I met him it was at his home, a stately Georgian style manor house, which was about a mile from the hotel and had a magnificent view of the Front Range. He was engaged in playing chess blindfolded. A pastime that he considered stimulating. (The man was a genius.) He had snow-white hair, a full beard, and was quite old. (I think he was 89 at the time.) He seemed very cheerful and encouraged me to "get a good education." He was also kind to my grandfather. He offered to pay for a college education for his three daughters. Only one, my Aunt Doris, took him up on it. But he paid for all her expenses through Wellesley College. At the time, in the small village of Estes Park, that seemed a very remote and grand place.
My grandfather told me many stories about Mr. Stanley and their relationship. Mr. Stanley was a large figure in my heritage. I would not have had the good fortune to be born and raised in Estes Park if my grandfather hadn't gone there to work for him.Continued...
"The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book." --Northrop Frye
One of the recurring themes in the discussion of the "new media" (internet, blogs, databases, web pages, online encyclopedia's, Google's thirst to control and contain all the information in the known universe, the cloud, ebooks, etc.) is if bytes will "replace" books. To many, it certainly looks that way on any given day at any given rest stop on the Information Highway. After all, the current Holy Grail of Deep Geek Hipness is to have everything -- every scrap, note, frame, word, and image -- stored on one's iPad for display at the touch of a fingertip. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Be that as it may, the book is not going anywhere. Indeed, the book -- in form and concept -- is the foundation of the new media; it is contained within and yet contains it. The very way in which we discuss the new media ( web pages, web browsing, and that constant root of all places cyber, the place, space and file called "index.html" ) asserts that the book remains the dominant permanent record of all things worth keeping. Storage mediums come and go in the cyberverse ( One word: "floppy."), but I don't think that the age when all information and opinions and records and history is held in some immense GoogleServer pile is one which we should welcome. Distributed information is more powerful and more secure when it is distributed not only throughout the Net, but in more than one medium.
The way-new information universe, straddled by the ever growing hulk that is ("First don't be evil." ) Google is barely out of infancy and just about due to grow into "The Terrible Twos." The book, by contrast, represent a fully mature information retrieval system.
What is good about the book? What makes it persistently valuable in storing, not the trivia of the day, but that which is valuable to humanity over the long term?
1) No "advanced" technology required. Ability to manufacture present in all areas of the globe.
2 ) Crude but functioning units can be made by kindergartners with pencil, paper and glue.
3) Operating system and interface rock solid.
4) All types of information can be stored.
5) Has been demonstrated to be able to retain information in retrievable form across several thousand years.
6) Of the two, the User will often crash first.
7) All parts can be recycled.
8) All or part can be backed-up at any Kinkos.
9) Can be powered for hours with one candle.
10) All users receive up to 12 years of interface training free.
Add to that the tactile and aesthetic pleasures of fine books where art combines with craft, and you have something that will be with humankind long after today's high-tech toys are consigned to a museum and listed in their paperback catalog. Perhaps there may be some new innovation at the dawn of some new day that will really and for all time displace the book, but that innovation and that dawn of that day is not yet. For now, if it is a really important bit of knowledge or expression we put it in a book. Just to be safe.
[Republished from 2006]
by Charles Bukowski
"if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.
don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was."
PS: Don't try.
In October 1963, Bukowski recounted in a letter to John William Corrington how someone once asked him, “What do you do? How do you write, create?” To which, he replied: “You don’t try. That’s very important: ‘not’ to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.”Continued...
Artist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated — the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions.
"Beyond making calculations easier or possibly leading the way to quantum gravity,
the discovery of the amplituhedron could cause an even more profound shift, Arkani-Hamed said. That is, giving up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature and figuring out how the Big Bang and cosmological evolution of the universe arose out of pure geometry...." - - | Simons Foundation
In the place of flux we find new forms,
And our flux-formed spaces fold
The charms of magnet's fever
Which conduct the core from pole to pole.
The whiteness of Earth's silence
Is an eye that stares on space.
Orbits chart it ceaselessly,
Etching paradigms of lace.
The inner of Earth's outer
Is a torus twisted twice.
Balloons ascend within it
Claiming shadows are the room.
This charcoal drawing, done when Rockwell was a student of 17, is his earliest surviving work and has never been reproduced until now. (Permanent Collection, The Art Students League of New York)
"Revealingly, his earliest known work portrays an elderly man ministering to a bedridden boy.
The charcoal drawing has never been reproduced until now. Rockwell was 17 years old when he made it, and for years it languished in storage at the Art Students League, which had purchased it from the artist when he was a student there. Consequently, the drawing was spared the fate of innumerable early Rockwells that were lost over the years or destroyed in a disastrous fire that consumed one of his barn-studios in later life.
"Not long ago, I contacted the League to ask if it still owned the drawing and how I could see it; it was arranged that the work would be driven into Manhattan from a New Jersey warehouse. It was incredible to see—a marvel of precocious draftsmanship and a shockingly macabre work for an artist known for his folksy humor. Rockwell undertook it as a class assignment. Technically, it’s an illustration of a scene from “The Deserted Village,” the 18th-century pastoral poem by Oliver Goldsmith. It takes you into a small, tenebrous, candlelit room where a sick boy lies supine in bed, a sheet pulled up to his chin. A village preacher, shown from the back in his long coat and white wig, kneels at the boy’s side. A grandfather clock looms dramatically in the center of the composition, infusing the scene with a time-is-ticking ominousness. Perhaps taking his cue from Rembrandt, Rockwell is able to extract great pictorial drama from the play of candlelight on the back wall of the room, a glimpse of radiance in the unreachable distance." Inside America's Great Romance With Norman Rockwell | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine
Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roger McGuinn...
A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now...
In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
"And they talk about Negroes, and they talk about black and white.
And they talk about colors of red and blue and yellow. Man, I just don't see any colors at all when I look out. I don't see any colors at all and if people have taught through the years to look at colors - I've read history books, I've never seen one history book that tells how anybody feels. I've found facts about our history, I've found out what people know about what goes on but I never found anything about anybody feels about anything happens. It's all just plain facts. And it don't help me one little bit to look back." - - Bob Dylan accepting the Tom Paine Award from the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee in 1963
Bob Dylan wrote "My Back Pages" nearly 50 years ago in 1964
as one of the last songs — perhaps the last song—that he composed for his Another Side of Bob Dylan album. It was recorded on June 9, 1964, under the working title of "Ancient Memories", and was the last song to be committed to tape for the album.
Dylan's disenchantment with the protest movement had previously surfaced in a speech he had given in December 1963 when accepting an award from the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (ECLC) in New York. Author Mike Marqusee has commented that "No song on Another Side distressed Dylan's friends in the movement more than 'My Back Pages' in which he transmutes the rude incoherence of his ECLC rant into the organized density of art. The lilting refrain ... must be one of the most lyrical expressions of political apostasy ever penned. It is a recantation, in every sense of the word." .... Dylan did not play "My Back Pages" in concert until June 11, 1988. - - La WikContinued...
CHUCK SCHUMER: You can't have someone put a gun to your head.
MARK ZANDI: You can only put the gun to your head so many times.
HARRY REID: (whispering) We're not going to bow to Tea Party anarchists, Republican fanatics.
NANCY PELOSI: I call them "legislative arsonists."
KIRSTEN POWERS: The fringe of their party.
TAMARA HOLDER: They are raping the American people.
STENY HOYER: It is a blatant act of hostage taking.
PETER KING: Holding the entire Congress hostage.
MIKE VIQUEIRA: (background noise) Republicans hold the Affordable Care Act hostage!
BARBARA LEE: The Affordable Care Act would be held hostage.
ROBERT GIBBS: ...hold the running of government hostage
BILL PASCRELL: (rotunda noise) We are not going to be held hostage by Mr. Cruz.
BILL MAHER: The House Republicans are holding hostage...
CYNTHIA TUCKER: A bunch of terrorists, who will have taken the country hostage.
BARACK OBAMA: (godlike echo) They窶决e holding the whole country hostage.
You have meddled with the primary forces of nature, Mr Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear?
You think you merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tide and gravity. It is ecological balance.
You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples.
There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West.
There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-varied, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rands, rubles, pounds and shekels.
It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today.
And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And you will atone.
Am I getting through to you, Mr Beale?
You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.
What do you think the Russians talk about in their Councils of State? Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, mini-max solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do.
We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bye-laws of of business. The world is a business, Mr Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.
And our children will live, Mr Beale, to see that ... perfect ... world in which there is no war nor famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company for whom all men will work to serve a common profit. In which all men will hold a share of stock.
All necessities provided. All anxieties tranquilized. All boredom amused.
"She thought she kept hearing fireworks and couldn't sleep, so we sang to keep her mind preoccupied. In the end, nothing competes with fireworks. "
Yes, I know they're evil but still.....
But don't take my word for it. Return your tray to the full upright and locked position. Fasten your seat belt andContinued...
"Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.
"It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.
"For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
"Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.
"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community.
"It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.
"The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
"I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.
Well, now, isn't that Precious?
A big menu, "Tables for Ladies," and the prices are right. From History in Pictures
Episode #14 of The Amerikans Who Lives There Filmed on location in Wellington, Ohio, Episode 14 shares the vision of Dawn Reese, miniature artist, dollhouse builder, and owner of Dolls and Minis: a store with over 20,000 miniatures.
As sung by Bob Dylan, Roscoe Holcomb, The Foggy Mountain Boys, The New Lost City Ramblers, Dan Tyminski and... wait for it... Limbotheque.
"I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my days
I'll say goodbye to Colorado
Where I was born and partly raised.
Your mother says I'm a stranger
My face you'll never see no more
But there's one promise, darling
I'll see you on God's golden shore.
Through this open world I'm about to ramble
Through ice and snow, sleet and rain
I'm about to ride that morning railroad
Perhaps I'll die on that train.
I'm going back to Colorado
The place that I started from
If I knowed how bad you'd treat me
Honey, I never would have come."
History of this traditional American folk song.
"It was first recorded by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. "Man of Constant Sorrow" is a traditional American folk song first recorded by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. Although he song was originally recorded by Burnett as "Farewell Song" printed in a Richard Burnett songbook, c. 1913. An early version was recorded by Emry Arthur in 1928 (Vocalion Vo 5208).
"On October 13, 2009 on the Diane Rehm Show, Dr. Ralph Stanley of the Stanley Brothers, born in 1927, discussed the song, its origin, and his effort to revive it: "Man of Constant Sorrow" is probably two or three hundred years old. But the first time I heard it when I was y'know, like a small boy, my daddy -- my father -- he had some of the words to it, and I heard him sing it, and we -- my brother and me -- we put a few more words to it, and brought it back in existence. I guess if it hadn't been for that it'd have been gone forever. I'm proud to be the one that brought that song back, because I think it's wonderful."
"There is some uncertainty whether Dick Burnett himself wrote the song. One claim is that it was sung by the Mackin clan in 1888 in Ireland and that Cameron O'Mackin emigrated to Tennessee, brought the song with him, and performed it. In an interview he gave toward the end of his life, Burnett himself indicated that he could not remember:Charles Wolfe: "What about this "Farewell Song" -- 'I am a man of constant sorrow' -- did you write it?"
Richard Burnett: "No, I think I got the ballad from somebody -- I dunno. It may be my song..."
"If Burnett wrote the song, the date of its composition, or at least of the editing of certain lyrics by Burnett, can be fixed at about 1913. Since it is known that Burnett was born in 1883, married in 1905, and blinded in 1907, the dating of two of these texts can be made on the basis of internal evidence. The second stanza of "Farewell Song" mentions that the singer has been blind six years, which put the date at 1913. According to the Country Music Annual, Burnett "probably tailored a pre-existing song to fit his blindness" and may have adapted a hymn. Charles Wolfe argues that "Burnett probably based his melody on an old Baptist hymn called "Wandering Boy".
Bob Dylan stated,
"Roscoe Holcomb has a certain untamed sense of control, which makes him one of the best." Eric Clapton called Holcomb "my favorite [country] musician." Holcomb's white-knuckle performances reflect a time before radio told musicians how to play, and these recordings make other music seem watered-down in comparison. His high, tense voice inspired the term "high lonesome sound." Self-accompanied on banjo, fiddle, guitar, or harmonica, these songs express the hard life he lived and the tradition in which he was raised. Includes his vintage 1961 "Man of Constant Sorrow."Continued...
The Asheville, North Carolina restaurant was one of those common to our post-post-modern world. Open and airy with a wall of windows framing hanging plants. Casual to the point of paper napkins. Sporting a list of local beers and -- surprise -- local wines. Tarted up with the kind of overtly ironic art on the walls where the painter has one statement and one image in his repertoire and repeats it ad nauseam. This time it seemed that the sensibility being trotted out was one of Hieronymous Bosch meets Hello Kitty.
The menu, a litany of updated regional classics such as black-eyed pea cakes, was relentlessly "improved" by garnishes such as avocados and Basmati rice. The joint's "philosophy" -- since all new restaurants must now publish a justifying manifesto along with their menu -- centered on the now tedious homage to "local" "organic" produce and a dedication to "reviving tradition" -- plus the removal of trans-fats. Collard greens, sweetened lima beans, and salty sweet potatoes bracketed the entrees. In the center you'd find rib-eyes under slathers of sauteed onions, broiled slabs of local fish dusted with some orange spice, chickens with a roasted-on glaze, pork in five different variations, and dried cranberries slipped into cakes on the sly just when you thought it was safe.
It was a boutique version of the kind of food once common to the region, but that now survived either in roadside diners named "Granny's" and "Hubert and Sal's,"or at upscale nostalgic eateries such as this one. I suppose you could call it a "cuisine" -- as the local magazines and guides are wont to do -- but that word has too many curlicues. Call it "eats" and get on with it.
The diners seemed to agree and were not slow about getting on with their meals. One man to my right hulked over his plate like a Turkish sumo and ate mechanically as if his hands were back hoes in some mountain grave yard, the coffin inbound on the midnight train and the kinfolk getting antsy. Across from him, a slim woman ate in a punctuated manner and talked at him at the same time, her hand gestures angular and as precise as scalpels. He nodded dully as if barely feeling her opinions and just put his head down and ate right on through them, looking up just often enough and nodding just slightly enough that she might believe he was actually hearing her.
Hearing anyone was a sometimes thing in this room. It was one of those restaurants whose hard ceilings, walls, and floors made for a constant din and clatter and clang. You had to raise your voice to be heard over it, and -- since raising your voice added to the din -- it made you and everyone else speak ever louder until the yabble peaked, then plunged into brief silence as everyone lapsed back into murmurs. Then it began building, again, inevitably to shouts, and so on.
It was a down-home yuppified place with a pretty good kitchen and fine intentions. It was a place where you could get the same meal you could get at "Granny's Country Kitchen" out along the highway, but you could rest assured that none of the boys from the hills -- those with flag decals on the pick-up's bumper and a deer rifle on a rack in the rear window -- would be smoking or farting or telling tales next to you. This privilege only cost you about three times as much.
This was downtown Asheville in the heart of the freshly gentrified, cosmopolitan zone and instead of pick-ups rattling down the streets, Porsches prowled growling in the night outside the rock-climbing gym. This was an armed cultural hamlet in the New South, guarded by down-home decorating parlors ready to give your custom log-cabin that shabby chic lived-in look; where the sentries were hair salons called "The People" with mirrors in front of each station resembling nothing so much as the guillotines that "The People" of France once used so effectively in solving their aristocracy problem. The difference here was that the new aristocracy of this region was busy admiring themselves in the mirrors of these guillotines with nary a Marat or Robespierre in sight. Instead, downtown Asheville -- or at least some small section at the top of the hills -- was relentlessly promoting our new secular religion of senseless and endless shopping opportunities.
Down in the gulch streets below the mini-Madison Avenue of Asheville a wide variety of ethnic restaurants from the Jerusalem Cafe to Mela Indian foods jostles with used book stores and the ubiquitous tattoo parlors. Antique stores have arrived with a vengeance as have poodles and other toy breeds that bring with them shops devoted to "canine cuisine". After all, once you've got a whole generation of 20 or 30 and sometimes 40 somethings that have elected to raise dogs rather than children, nothing is too good for your fur-faced kids, is it?
And where there are bakeries for dogs, there are restaurants whose owners handle regional foods as carefully as curators in a museum. In this, I admit, they do not do half-bad at the Early Girl Eatery where quick bread can be had at breakfast for three bucks a plate, and slow-cooked pork in the evening for fifteen. It's not quite the roadside diner down in the hollar, but that land's been bulldozed for one of the endless gated communities sprouting across the landscape in these parts like dubious toadstools. At least at the Early Girl you're pretty sure the pork isn't road kill. And even if it was, the sauces and seasoning would make up for it.
The check had come and I'd paid it. They'd filled the restaurant and turned it once since we'd been there. A popular place. A post-post- modern place, a place that was a sterling example of how we live now -- the real and the regional reduced to a remembrance, the communities gated, the homes "maintenance -free." History in a bottle, cleaned, pressed and with the trans-fats removed. Just the way we like it. Traditional in style but tradition-free in content. The experience without the meaning and not missing it.
As I got up to leave the family of six at the long table across from me was served with the quick flourish and satisfied air of presentation that is the style of serving these days. The was food steaming in front of them, but none of them made a move towards it. Instead, they talked quietly amongst themselves and seemed to come to a decision. They made their selection from among them. It was to be one of the daughters, a girl of about 17 I guessed. The din in the restaurant rose and fell, but the family of six sat quietly and then bowed their heads as one. Then they said grace.
I stood motionless at my table. I had, I thought, never seen this before in a restaurant. I'd seen it in private homes to be sure, but upon reflection I realized that I'd not seen it there in quite sometime. And I was quite sure this was, for me, a rare event. I'd probably not been paying attention since it no doubt went on all the time, but still it was a startling moment. Perhaps I'd just been too long in Seattle where the only manifestations of spirit are flimsy; where the invocations are raised to a watery Buddhism or bloodless Unitarianism where God is impossibly distant if at all extant. Be that as it may, this simple act of saying grace did not so much shock me as still me. I paused to listen in. And the daughter did not disappoint.
Her's was no gestural grace -- "Bless this food. Amen. Let's eat." -- but an extended meditation on the good fortune to find oneself among family and before a rich selection of food; an acknowledgment of an unusual level of being blessed by God, and a calling down of God's grace on members of the family present and not present, and ending with a wish that God continue to bless the family, the community, the state and the country. Then, and only then, was "Amen" spoken and the meal begun.
Outside along the Asheville streets, it was a balmy evening. Down the block another restaurant offered "Exceptional International Vegetarian Food," and a shop on the corner sold items imported from Africa whose purchase was purported to help suffering children here and there in that blighted continent. A local freebie paper picked off a stack had decided that a photo of a tribal protest in Santiago, Chile on the Dia de la Raza was important information for the citizens of this part of town. Down in the Asheville hipster-dopester-homeless gulch at a more cut-rate vegetarian restaurant, citizens with shaved heads, "message" t-shirts, multiple facial piercing and full-body tattoos were climbing the stairs in search of a bran muffin, bitching about George Bush, global warming, and their personal collection of STDs while complaining of residual racism in a city that seems more white than Seattle.
The road back to the house in the hills was dark and winding and you had to take it slow. Going back it was nice to know that somewhere, somehow, and for reasons that sometimes challenge all understanding, there were people still asking God to bless America.
For now, that's the big headline news of the day here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
"Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations, or in the developed societies. Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person and - I spoke of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes! They cannot be discarded!" - - Franciscus: HEARING TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE CATHOLIC GYNAECOLOGISTS, 20.09.2013
Here's hoping that this puffed-up vinegar from this withered crone keeps that closet alcoholic Hillary so drunk she can't haul herself out of the closet and onto the campaign trail.
"So what we would have here, then, would be a “buttery soft,” angry white wine. Suitable for sipping with with a surfeit of spoiled seafood, plump fat chicken thighs, and beltway pork. Through clenched teeth. Afterward, you can do some yelling and shatter the glass." House of Eratosthenes
J. Mendel, Brandon Sun, Sophie Theallet, Michael Kors, Jeremy Laing, Philosophy, Milly, Lacoste
"Of all the trends we saw for next year,
the “sheer fabric/no bra/I actually paid money for this shirt so you can see my titties trend” is by far our #1 favorite. This isn’t necessarily a new thing, nearly every season someone tries to pull off this look and normally it goes unnoticed. But the number of labels that decided to go this route for spring is a little overwhelming. In fact, I didn’t even include all of them in our post because we kept getting everyone’s shows mixed up and got sick and tired of having to re-make our stupid little collage every time we found someone else made exactly the same barely-there item. Boobs are great and all, but we can’t help but be a little concerned about this—like, why is everyone suddenly making items that leave nothing to the imagination? Is everyone secretly way sluttier than we thought? Are we so wasteful as a society that we’re now OK with spending tons of money on clothing that technically isn’t really clothing? Is global warming worsening at such a rapid rate that by next season we won’t even be able to survive unless our asses are hanging out? Are we about to die? ARE WE DYING IN 2014?!" Spring 2014 | VICE United States
1787￼: "Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other movables.
Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have?
Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors.
Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet," and "Thou shalt not steal," were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free. - - On Property: John Adams, Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States
"You can't stop us on the road to freedom.
You can't stop us cause our eyes can see.
Men with insight, men in granite,
Knights in armor bent on chivalry."
Ladies and gentlemen, that is the great Pee Wee Ellis who is causing the top of your head to explode. What else has he done? Well, for starters:
"Ellis played with the James Brown Revue from 1965 to 1969. While with Brown he arranged and co-wrote hits like "Cold Sweat" and "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". In 1969 he returned to New York City. He worked as an arranger and musical director for CTI Records' Kudu label, collaborating with artists like George Benson, Hank Crawford and Esther Phillips. In the late 1970s he moved to San Francisco and formed a band with former Miles Davis sideman David Liebman. Between 1979 and 1986 he worked with Van Morrison's band as an arranger and musical director and then again from 1995 through 1999."And.... and.... well, it's seven in the evening and I've got an appointment with Hemingway's Hamburgers that I've got to get moving on. Lovely late summer twilight's coming on. I'm going out for turn around the park and the trees with this tune fading. See you in the morning.... same time, same place.
"You can't stop us on the road to freedom...
You can't stop us cause our eyes can see ...."
She bends her bow. Ready for the arrow of truth. I'm in love.
"An arrest is not a charge; a charge is not a conviction.
"All of those lesser things are a blurry flurry of paperwork that may be retained or not; that may be accessible or not. And then you come to the vast piles of files that have to be processed, and unless a red flag sticks out, the file is processed.
"The surveillance state may be here, but someone has to sift through all of that stuff and say 'Hold'. Even if the computers filter, someone has to make the final call and those people are as overloaded with info and and cramped with time as are the people processing the VA's paperwork.
"George Orwell meets bureaucratic inertia; Winston Smith fathers four children with Julia before O'Brien (just before his retirement party) actually hears about Smith and then tosses the file because it would ruin his record with the Party and jeopardize his retirement pension and benefits. Big Brother continues babbling on the telescreens as things are swept away to keep everything looking good and all reports continue to be filed in proper form and on time - content be damned." -- Side-Lines: Background Checks? Check and Double Check. Comment by: Mikey NTH
Harrison loves my country too,
But wants it all made over new.
He’s Freudian Viennese by night.
By day he’s Marxian Muscovite.
It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew.
He’s Puritan Yankee through and through.
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.
- - 1947
It's mourning in America, Canada, England when....
"BTW, how can you have possibly missed this? It's the greatest thing in the history of ever:"
Lapse corrected. Horsey ride by BKeyser_
"Friends forever / Forever Friends"
"Remember, all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more."
Say, shouldn't you people be out looting or something? Waiting for a morbidly obese governor to hand you a check? Getting your stories straight for your fraudulent insurance claim? Shouldn't you be waiting outside for FEMA to do that? Waiting for Brownie to come and do a heckuva job? Asphyxiating yourselves by running a generator indoors? Guarding your stash of non-perishable food by brandishing semi-automatic weapons at everyone that passes by? What the hell's wrong with these people?
It's time to come away, my Darling Pretty
It's time to come away on the changing tide
Time to come away, Darling Pretty
And I need you darling by my side
Heal me with a smile, Darling Pretty
Heal me with a smile and a heart of gold
Carry me awhile, my Darling Pretty
Heal my aching heart and soul
Just like a castaway
Lost upon an endless sea
I saw you far away
Come to rescue me
Cast away the chains, Darling Pretty
Cast away the chains away behind
Take away my pain, my Darling Pretty
And the chains that once were yours and mine
There will come a day, Darling Pretty
There will come a day when hearts can fly
Love will find a way, my Darling Pretty
Find a heaven for you and I
Love will find a way, my Darling Pretty
Find a heaven for you and I
Lions. And living with lions. Up very close and very personal.
"And gets jumped by a lion.... Took him 36 hours to get medical attention..... What does it mean to live with lions? It means to live in terror. It means fear. There's no reverence for the animal. There's only fear. They don't have the luxury of that reverence. That's a western phenomenon."
Click over to The Serengeti Lion | National Geographic Magazine and explore this feature. Extraordinary.
Dilbert's Mom, a Tale from the [Near] Future :
HT: Claire Wolfe @ Living Freedom who is famous for saying, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
As observed by Doug Ross @ Journal where he notes:
Here's a suggestion for Time: how about different covers for red states and blue states? You could have Obama or Michelle's guns on every cover in the blues and the latest diversion (e.g., Miley Cyrus) in the reds.
This meal is dishwasher safe. Changing the game with this clean food.
Sewer turns into geyser after flooding in Colorado and then....Continued...
Bonus promise: He's not "even going to the strip clubs any more!"
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
-- Christina Rossetti
10,000 FEARED DEAD
-- Headline, New York Post, September 12, 2001
AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY I lived in Brooklyn Heights in, of course, Brooklyn. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24 of 1883 transformed the high bluff just to the south of the bridge into America's first suburb. It became possible for affluent businessmen from the tip of Manhattan which lay just over the East River to commute across the bridge easily and build their stately mansions and townhouses high above the slapdash docks below. Growth and change would wash around the Heights in the 117 years that followed, but secure on their bluff, on their high ground, the Heights would remain a repository old and new money, power, and some of the finest examples of 19th and early 20th century homes found in New York City.
When I moved to Brooklyn Heights from the suburbs of Westport, Connecticut in the late 90s, it was a revelation to me that such a neighborhood still existed. Small side streets and cul-de-sacs were shaded over by large oaks and maple that made it cool even in the summer doldrums. Street names such as Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple let you know you were off the grid of numbered streets and avenues. Families were everywhere and the streets on evenings and on weekends were full of the one thing you rarely see in Manhattan, children.
Brooklyn Heights had looked down on Wall Street and the tip of Manhattan from almost the beginning. It hosted the retreat of Washington from New York City during the Battle of Long Island, the first major engagement of the Revolutionary War. To be in the Heights was to hold the high ground and all the advantages that position affords.
Brooklyn Heights today enjoys a kind of armed hamlet existence in New York. Outside influences such as crime, poverty and ghetto life don't really intrude. Since it has long been a neighborhood of the rich and the powerful of the city, it has been spared some of the more doleful effects of city life. It doesn't have walls that you can see, but they are there, strong, high and well guarded.
Traffic, that bane of New York life, is controlled in the Heights. To the west, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, once planned to cut through the Heights directly to the Brooklyn Bridge, was rerouted by a deft application of money and power; placed below along the harbor. To the east, all traffic coming off the Bridge is pushed along Cadman Plaza to Court Street and off to Atlantic. This forms the eastern border of the Heights whose edge is further delineated by the ramparts of Brooklyn City Hall, Courts of all flavors and a rag-tag collection of government structures that exemplify the Fascist Overbuilding movement of the early 70s when, expecting 'The Revolution,' governments built towards gun-slits rather than windows. The south of the Heights is sharply drawn with Atlantic Avenue, a street given over to a long strip of fringe businesses and a corridor of Islamic-American mosques and souks and restaurants. The north is quite simply the Brooklyn Bridge and its approaches that shelter the now slowly evolving sector devoted to overpriced raw loft spaces and bad art known as DUMBO, for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."
The best thing about the Heights is the Promenade. This is a long pedestrian strolling area that runs from Remsen on the south to Cranberry on the north end. It's a brick walk high on the bluff above the Expressway below. Over the baroque railing you can see far out into the harbor, beyond the Financial District and Wall Street on the tip of Manhattan, beyond the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to the distant silhouettes of the cranes and wharfs on the Jersey Shore. You can see north up the East River past the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge to, maybe, the merest wisp of the Williamsburg Bridge. Across from the railings are a selection of gardens and backyards with water fountains and shaded benches. It is one of those hidden, off-to-the-side areas of respite that are secreted across all the seven boroughs of the city. You discover it by being taken to it by someone else who has already been there.
The Promenade is a fine place on any day but best on a Sunday afternoon when the weather is clear. Then you can stroll with your fellow citizens and catch a bit of the constant breeze or a bracing wind. Under most conditions, this wind is one of the best elements of Brooklyn Heights. Usually you just take it for granted -- as you do all the small mercies of life in New York City.
When the wind came from the south off the harbor those who lived on the Heights got to breathe the sea air first before the rest of the city had its way with it. And it usually did blow from the south even if there were days when it blew in from the west across the southern tip of Manhattan. At least, I think that it did on numerous days even if I only remember it from one.
I don't remember the wind from that day because it blew hard and long. The winter, spring and fall brought many blizzards and storms to the Heights with winds that would howl over the roofs and pulse in the chimney of my parlor floor apartment. In winter it would slam against the stones of the facade and rattle the windows while rolling snow so fine against the door that a dusty drift would work its way through the weather stripping and into the foyer by morning.
So if I think about the storms I can say they always came to the Heights on the big shoulders of a bigger wind, but I don't really remember any one of those winds. In my memory, I just assume they were there, a part of the storm. Winds always are a part of any storm. Just as the French say "Never a rose without a thorn," so "Never a storm without a wind."
Except once and then the storm came later. And even if that wind has now become a faint foreign breeze moving over a distant landscape of sand and rubble and blood, it rolls along still and will in time make its way back to where it began.
The wind came when the pillar of fire became, in what seemed a moment outside of time, a pillar of smoke. We had been standing on the Promenade that morning in our thousands watching death rage at the center of a beautiful September morning. It was a morning with a clear and washed blue sky; the kind of rare New York morning when you can believe, again, that anything is possible in that city of dreams that so often dissolve into disappointment.
Anything, of course, except the two towers whose peaks were engulfed in flames.
Anything, it would seem, but what we were seeing.
And it was a morning, as I recall, that had no wind at all. That was why the flames and the smoke from the flames went almost straight up into the sky, a long sooted streak that bisected one side of the blue sky from the other.
It was, except for this one insane thing happening in the middle of our panoramic view from the Promenade, a most beautiful day; made even more so by the absence of any irritating noise from passenger jets overhead.
The last two jets into New York airspace that morning would be the last for days to come. In New York you become so used to the sound of jets overhead in New York that you don't really hear them. What you did hear on that day was the silence of their absence. When the sound of jets came back later that afternoon it was not the sound of passenger jets but of F-16 fighters, and we were glad to hear them.
But in that mid-morning all we could see and think about were the souls trapped in the twin torches about a quarter of a mile away from us on the other side of the East River.
At a certain point in that timeless time you noticed that specks were arcing out from the sides of the buildings from just above or just below or just within the part that was in flames. Looking again you saw that the specks were people flying out from the building and plunging down the sides to disappear behind the shorter buildings that ringed the towers. You tried to imagine what must have been going on in the offices and rooms of that building that made leaping from 100 floors or more above the ground the "better" option, but you didn't have that kind of space left in your imagination. And so you looked on and watched them leap and distantly, silently fall, locked within that morning that had no time, in which all of what you had known, believed, and trusted in came, at once and forever, to a sudden frozen halt.
And then the first tower came down.
We've all seen, most of us on television, what happened next. We've all seen the dropping of the top floors into the smoke and then the shuddering impact and then the rolling and immense cloud of ash that exploded up the island of Manhattan overtaking thousands running north and laying thick slabs of ash over everything in its wake. The tape was played and replayed until, by order or consensus, it stopped being played. World Trade Center and north up the island -- center stage in death's carnival on that day.
That wasn't for me. I was part of the sideshow in Brooklyn Heights.
Lower Manhattan is a welter of thin 17th century streets lined with tall 19th and 20th century buildings. When you take the mass of two buildings the size of the Twin Towers, heat it to the point that steel bends, and drop it straight down into the center of this maze, it does not all go just one direction even if that's where the video cameras are. It moves out radially in all directions. Standing on the Promenade you are in front of many different channels for this atomized mass and the plumes of smoke and what it holds will come at you. And it did, very fast and very dark.
It seemed to come out of the streets that opened onto the South Street Seaport like some Titan's grime clotted fingers, and roiled across the river as if the distance was a few hundred feet rather than a few thousand yards. You saw what was coming and you turned to flee from this black wind with no storm, but there were thousands of others who had come to watch and they too were turning to run out of the exits from the Promenade that had, moments before seemed broad, but now impossibly narrow.
As the wind-driven cloud came over us and things became murky then dark, panic began and shouts and screams could be heard inside the dense smoke. Through some miracle, the crowd ordered itself and those who had brought children with them were eased out in the sudden darkness and others followed in a rapid order. The cloud lightened and then darkened again and the wind rose and fell away and came back. It rippled your clothing, and the smoke must have had a smell to it because it hurt the lungs when you breathed, but I don't remember the smell only the sensation of small needles in my lungs and the gray mucus that came up when I coughed.
The wind pummeled my back for the five minutes it took me to make my way to my apartment, get inside and shut the windows. I stood there at the windows and watched the others rush by, blurs in the smoke, and noticed when, as suddenly as it had come up, the wind died away and the air was almost still. The smoke and the ash still moved in the street outside and high overhead. The day was still darkened but the initial violence of the blast and the wind had passed.
In time, everyone had passed by as well and the street was empty except for the settling smoke. I looked outside the window where a Japanese maple grew and noticed that its wine-dark leaves were covered with small yellow flecks. I looked down at the sill outside the windows and saw the yellow flecks there as well.
At some point in the next few minutes it dawned on me that there would be few bodies found in the incinerating rubble across the river. I knew then -- as certainly as I have even known anything -- that all those who had still been in the towers had now gone into the flame and the smoke and that, in some way, the gleaming bits of yellow ash were their tokens, were what they had become in that plunging crematorium.
And I knew that all they had become had fallen upon us as we ran in the smoke; that we had breathed them in when the wind reached us; that they were covering the houses and the sills and the cars and the sidewalks and the benches and the shrubs and the trees all about us.
What they had become was what the wind without a storm had left behind. Now that the wind had passed everything was, again, silent and calm. The blue sky above the houses on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights were beginning to emerge from the fading smoke as the breeze of the harbor shifted the plume away from us, moving it north, uptown, into Manhattan, leaving the Heights again as an elite enclave, above and to the side of New York City.
The yellow flecks remained, resting like small stars on the surface of everything in the Heights for three days until the first rains came on a late afternoon to wash them away. I walked out into that rain and back down Pierrepont Street to the Promenade where for months yet to come the fires would burn across the river.
The rain came straight down that day. There was no wind. As I walked down the sidewalk I noticed the rainwater running off the trees and the buildings and moving down the gutter to the drains that would take it on to the harbor and on to the sea. And that water was, for only a minute or so before it ran clear, gold.
Yeah bring me champagne when I'm thirsty.
Bring me reefer when I want to get high.
Yeah bring me champagne when I'm thirsty.
Bring me reefer when I want to get high.
Well you know when I'm lonely
Bring my woman set her right down here by my side.
Well you know there should be no law
on people that want to smoke a little dope.
Well you know there should be no law
on people that want to smoke a little dope.
Well you know it's good for your head
And it relax your body don't you know.
Everytime I get high
I lay my head down on my baby's breast.
Well you know I lay down be quiet
Tryin' to take my rest.
Well you know she done hug and kiss me
Says Muddy your one man that I love the best.
I'm gonna get high
Gonna get high just as sure as you know my name.
Y'know I'm gonna get so high this morning
It's going to be a cryin' shame.
Well you know I'm gonna stick with my reefer
Ain't gonna be messin' round with no cocaine.
Got my mojo working, but it just won't work on you
Got my mojo working, but it just won't work on you
I wanna love you so bad till I don't know what to do
I'm going down to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand
I'm going down to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand
I'm gonna have all you women right here at my command
Got my mojo working
Got my mojo working
Got my mojo working
Got my mojo working
Got my mojo working, but it just won't work on you
Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within that smoke their ash still falls as snow,
To settle on our flesh like fading stars
Dissolve into sharp sparks at break of day.
At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the flight of fire into steel,
The shaking not of subways underground,
But screams from inside flowers made of flame.
We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in death’s ballet
Too far removed to hear their falling cry.
By noon that band of smoke loomed low
Upon the harbor’s skin and made us gasp;
A hand of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its lethal grasp.
The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Who’d screaming run beneath the paws of death,
Like dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
If they lived in light or only for a breath.
They’d writhed and spun within that storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the river’s further shore
No sanctuary other than despair.
The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
That marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver'd stood.
By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all of what could not be clean again.
We breathed that smoke that bent and crawled.
We learned to hate that smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go but not to go.
Within that city shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where our grief would best anneal.
Upon our walls and trees their faces loomed
To gaze at us from time beyond repeal.
Their last lost summer faded into ash.
Their faces faded into name scratched stones.
Our years flowed into endless desert seas
Where warplanes prowled in search of bones.
In time their smoke and ash became but words
In stories told at dinner, told by rote,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the "larger issues" were of note.
In time their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But still beneath clear plastic they endure
Reminding us that we have not escaped.
Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.
"Well, it was only 3,000 people and we've moved on. Why can't you? Carpe diem, man."
The huge wound in my head began to heal
About the beginning of the seventh week.
Its valleys darkened, its villages became still:
For joy I did not move and dared not speak,
Not doctors would cure it, but time, its patient still.
-- Thom Gunn, The Wound
Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries / Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building 2
EVERYONE WHO WAS IN NEW YORK ON on "The Day" will tell you their stories about "The Day." I could stun you with an eight figure number by running a Google on 9/11, but you can do that as well.
"The Day," even at this close remove, has ascended into that shared museum of the mind to be placed in the diorama captioned, "Where Were You When." The site has long since been cleared and scrubbed clean. There is even an agreement on the memorial which will, I see, use a lot of water and trees. "The Day" has become both memorial and myth.
Less is heard about the aftermath. Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke. You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow's shawl as the fires burned on for months. You don't know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River. You supress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being "held for police activity at Penn Station." Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks you barely knew it was there.
If someone tells you that the melted wax from the candle shrines at Union Square had a radius of 20 feet and a depth of 4 inches at some points before it was scraped away, that's just a data point.
If someone mentions that there were pictures of those we called 'the missing' put up on walls about the city, you might recall that. What you won't recall is that they appeared everywhere and grew in numbers on nearly every surface on the island until there was no block and no main station that didn't host a grim and large gallery of these images.
You've forgotten about the shrines, large and small, that appeared at the door of every fire and police station of the city overnight. You don't remember how they grew and then shrank until only a few vases of flowers and faded flags remained.
I could show you the Post's headline from the 12th declaring: 10,000 FEARED DEAD. Many of you would now say, "Well, it was only 3,000 people and we've moved on. Why can't you? Carpe diem, man."
Wounds, as noted in the poem above, heal. Lots of Americans like this fact. Many now make their living from the process. Explainers, obfuscators, politicians, pundits -- they're all part of yet another bogus new-age industry, grief counseling. Let some disaster, small or large, occur and these locusts descend from wherever they spend their off-hours to feed on the fear and pain of that other bogus group, "the survivors." Many of us are proud to be members of this group. I'm sure somewhere someone is selling t-shirts and badges that say "I'm the Proud Survivor of ______" (Insert disease or disaster of choice).
Wounds heal. Those that don't become "mortal wounds." All others heal. That's the nature of wounds. What isn't often mentioned is that wounds, in healing, leave a scar. A scar is different kind of skin that covered the wound and, because it is stronger than the original skin, it is called "proud flesh."
Along with grief, scars are another thing our brave new age sets out to eliminate. With the application of money and skill most scars in time can be made to disappear, to be made beautiful. Americans approve of this process. We like to make new fresh flesh appear where old proud flesh once was. All smoothed out. All traces eradicated. We move on. We get over it. We wear white trousers and walk upon the beach. Tomorrow is another day and we will never be hungry again.
Wounds do not heal, they only seal themselves up and we erase the scars with myths and monuments. Unless we are required to, every so often, go back and look at what was without sham or falsity.
Selecting a few images from a very bad year takes you back into that time. Because you fear opening the wound, you work at some remove from what the images return to you. Until you come to one that takes you back and you find yourself there, in that time, in those weeks and months after 'The Day.'
Mine was a picture of a flyer posted around the city. One of the thousands of flyers posted everywhere. I'd hardly noted it at the time, but kept it in a folder called "September." It shows three pictures of Simon Dedvukaj. He's in a tuxedo with the jacket tossed over his shoulder in one shot. Another shows him wearing the cap and gown of a high school graduate. The third is a candid snap taken, I imagine, in his room with some out of focus possessions in the background. There's a prayer at the bottom and at the top the information: "February 15, 1975 -- September 11, 2001.
Three strips of wrinkled tape fasten this to a black metal surface. The photo, I know, was taken somewhere in lower Manhattan at 9:18 on September 11, 2002. The flyer is crisp and the tape fresh so someone must have spent time over the previous days printing the flyer up and sticking it to surfaces around the city. His family? His friends? Certainly one of those groups. Did they do it again on September 11, 2003? I don't know. I wasn't there to look.
What can I know about Simon Dedvukaj? I can know what you can know if you run another Google search. It's an unusual name and you won't get many hits. What I can know is this: "Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building "
That's from an early list. One of many put up to track the dead -- "26" "janitorial," "foreman," "confirmed dead," "at/in building.2" There are thousands of other listings just as stark.
It is no wonder we move on from these facts, that we work to heal the wound and erase the scar. These are things too grim to carry. We have to put them down. Unless we know more than the stark facts above. Then we carry them with us. Forever.
I can know more about Simon Dedvukaj, a man whom in his janitor's uniform, would have never been more than another member of that faceless crew of New Yorkers who take the subways in at 4 AM to turn on the city, or take them home after midnight having cleaned up and shut down the city. I would have passed him without seeing him. I still would. So would you. But still I can know a lot more about Simon Dedvukaj. I can know about it from his sister Lisa:
July, 2002Just a janitor. Just turned on the city and cleaned it up. "How different we are without you here...."
From:Lisa Dedvukaj, submitted: 07/31/2002 5:45:28 PM
Simon is my brother. He worked in the World Trade Center, North Tower 1. He was and still is a great guy. Simon will always be remembered as that thoughtful person who always did good for everyone else and thought of himself last. Simon gave everyone strength and Simon made you smile and laugh like never before. Simon what a man you were. That smile you just couldn't resist it, you had to smile back. Simon I know you are in a better place and I know that you are watching over us. Please be there for us always and guide and comfort us through our needest times. I LOVE YOU!
From: Lisa Dedvukaj, submitted: 11/13/2002 3:59:23 PM
It's been a while since I wrote in here but I wanted to let you know that I'm still thinking of you.. I can't seem to understand the negativeness that still surrounds us. Simon you are my life and it just hurts me so much to see that you are not here, I want to see you walk through that door again and sometimes I wonder if this was for the best. But I what I do know is that God has you with him and that you and the others are looking out for us and I feel you around me alot and it comforts me to know that you are holding me while I cry for you. I miss you Simon and I will always love you. Please be with us always like you are now, give us the strength and the love that we need. Protect our family and always keep us within your reach..
I LOVE YOU SIMON!
From: Lisa V., submitted: 01/11/2004 10:47:44 PM
I haven't written in here in a long time! I miss you so much and life will never be the same.. Reading all these posts here makes me cry, I always cry thinking of how life changed it is and how different we are without you here. I miss you so much.. I love you.
Love your sister,
I called for armor, rose, and did not reel.
But, when I thought, rage at his noble pain
Flew to my head, and turning I could feel
My wound break open wide. Over again
I had to let those storm lit valleys heal.
-- Thom Gunn, "The Wound"
[Written SEPTEMBER 13, 2009]
"To all the naysayers.... what is the point of having all these wonderful SWAT teams now if they can't be used.
They need their practice. If it isn't 107 year olds it might be you they practice on. I vote for the 107 year olds. Plenty of targets of opportunity in our old folk's homes." -- 107-year-old Arkansas man, Monroe Isadore, killed in shootout with S.W.A.T.
Negotiations continued for some time and when S.W.A.T arrived, negotiations still continued. S.W.A.T. was able to insert a camera into the room, where Isadore was, and confirmed he was armed with a handgun. S.W.A.T. inserted gas into the room, after it was evident negotiations were unsuccessful, in hopes Isadore would surrender peacefully. When the gas was inserted into the room, Isadore fired rounds at the S.W.A.T. officers that had inserted the gas from outside a bedroom window.
Shortly afterwards, a S.W.A.T. entry team, inside the residence, breached the door to the bedroom and threw a distraction device into the bedroom. Isadore then began to fire on the entry team and the entry team engaged Isadore, killing him.
For quite some time now one of my standing "jokes" has been that when I died I wanted to go as "a very old man who was respected in my community who shoots it out in the woods with the Federal Agents." This little bit of slight -- very slight -- humor was first minted during the era when such a thing happening to a law-abiding American citizen of the Caucasian persuasion was less likely than a meteor strike on my forehead. Now, however, as we see the startling and increasing transmogrification of some SWAT teams from law-enforcement operations into brown-shirted tools of local and national bureaucracies and governments, I may have to reconsider my "wish." Lest it be granted free of charge by officers of a less than trustworthy stock.
I'm not at all sure what was kicking through the nervous system of a 107-year-old-man, but I'm pretty sure that just holding the situation steady for a couple of hours would have resulted in a shooting but a nap.
"Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.
"They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.
"They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.
"The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours."
from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.
[What follows is a slightly edited transcript of what I saw and how I felt on the 11th of September, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights in New York City. On that day I was posting to a West Coast Computer Conferencing system known as The Well. As a result, even though I was writing from Brooklyn Heights directly across the river from the Towers, the time stamp reflects PST. Real time is +3 hours.]
Tue 11 Sep 01 08:07
Saw the first tower collapse from the Promenade across the river in Brooklyn. Fine white and pale yellow ash everywhere. Lower Manhattan covered in smoke with ash still drifting down.
Military jets overhead every five minutes or so.
Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles.
Sirens in all directions. Ferry ships emerging from the smoke heading to the Brooklyn shore riding low in the water fully loaded.
This is monstrous.
Deaths in the thousands in New York.
My body is trembling with sorrow and rage. I saw the first tower fall. Everyone in it would have been killed. This, all this, must be stopped. Those who have done this must be wiped out to the last.
War with whom?
Any and all terrorist organizations, foreign or domestic, must now be brought to a swift and complete halt no matter where they are located.
I watched this happen. The enormity of it cannot be communicated. Vile and bestial.
We need to destroy any and all capacity of anyone living anywhere to do anything like this ever again. There were thousands in those buildings. Thousands.
There is no justice swift enough or sure enough.
All that we have must be brought forward and used without restraint. This is an act of war beyond Pearl Harbor.
Military jets overhead again.
More ash on the street. I am cooled down. Way down.
This is pure evil.
*Tue 11 Sep 01 12:33 *
There is no World Trade Center visible from the Promenade. But you can smell it from there -- a sort of burnt stench as if someone lit newspaper in a trash can and then poured water on it. That kind of wet, burnt stench.
It is bright in the sunshine now except for where the Trade Centers stood, and there is still a plume of thick brown smoke smouldering up from there making the sun behind it look dim and oily.
Just now I saw three large military helicopters land across the river from the Heights on the big pad at the foot of Wall Street. People on the streets are talking quietly -- many of them on cells now that some of those nets are back up.
Everything is as quiet as it was this morning when I got up and began to take a shower.
Showering I felt a vibration shake my building in Brooklyn Heights like a subway train passing deep underneath the structure. I didn' t think much of it. I' ve felt similar vibrations before.
Getting out of the shower I was dressing, and I heard the second explosion from the second plane striking the buildings.
I turned on the radio and found out what was happening.
I dressed and left the house and walked a block to the Promenade at the edge of Brooklyn Heights and saw both towers in flames sending huge gouts of smoke into the air.
You don' t know what to think. You don' t know what to feel. You're just reacting. The promenade was jammed with people with more arriving.
Then as I watched the first tower just imploded and plunged, it seemed to me, straight down. Then a huge brown and black rolling cloud of smoke came boiling through all the streets between the buildings and surged outwards towards us on the other side of the river and, at the same time, upward until it took over the center of the sky.
You could see bright shiny bits of metal squares tumbling up and down and drifting out of the smoke that moved up and blew out to the south east it was like confetti or stuff tossed out of windows in a ticker tape parade. I felt the sound before I heard it and it shook everything around me. I heard gasps and screams around me. People were turning away. Everyone with children was leaving the promenade. Some were moving closer.
The smoke took over everything. I knew that anyone in that building was dead. There was no building. I started to shake, and to weep, and to look around at the others who were in all states of reaction. And I had to go back to my house to regroup.
After I was in the house for a few minutes I heard another larger explosion. I went back out and down to the promenade again, but this time I couldn' t see the sky as I had before. This time the whole sky had been darkened and, the wind having shifted, this fine white ash was swirling down the street. Not heavy, but everywhere around me and it was settling down lightly on all the surfaces.
When I got to the promenade again the entire southern tip of Manhattan was enveloped in a dirty brown cloud, No buildings visible at all. Nothing. It filled the sky and made it dark. Turning the corner if you looked uptown past the Brooklyn Bridge which was filled with hordes of people walking towards the Brooklyn shore you could see the buildings start to emerge from the smoke. People were sparse on the promenade now although down towards the end there were more, and if you walked down there you could see a little bit into the downtown section of Wall street. And there were ferries moving out of the smoke at high speed.
And then I started to hear the military jets but I didn 't see them. But no other planes are to be seen.
Now it is still smoking there. The trade centers are just gone. Erased. 50,000 people they say work there and 150,000 pass through.
What do I feel? I don' t know what I feel --- except that I want vengeance. I want everything this country possesses put onto the people who did this, and the people who supported this act, and the people who believe this is the way in which political ends are achieved.
I want there to be war until these people are eradicated whoever they are, and where ever they are. I want it made clear that anything even approaching this evil act will be met with utter destruction -- people, families, villages, cities, nations. This is an act of war and war must be the response.
We will be having a long series of mass funerals for many weeks. I only hope that this country finds the stomach and the resolve to carry retribution forward until it is complete.
That is what I feel, now, today. And I 'm not alone. I' m not alone at all.
Tue 11 Sep 01 12:42
We need to be in a state of War and to pursue the real aims of war. Against what country? Against a list of countries that support, harbor, or approve of terrorism.
A list of countries. All of them. And we need to take action that is terrible and unilateral. Individuals, families, villages, cities, nations... all must be pursued and eliminated.
There needs to be revenge. There needs to be a balancing of the scales.
This is the greatest single evil act against Americans in history. It cannot be allowed to stand.
Tue 11 Sep 01 22:11
All day the images have repeated themselves on television while the smell of the smoke persisted in my rooms. Off and on, all day, I walked to the promenade to look at the reality of it and watch the smoke that didn 't stop. It will now play itself out, over and over again in my mind, until the day of my own death.
Television and reality. It is very difficult to separate the two, and when one has no reality, television is the thing that replaces it.
And because it is through television that those responsible for this monstrous act receive their impression of this country, I believe they have made a fundamental miscalculation about the deeper nature of the United States. A miscalculation that will cause to be visited upon them what I pray will be a terrible lesson; a lesson that will make the survivors envy the dead.
If you look at television, at the endless products of pap and nonsense that are piped out of the media centers of the United States, it is easy to see us as a weak, self-obsessed and foolish people. And many of us are that, even if we pretend to be other than weak, self-obsessed and foolish.
We have sitcoms and MTV. We have endless opinions about things which are not really central to serious life questions and serious policy decisions.
Our young people look foolish in their vanity and their fashions. Our military institutions are often ridiculed. Our entertainments are light and vapid. Many in positions of influence give short shrift to millions more with deeply held religious and traditional political convictions.
Our major issues on a day by day basis rarely rise above the level of fretful worry about the safety of restaurants that allow smoking, or whether or not a flower will be threatened by an oil well. These are serious issues to many Americans, and it is easy to see why such wet and weak concerns would lead others elsewhere in the world to hold us in contempt as a weak and decadent society that cannot defend itself against attack.
They see our men as feminine and our women as masculine and, to the fundamentalist mind, this signals a weakness in the blood and bone of the nation.They believe that they can attack such a society with a kind of impunity, or with the expectation of a careful and delicate response. They even note that our President is a man who communicates in a clumsy way, who is an "illegitimate" leader, and who does not have the support of many of the ruling elites of the country. They hold him to be easily frightened and stupid.
And perhaps he is many, if not all, of these things: clumsy, weak, illegitimate, frightened and stupid. Perhaps appearances are deceiving.
But it will not, in the long run, matter. And I pray it does not avail them. That is all only the television America.
But there is - and always has been - another America, and it is this America that I hope will emerge from this day, and remind all those who seek to harm us that we can be a nation that is as terrible as it seems foolish; that we are a country of deep resolve, capable of striking back in cold anger. Striking without compassion or regret; that we are, as the Japanese knew and were to discover, a sleeping giant. You wake us at your own risk. And once woken we will destroy you, and then rebuild you. The Japanese had their lesson and have learned. Germany had its lesson and has learned. Now it is the turn of a number of nations in the middle east.
We will first tend to our dead. Many funerals will take Place over the next month or so. At the same time we will also prepare for our vengence and I pray it will be terrible and without hesitation or compassion until all terrorists and all the villages, cities, and nations that support them are reduced to rubble.
This will be an America whose anger is not hidden beneath grief and the committment to save those not yet dead in the rubble of New York and Washington.
This is the America you see when you watch the head of the Fire Department of New York try to express his feelings at losing 300 men in one terrible moment.
This is the America of the thousands of rescue workers on the job tonight trying to dig through the rubble.
This is the America of terrible resolve that you can read on the face of the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he states the military is ready to do whatever is required of it. Whatever is required of it. I pray we require them to visit horror on our enemies that is a thousand fold worse than what we saw today.
You see, it doesn' t really matter who is the President. It matters only that there is a President.
The President is only one man and in times like this he does not really have to lead. He has only to follow and get out of the way.
After that what takes place will be done by many, many others in the hundreds and thousands. These people will not be a group of lame celebrities with their puling little concerns whose lives are just roles on television. They will not be a host of sensitive new-age babblers whose fantasies of a perfect world blind them to the evil of this one and the need to tear it out root and branch.
These will be Americans with terrible tools and with even more terrible weapons, and the skill and the will to use them. They will be filled with a terrible intensity and, I hope, a deep sense of mission which will not be lightly put aside.
This mission should be clear to everyone who has some experience of the world and how the world operates -- how reality operates. This mission should be nothing less than one that is willing to use whatever means necessary to target terrorism and to destroy it, wherever it exists. If this means the wholesale destruction of nations, so be it.
This mission should be to remind the world that while we are a nation committed to peace, we are a nation to be feared at war. We have the power to do this. We must use it without hindrance. If peace needs to be purchased with the sword, we should be ready to do this. We must become what we were during the Second World War-ruthless and unrelenting.
Those who think we are only what they see on our foolish television, need to have a hard and burning lesson on who we are when we decide to turn off the sit-coms and get real.
If we cannot do this, we will suffer this again and we will deserve it. The time to fill ourselves with the resolve to crush this monster is now and I pray we are up to the task.
Wed 12 Sep 01 07:30
[I wrote above that we must be ] capable of striking back in cold anger without compassion or regret
[A Well Denizen responds: Perhaps boswell [ my Well handle] has never spoken with any WWII vets who were active in (e.g.) the bombing of Dresden.
I respond: You have no sense of shame or patriotism or anything other than your limp, feeble and twisted sense of a perfectable world that vanished yesterday morning.
Do I have a sense of WWII vets who bombed Dresden and what they feel today? I am sure they feel bad about it. I am sure that they felt bad about it at the time.
"Feelings," upon which so much of your useless world view rests have nothing to do with this.
Only by doing what has to be done to protect and preserve this nation will we be able to maintain a way of life on this earth that makes your ideas and feelings possible.
In my family, I have four uncles. Three served in World War II and of those three, one, the most handsome and dashing -- I have the pictures -- was a navigator on a Flying Fortress. He was lost over the North Atlantic in the closing days of the war against Germany. His name is carved into the stones of the monument to these men that stands at the foot of Manhattan. I haven 't been to it in some years, but when the smoke that I can see from this office clears and we are allowed to go there, I plan on making a visit. [I did.]
Another uncle, a younger one, was in Korea at Inchon. He never speaks of it, but once when I was young I found an envelope filled with black and white pictures that he took during his time in that battle and they were horrific.
So while I in truth do not know the feelings of the bombers of Dresden, I know something of the effect of war on families in this country and I do not take it lightly.
The French has a saying that translates as "Revenge is a meal we eat cold." Cold is what it will be and all your smary small comments will not change that one whit.
Wed 12 Sep 01 08:05
To answer leroy, I am back at my absurd day-job. So far I m just about the only one here. Maybe eight people out of 200+.
I don 't know quite why I am here, but then, in truth, I' m never sure why I am ever here, other than that my personal life obligations require me to be here. That may have to change. [It did.]
At any rate, I woke up and could only take about five minutes of the endlessly repeated images of disaster, and having, literally nothing better to do, decided to try and come in.
I first walked to the Promenade to see where the Towers had been. The vile smoke blooming across the river was still there as it has always been, probably as it always will be in my mind where I will see it first as that moment when the first tower went down carrying thousands to a death I cannot imagine.
Still there. And the faint smell lingers too. And there were small clumps of people standing around, one couple even posing for a picture against the new skyline.
Then I walked through streets in the Heights that barely had any people on them. Usually full and bustling even on holiday weekends. Now just some elderly people moving slowly and a few clots of Jehovahs Witnesses in their cleaned and pressed clothing going down to put out what I am sure will be a special " We told you so" issue of The Watchtower.
Clark Street subway station is shut down with a few police directing people to the Jay street station. Buy a New York Post because I' ve read the Times. Walk to Jay Street in the heart of the Brooklyn government center across streets with few pedestrians and no traffic except for police, fire, and security vehicles cruising aimlessly about or parked at the curb.
Security in front of the courts and the city offices lounging in the bright sunshine of this second day of Indian Summer weather.
Down into the Jay Station and a very sparsely occupied A train. We set off on a slow, very slow, trip into Manhattan. Several people are reading bibles but most of the 15 or so people are just staring into space and looking vaguely alarmed whenever the train halts between stations -- which is often.
I spend this time reading the New York Post which has, inside, a picture of the exterior of one of the towers just before it collapsed. In this picuture I can count around 24 people poking their heads out of the windows or actually on the outside of what has to be the nintieth floor of the towers. All of them, ALL OF THEM, about to ride this building down into oblivion and you know that THEY ALL KNOW THIS.
Next to this is a picture of the side of the Tower and a large empty space on the left which is thin air. In this space, close to the tower you can see five to seven people falling with nothing but space above and below them, falling straight down into doom rather than be burned alive.
Finally, the train pulls into 23rd Street and halts. After a minute or so you can hear the announcer telling us that we will be held in the station for some time because of a police investigation in Penn Station, my destination.
I get out and go up to the street to walk the rest of the way.
And I walk into a Manhattan I have never seen in the almost 30 years that I 've been here. Streets almost utterly clear of traffic for as far uptown or downtown as you can see on 8th Ave. Nearly the same thing on 7th.
A smattering of pedestrians that grows somewhat thicker as you approach Penn Station. A nail salon open but with nobody getting their nails done that I can see.
Extortionate parking lots that are usually jammed with cars almost empty and with nobody there to collect the money.
On the street parking? Oh, we ve got it now.
Everywhere the hush. Everywhere. Like a ghost town with real ghosts now walking among us. People just standing around, people talking softly on cell phones, and people talking to themselves. On every corner small groups walking slowly into the street or ambling along the sidewalks as if nothing they normally do on Wednesdays in New York City is really all that important after all.
Wed 12 Sep 01 13:07
On blood and the giving of it in New York. It is important to do this, but no longer because of the need. It is pretty clear at this point in the evening of day 2 in New York that the city has more than enough blood to cover for this present emergency.
Still, people should give because it is something than they can give. That is the need it fills. As for blood for the wounded and the suffering, there is now a sufficient quantity. Why? Because there are not as many wounded as first feared. There are just mostly the dead.
With the exception of a few miracles that I hope will happen over the next few days, there will not be large numbers of injured beyond those who are already receiving treatment.
We are now starting to see the bodies emerge and they will continue in a ghastly parade of orange body bags for weeks now. Soon, tomorrow and over the weekend, the funerals and the memorials will begin. And they will go on and on and on. We will have, if we are fortunate 10,000 funerals in this city in the coming weeks.
Let me say that again: Ten thousand funerals.
Try, right now, to close your eyes and visualize this number of funeral ceremonies of every type and description and religion. You cannot do it because the enormity of it is too much for the human mind and soul. But we will have them, one by one and in groups. And here is another fact that comes along behind this number: We do not have enough land for 10,000 graves.
We do not have enough crematoriums. Many will go unburied for weeks. Many will be burned because that will be the only choice.
Many will have to be moved by train, plane, or van to some other place in the state, country, or the world.
And we will bury a thousand, and then another thousand, and another. And still the orange body bags will come up out of the pile and the pit one by one by one and lie in rows.
And this will go on for weeks if not months.
Think about what this will be like. Just stop and try to really see it.
And then think this: No matter what many may feel now about the wisdom, or the goodness, or the morality of retribution, there will come a time during this parade of our dead when this country, already uniting in a way I cannot remember in my 55 years, will have even a greater sea-change of spirit and rage. Many of those who do not really feel this now, for whatever enlightened or unenlightened reason, will feel this change and become part of it.
There will be those who do not, a smaller and smaller part of us as the days go by, and they will in the end be left behind.
But by far the most of us will be changed by this, even if now we are not.
Ten thousand funerals. We cannot imagine it, and yet we will live it. And I hope that each one of us can bear witness to as many as we can bear. It is the least of our duties.
Image from Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir
Some daytime scenes from around the playa at Burning Man 2013. Be sure to watch in HD at full screen for maximum awesomeness!
Major art include BELIEVE, The Man, French CORE: Stairway to Heaven, Minnesota CORE: The Year the Playa Stood Still, New Orleans CORE: Altar of the Wetlands: Recreating Nature in a Post-Industrial Society, Fractal Planet, The Janky Barge, Truth is Beauty, Coyote, East Bay CORE : First Home, NYC CORE: Star of the City, Like4Real, The Temple of Whollyness, Photo Chapel.
Soundtrack: Elixir by Fingers in the Noise.
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
-- Easter, 1916 by William Butler Yeats
I've been trying to remember September 10 but it's no go.
I know what I must have been doing, but I don't remember what I did. I kept no notes on that most ordinary of September days. I kept many notes on the day that followed and the days, weeks, months and years that followed that day. What I do know is that whatever might have followed September 10 was taken from us all that day never to be returned or recaptured only avenged. What I do know is that "justice being served" has no part in it, and never did.
I can, of course, assume what I did -- what I must have done -- on a routine Monday in Brooklyn Heights. I would have gotten up and showered in my strange bathroom with half a tub. I would have dressed for work; maybe a white shirt and a tie and a suit. I would have walked a block and a half to the Clark Street Station and taken an elevator 11 floors beneath the surface of the earth, ridden a train deeper still under the East River, and gotten out at Penn Station, walked across the street and taken the elevator up to the eleventh floor, and worked my way through my day before repeating the journey back to Brooklyn Heights. I must have done those things and done them without knowing it would be the last time I would do them in a heedless fashion. It was just the pattern my life had come to in all the long New York years leading to September 10.
I can, of course, look and see what the nation and the world was concerned with on September 10. John O'Neil, the FBI's leading counterterrorism expert was dining at Elaine's Restaurant on the Upper East Side, and telling his fellow diners, “We're due. And we're due for something big. Some things have happened in Afghanistan...." O'Neill would be dead within 24 hours when the South Tower collapsed. On the same day, Iran denied, not for the first or last time, that it was trying to develop nuclear weapons. Down on Wall Street the Dow Jones index remained flat at the close of business and the New York Times wrote, not for the first or last time, of “the darkening economic outlook” while noting that most economists didn't "anticipate a full-blown recession." Overall the hottest news story in the nation concerned Michael Jordan's pending return to professional basketball. The news that day was a case of the banal overshadowing the mundane.
It was against that background of works and days that the doors of history swung open and we all walked through them forgetting to ask, "What fresh hell is this?"
We were soon to know the nature of the new hell and we were all thrust into it without repeal. The days turned to months and the months turned to years and now we have turned around and a decade is gone. What might have been ours, for good or ill, in that decade was forever stolen from us. Stolen from us not -- never doubt this -- by one man alone, but by a host of savages and throwbacks spread around the world and here among us and dedicated to our destruction. A host that will use any means necessary to destroy this nation while this nation "serves justice" up in spoonfuls and creates "Rules of Engagement" with which to hamper those who would defend it with their very lives.
What the nation has become, through death by fire, bravado, war, forgetfulness, treason, and blunt stupidity could not have been foretold on September 10, but here we are -- a lurching ship of state captained by a malicious hater of the American soil. That same captain, maddened by his own stunted heritage, will today disgrace the soil of Ground Zero. It is a difficult reality that has been dealt by the hands of fate; one that is still being played out.
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death.
-- SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 W.H. Auden
Now over a decade has passed, "a low dishonest decade," since the day after September 10 and the thing that looked like a man, the monster that set the events of the 11th in motion, has been expunged from the Book of Life. Too easily and too quickly for my tastes but my tastes in these matters are rooted in Scots' blood, and that blood demands punishments too severe to write down here or to hold in the mind for long.
Some would say that his death with a bullet to the brain and then the use of the body as food for crabs and worm on the bottom of the ocean means "Debt paid" and "War over" and "Victory." Let that be to them as it will be, but my blood says that it is not paid, not over and not a victory.
My blood says that all of those in his line need to be expunged, and that all of those who emulate and revere his manner of thinking need to be expunged, and all of those in his part of the gene pool need to be drained away and destroyed, root and branch. My blood says, "Carthago delenda est."
From what little I know of history, what little I know of our enemies, I know in the marrow of my bones that there will come a terrible day in which that final judgment will be rendered and that final act shall be done. And as it was on the day after September 10, I remain relentlessly for this reckoning; a reckoning that is still to come, but like September 11 itself, certain to arrive.Continued...
Why? Because Obama....Continued...
The Fred Reed this time uncannily writes for me in Surrender in the Culture Wars @ Fred On Everything:
I lived, 1951 to 1956, aged six to eleven, in the Arlington suburbs of Washington and, ´56 to´57, in smalltown Athens, Alabama, and eighth grade through high school in rural King George County, Virginia, graduating in 1964. Another country. Another world. What happened?
The Arlington of then was entirely white, peopled largely by men several years back from World War Two, enjoying the fantastic surge in prosperity following the war. The dominant culture, the only culture, was that of Reader´s Digest, clean cut, honest, and confident. We watched the Mousketeers, all soap and good manners. We joined the Boy Scouts, and were told to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. We were, at least sorta, most of those. Pornography meant monitoring the advance of Annette Funicello´s bustline.
At age eight I walked every morning the perhaps six blocks to Robert E. Lee Elementary School, alone. Why not? There was nothing to be afraid of. My friends and I rode to Westover, the shopping center on Washington Boulevard, and left our bikes on the sidewalk for hours while we read comic books in the drug store. Why not? Nobody stole bikes. My family never locked the doors of the house. Why should we? There weren´t any burglars.
And in summer evenings thirty kids, girls and boys, played hide-and-seek across several blocks, and parents didn´t give it a thought. Why should they? It was safe. We were the dominant culture, the only culture, and we didn´t do pederasty, engage in gang attacks, or muggings, or drive fast on kid-littered streets. It wasn´t our way. If we had suffered a natural disaster, no one would have looted. It wasn´t what we did.
I´m not sure what would have happened if a gang of high-schoolers had robbed a candy store. It was impossible, because we didn´t do such things. A child molester? I don´t know. It would have one way or another been a case of God help him and he never would have been seen again. The culture didn´t tolerate child molesters.
And now, and now….
The President’s proposed Syrian missile strike is destined to fail worse than a White House official’s urinalysis. Not to mention a domestic healthcare law that has even AFL-CIO officials scrambling to figure out where they went wrong in life. The only option for libs: further propagandize the base into believing that these policies are good ones, and hope it all goes away until after the next election.
As professional anti-Bush-war protesters scramble to justify a military strike on Syria into simple libtardian picket-sign slogans, they can’t help but find themselves in a state of confusion and moral dilemma — a very familiar state to find themselves in.
Less than enthusiastic wandering picket-liners can be heard muddling disheartened laments, “But, like, wasn’t it like bad, when like Bush went to war, man?” Don’t ask questions! Just “X” out the “NO” on your “NO WAR” signs and do what you are told!
"In the 1920s, America began coast-to-coast Airmail service, but the pioneer pilots had trouble navigating the route, since navigation charts of the day were fugazi and you couldn't exactly pull over to ask a farmer for directions.
And traveling at night, when it would have been most efficient, or in bad weather was impossible. To solve this Congress then funded these gi-normous arrow-shaped Airmail Beacons, some up to 70 feet long, to trace a route across the country.... The arrows were painted bright yellow and each was accompanied by a tower up to 50 feet in height. At the top of each tower was a powerful gas-powered light, and at the bottom of the tower, a shed to hold the gas." More at - Core77 [HT: Doc Mercury]
Then there was the great supernova of July 4, 1054 A.D., the remnants of which became the famous Crab Nebula. What must the civilizations of that time thought and felt when they saw this great star suddenly appear in the sky, visible even in broad daylight for 23 days?
The creation of the Crab Nebula corresponds to the bright SN 1054 supernova that was independently recorded by Indian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese astronomers in 1054 AD as a "guest star" that faded slowly over the next two years. The Crab Nebula itself was first observed in 1731 by John Bevis. The nebula was independently rediscovered in 1758 by Charles Messier as he was observing a bright comet. Messier catalogued it as the first entry in his catalogue of comet-like objects. -- Crab Nebula
Titanium skaters on lakes of metallic hydrogen
Etch constant curves of crystalline
Isotopes of orange uranium
All about the vacant house.
Enigmas of equations
Slide lattices to rest
In beds of powdered strontium,
Molding energy as form suggests.
In the place of flux we find new forms,
For flux-formed spaces enfold
Charms of magnet's fever
That conduct the core from pole to pole.
The whiteness of Earth's silences
Are eyes that stare on space.
Orbits chart them ceaselessly,
Etching irises of lace.
The inner of Earth's outer
Is a torus twisted twice.
Balloons ascend within it
Painting shadows in the room.
What can the mind of silence hear
Other than a whiteness past revision, past review?
It evolves from epicenters,
Stretches measureless as sound,
Or is seen as the floor of the void
Where the whine of protons stills....
In the drifts of chromium snow,
and gazes on the bones of matter bare.
At times, men in aluminum cloaks
Descend the neutron ladder,
And move in a sleet of particles
Too scintillating for instruments to record.
At times, men in groups descend
Through the smoke of the universe,
To tend the embers, imprison flame.
Their cascading movements sparkle.
We taste the afterimage of events.
Below us, pale and infinitely silent,
The plutonium leaves arabesque
Through radiant silences of solid helium.
Sometimes it seems I had a dream, and, as a dreamer woke immersed in mineral baths closed within a cool, dark chamber fed by streams flowing in from the center of nowhere.
Hanging from the granite ceiling a kerosene lantern cast shards of light through the pale steam rising from the surface of the pools.
Ripples radiated outwards from the edges of my body and tapping faintly on the rock revealed the edges of the chamber.
Outside I could hear the wind slide across the spine of the mountains, speaking in a language that I remembered but could no longer understand.
Steam filled my nostrils and heat penetrated my bones until, after a time, I had no body, only a sense of silence and distance and calm.
As if I had just woken from all water into dream.
-- Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, 1973Continued...
"As the economy recovers uncertainly and the real estate market remains tenuous, many Americans
are looking at novel, alternative ways to live and save money. (In fact, we are moving to the suburbs in lower numbers than ever before). Hank Buttita saw this trend, took the ante, raised it, and went all in. He doesn't pay a mortgage or rent an overpriced apartment or succumb to the soul-withering blackhole of the post-graduate job market. No, sir. Hank bought a bus. Huckberry |
Cushing Biggs Hassell who says, in passing, among many other things:
"... of the young members who, having no spiritual life, cannot partake of spiritual food, and for the raising of money for pretended religious purposes—such as strawberry and ice-cream festivals, oyster suppers, concerts, burlesque hymns, comic songs, amateur theatricals, Sunday School excursions, and picnics, and banners, and emblems, Christmas trees, Easter cards, charity balls, and " church fairs" (with their rafflings or gamblings), rightly termed " abysses of horrors," mingling* sham trade with sham charity, obtaining money under false pretenses, teaching the selfish and thoughtless patrons how to be " benevolent without benevolence, charitable without charity, devout without devotion, how to give without giving and to be paid for ' doing good'..."
Got it? Now try the whole sentence on for size: Running On from Futility Closet
Cushing Biggs Hassell’s thousand-page History of the Church of God (1886) is notable for a single sentence — this one, on page 580, beginning “The nineteenth is the century …” It’s six pages long, with 3,153 words, 360 commas, 86 semicolons, and six footnotes. Many regard it as the longest legitimate sentence ever written in a book.
Weak minds would just give you the link to History of the church of God @ Google Books. But we are not that forgiving. We're giving you the whole enchilada. Take a deep, a very deep, breath.Continued...
I've been away but so far, as I understand it, here's the plan. DC bombs Syria into pudding for using the WMD it inherited from Saddam. Iran bombs DC into pudding with WMD that it got from Syria's stockpile of WMDs it got from Saddam and passed on to Syria. The United States, now without Washington DC, bombs Iran into pudding. Except for excess pudding where's the downside?
"Many talented coin engravers, as well as newcomers, started creating hobo nickels in 1913, when the Buffalo nickel entered circulation. This accounts for the quality and variety of engraving styles found on carved 1913 nickels. More classic old hobo nickels were made from 1913-dated nickels than any other pre-1930s date.
Many artists made hobo nickels in the 1910s and 1920s, with new artists joining in as the years went by. The 1930s saw many talented artists adopting the medium. Bertram Wiegand, known almost exclusively as Bert, began carving nickels in the teens, and his student George Washington Hughes, known as Bo, began carving in the late teens (and up to 1980). During this period, Buffalo nickels were the most common nickels in circulation." -- La Wik
In the hayed field thick with dusted mist,
As the noon whistle of the village hissed,
We noted how the dead were neatly placed,
How all lay labeled, how all were given space.
We remarked the craft of marble wreath,
And proposed that those who lay beneath
Were clad in the fashion of their day,
Some fitting shroud in which to greet eternities of clay.
Nearby we saw the fruits of Arbor Day and said
How lovely were the trees; how well pruned and fed.
The trees ignored our gaze, as was their right,
And spawned a host of shadows, imitating night.
The hill before us, like some weathered tomb
Passed by in spring, above us loomed
With high and wind smoothed walls of slate
On which the trees' sharp branches scraped
An etching of themselves slashed into sky.
But we were late into our day and a bird's cry
Made us spy the gray and shaken sheets of storm,
That sheathed us soon and drove us down
Into the brambles where the ancient Indians lay,
Sheltered by the weeds from the weather of the day,
And resolved beneath to, sightless, calmly wait
Upon the last night's opening of the gateless gate.
"The weave of roots took our eyes away.
The seeping rain removed our clay.
Our husked dried skin is steeped in sleep.
If you would awaken us, you must dig deep
"Beneath the earth of whittled leaves
Beneath the grief that no longer grieves;
To awaken us you need a careful touch,
For dig you must, but never dig too much."
We turned from the field and its rustle of birds,
Where sunlight had played on summer words,
Playing now to winter's chiseled stones,
To the hissing silence of abandoned bones.
Their stillness slashed dry grass with scythes of wind,
And made us wish we could a thousand acts rescind,
But we knew our wishes were for naught,
For what is easily sold is dearly bought.
Instead, we startled life in a whirr of wings,
And in that moment came to present things.
We went home, made tea, and sat together,
Held hands at evening and talked about the weather.