Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bones Banez named an official member of the Williamsburg Circle

His membership is is noteworthy to record because Bien is a rather extraordinary individual:
Bienvenido "Bones" Banez, Jr. is a Filipino surrealist painter born on June 7, 1962 in Davao City, Philippines. He is the only Filipino surreal artist included in the Lexikon der phantastischen Künstler (Encyclopedia of Fantastic and Surrealistic and Symbolist and Visionary Artists). He produced a major folio of philosophical verse, THE SATANIC VERSES OF BONES BANEZ, now in the collection of the Yuko Nii Foundation. He is considered by many to be one of the foremost international surrealists.
Lest one misunderstand, Bien's Satanic Verses are in the manner of C. S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, presenting, not advocating, a Satanic point of view . . . I think.

I'm also a member of the Williamsburg Circle, taken in probably because they needed an ordinary fellow.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Message in a Bottle

Nice Email
A Lifesaver

I was worried about my EWIS course after a few students dropped, but this e-note is encouraging:
I am so glad that I . . . [am taking Professor Hodges'] class. When I talk to him, I get to know what I want to write about. He has insights that take me beyond what I previously had in mind. I have always struggled with coming up with thesis statement because I thought I have to read all related articles before knowing what I want to write about. But in fact, I figured out today that I already know what I was interested in. Also, comments he makes in class are changing my perception that writing is difficult. Simple sayings - like, "There is always something to write about" [or] "Don't despair if you find an article dealing with issues you wanted to discuss" - give me confidence that I can do this! . . . I am glad that I took EWIS and look forward to end product of this course!
I now just have to reach some other students . . .


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Climate Change Expert Sheikh Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani Against the World!

Climate Change

MEMRI TV Clip No. 5520 relays a warning from Yemeni cleric Sheikh Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani to those of us living in the temperate zone:
I am going to speak about something that I know very well. Europe and the US are afraid. Their scientific institutes are speaking about this. I watched a film about bird migration. According to this film, there are birds that are now migrating from Europe to the Arab world from the United States and South America and from Russia to countries to the south. They say that this is a warning . . . . They say that this is the work of nature but who created these migrating birds? Who guided them where to migrate? They say that these birds are declaring that the countries will become uninhabitable in 15-20 years. Where will the peoples of these countries go? They will come to us and do you think they will ask for permissions?
I thought that the climate change we were supposed to be worrying about was global warming, but what the sheikh seems to be referring to is a new ice age headed our way.

Ah, which alarmists to trust . . .

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Monday, June 27, 2016

For literary advice . . .

Proud Student
Google Images

A young writer I've sometimes advised on writing fiction sent me an email yesterday:
I just completed the Iowa Young Writers' Studio yesterday . . . The past two weeks have been a really enlightening experience. I was at first intimidated by the other students in my workshop group, . . . and most spoke very intelligently. As the workshop progressed, I was able to make many close friends and received a lot of good comments and helpful critiques on my stories. Those in my workshop group found my stories about different aspects of Korean society quite intriguing, and seemed eager to read more of them . . . . [T]he Kenyon Young Writers Workshop that starts tomorrow afternoon. Thank you so much again for helping me with my applications.
Yeah, I give practical advice, too. All  I need do is reflect on my own past decisions and advise that you do the opposite.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Film Versions of Daddy-Long-Legs

First Film Version

From Wikipedia, I learn that there are at least eight film (plus TV) versions of Daddy-Long-Legs:
Daddy-Long-Legs with Mary Pickford (1919)

Daddy Long Legs with Janet Gaynor (1931)

Curly Top with Shirley Temple (1935)

Daddy Long Legs Dutch film (1938)

Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron (1955)

Daddy-Long-Legs Japanese musical anime TV special with Yūko Tanaka (1979)

My Daddy Long Legs Japanese anime TV series (1990)

Daddy-Long-Legs Korean film (2005)
Something about the premise of this story - poor orphan girl, rich, anonymous benefactor - catches the attention of the world.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - 2005 South Korean Version

Daddy-Long-Legs Film Poster

Well, most of this post is taken from the Wikipedia website on the Korean film version (2005) of Daddy-Long-Legs, but I'll take what I can get:
Daddy-Long-Legs (Kidari Ajeossi) is a 2005 South Korean romance film. It was one of four Korean movies screened at the 2006 International Fajr Film Festival in Iran. The story is loosely inspired by the novel Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster . . . . Young-mi Cha (Ha Ji-won) . . . is a young woman who has lost her parents and [is] struggling to fend for herself. She receives the assistance of a stranger who pays her university fees and sends her gifts. She affectionately nicknames her benefactor "Daddy-Long-Legs."
Like all tear-jerking Korean dramas, this one ends in complex, improbable, unpredictable, confusing tragedy:
Young-mi . . . investigates her "Daddy-Long-Legs," eventually learning that her current job and accommodations were the decisions of the radio station's director. She confronts him, but it turns out that the director was only acting on behalf of his younger brother, who chose to provide Young-mi with her school fees and asked that she be given her current job and his house to live in. It turns out the director's brother is Jun-ho, who is also the writer of . . . [a delayed] email [that "details a love story written by the . . . owner of the house" about someone who has been "diagnosed with a terminal disease which would cause" loss of memory and then death]. Jun-ho had [by the time the email arrived] . . . lost all of his earlier memories of Young-mi when they were students together and he [had] loved her from afar . . . . Young-mi is devastated by this news. She reconnects with Jun-ho and they spend as much time together [as possible] before . . . [he] relapses and . . . dies.
Jean Webster herself would be confounded!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs on stage just last year . . .

John Caird

Jean Webster's epistolary novel Daddy-Long-Legs has seen stage and film versions, most recently by the director John Caird onstage in New York City just last year, as witnessed by Alexis Soloski, "Review: In 'Daddy Long Legs,' an Orphan With a Mysterious Benefactor," New York Times (September 29th, 2015):
The story begins as Jerusha Abbott, the eldest orphan at her New England asylum, receives the news that a trustee who calls himself John Smith has agreed to fund her college education. This John Smith demands that she send him a letter once a month, letters that he will never answer . . . . Because she has had one small glimpse of him (from behind and in poor light) and knows him to be tall - and further imagines him old and gray - she calls him Daddy Long Legs . . . . [His] actual name is Jervis Pendleton, [he] isn't so geriatric after all and . . . the affable impertinence of her letters has made him fall in love. Soon he is contriving to meet her, without ever admitting his philanthropy, and taking a more active role in steering the course of her life . . . . To watch Jerusha awaken to love and literature is a great treat . . . . Seen through modern eyes, the story does have its creepy undertones, though . . . [it] avoids the merest hint of sexual suggestion, which does a lot to de-sleaze the relationship . . . . But it's still unethical that Jervis woos Jerusha without disclosing his identity and at least a little disconcerting that this protofeminist tale ends with its plucky heroine rewarded with marriage to the man who has manipulated her for the past five years. Maybe she should write a letter of complaint.
Hear! Hear! An excellent summary! Fits the book, too!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shi'ite Cleric Sabah Shabr: "Islam Was Spread by the Sword, So What?!"

Sabah Shabr
Google Images

The Memri report for October 13, 2015, Clip No. 5486, shows Shi'ite Cleric Sabah Shabr proclaiming: "Islam Was Spread by the Sword, So What?!"
Sabah Shabr: Most Muslim countries were conquered violently, by force. Few are the countries conquered any other way. The people of Medina converted to Islam voluntarily. When the Prophet Muhammad made his hijra to the city, Islam was already prevalent there. It was not conquered by force. But Mecca was conquered by force. Iraq was conquered by force, and so were Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and the countries of north Africa. Most Islamic countries were conquered by force . . . . Some may claim that Islam was spread by the sword. That's true. Islam was spread by the sword. So what?! Allah's true religion should be spread by the sword, by force. If you cannot talk people into converting to Islam, they should be made to convert by the sword. Such is the command of Allah. There is no need for all the sycophancy, and all the attempts to appease the Jews and the Christians, by saying: "Islam was not really spread by the sword. We had no other choice" . . . . [It is not that] they had no choice. They conquered the . . . countries by force. This is our duty according to the shari'a. This is the meaning of voluntary Jihad. What does voluntary Jihad mean? That the Islamic army marches on the lands of the infidels, and proposes that they convert to Islam. If they agree to become Muslims - fine. If they refuse, they are told that they should pay the jizya tax, if they are from the People of the Book. If they refuse to pay the jizya, they should be fought. If they are not from the People of the Book, they don't even get a chance to pay the jizya - either they convert to Islam or they are killed. There is nothing wrong with this . . . . [So, let] Islam be spread by the sword. There is nothing wrong with Allah's true religion being spread by the sword. The Christians and the Jews who live in Muslim countries must pay the jizya poll tax. They pay it annually, but the Islamic ruler can tell them to pay it monthly, or every six months. They pay in accordance with their financial capabilities. They cannot live in the lands of the Muslims for free.
Aside from these being the actual words of a Shi'ite cleric, this could easily have been uttered by the Sunni Islamic State! Remember these words: "If you cannot talk people into converting to Islam, they should be made to convert by the sword." In other words, if you can't win an argument rationally, use violence!

Thus Spake Sore Loser!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dear Enemy: Opposite Sex

In Dear Enemy, the sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs, Jerusha's friend Sallie McBride speaks of divorce and sex:
There seems to have been no reason for her divorce from the ordinary point of view; the marriage just simply didn't work. They weren't friends. If he had been a woman, she wouldn't have wasted half an hour talking with him. If she had been a man, he would have said: "Glad to see you. How are you?" and gone on. And yet they MARRIED. Isn't it dreadful how blind this sex business can make people? (Jean Webster, Dear Enemy, 1915)
Jerusha's friend, anyway, can speak rather directly about sex - even though she's speaking of marriage. And an interesting choice of wording there, for marriage: "sex business."

Jerusha, by the way, is happily married to the man of letters . . .


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Thing" as Euphemism?


I promised a little bit of research on a particular meaning of "thing" - and I have only a little to report due to other duties. But I did check my OED and found that the first recorded use of "thing" to mean "privy member, private parts" was 1386 in Chaucer (page 309, middle column, Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 edition).

More recently - in the 19th century, anyway - Angela Heywood was appalled to hear women refer to a man's "thing"! Appalled, that is, that women didn't use the real word, but chose such a euphemism ("Foul-Mouthed Women," Voices of the Nation, Caroline Field Levander, 1998, page 43).

Now, set your mindset on a hermeneutic of suspicion, recall that the protagonist of the novel Daddy-Long-Legs called her 'benefactor a "Thing," and think at least bemusedly about this possibly euphemistic insult.

That's all for now . . .


Monday, June 20, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - The Thing!?

I'm still pursuing my hermeneutic of suspicion toward Jean Webster's epistolary novel Daddy-Long-Legs, and see what I've found:
26th March

Mr. D.-L.-L. Smith,

SIR: You never answer any questions; you never show the slightest interest in anything I do. You are probably the horridest one of all those horrid Trustees, and the reason you are educating me is, not because you care a bit about me, but from a sense of Duty.

I don't know a single thing about you. I don't even know your name. It is very uninspiring writing to a Thing. I haven't a doubt but that you throw my letters into the waste-basket without reading them. Hereafter I shall write only about work. My re-examinations in Latin and geometry came last week. I passed them both and am now free from conditions.

Yours truly,

Jerusha Abbott
Jerusha calls her benefactor a "Thing," even capitalizing the term! What does she mean by this objectification?

Some reflections tomorrow . . .


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Drawing Daddy-Long-Legs Out

The date is November 15th in the story, and just before sealing one of those required letters to send to her 'creepy-crawling,' benefactor, Daddy-Long-Legs, Jerusha suddenly adds:
PS. I know I'm not to expect any letters in return, and I've been warned not to bother you with questions, but tell me, Daddy, just this once - are you awfully old or just a little old? And are you perfectly bald or just a little bald? It is very difficult thinking about you in the abstract like a theorem in geometry.

Given a tall rich man who hates girls, but is very generous to one quite impertinent girl, what does he look like?

Time passes, and no response, leaving Jerusha to complain:
9th December

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

You never answered my question and it was very important.


I have it planned exactly what you look like - very satisfactorily - until I reach the top of your head, and then I AM stuck. I can't decide whether you have white hair or black hair or sort of sprinkly grey hair or maybe none at all.

Here is your portrait:
But the problem is, shall I add some hair?

Would you like to know what colour your eyes are? They're grey, and your eyebrows stick out like a porch roof (beetling, they're called in novels), and your mouth is a straight line with a tendency to turn down at the corners. Oh, you see, I know! You're a snappy old thing with a temper.
Jerusha is clearly attempting to draw him out . . . so to speak.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - First Letter

Artwork by Buttercup

I'm still looking into Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) and thinking about the eccentric trustee who demands a monthly letter from her in return for the money he gives to fund her studies. Her first letter from college is posted "24th September," and being a somewhat impertinent girl, she writes a somewhat impertinent letter, which I excerpt:
I wanted to write a letter first just to get acquainted . . . . [because it] seems queer to be writing letters to somebody you don't know . . . . Mrs. Lippett [told me] I must take care to be Very Respectful . . . [but] how can one be very respectful to a person who wishes to be called John Smith? Why couldn't you have picked out a name with a little personality? I might as well write letters to Dear Hitching-Post or Dear Clothes-Prop. . . . I must say, however, that when I think about you, my imagination has very little to work upon . . . . [but] I've decided to call you Dear Daddy-Long-Legs.
Jerusha - or better, Judy - thus shows herself to be a handful, so if Mr. Smith expects to control her, he might find the process enervating, even futile.

But I bet he will try . . .


Friday, June 17, 2016

Pirate Jerusha

Jerusha, who prefers to be called "Judy," writes one of her dutiful letters to the strange benefactor who wishes to be called "John Smith," but who is really "Jervis Pendleton," the same "Pendleton" whom Judy knows only as an older brother of a classmate.

But perhaps she suspects something about these names, for she does complain that "It's the silliest thing I ever heard of, not to know your name" - meaning, of course, that she does not know his name.

She signs off with "Affectionately, Judy," but there is that skull and cross bones - at the letter's opening - for us to speculate on. And is "Cap'n Long-Legs" a pirate captain, one who might have designs on Judy?


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs: Illustrated

Spider-Like Illustration
Google Images

There it is for you all to see and perceive through my perseverance - precisely 'focused' on Jerusha Abbott's imagination - the girl's sketchily recollected first encounter with the trustee who so spider-like wove strands of networking to catch her in that webbing.

More to come . . .


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Stranger than fiction - Daddy-Long-Legs!


The trustee who decided to support Jerusha Abbott went by the pseudonym "John Smith," and only at the story's end did she learn that his real name was "Jervis Pendleton."

Even before then, she recognizes the 'weirdness' of the conditions and lashes out at him in a letter after he has forbidden her to accept a scholarship from the college (apparently because the money would have to have been offered by some stranger), and sensing his desire for control, she - as I said - lashes out at him:
You prefer that I should not be accepting favours from strangers.

Strangers! - And what are you, pray?

Is there anyone in the world that I know less? I shouldn't recognize you if I met you in the street. Now, you see, if you had been a sane, sensible person and had written nice, cheering fatherly letters to your little Judy, and had come occasionally and patted her on the head, and had said you were glad she was such a good girl - Then, perhaps, she wouldn't have flouted you in your old age, but would have obeyed your slightest wish like the dutiful daughter she was meant to be.

Strangers indeed! You live in a glass house, Mr. Smith.
Exactly! And we see he is indeed very strange!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs "does not . . . care for girls"


Mrs. Lippett informs Jerusha that the 'long-legged' trustee "does not . . . care for girls."
"This gentleman has taken an interest in several of our boys. You remember Charles Benton and Henry Freize? They were both sent through college by Mr. - er - this Trustee, and both have repaid with hard work and success the money that was so generously expended. Other payment the gentleman does not wish. Heretofore his philanthropies have been directed solely towards the boys; I have never been able to interest him in the slightest degree in any of the girls in the institution, no matter how deserving. He does not, I may tell you, care for girls."
Yet, he 'likes' Jerusha. Well, she's something of a Tomboy . . .


Monday, June 13, 2016

Terms demanded by Daddy-Long-Legs

The penniless orphan Jerusha Abbott - protagonist of Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs - has just glimpsed the back of spider-like 'Daddy-Long-Legs' whose shadow crept across the wall of the John Grier Home for Orphans, and she is now about to discover that this college trustee intends to support her during her college years, but there are certain conditions, as we shall see:
"He waited to discuss the terms with me. They are unusual. The gentleman, I may say, is erratic. He believes that you have originality, and he is planning to educate you to become a writer."

"A writer?" Jerusha's mind was numbed. She could only repeat Mrs. Lippett's words.

"That is his wish. Whether anything will come of it, the future will show. He is giving you a very liberal allowance, almost, for a girl who has never had any experience in taking care of money, too liberal. But he planned the matter in detail, and I did not feel free to make any suggestions. You are to remain here through the summer, and Miss Pritchard has kindly offered to superintend your outfit. Your board and tuition will be paid directly to the college, and you will receive in addition during the four years you are there, an allowance of thirty-five dollars a month. This will enable you to enter on the same standing as the other students. The money will be sent to you by the gentleman's private secretary once a month, and in return, you will write a letter of acknowledgment once a month. That is - you are not to thank him for the money; he doesn't care to have that mentioned, but you are to write a letter telling of the progress in your studies and the details of your daily life. Just such a letter as you would write to your parents if they were living.

'These letters will be addressed to Mr. John Smith and will be sent in care of the secretary. The gentleman's name is not John Smith, but he prefers to remain unknown. To you he will never be anything but John Smith. His reason in requiring the letters is that he thinks nothing so fosters facility in literary expression as letter-writing. Since you have no family with whom to correspond, he desires you to write in this way; also, he wishes to keep track of your progress. He will never answer your letters, nor in the slightest particular take any notice of them. He detests letter-writing and does not wish you to become a burden. If any point should ever arise where an answer would seem to be imperative - such as in the event of your being expelled, which I trust will not occur - you may correspond with Mr. Griggs, his secretary. These monthly letters are absolutely obligatory on your part; they are the only payment that Mr. Smith requires, so you must be as punctilious in sending them as though it were a bill that you were paying. I hope that they will always be respectful in tone and will reflect credit on your training. You must remember that you are writing to a Trustee of the John Grier Home.'
An anonymous - or, rather, pseudonymous - benefactor who requires a monthly letter that he will never answer! And consider this sentence: "Since you have no family with whom to correspond, he desires you to write in this way." This almost entirely innocent sentence perhaps obscures a less innocent expression, namely, "he desires you" in a family way.

Perhaps that reading seems excessive, but I am pursuing a hermeneutic of suspicion . . .


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - a hermeneutic of suspicion

Let's see where a hermeneutic of suspicion leads us in reading further into Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs, focusing upon a letter the protagonist was writing to her 'benefactor':
Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

Isn't it funny? I started to write to you yesterday afternoon, but as far as I got was the heading, 'Dear Daddy-Long-Legs', and then I remembered I'd promised to pick some blackberries for supper, so I went off and left the sheet lying on the table, and when I came back today, what do you think I found sitting in the middle of the page? A real true Daddy-Long-Legs!

I picked him up very gently by one leg, and dropped him out of the window. I wouldn't hurt one of them for the world. They always remind me of you . . .
This sounds charming, but Jerusha has, in effect, 'defenestrated' the spider. She says she "wouldn't hurt one of them for the world," but she has tossed this one out of her world and into the wide, wild world! Does she suspect a trap awaiting her if she grows too close to this hidden man?


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Jean Webster's: Daddy-Long-Legs

Jean Webster's epistolary novel Daddy-Long-Legs is ostensibly a romantic comedy in which a young girl of college age - Jerusha - is financially supported by an anonymous trustee, but this early depiction of the 'benefactor' could easily be read as indicating some sort of Gothic horror story with a bad ending:
The long lower hall had not been lighted, and as she came downstairs, a last Trustee stood, on the point of departure, in the open door that led to the porte-cochere. Jerusha caught only a fleeting impression of the man - and the impression consisted entirely of tallness. He was waving his arm towards an automobile waiting in the curved drive. As it sprang into motion and approached, head on for an instant, the glaring headlights threw his shadow sharply against the wall inside. The shadow pictured grotesquely elongated legs and arms that ran along the floor and up the wall of the corridor. It looked, for all the world, like a huge, wavering daddy-long-legs.
A daddy-long-legs is, of course, a creature closely related to spiders, such that the image implies - or could imply - the spinning of a web in which the poor girl will be trapped.

One of my students - spurred by my nudging - wrote her senior thesis on precisely this sort of Gothic feminist reading. It worked.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Kevin Kim: A Handy New Method for Drier Hands

Back on December 6, 2015, Kevin Kim posted this challenge (which he learned about from a TED talk): "try using only a single paper towel when drying your hands in the restroom - or use no towels at all." Well, there are no paper towels in these Ewha restrooms, so I guess I always never use a towel. Being ahead of the game (or so I thought) I therefore declined the challenge - as a towel-less man ought - and looked ahead to find the secret:
Shake your hands twelve times. Fold your towel, then use it. My method when I have no towel (as is always the case in the restrooms I use at work) is to shake twelve times, slap my fingers across each other another eight times like overlapping saloon doors, then run my fingers through my hair. That method gets me about 70% dry, and the remaining 30% happens naturally as I walk back to my office, hands swinging at my sides.
The next time I washed my hands, I recalled Kevin's advice, but I tried a variant on the method - I flicked my fingers (all four together) from under to over my thumbs twelve times. That worked pretty well, and the hand dryer did the rest! I didn't even need to dry my hands on my butt! Nor slam my fingers in "overlapping saloon doors."

As I said, this new technique works. But the real question is HOW it works. I observed closely each time I dried my hands this way, but I could not figure it out. Except that one day when I had almost given up thinking about the issue of drying without tissue, I absent-mindedly flicked fifteen times, then stopped myself in horror - twelve was the magic number!

Had I gone too far?

I looked closely at my hands for signs of damage, but found none . . . then noticed something odd. My hands were just a bit drier at fifteen! I determined to up the number and see if that made a difference. I tried sixteen. Drier. Seventeen. Drier. Eighteen. Even drier! I was on to something! I tried my finger-flicking technique on up to twenty that day. It still worked. A few days later, I had practiced enough to safely reach thirty. Definitely dry. Thirty seems to do the complete job! And no sign of hand damage at all.

But I still haven't figured out the secret to how this thing works . . .


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Robert Parigi - a bit like Terrance Lindall

Robert Parigi

I came across an interview that Mr. Parigi gave in September 2014 with Van Gogh's Ear, Volume 11, and I could see why he and Lindall would appear to have gotten along, for they have mutual interests:
[Among other things,] Robert Parigi is . . . known as the . . . producer [of] Tales from the Crypt.
That's film, but it's the same sort of genre Lindall was working in when he was illustrating Creepy Magazine and the like. Parigi could even be Lindall:
The craziest thing I've ever done was getting into this business! I dropped out of a philosophy doctorate, with no industry connections or training, hopped a plane from New York City to L.A., and started looking for work.
Lindall also dropped out of a doctoral program in philosophy and pursued his artistic passions.

For more on Parigi, see here, here, and here.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Babies don't just look cute, scientists find . . .

Actual Babies
Not Life-Size
Credit: © Paul Hakimata / Fotolia

They even smell cute! (Except when . . . you know.)

More here on infantile cuteness, and a hat-tip to my old friend Pete Hale for the link.

Plus another friend, Nobel Prize winner Deva Hupaylo, wonders if she "can get a research project to see why ice feels cold."


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Robert Parigi with Terrance Lindall's Madonna of the Monsters

Madonna of the Monsters
By Terrance Lindall

A photo to Terrance Lindall from Robert Parigi, who holds in his tentacles Lindall's Madonna of the Monsters, which Parigi commissioned and about which he says:
Sorry for the casual snaps: our office is shutting down for the season, many things are in transit, and I have not yet found a frame that does justice to the Madonna. I'll try to take better pix later, and hope these will do for now.
I've mentioned Mr. Parigi before - he has a role in constructing on film part of the complex Marvel Universe.

My younger kid, En-Uk, will probably be interested to know this. He's still in high school and intends to study animation someday, so he's taking art lessons to prepare.

This will inspire him . . .

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Monday, June 06, 2016

David Ignatius on the "boring" Islamic State

David Ignatius

First, another 'David' - David Kenning, a British counter-radicalization expert - gives us the lowdown nitty gritty on the Islamic State:
"They're rotten at governing . . . . The word on the street is that their caliphate is boring." And these days, it has become a dangerous place, too. Kenning thinks the best approach is to gradually pull the Islamic State apart - by exploiting the fault lines among those fighting under its flag.
David Ignatius ("The Islamic State feeds off Western Islamophobia," Washington Post, June 2, 2016) provides the Kenning quote and perhaps the remark about the IS being "a dangerous place, too," but dangerous for whom? It's always been a dangerous place for its enemies. I think Ignatius means that it's become a dangerous place for its friends, the jihadists, not only because it's losing territory as the jihadists lose battles, but because the IS is becoming paranoid as it loses those battles, so the fault lines are being set in motion.

What are these fault lines? Not the least of these are the divisions between foreign fighters from different nations as these foreign fighters soon start to turn on each other in distrust over who has betrayed the Islamic State.

Well, we'll see . . .

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Sunday, June 05, 2016

Say it ain't so - Islamic State: Islamic?

Aaqil Ahmed versus Islamic State

Charlie Peat cites BBC religion chief Aaqil Ahmed that "Islam inspires ISIS fanatics to commit horrific terror attacks" (Express, June 2, 2016):
[Concerning the Islamic State,] Muslim Aaqil Ahmed [- BBC's head of religion and ethics - ] described it is an "uncomfortable" truth that the bloodthirsty terrorist cult is being driven by "Islamic doctrine." He said: “I hear so many people say ISIS has nothing to do with Islam - of course it has. They are not preaching Judaism. It might be wrong, but what they are saying is an ideology based on some form of Islamic doctrine. They are Muslims. That is a fact and we have to get our head around some very uncomfortable things. That is where the difficulty comes in for many journalists, because the vast majority of Muslims won't agree with ISIS."
Well, if he says so . . .


Saturday, June 04, 2016

Timothy Garton Ash on Free Speech

Timothy Garton Ash

Okay, I'm back from my long poetry break - a break for poetry, not a break from it - and I'm ready to assume my usual role of spokesperson for free speech.

I see that Timothy Garton Ash has also spoken out for free speech by publishing Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World, which NYT writer Tom Rachman tells about in an article titled "Timothy Garton Ash Puts Forth a Free-Speech Manifesto" (May 22, 2016):
After the murders at Charlie Hebdo last year, the public intellectual Timothy Garton Ash - once a dashing foreign correspondent, long since a scholar amid the spires of Oxford - issued an appeal to news organizations: Publish the offending cartoons, all of you together, and in that way proclaim the vitality of free speech.

"Otherwise," he warned, "the assassin's veto will have prevailed."
Apparently, the terrorists prevailed . . . or maybe not, given Ash's book, and especially his website.


Friday, June 03, 2016

Poetry Break: Autarky

Is it really going to the dogs?
Google Images

I am a perfectionist, so I retain full artistic control:

If you want something done right, you have to do it youself.

That's the only way to retain quality control of your art.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Poetry Break: Overeager

Turkey Buzzard
Turkey Buzzard Biking
Life's a batch (of rotten eggs).
Google Images

Fowl Foul:

Don't count your chickens before they hatch, you turkey.

Or are you an odious old turkey buzzard?


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Poetry Break: Heads Up!

One Head Is Bad Enough!
Google Images

How come nobody never talks about the 'headed' horseman?

Heads Up!
Two heads are better than one beheading.

But who's counting?