Monday, October 31, 2016

Possible lives in an interlocking series of stories . . .

On the strength of novelist Cathleen Shine's NYT recent review ("High Praise for a Novel About an Awful Children's Musical," October 17, 2016) of the novel Mister Monkey, by Francine Prose, I got a copy and started reading, and thus far, the interlocking stories meet, and merit, Shine's praise:
In what presents itself as a modest, mischievous little novel, Francine Prose has, modestly and mischievously, given us a great work. Expertly constructed, "Mister Monkey" is so fresh and new it's almost giddy, almost impudent with originality. Tender and artful, Prose's 15th novel is a sophisticated satire, a gently spiritual celebration of life, a dark and thoroughly grim depiction of despair, a screwball comedy, a screwball tragedy.
A great work? Maybe. I'm very much liking it thus far . . .


Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Shadow Knows . . . all the plot spoilers to Dr. Strange

"Welcome to my world, Dr. Strange."

Has Dr. Strange struck a Faustian bargain? Perhaps. He has reached some sort of agreement with an evil, enormously powerful demonic entity in order to secure the safety of the earth.

That's all I'll say . . .


Saturday, October 29, 2016

On a Break from the Hills

Dinner for Two

My loving wife made this salad-style dinner for the two of us, but she focused mostly on her own meal and left the small plate in the distance to me!

Actually, this is one of those optical illusions - the lines are slanted to make the plates look different sizes - but if you come to my table and measure, they're about the same.

Just kidding about the optical illusion stuff - the illusion is a perspectival one, with my plate retreating toward the vanishing point, so I'd better eat quickly before the food disappears . . .


Friday, October 28, 2016

Mt. Magazine Lookout

Mt. Magazine Lookout
Mt. Magazine Trail, Arkansas

This is a lookout along the Mt. Magazine Trail from the highest mountain in Arkansas, Mt. Magazine, which rises to a 'towering' 2,753 feet (839 m), and has this one good bluff for a worthwhile scenic glance before you head on down the trail:
Before you start your descent, walk out to the edge of the bluff . . . because you won't get any good vistas on the trail. Forming the bluff and ringing the top of Mt Magazine is a layer of Savannah sandstone (Savannah Formation). This 300 million year old rock was deposited in a basin bounded by the Ozark highands to the north and the Ouachita Mountains to the south, known as the Arkoma Basin. Below the Savannah sandstone you can see the slope of the mountain taper to the plains below. This is the McAlester shale showing its weakness and inability to form cliffs. At the base of the mountain covered in pines is the Hartshorne sandstone. The Hartshorne is often associated with a commercially viable coal seam (Hartshorne coal) and was formed in an ancient delta system.
Good to know all that, 'specially about why the only bluffs are along the top. But there's little to see here, so let's return to the Boston Mountain heights, courtesy of Mr. Charlie Williams and his maps . . .


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another Ozark Photo

North Sylamore Creek
White River Hills

Not so far from where my maternal grandmother grew up, this western part of the White River Hills has been deeply carved by North Sylamore Creek, as the bluff in the distance indicates.

This link takes you eventually to a lot of photos and much info on hiking trails . . .


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Peek from a Peak

Just a photo from the Boston Mountain highlands of the Ozarks, fairly rugged, though only encroaching on 3000 feet, but the valleys are so low . . .


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The WAH Center: Yuko Nii Retrospective

Yuko Nii

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of

The WAH Center

Saturday, November 5th, 2016, 4-8 PM

The Yuko Nii Retrospective

A Special Exhibition



Terrance R. Lindall

Yuko and Terrance


currently raising funds

for restoration

of their

landmarked building,

the home of the WAH,

which continues to need extensive repairs.


As one who has benefited from the generosity of Yuko and Terrance over the past decade or so, I urge you to respond generously in helping them to continue the repair work on this historical landmark that houses the WAH.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Dori Joke?

Person 1: You wanna hear a Dori joke?

Person 2: What's a Dori joke?

Person 1: Remember Dori in Finding Nemo and then in Finding Dori? You know, Dori the forgetful fish?

Person 2: Oh, right.

Person 1: So, you wanna hear a Dori joke?

Person 2: Uh . . . okay.

Person 1: Okay what?

Person 2: The Dori joke.

Person 1: What Dori joke?

Person 2: You asked if I wanted to hear a Dori joke!

Person 1: Really? Was it funny?

Person 2: You haven't told it yet, you idiot . . . Oh, I get it now. This is the Dori joke . . . damn you . . .

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Killer Comes Calling . . .

Due to my lingering interest in comparative religions, I sometimes read conversion stories, and I've occasionally reported on them here, especially the unusual ones.

I've never heard a conversion story quite like this one, unexpected and even hard to believe, as told by Virginia Prodan, an international human rights attorney who defended Christians in Communist Romania, as well as an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. The story below appears in her book, Saving My Assassin (Tyndale), though I came across it as an excerpt:
Late at night, after a long day in court, Miruna, my legal assistant, peeked into my doorway: "A big man in the waiting room says he wants to discuss a case." She shrugged. "That's all he will tell me."

I was taken aback at how enormous he was. As he sat down in front of my desk, his eyes seemed to bore a hole straight through me, and a sneer formed at the corner of his mouth. Slowly, he pulled back his coat and reached into a shoulder holster, . . . drawing a gun. "You have failed to heed the warnings you've been given," he said, aiming at me. "I've come here to finish the matter once and for all." He flexed his fingers, and I heard a distinctive click. "I am here to kill you."

My hands shook. Fight-or-flight instincts pinged in my brain. My chin trembled. An image flashed through my mind: my assistant arriving in the morning and finding my lifeless body on the office floor. I was alone with my killer. And yet, I was not. I began silent, fervent prayers, recalling God's promises. His Spirit breathed peace into my panicked heart. Then I sensed his message: Share the gospel. I considered the man before me. Behind those hate-filled eyes was a creation of God. He had an immortal soul, and he needed to know about the love God has shown in Jesus Christ. At once emboldened, I met my killer's eyes. "Have you ever asked yourself: 'Why do I exist?' or 'Why am I here?' or 'What is the meaning of my life?' I once asked myself those questions." My voice stayed calm and did not waver.

He slid his gun back into the holster.

I leaned forward. "You are here because God put you here, and he has put you to a test. Will you abide in God or in the will of a man - your boss, President Ceausescu, who requires you to worship him? God has given you free will to choose."

His eyes softened.

My heart thumped even faster, and my confidence rose. "The truth is that we have all been corrupted and gone away from God." He nodded. "We all are sinners, and our sin has determined our future. Hebrews 9:27 says, 'People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.'"

His mouth fell slightly open, and his hands relaxed.

"But the good news is that God has prepared a way out for every one of us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'" As I continued to talk with him, he appeared smaller and more peaceful.

Finally, he brought his hand to his forehead and said, "You are right. The people who sent me here are crazy. I do need Christ." He promised, "I will come to your church as a secret brother in Christ. I will worship your powerful God."

And with that, my killer walked away saved - a brother in Christ. He went on to enroll in seminary, and we have even kept in touch. He, like me, had found the Truth. And neither of us will be afraid to speak it ever again.
I encountered this as part of a larger story in an article, "I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania" (Christianity Today, September 23, 2016), by the same woman, Virginia Prodan. I have to admit, though, that the story sounds incredible, literally hard to believe. Why? The conversion seems too easy for a hardened killer. Something must have been ticking along within the man's heart - there must be a story waiting to be told, the killer's story, that would clarify the man's decision that night.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trump as "Delusional Tiger"?

Wounded Tiger
Daily Mail Online

Over at Malcolm Pollack's Waka Waka Waka site, one anti-Trump commenter let his emotions get the better of his rhetorical control, so I took some time to perform a bit of exegesis on one of his sentences, specifically his "Delusional Tiger" metaphor, which I segued into from George Orwell's words on political language:
Speaking of Orwell on language, what would he think of this:
"Trump is a wounded tiger, delusional and dangerous, and he doesn't care if he burns the house down in his never-ending race to the bottom."
I'll grant that a wounded tiger is dangerous, but is it delusional? Well, maybe, if it has blood poisoning from its wounds. Okay, I'll grant that, too. But where did this blood-poisoned, delusional tiger obtain the fire – and how does it carry this fire – that might burn down the house, though the tiger doesn't care one way or the other about that? Moreover, this blood-poisoned, delusional, indifferent tiger is in a never-ending race to an apparently bottomless bottom?

In short, we've got this blood-poisoned, delusional, fire-bearing, house-bound, indifferent, racing-to-a-bottomless-bottom tiger that poses a danger to its own house.

Orwell would agree that these mixed – and even mixed-up – metaphors clearly reveal much to worry about.
There you have it, my explication of words expressed by a man whose political sentiments have exceeded his capacity to control their flow and his ability to judge their propriety.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Ravens as Birdbrains?

Mary Wakefield

Mary Wakefield, commissioning editor of The Spectator, asks, "Just how clever are ravens?" (The Spectator, October 22, 2016), and as regular readers know, I am interested in animal intelligence, so let's see what Ms. Wakefield has discovered:
Until recently, neuroscientists had little time for birds. It was assumed that brain size (relative to body size) was the most significant factor in animal intelligence. What good could any bird brain be? Plus birds have no neo-cortex, which in mammals is vital for intelligence. A seven-year study at Duke University, North Carolina, tested 36 species for their ability to inhibit impulses (a significant part of being clever) and the results were presented, in 2014, as a league table of animal IQ: great apes top, dogs honourably middling, birds at the bottom.

But those scientists at Duke had not considered crow-kind. This year, researchers from Lund University in Sweden repeated the Duke experiment with corvids (jackdaws, crows and ravens) and found, to their shock, that these birds were the equal of apes. Ravens, Corvus corax, the smartest of all crows, scored 100 per cent on the Duke test. This was not an anomaly. All around the world scientists are discovering that ravens are alarmingly smart. They will make and use tools to get food; they can grasp abstract concepts and use imagination. Ravens will not only stash food in hidey holes to eat later, but, if they think another bird is watching, they'll fake-hide their food to fox the competition. This isn't pre-programmed behaviour - this is considered strategy.
Growing up in the Ozarks, I always knew that crows were smart. I don't recall seeing any ravens in those hills, though, but I sure wish I had . . .


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weird Shariah?

Almighty Allah

I once asked a Muslim man how sharia functions in the case of an honor killing, since the right to retribution would sometimes fall to the individual accused of the killing, but I received no response. Maybe the case of honor killing detailed below can supply an explanation:
While recording his statement in . . .court . . . , the accused, Faqeer Muhammad, not only pardoned himself, but also his son and nephew who were his accomplices in the case.The accused said in his statement: "The deceased, Kiran Bibi, was my real daughter. She was unmarried at the time of her murder. There are no other legal heirs of the deceased except her mother, Bushra Bibi, and me. I have forgiven the accused persons in the name of Almighty Allah, and have no objection to their acquittal. I also waive my right of Qisas (retribution) and Diyat (blood money)." Faqeer Muhammad had shot dead his daughter and her alleged lover, Ghulam Abbas, "to save family honour" in 2014. His son, Muhammad Illyas, and nephew, Muhammad Tahir, were also accused of abetting the double murders. Abbas' mother Azmat Bibi named the three accused . . . . Later, the complainant moved an application, requesting that the court make the offence (the murder of her son) compoundable . . . . The court allowed the application after which Azmat Bibi and her second son, Waqas Ali pardoned the accused, pleading that they had no objection to their acquittal, and also waived their right of Qisas and Diyat. After the complaint cleared them, Faqeer and Bushra recorded their statements as legal heirs of the deceased girl, and forgave the accused.
This shameless process appeared, as reported by Rana Yasif, in "Man kills daughter for 'honour' in Lahore, goes scot-free after pardoning self" (The Express Tribune, October 18, 2016). In fact, this process is so blatantly unjust that I have to wonder if we're reading a satirical piece and The Express Tribune a Pakistani equivalent of The Onion!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Nobel Prize for Literature? That's a bit much . . ."


I have to agree with my friend Bill Vallicella, who felt compelled to raise a dissenting voice on Dylan's Nobel:
This brings me to Bob Dylan who was recently awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Now I've been a Dylan fan from the early '60s. In the '60s I was more than a fan; I was a fanatic who would brook no criticism of his hero. And I still maintain that in the annals of American popular music no one surpasses him as a songwriter.

But the Nobel Prize for Literature? That's a bit much, and an ominous foreshadowing of the death of the book and of quiet reading in this hyperkinetic age of tweets and soundbites. A large theme. Get to it conservative bloggers. Why do I have to do all the work?
I'd defend quiet reading, but I'm too busy reading books. Anyway, I want to note that I was a Dylan fan - and still am - though never a fanatic, and I wish to echo Bill's remark that the Nobel Prize is a bit much.

On the other hand . . . Dylan can be an inspiration to us all! If Dylan can get a Nobel Prize, maybe we can, too!

Whur do I go tuh pick mine up?


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's a Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

Raining Hard at the 41st Class Reunion

And hard rain it did, driving classmates back indoors to the oddly, if appropriately named 'pool' room where swimming is not only not allowed, it's simply' not possible . . .


Monday, October 17, 2016

Kelly Zeigler

Kelly Zeigler

Another photo from Jimmie Jones, this time of Kelly Zeigler, though the picture's not the best.

Kelly's the guy who got me interested in Cub Scouts, which led to an interest in Boy Scouts, through which I met the Scoutmaster, Mr. Holland, who died a few years back when he was 92 and one of my oldest friends.

One thing leads to another . . . and another . . . and another . . .

But back to Kelly.

Kelly had the strongest willpower of all us boys, and I think all the other boys would agree.

Say amen, somebody.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Just Good Friends

Danny Davis and Anita May

Yet another class-reunion photo from among the many sent me by Jimmie Jones, this one showing Danny Davis getting a big hug from Anita May!

Danny was a friend from baseball times - specifically, the Little League Tigers team, on which we both played, Danny as pitcher and me as catcher.

Danny was a good pitcher. I recall that he had excellent ball control. He didn't throw quite as hard as our other pitcher, Mark Young, but Mark could be a bit wild, and I was always a little afraid whenever he was pitching.

Just as in the photo above, Danny always had such a broad, friendly smile . . . and mischievous eyes. Like he knows something you don't . . .


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Roger and Jimmie

Roger Bryant and Jimmie Jones

Here's another photo from among the many that Jimmie sent me, this one of him and Roger Bryant. Roger seems to be the host here, busy grilling the steaks and hot dogs, but not too busy to help Jimmie open a beer.

Roger was a very good baseball player. His position was catcher, like me, except that Roger was actually good as a catcher. He wasn't afraid of the ball or the bat, he didn't let a ball get past him, and he could throw a baseball straight to second base without having to stand up first, a useful skill to have against a player trying to steal second.

He and I also hauled a lot of hay together when we were 15 through 17, and that's pretty much how we became friends. Before working together, we were just two guys in the same class at school and on different teams in baseball. He was a hard worker, and so was I, and that used to be important among men . . . though we were just boys.

He once remarked that he didn't want to grow up and mature because he'd noticed that guys who'd 'matured' seemed to lose their sense of humor and feel insulted even at good-natured ribbing. I've always thought that was pretty insightful, at least for the Ozark culture we grew up in, a culture in which a man wouldn't take an 'insult.' There wasn't a lot of self-irony among grown-up men back there then . . .


Friday, October 14, 2016

Noble Prize Gets Bob Dylan!

After years of eluding the Big Lit Prize, Mr. Bob Dylan was finally gotten by the Prize Committee yesterday. Expressing consternation upon hearing the news, Mr. Dylan reportedly said:
"I wish it was more meaningful, like the Noble Piss Prize, or somethin', but if I'd knowd this was gonna happen, I'd've taken worse care of myself so it wouldn't've had to've happened."
Reporters are still trying to confirm what this means and whether Mr. Dylan actually said it. As is so often the case with him, the word is as elusive as the man, as he is a man of his word.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

An Uptick in Sales?

Not that anyone (other than yours truly) actually cares, but my novella has sold about four copies over the past couple of days.

For newer readers - who might not yet have decided not to care - here's a synopsis:
"The story of a naive young man who trades his soul for a bottomless bottle of beer, but has a change of heart and tries to get his soul back."
If that interests you, go and browse through the free preview . . .


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Défense de Fumer

Finally, a defense of smoking! All you frustrated smokers can now relax and have a smoke under the protection of this sign.

But why no smoking while driving? Especially if one is driving alone? Doesn't make sense to me. Lighting up while driving doesn't distract a driver much. Not so much as sneezing, for instance. By the logic of those opposed to smoking while driving, then, if you can't light up, you also should not be allowed to sneeze! Imagine the indignity imposed on all the old sneezers forced to squeeze their left earlobe so as to stifle an imminent sneeze! As if all that attention focused on one's left earlobe weren't far more distracting than the sneeze itself!

And if we can't sneeze, what else can't we do while driving? Cough? You mean we can't even do that anymore? What's the world coming to? Is it going to Hell in a handbasket? We probably won't be allowed to smoke in said basket despite our perditious destination.

Or will even Hell find smoking forbidden? But what's Hell without all that smoking? No more ante-chamber to an eternity of smoking! Just an anti-chamber, period.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A sincere question . . .

Is this a one-liner, or what?
Paved In Sincerity
The road to Hell is paved in sincerity.
What the hell is "paved insincerity"?

No, "paved in sincerity."

Yeah, "paved insincerity." What is it?

No, . . . oh, never mind.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Not a short distance, but reachable always, anywhere!

Asphalt Pavement
Google Images

Shall we take our daily constitutional in the cool of the day?
The road to Hell is paved with good insinuations.
But watch out for the snake in the asphalt!


Sunday, October 09, 2016

A Lesson in the Translation of Arabic Muslim Terms

Yigal Carmon
Google Images

In the MEMRI Daily Brief No. 106 (October 7, 2016), Yigal Carmon has published his article "Lost In Translation In The U.S. Media - Part I: 'Allahu Akbar,' 'La Ilaha Illa Allah,' 'Istishhad'," in which he corrects the routine mistranslation of Arabic Muslim terminology in the media:
Allahu Akbar, la ilaha illa Allah, and istishhad are routinely mistranslated in the American media.

[The] word istishhad ["martyrdom," "death of a martyr," or "heroic death"] . . . [denotes] a religious act of faith in which a believer strives to kill as many perceived enemies as he can, at the price of his own life as a means of getting closer to Allah, with the prophets, the righteous, and the martyrs in Paradise. The goal of this act of faith is to make Allah's religion supreme on Earth, in what the perpetrator believes to be an imitation of the battles of early formative Islam of the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the four righteous caliphs. This is often recklessly and inaccurately translated as "suicide," which is an act motivated by personal desperation, and for which a different word – intihar – is reserved in Arabic.

Allahu Akbar and la ilaha illa Allah – both statements of faith that embody the religious concept of the supremacy of Islam and of Allah – are mistranslated . . . . [The] rendering of Allahu Akbar in the U.S. media as "God is great" omits the aspect of superiority in the word Akbar (which . . . means "greater" or "greatest," not merely "great") and blurs the specific reference to Allah rather than to another deity. In the same vein, la illaha illa Allah is often translated in the U.S. media as "There is no god but God" (rather than "There is no god but Allah"). Omitting the supremacy of Allah over all other deities is a mistranslation.
Thanks are due to Carmon for these translations. I was aware of the true meaning of Allahu Akbar and la ilaha illa Allah, but istishhad was new to me, in that I didn't  know the Arabic term.

Anyway, Western media should take note - or better, take notes, as this is some necessary schooling for them.

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Josh Lambert on Benjamin K. Bergen on Cursing

Benjamin K. Bergen

In an NYT article, "Why Do We Love to Curse So Much?" (September 26, 2016), Josh Lambert turns to Benjamin K. Bergen's recently published book on linguistics, What The F (What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves), to address that question:
Bergen . . . insists that it's totally legitimate to study profanity because of what it can teach us, in general, about language and the brain.

Take aphasias and coprolalia. When brain injuries or tumors render people speechless, they sometimes still swear, while Tourette's syndrome can cause uncontrollable shouting of offensive slurs and obscenities. For comedy writers, that's all catnip, but for Bergen, these phenomena reveal where language originates: When you pay attention to the affected brains, you learn that there's a specific place where automatic, stubbed-toe expletives originate, distinct from the pathway, in the left hemisphere, that generates the rest of our talk.
That last part is an interesting fact, and it leads me to wonder if swearing is related to the automatic "signals" of sounds uttered by animals to warn of danger. Like "Sh*t!" meaning "Don't step here!" Probably not.

But is the question "Why Do We Love to Curse So Much?" or "Why Do We So Much Love to Curse?"

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Friday, October 07, 2016

Tonya and Grandchildren

Tonya Smith
(née Bassham)
her Grandkids

Here's another photo in the series that Jimmie Jones sent me. This time, the person caught on camera is one of my oldest friends, Tonya. Just recently in an email, I reminded her of how young we were when we first knew each other:
I was thinking of you the other day and recalled that the first gospel song I ever heard was one you were singing when we were playing together at about 5 years of age. The song was "Do Lord," and the line that captivated me was "way beyond the blue." Those words were a wonder to me because the blue above looked boundless, so anything beyond the blue must be very far away. But that was just a little boy thinking . . .
Tonya responded with humble words about her singing, followed by more anecdotes:
I am sure the song was American Idol worthy. I am such a good vocalist (that is a sarcastic statement for sure). It is so strange what sticks in our minds. My most vivid memory is cooking the crawdads. You had a skillet, butter and "MATCHES". We were quite the chefs. And I remember the day we moved. The most 'tragic' day of our lives. And what? We were 1/2 a mile away. But still very traumatic. The days your cousins came to visit were not good for us either. Mom wouldn't let us go over cuz you guys had 'company'. Oh, the things that we stewed over at such an early age.
I disagreed with her on the singing:
I think all children can sing. Your rendition of "Do Lord" was perfect. It was way beyond the blue!
As are these memories . . .

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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Heeeeerrrrrs Jimmie!

Jimmie Jones Appears

Since Jimmie Jones was kind enough to send me 150 photos on a USB via snailmail, I ought at least offer him a place of honor on this blog, so here he is . . . playing foosball.

I'd have to take to drankin' before I'd have the courage to face Jimmie in this game. I can see from his intent expression that he is a master of the sport. He had that same intent expression on his face when going for his unerring set shot in basketball. I had to play him close up, or he'd make that shot!

He's playing a match (foosball, not basketball) with his wife, while Nancy Daley (née White) looks on, pool cue at ready . . . ready for what, I don't know. But Nancy was always full of surprises. She used to have a ventriloquism act that she started way back in elementary school. And she was good at chess.

As for that bottle full of red somethin' or other, I don't know what in perdition it signifies, other than maybe the instability of all human endeavor. Much as that little bottle nearly teeters on the brink of the foosball table, so are the days of our lives. No! Wait! I meant to say, much as that little bottle nearly teeters on the brink of the foosball table, so is it as the world turns. Aw, sh*t! That ain't it! I meant to say, much as that little bottle nearly teeters on the brink of the foosball table, so play we our little games on the edge of eternity . . . finally!


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Class Reunion 2016: Pamela Corsaut and Anita May

Pamela Corsaut and Anita May

My high school class had another reunion this past summer of 2016, which I didn't attend because I can't afford to go each year, so I'm saving up money and energy for the 2025 reunion, when we'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of our graduation. Meanwhile, I'm being kept within the loop. For instance, my old classmate Jimmie Jones sent the photo above - along with a hundred more, on a USB! By snailmail! Which was quite a touching gesture in our digital times. Thanks, Jimmie!

Anyway, the two ladies above are Pamela and Anita, and I chose their photo because they have such genuine smiles and such striking eyes - especially Pamela, I must say. The last time I saw Pamela, she was heading for Florida. She used to introduce herself with the invitation to pronounce her family name either "Core-saw" or "Core-sawt." I compromised and called her "Pamela."

Readers will recall that I've encountered problems with my middle name, "Jeffery," which has regularly been misspelled as "Jeffrey" - and often still is! So, I empathize with folks who have problematic names.

If you two ladies happen by this blog post, here's a big "Hello" to both of you - and be sure to greet everyone else who made the party . . . and even those who didn't.


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Christopher Bray on Combining Marx wh Freud

Frankfurt School Theorists

I once mentioned to Martin Jay that the Frankfurt School had erred in combining Marx's dynamic social theory with the static Freudian system of psychoanalysis, for which I received a quizzical look. I didn't manage much of a follow-up, but by "static," I meant that Freud had a pessimistic view of human nature, with the consequence that the stages of individual psychological development would work out the same way, no matter what the social system, contrary to Marx's view. Perhaps Christopher Bray, in "The Frankfurt School was a place of fearsome seriousness" (Spectator, October 1, 2016), can put my point better than I was able:
Founded in 1923, the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research was a place of fearsome seriousness. Its key thinkers - Adorno, the philosophers Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer, the psychologist Erich Fromm and, more tangentially, the critic Walter Benjamin - were obsessed with the failure of the German Revolution of 1919. By marrying the early Marx's social theory to Freudian psychoanalysis, they hoped to understand why the working classes had renounced socialism for 'modern consumer capitalist society and [subsequently] Nazism . . . . [This] wasn't an easy marriage . . . . Freud and Marx were such different thinkers . . . . Freud’s view of human nature was essentially tenebrous, [while] Marx's was almost facetiously sunny. Whereas Freud argued that repression was the painful price we paid for civilisation, Marx believed that the freedom [that] capitalism's inevitable demise would usher in would make man not only whole, but wholly good . . . . Wide-ranging as Freud's theories were, they were also tightly tethered to the particular. He thought you were explicable by reference to the unconscious dreads and desires engendered by your ineluctably conflicted relations with your parents. But for Marx such talk of individuated existences was bourgeois tosh. He saw you as an expression of whatever class structure you'd been born into. As for the surreptitious sway of the unconscious, forget it. Not even your sentient mind has that much clout: 'It is not the consciousness of human beings which determines their existence,' wrote Marx, 'but their social existence [which] determines their consciousness.'
Bray raises a number of other significant points, but I will stop here, where I feel vindicated.

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Monday, October 03, 2016

Sully - A Film Koreans Must See

Kevin Kim has posted a good review - with plot-spoilers - of the film Sully. I see more tension in the film than he finds, though I (like everybody else) know the story. Eastwood does a good job in getting the tension to build by . . . well, I won't give anything away. I will, however, quote my words of comment to Kevin's post:
The film is one Koreans need to see. They'll get to watch people doing what people should do in an emergency. Maybe they'll even stop wondering where President Park was for five or six hours that day of the Sewol sinking and instead look at their own failure to be prepared, their pattern of waiting passively to be rescued, and their tendency to blame hidden forces higher up for 'planning' such accidents.
That sounds rather harsh, I reckon, but the Korean mentality on accidents has to change. I could say a lot more on these points, but I don't want to go off on a rant.


Sunday, October 02, 2016

It all subtracts down . . .

Penny Wise
A Lot of Sense

The love of money is the route to all evil:
Money Scent
Penny spared or penny spent,
Hardly much, just one red cent.
The road to Hell is paved with golden tensions.

Advice: Believe not a single aphorism on this post.


Saturday, October 01, 2016

Original Sense

Staff Inflection?
Google Images

Is there any truth to this old aphorism?
Fictive Prescriptive?
"An apple a day keeps the doctor a-waiting to prove this aphoristic old lie."
I'm waiting, too . . .