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Open thread 3/29/23

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  • Anne March 29, 2023, 8:38 AM

    YES. Gerard would have loved to have this conversation this week. His work was/is such a perfect reflection of all that this painting depicts.

    • azlibertarian March 30, 2023, 11:32 AM

      I like to think that Gerard is still here watching our conversations.

  • John Venlet March 29, 2023, 10:54 AM

    The gift of life. Sat with my 91 year old Mum this morning, and every year she tells me the story of my birth, her gift of life to me. How she was wheeled into the delivery room at 3:55 a.m., and at 4:05 a.m. she was holding me in her arms. I was number 4 of 8. Here’s to making my 64th orbit around the sun.

    • ghostsniper March 29, 2023, 12:00 PM

      Happy YOUR day John.
      I remember way back (4 yrs ago, snicker) when I was a spry young buk like you.
      At about 6pm this evening I’m gonna sit on the front porch in this 60+ degree climate, watch the birds and creatures and sip one of these things and I’ll wish we were both partaking at your trout house in the forest.


      I ain’t a wine drinker but I saw these at the store and liked the label.
      8.3 alcohol….might be inneresting.

      • John Venlet March 29, 2023, 12:06 PM

        Thanks, Ghostsniper, my U.P. friend, who is the same age as you, if I recall correctly, calls me a young pup. I’ll be porch sitting myself tonight, here in GR, though our weather is bit more brisk. Actually had a touch of snow this morning. Sun is out now, though. Tomorrow, I’m headed back north. Enjoy the cider, I’ll stick with bourbon.

  • Casey Klahn March 29, 2023, 12:37 PM

    Here’s a toast to Michelangelo. If anyone gets the notion to watch a great movie about him, see the one with Charleton Heston as the man, and Rex Harrison as the Pope. The Agony and The Ecstasy.

    And, not to be outdone, here’s a toast to our own John Venlet: welcome to 64, old timer. I graduated HS in 1976 – I wonder if you did the same year? Also, I imagine we served in our respective military years about the same time. Wish I was that age again, tear-assing around New York City trying to… never mind that part.

    In Sept., I’ll clock 65, and the same month will celebrate my late father’s hundredth year since his birth.

    God bless ya, John. Don’t do anything I would do.

    • John Venlet March 29, 2023, 12:56 PM

      Thanks, Casey. Actually graduated high school in ’78, cause you gave me one more year than I’ve earned. Just made 63 today. And don’t worry, with the leeway you’ve given me I’m not concerned I’ll outdo any of your exploits.

      • Casey Klahn March 29, 2023, 3:27 PM

        OK, I see how the math works. Gotchya.

        Why, at 63 yer still wet behind the ears. Enjoy your day and many happy returns.

    • Anonymous March 29, 2023, 6:57 PM

      One of my younger brothers graduated in ’76. Twas a good year as I recall. His claim to fame was having graduated with Madonna when she was a teenage unknown and still had a last name. Those were the days, eh?

  • ghostsniper March 29, 2023, 6:19 PM


    A Self-elegy by Harriet Westbrook

    first wife of Percy Shelley


    I look down into the moss-green pool

    my own reflected face flanked by clouds

    inhabiting yet the heavens cold and cruel

    unloose the binding dresses destined shrouds

    I speak as listening to ghosts aloud

    whispering my life unto the wind

    promises broken promises once avowed

    overheard by ghosts ghosts will not rescind

    and aweful Queen of Ghosts these promises will tend

    Water swirling through my sinking skirts

    washing billowing blouse and filling dresses

    with muddy Serpentine swelled with rains

    to rinse with ash-blonde foam my flowing tresses

    Water chilling skin with cold caresses

    taking our child and me down slowly dreamily

    almost weightless as the tide progresses

    its silty sound swallowing me and our baby

    will swallow you too My Love as Your Soul at last confesses


    We haunt these waters gliding scaleless finless

    naked with the naked fishes glinting

    They like us adrift forever sinless

    rising up from sunless sea-paths squinting

    at dancing rays filtering down hinting

    of warm red light above, hot-skinned creatures

    gliding through air and Fate’s breath unrelenting

    burdened only by wind and rock-hard features

    and voices mouthed all round, soundless unseen preachers

    Listen to the water flowing over my grave

    Listen to the current running down to sea

    washing among the rounded pebbles a-lave

    with muddy sediment. This soil will, free

    from stream bed and bank, resalt the mineral sea

    with the salt and dust of me and our baby’s bones

    It will flavor the ocean floor, far Normandy

    and the coast of farther Leghorn as it moans

    with the Tyrrhene tidal winds squalling in blackest tones

    I did not even know Ophelia, never

    doubting but ‘gratitude and admiration,’

    I saw you write, ‘demand I shall love her forever’

    But what sad dreamer dreaming since time began

    kept such vow being but flesh and man

    unless his vow and dream might coincide

    which self-encircling artist will not plan

    and god, foreseeing future, matches bride

    with dream unchanging, dreamers dreaming side by side

    Mediterranean waves washed you ashore

    you wept for by all as genius lost

    while I must grovel in London mud, no more

    bemoaned than fishes or frogs or flotsam wave-tossed

    For Poesy I am but the cost

    staring skyward glassy-eyed from Serpent’s flank

    Of me Faith’s Child the poets never guessed

    You will Muse but never Woman thank

    For you my maidenhead naively led twice sank

    You say you cannot love what you do not

    but I am lost My God unchaste unmarried

    unloved and then from pitying hands unsought

    a child that unfathered must never be carried

    My past my present haunts cannot be buried

    Fled you think a love is right or not

    if not then virtue is to be remarried

    But I am no mistake to be unbought

    as fish of ghostly form I cannot be uncaught


    That Deep that sparkles with riddles and grinning monsters

    spread out around you though morning had dawned clear cloudless

    and blue, sky reflecting sanely exactly

    the silvery surface. Waveless nearly windless

    the mast hardly cocked, the stockstill lazy compass

    Beneath this idyll Naiades eyed their prey

    above Erinyes preened and whetted careless

    The Sea grave of all waters watched lidless fey

    the sea floor swelled to receive the salt of one more your clay

    Fate tempted She rose from her deep abode

    flanked by Furies followed by millions

    out from their caves of darkness Sea Ghosts flowed

    in circling waves of dancing writhing cotillions

    and Percy you saw before you joined the billions

    my billowing blouse rippling from every crest

    my eyes in the faces of Triton’s minions

    and seaweed that sewed each frond a lover’s tress

    enwrapping you Love like curling sea snakes vengeance-blest

    Gulls, oyster-albine bacchantes, screamed alone

    or beating wing for breast tearing through the veils

    of Delphic mists as swirling maidens swore atone

    Below there leapt blue dolphins, breaching whales

    who slapping flukes on briny greenswell wail

    a long-drawn song an ocean jeremiad

    awash with centuries-old earth-circling tales

    of languishment and death and bones half-hid

    by silt and wavy seaweed and eddies Neptune-bid

    Pipers primly skipped from threatening wave

    Scuttling crabs retreated always sideways

    every beast that day did itself save

    from Supernature’s cast in Passion Plays

    as Venus made a count of all the days

    crushing under dainty goddess slipper

    or whitest barest foot him who pays

    the uttermost farthing and then must kneel and kiss her

    lips with redeemed lips that then must ever miss her


    Someday when I awake when I arise

    when earth and water mix in Parousia

    and look my drowned poet in the eyes

    as Cronus meets the eyes of mother Rhea

    and Uranus the gaze of mother Gaea

    remember once you loved me knew not why

    marred by Adam’s sin non culpa mea

    son of father’s dearth back to Sky

    who rains on Gaea as a cloud gone floating by

    That dark night unrestful I will wake

    beneath the blowing cattails lulling you

    to sleep, that night I will at last forsake

    the quiet earth and overreaching dew

    At midnight belly rounding with the moon

    I will arise Astarte-like from the rushes

    I will arise respirited too soon

    like her whose presence all the Spirit hushes

    display the perished bloom and hectic flushes

    the falsely beating heart and warming womb

    the graying lips of red and mother’s blushes

    I will awake untimely unentomb

    bones best left enearthed and flesh and feeling numb

    Then when Chaos stirs the bloody Earth

    remixing limbs eyes Souls hearts

    and making every death a crying birth

    infusing salty water into parts

    confused by Change and Time and Judgment starts

    my water and your storm will be the same

    I, Immortal Bird, will sing the Arts

    and you will mouthe my pain not in name

    but kissed from storm to storm no weather-lover’s blame

    You who hate the seed for taking root

    will also hate the cloud that whitens high

    the storm that overwaters virgin shoot

    bass-boom thunder and the infant cry

    of washed-out life weakening to die

    beneath unsheltered sky. You will curse

    the rain that fills the drowning stream and I

    Skylark blithe but long deflowered and worse

    unignorant of pain to innocently coerce

    my strains to pure profusion—Not Purity

    but Sacred Soilure, the Dirt of Ages

    will bless my songbird bones—I will cloudless see

    what you must miss unmuddied: the ghost-watched wages

    of sin to Art and Love are not on gold-gilt pages

    in Heaven but are writ in Runes upon the Earth

    bloody kana venting Vulcan’s rages

    at Nazarene. Magdalene knew: not worth

    pap a Pure Conception or a Virgin Birth


    I will learn to rain and you to rust

    The mud will take us both and both the sky

    Sea-silt and Cloud-froth will bed our breath and dust

    and we will learn to live and so to die

    For now I wait the rain drips past my eye

    you dig deep beneath the seas of Rome

    The seas will rise and fall in circles by the bye

    and when the sea floor meets the starry dome

    soaked and salty you will take our baby home

    • anon March 29, 2023, 7:09 PM

      Melodramatic much?
      I’m not sure what it all is supposed to mean, but I’m glad that in 2023 I have had (since the ’70’s) books and articles available which teach that a woman is valuable in and of herself and that destroying herself (and a child) in an attempt to “lay a guilt trip on a man” means only that the man has won (succeeded in destroying her).
      Women: do not let any man destroy you…if you can help it. (And you probably can.)

      • Anne March 29, 2023, 9:13 PM

        Thank you anon–

        As for age–it seems that I am the oldest one here. Celebrated 79 last month! I am so grateful for all that I have been given. I get up every day trying to live a life that says “thank you, Dear Lord”

        • John Venlet March 30, 2023, 4:16 AM

          Which is doing your best to live Psalm 118:24 up in the sidebar there, Anne. God Bless.

  • Bob Clark March 30, 2023, 6:32 AM

    Thank you Ghostsniper. A wonderful testament.

  • anon March 30, 2023, 8:18 AM

    National Vietnam Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Served
    By Chris Queen 2:28 PM ON MARCH 29, 2023


  • ghostsniper March 30, 2023, 5:54 PM

    Loving Vincent
    This might be worth taking a look at.
    Have you seen it?



    • Casey Klahn March 30, 2023, 8:34 PM

      Yes, of course. The Willem Dafoe movie is better, though.

      Today marks 170 since van Gogh’s birth.

  • Anne March 30, 2023, 6:36 PM

    Went on a small tour that included his room in the “hospital”. It was not at all confining, he was free to walk around anywhere. It was a quite good size room by today’s standards. Maybe about 15 wide by 20-25 long. Plenty of windows.

  • Casey Klahn March 30, 2023, 8:35 PM

    Who had “Biden arrests Trump; disarms patriots” on his bingo card? Place a marker there, because it’s happening, apparently.

  • John the River March 31, 2023, 7:05 AM

    Turned 73 last weekend, today is the 12th year since my wife passed away. And one day after the final nail was set in the framework turning America into a Banana Republic.

    There was a SciFi book about America after a political party took to jailing the others leaders as soon as they got back into power. Can’t remember the title now, but I remember that it didn’t end well.
    Another story that posted yesterday but probably didn’t get noticed by many, the FBI is building a new headquarters for themselves. It will be bigger than the Pentagon.
    Message received and understood.

    • Joe Krill March 31, 2023, 7:46 AM

      John the River,
      The downfall of America began in the 1930’s with the infiltration of Catholic Seminaries by Communists, then Protestant seminaries followed by teachers colleges.

      If you research the subject be forewarned that the great coverup of what happened has started. Some

      • ghostsniper March 31, 2023, 12:01 PM

        1913, the fed reserve
        THAT’s what going to sink this doomed ship of fools.
        Perhaps in 2 weeks or less.

        • Joe Krill March 31, 2023, 2:43 PM

          Ghostsniper, I understand the severity of what you speak. That said, we have overcome many financial disasters as a nation. My comment deals with the severe decline in what can only be called “Americas Morality Crisis”. We are morally bankrupt. I place this blame squarely on the shoulders of the pablum pukers in all the pulpits and the cowardice of the average American who is afraid to stand up and say something, say anything.

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