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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Fess Parker (1924 - 2010) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Davey Crockett of TV Fame ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Photo of him as Daniel Boone ~~~~~
~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #115 Published May 1, 2011 ~~~== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Sunny Month of May:
A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882), American Philosopher and Poet
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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #115, May 2011Archived Digests
Table of Contents
1. May's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for May
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Rice
6. Poem from June 24, 2002: "What is doyletics?"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for May:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #115== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB ~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun #1 Jul #2, Aug #3, Sept #4, Oct #5, Nov #6, Dec #7
2001: Jan #8, Feb #9, Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
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1. May Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.
The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.
This month Violet and Joey learn about Comedians.
#1 "Comedians" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/041811jv.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR May:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our Good Mountain Press Digest from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for May, 2011, two Daves in Florida:
Dave Stewart in Florida
David Jorgensen in Florida
Congratulations, Dave and David !
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
WELCOME APRIL! ! !
The month got off to a slow start, after the monstrous hailstorm and near tornado at the end of March. April 1, called April's Fool Day, is the day we play tricks on others. Growing up, my brother Steve was born on that day, and we always had fun with him. Now I usually call him on his birthday. If I can find some outré birthday card during the year, I always save it for Stevie. My friend Sidney Montz also was born on April 1, and while I usually didn't call him, this year marked the first birthday after his death. I called his wife, Jo Anne, and talked to her, letting her know that I was also thinking of Sidney on his birthday.
There was funeral for Del's former sister-in-law in Dallas. She got up at 5:30 to pack for her trip to the funeral with her son, John, who drove his car and took his two sons with them. All four of Del's offspring will be at the funeral, and she should have a good time there.
While Del was gone, our good friend Annie Kotch invited me to join them for dinner on Saturday night at Louie's Crab Trap in LaPlace, a place I've been wanting to go to. Plus she said that she was cooking dinner Sunday night and I'm also invited to her house for dinner then. I put the second LSU baseball game to record on our DVR so I could watch it when I returned.
My final proofing of my reviews must be done at least three days after I publish them to the web. It takes that long for me to forget all the detailed work I put into them and to read them as if I were reading a stranger's words. This final proofing is what I call "playing with sentences." If you don't enjoy playing with sentences, don't attempt to become a writer or you will make your life miserable, or at least more miserable than it was before you became a wannabe writer. While waiting to go the Crab Trap I played with sentences in my two reviews for the month of March, also fixing in several dozen places various typos in the Digest's Review blurb, the Review on-line, and the WP paper copy before printing out the archive copies to attach in the back of the two reviewed books.
RED-TIPPED CRABS AND CRAB TRAP PARTY AT THE LAKE
I left the white Maxima in front of Annie&Guntis' house. Burke & I rode with Annie. Gus rode with Candice and Arianne to Laplace and to Frenier's Landing near Hwy 51. What a natural beauty the place has. Not many people. Like the Pirate's Cove place on Perdido Bay. Louie's Crab Shack is a ground level version. Half inside, half outside tables. At dusk with the Sun setting, it was truly gorgeous. Ann brought decorations, a colorful Sun Paper Globe for a lamp, a long line of cutout Red-paper crawfish to hang across our table, some lobster bibs, party hats, and some glass stems for the six bottles of wine, including an Alsace Riesling which I sampled.
The blue crabs were wonderful Male No 1's for $18 a half dozen, packed full of crab meat, not a clinker in the bunch. The crawfish were a nice size, tasty, and not over-seasoned. The girls had to try the BBQ shrimp and crabs which I avoided — — too much heavy spices which ruin the taste of the delicate seafood. Candice bought two stuffed artichokes and then complained that they didn't taste the way a stuffed artichoke should taste. Newly arrived from Colorado, this New England gal, didn't like the crawfish and almost retched as I opened a crab shell. Burke and Arianne did fine with the instructions and demonstrations of crawfish I gave them.With Arianne born in Estonia and Guntis in neighboring Latvia, we had an international retinue at our table. Our table, with all of Annie's festoons and decorations installed, looked so festive that everyone at adjacent tables thought surely we were having a Birthday Party. Several people asked directly, "When are you cutting the cake?" Louie the owner came by, looked at the decorations, and told Annie, she could leave them in place if she liked.
Louie took us on a tour of his crawfish-purging and crab-harvesting facility. Very lively crabs. Showed me a live blue crab backing out of its shell, and I got a photo of it. I knew that this was how blue crabs grow larger. Since their shell is solid, the crab must back out of its too-small home, taking a very soft outer shell with him. Over the next several days, the soft shell gradually becomes hard again and bigger! Since its insides will take some time to grow large to fill the new shell, you do not want to buy any crabs which have just hardened their new shell! Why? Because the crabmeat will not fill the crab.Since the price of crabs go up by the size of the crab, not by the weight, it is the duty of any Cajun to test the weight of the crabs offered for sale before buying them! When a Cajun weighs a boiled crab in his hand and says, "It's heavy!" you can bet that the crab will be full of meat. There are no training classes for learning how to weight crabs by hand, but eating crabs for a couple of years with a Cajun will teach you soon enough. Louie also showed me the first empty shell after the crab has vacated it. How this live crab can crawl out of all those nooks and crannies you have to extract crabmeat from when you eat it is beyond my comprehension. But if you will imagine that a thin layer of soft second skin is formed over every piece of shell, it helps to visualize how the process is even possible. Louie also showed me how to spot a red-line crab (one which will leave its shell in a day), there are also white-lines who will do so in a week. These softshell crabs "to be" must be segregated from the lively crabs who would otherwise eat the soft-shelled ones as they back out of their shell. It was also exciting to watch Louie as he waved his hand over the large bed of water in which blue crabs were resting. As his hand passed over, every claw quickly raised from the water and dropped back down after it passed.
Drove home from Annie's in my Maxima about 10pm and called up the LSU game on the DVR, expecting to be able to do the game in Fast-Forward as I had done twice before. A three hour game can be watched in under an hour this way, faster if LSU is losing badly, which has happened several times already during this last-place-in-the-SEC year. Only thing which stopped me this time was some fluke which made it impossible to Fast-Forward the DVR copy! Every time I tried, the Playback started at the very beginning! I tried everything I could think of to fix it, then settled down knowing I'd have to stay up till past midnight because this sucker just wouldn't FF! Finally I gave up and just watched the game as if it were being broadcast, muting the commercials and pitching change time outs.
The very next morning I tried BSP'ing and FF'ing the Hour of Power DVR recording and even while it was recording, it worked just fine. Our DVR had done a one-time trick! While doing this, I heard Robert H. Schuller recall that Billy Graham first suggested to Schuller that he broadcast his weekly service on TV and call it, "The Hour of Power." It reminded me of that day in 1971 or 1972 when I awoke one morning to see an image on my TV in Anaheim, California. I told my wife, "That church tower is on the cover of a book on my book shelf." Sure enough, it was Schuller's first walk-in, drive-in church tower with the huge cross visible from most places in Orange County, California! The book was on my shelf and it was entitled, Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking by Robert H. Schuller.
Worked on completing my Thursday Next review. About 2 pm, I put on radio to check on the LSU score when I heard a home run by Ole Miss and the subsequent score announced as 6-2. But they didn't say who had the 6! After losing 16-3 the previous night, it seemed clear to me that it was LSU who was down and going further down. I was wrong! I held on till I heard a score and those 2 runs from the homer were the only runs that Ole Miss had all day. LSU got the two runs back in the next inning and finished the game 8-2. Manieri has two starting pitchers so far: the Friday night and Sunday night and another has to come out of the woodwork by Omaha time or there'll be no Omaha for LSU this year. I remembered the LSU-Tennessee football game where I turned off the power when time ran out and LSU was down 2 points, only to discover hours later that more time had been added due to 13 UT men being on the field for the final play. Wasn't going to make that mistake again. I watched the last 4 innings on the Geaux Zone.
Drove to Rouse's Supermarket and two nice artichokes to take over to Annie and Guntis's for dinner's appetizer that night. I wanted to wash away forever the thought of the dried, tasteless stuffed artichokes from last night. I boiled the artichokes in olive oil and a capful of liquid shrimp boil, then put them into the small blue Tupperware container to take to Annie's. Also brought along my round tip Cutco knife, Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs, Newman's Dressing, and Parmesan-Romano cheeses, and our remaining two artichoke plates. Originally we had four but one day two of them slipped out of the broiling pan and broke on the floor! Don't know which bothered me the most: losing the two plates? or losing the artichokes already prepared in them? Anyway, back at Annie's house, I made an excellent couple of artichoke flowers with Annie and Burke watching me. Everyone thought they were delicious. Annie made fried chicken and fried rabbit, mashed potatoes, some white gravy, some fresh cranberry sauce, and a green salad. Some slices of cake from Antoine's Bakery with Brocado's Lemon Ice on them which was delicious.
I came home tired and happy. April had only three days gone by this time, three very full days. The rest of the month would prove to be just as busy.
DEL HOME AND BOILED CRAWFISH WITH ROSIE
On Monday I worked on my computer all morning and afternoon. Cleaning up files and attending to all my first-of -the-month tasks. Publishing a monthly Digest means that a lot of tasks happen at both the end of the month and at the beginning of a new month, like building the new Digest from its template, moving last month photos into archive folder, backing-up of my photo, digest, journal, and review files.For the first time I had a new camera and that required planning for how to handle its larger photo files. I decided to move the SX30 photo folder from the F: drive to the C: drive to keep from overloading the backup drive. The folder is on the spot on C: where nothing gets backed up by the normal back up procedure. I have already extracted the best photos for my Digest and the backup for these are on the spare 16Gb memory card I carry with the camera. The new camera is for special photo shoots. I just noted that with five days left in April, I have already taken and processed 273 photos! Upcoming will be the May Naval Air Show and then the July wedding of my nephew Sean in Brenham, Texas.
Our french doors on the East and West Porticos are being re-caulked, painted, and sanded. One morning I set off the security alarm as I walked outside wanting to inspect how nice the patio and french doors looked. Being outside I didn't hear the bing-bing-bing, but I sure heard the alarm's loud wailing!
Later our landscaper, David Babin, came over and I showed him how the fungi was gone from the St. Augustine grass which I had treated with the equisetum tea, a Steiner Preparation 508. I gave him a bottle of it and suggested he learn to make it and keep some handy for his customers. He asked if I wanted the gutters cleaned and I said yes, and within an hour it was done by Antonio who came to borrow the ladder from the garage. Talked to Del on her cell a couple of times while she was still in Dallas. Told her about the patio.
The next morning the temperature had been down in the 50s overnight, so I made some hot oatmeal for breakfast. Worked on my statistics in the morning, answering emails, and processing photos. When Del arrived home around 11 AM I suggested we go to Rose Garden Center and buy some replacement veggies for the ones downed by the late March Hailstorm in our garden. We also bought two Japanese Yew trees. Put one in the front of power pole to break the ugly view from the East Portico. Put the other one in line with the two already in the Meditation Garden. Planted all the veggies I had bought. I weeded the garden. Now we have 6 cucumber plants ready to grow and fruit. Treated the citrus trees with equisetum tea. My new okra plants didn't survive and a couple of weeks later, I had to buy a third set of okra seedlings. Been a tough year for okra and cucumbers but by the end of April we had received a good garden rain, our rain barrel was finally full again, and all the veggies were smiling, blowing and growing, especially the gorgeous artichoke plants. I can imagine plucking some beautiful artichokes over our four mature plants by the end of the year!
Del took our friend Rosie to Woldenberg to visit her sick friend there, and called to say they were coming back. I suggested that Del stop at Rouse's for crawfish and she did, and she brought home some 12 lbs of delicious boiled crawfish. Just the right size to be easy to peel. We spread out some newspapers on the West Portico table and sat down to a feast. Rosie enjoyed peeling them and the three of us peeled a bowl full of crawfish after we had already eaten our fill. Those freshly peeled crawfish went into a crawfish and crabmeat salad I made for us the next day. The spicy crawfish tales with the jumbo lump crabmeat over chunks of ripe avocado! It doesn't get any better than that, Mon Cher!
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL AND CALIFORNIA DREAMING
The French Quarter Festival is our favorite festival of the year, and this year it got bigger and better. While bigger and better often doesn't go together, because the crowds that come with bigger usually doesn't make the experience better, take the Jazz Fest, for example. We went often in the 1970s and 80s and then stayed away when the attendance began topping 100,00 people on the weekends. Now we only go to Jazz Fest on the rare occasions when a friend from out of town visits us and wishes to go. But the French Quarter Fest is one we go to for ourselves! We went on two of the three days this year, on Friday and on Sunday. Del and I went on Friday and Guntis and I went on Sunday.
Del and I went to lunch at our favorite restaurant, Houston's, and then took the St. Charles streetcar to Canal Street. We walked up Bourbon till we reached the 500 block then switched to Burgundy (these may be alcoholic drinks elsewhere, but in New Orleans they are streets). We stopped at on Burgundy Street to visit John and Sandra in their converted double. I liked the way they added the loft for their Master Bedroom over the kitchen. They also added an indoor bathroom which left a closet sized area which they expanded into his study by enclosing the adjacent lean-to porch. It helped them to luck into an architect who knew the Vieux Carre commissioners. The VCC decides on the colors one can use and there's an expert in the Quarter on the old colors one can consult. The farther back in time you go, the fewer colors that were available. And the French Quarter buildings go back to the 1600s! Only by the careful control of the VCC is the French Quarter kept from becoming another Disneyland-type ersatz historical "New Orleans Square".
I knew that New Orleans Square because I lived in Anaheim for three years in the 1970s only a mile from Disneyland down Katella Avenue. I took our kids there many times and while they were riding on rides, I would relax in New Orleans Square on the outdoor patio, sipping an imitation mint julep and listening to the music trio trying to play New Orleans music two thousand miles away from the Mississippi River and the French Quarter. I've told this story several times, but perhaps it will be new to you. About six years later, I left New England to move back to New Orleans as an adult in my 30s. I was single, in a new job, had no new friends except a few at work, and I dove into my work with a fury, putting together supervisory pipeline control systems. After about three months of being in New Orleans, I decided to take a Saturday off work, and go down to Pat O'Brien's Irish Pub in the French Quarter where I knew I could get a real Mint Julep, sit on a real outdoor patio to sip it while listening to some live, authentic New Orleans jazz just a mile or so from the Mississippi River. And I did that. It was on the weekend of the 200th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and I was celebrating my own independence.As I was finishing my Mint Julep, I heard a jazz band passing along the street outside, so I quickly finished the minty concoction and walked out to see a ragtag jazz band marching past, so I joined with the parade like others had done. Soon I became aware of two gals dancing along on either side of me, so I danced and marched along with them until the parade ended and we had become friends. I spent that Fourth of July weekend with Joanne and Devone and it was those two who were to lead me to meet the group of friends who led me to Del! What began as a dream on hazy afternoons in Anaheim ended as a close friendship and marriage in New Orleans which has lasted 35 years!
Oh, where was I? Back to French Quarter Festival. Del and I enjoyed meeting Sandra, John's wife. I told her that she reminded me of Del's good friend Sandra Tranchina who had died about a year ago.Sandra's reply was "That's because we're both Italian!" And she was right. They not only look somewhat alike, but talked and had similar mannerisms. Del talked to Sandra for a long time and John and I talked for a long time. I knew John was a fireboat pilot on the river, and a graduate of Warren Easton like Del, but not much else.
I told John about Dr. Viikari's work after he mentioned that Sandra's mother had macula degeneration. His eyes opened wide as I revealed to him the connection of the trigeminus nerve to the various parts of the body. Macular degeneration, migraine headaches, retinal detachment, and all sorts of aches and pains on muscles going far down the back can be caused by the accommodation spasm associated with doing close work without plus lens or wearing minus lens for too long. Then I shared with him Doyle's work and then demonstrated the Speed Trace.
After we left, we passed a few small bands of unofficial stature, walked to Jackson Square and stopped in the cool auditorium of Le Petit Theatre where a rousing song was being played by the VAUD-VILLANS, with a young chorus. We sat down on a comfortable bench in the courtyard of the Le Petit Theatre where band was playing. Had a Cranberry-Orange Juice cocktail and enjoyed the open air. Then we walked through Jackson Square, seeing various famous restaurants hawking their best foods, Antoine's Baked Alaska was available in a food kiosk, a grilled shrimp stuffed PoBoy, a whole variety of foods for about 6 dollars each, but we had already eaten. We passed the Lionel Ferbos band on the WWL Stage and found a table in Café du Monde for our obligatory café au lait and beignets. A gal from California, all in black, sat down at next table, and I said to her, "Ah, you are dressed just right for eating beignets! No matter if you sit upwind or downwind, when the powdered sugar laden beignets arrive, the wind will change and sprinkle some on your black suit! It'll be your initiation into beignets!" She smiled.
We walked to the river where the warmth of the day was being cooled off by the wind blowing in from across the cool river's waters. It was absolutely perfect air-conditioning, the earliest kind of AC that I knew of from riding the ferry at an early age. We stopped to listen to a couple of bands and then finding Bruce Daigrepont playing the squeezebox, we had to dance a couple of dances, before we walked through the cavernous Harrah's Casino on the way to our streetcar stop on Carondelet and Canal St. We were short of change and a young man gave us two quarters to keep us from having to get off to hunt for change. I had given my last single dollar as a tip to the Mardi Gras Indian who let me take his photo a few minutes earlier.
We got home in time to pick up the LSU Baseball game in the 3 inning. Infuriating game because the Tigers had 11 singles, no extra base hits and left the base loaded 2 times and 2 men on base several times. We should have easily won the series as we used only Kevin McCune and they needed about four pitchers to seal the win. McCune only gave up one earned run in 8 innings.
The Hornets were playing also and we watched them whip the Phoenix Suns by a dozen points after a see-saw early battle. The Green Hornet was the star: Willie Green had 30+ points, making his first 12 attempts, the last one a three-pointer! A franchise record for the Hornets! Losing their All Star forward David West during the playoffs has made the daunting task of winning a playoff series almost impossible, but as we near the end of the series with the World Champion Lakers, the Hornets have won 2 out 5 games and only need two more games to beat the top-seeded team in the NBA.
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL, SUNDAY EDITION
Why didn't I go to the Saturday festival? It was football! LSU Spring Football Game was broadcast on ESPN at 3 PM. Plus I needed all morning to process photos from French Quarter Festival. What do I mean by "processing" of digital photos? Well, the one thing the camera cannot do is identify the people in the photograph or where and when it was taken. Sure, I know that one can muck up a photo with the digital time and date stamp. But can anyone say that improves the photograph? Ever try to take out one of those dates when it sits over a vital part of the photo? I have. Also the automatic time/date stored with the file name is like all automatic things: undependable. The time/date can change when I modify the file, which I do for every file to compress a 3 Mb file down to about 500 Kb with a 20 percent JPG compression which is fine for all but a few photographs. I do the full identification with YYMMDD code, e.g., today April 27, 2011 would be 110427. Then a two character code of the event (helps separate multiple events for days with a lot of activity), and then names and places, etc. For example, my photograph of a solitary cypress on the west shore of Lake Pontchartrain (at left) is 110402 CT Solitary Cypress.jpg — and with that kind of coding, my Windows Explorer can sort by dates and events with a single click, in chronological or reverse chronological order. And this being the file name, no automatic process will ever screw around with my coding.
Two LSU games on Saturday: One was the Spring Football Game in which the Tiger team is divided into Purple jerseys playing against White jerseys with non-contact players in red or green jerseys. The other game was the LSU baseball team was playing in Arkansas. First off, I watched the Purple & White game. White team won 20 to 7. Best showing was by Spencer Ware who gained over 120 all-purpose yards, running and receiving. Mecklenberg has a quick strong passing arm and can also run if pressured. Will be a great QB at LSU. Lee is still tentative and threw an interception. Jefferson is not much better than last year. Doubt he'll finish this season as No. 1 QB. It looks like Zack can take it from him with some game experience. But LSU has to survive a tough Sept schedule and then things can develop. They're picking LSU and Oklahoma for the BCS game this year. There's a long way to go, but the potential is there. The baseball game started at 7 pm. Spencer Ware, LSU's outfielder has now finished his football stint and can get back into the baseball lineup. Will be glad to have him back on the diamond! Could have used his spark to defeat Arkansas. The Tigers remained scoreless in a mutual shutout until they scored 3 runs at the top of 9th.The way to win the game seemed simple: let Matty Ott record another save. But Coach Manieri had Kevin Berry all warmed up and what did Berry do? HIT THE FIRST BATTER who scored. Then the other team scored one run and hit a home run with two on base and LSU lost another heart breaker. Did another speed trace after that lugubrious performance. It seems to me that I have seen this scenario played out over and over again this season: LSU pitcher has the batter at 0-2 and the next pitch comes inside and hits the batter! Why pitch inside on a wasted pitch? When a hit batter starts off an inning, odds are great he will score before the inning is over, and yet our pitchers have hit batters in almost every game. Yes, they are freshmen pitchers, but why should a pitcher ever hit a batter on a 0-2 ball-strike count?
Sunday was a day in which Guntis and I went to the Festival without Annie and Del. Both had work to do. Last year, Del and I missed Carol's Festival Sunday Brunch to attend Rosie's 90th birthday party in Slidell, and I didn't want to miss it this year. Guntis had met Carol on that frigid night back in January when she accompanied me, Guntis, and Kevin Dann on our pub crawl through the French Quarter.
Picked up Guntis about 9:30 and found a parking space along Rampart, a short walk to Carol's brunch on Dauphine. Guntis seemed to have a great time at Carol's Brunch. I saw Jo Huey there and we had a long chat. Told her about Doris and then noticed she was wearing minus lenses, so I mentioned Kaisu's work. Suggested the reading glasses are important to wear even if she doesn't feel them necessary. Her kids have been ragging her about wearing reading glasses, so I told her how important they are for small kids with their first coloring books! Jessica and Lanaux were there. Chatted with her briefly. Netty was the violinist from Belgium who was also a vocalist. Guntis had meet her before.
After the brunch Gus and I walked first towards Armand's gig, stopping to hear two locals doing blues, Wilson & Moore. We enjoyed them so much that I later took Del with me to hear them do a Twilight Concert in City Park. Jane Hodel & Pam Butler passed by and Jane said, "Hi, Bobby." Chatted for just a minute, introduced Guntis. Told Pam to say hi to Jimmy. Asked about Myrle Cooper and Jane said, without emotion, "He's in Iowa. We're divorced." Nice to see her again.
On way up Royal we sat down for a couple of minutes in Latrobe where the LSU bandmaster was leading a symphony orchestra. In the row directly in front of us was Carol Weissman, who knew both Guntis and me. "He's my Santa, she said. She runs the Christmas festival for Algiers Point.
We paused to hear the N.O.-Helsinki Connection jazz band which featured a female from Finland on the trombone, of all things. Got a drink and a seat up on Tropic Isle's galley with a great view. It was a good place to listen to the band and there was a bar inside a few steps away.
Then we moved over to listen to Armand St. Martin's whole gig at the Historic Collection's patio. Great sound. Patty Lee was taping, and blushing when Armand played one he wrote for her. Liba McEnery showed up too to help cheer Armand on. It was a short half-hour set and I had missed its small notice in the Schedule of Events, but the email from Patty Lee clued me in.
We checked out the Le Petit Theatre venue, a young loud guitar band, too loud for us, so we walked into Jackson Square. At the kiosk I'd seen on Friday, I got a Baked Alaska from Antoine's. As I walked away eating it, some young black kid asked me where I got the "cake and ice cream". I told him, "It's Baked Alaska from Antoine's booth." His eyes registered recognition, as only New Orleanians can do. I didn't have to tell it was ice cream, cake, baked into a meringue and doused with chocolate syrup, just "Baked Alaska" said it all. We stopped to hear some of Lionel Ferbos' gang, then skipped John Rankin because Guntis was getting tired. So we truncated our planned route and headed to Woldenberg Park stages along the riverfront, to those cool river breezes I felt Friday. We caught Susan Cowsills' stint in Woldenberg Park (of Crosby, Stills, and Nash band). Guntis knew her as she was a neighbor on Algiers Point and his wife Annie knew Susan.When her set was over, we walked along cool river breezes towards where Annie was coming over on the ferry. Couldn't hear her messages over the music coming from several stages in various directions. Finally she texted. Caught up with her near Sun Pie Zydeco music stage. Took photos of our two friends, with the Steamboat Natchez paddling downriver in the background and said Goodbye. They were taking the ferry home, and I would catch a taxi to where my car was parked. Couldn't corral a taxi until I was near the old DH Holmes building. Got an empty cab coming out of French Quarter and he drove me to my car, meter was 5.75 and I gave ten spot and thanks! I got home right away, 15 minutes, no traffic at all, and made Del and me some crawfish &crab salad&avocado salad for supper with the crawfish Rosie, Del and I had peeled earlier in the week. I took a well-deserved nap and then Del and I had slices of watermelon outside on the W. Portico table. Pressure-washed patio looked great — — it was the first step in getting entire west side of the house cleaned and re-painted. About a hundred feet of French Doors whose frames needed fresh caulking and new paint.
Oh, and late that night, after our evening movie, I remembered that I had DVR'ed the LSU game at 1 PM and the Hornets at 5 PM. The Hornets game was nearly over and already a hopeless case by the time we turned it on, so I simply erased it. LSU game was over so I watched it in fast-forward near the end of second movie. Only slowed down when Nola hit a Grand Slam Homer to take a lead 4-0 which LSU gave back to the other team in the next inning. Matty Ott came in and did his job, but LSU was still tied at top of ninth and a walk-sacrifice fly with bases loaded lost it for LSU, 5-4. LSU's freshmen, the fielders and pitchers, are being annealed in the fire of these near-wins and they will be strong in the second half of this season and spectacular next season, no doubt. Hey, if Hope can't Spring eternal, what good is Hope?
BIRTHDAY, FRENCH DOORS, AND PLANTS
Weeks earlier I had bought and wrapped two birthday presents for Del and the day before her birthday, I had placed them in on a counter in the pass thru between Dining Room and Living Room. I left its light on and turned off the China Cabinet light to make it obvious as possible. But we had finished our movie and were headed to bed. I had told her late that night there were presents for her in the open and she missed them during the day, so I had her follow me to bed through the pass through. With all the lights off except the one over the two presents, she saw them. She was surprised!
The next morning she opened the two presents: the Mo Anam Cara sterling silver bracelet, which means in Gaelic, My Best Friend, and the antique book which was an empty box designed to fit on bookshelf. She loved them. Our celebration of her birthday continued over the next several days, including a trip to Canal Place to The Theatres to see Atlas Shrugged. First time for us since they enlarged and remodeled the place. Our prepaid $30 apiece ensured us a seat in the front middle, but the seating was backwards from the computer display and our usher had to change it for us. The seats were spacious like First Class on a 747 and the food could be ordered and delivered to the tray in front you for reasonable prices. If you bought a lot of food and several glasses of wine, you could easily spend a hundred dollars. We had already eaten well before coming and we shared a box of popcorn and a Coke.If you wish to eat dinner at the theatre, it's best to get there half hour early and have dinner while waiting for movie to start. No obnoxious commercials for tacky businesses filled the screen. Previews wait till last and are obnoxious enough, like Super 8, but no tacky teenagers on cell phones or texting during movie. Large new entrance, large clean bathrooms, etc, a really super movie house. We enjoyed the movie.
I first read the book Atlas Shrugged in 1967 thanks to Fred Gude, who also clued me in on J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Ring trilogy and the Hobbit. Imagine a movie in which large corporations are the good guys and the so-called government is the bad guy, you know, like it is in real life, the real life that Hollywood has refused to put up on its Silver Screen, up until now. One can expect that every critic and critical review will attempt to tarnish that image on the Silver Screen with their toxic, sulphurous fumes.No sane Liberal, an attribute I have noticed of very few, would be caught dead inside that movie because Ayn Rand, who lived through Liberalism at its worst in Russia, tells the truth about Lieberals, showing them to be liars, moochers, sucklings on the public teats, and blatant socialistic radicals who have no idea of what real capitalism is like! They damn without thought or study a chimera of their shallow philosophy. Critics be damned! This movie tells the truth! The American people may have been lulled to sleep by the Lieberal Lullabyes, but they are famous for awakening with a start when anyone speaks Common Sense and tells them the full truth and nothing but the truth.
Who is John Galt? Someone who learned the truth and got as far away from the lies of today as possible, taking his right-thinking friends with him and allowing the lieberal pigs who remained to wallow in their mud slough. Want to see what happened to the Russia that Ayn Rand left behind with their social ideals? Look at the events of 1989. Soviet Russia only exists in history books now, but this great land of America is still writing its own history, every day, with each new technology it invents, and each socialistic-bureaucratic program it annihilates.
Marcello and Laura began work on the French Doors. She was here pressure washing the outside. Del was gone to TCC at that time. Later Del tied up my computer for ten minutes to Xerox the Horticulture item for her club. Then she couldn't print to the HP Color Laser Jet Printer and that took up an hour.
The printers on the network don't work and now the Color Printer on the USB doesn't work. Her computer knows it's there, but Print something from Word and the Attention light comes on and nothing happens. Don't have instructions on how to clear the damn thing! Had to debug it. In the meantime I had to put the letter on a Memory Stick and print it on the HP4+ from my PC. Another delay! Worked for two hours on Del's Lap Top troubleshooting to find this out: Notepad will print a test file on Color Printer but WORD will not. It goes into a spooling file and stays there, even after a reboot. Once, after the printer was off for 15 minutes, two printed pages came out when I turned it back on. No freaking idea why or how. It's a job for the Geek Squad.
Del and I went to Rose Garden to get some okra, eggplant, and cucumber plants to replace the hailed-on ones. Also bought a nice size Pomegranate tree with a few blooms already on it. Planted all these, plus the strawberry plant Del had bought. A long morning's work in the veggie garden. Del bought more petunias to replace the pretty ones the hail had smashed to the ground. It was my third time panting the okra and cucumbers and two times on the bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Very frustrating Spring. The only bright spot for me were the artichoke plants which are booming in size and look like they will be handing their baby buds off to me to cook and eat before the year is out!
Picked up Guntis at 9:30 and we went to breakfast at my club. Introduced him to John Callender and they talked for about ten minutes, then I realized something and interrupted them to say, "You know when I introduced you two, I forgot an important detail about each of you. John here is the Fire Boat Captain and Guntis here is the Santa Claus who rode on the Fireboat in the river last Christmas! Sure enough, my guess was correct: John was the Fire Boat Captain and Guntis the Santa on the Fireboat that night and neither knew the other at the time! Now they will. They talked about when the Fireboat ran aground briefly and John said it happened because of the bright lights from shore making it hard for him to see the undulating border of the batture at the river's edge.
Another treat for Del's birthday was lunch in the French Quarter after the Mass of the Chrism. I was up early this morning to dress in my seersucker suit and take Del to the Mass of the Chrism with me.This is the annual event at the St. Louis Cathedral during which all the priests come from every Parish governed by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Oils that will be used for the Anointing of Parishioners in all those areas are blessed. The oil is olive oil and the new olive oil is mixed with the oil left over from the previous year. This ensures that there are molecules of olive oil in those Silver Urns from over 300 years ago and every year in-between. We arrived a few minutes before the Mass began. This year there were two representatives from the community to accompany the deacon carrying each of the three large Sterling Silver Urns: 1) The Oil of the Catchumens with two teens to be Baptized soon; 2 The Oil for Healing with two elderly; 3) The Oil of the Chrism with two to be Confirmed soon. Nice addition to the Mass of the Chrism, I thought. I have gone to nearly every Chrism Mass for almost thirty years, taking a day's vacation to do so when I was working outside the city. Our new Archbishop Aymond is native of New Orleans and I expect he will be a great Archbishop. His homily during the Mass showed his appreciation for all those involved with serving the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Del said he would make a great Pope, and perhaps he will be the first American Pope in the future. If Germany can have one, perhaps the most German city in America (at one time), New Orleans, can also have one. Our lunch was at Muriel's Restaurant, directly across the street from the Cathedral. I had heard good things about its food. We found that Muriel's food, the ambiance, the various servers, especially the drink server, Eden, were all great.Her full name was Eden Gass and she was delightful with a keen sense of humor. After lunch we had to walk to Café du Monde for the obligatory café au lait and beignets. I had earlier spotted my old pal Hock with his trumpet outside the coffee shop. I hadn't seen him since before Katrina! Before then, he was there for every Mass of the Chrism. His usual time is about 11 to 2 PM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, except for this week, he's so busy at his church, he comes on Tuesday for Holy Week, and that's why I got to see him every year. Apparently Katrina kept him away the past six years and now he was back. So we sat down at a table where we could see and hear Hock Barthelemew play his trumpet and sing. It was a glorious day as you can see from the wide photo which heads Out Our Way this month. It was taken by a lady from Massachusetts of me and Del with the Cathedral in the background.
I GET A SHOCK AND MAXIMA GETS A NEW ALTERNATOR
Remember last month when I had a new alternator and battery installed on our White 2000 Maxima? Well, coming back from a daily run to my Break Room (PJ's Coffeeshop), I got a shock when I noticed that the red Battery Icon had lit up. That could only mean the battery or alternator had suddenly gone bad. I called Abdul at the Nissan dealership and he said bring it in. I decided to put the trickle charger on its battery for a couple of hours to make sure that I could make it to the repair shop before the battery had completely discharged. I turned off the AC, the CD-player, rolled down the windows, and turned off the headlights while Del accompanied me to the shop. Good news was that it was a bad alternator which had just been installed and there was no charge.
When I reached the shop, Abdul wasn't at his station, so I went into the area where people check out and pay for their repairs. I saw him talking to a customer by the checkout lady and waited till he was done. As I walked up to him, he shook my hand, then turned to the checkout gal and said, "Tell him how much he owes." The gal smiled and said, "Nothing." I asked her immediately, "Can I put it on my credit card?" She smiled and came right back with this retort, "If you do, you'll have to pay interest!" This was a jolly way to pick up a car that has been made whole again!As I walked to where a tech was waiting with the door of my car open for me, I was still feeling jolly. I asked him in mock shock, "Where's my 2010 Maxima?" We had a good laugh off of that one, too.
MISCELLANEA: SHAKESPEARE, EASTER SUNDAY, DORIS MOVES
April is the month in which William Shakespeare died and the Shakespeare Society of New Orleans has been celebrating the Bard with an elegant Black-Tie Dinner in Antoine's for over a hundred years. I have attended about ten of these and they are always fun. It is my idea of the perfect acting job: the first reading and dress rehearsal are preceded in the Rex Room at Antoine's by a sumptuous meal and the following week the performance takes places in Black Tie in front of an audience at a private club in New Orleans. All the things I didn't like about acting in plays are eliminated. No long rehearsals, no striking the set after each rehearsal, no long build-up to the final performance, no multiple performances, just a combination read-through/dress rehearsal and a final performance!
I donned my Chef Bobby Jeaux hat and cooked for two days to get ready for the finale on Easter Sunday. On Friday, I cooked the Shrimp-Stuffed Merlitons, and on Saturday, I baked the Sunshine Cake in the morning and cooked the oyster dressing in the afternoon. Between our double-feature in the Timberlane Screening Room at night, I took the turkey from its package, all-defrosted, stuffed it with several large yellow onions, and placed it its roasting pan and back into the fridge. The next morning, the turkey went into the oven at 325 degF at 6 AM and came out at 9:30 at which time, I removed the onions and put in the oyster dressing for the second half of the roasting. I sliced the onions into pan and covered the turkey with a tent of tin foil. Doing it this way allows the turkey to brown during the first half of the roasting and then to keep from drying out during the second half of the roasting. At least two guests commented on how moist the turkey was when carved. One said, "This is the moistest turkey I've ever eaten." In addition to the turkey and oyster dressing, we had the shrimp-stuffed merliton, which drew the following rave, "This is the most shrimp I've ever seen stuffed in a merliton."
Gail brought a great green salad, Candice some canolis and fig cookies from Brocato's, Annie fixed some fresh cranberry sauce ala New England, and Del her Pumpkin Crisp, her Green Bean Casserole, and a large fruit salad which went well with Anna Dorn Doren's Sunshine Cake for dessert. Our guests were Jim & Gail Webb, Annie & Guntis, and Candice ( a transplant to Algiers point most recently from Colorado).
While all these other activities were going on, Del was busy making arrangements to move Doris into a nursing home. The minor crack which appeared on Doris' sacral bone almost incapacitated her for foru weeks, requiring round-the-clock sitters which Del had to arrange (or replace, like the Sunday of the French Quarter Fest). By the end of April, Doris should be settled into her new quarters at Our Lady of Wisdom at the end of DeGaulle adjacent to the campus of Holy Cross College. We had two phone lines ringing and in use for much of the month while Del negotiated for a TB test, State forms to be filed, doctors certification, lease forms to be filled out to terminate one lease and set up the new place before it got filled by someone else. Plus clothes and furniture to be either moved or donated (for those large pieces which could not fit in new quarters). If Del couldn't have done these things, we would have had to hire someone to do them, but when it comes to orchestrating complicated moves, Del is an expert! We needed a few minor miracles to fall into place, and each required at least a dozen phone calls, which made for a rather difficult time for me, stretching my patience and enlisting me aa a volunteer in prayer for Doris and Del both in this endeavor.Del's brother Dan is coming in during the last week to help with the move, but as of this morning, Del has even found a small moving company who can handle the moving on very short notice. WHEW!IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
This is the point in the month when I usually tell Del, "Don't let anything interesting happen!" because it may be too late to get into the Digest, but as you can imagine, she is not around for me to tell her at this moment.
REMINDER: WATCH ROSIE RUN FOR THE ROSES WITH HER PANTS ON FIRE!
In the Kentucky Derby during the Run for the Roses, Rosie will be the jockey on her contender, Pants on Fire. Let's hope there is not a horse named Liar, Liar in the race!
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING, SO UNTIL NEXT MONTH . . .
The past month brought us Sunny Skies and Warm Breezes, plus flowering everything: azaleas, redbud trees, peach trees, and beginning irises, then the big hailstorm knocked them down, and by Easter they were all resurrected! Everyone in New Orleans has enjoyed the very large French Quarter Festival, Garden Tours, Crawfish Festival, Easter Parade, first weekend of Jazz Fest, and working in their flower and vegetable gardens. May will see us in the full swing of the second weekend of Jazz Fest and the Blue Angels Air Show in good ole New Orleans, God Willing and the River's Rise stays within the levees and the Bonnet Carre Spillway! Whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it chilly or hot, cloudy or sunny, nearing Summer or Winter, remember our slogan: Enjoy the present moment, it's the only Eternity there is and it's given to you for Free!
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1. Leon Edel's Stuff of Sleep and Dreams.
The first surprise in Edel's book is that the title comes from Coleridge, not Shakespeare. The quotation is from his notebook, "stuff of sleep and dreams, with Reason at the wheel." This introductory quote summarizes the thrust of Edel's "experiments in literary psychology" as he calls his biographical/psychological approach to literary analysis. By investigating the products that artists form from their "sleep and dream" raw material, Edel uses his own rational understanding to steer his way to illuminations of the unconscious motives and tendencies of the artists.
He has gathered in this book a series of articles and lectures pertinent to this one topic, "literary psychology." He spreads T. S. Eliot "like a patient etherized on a table" for exploratory surgery of his inner "wasteland." Tolstoy, he joins on the battlefield with Pierre, lying on their backs staring up at the infinite expanse of the sky — a poignant caesura in the midst of a brutal battle. James Joyce, he gives us a view of the wrap around dreams that resulted in his wrap around novel, "Finnegan's Wake."He takes from Joyce the inspiration for his chapter titled, "The Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man," in which he deals with three late bloomers of the literary world.
Edel is at his best when he creates his triptych of the James family — Henry, William, and Alice. In each of the three children we see reflections of the unconscious drives of the elder Henry. The novelist part of the old man appears in full bloom in Henry, the mystic and psychologist in William, and the reclusive diarist in Alice. The novelist on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean, the psychologist on the west side, and the diarist shuttling back and forth.
Ayn Rand said about her choice of names to replace her Russian Alice Rosenbaum that authors usually keep the same initials when creating a character from a real life person. Using Edel's principles of "literary psychology" one would conclude that Ayn Rand was the first character created by Alice Rosenbaum, who created in Ayn Rand's life script as gripping a plot as in any of her novels. At all levels the artist is creating and re-creating with the stuff of sleep and dreams, and most often the only Reason at the wheel" comes later in the person of the literary psychologist.
Be sure to see the first movie of ATLAS SHRUGGED Ayn Rand's classic novel, a topical look at the collapse of the United States's so-called government.
Due out in theaters appropriately on April 15, 2011.
2. Rudolf Steiner's Supersensible Knowledge
The search for the Holy Grail: when I reached what I thought was about p. 159, the text seemed familiar. Since Steiner sometimes repeats stories in lectures, I read on. When I encountered the following set of three metaphors, I knew something was funny:
1) A man heard a bone sound from amputation of his brother's leg, and began feeling pain in his leg at the same place for a long time afterward.
2) A physician connected wires to horseshoe and many people experienced a violent shock from touching the wires.
3) A physician gave bread pills (now we call them placebos) to a patient to help her sleep. She tried to kill herself with an overdose — her physician was the only one not worried as patient showed all the signs of dying.
I looked back and found that pages 155-186 had been replaced by a repeat of pages 123-154. (A binding error as the pages numbers were repeated as well.) On page 190 Steiner refers to his comments on the Holy Grail in the previous lecture, the second half of which is missing due to the binding error. The exact part is missing that contained his comments on the Holy Grail. Obviously I will have to review that section later, after I've read it.
In spite of the binding error, this is an incredible series of transcribed lectures. Steiner points out carefully the impact of Goethe's saying, "The eyes are created by the light for the light." The impact is this: that our eyes were created as a result of persistent impacts of light rays falling on the surface of the skull, causing pain (an abundance of sensory inputs), destroying the skin, and leading to the creation of a sensory apparatus (eyes) to record the sensation. (Perhaps humans passed through a Cyclops stage, before binocular vision was created.) The key here is that the presence of data created the transducers. Much like a computer systems analyst would add a transducer to record temperature of a device if the temperature of that device were crucial to the operation of the system. Thus we might expect new sensory apparatuses and capabilities to form as soon as persistent sources of new data appear. Supersensible sight is just such an example, and is possessed by what Steiner calls "initiates" — what we today would call "psychics."
There is so much meat in this book, one should read all of it twice (not just pages 123-154) on the first reading. Here's a short summary of the rest of the book:
1) The times of birth of the physical, etheric, astral, and the "I" or ego bodies of an individual. The training/education appropriate for each phase of growth of the four bodies.
2) The key role pain plays in the creation of consciousness.
3) The evolution of consciousness. How "ecstatic" once meant to achieve the exalted state of consciousness we experience today as our ordinary state of being.
To not read this book is to shut ones eyes to valuable data that Rudolf Steiner, as our extended sensory apparatus, has collected for us. Can we afford to enter the Third Millennium in a state of blindness?
3. Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave — A Novel
Good for a one-day read through, The Crystal Cave is a guided tour through Merlin's early life. When his question of "Will I ever find Arthur?" is answered "No." he creates him. The cave of crystal is a large geode of crystals big enough to hold a man which Merlin's teacher shows him how to use for prophesying. He lies down inside it and visions overcome him which later prove useful.
The author does a good job of separating the super powers of Merlin (the prophecies, which are out of his control, as he explains many times to his various patrons) from the mundane human powers of courage, bluff, and intelligence. The reader is given a ride inside Merlin's head so that one can discern bluff from vision while the others in Merlin's world perceive both as magic. When the pool in the mountain is drained and the predicted dragons are not produced, Merlin holds resolutely to his prophecy and a strong wind rends the King's dragon banner, which then drops into the pond. The onlookers are astonished by Merlin's magic as we share with Merlin his secret delight that it came to pass.
Merlin comes across as a human being with an occasional numinous insight and sporadic unconscious channeling of prophecies. Born into a time of changing alliances, he becomes the catalyst of the union of Greater Britain and Lesser Britain (Brittany) under King Arthur's father/uncle.
How Merlin escapes being slaughtered so that his blood (born of no-man) might seal the foundations of the King's tower that is collapsing is worth the price of the book in itself.
On page 162 there is an excellent description of his eyes during one of his visions — the author tells of his dilated pupils and inspired the following lines for me:
"pupils wide and dark,
the anchors of his eyes a-hoist —
his ship's a-sail in inner seas"
You, dear reader, can hoist your own anchor and sail your inner seas with Merlin for the price of a paperback and a few hours of your time.
4. Rudolf Steiner's Ten Commandments
Nowhere is Steiner's dedication to furthering the understanding of the evolution of consciousness more apparent or more important than in this lecture. In his words "it is the word and soul value that the whole thing had in its own time that is important." (italics mine) To understand Steiner's interpretation of each commandment one must use one's active imagination and project oneself into the time of Moses. This requires one to shed the evolution of consciousness that has occurred since then.
Steiner's major thrust is the first commandment, which, in his view, admonished the Hebrews that their lives had dramatically changed by the adding of the ego body to their astral, ether, and physical bodies. The ego body was the "I AM" and was ineffable, i.e., not capable of being expressed by any of the lower three bodies.
The astral body could not express it in thoughts or words. The ether body, in feelings, and the physical body in material form. The lower three bodies were associated with the three lower kingdoms of animal, plant, and mineral, so the admonition of the first commandment made taboo any idols or representations of God in either animal, vegetable, or mineral form. Thus Moses became angry at the sight of the Golden Bull, which represented both the mineral and the animal kingdoms at once.
As for the third or astral kingdom, the realm of thoughts, the Hebrews were not allowed to speak the name of God (the I AM) because that used the functions of the astral body. The peoples in Egypt at that time had their three lower bodies, their astral, their ether, and their physical bodies in bondage. Thus the ego body or "I AM" had, of necessity, to lead its chosen people out of Egypt. Once in the desert, they began to experience the wonderful new forces of their ego body that had entered them. The advent of the ego body completely changed the hierarchy of the three lower bodies by completing the quaternary of bodies of the evolved human -- the highest evolution at that time. Once in the desert, Moses presented his people with the first commandment, which ends with "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (KJSV) In this way the new ego body, the new "I AM" (Jahweh or God), clearly stated the superiority of the ego body over the lower bodies, or the other gods and idols used to represent them. The astral representation of the new ego body, the word JAHWEH ("I AM" in Hebrew) was considered so sacred that only the rabbi in the temple on high holy days could say the name aloud.
Steiner dispatches the remainder of the commandments in like fashion. A brief summary of his treatment of each follows.
Second: Create no false impressions of the ego. True impressions will keep you strong and healthy.
Third: "What lives in you as 'I' created the world in six days and lived within Himself on the seventh day."
Fourth: The new ego force will be a legacy to your descendants.
Fifth, Sixth, Seventh: These proscribed activities weaken the ego power in you. Avoid them.
Eight: Speaking falsely weakens your ego power. Avoid that.
Nine, Ten: Strive for the love of another, not his possessions, for envy weakens your ego power.
The other key point made by Steiner was that the Jewish people were told to become a people of rabbis, of priests. Whereas formerly only rabbis and great healers had an individual "I AM" that spoke to them to pass on to the common people, thenceforth the common people were to possess an individual "I AM." Moses was one such great leader, and, as must happen during a paradigmatic shift, the bridge to a new paradigm must be built upon the foundation of the old paradigm. All churches would do well today to acknowledge this point of Steiner's to discard the view of the priest as an essential link to God, and rather to present the priest as a dispensable part of the journey to our individual living "I AM" from now on.
5.Tad Wise's Tesla — A Novel
After reading Margaret Cheney's Man Out of Time I thought the definitive biography of Tesla had finally been written — until I read Tad Wise's biographical fiction, which is a tad wiser and more insightful. In this novel we see Tesla in his Hungarian beginnings building a blade-less turbine. We track with him as he discovered his natural penchant for poker, attended college, and sailed to the United States, letter of introduction to Thomas Edison in hand. Writhing and wincing under Edison's heavy-handed tyranny, Tesla finally stalked out of Edison's life when Edison refused to keep an agreement for payment for a large job. Into the trenches we follow Tesla as he worked digging ditches and foundations. There he met a fellow countryman, Ziggy, who became his right-hand man after Tesla started the Tesla Power Company. We are dazzled by the driven genius of Tesla — his working 20 hours a day — recharging himself with his own enslaved genie, electricity, in order to keep going.
We accompany the wizard of lightning into his laboratory where blazing two-story high bolts of naked lightning slashed around and through their master. He once even overloaded the public electric power plant and burned up their generator.
To demonstrate his powerful electric ray, Tesla sent a telegram to the first North Pole explorer, Commander Perry, instructing him to look for a sign while he was on his expedition. Tesla fired off an enormous bolt of energy in the direction of the North Pole and waited for word from Perry. Nothing came. Weeks later Ziggy brought in a stack of newspapers that carried the story of a hundred thousand acres of forest that were wiped out in the northern Russian wilderness, the catastrophe in Tunguska. Official explanation: a meteorite landed, only no fragments were ever found. Tesla could tell the handiwork of his genie and knew how it happened.
Tesla usually dined at Delmonico's in his private dining room and exited the back door to avoid the public, and the proud fathers with maiden daughters looking for a husband. He returned to Europe in triumph, starring on the lecture stage in Paris. In London the Royal Society wanted a private lecture, but he demurred. The LRS invited him to their quarters and served him a 100-year-old bottle of Scotch that had belonged to Michael Faraday. They invited Tesla to sit in Faraday's chair, unused since the great man himself had last sat in it. These were just the kind of gestures that would melt the resolve of the famous inventor. He quickly added a lecture to the Royal Society to his schedule.
Through Wise's book, we watch Tesla handle ball lightning with his hands (something no one else has ever done before or since), we watch him produce the first X-ray of a hand, we witness the first wireless telegraphy, and we know we are in the presence of genius.
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.“Unstoppable” (2010) is Unbeatable for heart-stoppable thrills and human interest. The BP-type disaster that was stopped in its tracks by a courageous young man whose marriage was also in runaway mode at the time. AN UNSTOPPABLE HIT ! ! !
“Heartbreaker” (2010) is an amazing story of Alex and his two companions who contract “Mission Impossible” missions to break up couples who are in love. Usually the gal falls in love with Alex who then tells her he is unavailable. But one gal breaks his heart, can he live with that? A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“Burn After Reading” (2008) 2nd Viewing, see Digest097. In which Brad Pitt plays an Air Head gym trainer who becomes a literal air-head. In this Coen Bros. farce all Frances McDormand wants is a face job and butt tuck and her HMO turns her down. Three murders and gobs of laughs later, she gets the cosmetic surgery paid for. Watch on DVD or George Clooney's handmade machine will not make sense (dildo is gone from TV version).A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Impromptu” (1991) Frederic Chopin, still a virgin had trouble designing his intricate impromptu’s, unaware of the Be Spontaneous Paradox he was fighting. Then along came George Sand with her trousers to blow smoke in his eyes and kisses on his cheeks and turn his over-planned world upside down with love. The eponymous theme plays itself out superbly to the end. (Hugh Grant/Judy Davis star) A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Tic Code” (1997) was a name given by Gregory Hines to his and his young prodigy Miles’ spontaneous tic’s to befuddle and defuse Miles’ bully. Here was the Be Spontaneous Paradox used to great effect. A musical treat and lessons in life from a fine cast. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Upstairs, Downstairs” (2010) Masterpiece Theater redux! Eaton Place home is re-opened with original Rose showing up (Jean Marsh) and a new household.
“Burlesque” (2010) with Cher and Christina Aquilera in a tour-de-force for both of them. Much better than the over-rated musical Chicago, this one is full of verve, great songs and singing, spectacular choreography, and a touching love story. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Atlas Shrugged” (2011) Who was Atlas and what did he shrug? Who is John Galt? Two questions one should ponder in preparation for exposure to this prophetic vision of Ayn Rand which has become our circadian reality and you know how noisy those pesky circadians can be! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Life As We Know It” (2010) may seem to be a lonely cul-de-sac, but that can turn into a launching pad for love and growth. Holly and Eric make a mess of their relationship, but discover that fighting is an intimate form of love.
“Absolute Power” (1997) (2nd Viewing, see digest40) Clint Eastwood plays a retired jewel thief who is hiding in a jewelry storage room and observes up close the President having sex with his close friend’s wife and his SS team killing her to protect him. Can he survive the cover up? A DON’T MISS HIT !
“A Summer in Genoa” (2008) Colin Firth’s wife dies and he takes his two teenaged daughters to Genoa, hoping the sights and sounds of the Italian city will distract them from the loss of their mom. Almost too much, but somehow they all three barely survive their summer in Genoa.
“Game of Thrones” (2011) Watched first episode of this fantasy series in Kings maneuver for power in the northern kingdoms. Excellent script and production qualities.
“The Tourist” (2010) Jolie and Depp are a menace in Venice, she’s using him, he’s using her, and the McGuffin is a tourist, or is he? A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“My Life in Ruins” (2009) Gal from Greek Wedding is having trouble coping with Tourist Guide job in Athens and competing with the ice cream guy who’s trying to take over her job. But the comedian in the latest group tells her the truth and opens her heart and a new world arrives for her.
“Hereafter” (2010) Here’s a joke: a guy runs out of gas on a lonely road and tells his gal, “If you not hereafter what I’m hereafter, you’ll be hereafter I’m gone.” This movie is about the hereafter, what happens here after one dies. Three separate stories merge in a wonderful syzygy at the end. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“The King’s Speech” (2010) A marvelous relationship develops between Birdie and Logue, the Prince and the Speech Therapist hired to control his stuttering. When David abdicates to marry Wallace Simpson, the King must give public speeches and all the world waits breathlessly for his speech on the War with Germany. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“The Cake Eaters” (2007) three bachelors in a house: one widower (Bruce Dern), his prodigal son returned, and his younger son never grown up fully. Mix in a sexy grandmother, her slowly dying partially paralyzed grand-daughter, and the spurned fiancee and let the plot thicken. Soon no more virgins and two families grow up together.
“Moon” (2009) wherein Sam Rockwell meets another Sam on the Moon who looks suspiciously like himself. What will it be? Ping-pong, family small talk, wrestling match, or bring down the bigwigs who started the fiasco?
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.
“Due Date” (2010) EXPIRED! Sitcom caricature gone rancid with 3rd degree gratuitous violence to characters, passersby, and audience! A DVD STOMPER ! ! !
“Candy” (2006) with Heath Ledger is not sweet. It is a spiral into the hell of drug addiction whose climb out can only be done solo.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Finding Amanda” (2008) in Las Vegas was no problem for Matthew Broderick, getting her into rehab in Malibu was a do-it-yourself job. Ferris Bueller style of being on top of the world seems out of Broderick’s reach these days. Bottom of the pit is more like him in this movie.
“The Magician” (1958) Ingmar Bergman’s sleight of hand baffles us in Black & White.
“The Door in the Floor” (2004) arrogant writer of eponymous kid’s book loses his almost twin sons and he and his wife never recover. Bridges & Basinger in a slow movie which made one young actor’s day, er, several times.
“Treme” (2011) season’s opener. Full of horrible things said about the city and beautiful music that can be found nowhere else on Earth but the French Quarter. A lukewarm Your Call.
“Never Let Me Go” (2010) a SF film in which clones are grown to be harvested of their organs until they are completed, a euphemism for euthanasia, namely dead. Two of these clones fall in love and stay until the bitter end of a movie better left unmade.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Broussard's Uncle T-Coon lived alone on a bayou. His only companions for 31 years after his wife died were Napoleon his guard alligator and Tanoose his hunting dog. One day Tanoose died. Heartbroken, T-Coon paddled his pirogue up the Bayou Blue to Our Lady of Prompt Succor to ask Fr. Caillou for some help in his sorrow.
"Father, Ah hope you can help me. Ah'm beaucoup sad. Mah best friend, mah huntin' dog, Tanoose, done up and died yesterday, and Ah'm hopin' you could done a funeral Mass for him."
Father Caillou said, "Ah'm sorry about you losing your good friend and companion, T-Coon, but we cannot have services for him in the Church. Perhaps dat Protestant Church down the road could do a service for poor ole Tanoose."
T-Coon cheered up and said, "Thanks, Father! I'll go over there right now. What you t'ink, would $5,000 be enough for them to do de service?"
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for May, 2011 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Rice
Background on Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Rice:
Thanks to my daughter Yvette, I learned that Brussels Sprouts sauteed in butter are quite delicious. This recipe came into being from having a daily bounty of a dozen or so small sprouts available from plants in our veggie garden on a daily basis. I loved them boiled, but wanted new recipes which used the delicious sprouts. These ingredients are for one serving, as shown in the photo.
6 to 10 Brussels Sprouts
Tbsp of Butter
A cup of wild rice and long grain rice.
Salt, Pepper, Tony's, Season-All
Wash and chop the Brussels Sprouts as shown.
Use left-over wild rice & long grain rice if available. Warm in microwave. (Or prepare using recipe here.) Place butter in small saucepan and as soon as butter is melted, add the chopped sprouts and sautee until they are slightly charred. This charring adds a sweetness to the dish that simply boiling does not. Add wild rice mixture to pot, stir, and season to taste.
This makes either a light meal or a tasty side dish to a larger meal.
Add chopped avocada pieces while sauteeing the Brussels Sprouts. If you can get your kids to try this dish, they will love it.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from June 24, 2002:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =I wrote this to Jon@insteadlaugh who ran a website devoted to undoing depression by use of laughter. He challenged me to answer this question, "What is doyletics?" with a Sonnet. Here is the result.
What is doyletics?Sonnet in iambic pentameter?
I doubt that it would make you laugh a lot,
But I am very big in the matter,
And since you asked, I'll give it all I've got. A researcher I am, you see, about
Things both animal and vegetable,
And as they say, and mineral, all out,
And human beings so emotional. So if you're feeling so depressed and blue,
You want to end it all without a trace,
Cheer up, there's hope for even me and you —
Look up and even find a touch of grace. Emotions are a doylic memory
And can be erased most cognitively.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for May:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.
1.) ARJ2: One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
It seems like the author was also missing Thursday Next as I was. Having read the first five novels, I had about given up hope of another Thursday Next adventure when this one popped out of BookWorld into my hands. As I opened it to read I discovered that Thursday Next was missing and presumed dead! What a bummer! Who in the world was I going to be reading about if not Thursday Next? Some pretender, some wannabe Thursday? I didn't want last Thursday or next Thursday, I wanted the real Thursday. How can one of our Thursdays be missing? you ask. That's a good question, which to answer involves details of the BookWorld, namely Fiction Island, and its inhabitants.
Let's start at the beginning. Not at the beginning of this book but the very first Thursday Next novel, The Eyre Affair, which is topical, with a new movie of the Jane Eyre novel just arriving in theaters. In The Eyre Affair, Thursday Next makes her appearance in fiction as a Literary Detective for Jurisfiction. Through her adventures in that novel, a written Thursday Next appeared on Fiction Island, and with the succeeding four books (before this one), there were already five novels in which she appeared. Inside BookWorld the places of Thursday's adventures are built out of text on Fiction Island. When an alarm goes off that a reader somewhere is reading a Thursday Next novel the cast of characters come together to create the scene and read the parts to the waiting reader. This kept all the written Thursday Next's rather busy at first, but now the books hover on the brink of the abyss of RemainderWorld, the characters are not busy, but inside left with ample time for crocheting, badminton, and croquet, especially croquet, which is like World Cup Soccer in BookWorld. And our written Thursday Next finds her with time for, what else, detectiving!
Our written Thursday Next arranges for a character named Carmine to take her place in the mostly idle Next novels while she goes hunting for the real Thursday Next — the one whose father's face could stop a clock. The McGuffin for this novel is our original Thursday Next, and everyone is searching for her.
Whitby Jett, a wannabe boy-friend, is not interested in the ersatz Next's intentions except as they affect him. She's looking for an understudy to replace her so she could do detective work, and he's only interested in getting her to have drinks with him at the Bar Humbug or a romantic dinner at the quaint but suggestive Inn Uendo. Then a random event occurred, which as you might imagine, is an unheard of thing in BookWorld where everything that can happen is written out in advance.
[page 4] And that was when the doorbell rang. This was unusual, as random things rarely occur in the mostly predetermined BookWorld. I opened the door to find three Dostoyevskivites staring at me from within a dense cloud of moral relativism.
"May we come in?" said the first, who had the look of someone weighed heavily down with the burden of conscience. "We were on our way home from a redemption-through-suffering training course. Something big's going down at Text Grand Central, and everyone's been grounded until further notice."
If none of the above passage sounds remotely funny to you, perhaps you should also avoid reading The Adventures of Captain Underpants or the first issue of Mad Comics c1953. Unfortunately I read both and I still recall as a boy of 13 reading the 10 cent Mad comic book which was passed around by my peers as if it were a joint in a police station instead of a comic book on a sidewalk. "Here, take a look at this," he said. What I looked at didn't seem funny, but when I read it, my world dramatically opened to the vast vista of satire! Here was a comic book that wasn't portraying the world as it is, like Batman or Superman or Blackhawks, but a world filled with maddeningly silly inconsistencies. The Mad comic book tugged on Batman's mask, pulled Superman's red drawers down, and made paper airplanes of the Blackhawks' fighter planes! It might paint a Hilterian mustache on FDR, show Eleanor smoking a stogey, or Babe Ruth sitting on a wall like Humpty Dumpty — no icon of politics, industry, or sports was immune to being poked fun at, and the more striking and bitter the satire, the more I laughed. I knew immediately that after that day, the world would never be the same for me — I had been indelibly changed. I had taken a quantum leap into manhood even before my pubes were fully scent.
If the above passage sounds funny to you, read on. I sweart upon the ancient Mad comic book, that you will find many a spot in this book with as many as three or four funny things in one sentence! But back to the Dostoyevskivites — what a noun! Don't you just love that sesquipedalian polysyllabic meringue?
[page 5] "Welcome to my home, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov."
"Oh!" said Raskolnikov, impressed that I knew who he was. "How did you know it was me? Could it have been the subtle way in which I project the dubious moral notion that murder might somehow be rationalized, or was it the way in which I move from denying my guilt to eventually coming to terms with an absolute sense of justice and submitting myself to the rule of law?"
"Neither," I said. "It's because you're holding an ax covered in blood and human hair."
"Yes, it is a bit of a giveaway," he admitted, staring at the ax,
Since Mad comic book, I have found few authors who could evoke the wonderful nonsense of satire so profoundly for me as Jasper Fforde does in his Thursday Next books. Add to the satire an ultra-imaginative conjuring of all of BookWorld into existence, aspects of which few of us outside of BookWorld had ever given any thought to, up until now.
[page 7] Whitby got up and looked out the window. There was nothing to see, quite naturally, as the area between books had no precise definition or meaning. My front door opened to, well, not very much at all. Stray too far from the boundaries of a book and you'd be lost forever in the interbook Nothing. It was confusing, but then so were Tristram Shandy, The Magus and Russian novels, and people had been enjoying them for decades.
Aspects like there being nothing in the space not written about in books, e. g., toilets. Since no characters even go to a toilet in a Jane Austen novel, there are no toilets in Northanger Abbey. Who knew? Like when I read Mad as a kid of 13: I was learning about things I didn't know existed because no adults had ever written satire in a comic book before, and comic books were responsible for forming my early moral judgments!
But suddenly, in this very book, One of our Thursdays is Missing, the outside spaces between books were written about and the Classics had to be shutdown to build up those spaces. This put the written Thursday into Lala Land and when she woke up a miracle had happened, there was something in place of the nothing! I reckon this as similar to the way a PC must feel after it has had a new upgrade installed and it re-awakens after the subsequent bootstrapping operation to discover that the upgrade has added something into spaces where there was nothing, only minutes before!
[page 12] "Thursday?"
I opened my eyes and blinked. I was lying on the sofa staring up at Whitby, who had a concerned expression on his face.
"Are you okay?" I sat up and rubbed my head. "How long was l out?"
I looked around. "And the Russians?"
"There is no outside."
He smiled. "There is now. Come and have a look"
I stood up and noticed for the first time that my living room seemed that little bit more realistic. The colors were subtler, and the walls had an increased level of texture. More interestingly, the room seemed to be brighter, and there was light coming in through the windows. It was real light, too, the sort that casts shadows and not the pretend stuff we were used to. I grasped the handle, opened the front door and stepped outside.
The empty interbook Nothing that had separated the novels and genres had been replaced by fields, hills, rivers, trees and forests, and all around me the countryside opened out into a series of expansive vistas with the welcome novelty of distance. We were now in the southeast corner of an island perhaps a hundred miles by fifty and bounded on all sides by the Text Sea, which had been elevated to "Grade IV Picturesque" status by the addition of an azure hue and a soft, billowing motion that made the text shimmer in the breeze.
The landscape of Fiction Island had been formed into the inside of a sphere, and adjacent areas of fictional genres could be viewed from anywhere. Thursday could see the Dismal Woods way above, Fantasy to east, Crime to the left, and Adventure behind. There were various small islands like Lies, Excuses and Fibs, and a rather large and burgeoning island call Vanity right offshore. It was now possible to catch a TransGenre Taxi from one Genre to another. Our novice literary detective, the written Thursday Next, is soon going on adventures all over BookWorld, hitchhiking on books flying overhead, excavating the text scattered on the ground from a crashed book for ISBN identifiers, etc.
I worked with a Mister Malaprop for ten years in an office and compiled the funny ways he butchered the English language into The Book of Calvin. I noticed that after reading these stories some readers suffered a syndrome which caused them to no longer remember the proper way to say something.For example, this sentence, "This is the kind of apple that Cinderella had when she was crucified!" was actually spoken by Calvin one day. Readers might try to recall when Cinderella ate an apple or when she was crucified, in vain. Another expression of Calvin's was, "I'm as busy as two Little Beavers and a Bee!" and people who read the comic strip Red Ryder and Little Beaver might be confused and wonder how many Little Beavers there were. Or some might wonder what "a bad case of diuretics", "my splash poop things", or the "Nifty Ditty Girt Band" referred to, so I wrote a Glossary to help them return to normal. Now thanks Fforde's creative perspicacity I know that this syndrome has a name, Postsyntax Stress Disorder (Page 21). This horrible disease severely shortened the working life of BookWorld characters in the play, The Rivals, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
[page 21, 22] The average working life of a Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals was barely fifty readings. The unrelenting comedic misuse of words eventually caused them to suffer postsyntax stress disorder, and once their speech became irreversibly abstruse, they were simply replaced. Most "retired" Mrs. Malaprops were released into the BookWorld, where they turned ferrule. . .
By turning ferrule instead of feral, they learned under intensive therapy to at least come up with a replacement word which sounded correct while being as far apart in meaning as ferrule (a metal ring) and feral (running wild). Rightly understood, Calvin and Mrs. Malaprop ran wild within the panoramic confines of English.
There are several red herrings in this novel, not the least of which are the eponymous red herrings, one male, one female, and one book. The male is English, the female is Irish, and the book is French, hint, hint. The female I found only during the course of writing this review and I've already given as many hints to their names as I can without spoiling your own fun. If you missed, by the misfortunate of being born too late, the first Mad comic books, reading Fforde can provide an able modern-day substitute.
Through the imaginative genius of Fforde, no not in the way he came up with a last name beginning with two "ff", but in the Snooze Button reserved for BookWorld emergencies! If a book character was utterly unavailable to play their parts for a live reader, one could always push the Snooze Button and the following fun thing happened:
[page 25] The Snooze Button was reserved only for dire emergencies. Once it was utilized, a reverse throughput capacitor on the imaginotransference engines would cause the reader instantaneous yawning, drowsiness and then sleep. Quick, simple — and the readers suspected nothing.
We suspected nothing, Blabbermouth Fforde, up until now. Well, I guess your invention of the BookWorld Snooze Alarm gives me a ready explanation for those times when I have been reading books, usually not by Fforde, when I have suddenly, in the middle of a riveting scene, even though it was only 2:37 pm, nodded off to sleep. The power transmitted through books have been greatly underestimated over the years and centuries.
With a new book in BookWorld being constructed next to our Next's books, she decided that having neighbors might be useful — for example, "you might need to borrow a cupful of irony." The construction site was full of signs which led to one of Fforde's sentences with three funny things in them, "Notices were posted everywhere that contained useful directions such as THIS WAY TO THE DENOUEMENT or NO BOOTS TO BE WORN IN THE BACKSTORY and even DO NOT FEED THE AMBIGUITY. (Page 30)
Seated on a train next to red-haired gentleman, Thursday is awakened from a reverie when he turns and asks her "What do you think?" Their conversation sheds light on what's it like to live in BookWorld. Sure, we all think sometime we'd like to live in BookWorld, as I did at age 12 when I read Robert Lawson's Fabulous Flight of Peter and Gus. I wanted to be Peter who got tiny and rode to Europe on the back of Gus the seagull to have adventures. I never considered there to be a downside to going on so marvelous an adventure.
[page 40] "What do I think about what?"
"This," he said, waving a hairy hand in the direction of the new BookWorld.
"Not enough pianos," I said after a moment's reflection, "and we could do with some more ducks — and fewer baobabs."
"I'd prefer it to be more like the RealWorld," said the red-haired gentleman with a sigh. "Our existence in here is very much life at second hand. I'd love to know what a mistral felt like, how the swing and drift of fabric might look and what precisely it is about a sunset or the Humming Chorus that makes them so astonishing."
This was a sentiment I could agree with. "For me it would be to hear the rattle of rain on a tin roof or see the vapor rise from a warm lake in the chill morning air."
Would we want to give philosophical discussions just because we happened to be a character in a vampire novel? Thursday's next comments took me aback as I eavesdropped on her conversation with her Red Fellow Traveler.
[page 40] We fell silent for a moment as the tram rumbled on. I didn't tell him what I yearned for above all, the most underappreciated luxury of the human race: free will. My life was by definition preordained. I had to do what I was written to do, say what I was written to say, without variance, all day every day, whenever someone read me. Despite conversations like this, where I could think philosophically rather than narratively, I could never shrug off the peculiar feeling that someone was controlling my movements and eavesdropping on my every thought.
At least within a novel, even the letter on the desk mentioned in first chapter turns out to be meaningful in the last chapter. But in real life the letter on my desk will just sit there until someday we're having company and Del asks me to clean up the clutter on my desk when said letter will be simply discarded. Much of our RealWorld experiences seem to have no meaning. Or are we living in a big book in an even larger Library?
[page 41, 42] "I'm sure it's not all hot buttered crumpets out there in the breathing world of asphalt and heartbeats," I said by way of balance.
"Oh, I agree," replied the red-haired gentleman, who had, I noticed, nut-brown hands with fingers that were folded tight along the knuckle. "For all its boundless color, depth, boldness, passion and humor, the RealWorld doesn't appear to have any clearly discernible function."
"Not that better minds than ours haven't tried to find one."
The jury had been out on this matter for some time. Some felt that the RealWorld was there only to give life to us, while others insisted that it did have a function, to which no one was yet party. There was a small group who suggested that the RealWorld was not real at all and was just another book in an even bigger library. Not to be outdone, the nihilists over in Philosophy insisted that reality was as utterly meaningless as it appeared.
Suddenly we have the long-awaited eponymous-dropping! When Thursday asks him, "Why are you telling me this?" The red-haired guy answers, "I don't have much time. I think they saw us talking. Heed this and heed it well: One of our Thursdays is missing!" Now that the book title has been duly established, the plot can move one inexorably to the denouement.
Suddenly a Man in Plaid appears. Well, actually he was insulted to be said to be wearing plaid, he said, "It's not plaid. It's tartan." With that, we are expected to identify the Men in Plaid appropriately as some BookWorld wide enforcement agency. Nowhere does Fforde mention if their clothes were made from a yard of plaid or where the plaid material was designed.
Suddenly we run directly into the three-funny-things in one sentence pattern again:
[page 45] I took a left turn at the Lone Gunman pub, and walked past a hangar full of advanced flying machines that all displayed a swastika, then entered a shantytown that was home to theories that lived right on the edge of Conspiracy due to a sense of overtired outrageousness.
Oh, and let me introduce you to Thursday's domestic robot whose primary training is in mixing and serving cocktails and whose motive force is a wind-up spring. Sprockett's emotions are displayed on his stolid metal face by a fanned array of settings and a needle pointer over his eyebrow indicates which emotion he should be displaying. His eyebrow pointer may indicate an emotion but that doesn't mean that he does "truly understand what emotion or feel actually means." Thursday asks him if he felt danger from the imminent stoning she rescued him from.
[page 52] "But surely you felt danger when you were about to be stoned and relief when rescued?"
"Yes, but only in the context that to be destroyed would deny me the opportunity to serve cocktails — and that would contravene the second law of domestic robots."
Even when giving descriptions, Fforde can be funny. Take the short paragraphs from Bradshaw's BookWorld Companion which grace the beginning of each chapter. Here's an example from "6. The Bed-Sitting Room" describing what happens when thieves steal and trade sections of out-of-print books.
[page 56] Entire books were stripped of all nouns, and in the very worst cases large sections of dramatic irony were hacked from the books and boiled down to extract the raw metaphor, rendering once-fine novels mere husks suitable only for scrapping.
To my mind with its delicate sense of paradox, the concept of "raw metaphor" seems to be a rather refined metaphor.
Have you ever read a book before it was made into a movie? You know what happens: you develop your own image of how the main characters look and then suddenly it's made into a movie and Rhett Butler turns into Clark Gable forever in "Gone with the Wind." The most recent character in fiction this has happened to is Harry Potter.
[page 69] Harry Potter was seriously pissed off that he'd have to spend the rest of his life looking like Daniel Radcliffe.
What is so droll about this comment is that usually we think of the actors like Radcliffe who can't get jobs after doing some Potter because he has become so identified with Harry Potter. Fforde forces us to consider the feelings of the fictional characters in his all-too-real BookWorld.
When Thursday introduces Sprockett to her old pal Bowden, she tells him the story which spirals down into farce.
[page 81, 82] "I didn't know you needed a butler," said Bowden.
"Everyone needs a butler. He was going to be stoned, so I took him with me."
"What do cog-based life-forms get stoned with?" asked Bowden in an impertinent manner. "Vegetable oil?"
"Actually, sire," intoned Sprockett, "it's sewing machine lubricant for a mild tipple. Many fee that the exuberant effects of 3-in-One are worth pursuing, although I have never partaken myself. For those that hit have rock bottom, where life has become nothing more than a semi-conscious slide from one partial winding to the next, it's WD-40."
Nothing is more troublesome than orphaned prefixless positives. Thursday chose to release some of these that the Lady of Shalott had given her — it seems the Lady has soft spot for these words, What are these words, you ask? Fforde gives them to you in three sentences. These words are like speed bumps or deep potholes, so be ready for them:
[page 84] I let the defatigable scamps out of their box. They were kempt and sheveled but their behavior was peccable if not mildly gruntled. They started acting petuously and ran around in circles in a very toward manner.
The two terrorists of this novel are Speedy Muffler and Racy Novel. They are planned to explode a dirty bomb and create havoc in BookWorld. How might they do this?
[page 86] When Muffler claimed to possess a dirty bomb capable of hurling scenes of a gratuitously sexual nature far into Women's Fiction, the BookWorld finally took notice and the peace talks were set. Thursday Next would be the chief negotiator, and she had good form When Scandinavian Detectives threatened to cede from Crime, it was she who brought them back.
The problem is the real Thursday is missing and might be dead, so our hero, the written Thursday Next, is the only one who can save BookWorld from the dastardly plan of Muffler and Novel. And the Men in Plaid are dogging her every move, even trying to run her off the road and kill her. Perhaps Men in Plaid will remind you a bit of Men in Black, the famous alien hunters in the movie of that title.Our Thursday's adventures have the same tone of laughter-producing seriousness as the Men in Black series of movies. Their staid demeanor led Thursday to opine, "They probably didn't do well at singles bars but would doubtless be able to play poker at tournament level." (Page 89)
Alfred Hitchcock explained once about how the item which everyone is searching for in a movie, especially his movies, is known in the business as the McGuffin. Not surprising that Thursday reveals that Book Data Recorders were made by James McGuffin Co in the Suspense genre, "so they have a tendency to go missing until dramatically being found right at the end of an investigation." (Page 91)
When a dodo (Pickwick) and a cog-based windup life-form (Sprockett) have a discussion, one might want to say, "Horror! Horror! Horror!" as they discovered the intense use of epizeuxis in the whispering emanating from the damaged Triumph motorcycle, leading them to think that the book which contained the Triumph had been destroyed by a rhetorical worm whose specialty was the rhetorical device of word repetition for fun and profit called epizeuxis. I can just now hear Gomer Pyle saying, "Golly, golly, golly!"
The works that built the cycle worked;
The cycle's labor labored on
And workers sought and workers bought
The managers out and managed 'owt
Until the cycle's cycle cycled round.
But markets moved and markets shifted,
To Eastern trade that Eastern made.
Loans were pleaded, loans were needed,
The workers' workers worked their last.
But ruin didn't do as ruin does,
For Triumph's collapse led to Triumph's triumph.
The motto during the McCarthy Era was "Better Dead and Red" and the motto shared at the head of Chapter 11 is "Better Dead than Unread". (Page 100)
Fforde's biting satire takes on Coffeeshops with their expensive coffee! That people go to a coffeeshop for something other than coffee was demonstrated to me as I walked into PJ's Coffeeshop one day. As I walked past four ladies who looked as if they had been hard at work for hours, sitting around a table filled with notebooks and strewn papers, I heard one of them say, "Let's take a break!" Since coffeeshops are normally used for people to take a break, I was intrigued to know if they were going to go to a different coffeeshop for their break, or merely go buy another coffee. Thus, said, it would be cheaper for such hard workers if they could not order a coffee as Thursday does at Stubbs.
This next passage takes place after she failed to keep a date Whitby. She called him to apologize and suggested a place whose name suggested ample room for their lunch meeting. Whitby is the opposite of a McGuffin, everyone knows who he is and he keeps turning up at inconvenient times during the story instead of once at the end.
[page 101] I told him I would definitely be free for lunch, suggested the expensive and needlessly spacious Elbow Rooms, then pretended that Pickwick had broken something, so I could end the conversation.
I drew a deep breath, cursed myself for being so stupid, took a pager with me and walked down the road to Stubbs, the outrageously expensive coffee shop on the corner.
"Could I not have a coffee?" I said, meaning I wanted an empty cup. Stubbs had become so expensive that no one could afford the coffee, but since the ambience in the café was so good and the establishment so fashionable, it was always full.
"What would you not like?" asked Paul, who wore a black gown and a wig due to a syntactical head cold that made him unable to differentiate himself between a barista and a barrister.
"Better not give me a latte," I replied, "and better not make it a large one."
The land area on Fiction Island reserved for Comedy was threatened by the imminent war between Women's Fiction and Racy Novel, as Acheron warned Thursday, "I don't think [Comedy] was joking when they said they would defend their land to the last giggle." (Page 102) To a Comedian laughing is no joke; it's an art form. A character named Lockheed warns Thursday, "You can expect a few more incidents heading your way with this kind of flagrant level of inspired disinterest."
Here is a complete passage from the Bradshaw book that made me laugh out loud. U-238 is the most common isotope of Uranium. All I can think to say after reading the passage below is: "Are U-238 Sirius?"
[page 125] Distilling metaphor out of raw euphemism was wasteful and expensive, and the euphemism-producing genres on the island were always squeezing the market. Besides, the by-product of metaphor using the Cracked Euphemism Process liberates irony-238 and dangerous quantities of alliteration, which are associated with downright dangerous disposal difficulties.
Bradshaw's BookWorld Companion (9th edition)
Things get rather dicey for Thursday as she and Sprockett drive through a Mime Field, but they don't attack unless set off. How do you set off a Mime, you ask? Similar to the way you might set off a poet at a poetry reading. "By sighing during a performance, looking away, rolling your eyes — that sort of thing. Mimes hate being ignored or having their performance interrupted. In that respect they're almost as touchy as poets." (Page 138)
Our hero, the written Thursday, is given away, even though she has the real Thursday's official badge, because she doesn't know Jack Schitt! Had to happen as the wonderful ambiguity guy from the first book appears and Thursday doesn't recognize him. She knew him only by reputation whereas the real Thursday would have recognized him. (Page 224)
Thursday meets Tuesday, her cousin, who inherited the genius of Uncle Mycroft the inventor. Tuesday's latest project reminded me of a poster that I mounted prominently on the wall at the foot of the stairs that our youngest teenager son came down each day. It set suitably bold print: HIRE A TEENAGER WHILE HE STILL KNOWS EVERYTHING ! ! ! She explains it to Thursday:
[page 234] She spoke to me of her latest project: a plausible method to crack one of the most intractable problems in modern physics, that of attempting to instill a sense of urgency in teenagers.
After returning from a trip to RealWorld, our written Thursday Next is beginning to feel as if she might be real. She asks Bradshaw to her, and his test is immediate and easy to do. He simply places his finger on Thursday's nose and asks her what he did. She has no clue, but any real person would immediately know, even a blind person.
[page 420] "But could I tell if I were real? Could anyone tell?"
"There are lots of signs," said Bradshaw, "but here's the easiest: What am I doing now?"
"I don't know."
"How about now?"
"As far as I can tell, you're not doing anything at all."
Bradshaw took his finger off my nose and smiled. "I suppressed my action line. The real Thursday could have seen what I was doing, but you had to rely on the description. You're fictional, my dear, through and through."
Finally the written Thursday gets a clue as to the presence of a live Thursday when she uncovers the name Tuesday Laste on the passenger list of Mediocre Gatsby's TransGenre Taxicab. But she encounters some deep epizeuxis in this conversation with Sprockett about Commander Herring, known by all as Red.
[page 282] "What about Red Herring, ma'am?"
"I'm not sure. Is Red Herring a red herring? Or is it the fact that we're meant to think Red Herring is a red herring that is actually the red herring?"
"Or perhaps the fact you're meant to think Red Herring isn't a red herring is what makes Red Herring a red herring after all."
"We're talking about serious metaherrings here. Oh, crap, I'm lost again. Who's talking now?"
We're nearing the end of the book and this review. If you have enjoyed neither, then all I can say is, "Why don't you go do a Plot 9 on yourself?" Yes, you will have to read the book to find out what it means, but I assure you if that's the case, you will understand completely how appropriate the expression is. (See page 286 reference, which will only tantalize you.) Perhaps two ladies of negotiable affection will arrive in time to rescue you. I can only leave you with a some pseudo-erudition which the written Thursday Next picked up in HumDram: "You're kind," I replied, "but last Thursday and next Thursday are still a week apart." (Page 302) If you have any questions of me, you can leave me a message on the shortwave colophone which I monitor continuously when I'm not busy thinking. (Page 322)
I must close this immediately as I feel a Emergency Snooze Protocol 7B being initiated. May you be forever safe from the antikern and from Owlcreeking.
Read the Full Review with its footnotes at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Learns that Psychics Cannot Allways Forsee the Future.
2.Comments from Readers:
- EMAIL from George Parigian in Massachusetts:
I am not sure if you have seen this, but just wanted to send it to you.
It made me think of the "music of the spheres."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reply: Thanks, George!
And if I might return the favor, this video from today's Astronomy Photo Of the Day:
In this choir, the stars are the stars,
EMAIL from CH Hy McEnery in New Orleans:
One of the greatest songs ever written, AMEN !!!!!!!!
Love and God bless America and You,
CH Hy McEnery
Thanks, Hy! Here's the link Hy sent for God Bless America A Prayer Written by Irving Berlin and a Song Introduced and Sung for the First Time by Kate Smith, Watch for former Senator and former Governer of California near the end of the video. George liked it better the second time he heard it, some 17 years later. America has loved it ever since.
EMAIL from Kathryn Yost in Indiana:
Your grand-daughter Sierra ran a 5K today on the Indy 500 track. Dean Karnazes is running across the United States to inspire youth to exercise. Thought you'd enjoy the picture. :)
EMAIL from Guntis Melbardis in New Orleans:
This is Anne in her second childhood!!!! [RJM: See photo at left of Anne on her bicycle.]
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Taxing Times"
Why Oysters for Poems on Freedom?
Let Sam Explain:The oyster never leaves his shell,Poem by Samuel Hoffenstein, c1993 from The Complete Poetry of Samuel Hoffenstein
And does, therein, exceeding well;
He does not have to sweat and brood
To know the joys of oysterhood;
He deems the treasured pearl a fault,
And takes his world with ample salt.
Here is our monthly poem from Bobby's Freedom on the Half Shell:
Tax the rich and tax the poor
That's what taxing laws are for;
Tax the goose owner until he begs
We'll have roast goose instead of golden eggs.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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