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 (0)

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 (0)

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)

Thursday, 03/15/2018

The Policies Of March

When I see 5 weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards.


March 15, 11:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Party Like It's

Twelve Thirty One Nineteen Ninety Nine:

First Architect of the jungle & Author of pastel slums,
Patron Saint of rust,
You have become too famous to be read.
I let the book fall behind me until it becomes
A book again. Cloth, thread, & the infinite wood.
Don’t worry. Don’t worry.
In the future, everyone, simply everyone,
Will be hung in effigy.
The crepe paper in the high school gym will be
Black & pink & feathery,
Rainbow trout & a dog’s tongue. In effigy. This,
For example, was written in memory of ...
But of whom? Brecht gasping for air in the street?
Truman dancing alone with his daughter?
Goodbye, little century.
Goodbye, riderless black horse that trots
From one side of  the street to the other,
Trying to find its way
Out of  the parade.
Forgive me for saluting you
With a hand still cold, sweating,
And resembling, as I hold it up & a heavy sleep
Fills it, the body of someone
Curled in sleep as the procession passes.
Excuse me, but at the end of our complete belief,
Which is what you required of us, don’t we deserve
A good belly laugh? Don’t we deserve
A shout in the street?
And this confetti on which our history is being written,
Smaller & smaller, less clear every moment,
And subject to endless revision?
Under the circumstances, & because
It can imagine no other life, doesn’t the hand,
Held up there for hours,
Deserve it?
No? No hunh? No.

Larry Levis.


March 15, 11:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some Days, I Really Miss The Cold War

George HW Bush signed our capitulation to the reunification of defeated Germany on September 12, 1990, then hastily shoved it down the Senate's throat on September 25.  Those quislings approved the traitorous act by a 98-0 vote on October 10, after which Bush ratified the infernal agreement on the 18th, transmitting the ratification a week later.

Yet it wasn't until March 4, 1991, that the soon-to-be-defeated-by-Reagan Soviets ratified the treaty, presenting it to the Germans on March 15, when their reunifying and Bush's failure was completed. 

The larger issue is...why has Trump not observed this day, and condemned his predecessors for allowing Germany to rise again?  Merkel and a strong NATO is laughing at America, whilst Putin cannot be pleased with a strong Germany.

This aggression will not stand, man.


March 15, 9:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

any further experiments on their patience may have fatal effects

Months after several generals appealed to Congress regarding late pay and changes to their promised pensions, an anonymous letter circulated the Continental Army's camp at Newburgh on March 10, 1783:

My friends! after seven long years your suffering courage has conducted the United States of America through a doubtful and a bloody war; and peace returns to bless—whom? A country willing to redress your wrongs, cherish your worth, and reward your services? Or is it rather a country that tramples upon your rights, disdains your cries, and insults your distresses?

Have you not lately, in the meek language of humble petitioners, begged from the justice of congress what you could no longer expect from their favor? How have you been answered? Let the letter which you are called to consider to-morrow make reply! “If this be your treatment while the swords you wear are necessary for the defence of America, what have you to expect when those very swords, the instruments and companions of your glory, shall be taken from your sides, and no mark of military distinction left but your wants, infirmities, and scars?

If you have sense enough to discover and spirit to oppose tyranny, whatever garb it may assume, awake to your situation. If the present moment be lost, your threats hereafter will be as empty as your entreaties now. Appeal from the justice to the fears of government; and suspect the man who would advise to longer forbearance.

Washington responded to the threats of mutiny on March 15:

[T]o suspect the man who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance, I spurn it, as every man who regards that liberty and reveres that justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must; for, if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us.

The freedom of speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent, we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter. I cannot, in justice to my own belief, and what I have great reason to conceive is the intention of Congress, conclude this address, without giving it as my decided opinion, that that honorable body entertain exalted sentiments of the services of the army, and from a full conviction of its merits and sufferings, will do it compleat justice: that their endeavours to discover and establish funds for this purpose have been unwearied, and will not cease till they have succeeded, I have not a doubt.

But, like all other large bodies, where there is a variety of different interests to reconcile, their determinations are slow. Why then should we distrust them, and, in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures which may cast a shade over that glory which has been so justly acquired, and tarnish the reputation of an army which is celebrated through all Europe for its fortitude and patriotism? And for what is this done? To bring the object we seek nearer? No, most certainly, in my opinion it will cast it at a greater distance.
While I give you these assurances, and pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner, to exert whatever ability I am possessed of in your favour, let me entreat you, gentlemen, on your part, not to take any measures, which, viewed in the calm light of reason, will lessen the dignity, and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained. Let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country, and place a full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress

Legend has it that those assembled weren't impressed, but:

After reading these remarks, Washington prepared to read a letter from a Congressional delegate, but then stopped to put on eyeglasses, saying: “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind, in the service of my country”; this has also been reported as: “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself growing blind.” Some of the officers—having been assembled by Washington to check a rebellious spirit among them—were moved to tears.

Trying to screw Americans out of their entitlements is an age old tradition Paul Ryan is trying to uphold.  But now there's no George Washington who can calm things down, which...probably is a good thing at this point.


March 15, 7:48 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

God Doesn't Play Dice

But Al and Stephen are now playing poker somewhere on Pi Day.


PS--Yeah, I already tweeted the TNG clip last night after the news.

March 15, 3:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Great hail ! we cry to the comers


Bring us hither your sun and your summers,
And renew our world as of yore ;
You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before :
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers.
And a singer who sings no more.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy.


March 15, 2:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)