"For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived, and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
"Mythology distracts us everywhere -- in government as in business, in politics as in economics, in foreign affairs as in domestic affairs. But today I want to particularly consider the myth and reality in our national economy. In recent months many have come to feel, as I do, that the dialog between the parties -- between business and government, between the government and the public -- is clogged by illusion and platitude and fails to reflect the true realities of contemporary American society."
[Sometimes I run across a quotation that sounds interesting but a little suspicious, and when I track it down to make sure it's attributed correctly I discover that it's actually a wee fragment of something much better, and I can serve y'all better by quoting a larger-than-bumper-sticker-sized chunk. This was one of those.]
24th July 2014: catch them, Rimeq
I read a choose-your-own-adventure science fiction book when I was little. It concerned the efforts of an alien named Rimeq to take over the world, and the hero's efforts to stop him. This was made more difficult because Rimeq possessed the ability to move objects around with his mind (telekinesis). The only part which has stayed in my head is towards the end, when the hero has reached Rimeq's room but Rimeq has paralysed him by telekinesis, the police have been stopped similarly, and so have the spaceships bringing help, and the stress is showing on Rimeq's face. Finally the hero manages to take some rings off his fingers and throw them at Rimeq, shouting, "Catch them, Rimeq, they're grenades!" This is the final straw; the stress on Rimeq's mind is too much, and he is taken away catatonic.
So as I mentioned earlier, we have been moving house, and several moments have made me think, "Catch them, Rimeq"-- in particular, I meant to put out an edition of Gentle Readers on Monday as usual, but exhaustion won. Sorry for the interruption in service; meanwhile, I've been very encouraged by the messages I've had telling me how much you enjoy reading Gentle Readers.
Many people are due public thanks for helping us get through the last week. In particular, I want to thank the people of St John's church, Egham; as the obstacles to getting moved grew more and more formidable, so more and more people from St John's turned up unasked to help. We couldn't have managed without you. Thanks also go to the Gentle Reader who offered a garage when the movers needed to deliver before the landlord could give us the key. And thanks to the people from the Runnymede Besom, who turned up to take away some furniture we'd donated, but then came back later to help clean up. That's what love in action looks like, and I'll do my best to pay it forward. Thank you all.
A poem of mine
THE ECHOES OF AN AMBER GOD
Electric sparkles in your touch,
the echoes of an amber god.
You fill my batteries with such
electric sparkles in your touch,
that Tesla would have charged too much
and Franklin dropped his lightning-rod:
electric sparkles in your touch,
the echoes of an amber god.
I was going to draw you a cartoon as usual, but my tablet is still packed away. Instead, here are some photos I took when I was working in London earlier this year.
Trains in the sidings at Clapham Junction, the busiest railway station in Britain.
More than a hundred trains an hour come through.
The tombstone of Jason Binder:
"He respected all living things. His inspiration lives on."
And it lives on with me, too, even though his epitaph is all I know about him.
Something from someone else
Does this one really need an introduction? Well, if you've never seen it before, then you have the joy of seeing it for the first time; the Guardian has a decent analysis if you're interested in digging into it. "Baggonets" is an archaic form of the word "bayonets", and Kensal Green is a large London cemetery, one of the magnificent seven. There is a pub called "Paradise" near there now; it was named for the poem.
THE ROLLING ENGLISH ROAD
by G K Chesterton
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
Gentle Readers is published on Mondays and Thursdays, and I want you to share it. The archives are at http://thomasthurman.org/gentle/ , and so is a form to get on the mailing list. If you have anything to say or reply, or you want to be added or removed from the mailing list, I’m at email@example.com and I’d love to hear from you. The newsletter is reader-supported; please pledge something if you can afford to, and please don't if you can't. Love and peace to you all.
From Damiano's Lute by R.A. MacAvoy (1984, Bantam Books, New York)
Gaspare leaped over a freshet and helped his friend after. His spare face was transfigured, and his prominent eyes stood out. "Is this magic?" he hissed back. "Real magic? The goosegirl cannot see us?"
Damiano nodded. "But that is not to say she cannot hear us talk." But even he could not resist adding, "Well, what do you think of magic -- real magic?"
The boy made an owl face. "It is silly! And in terrible taste. But if it works, it's wonderful, of course."
"Of course. All wonderful things are silly, and most are in abysmal taste."
When I went back a week later to see it again, the song was gone. The credit to him is still there at the end of the movie, but none of his music remains in it.
Thanks to YouTube, here it is again.
Beautiful had been outside with me, chewing on grass -- it calms her, and I can't keep the pet grass alive in the summer indoors because the house is so shaded. She was lying on the front steps by the front door, about 30 feet from the sidewalk. When they showed up she didn't move. She didn't go toward them.
I said that there are a lot of black and white cats in the area -- which is true, an older one up the street, a couple on neighboring streets and some in the shelter every time I visit. (Years back, half the cats there were gray Russian Blue hybrids; now they are little black and white ones or orange or black with gold eyes like Jenny.) And then I said that she is mine, which she is. Beautiful showed no interest in them; she watched them from a distance, a bit warily. I went toward her to put her in the house and she ran, not quickly, into the back yard.
When she has gone out of the yard, which occasionally has happened, it has been into the next-door neighbor's yard, probably to scent-mark a few things just to annoy their elderly dog. She does not go up the street toward where they live. (I don't know their names, or the exact house, just which part of the block it is.)
I don't know that they could make trouble; if I were a mother with half a dozen children, I'd just go get another cat somewhere rather than get into legal hassles.
But I have contacted my visiting vet, to ask for a copy of Beautiful's first vet report, and I am checking on the procedure to report a missing cat to Home Again, because she is chipped and it's our names and address on the paperwork associated with the chip. Just in case someone snatches her from the yard if she's out of my sight briefly.
She has just, in the last couple of weeks, begun to come and ask to be petted; when I pick her up now, it may be for 30 seconds before she wants to get down, but she does not use claws to get her way and she does not bite, as she did for the first year. She does not panic any more when we pick her up, or try to eviscerate us and run away. She has come a long long way from the terrified thin half-grown kitten who showed up in the yard.
It's going to be 95 today; that's a good enough reason not to let her out.
ETA: The vet whom I contacted has been ill; I got a form email saying when she hoped to resume her practice, which is within a week. She's been in the ER twice recently. Not good. I hope her staff will be able to send me a copy of the records.
1) I was sad.
2) Even though I felt okay after a tiny accident (both physically and nerves-wise), the cumulative effect of honks, dicey merges, close calls with cars making left turns right in front of me, etc., wore me down to the point where I often really didn't look forward to riding.
3) I had a really nice ride into Manhattan last fall which had some bad moments when the Manhattan(?) bridge had a really fast, steep drop-off into Brooklyn, and I just couldn't get enough leverage on my brakes. Was angry at myself for not having big enough or strong enough hands. Finally realized my brakes are badly adjusted.
4) THAT HORRIBLE WINTER.
I think maybe it would be easier if I didn't put pressure on myself to commute, even though it would save time? Even if I rode my bike a little before/after work when I had time, and on weekends? I know that I need a lot of physical training to be able to do long-distance rides, but... yeah, ultimately I'm much more interested in riding to the Hudson or the Rockaways or up into New Jersey or to get pie than riding to work. And commuting is much more a game of terrifying Frogger than actual physical conditioning. (Prospect Park has all the hills I need, at least for now.)
Will try and get my brakes adjusted this weekend. Then, pie?
"I think there must be something akin to the Kübler-Ross model of grieving for politics. The first stage is idealistic enthusiasm, followed by uncomfortable compromises, followed by disillusionment, then hatred, then despair, then more hatred, and finally maniacal, endless laughter." -- sabotabby, 2014-07-01
I believe it should have been a permanent ban, but I do not know what went on in discussions that caused people not to do that.
I believe if they were going to do this four year provisional thing, it should have been made more clear whether he can come back earlier if he proves he has reformed, and what level of proof of reformation would be required both before and after the four year period.
I truly believe that everyone involved was doing the best that they could in a fucked up situation with the information available, but there should have been more continuous communication between different years of con management, and a more deliberate effort to get more information.
More personally, I only interacted directly with frenkel twice. the first time he was rude to one of my children, and dismissed my speaking up for my kid rudely, and the second time he sat down to talk to me based on something he had overheard in a conversation, and made me subtly uncomfortable just by acting overly familiar and staring at my tits. Both of these incidents would have been in 09,(I think, maybe later, but while I was still married) and were enough that I avoided him ever since and was not surprised when more serious allegations surfaced. It seems likely to me that a lot of people encountered this sort of borderline harassment from him without ever feeling like it was something that could be reported because it was just subtle enough that you can't point at it.
also, this is making me reconsider my decision not to join the concomm a couple of years back,because y'all need angry people like me
Customer, to assistant: How much is this?
Assistant: (scans it repeatedly) Dunno.
Pharmacist: What's up?
Assistant: Every time I scan this, it just says "enter price", "enter price".
Marn: (under breath) These are the voyages of the Starship Enter Price...
(Pharmacist laughs. Assistant looks confused.)
Pharmacist: Well, *I* thought it was funny.
For the July 18th Project Censored Program on Pacifica co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips look at news that didn’t make the news, They begin in discussion with president of the Society of Professional Journalists Dave Cuillier, who talks about the petition sent to President Obama last week, endorsed by over 40 media organizations, that calls for […]
The post Diane Bailey of the Natural Resources Defense Council appeared first on Project Censored.
It was a very nice ride! And here is what happened:
I was slightly distracted, and got way closer to the edge of the road than I was comfortable with, because I'm always scared of getting the tire caught along a vertical drop-off. For some reason it made more sense in my head for me to slow down than to just steer the other way, except the brakes on my rental bike were really sensitive, so what I intended as fast braking turned into panic-braking, and... luckily I was riding quite slowly to keep pace with my sister (who's scared of going fast due to previous bike trauma), or I could've sent myself over the handlebars; instead I just stopped fast enough that I went down on top of my bike. I got some good scrapes on one toe and a tiny bit of road rash on the heels of my hands, and then I yelled "I'M FINE" and got up as soon as I could disentangle myself from my bicycle.
I understand that a Sunday rail-trail ride is different from a daily commute, but I can't help but be a little annoyed that nobody stopped to help me when I was lying at the side of the road with a broken arm and a bloody nose, nobody stopped to help me when I had a minor altercation with a car, and everybody stopped to help me when, other than my horribly wounded pride and dignity, I had no injuries worth mentioning.
I used to get "DO YOU NEED HELP?" a lot on rides when I was just resting (the central-to-western portion of North Carolina is quite hilly, and I am neither light nor strong of leg) but I don't know if I'm seeing sexism where there's just genuine helpfulness.
My mom keeps being surprised that I'm in good shape, LOL.
And I am thinking about James Garner, and the roles he had that nobody else could have done.
His range is big. Westerns, both deadly serious and comedic. The Rockford Files. Fifties comedies with Doris Day. And the two movies that stick in my mind now: Victor/Victoria with Julie Andrews, and Murphy's Romance with Sally Field.
I have been trying to imagine any other actor of Garner's era who could play all of those roles -- at all, not even thinking about how well. John Wayne had the range, and the humor, but was too heavy-handed. (Garner spent a lot of time dancing around in a role, figuratively speaking; his characters were charmers who never meant harm to anyone.) Richard Widmark or Robert Mitchum? No. Intensity without the gentleness. Forget the entire Rat Pack. Charlton Heston could have perhaps played Murphy, given the opportunity; John Wayne would have loved that role if he'd been well enough at the time, though he was too old for it. But can you imagine Heston in Victor/Victoria?
::waiting while your mind stops boggling:: And the only other actor with that kind of range has already played his own version of Bret Maverick, and yes, he shot first at Greedo. (And I don't think he'd take being Murphy, the widowed small-town pharmacist who falls for the younger newcomer woman who is raising a son on her own, and whose worthless ex-husband then shows up to complicate matters.)
I had hoped to sit down and watch Murphy's Romance today, but can't lay my hands on the tape. I may have to unpack a big box of tapes to find it, but it will be worthwhile, if only to see James Garner riding a horse again as if he were actually a centaur and the saddle was incidental, or smiling with that little twist, or talking his way around someone so thoroughly that you know he'll get what he wants in the end and make sure everyone else around him does, as well.
Godspeed, James, and thank you so very much.
"Armstrong described the lunar surface as 'beautiful.' I thought to myself, 'It's not really beautiful. It's magnificent that we're here, but what a desolate place we are visiting.'" -- Buzz Aldrin (b. 1930-01-20, set foot on the Moon in the wee hours of 1969-07-21 UTC (or very late on 1969-07-20 Eastern Time) along with Neil Armstrong)
[It's funny how little I remember all that clearly from when I was six years old, but I do remember watching television coverage of the Apollo missions, and noting when the astronauts would be out of contact with Earth, and trying to figure out if there was a way I could listen in to any of the conversations between the astronauts and Ground Control on a transistor radio or a walkie-talkie.]
Let me explain. ( It may well be like French toast, something that happens in or concerning America and not really Irish at all, but, well, there it is. )
As a littl'un, my daughter was interested not only in Ancient Egypt but also in the Soap Lady in the Mütter museum-- a corpse which has become entirely saponified, turned to the soapy substance called adipocere. One day, when my daughter was about five, I was sitting reading while she was playing in the park, and eavesdropping on her conversation with another girl:
Other Girl: "Do you know what happens to you when you die?"
Rio: "Yes. You turn into soap."
Other Girl: "No... you turn into stone. I know because my grandma died and I touched her and she was as cold as a stone."
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-07-13:
"Guitar is the easiest instrument in the world to learn to play badly." -- Andres Segovia
(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)