Friday, 03/23/2018

I Don't Believe in the Over-acting Scenario

*clears throat*


March 23, 1:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Billy Collins.


March 23, 12:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Wampanoag Should've Made The Englishmen Pay For A Wall

Ah, spring.  A mere week after being welcomed to the New World, the Pilgrims were visited again by the Wampanoag, including Massasoit, their sachem.  The always-terse Bradford simply reports:

Being, after some time of entertainmente & gifts, dismist, a while after he came againe, & 5. more with him, & they brought againe all y e tooles that were stolen away before, and made way for y e coming of their great Sachem, called Massasoyt ; who, about 4. or 5. days after, came with the cheefe of his freinds & other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto. With whom, after frendly entertainment, & some gifts given him, they made a peace with him

Mourt's provides a lot more:

Thursday the 22. of March [Old Style] , was a very fayre warme day. About noone we met againe about our publique businesse, but we had scarce beene an houre together, but Samoset came againe, and Squanto the onely native of Patuxat, where we now inhabite, who was one of the twentie Captives that by Hunt were carried away, and had beene in England...and could speake a little English, with three others, and they brought with them some sew skinnes to trucke, and some red Herrings newly taken and dryed, but not salted, and signified unto us, that their great Sagamore Masasoyt was hard by, with Quadequina his brother, and all their men.

They could not well expresse in English what they would, but after an houre the King came to the top of an hill over against us, and had in his trayne sixtie men, that wee could well behold them, and they us: we were not willing to send our governour to them, and they vnwilling to come to us, so Squanto went againe unto him, who brought word that wee should send one to parley with him, which we did, which was Edward Winsloe, to know his mind, and to signifie the mind and will of our governour, which was to have trading and peace with him.

We sent to the King a payre of Knives, and a Copper Chayne, with a jewell at it. To Quadequina we sent likewise a Knife and a jewell to hang in his eare, and withall a Pot of strong water, a good quantitie of Bisket, and some butter, which were all willingly accepted: our Messenger made a speech unto him, that King James saluted him with words of loue and Peace, and did accept of him as his Friend and Alie, and that our Governour desired to see him and to trucke with him, and to confirme a Peace with him, as his next neighbour: he liked well of the speech and heard it attentiuely, though the Interpreters did not well expresse it; after he had eaten and drunke himselfe, and given the rest to his company, he looked upon our messengers sword and armour which he had on, with intimation of his desire to buy it, but on the other side, our messenger shewed his unwillingnes to part with it:

In the end he left him in the custodie of Quadequina his brother, and came over the brooke, and some twentie men following him, leaving all their Bowes and Arrowes behind them. We kept six or seaven as hostages for our messenger; Captaine Standish and master Williamson met the King at the brooke, with halfe a dozen Musketiers, they faluted him and he them, so one going over, the one on the one side, and the other on the other, conducted him to an house then in building, where we placed a greene Rugge, and three or soure Custiions, then instantly came our Governour with Drumme and Trumpet after him, and some sew Musketiers. After salutations, our Governour kissing his hand, the King kissed him, and so they sat downe. The Governour called for some strong water, and drunke to him, and he drunke a great draught that made him sweate all the while after, he called for a little fresh meate, which the King did eate willingly, and did give his followers.

Then they treated of Peace...all which the King seemed to like well, and it was applauded of his followers, all the while he sat by the Governour he trembled for scare: In his person he is a very lustie man, in his best yeares, an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech: In his Attyre little or nothing differing from the rest of his followers, only in a great Chaine of white bone Beades about his necke, and at it behinde his necke, hangs a little bagg of Tobacco, which he dranke and gaue vs to drinke; his face was paynted with a fad red like murry, and oyled both head and face, that hee looked greasily: All his followers likewise, were in their faces, in part or in whole painted, some blacke, some red.

Now I love all the extra details in Mourt's--Winslow was always more wordy than Bradford.  One little item that I find interesting is that Massasoit is said to tremble out of fear.  That might be natural when surrounded by armed strangers, but Nathaniel Philbrick notes in Mayflower:

Instead of Carver and the Pilgrims, it may have been Massasoit’s interpreter who caused the sachem to shake with trepidation. Squanto later claimed that the English kept the plague in barrels buried beneath their storehouse. The barrels actually contained gunpowder, but the Pilgrims undoubtedly guarded the storehouse with a diligence that lent credence to Squanto’s claims. If the interpreter chose to inform Massasoit of the deadly contents of the buried stores during the negotiations on March 22 (and what better way to ensure that the sachem came to a swift and satisfactory agreement with the English?), it is little wonder Massasoit was seen to tremble.

That damned savage, Squanto, trying to manipulate the political situation for his own benefit!

The next day, Squanto, who after a six-year hiatus was back to living on his native shore, left to fish for eels. At that time of year, the eels lay dormant in the mud, and after wading out into the cold water of a nearby tidal creek, he used his feet to “trod them out.” That evening he returned with so many eels that he could barely lift them all with one hand.

Squanto had named himself for the Indian spirit of darkness, who often assumed the form of snakes and eels. It was no accident that he used eels to cement his bond with the Pilgrims. That night they ate them with relish, praising the eels as “fat and sweet,” and Squanto was on his way to becoming the one person in New England they could not do without.

Anyway, the six-point agreement they made on March 22 helped keep the peace more or less for five decades, until the Pilgrims' kids got greedy and started a war with King Philip.  But before that, America was basically genocide-free!


March 23, 12:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, 03/22/2018

Картинки с выставки

It captured my imagination as a wee lad, before ELP, before Smurfs, before Lebowski, before Putin's invasion of my beloved Ukraine.


March 22, 2:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thy various works, imperial queen, we see

 On Imagination:

    Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.

 Phillis Wheatley.


March 22, 2:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why must you be such an angry young man?

How can there be such a sinister plan that could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man?


March 22, 1:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Let's take a look at the man who killed Buckwheat

Poor little snowflake:

As the Austin bomber sensed that authorities were closing in on him on Tuesday night, he took out his cell phone and recorded a 25-minute video confessing to building the explosive devices -- but didn't explain why he targeted his victims, interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley said.

"It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his life that led him to this point," the interim chief said. "I know everybody is interested in a motive and understanding why. And we're never going to be able to put a (rationale) behind these acts," Manley told reporters Wednesday night.


Meanwhile, in not-white America, the not-bomb-related terror continues...


March 22, 12:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Watch out, you might get what you're after

Boom babies strange, but not a stranger.


PS--Saw David Byrne (tour supporting Rei Momo) at the Orpheum with college friends many eons ago.  Heading back to National next week, which route between my hotel and HQ takes me by the venue, always making me think of that show.  But that's not what this post is about.

March 22, 12:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, 03/21/2018

The Cornerstone Speech

Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, speaking to "the largest audience ever assembled at the Athenaeum" in Savannah on March 21, 1861:

I was remarking, that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new. This revolution has been signally marked, up to this time, by the fact of its having been accomplished without the loss of a single drop of blood. [Applause. ed note: just wait a few weeks.]

This new constitution, or form of government, constitutes the subject to which your attention will be partly invited. . . .

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other -- though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution -- African slavery as it exists amongst us -- the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.

Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact...The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically...Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the "storm came and the wind blew."

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -- subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.]
Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind -- from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were.

They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just -- but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.

But please do tell us how the whole unpleasantness was about tariffs.


March 21, 11:49 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2)

Such was the sad ending of a work of death, the result of seventy years of industry.

Yup, another fire post, which is really the biggest draw at this here blog.  From A Wilderness So Immense:

By 1788 there were 5,338 people living within the wooden defenses of New Orleans—earthworks surmounted by a palisade of vertical logs with four raised bastions for cannon at the corners, and a fifth battlement in the middle of the north rampart that faced toward Lake Pontchartrain. Within these walls stood a thousand houses and buildings, most of brick-between-post construction and sheathed in wood or stucco. A few boasted roof tiles or slates but most made do with wooden shingles.

According to the eyewitness whose firsthand account of the great fire of March 21, 1788, appeared in a London newspaper, Vicente José Nunez, the twenty-seven-year-old paymaster of the army, was “a zealous Catholic, who, not satisfied with worshipping God in his usual way, had a chapel or altar, erected in his house.” At midday he lit “50 or 60 wax tapers” for Good Friday, “as if his prayers could not ascend to heaven without them.” By about one-thirty his votive candles, “being left neglected at the hour of dinner, set fire to the ceiling, from thence proceeded the destruction of the most regular, well-governed, small city in the western world.”

Governor Miro described the scene to His Majesty, the King of Spain:

Eight hundred and fifty-six buildings were reduced to ashes, including all the business houses and principal mansions of the city. A wind from the south, then blowing with fury, thwarted every effort to arrest its progress. The parochial church and presbytery (casa de los curas) were involved in the common disaster, together with the greater part of its archives. The Municipal building (casa capitular), the barracks and the armory, as well as the arms deposited therein, except 150 muskets, met the same fate. The public jail was also destroyed, and hardly had we time to save the lives of the unfortunate prisoners. 
As soon as we perceived that the progress of the fire was being hastened by unceasing gusts of wind, and that the whole city was evidently in danger of destruction, our principal aim was directed toward the removal of our supply depot (almacen de viveres), as this was our sole dependence for future subsistence. We had previously taken out of the artillery quarters every im- plement necessary to cut off the fire. We carried off from the treasury and deposited on the river banks all of your Majesty's treasures, in currency and silver, over which a guard was kept, attended by that care against risk consequent on the confusion and disorder which necessarily occur at such a time...

Hemmed in on every side by the raging flames, and mindful of the obligation we were under of extinguishing the conflagration and cutting off its further communications, we could not close our eyes to the dire necessity staring us in the face — a dearth of provisions for the morrow. On the spur of the moment, we took every measure suggested by humanity and our sense of duty to prevent the pangs of hunger from being added to the sufferings of the helpless victims of this terrible calamity, and, with this object in view, I ordered that the stock of biscuits that had been rescued from the devouring element should be distributed among the needy applicants, inasmuch as most of the bakeries had been swept from existence. 

If the imagination could describe what our senses enable us to feel from sight and touch, reason itself would recoil in horror, and it is no easy matter to say whether the sight of an entire city in flames was more horrible to behold than the suffering and pitiable condition in which every one was involved. Mothers, in search of a sanctuary or refuge for their little ones, and abandoning their earthly goods to the greed of the relentless enemy, would retire to out-of-the-way places rather than be witnesses of their utter ruin. Fathers and husbands were busy in saving whatever objects the rapidly spreading flames would permit them to bear off, while the general bewilderment was such as to prevent them from finding even for these a place of security.

Natural to the human condition, NOLA was not prepared despite plenty of lessons learned by other cities.  It is observed in the Standard History of New Orleans:

There were not even enough buckets to use, and no organization to pass up the buckets to put our the fire where it burned or to wet the roofs of the houses which stood in its path. While the city was in flames the Governor sent the soldiers to the artillery quarter to search for such military implements as were best adapted to the purpose of staying the flames, such as axes, military picks, etc., with which to pull down houses and parts of houses and parts of houses left standing that might feed the flames with fuel.

City destroyed, local government finally gets the memo.  According to the History of the Fire Department of New Orleans:

What private measures were taken after this fire does not appear in any record; but it would be strange if, after such an appalling experience, there was not a very general movement towards the procuring of fire buckets, at that time in general use in this country. But the first official reference to the subject of organization against fire appears in the ordinances of Carondelet in 1792, four years after the great calamity of 1788. By that time there were not only fire buckets but fire engines as well.

The city was then divided into four wards, in each of which an Alcalde de Carrio, or commissary of police, was appointed. These officials were directed to take charge of the fire engines and their implements, to assume command at all fires, and to organize new companies as occasion required. At this same time other changes were instituted which marked a long step forward in municipal affairs. Military companies were organized, the streets were lighted for the first time, and the only newspaper ever established during the Spanish domination was started, Le Moniteur de la Louisiane.

That the managers of the new equipment for protection from fire had their business to learn—and it is a business that calls for large experience and scientific knowledge and the application of it—is evidenced by the fact that it was only two years before another great calamity fell upon the re-built city. The streets that were desolated by the fire of 1788, promptly rebuilt with improved houses during the interval, were again swept clean by a fire occurring in 1794, in spite of all the efforts of the alcaldes and their firemen. A considerable portion of the city was reduced to ashes at this time; and we may presume that similar suffering among the people followed the disaster, although we have no kind-hearted Miro to chronicle it or the measures that were undoubtedly taken for its relief.

There is a long interval between this and the next record bearing upon the history of the City's fire department. We can not doubt that during this interval there was a gradual introduction of improved fire apparatus such as was then in use in other cities of America; that there was a steady enlistment of the better class of men in the lofty duty of service among the fire companies; and a careful scrutiny on the part of the governing officials of the city and state of the means for prevention. But promptly upon the reorganization of New Orleans as a chief city in an American Territory, in 1804, the City Council gave its attention to the question of passing ordinances for the government of the fire companies.

And they lived happily ever after, until all the Mexicans came here and stole our flood control jobs.


March 21, 10:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Flying high, high, I'm a bird in the sky

Oh, the 70s were such an innocent epoch.


March 21, 2:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Both good and bad, but yet no more then’s true.

The Four Ages of Man:

Lo now! four other acts upon the stage,
Childhood, and Youth, the Manly, and Old-age.
The first: son unto Phlegm, grand-child to water,
Unstable, supple, moist, and cold’s his Nature.
The second: frolic claims his pedigree;
From blood and air, for hot and moist is he.
The third of fire and choler is compos’d,
Vindicative, and quarrelsome dispos’d.
The last, of earth and heavy melancholy,
Solid, hating all lightness, and all folly.

Anne Bradstreet.


March 21, 1:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Decapitation Strike Day!

We didn't get Saddam on the first night, but 15 years later you just can't argue with the success of one million dead Iraqis, amirite?


March 21, 12:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

To do all other the services that are necessary in suppressing fires.

Old-time readers know that in addition to self-plagiarization, I have a tendency to blog about fires.  So here's another one as reported in the Boston Evening-Post, March 24, 1760:

[T]he 20th of this inst. March will be a day memorable for the most terrible fire that has happened in this town or perhaps in any other part of North- America, far exceeding that of Octob. 2 1711, till now termed the great fire.

It began about two o'clock in the morning, in the dwelling house of Mrs. Mary Jackson and Son, and the brazen head in cornhill, but the accident which occasioned it is yet uncertain. The flames catch'd the houses adjoining in the front of the street, and burn four large buildings before a stop could be put to it there; but the fire raged most violently towards the east, the wind blowing strong at N.W. and carried all before it, from the back sides of those houses...

[I]t is not easy to describe the terrors of that fatal morning, in which the imaginations of the most calm and steady, received impressions that will not easily be effaced: At the first appearance of the fire, there was a little wind, but this calm was soon followed with a smart gale from the N.W. then was beheld a perfect torrent of fire, bearing down all before it - in a seeming instant all was flame; and in that part of the town were was a magazine of powder - the alarm was great, and an explosion soon followed, which was heard and felt to a very great distance; the effects might have been terrible, had not the chief part been removed by some hardy adventurers, just before the explosion; at the same time cinders and flakes of fire were seen flying over that quarter where was reposited the remainder of the artillery stores and combustibles, which were happily preserved from taking fire:

The people of this and the neighbouring towns exerted themselves to an uncommon degree, and were encouraged by the preference and example of the great- est personages among us, but the haughty flames triumphed over our engines, our art, and our numbers.

The distressed inhabitants of those buildings, wrapp'd in fire, scarce knew where to take refuge from the rapid flames; numbers who were confided to beds of sickness and pain, as well as the aged and the infant, demanded a compassionate attention, they were removed from house to house, and even the dying were obliged to take one more remove before their final one.

The loss of interest cannot as yet be ascertained or who have sustained the greatest; it is said that the damage which only one gentleman has received, cannot be made good with £5,000 sterling. It is in general too great to be made up by the other inhabitants, exhausted as we have been by the great proportion this town has born of the extraordinary expences of the war, and by the demand upon our charity to retrieve a number of sufferers by a fire not many months past; a partial relief can now only be afforded to the miserable sufferers, and without the compassionate assistance of our Christian friends abroad, distress and ruin may quite overwhelm the greatest part of them, and this once flourishing metropolis must long remain under its present desolation.

In the midst of our present distress we have great cause of thankfulness, that notwithstanding the falling of the walls and chimnies, divine providence has so mercifully ordered it, that not one life has been lost, and only a few wounded.

Naturally, the fire gave rise to a sermon:

This is a visitation of providence, which demands a serious and religious consideration. And it is with a view to lead you into some proper reflections on this melancholy occasion that I have chosen the words read for the subject of my discourse at this time: "Shall there be evil in a city," faith the prophet, "and the Lord hath not done it?"

It is to be observed, that although these words bear the form of a question, the design of them is strongly to assert, that there is no evil in a city, which the Lord hath not done. Interrogatory forms of expression are often to be thus understood; I mean, as the most peremptory, and animated kind of affirmations.
However, to prevent a dangerous error here, it must be particularly remembered that by "evil" in the text, is not meant moral evil, or sin; but only natural, viz, pain, affliction and calamity. It cannot be supposed, that the prophet intended to attribute any other evil to God, as the author of it, besides the latter. "Far be it from God, that he should do wickedly; and from the Almighty, that he should pervert judgment!" Nor can the sinful and evil actions of men, properly be attributed to him; or to any over-ruling providence of his, considered as their impulsive cause, or as making them become necessary.
To say, in this sense, that there is no evil in a city, which the Lord hath not done, is indeed no more, in effect, than to assert the universal government and providence of God; which, I suppose, we all believe, whatever difficulties may attend our speculations on the subject. If God is the supreme ruler of the world, and exerciseth such a universal government over it, as the scriptures every where suppose and teach, and as nothing but folly or impiety can deny; he must, in some sense, either mediately or immediately, be the author of whatever events come to pass in it. We cannot suppose that there are any evils, or calamities, whether public or private, in the production whereof he has no concern, and which he did not design, with out a partial denial of his dominion and providence. For if any events come to pass, contrary to, or beside his design, or without, and independently of him; his dominion is not an universal dominion, nor does his kingdom rule over all, as the scriptures assert.

These events, if any such there are, are plainly exceptions to the universality of his government; being according to the supposition itself, such as were neither done, nor ordered by him. But surely no man but an atheist, or at least one who disbelieves the Holy Scriptures, can think there are really any such events. It is not less a dictate of reason, than it is a doctrine of scripture, that as all things have one common Creator, they are all subject to one common Lord, and under one supreme administration; so that nothing does, or can come to pass, but in conformity to his will, either positive or permissive. The denial of which must terminate, not merely in the denial of a universal superintending providence, but of one or other of God's attributes; either his omniscience, or his omnipotence, if not of both.

Boston, like other majors cities, has experienced a fair number of dangerous conflagrations and developed new regulations and firefighting operations as a result.  It's an interesting history that I will need to investigate more.  Though probably not before my bride and I see the Celtics get their asses kicked by the Blazers on Friday, or before I get back to my National HQ next week.


March 21, 12:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 03/20/2018

Did he sound anything like that?!

Turns out, there's a G-family story about Nitti that is fascinating...


March 20, 1:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, 03/19/2018

March Is A Cruel Month

Another Dream of Burial:

Sometimes it is a walled garden
with the stone over the entrance
broken and inside it a few
silent dried-up weeds or it may
be along pool perfectly still
with the clear water revealing
no color but that of the gray
stone around it and once there was
in a painting of a landscape
one torn place imperfectly mended
that showed the darkness under it
but still I have set nothing down
and turned and walked away from it
into the whole world the whole world

WS Merwin.


March 19, 11:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russian Spring

Congratulations to Russian-American President Putin!


March 19, 12:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, 03/18/2018

In the fell clutch of circumstance


Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley.


March 18, 11:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tommy Milner Is A Race Car Driver

Lots of spectacular crashes and other stuff at Sebring today, but everybody walked away from their cars.  Great race.


March 18, 12:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Faerie Queene

Book I, Canto I:

A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Y cladd in mightie armes and silver shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruell markes of many a bloudy fielde;
Yet armes till that time did he never wield:
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

Edmund Spenser.


March 18, 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, 03/17/2018

Life is demanding without understanding

No one's gonna drag you up to get into the light where you belong.


PS--Could be about politics, but inspired by an IMSA tweet.

March 17, 9:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Frogs Who Wished For A King

Good ole Aesop:

The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.

To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.

"How now!" cried Jupiter "Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes."

Be sure you can better your condition before you seek to change...


March 17, 2:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Welcome to the new age

This is it, the apocalypse.


March 17, 2:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Toujours intact aux yeux du monde

The Broken Vase:

The quick, sleek hand of one we love
Can tap us with a fan’s soft blow,
And we will break, as surely riven
As that cracked vase. And no one knows.

The world sees just the hard, curved surface
Of a vase a lady’s fan once grazed,
That slowly drips and bleeds with sadness.
Do not touch the broken vase.

Sully Prudhomme.


March 17, 1:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teenagers are fucked up in the head

Adults are even more fucked up.


March 17, 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, 03/16/2018

The Age Of Innocence

So Louise Slaughter (pictured to the right at Eschacon05) died at age 88.  She was cool.

Yet I can't help but note that she'd been in office for 32 years.  Our old Senator, Pat Leahy, has been in office since 1975.  Junior Senator Bernie's been in DC since 1991.

At some point, we really need to make way for newer generations.  Yay for Conor Lamb, a mere babe at 33.  And yay for all those activist kids fighting for their lives against the NRA and its stooges, following in the footsteps of youth in bygone eras.

The olds can act like 4th-graders and fuck things up pretty badly through their entrenched myopia.  Perhaps our graduated ages of maturity, majority, and responsibility need to be adjusted.

In light of our current political environment, imma become more militant about term limits, mandatory retirement, and ever lower voting ages.  Who's with me?


March 16, 11:27 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (3)

Space Pilgrims

We did send our best, because all great & honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages.


March 16, 10:06 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

When Europe sends its people, they're not sending their best.

All this while ye Indians came skulking about them, and would sometimes show them selves aloofe of, but when any aproached near them, they would rune away.

 - William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation

So this is the day that a particular indigenous person reportedly came to Plymouth Colony in 1621 and said, "Go away, Mexicans! My name is Donald Trump."  I might be making that up.

Anyway, as I've noted before, even with the real event being such a yuuuge part of our common lore, I can't find any contemporaneous documents recording Samoset's alleged words verbatim.

Bradford wrote simply of the encounter:

[A]bout ye 16. of March a certaine Indian came bouldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marvelled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him...

Mourt's Relation provides a bit more detail:

Fryday, the 16.a fayre warme day towards; this morning we determined to conclude of the military Orders, which we had began to consider of before, but were interrupted by the Savages, as we mentioned formerly; and whilst we were busied here about, we were interrupted againe, for there presented himself a Savage which caused an Alarm, he very boldly came all alone and along the houses straight to the Randevous, where we intercepted him, not suffering him to goe in, as undoubtedly he would, out of his boldneffe, hee faluted vs in English, and bad vs well-come, for he had learned some broken English amongst the English men that came to fish at Monchiggon...

Now, understanding that not finding stuff online is hardly dispositive, the earliest formulation of the mythological greeting I could dig up comes from The Annals of America in 1829:

On the 16th of March an Indian came boldly, alone, into the street of Plymouth, and surprised the inhabitants by calling out, " Welcome, Englishmen ! Welcome, Englishmen !" He was their first visitant; his name was Samoset...

Then it seems by the turn of the 20th century that version had solidified into legendary fact (one notable exception being Edward Arber's recapitulating and cleaning up Mourt's).  Anyway, I wonder why the narrative apparently started to take shape in the first couple decades of the 19th century?

Perhaps since our other founding myths were maturing by Independence's 50th anniversary, people were looking more at earlier colonial epochs as well?  It also seems more or less around the same time as New Englanders' interest in their Puritanical history increased, at least if one can judge by the establishment of the Pilgrim Society and its celebrations.

Whatever the impetus, I find the evolution of such things to be fascinating, despite its being agitprop Trump would be proud of.


March 16, 8:15 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)