Archive for January, 2007

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Interlude: Transcendence

January 30, 2007

“I have spent most of my life (like most people) avoiding transcendence at all costs, mainly because the shit hurts.  Merely defining transcendence can sometimes be painful. I once heard that “Transcendence is the act of going through something”.  Ouch.  I see plate glass windows and divorces.  Someone else told me that it was “rising above whatever one encountered in one’s path” but at this point in my life that smacks of avoidance as well as elitism of some sort.  I am compelled to look back on years of going through, above, as well as around my life looking for loopholes to redefine everything including any and all of the ideas that I have held close to my heart along the way – Art – Freedom – Justice – Revolution – Love (a big one) – Growth – Passion – Parenting (a really big one) – and I find that for me, for now, transcendence is about being still enough long enough to know when it’s time to move on. Fuck me.”

 —Steve Earle (Chicago, January 2000)

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Don’t Make Fun of the Naked Lady — The DuckBox virtual tour pt 1.

January 29, 2007

Recently had a guest over to the Duck’s new digs. A young lady who — for reasons that shall be made plain — will not be invited back into the DuckBox.

I’m not one to ban people from entering my home willy-nilly, but this unfortunate guest broke the only cardinal rule of life in the Box: Do not cast aspersions at the Naked Lady.

naked-lady.jpg

The Naked Lady hangs above my bed. She is Blameless and Frameless and she Basks in the Sunshine. She was painted by a now-deceased and still-beloved cousin and if the Naked Lady were wrong, I would not want to be right.

“Oh,” my guest said when she saw the Naked Lady, “you have a naked lady above your bed.”

“I do,” I said. “See how she Basks in the Sunshine? Is she not beautiful?”

“Her head,” said she, “is too small for the rest of her.”

Parts of you, too, lack proportion, I thought.

“And I’m not sure about her hands.”

“And I’m not sure about your hands.”

My guest regarded me with a quizzical eye that caused me to suspect I’d actually said that last part out loud.

“It is a beautiful painting,” I said.

“Depends on what the artist was going after.”

I stood erect, placing my my teacup delicately on its tray, beside the scones for which I suddenly had no appetite. To think, I had brought out the good china tea set and the silver service for her. “Nigel,” I called, “fetch this woman’s wrap!”

“Who’s Nigel?” she asked.

“My manservant of course. I’m afraid I must attend to pressing matters in my study. You will have to see yourself out. ” Retreating into my sanctuary, I breathed deep the rich mahogany panelling and settled myself sufficiently to speak again. “Good day, madam,” I bowed, pulling the oaken door shut behind me.

“That,” she said, “is your closet.”

“I said good day, madam!” I called over my shoulder. I stood looking out the window into the courtyard, absently tracing with my finger the grooved spine of a volume of Chrysippus I’d left open on the arm of the settee, until I heard her carriage rattle angrily across the yard.

The day had turned gray and chill and soon it would rain. She would face a long and fitful ride through the moors that evening. The kind of ride that, in old English novels, invariably resulted in prolonged illness. Perhaps even the ague.

She would be bedridden until spring.

“Very well,” I said, aloud and to no one. “The moors can have her if they want her. If she returns in March, she will find me disinclined to receive her.”

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My objection

January 12, 2007

“My objection to the death penalty is pretty core:

I object to my government killing people, because my government is supposed to be me, and I object to me killing people.”

—Steve Earle

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Great Drunken Animals in History, Part 2:

January 12, 2007

tycho.JPGTycho Brahe (1546-1601) was the preeminent pre-telescopic astronomer, who thought that the planets orbited the sun, which orbited the earth. Of his critics, who were even more wrong than him, he wrote:

“O crassa ingenia. O caecos coeli spectatores” (“Oh thick wits. Oh blind watchers of the sky”).

Tycho Brahe lived in a castle and kept a tame elk as a pet. Much like Kid Rock, he consorted with a Dwarf, who was his court jester. The dwarf, named Jepp, could see into the future. Alas, no record exists that Jepp accurately predicted the moment at which the elk, drunk, would tumble down the castle stairs to his death.

Tycho died when his bladder burst after a drinking contest.

Or he overdosed on mercury trying to treat himself for syphilis.

Jepp, sweet Jepp, is lost to history.

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Great Drunken Animals in History, Part 1:

January 9, 2007

Let us remember Chrysippus, the Greek Philosopher and “second father of Stoicism,” who taught that virtue, body, and soul were all intertwined; that nobility was achieved, not bequeathed; and that sympathy, reasoning, and intelligence surpassed hero worship and praise.

Who got his donkey drunk, and died in a fit of laughter watching it attempt to eat figs.

Chrysippus