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Archive for January, 2016

Probably Not In The Cards

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Narcissus

If you haven’t read your Ovid lately you may have forgotten the story of Narcissus, who was so enamored of himself that he spent all his time staring at his own likeness–much to the chagrin of his enamored lover, Echo:

He spoke, and returned madly to the same reflection, and his tears stirred the water, and the image became obscured in the rippling pool. As he saw it vanishing, he cried out ‘ Where do you fly to?  Stay, cruel one, do not abandon one who loves you! I am allowed to gaze at what I cannot touch, and so provide food for my miserable passion!’ While he weeps, he tears at the top of his clothes: then strikes his naked chest with hands of marble. His chest flushes red when they strike it, as apples are often pale in part, part red, or as grapes in their different bunches are stained with purple when they are not yet ripe.

As he sees all this reflected in the dissolving waves, he can bear it no longer, but as yellow wax melts in a light flame, as morning frost thaws in the sun, so he is weakened and melted by love, and worn away little by little by the hidden fire. He no longer retains his color, the white mingled with red, no longer has life and strength, and that form so pleasing to look at, nor has he that body which Echo loved. Still, when she saw this, though angered and remembering, she pitied him, and as often as the poor boy said ‘Alas!’ she repeated with her echoing voice ‘Alas!’ and when his hands strike at his shoulders, she returns the same sounds of pain. His last words as he looked into the familiar pool were ‘Alas, in vain, beloved boy!’ and the place echoed every word, and when he said ‘Goodbye!’ Echo also said ‘Goodbye!

He laid down his weary head in the green grass, death closing those eyes that had marveled at their lord’s beauty.

And even when he had been received into the house of shadows, he gazed into the Stygian waters. His sisters the Naiads lamented, and let down their hair for their brother, and the Dryads lamented. Echo returned their laments. And now they were preparing the funeral pyre, the quivering torches and the bier, but there was no body. They came upon a flower, instead of his body, with white petals surrounding a yellow heart.

(Metamorphoses, Book III, 339-580

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Narcissus in death (Nicholas Poussin)

The moral of the story is, of course, that self-love kills.

Sadly, I suspect that wasting away is too much to ask from the bullying narcissist who now defiles our public space.

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Porcine Prowlers

 

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A couple of nights ago I heard noises outside my back door. Some rakes and buckets had been stashed back there by the people who clean up my yard, and the stuff was definitely being investigated–by someone or something.

I assumed that no wannabe human intruder would make such a racket, so I screwed my courage to the sticking place and turned on the porch light. It shone on a veritable family gathering of javelina–six or seven, of all sizes from babies to a fierce-looking old male. For some reason the tools had caught the family’s attention, and they were busy scattering stuff all about.

The porch light hadn’t fazed them, and so I bravely tapped on the window glass. One baby looked up. So I tapped harder.  Again no response. Just as I began to wonder what I would do if they decided to camp out under the porch furniture, the old male saw me, or my shadow, and led the bunch off into the bushes.

Whew.  Inky and Sassy were nowhere to be found until a couple of hours later.  Brave Sir Robins they are not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winter Is Here

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Ned Stark was right.

This is one big storm settling in over the eastern seaboard. I’m sure glad I no longer live in Pennsylvania, where I was snowed in more than once in the three years I lived there. Fourteen to 20 inches are forecast for Philadelphia. The forecast for DC is even more breathtaking–up to 30 inches.

Apparently it’s so bad already in DC that Obama’s motorcade was stalled in traffic for over an hour. I hope the White House is well-stocked, because nobody who works there is going home now, and maybe not for a couple of days.

Eastern cities don’t handle big storms very well, unlike places such as Chicago and Minneapolis, which learned long ago how to weather (ha) dumps like this.

I’m also worried about the NFC playoff game, scheduled to happen in Charlotte NC on Sunday. The Arizona Cardinals are scheduled to take off from Phx tomorrow morning;  I guess they figure the storm will have moved north by the time they get to the east coast. Does the stadium there in Carolina have a roof? If not, the groundspeople have a lot of work ahead of them.

UPDATE:  Nope.  Here is the Carolina stadium this afternoon:

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My Lyin’ Eyes

I’ve seen lots of shocking stuff on my teevee.

Ross Barnett standing in the door of Little Rock High School, defying the attorney general of the United States.

Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

Police turning water hoses and dogs on black demonstrators.

The funeral of JFK, where a black horse carried a saddle with empty boots in the stirrups.

The shooting of Ronald Reagan and his aide, James Brady.

Young people gathering in front of White House serenading W with loud choruses of “Na-na-na-na.”

The inauguration of Barack Obama.

However, I just watched something that is so shocking it’s hard to grasp:  Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump for president.

Charlie Pierce echoed my reaction exactly:  “I wonder how much that cost.”

PS.  My title is an homage to Glenn Frey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sandhill Crane is one of the bird species protected at the Malheur facility–the one where those militia clowns have holed up. Thank stars that the endangered cranes aren’t in residence during the winter season because the stupid fucknuts who have taken over the refuge might shoot one just to prove his manhood.

Which is always in doubt, apparently requiring constant reinforcement. The indispensable Dave Neiwert, who studies right-wing rhetoric so the rest of us don’t have to, has a great column up about the internal workings of patriot groups (http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/). Neiwert demonstrates that right-wing groups are contentious fellows, unable to get along with one another or to agree about the goals of their “movement.”

Indeed, these guys are hostile to nearly everyone who doesn’t approve of their aims–whatever those are at a given moment. And they stroke their -er- egos by imagining that the federal government spends frantic days and nights worrying about the threat posed to it by patriot militias. Neiwert cites a dude who claims that “By doing this, they [Bundy’s group] have given Obama the best New Years present he could hope for – an example of militia movement/patriot aggression, which gives up the high ground while also having the least credibility and support from the locals possible, after lying to them.”

True that. Neiwert also cites Alex Jones, the radio personality, who equates the fed with Hitler’s stormtroopers: “Ladies and gentlemen, don’t let Obama be successful when it comes to starting civil unrest and riots in this country. They will use that [the occupation of Malheur] as a civil emergency to bring in a type of soft martial law.”

Of course they’ve been predicting this for years. Remember the war games in Texas that were a cover for a federal takeover?  Or Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff when he refused to pay the million bucks he STILL owes us taxpayers?

Given the failure of the feds to act on any of these ruckuses, the patriots can fairly be called megalomaniacs.

If Obama gives any fucks at all about the occupation of Malheur, I’d bet a dollar or two that he is most concerned about the Sandhill Cranes.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Last One

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Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address last night. Once again he appealed to our better natures, a plea that was lost on half of his audience before he even uttered it. He reiterated a few themes from American exceptionalism (we are the most powerful nation in the world!) in order to offer a mild counterpoint to the ravings of some candidates for his office. And he outlined his plans (hopes and dreams, really, given the incalcitrance of the Rethug congress) for change in the last year of his presidency.

It was sad to watch. Obama is probably one of the most talented people ever to hold the presidency, and now his terms are nearly over. He was lucid and compassionate, two qualities in short supply in today’s political discourse. He is also a very smart man, and I look forward to his and Michelle’s participation in public affairs after he leaves office, where they may be able to accomplish more good things.

It was hard to concentrate on Obama, though, because over his shoulder Paul Ryan was, well, squirming. I wasn’t the only one to notice this: The Onion had fun with Ryan’s tics, claiming that he was working out (http://www.theonion.com/article/paul-ryan-quietly-doing-seated-ab-exercises-throug-52154) during the speech. Yahoo News posted some pretty funny tweets about Ryan’s squirreliness, as well.

But the worst part, for me, was the sustained rudeness of Rethugs. I have lived a long time, and am a student of oratory, so I have watched a lot of SOTU addresses–even those made by presidents I despised. A president’s level of oratorical skill is always good, or he (so far) would never make it into the office. Some have approached mastery–John Quincy Adams, Lincoln, FDR, Clinton. Obama, while maybe not in this exalted company, is a fine orator although he tends not to show off his more fiery style on state occasions.

Despite the president’s rhetorical gifts, the Rethugs have sat through each one of his SOTUs. Never before, in my experience, has the opposing party been so rude as to remain seated during applause lines in a SOTU address. I know their behavior is supposed to signify disagreement, but in this setting and occasion, remaining seated also signifies contempt for the speaker. Given Obama’s ethnicity, this is an insult–to him, to the people who elected him–twice, and to the principles for which this country stands.

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No Excuses Now!

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Good news for ‘philes!  The X-files has now been transferred to Blu-ray.

Eat the Corn.com tells me that the transfer process was difficult given that the original broadcast used VHS. So the folks who put the Blu-ray together had to go back to the original film and transfer all nine seasons, plus two movies, onto Blu-ray.

By Corn‘s account, the results are spectacular. You can buy each season from Amazon for $14.99, and the whole package (including the movies) can be had for a measly $265!  I imagine that only videophiles are willing to pay those prices. I’m happy enough with the versions that appear on my fire-stick, which are somewhat better than those produced by DVDs, even on a Blu-ray player.

I’ve been watching the X-files intermittently for the last two weeks. I’m trying to finish a project I started way back in the early ‘nineties–preparing a list of episode synopses for Trep in the hope I might entice her into watching some of them.

The dolls in the picture were manufactured by Mattel back when Mulder and Scully were hot properties. I think I still have a copy of these dolls packed away in a storage closet (unless I gave them away). If I still have them I should get them out and display them in order to celebrate the new series, which debuts on January 24.

Or maybe I should sell them. I bet they’d pay for cat food for a few weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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