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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Rosslyn Peter Hotard (1918 - 2011) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Father of Karen Richards and long time Member of the Family ~~~~~
~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #118 Published August 1, 2011 ~~~== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Waning Summer Month of August:
Let no one shame you with characteristics natural to your age.
— Edgar Wind , in his book Art and Anarchy
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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #118, August 2011Archived Digests
Table of Contents
1. August's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for August
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Crab, Crawfish, Avocado Salad
6. Poem from July 9, 2006:"Love at First Embrace"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for August:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Awakening — An 1899 Novel by Kate Chopin
- ARJ2: The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
- ARJ2: Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine, GA#312, Lectures 1&2 by Rudolf Steiner
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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1. August 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.
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This month Violet and Joey learn about Taking Things Seriously.
#1 "Taking Things Seriously" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/072111jv.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR August:
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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 August, 2011:
Mickey DeNicola in New York
Owen Pearn in Australia
Congratulations, Mickey and Owen !
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
DIGGING THE DANCING QUEEN
On our way to our nephew Sean Matherne's wedding in Brenham, Texas to begin the month of July. We planned to spend the night at our daughter Yvette's house in Bellaire (inside Houston) and were glad to hear on the way that we were invited to their daughter Evelyn's musical recital that very night.
We left at 10 am and drove to Lafayette before stopping for lunch at Landry's restaurant. Got our picture taken by Emanuel the waiter who brought us the Frog Legs which were so chewy that I spat them out. In small chunks I could eat them. Rest of food was good. I enjoyed the crawfish bisque and the catfish on the po-boy was okay.
We had stopped for a road break at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles. We weren't hungry, but Del bought 6 crawfish pistolettes for Carla and Patrick.(Pistolettes are small 5" long french breads which are deep-fried before being stuffed). We always consider it lucky to be passing Steamboat Bill's on I-10 around lunch time. Patrick told us when he arrived that he had suggested earlier calling and asking us to stop for exactly that but scuttled the idea, not wanting to burden me and Del. Well, apparently Del got it on the ESP Hot Line and did it anyway. These kinds of things must happen to other people who don't recognize the spiritual connection that makes it possible and simply label it coincidence. I label it "It All Happens at the Same Time!"
When we got to Carla's house she was out picking up Garret so we talked to Patrick who had just talked to our son Rob for half hour in San Francisco. Kathryn was on her way from Indiana with their three kids to join Rob. Pat had earlier talked to Rob's kids in the car. He asked the youngest, Emerson, "What state are you in?" and Emerson (nine ), without missing a beat, said, "BOREDOM!"
When Carla called she asked if we wanted anything from Sonic. Del and I had just decided we would stop to get a DQ milkshake on the way to Houston as soon as we left Carla's house and now Carla had gotten it on the Hot-Line and was bringing strawberry milkshakes to us. I had mine with one of the pistolettes which I found too good to pass up.Patrick told me about "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbø . . . a "Finnish" novel that he said he enjoyed. I found it was a Norwegian novel set in Oslo, and ordered a copy of it as soon as we returned home — I read it in two days. My review is in this Digest. A great read. Especially for fans of Stieg Larrson's novels, like The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Jo Nesbø has a distinct advantage over Larsson by being still alive and writing.
We left Carla and Patrick's about 5 pm and headed to Houston after having gotten the exact address of St. Luke's United Methodist Church where Evelyn was featured in a musical show that evening. It was the Jerry Eckles Music Theater Camp for Summer 2011 with 28 kids from as young as Evelyn to the 11th grade. The Safety Dance was a hoot! All the boys donned shades and hard hats for this droll dance. I had never heard of the song before but our son Rob was familiar with it. The boys applause squeaked past the girls' Dancing Queen number. Pure Imagination and To Sir with Love were my two favorite pieces as other members and groups performed them.
After the show we all went to FreeBird café which handmakes wraps with whatever you select out of their bins. You can have anything Mexican you want. The inside of the restaurant is unique with Barbara Bush in a flying car overhead with Willie Nelson flying behind her among other eclectic decorations. The next day we stayed to have lunch with Yvette and she chose a Greek restaurant named Yia Yia Mary's for us. Our grandkids Aidan and Evelyn joined us for lunch. We left from lunch and headed for the Brazos River where the Rehearsal Dinner was to be held in the evening.
BLUEBELLS ON THE BRAZOS WITH THE MATHERNES
Yvette told us that the Brenham area has been turning into a weekend suburb for Texans who can afford a ten-acre estate to stretch their legs on the weekend. With that head's up, I was not surprised to fimd Hwy 290 all torn up with new bridges and construction in the Brenham area. But it was our bad luck to have the highway crossing directly in front of our Best Western all torn up and blocked, necessitating a two-mile work-around everytime we went into our motel from the wrong direction, like after the Rehearsal Dinner, going to the Wedding church and coming back from the Wedding reception. It was like being on a See-Saw with everything happening on the outskirts of Brenham in opposite directions. Without GPS, we would have been lost, going and coming from each of the three events. Plus many of the roads were not on the GPS maps and we were constantly hearing the plaintive voice of the slave GPS voice telling us "Your destination goes through unmarked roads and unknown street names." I began to imagine some guy lost who stopped for ask a gal for directions outside her home on Unknown Street Name, only to return to court her on Unknown Street Name, fall in love, and end up being married to her and living on Unknown Street Name happily ever after. Could make a Country & Western Song, he and she and their dog drivingly happily along Unknown Street Name in a pickup truck. Well, I decided this was a song idea that couldn't wait for a real composer, so I penned this lyric.
Unknown Street Name
One day as I drove down a country lane,
A voice came from out of the blue said,
"Your destination is not on my map.
No verbal guidance will be provided."
I shuddered and looked at my dashboard to see
that I was going down "Unknown Street Name ".
I have often driven down this street
before I got my in-dash GPS,
But on this day I saw you standing
by your door and found my happiness.
I stopped and told you I was lost
and you asked me to come in,
And since that fateful day
driving down Unknown Street Name
I have never been lost again.Never found out the name of the lane,
Never got lost again.
I married the girl that I met that day
on Unknown Street name.
I often think of the day that
I drove down that lane
with no verbal help from my GPS
For it was the day on Unknown Street Name
That I found my happiness.
Needs a little work on the courting, marrying and settling down on Unknown Street Name, but that can come later.Where was I? Where's my GPS? Oh, look! I'm back in familiar territory, on a street with an actual name known by the GPS heading for the Brazos Belle Restaurant and the Rehearsal Dinner. All of my siblings were there: Paul, Steve, Kevin (father of the groom), and Janet. Probably more Mathernes on the Brazos River than ever before in the history of Texas! The Belle is a lovely old lady, likely a hundred years old, all wooden construction with worn and creaky floor boards, and some chairs so low I thought for a second my butt was heading for the floor when I went to sit down. I managed to find a better chair to enjoy the celebration of the Mathernes and the Graukes who were to joined together by the marriage of Sean and Kristina the next day. The family members, the bridesmaids and groomsmen were all there. LJ Grauke gave a fine blessing before the meal which was followed by champagne-lubricated toasts which went on late into the evening. As the Godfather of the Father of the Groom, I had a few words to say in toast to the prospective Bride and Groom.
The next morning after breakfast, Del and I decided to do some sight-seeing till time to dress for the evening wedding. Our first choice was the Antique Rose Emporium outside of Brenham. Soon we were cruising down "Unknown Street Name" and into the parking lot. We didn't know what to expect, but we got out of the car and began walking past all kinds of interesting plants and objets d'art which lined the pathways through the Emporium. There were archways made of flower pots to be walked through, a fruiting fig tree with delicious figs to be picked and eaten (which I did), there was a beautiful old wooden church, antique roses of various kinds, all of which were available to be purchased. We couldn't buy anything because we had a wedding to go to and a long drive the next day during which any plants would be unlikely to survive.
After strolling through the Emporium, stopping in the Gift Shop to talk to the lady there, we drove back towards Brenham. She had told us that the man who started the Creamery in Brenham loved the local wildflowers, the bluebells, and named the ice cream after them. I noticed patches of deep blue flowers on either side of the narrow two lane road, and finally found a safe place park in front of a volunteer fire company. I walked to the side of the building and was able to take a couple of closeups of the bluebells.
We drove from there past the Creamery and back into Brenham where we stopped at the Dairy Queen for my traveling strawberry milkshake. When I worked at Dairy Queen in 1956 and '57 I used to eat three of these in one day. Now I allow myself to have one when we go out of town on a trip. We walked next door into a Texas wonderland of metal sculptures, windmills, longhorns to mount on a wall, and colorful objects that would scream TEXAS to any visitor to your home. We almost bought a set of colorful numbers which would whisper 312 for our address plaque but couldn't find small enough size to fit. The large store was jammed to the rafters with such objects, leaving just barely enough room for customers to walk sideways through the aisles.
We found our way, the hard way with the 2 miles detour to our Motel and dressed for the wedding after putting the address of Chapell Hill Baptist Church where the ceremony would be performed. With our GPS's help to maneuver down "Unknown Street Name" we found the small wooden structure that looks like it may be dedicated for weddings these days. It was disconcerting at first because there was no middle aisle in the church, just a large center seating section with small site sections. Generally if you're with the Bride's family, you sit on the side of the church corresponding to where the Bride will be during the ceremony, the left. But with this arrangement, it didn't seem to matter. Plus a bigger problem for those wanting to take photos — which aisle will the Bride walk down. The Grooms men were standing on the right at the altar, but I chose to sit in the middle and then move when the Bride committed herself, which was to the left aisle.I was perfectly situated in the center of the pews to shoot the back of the paid Photographer's head! But by dodging and Photoshop erasures I could make the persistent pixie, who popped up everywhere, disappear from most photos.
After the ceremony was over, all the Mathernes were asked to remain for family photos. With Sean's mom, Marlene, remarried and likewise his dad, Kevin, there were a couple of extra photo grouping than in the more traditional wedding with just one set of parents each of the newly married couple. The wedding came off with only one hitch. That would be Sean and Kristina got hitched! We left there and drove past our Motel, luckily without having to stop, to the other side of Brenham. By this time I was getting more familiar with Brenham than I cared to be. Even noticed the sign that the frontage roads would become one-way streets in a couple of days. That will be very helpful to strangers like us who had to navigate over two-way frontage roads.
The wedding reception was past the Blinn College campus on the other side of town in a Church fellowship building, also all wooden, but all white, and modern in a large room with all open space and church-like windows. Being a Protestant church hall there was no line at the bar for alcoholic beverages. And, unfortunately the coffee and iced tea and other liquid refreshments disappeared while the hall was still full of people. The head table arrangement with the Bride & Groom was beautiful. A nice touch compared to most American weddings where the Bride & Groom have no place to sit and are kept busy with photograph posing, dancing, and walking around talking to people for the entire reception. The meal was a buffet and everyone had a table to sit at. I was busy taking photos when we arrived and soon all my siblings had carved up a table for their family group. We chose a table with a small family group of three and I was delighted to find they were Bob Hunter's family, a guy I worked very closely with at Waterford-3 for several years. Had only seen him a couple of times as he and Marlene moved south of Houston shortly after they got married almost ten years earlier. One lady was Bob's step-mother, Hetty Hunter, who was a chemistry graduate from the Chemistry&Physics College at LSU in 1954, the same College I graduated from in 1962. She knew many of the professors I who were still there when I arrived, even dated a physics professor that might have taught me later. The man at the table was Richard, Leah's husband, and Leah was Hetty's daughter or Bob's half-sister. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing the table with them.
Of the Matherne clan, Steve and wife Jan, Janet and husband Tommy were there sans any offspring, but Paul and his wife Joyce had two of theirs, Greg and wife Heidi and their three lovely girls, Andie, Paige, and Grace — plus Monique and husband Jason with their two, perky Taylor and her younger brother Brayden.
Sean had his Groomsmen join him on the stage facing the head table for some music, including a song that Sean had written. His father, Kevin, could be spied beaming with pride at his son, his only child, playing music as an adult.
One unusual thing was the wedding and groom cakes were abandoned by the newly weds. Typically there is a ceremony around the cake which can vary from a simple-cake cutting to an elaborate gathering around of the Bridesmaids to hold onto a ribbon attached to the large, five-tiered, ornately decorated white cake topped by a model of a bride and groom. The maids pull the ribbons on cue from the photographer and the girl who pulls out a ring at the end of her ribbon will be the next one to be married! Another tradition is for the Bride & Groom dolls on top the cake to be removed together with the top tier of the cake for the couple to take home, place in the freezer, and the to eat a piece of the cake on their first anniversary.
None of that happened at this reception. The cake was a simple round, three tiered cake with icing as plain as the inside of the Chapell Hill Baptist Church — simple, unbroken white icing. The groom's cake was clearly selected by Sean as it was a New Orleans King Cake iced in the traditional Purple, Green, and Gold Mardi Gras colors. But these two cakes sat there completely ignored by the newlyweds. The music was being played by Sean's band, folks danced, DJ music replaced the band, the newlyweds danced, the Bride with LJ Grauke, her father, the Groom with Marlene Hunter his mother. And all the while the cakes sat unattended and uneaten while delicious cookies and confections arrayed around the cakes began to disappear. Finally I walked over to Wren the mother of the Bride and asked about the cake situation. She explained the couple had chosen to do nothing special with the cakes. Wren then decided to cut the wedding cake and soon the delicious red strawberry cake filling with the white icing was being enjoyed by everyone and quickly disappeared. Few people at the reception knew what a King Cake was, so I was one of the few people who actually ate a piece of the Groom's King Cake.
First the coffee pot ran out of coffee, and those who waited for them to refill it, waited in vain. I walked outside to put something in our car and the quickest way back in the hall was through the food service area. The catering staff was packing up to leave with a full hall of people still remaining. No more food except what was in the Hall and worse, not a single drop of water, ice tea, or coffee for those with a long drive home after the late evening reception. The signal was crystal clear, Clear Out, the party's over. We headed backed to our Best Western room. We waved at it as we passed it on the left side of the highway, close enough to throw a rock and hit it, but two miles away from us driving-wise. We had to negotiate a heavy construction site at the base of where tall bridge piers for an overpass towered over us, past yellow barrels which filled the roadway which was unmarked and unlit, until finally we were headed back to the motel we had passed five minutes earlier and finally into the parking lot.
We had honored Sean and Kristina with our presence and presents, took over 200 photographs, met a bunch of great new people, Kristina's family, LJ and Wren Krauke, John and Donna Grauke, Ollie and Gabriel, her brothers, Bob Hunter's family, and spent time with the various Mathernes who were there. Danced with Andie and her mother Heidi during the reception. Andie is getting to be a young woman and needed a few tips on how to dance with the fellows who will be asking her to dance at dances in the coming years, so I gave her a few tips. It was long trip, but well worth every minute of it. We headed back to New Orleans for a 4th of July Celebration we were too-over celebrated to celebrate. We relaxed in our Screening Room watching the fireworks on TV while listening to the patriotic music.
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS
Soon as the July 4 Holiday weekend was over, trouble boiled over: my Maxima got a flat tire, Del's mom Doris entered the hospital, and her brother Dan's father-in-law Russ Hotard died in North Carolina.Del had to spend four long days at the hospital with her mom because the nurses there were not able to take care of her special needs as an ALZ sufferer.She had to have the staph infection examined over two days to find out what strain it was and it was a very virulent strain requiring her to be isolated. As she got better, she was transferred back to Our Lady of Wisdom but had to remain in isolation there. Del arranged all that and in a few days the isolation was lifted as the wound had healed nicely.
On the first day Del was finished with her mom, we had to go to Russ's funeral at Schoen's Funeral Home on Canal Street. There we met friends and relatives of Russ, Dan, Karen. Gene Novak was there, Burt and Kelley Wallace (Karen's neice) were there with their charming perpetual motion son Peter. Enjoyed talking to Dan's son Daniel — he's taking on a John Candy persona with his larger bulk and his affable smile. His daughter Caitlin was in 6" spikes looked tall and slim. When she saw our granddaughter Katie's photo at the beach in her bikini, she commented on how Katie has grown up.Caitlin is beginning to talk and act like her mother Karen and work like her apparently, because she has a new job in Planning at Maersk, a shipping company, and Karen is has been a shipping company executive for many years. After the funeral service we opened our home to Dan and Karen's family and friends for a reception since most of them were from out of town. Our son Jim Hatchett came in from Texas for the funeral and to see his Gram (Doris). He stayed with us for a couple of days. Was great seeing all four of Dan and Karen's kids together, Cheri, Randy, Caitlin, and Daniel. Del had managed to arrange all the catering over the phone while caring for her mom and the reception went very well.
A couple from Maryland were here and when she began to tell us about receiving Mardi Gras beads in the mail from New Orleans one year and how excited she was, I went to our treasure stash of beads we've caught at parades and brought her and her husband a handful of beads. Placed one around his neck, one about hers and gave her the remainder. They loved it. Thanked us for having them over after the funeral.
The DiMartino's seafood gumbo was untouched at first, so I opened the pot, stirred it, fixed myself a bowl so others could know what to do, and soon everyone had a bowl for themselves. Everyone had a good time. After most had left, I took Caitlin on a garden tour suggesting she switch into Del's garden shoes. Earlier I had given her a tour of the house and she really loved it. In garden she kept saying, "Del has done a great job!" as we rounded each new aspect of the garden. I had to agree. For an instant garden, start with a bare plot of ground and just add Del. The next night Dan and Karen invited us to have dinner with them along with her sister's family and Jim at Gautreau's Restaurant on Soniat Street. This was a roller coaster of a week — amazing ride but glad it's over — and we basically took a very relaxing weekend after everyone had left for home.
The next week our drought was designated officially over when we received over 7 inches of rain in Gretna in four hours. The bayou overflowed for a short time till the drainage pumps caught up with the torrential downpour. Soon all the dried areas of the lawn began to turn green, our lawn pushed up 6" of grass in one week, our trees drank deeply, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. The long-awaited July weather pattern of scattered afternoon thunderstorms had arrived. Every day we had some rain, one day while we were in Baton Rouge, our neighbors reported a 4" downpour. The water table of our ground had come up to its normal levels. All the sprinkler hoses have been stored away for another year and now we are hoping for a couple of dry days for the new pergola we are adding to get painted and the paving stones to be laid. This has been a month of downpours in many ways. All part of being human.
A THREE REVIEW MONTH
For the third straight month the stars aligned to allow me to have finished reading three books and to have written reviews for them for this month's Digest. The first review is about Grand Isle, Louisiana's beach resort island on the Gulf of Mexico, and New Orleans. It was written by Kate Chopin in 1899 and is about a woman freeing herself from the manacles of expectations of a husband and Victorian society. Her writing foreshadows the works of Ibsen and Woolf in many ways. I need a couple of days on the beach after the previous hectic week and Kate's "Awakening" provided that. Patrick Thomas had recommended "The Snowman" saying it was by a Finnish writer. I purchased it and found myself wandering the streets of Oslo in Norway instead as each recurring appearance of a snowman marked a new murder in a country with no history of serial murders. It was a gripping novel in the genre of The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, and I can definitely pass on Pat's recommendation to my readers.The third review is a review of the only first two of the twenty lectures in the book, "Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine". Subsequent lectures will be reviewed in future Digests as separate lectures. The material about how spiritual science can help heal people by looking at the whole human being instead of just looking at the results of a bevy of materialistic X-Rays, MRI's, EKGs, chemical blood tests, etc. Start with the whole human and find the imbalances and help correct them before the dis-ease bothering them creates havoc in one of more organs which will show up in the test.
PERGOLAS AND PAVING STONES
For much of the past twelve months we've been contemplating a way to provide afternoon and early evening shade from the sun without losing our beautiful view of the 400 yards of manicured green which stretches out from our kitchen windows. We finally found someone who could the job as we wanted it done and contracted for a pergola across the kitchen area with paving stones covering the present unsightly concrete area. The stones will arch out under the large cypress tree and provide an area for an outdoor table and BBQ pit.The entrance from the side driveway will be covered with paving stones and a short wall will hide the two AC units. The second phase of the project will be a covered roof with fans underneath it over the current red brick patio which extends across our living room area. This area can currently only be used during early morning and twilight and the water which accumulates on the stones will be minimal after the roof is built. Both the pergola and the roofed porch will have matching columns to support them which will complement the appearance of our West Portico. By this time next month we hope to have all the work completed on this new addition and photos for you to see.
CELEBRATIONS AND COMPUTERS
July is the month of my birthday and our Anniversary. We celebrated our wedding anniversary last month at our Cat & Mouse Dinner at Antoine's, but a special treat for us on the actual night of the anniversary in July was to attend the first showing of the last Harry Potter movie at The Theatres at Canal Place and enjoy our dinner before the movie started right in our seats. These theaters have taken most of the obnoxious parts of movie watching away: no obnoxious teens talking and texting during the movie, wide-comfortable seats like First Class Section of airplanes with a tray to eat on, no blaring commercials for health spas and automobile dealers, etc.On my birthday night my carnival club had scheduled its summer dinner, so I spent it in the company of friends in the upper room at a local restaurant. But the morning of my birthday, Del sang a memorable Happy Birthday to me, even if her voice was muffled at times. Then she made me on of my favorites, Eggs-on-Toast for breakfast and gave me a photo of my two Orvis shirts due to come in. Later another present popped up on her desk, a book, hardback, which I thought Sue might have given her, until I opened the title page to see it was dedicated to "Bobby, who is Andrew Jackson to Del" by the author, Patricia Brady who had lectured on Jackson to at our club earlier this year. Should be a good summer read. Later that day she gave me another wrapped gift and said it was a day of presents and shear happiness referencing yet another gift (kitchen shears) on the way from Cutco.
My new computer is running, and this month saw it going on-line with loading up Norton Internet Security and its first new software packages. I had ordered the Word Perfect from Corel and when I went to load it, received an irrecoverable error due to some glitch during production of the disk, no doubt. It was on the weekend so I couldn't talk to someone and had to enter the RMA request form information and submit it to allow me to return the defective package. When I hit SUBMIT, I was taken to a page which said, "Web Page Not Found". That infuriated me because it appeared that all my effort to find and fill out the form was wasted. But as I've learned, 95% of the things you worry about never happen, and on Monday when real people showed up at Corel I received an email with the Return Merchandise Authorization number and instructions. Later I was happy to receive a request for feedback from Corel and I expressed my chagrin pointedly at how their system failed them. I bought the replacement software, not from them, but from Best Buy where I can simply replace the software at the return counter if I have a problem, which I suspect I won't. Glitches like a dropped parity bit on a disk are like lightning bolts, disastrous when they hit, but they don't hit twice due to their rarity. A one in thousand chance becomes one in a million of hitting twice.
Then I went to load up the MS Office package I had bought for $100 from Best Buy which the clerk told me I didn't need to buy the $400 package because I could download the extra three applications I needed free from this website she gave me. I had just started to tear the shrink wrap when I decided to double-check the website. It required me to be a student. Well, I am a lifetime student, but I don't wish to be forced to convince Microsoft Corporation of that, so I returned the cheap package to get the full one I required and suggested that Best Buy instruct their clerks to avoid misleading customers.
The two Adobe packages I installed with no problems. Also installed a new ACT Contact manger. We've been without our Act for over a year when Norton had to de-install it to get our new Internet Security to work.
Discovered that my new System 7 has USB3 ports for which devices are only now coming available. I bought a USB3 Terabyte drive for off-site backup which will run 5 to 10 times faster on the USB3 than on the USB2 ports. USB2 devices will run on the faster USB3 ports but at their USB2 speeds. If you are getting a new computer, specify USB3 ports as you will wish to have them very soon.
While bringing up my System 7, I noticed that Windows 7 had simplified the process of networks through something called a homegroup. Tried it on my new Toshiba LT with Windows 7 and it worked fine. Del had been complaining about how slow her and clumsy her HP Vista LT was, so I bought her a new Toshiba LT which matched mine and within seconds of starting it up, she had a homegroup set up with my other two Win 7 computers. Good work, Microsoft! No more Geek Squad calisthenics just to get files shared between computers!
LAST MINUTE STUFF
We're at the time of the month when I tell Del facetiously, "Don't let any fun things happen because it's too late for me to add them to the Digest's personal notes!" So this is my grab bag for those last week activities.
In a first, one of our grandkids met us for lunch, driving himself there. We met Sam Hatchett at Deanie's Restaurant out by the Lakefront. Del and I noted how the quality of food there had declined a bit. My crawfish étouffée was not red gravy, but it was not cooked right and rather bland. Onion rings were good, but too many to eat, even the small order. Del's oyster po-boy looked okay, but she removed the oysters to eat them and left the soggy bread behind. But the conversation with Sam made the lunch worthwhile. He's getting ready to go to college in Lafayette on the other side of the state which I had done when I was his age. I told him about my going to college with no push from my parents, but luckily no resistance either. How I earned money re-shelving returned books in the LSU library. Later I worked tutoring in the Athletic Dormitory for football players. Gave him some ideas for summer jobs. He's working the concession stand at Pelican Park on the Northshore during the summer, whenever they need him. His thirteen hours worked on the 4th of July was a long day for him. Del said I should see the new tattoo on his side and Sam allowed me to photograph it. An interesting hatchet with the head resembling a fleur-de-lis. One of the things I've observed is that people with tattoos don't mind showing them or talking about them. I saw a short film recently where this woman showed each of her tattoos and talked about them similar to the way I showed our artworks on walls to Caitlin and talked about them. Those paintings on the walls are easier to remove and replace as our tastes change than tattoos are.
We took a trip up to the Baton Rouge area and our son John's home where I was expected to see our two grandsons and hear about their vacation trip to Chicago during the week. How Kyle caught a baseball thrown to him in the stands by a major leaguer, the museums they visited, etc. But unfortunately the boys were with their mom and instead Del was able to see the photos John had taken of their activities. I hope to be able to include one or two of those photos in this Digest.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING . . .
The month of July brought us lots of cooling clouds and blessed rain for our lawn and gardens. A wedding, a hospital trip, and a funeral among other things. Dan and Karen's family and friends came to our home for the reception after her dad, Rosslyn Hotard's funeral. A new pergola is already up, and an enlarged patio covered with paving stones will grace our view from our breakfast area. Del got a new LT which will allow us to share a home network on Windows 7 and my new System 7 is progressing with the addition of software. Our season tickets for the Saints games came in, and we await the final resolution of the agreement between Owners and Players to lubricate the wheels of the NFL for the next 10 years. Del and I began playing Bridge with some friends on a regular basis. Del started back at the Fitness Center. Our veggie garden is producing mostly okra and bell peppers for now. Till September when the Saints Come Marching In and we watch their regular season games in the renovated Superdome — Till LSU head gear thumps against the best in College Football starting with Oregon! God Willing and the hurricanes wend south of us along the lower Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico! Whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it steamy or frigid, cloudy or sunny, nearing Autumn or Spring, remember our slogan: Enjoy the present moment, it's the only Eternity you have and it's given to you for Free!IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
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New Stuff about Website: Five Featured Reviews:
1. Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being .
Tomas was a surgeon and a womanizer. With his tools he opened human bodies and looked at what lay hidden inside. When he met a woman he imagined what she looked like without her clothes. Between his imagined version and the real version of her was a gap, in which gap lay what was unimaginable about her. "What is unique about the 'I' hides itself exactly in" that gap. Tomas lived to explore that gap. When his occupation as surgeon was proscribed by the Communists, he became a window washer. Again he got to look inside peoples' lives in the course of his occupation.
Into his life Tereza came. Like a baby set adrift in the bulrushes, she insinuated herself into his life. "He had no desire to uncover anything in Tereza. She had come to him uncovered." Within an hour of meeting, they had made love, she had gotten sick, and she had moved into his apartment. No other woman had ever been allowed to spend the night before. She had won Tomas's heart, but to her chagrin, she had not won his body. Tomas continued his affairs at the rate of about five a week, and Tereza remained faithful to him, enduring the smells of his latest conquest on his hair.
Sabrina, an artist with a bowler hat, was Tomas's mistress and he had her pose nude in the hat for him. Tereza befriended Sabrina and took pictures of her in the nude as if to understand Tomas. She also took photographs of the Prague Spring uprising and was almost executed because of it.
Tomas wrote a letter to the editor in which he pointed out the Oedipal Lament of the Communist sympathizers when confronted with the mass killings of the revolution, "We didn't know!" He asked, "Is a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?" Oedipus, he pointed out, was completely unconscious of his guilt, but when he discovered it, he put out his eyes and wandered blindly away from Thebes. His letter got him barred from the hospital after he refused to retract his words and led to the Russians sending troops to prevent a rebellion.
In a world of people being reborn on a new planet knowing all that had happened on earth and in previous lifetimes, would life be less bloody on the fifth planet after earth? Surely an optimist would say yes and a pessimist, no, Kundera tells us.
Again and again the "unbearable lightness of being" phrase intrudes itself into the novel as a description of the characters' lives. At the end of the book, Sabrina leaves instructions for her ashes to be scattered over the countryside in one last "lightness of being."
At several places in the novel, Kundera breaks the action to insert a Small Dictionary of Words in which he furthers the action of the novel and illuminates the characters, quite an accomplishment. A cemetery to Sabrina was a place of peace and quiet, especially in wartime, when few other places are guaranteed to be so. To her lover Franz it was but a place of stones and bones. These short excursions into definitions remind us that Kundera's book is a book of insight and philosophy as much as it is a novel. Read the book for the philosophy as much of the philosophy does not make it into the movie.
2. G. B. Madison's Understanding
Ever come across a book which made you realize that reading it would affect everything that you would ever read thereafter? This book by G. B. Madison was just such a book for me. I put down "Tangled Wing" and "Dora" to jump merrily into the depths of GBM's critique of the rationalist approach to science. He slices science down to the size of magic and religion by stripping it of its metaphysical accouterments and revealing that the bare flesh of each are identical. Science, magic, and religion are all three systems of belief that are internally consistent and cannot be disproved from within the system(although scientists constantly strive to disprove magic and religion from outside the systems).
GBM points out that the absolutist/relativist argument is fraught with the pitfalls of any consistent, rational system, e.g., to say everything is relative is a clear rational absolutist statement. That is one of the many ways GBM takes us off the uncomfortable horns of a dilemma. He sets us down abruptly in the space between worlds ( the "crack in the cosmic egg" as Joseph Chilton Pearce calls it) to discover the one Reality (the WIGO or What Is Going On of A.O. Korzybski) and the many realities (little "r") that we qua finite humans being experience in our beliefs about the one Reality.
GBM quotes Tom Kuhn repetitively, but the charm of the book is the others he quotes:
Wallace Stevens, "Reality is a cliche from which we escape by metaphor"
Blaize Pascal, "to make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher."
Arthur Koestler, (paraphrased), "comedy is the collision of two different contexts, science is their fusion and art is their juxtaposition."
And some of the best quotes come from G. B. Madison himself:
"The shaman and scientist do not speak the language, but they are nonetheless engaged in the same activity: interpreting experience by means of theoretical constructs."
"The Theorist's Fallacy is the confusion of a method or doctrine with the very reality it is about."
So what bridges the map (doctrine) and the territory (Reality)? Metaphor — it carries (pherein) us beyond (meta).
3. Mara Sidoli's The Unfolding Self
This was a difficult book to get started on — from October till February I had only read the first chapter or so, which shows how difficult it is for an adult to write about or read about those very early experiences in childhood. But, from then now, the subject became a grabber in Sidoli's very capable hands. In Chapter 3 she quotes Jung, "Fairytales seem to be the myths of childhood," and in Chapter 4 she goes on to detail interpretations of a myth from the childhood of mankind, Cain and Abel. As old as the oldest history and as new as the "farmer and the cowhand should be friends" in the musical Oklahoma. The struggle of Right-Brain, holistic, free-ranging cowboys pitted against Left Brain, analytical, fence-building farmers.
In Chapter 5 The Shame of Being 'A Baby', she leads the reader to see that jealousy, guilt, shame, and love all share a trinitarian nature: 1) the self, 2) the other, and 3) the self-other. These three aspects are in a very tight triangular relationship. In the solitary processes of guilt and shame, the other is the introjected parent.
In Chapters 6 and 7 she shows the value of de-integration — that is, the complete release of valued things and abilities in order to move on to a higher level of development. Like the child releasing the teat for the bottle, the thumb for the pacifier, and the pacifier forever, one must constantly separate oneself from the things of this level in order to progress to the next level. "Pathological depression," she writes, "can be considered as a failure of the ego to deintegrate." In Chapter 7 she quotes from Fordham's Self and Autism, ". . . idiopathic autism is a disordered state of integration, owing its persistence to the failure of the self to deintegrate." Autistic children do not have a defect of learning, but of un-learning.
In Chapter 8 she shows how severely disturbed children live in archetypal fantasy worlds and require thinking by a caring adult to find their way out. The thinking becomes their catalyst of deintegration. Again the adult functions not so much to teach them to behave as to give them permission to misbehave — that is, to deintegrate so that they may move on. Jung says maturation or individuation does not progress in a monotonically increasing fashion, but rather in "a series of long ellipses" — where each step up and forward is followed by a regressive deintegrative phase that lays the foundation for the next step of growth. Unless deintegration proceeds in its proper time, "false solutions are arrived at which later cannot be used to meet the task of life demanded of an adult." (Fordham 1973) The child sucks on a pacifier in the third grade and then lives with his mother until she dies when he is an adult. Thus life sucks without timely deintegration. Viva deintegration!
4. Yatri's Unknown Man
This book provides an intensive look at the mystery that is man, without destroying the mystery.(1) If anything, Yatri helps to deepen the mystery by leading up to questions about the birth of a new species at the advent of the new age of Aquarius.
First, however, he gives the reader a good background on what is known about man and the environment in which we live. He uses establishment science supplanted by such new age elocutionists as Ramantha, Ram Dass, Rajneesh, and Da Free John to create a mandala of creation, which he pictures evolving before our very eyes.
The chakras are integrated into the morphogenetic fields of Sheldrake and create regions of light in the body of U. G. Krishnamurti as he experiences enlightenment. Yatri examines the lives of Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Da Free John, and other enlightened masters. He uses their capabilities as a guidepost to the future and envisions a species that will be born with their capabilities and keep them consciously into adulthood.Such a species will create the new birth of consciousness on the planet that will usher in the great age of Aquarius.
One quibble I have with Yatri's thesis is his predisposition toward chemical materialism. In spite of his respect for the non-physical aspects of reality, such as morphogenetic fields, chakras, and auras, he portrays an evolution of the chemical-physical body as necessary for the next phase of evolution. In my mind the chemical-physical changes will accompany the change in consciousness, but they will not precede it. Yatri describes new babies being born of the new species with an extra gland, for example. The gland has the job of removing toxins in the environment. Yatri goes on to presuppose that no current human body can do that now, and to my mind, that is a commonly held misconception.
Thus Unknown Man is useful as a model of the results of the change we may expect, but not useful as a model of how to get there.
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~ footnote ~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
1. From page 90: "For man is a rainbow of miraculous para-normal powers and talents, yet an observer must be in the right relative position to be able to see its full spectrum of hues." This quote reminds me of some left-brain scientists who would insist that the rainbow of ESP, e.g., be visible from all positions or proffer that as proof that ESP and other manifestations of the spiritual world don't exist.
5. Patrick Hughes and George Brecht's Vicious Circles and Infinity
A quick reading of this small book is like a guided tour through the history of paradox. Each page is framed at the top and bottom by a paradoxical quote, including one of my favorites from Laing's Knots, "If I don't know I don't know, I think I know; if I don't know I know, I think I don't know." Each quote is selected to illustrate the text explication that fills the page between the top and bottom quotes. I say `fills the page' because rational-analytic exegeses are not to my taste. To me they are rather like multicolored hors d'oeuvres at a fancy cocktail party — I admire their presentation, but eat very few.
The middle of the book is filled with pages of pictorial paradoxes including photos of an apparent 3-D model of the Escher stairway (you know, the purgatory one — the good guys walk in circles downward while the bad guys walked in circles upward on the same stairway). The text doesn't explain if this Penrose version of the stairway is real or a doctored photo.
The book contains a good explanation of Bertrand Russell's dilemma of the set paradox that delayed and almost scuttled his mathematical work with A. N. Whitehead.Tussling with this paradox of logical types kept Russell busy for several summers, which he spent staring at a blank sheet of paper trying to resolve the paradox in his mind. Finally he hit on the solution of the doctor, who when a patient told him that her arm hurt when she raised it thus over her head, came up with the brilliant suggestion, "Don't do that."
The authors do a good job of explaining the difference between paradox, vicious circles, self-referent statements, and self-referent paradoxes, providing ample examples of each.
If your budget includes room for just one book on paradoxes, this should be the one. For an exercise (from the book) to determine if you're ready for this book, try the following:
1) Take a strip of paper.
2) Write on one side: "The sentence on the other side of this strip of paper is true."
3) Write on the other "The sentence on the other side of this strip of paper is false."
4) Fold and twist the strip of paper a half turn and glue the ends together into a one-sided Möbius strip.
If, after doing this you still want more of this foolishness, buy the book.
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.“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" (2011) Spectacular ending to the 14 year journey we’ve been on since first book until the last movie. The vignette at the end when Harry and pals are taking their kids to board the Hogwarts Express made Del and I realize that we are watching three of our own kids going through the process of sending their kids off to college now. Like a spell from Hermione’s wand, this is A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Treatment” (2006) Ian Holm as the Last Great Freudian haunts Jake as he loses one girl and another comes into his life. Is there life after analysis? Jake doesn’t seem sure. Can he merge into an already formed family? A delicate look at a sensitive guy trying to make his life work.
“Ramona and Beezus” (2010) about two sisters growing up, a pre-teen Ramona coloring outside the lines of her life while her mid-teen sister Beezus rains on Ramona’s parade. Will Beezus ever get Ramona and learn to love and appreciate her? Will her father, the Fat Greek guy, ever love his job? The artwork which wrapped the classroom reminded me of Reenie, my daughter, who did a similar thing in her college classroom. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !“Roaring Twenties” (1939) Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney roared through Prohibition and each other’s lives. At one point you can hear Cagney do the voice Bogart used in later movies as a bad guy.
“The Good Guy” (2009) comes into an experienced Wall Street sales office and is taken under the wing of the leader, who teaches him how doing sales and seducing women are similar activities. Naturally he seduces away his philandering boss’s girl friend and thereupon lies a piece of tale.
“Stone” (2009) DeNiro plays the good guy parole officer to Ed Norton’s bad guy con, showing his elder how it’s done today, “You talking to me?” Steamy scenes with Ed’s beautiful young wife must have been a treat to aging DeNiro.
“Morning Glory” (2010) Rachal McAdams moves so fast as morning TV producer, she makes your head spin. Turned a lot of heads at the Today show as well, but she loves family, which is a good sign for her new main squeeze. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“My First Mister” (2001) A stomach-turning start for this one: an angry gal full of piercings and tattoos who hates her ebullient mom and her awol dad. Wants to get apartment and needs job. Finally she offers to give Albert Brooks a hand in a men’s store and a real story begins and slowly develops into A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The A-Team” (2010) rated A for Action, no doubt. If you want something done with maximum destruction, this is the team to call. Liam Neeson must be taking Sean Connery pills as he seems to be getting better-looking as he gets older.
“Beautiful Kate” (2009) Bryan Brown as the dying father of twin boys, of two girls, and two mysteries.
“The Man without a Past” (2002) worth saving, makes his way in the world without a name till his past says hello and he tells it goodbye.
“The Lincoln Lawyer” (2011) our first 2011 first-run DVD movie of the year with Matthew McConaughey as a lawyer whose client is guilty, but he must find a way to get him acquitted anyway. It’s innocent ones who go to jail who cause the most problems, and he also has one of those weighing on his conscience! He gets rescued in the end by Eddie and the Cruisers. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Mademoiselle Chambon" (2009) is a slow, beautiful romance between a construction worker and a violin player who is also his son’s school teacher. Almost wordless romance which blossoms under his wife’s radar, but her pregnancy roils the waters. Can he leave her and his aging father for this will-o’-the-wisp which darts from place to place?
“The Brylcreem Boys” (1998) were British and German prisoners during WWII which were captured by neutral Ireland and kept till war’s end. Their friendship, competition, and animosity ebbed and flowed with reports from the war front and their girl friends, remote and local.
“The Adjustment Bureau” (2011) Philip K. Dick-inspired movie with Matt Damon playing a Kennedy-like Senator and President wannabe when something goes wrong and he gets on a bus because his watcher nodded off. Suddenly Matt is looking behind the curtain and seeing the Wizard pulling the strings! Movie glosses over the who-watches-the-watchers to keep them from making a mistake such as the one which was the seed of this movie. The Chairman likes people ready to sacrifice everything for love. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Sirens” (1993) A young Hugh Grant and Sam Neill are upstaged in this movie by the lively beautiful naked female models for the paintings Anglican priest Grant wants to stop artist Neill from exhibiting. Newly arrived from England in Australia, strange creatures and mores dazzle Grant and his staid wife.
“Sweet Dreams” (1985) for Patsy Cline are few and far between, but for three years her incredible singing style topped the charts of country and pop music. Take a trip into the past with the music of this movie. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Last Chance Harvey” (2008) with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson is painful to watch: a father whose daughter refuses to let him give her away at the altar. Alone in London, job gone in NYC, no friends, only a Poll Take he snubbed at Heathrow. Not much of a chance left for Harvey. But things change. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
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.“Frontier of Dawn” (2008) Photographer & actress fall in love and die trying to make it work, like Romeo and Juliet, Cleo and Marc.
“MacGruber” (2010) is a send up of special ops which falls flat with its crude humor and senseless jokes. Don’t let your friends watch this one, stomp first, ask questions later. Val Kilmer almost unrecognizable. A DVD STOMPER
“Let It Rain” (2008) and watch another movie while it does, not this one. Actually rained 6.54" inches in Gretna today, apropos. This dumb movie worse than the dumb documentary movie they were trying to shoot inside this movie.
“Surviving Crooked Lake” (2008) was almost as hard for the four teenage girls as it was for us surviving this lugubrious movie. Not one of the girls made a good decision and the guy who ran off into the woods in complete darkness after a girl who “wanted to be alone” was the worst decision anyone made. Let her run and she’d stay just out of sight of the campfire. Chase her and you’ll be dragged around in a sleeping bag for the rest of the movie!
“Twelve” (2010) was a Two, imminently forgettable dark script and choppy cutting back and forth in time.
“Happy Ever Afters” (2009) was lousy to begin with got worse in the middle when I hit the EJECT button and became happy ever after that decision. Not enough derogative adjectives in English to describe this turkey fully. Watch it yourself if you don’t believe me.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Point of No Return” (1993) Hollywood’s version of “La Femme Nikita” starring Bridget Fonda as the drug addict cop killer rehab’ed into a government assassin.
“Going the Distance” (2010) Drew Barrymore in a bi-coastal love affair which mostly goes nowhere — movie was like waiting in line at an airport. She looked too old for him which wasn’t in the script.
“Battlefield: Los Angeles” (2010) felt to me like an episode in the video game “Call to Duty” with its non-stop carnage and destruction. Shreveport, Louisiana must have took a deep breath of relief when this filming was completed!
“Paris” (2009) Juliette Binoche unable to save this love story to Paris from a slow death, but warm touching love and Parisian scenes at the end save it.“The American” (2010) George Clooney as a loner again, taking his last assignment in Italy, where he has become a moving target of Swedes try to kill him, and the gun he is custom-designing may be intended for his own assassination. Slow movie with little dramatic impetus.
“The Return of Nanny McPhee” (2010) expresses my regret over not having returned the DVD without watching it. Kiddie fluff with dancing clouds and hyper-active curtain-climbers subdued by an ogre of a nanny. For the kiddies only, a Your Call.
“Case 39" (2009) Renée Zellweger stars in this tale of the power of fears which have not been traced away — you must face them again and again. No redeeming qualities in this one like in “The Green Mile” a similar supernatural tale.
“Hall Pass” (2011) in which Owen Wilson gets married and wonders why he feels trapped. Raised on sitcoms, he naturally has to ask his buddy for help and they both get a week off of marriage and a chance to discover the folly of their own immaturity and maybe grow up as a result.
“Washington Square” (1997) a Henry James novel set in the house we saw during our trip to NYC in the Washington Square area made into a movie about a wilful unhappy father who creates a wilful unhappy daughter. Ending sucks.
“Soul Kitchen” (2009) was dark, but full of verve and excitement to make it to satisfying movie about a Greek pair of brothers who needed to be in China and in jail, but somehow opened a great restaurant, then had it swindled away and can they get it back?
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Cajuns love to go shrimping and crabbing. For catching shrimp, they pull a large net or trawl behind a motorboat, often making several passes in the bayou before picking up the trawl. For crabbing they usually put some raw meat in a net as bait to attract the crabs. Cajuns also are known for making the best use of whatever resources they have available to them which allowed them survive so well when they were ripped up from their homes in Acadia and deposited on the shores of Louisiana. This story illustrates their strong survival instinct.
Boudreaux and Broussard usually went trawling for shrimp together. One day Broussard called and said,"Boudreaux, Ah can't go trawling wit' you tomorrow but my Clothilde wants to go so she can took my place."
So Boudreaux and Clothilde went trawling. In the middle of the morning Broussard got a phone call at the hardware store from Boudreaux, "Ah got some bad news! Clothilde done fell overboard and drowned herself."
"Oh me dat's bad, yeah! Mah pauvre Clothilde!" Broussard said and then added, "Did you find her body?"
"Oui, I found her wrapped in de trawl, but by the time I pulled the net in de boat, there were over a dozen large crabs biting her body."
Broussard said, "You saved dem crabs, eh?"
"Mais oui, Broussard," Boudreaux replied, "but Ah gots to bring de body to de coroner. Can you meet me dere?"
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
5. RECIPE of the MONTH for August, 2011 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Crab, Crawfish, Avocado Salad
Background on Crab, Crawfish, Avocado Salad: Sometimes a recipe creates itself because of some ready ingredients on hand for a hungry Chef and his lady. This was one such recipe. We had just eaten a lot of freshly boiled crawfish the night before and had spent some time peeling the remaining crawfish for the fridge. The next evening I concocted this quick and easy salad for supper. The essential ingredient is the JUMBO Lump Crab Meat. The word jumbo in the title means you are getting the best select crabmeat in whole chunks, just as if you had peeled them by hand yourself. The Jumbo Lump costs almost twice as much as the Lump, but like it or lump it, you'll wish you had chosen the JUMBO.
8 oz JUMBO Lump Blue Crab
1 ripe Avocado
2 dozen or so boiled crawfish (See Photo)
Peel the crawfish, eating and leaving about two dozen tails. Open the jumbo lump crabmeat container and separate the crabmeat, feeling for any pieces of shell and remove them.
Do not peel the avocado, rather slice it in two and remove seed. Then slice into chunks using a round-tipped knife or slicer as shown here under Cooking Instructions.
Add the avocado first then the crabmeat and top with the crawfish tails.
The seasoning in the crawfish will lightly season the rest of the ingredients of the salad, so taste before adding any salt, pepper, etc. Do not add any salad dressing or other condiments except as an experiment.
This recipe will serve two people and makes a nice tasty summer lunch or pre-meal salad.
Regular lump crabmeat may be substituted for the Jumbo Lump but you will notice that the large pieces of crabmeat makes the extra cost for Jumbo Lump well worth it!
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from July 9, 2006:
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Love at First Embrace
Do you believe in love at first embrace?
Have you felt the woven threads of karma
Unravel in a caress so warm a
New World arises when you part, to face —
To smile — into each other’s eyes, to see
Deep within the light shines a long lost friend.
Do you believe in love to never end —
Have you parted the veils of destiny?
If you believe as I, you know the boon
Of following your heart beneath the Moon
And finding love comes either late or soon.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for August:
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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: The Awakening — An 1899 Novel by Kate Chopin
One hundred years after this novel was published, I received a copy of it and began reading it, but I made it only halfway through and lost track of it. On a peaceful July weekend, it seemed a good time to read it, and I read it all the way through this time. The novel starts during a summer vacation on Grand Isle, about a hundred miles drive south of where I am sitting as I write these words.
The heroine is Edna Pontellier who spent a lot of the summer with Robert Lebrun who preferred her company to that of a game of billiards with her husband Léonce at the Klein Hotel. In a short couple of paragraphs we get a precis of the Pontellier's relationship. Edna was treated as property by her husband, but she acted as a free spirit whose heart is her own property, much as the rings she placed in his keeping while she was walking on the beach.
[page 21] Mr. Pontellier finally lit a cigar and began to smoke, letting the paper drag idly from his hand. He fixed his gaze upon a white sunshade that was advancing at snail's pace from the beach. He could see it plainly between the gaunt trunks of the water-oaks and across the stretch of yellow camomile. The gulf looked far away, melting hazily into the blue of the horizon. The sunshade continued to approach slowly. Beneath its pink-lined shelter were his wife, Mrs. Pontellier, and young Robert Lebrun. When they reached the cottage, the two seated themselves with some appearance of fatigue upon the upper step of the porch, facing each other, each leaning against a supporting post.
"What folly! to bathe at such an hour in such heat!" exclaimed Mr. Pontellier. He himself had taken a plunge at daylight. That was why the morning seemed long to him.
"You are burnt beyond recognition," he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage. She held up her hands, strong, shapely hands, and surveyed them critically, drawing up her lawn sleeves above the wrists. Looking at them reminded her of her rings, which she had given to her husband before leaving for the beach. She silently reached out to him, and he, understanding, took the rings from his vest pocket and dropped them into her open palm. She slipped them upon her fingers; then clasping her knees, she looked across at Robert and began to laugh. The rings sparkled upon her fingers. He sent back an answering smile.
Thus, it was not surprising when Robert decided to forgo Léonce's game of billiards to enjoy more of Edna's company.
[page 21] "Come go along, Lebrun," he proposed to Robert. But Robert admitted quite frankly that he preferred to stay where he was and talk to Mrs. Pontellier.
"Well, send him about his business when he bores you, Edna," instructed her husband as he prepared to leave.
"Here, take the umbrella," she exclaimed, holding it out to him. He accepted the sunshade, and lifting it over his head descended the steps and walked away.
"Coming back to dinner?" his wife called after him. He halted a moment and shrugged his shoulders. He felt in his vest pocket; there was a ten-dollar bill there. He did not know; perhaps he would return for the early dinner and perhaps he would not. It all depended upon the company which he found over at Klein's and the size of "the game." He did not say this, but she understood it, and laughed, nodding good-by to him.
Both children wanted to follow their father when they saw him starting out. He kissed them and promised to bring them back bonbons and peanuts.
Early in the novel, we see a marriage drawn and quartered, dissected by Kate Chopin’s delicate scalpel. Already we have the feeling of a Victorian marriage in decay and a love affair in bloom between Edna and Robert under the blasé eyes of her business-minded husband who trusted that the mores of the time would keep Edna within the pumpkin shell of her marriage. The next morning Léonce gave Edna half the money he had won the night before at the Klein Hotel and then eagerly left for his business on Carondelet Street in downtown New Orleans. When a box of sweets and patés later arrived on the island from her husband, the ladies with whom she generously shared them declared her husband to be to the best in the world, and Edna had to agree she knew of none better. But Edna did not fit in with the other women with children there.
[page 26] In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands and esteem it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.
Robert was twenty-six years old and had since his fifteenth birthday attached himself during summers at Grand Isle to some fair lady, a young girl, a widow, or perhaps an interesting married woman like Edna. Edna was turning into an adult at the age of twenty-eight and began to realize it. I recall when Dr. Zurik, who was going to take my tonsils out when I was twenty-nine, told me, "You know this will be a serious operation. You're not a child anymore; you're an adult." It was a simple statement, but it made me realize, made me feel as a reality, for the first time, that I had become an adult. When Edna declined the offer to go to the beach with Robert, and then later accepted, she came to such a realization herself.
[page 31, 32] In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her. They may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul of a young woman of twenty-eight — perhaps more wisdom than the Holy Ghost is usually pleased to vouchsafe to any woman.
But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult!
The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.
The voice of Kate Chopin enfolds us, the reader, into its soft, close embrace. Her voice reaches across three centuries with the vibrancy and timbre of a modern voice to touch our soul. Her voice sits lightly on our soul like "the night sat lightly upon the sea and the land. There was no weight of darkness; there were no shadows. The white light of the moon had fallen upon the world like the mystery and the softness of sleep." (Page 46)
She learnt to swim for the first time after years of simply splashing about in the Gulf waters. Becoming an individual, learning to swim, she was setting out from land on her own this summer, leaving people behind her on the shore.
[page 47] Once she turned and looked toward the shore, toward the people she had left there. She had not gone any great distance — that is, what would have been a great distance for an experienced swimmer. But to her unaccustomed vision the stretch of water behind her assumed the aspect of a barrier which her unaided strength would never be able to overcome.
Upon her return to their home on Esplanade in New Orleans at the end of the summer, we observe Mr. Pontellier and are able to deduce his relationship to Edna from this description of how he felt about his house.
[page 71] Mr. Pontellier was very fond of walking about his house examining the various appointments and details, to see that nothing was amiss. He greatly valued his possessions, chiefly because they were his, and derived genuine pleasure from contemplating a painting, a statuette, a rare lace curtain — no matter what — after he had bought it and placed it among his household goods.
Clearly, Edna was one of his household goods, and Léonce, outside of marriage obligations, never penetrated any further into Edna than into one of his delicate statuettes. If she were shiny and pretty on the outside, he was pleased. When he made a fuss over Edna's not remembering the callers of one afternoon, he was not at all interested in Edna's reasons, but rather in how her actions would upset the wives of his business contacts. He admonished her, "But it's just such seeming trifles that we've got to take seriously; such things count." They were actual trifles to Edna, but he didn't seem to notice or care. His statuette was out of place and needed to be set aright.
Robert had left to find his fortune in Mexico and remove himself from the temptation, the forbidden fruit which Edna represented to him. Edna thought of him constantly.
[page 75] As Edna walked along the street she was thinking of Robert. She was still under the spell of her infatuation. She had tried to forget him, realizing the inutility of remembering. But the thought of him was like an obsession, ever pressing itself upon her. It was not that she dwelt upon details of their acquaintance, or recalled in any special or peculiar way his personality; it was his being, his existence, which dominated her thought, fading sometimes as if it would melt into the mist of the forgotten, reviving again with an intensity which filled her with an incomprehensible longing.
Finally Léonce noticed his statuette was out of place a lot, and consulted his doctor, asking his help to fix the problem, as if it were some faulty carriage wheel and he were a blacksmith. But the doctor was helpless to fix a wheel which was rolling just fine on its own, only not where Léonce thought it should be going. Her sister's wedding in Kentucky was such a place he wanted her to roll to, but she resisted. When her father, a Colonel in the Confederate Army, visited them in New Orleans, he told stories to her and the doctor who was visiting and that allowed the doctor to tell stories about a deviant woman who returned to her homely ways after her escapades were done.
[page 92] The story did not seem especially to impress Edna. She had one of her own to tell, of a woman who paddled away with her lover one night in a pirogue and never came back. They were lost amid the Baratarian Islands, and no one ever heard of them or found a trace of them from that day to this. It was pure invention. She said that Madame Antoine had related it to her. But every glowing word seem real to those who listened.
She and Robert had rowed in a pirogue at Grand Isle one summer night, and her fancy had elaborated that incident into the dream reality she earnestly desired.
Mr. Pontellier left for the Kentucky wedding followed by a long business stay in New York and Edna was left alone, her two children placed in the arms of her mother-in-law in Iberville.She spent time with Alcée Arobin, the man her doctor hoped she would avoid, long drives, days at the races, as he tried unsuccessfully to woo Edna. She found a room of her own, a small place to rent a few steps away from the family home, and made plans to install herself into the apartment before Léonce returned. She told him of her plans and he absolutely forbid her to do so, but his words bounced off of Edna as if she were actually a statuette. Robert came to town and he as much as confessed he'd loved and missed her while in Mexico, but he would not make a move on her. She planned a dinner for about twelve of her closest friends, not the afternoon tea ladies her husband had forced her to entertain, but real friends she had met in Grand Isle and in the French Quarter on her own. It was to be a sumptuous dinner, a last supper, full of golden and silver accouterments, and she would preside as the Queen.
[page 112] The golden shimmer of Edna's satin gown spread in rich folds on either side of her. There was a soft fall of lace encircling her shoulders. it was the color of her skin, without the glow, the myriad living tints that one may sometimes discover in vibrant flesh. There was something in her attitude, in her whole appearance when she leaned her head against the high-backed chair and spread her arm, which suggested the regal woman, the one who rules, who looks on, who stands alone.
And, in the end, she stood alone on the beach at night in Grand Isle, naked to the world, and swam out to sea.
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2.) ARJ2: The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
Another serial murder mystery by a Scandinavian author, this time a Norwegian, and Detective Harry Hole takes us through a labyrinth of Norse names and Oslo places before this 454 page novel winds to a climactic end. Actually I counted about four climaxes before the final one. There's no Girl with a Dragon Tattoo in this one, no journalist Mikael Blomkvist, and no Stieg Larsson stringing out the plot and fleshing out the characters, but there is a detective Harry Hole known for being the only Norwegian who worked on a serial murder case, and there is the most unlikely object of horror, the eponymous Snowman, whose appearance after a snowfall presages the downfall of another innocent victim. If you've read or seen any of Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and enjoyed them, you will be delighted to find Jo Nesbø, unlike Larsson, is still alive and kicking out marvelous mystery novels, like The Snowman, the one Sara saw when she looked out the window of her bedroom.
[page 6] Sara pulled herself up onto her knees. Got up and looked into the garden. And there, there was the face.
She laughed out loud with relief. The face was white, with eyes and a mouth made with black pebbles, probably from the drive. And arms made from twigs off the apple trees.
"Heavens," she gasped. "It's only a snowman."
"Only a snowman" — those words will never be repeated again in the course of and the curses of this novel.Luckily no children will read this novel because the ubiquitous snowman who appears after the first snowfall would soon become only a distant memory as no kid would want to build one. Besides that, did you perhaps notice that the snowman in the passage above was looking towards the house? Snowmen, respectful snowmen, never do that, like people at the beach who always face the ocean, snowmen always face the street. Ten-year-old Jonas asked his mother why the snowman didn't face the street after insisting that he didn't make it.
[page 24, 25] The snow in the garden reflected enough light for him to make out the snowman down below. It looked alone. Someone should have given it a cap and scarf. And maybe a broomstick to hold. At that moment the moon slid from behind a cloud. The black row of teeth came into view. And the eyes. Jonas automatically sucked in his breath and recoiled two steps. The pebble-eyes were gleaming. And they were not staring into the house. They were looking up. Up here. Jonas drew the curtains and crept back into bed.
Enough about the snowman, let's take a look at one of the candidates for the snowman maker as Hole prompts Arve Støp to explain how Norway views the USA and President Bush.
[page 15] "Why do you think Norwegians are so skeptical about George Bush, Arve Støp?"
"Because we're an overprotected nation which has never fought in any wars. We've been happy to let others do it for us: England, the Soviet Union and America. Yes, ever since the Napoleonic Wars we've hidden behind the backs of our elder brothers. Norway has based its security on others taking the responsibility when things get tough. That's been going on for so long that we've lost our sense of reality and we believe that the earth is basically populated by people who wish us the world's richest country — well. Norway, a gibbering, pea-brained blonde who gets lost in a back street in the Bronx and is now indignant that her bodyguard is so brutal with muggers!
Do girls make snowmen? This novel will tease you about this possibility before you reach the end of this book. One candidate is a detective, Katrine Bratt, sans tattoo, but with many of the other qualities of dragon-draped Lisbet Salander(1), including carefully assisting as Hole works. The names of many of the characters are insightful as they reach us in English: Harry Hole is an asshole — as are most detectives, Arve Støp can stop his presses, Magnus Skarre may be a big scary, Filip Becker a trifle flip, Katrine a brat, Gert "Iron" Rafto as stiff as a steel roof girder. And so on. Don't let the Norse names stop you from enjoying this novel, just have fun with them, try discovering hidden meanings, there are some.
Hole drives up to Hoff to where Birte Becker has disappeared and the pink scarf Jonah had given his mother was decorating the snowman looking at the house. There he meets the husband, Filip Becker.
[page 40] Harry nodded slowly. "Would you mind if I had a look around the house?'
There was a brusqueness to Filip Becker's question that made Harry think he was a man who was used to being in control. To being kept informed. And that argued against his wife having left without a word. Which, for that matter, Harry had already excluded in his mind. Well-adjusted, healthy mothers do not abandon ten-year-old sons in the middle of the night. And then there was all the rest. Usually they used minimal resources at such an early stage of a missing persons case, unless there were indications which suggested something criminal or dramatic. It was "all the rest" that had made him drive up to Hoff himself.
"Sometimes you don't know what you're looking for until you find it; Harry answered. "It's a methodology."
He caught Becker's eyes behind the glasses now. They were, unlike his son's, light blue and shone with an intense, clear gleam.
"By all means," Becker said. "Go ahead."
Harry Hole has made a methodology of the insight I had when I wrote my second Matherne's Rule some thirty years ago, "You never know until you find out." Importunate people who usually do not have a clue as to how the mind of an innovative thinker works expect one to explain how and why one is approaching a difficult task in a certain way, but often the only way one can discover the answer to some puzzle is go outside the nine dots of the un-creative person's mind. So the un-creative interrupts the creative to ask how and why something is being done, instead using their own God-given mind to help solve the problem themselves.As Mikael Blomkvist showed, detecting is not the exclusive domain of Detectives. But Hole is of another order of detective, a combination of the best detecting qualities of the genre from Sherlock to Colombo, and thus he punched in the head of the snowman in Jonah's yard and pulled out his mother's cell phone. The snowman maker had left behind her scarf and her cell phone. But Hole knew finding Birte's Nokia was not a triumph, only a short scene in a puppet show where the snowman maker was pulling the strings. Apparently the snowman maker was also writing the script, as this cryptic message had appeared in Hole's pigeonhole.
If there were any doubts that the eponymous Snowman was playing with Hole, this letter seems to have removed them.
[page 72] "There's one more thing," Harry said, reaching out to switch on the overhead projector between the piles of paper on his desk. Magnus Skarre cursed and shielded his eyes as blurred writing suddenly appeared on his face. He moved, and Harry's voice came from behind the projector.
"This letter landed in my mailbox exactly two months ago. No address, postmarked Oslo. Produced on a standard inkjet printer."
Before Harry could ask, Katrine Bratt had pressed the light switch by the door, plunging the room into darkness. A square of light loomed up on the white wall.
They read in silence.
Soon the first snow will come.
And then he will appear again.
And when the snow has gone,
he will have taken someone else.
What you should ask yourself is this:
Who made the snowman?
Who makes snowmen?
Who gave birth to the Murri?
For the snowman doesn't know."
How do we now know that the Snowman is after Harry Hole? Because the Murri was a serial killer that Harry tracked down.
[page 72] "The Murri was the nickname of a person who is now dead," Harry said from out of the darkness. "A murri is an Aborigine from Queensland in Australia. While this murri was alive he killed women all over Australia. No one knows for certain how many. His real name was Robin Toowoomba."
The fan whirred and buzzed.
"Serial killer," said Bjørn Holm. "The one you killed."
As Sherlock liked to say at this point in his detecting, "The game is afoot!" Later when Harry calls a clinic to ask about a disease the doctor specializes in, the woman who answers the phone has never heard of the disease. That makes Idar Vetlesen the prime suspect as the Snowman. His hobby? Curling. Played on ice, pushing an object which might resemble the head of a snowman around. By this time, several heads of snowmen have rolled, including one with a cell phone inside and another with the skull of a dead woman inside.
Harry gets another clue when the specialty kono paper on which the above letter was printed is traced to Rafto who stole items from victims whose deaths he investigated. One day he swapped a silver penholder he had pilfered for the rest of the kono paper that a store had in stock. Iron Rafto would have become a suspect if he had not been already found, stiff as a you know what.
Below Harry reveals his methodology of detective work in another application of "you never know until you find out":
[page 179] "There's a cellar, too," Katrine said, pointing to a trapdoor in the floor. "This is your area. What do we do now?"
"We search," Harry said.
"That's the last of our thoughts."
"Because it's easy to miss something important if you're searching for something else. Clear your mind. You'll know what you're searching for when you see it."
Harry is a vast Hole of information which he delights in sharing, such as when he tell Katrine that boxers have been monitored during a match and they have found that they are often knocked unconscious for a short period of time and their body remains standing as if it knew what to do while waiting for consciousness to return. One of my favorite pieces was about the origin of the word "deadline" — as deadlines are something any writer is familiar with — the essence of motivation. Turns out it is a metaphor which had its origin in reality during a deadly war, one he calls a "Civil War".
[page 193] Harry had read the word deadline originated from the battlefields of the American Civil War when, for lack of anything material to lock prisoners behind, they were gathered together and a line was drawn around them in the dirt. Which became known as the dead line, and anyone who strayed beyond it was shot. And that was precisely what they were, the news warriors down there in the foyer: prisoners of war restrained by a deadline.
Humorous, also, was Harry, but often his humorous commands were so funny that he had to repeat the command directly to get action. "We haven't got much to work on. We can sit here and drink coffee and scratch our stupid heads. Or we can go home and return tomorrow with the same stupid, but not quite so exhausted, heads tomorrow." When his team just stared at Harry, he had to tell them, "I'm not joking. Get the hell home." (Page 195)
Harry was also industrious and daring. When one of the Snowman suspects apparently commits suicide, Harry injects himself with a saline solution to find out how long it took the suicide to do it and found that it took longer to inject it than the deadly solution took to incapacitate the victim. Therefore, no suicide. Don't recall Colombo ever using himself as a laboratory animal for an experiment. Sherlock with his cocaine, perhaps.
Clearly printing presses got their name from the ink they press into paper, but Arve Støp has another idea in mind, a characteristic of modern day presses, the ones where the reporter never sees his words pressed into paper, but where his metier is extracting useful data from oft times reluctant informers. Harry asks Arve a question and gets no answer.
[page 227] "I can easily register that you refused to answer the questions, Støp."
Støp raised his glass in toast. "A familiar countermove, Hole. One which we press people use every single day. Hence the name. Press. People."
A migration of metaphor from referring to machines which press words into paper is morphed into people pressing other people for the words to be printed on paper. And now, the printing is no longer in paper form so much as in pixel form, and when on paper, sprayed as toner or ink instead of pressed into the paper. So Arve Støp may have it right for this new millennium, the only printing press left is the pressing for information.
As the plot turns into the home stretch, Harry Hole has knocked down several strawmen, er, snowmen, potential Snowman candidates, when he recalls what the guy in blue jumpsuit who had arrived in the first of the book to tear away his walls told him. He had cut himself during work on them and had to turn one board around because blood can't be removed from an untreated piece of wood and the only alternate would have been to paint the entire wall red. Once more the game was afoot and a visit to a certain barn reveals an important clue. "Blood? She was trying to hide blood with blood?" (Page 370) Layer by layer the intricate plot begins to unravel itself before our eyes and reveal the true Snowman as Harry rushes to save his best girl's life before she melts the last snowman. No one wants to Be Negative as the rush to complete this novel ensues. Harry admits, when asked, "What's going on?" that there are two answers to that question, "One is that we're closing in on the Snowman." and Two, "I don't know." And you, Dear Reader, will likely not know until the Snowman begins the tale of his relationship with a snowman which began him on this lifelong path of vengeance.
This novel is a book gripper, so if you're reading on a Kindle, be careful not to break the delicate screen. Don't start it unless you have a day or two ahead with nothing planned. I would not want an air traffic controller to start this book one night before going to work on the graveyard shift and not be able to think of anything but whether the latest strawman is the Snowman. Or whether Harry is going down the hole as a scapegoat on this escapade. Or whether Rakel, his main squeeze, will survive her turn on the E-Ticket Snowman Ride. It's all in here. Don't do as I did with Stieg Larsson's book and wait for the movie. This book is by far more interesting and more fun than any movie. And its movie, when it inevitably arrives, will be more interesting if you have first suffered through the enjoyment of the book.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
1. Eponymous heroine of The Girl series: With the Dragon Tattoo, Who Played with Fire, Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I only watched the movies in Swedish of the first two novels, but read the third one before watching its movie. If you prefer a watered-down Hollywood version, the Millennium Trilogy will becoming to a theater near you soon in English.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
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3.) ARJ2: Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine, GA#312, Lectures 1&2 by Rudolf Steiner
In Steven Johnson's Foreword, he focuses on the inseparability of spirit, soul, and body and poses the very good question, "How does the treatment itself affect the whole human being, including that human being's context (age, biography, personal relationships)(1), of which the presenting symptom is only a part?" (Page xxxii) If we only examine the physical portion of a human body, it is as if the body is an oboe and we are tuning up the oboe to improve its performance, ignoring the fact that it is the oboe player who is suffering — the oboe player representing the relationship to the oboe similar to which the spirit and soul bears to the body of a patient who is ill.
[page xxxii] Physicians are often amazed and confused by the fact that the patient's receptiveness to a medicine seems to influence the response to treatment — hence the whole vexing issue of the placebo effect. At the same time, outcome-based research is today validating many of the "alternative" therapies that have their origins in spiritually-based methods of healing. Nevertheless, the "active ingredients" of such therapies elude current research techniques. New thinking is needed to understand life as it really is, the interrelated whole, in which the spirit and matter interplay with each other like the instruments of a symphony orchestra.
What attracted me initially to Rudolf Steiner's writings was his usage of modern, scientific terms to describe the spiritual realities of the world in place of the long, polysyllabic and unpronounceable Theosophical names. In his work on medicine, he likewise brought his spiritual insights into a form which can be understood by Western physicians who are curious about the spiritual underpinnings of their life's work.
[page xxxiii] In many instances, Anthroposophy helps to bridge the gap between Eastern spirituality and Western consciousness by translating the language of those traditions for practitioners educated within the context of materialistic thought.
Materialistic thought for doctors means their grounding in anatomy, physiology, and general biology which focuses only upon the physical body of the human being. It is not surprising that such a methodology would create medical doctors who refer to patients by their case number or room number instead of their name. Room and case numbers do not have biography and personal relationships, only individuals do, and their name is an essential part of who they are and how they relate to the world. Doctor John today might order a battery of tests on Case No. 17, analyze the results, and enter the woman's hospital room, and instead of asking a question about her health, he tells her what he thinks needs to be done according to her objective test results. This usage of the word objective completely neglects the spiritual and soul qualities of the patient's life. A true medicine will include the spiritual and soul components as part of its assessment of objective reality. Thus Steiner begins with a discussion of the obstacles conventional medicine creates to a truly objective assessment of reality.
[page 1,2] First of all, I will give you a few indications of the obstacles that the modern, conventional study of medicine presents to a truly objective grasp of the nature of illness as such. Second, I will indicate where we must look in our search for an understanding of the human being that is capable of providing a true foundation for work in the field of medicine. Third, I will use an understanding of human connections to the rest of the world to suggest the possibilities of a rational system of healing. in this third section, I will answer the question of whether healing is altogether possible and conceivable.
The fourth and final item was one which every experienced lecturer does best to ask for: a list of questions which the members of the audience would like answered during the course of the lectures. Thus he laid out his plans for this series of lectures in medicine and established the foundation upon which Anthroposophical Medicine was born.
I recall, some thirty plus years ago, before I found Rudolf Steiner, that I read a book on homeopathy in which various tinctures, herbs, and substances could be used to heal people. The list of substances was extensive, but what they could be used to heal also formed a huge list and the items in the two lists overlapped! The same substance could be used for hundreds of illnesses or physical problems, and dozens of substances could be used for one problem! How could anyone ever make sense of such complexity, I wondered. And continued to wonder for 4 decades until I read this book. In it Steiner explains that one starts not with a problem, not with a substance, but with a human being — a full human being in every sense of spirit, soul, and body which is what the root word anthropos means. The word anthropos when sophy is added onto it forms the word anthroposophy and that is Steiner's word for his field of expertise: what it means to be a full human being! Anyone who comes to Steiner expecting something less than learning about what it means to be a full human being will leave disappointed. Anyone who does expect learning about what it means to be a full human being, will find a lifetime endeavor ahead of them! An endeavor which will prepare them well for their many lifetimes to come.
Medical doctors today who take the Hippocratic Oath are rarely, if ever, told this essential truth about Hippocrates.
[page 3] To an unbiased student, Hippocrates' views — which, as you may already have noticed, continue to play a role right into the nineteenth century — constitute not only a new beginning but also, to a very significant extent, the end of ancient views on medicine. In what comes down to us from Hippocrates, we encounter the last filtered remnant, so to speak, of very ancient views on medicine that were acquired by means of atavistic clairvoyance rather than by taking the anatomical route, as is done today. The relative position of Hippocratic medicine might be characterized best by saying that it was the point in time when ancient medicine based on atavistic clairvoyance came to an end.
The end of ancient views on medicine means that modern physicians, those since the time of Hippocrates, treat the patient as a material object instead of full human being. Thus, their overweening concern with chemical tests, electronic monitoring, and various X-Ray imaging techniques. But even early Hippocratic physicians still sought the origin of diseases in the four humors of the body.
[page 3, 4] Speaking superficially — but only superficially — we can say that Hippocratic physicians sought the origin of all disease states in an imbalance among the fluid bodies that work together in the human organism. They pointed out that in a normal organism, these fluid bodies must stand in a definite relationship and that in a diseased body, their proportions deviate from the norm. Correct proportions were called crasis and incorrect proportions dyscrasy. Of course, these physicians looked for ways to influence the imbalance and reestablish the correct proportions. Four components in the outer world were seen as constituting all physical existence: earth, water, air, and fire (although fire was the same as what we now simply call warmth). As far as human and also animal bodies were concerned, these four elements were seen as being specialized into black gall, yellow gall, mucus, and blood. It was thought that the human organism needed the right mixture of blood, mucus, and black and yellow gall in order to function.
How do modern physicians and medical educators approach the humors? Chemically, basically.
[page 4] If modern, scientifically educated individuals approach a subject like this, their first thought is that when blood, mucus, and yellow and black gall mingle, they do so in accordance with intrinsic properties that can be determined by means of elementary or advanced chemistry. Seeing it in this light, people imagine this to be the origin of humoral pathology, as if the Hippocratic physicians had seen blood, mucus, and so on, only in this way. This was not the case, or rather, it was true of only one of these components, namely black gall, which seems most typically Hippocratic to modern observers. As far as black gall was concerned, Hippocratic physicians did indeed think that its ordinary chemical properties were the active factors.
These modern thinkers would be exactly in line with these ancient physicians, but only in the case of the black gall humor. The other three humors are affected by cosmic forces.
[page 4] They thought that these other fluid constituents of the human organism possessed certain intrinsic properties in the form of forces or energies lying outside our earthly existence. Thus, just as they saw water, air, and warmth as being dependent on the forces of the cosmos beyond Earth, they also saw these constituents of the human organism as being imbued with forces coming from outside the Earth.
Our modern doctors have blithely ignored the cosmic forces which affect water, e.g., and which enters the human body when water become part of the fluids of the body. They have no possibility of understanding the writings on medieval medicine because the clairvoyant information upon which these writings were based had died with Hippocrates. Steiner took it upon himself to help revive via his own clairvoyance and teach the principles upon which the physicians of Hippocrates time operated in the world. Those principles, not some cookbook approach to medicine, is what Steiner shared during these introductory lectures on the subject of medicine.
One of the first principles, which will be familiar to students of Steiner, is that two of the basic components of the human being are its physical body and etheric body. Paracelsus, a famous 16th Century physician, postulated the etheric body.
[page 6] The terms archeus as Paracelsus uses it and "human etheric body" as we use it actually sum up something that does indeed exist, but without tracing its actual origins. Doing so would oblige us to proceed as follows: we would have to say that the human being has both a physical organism, which consists essentially of forces that work out of the Earth, and an etheric organism, which consists essentially of forces that work out of the periphery of the cosmos.
With his insight, Paracelsus uncovered the cosmic aspects of the human being which had been forgotten since the time of Hippocrates. Paracelsus was the harbinger of the work that Johannes Müller, his famous pupil Ernst Haeckel, and later Rudolf Steiner would come to build upon.
A sea change came in medicine when in 1761 when autopsy became a definitive source of information about diseases. Even though the etheric body is gone during an autopsy, the effects on the organs of the body caused by the illness when the etheric body was present can be recorded. Autopsy, as it were, sounded the death knell for what remained of the ancient clairvoyance-based medicine and signaled the beginning of modern materialistic medicine.
[page 8] Only from this time onward can it be said that autopsy became definitive. It was possible to tell from the corpse that if a certain illness — regardless of what it was called — was present, a particular organ must have undergone a specific change. These changes began to be studied during postmortem examinations. This practice constitutes the actual beginnings of pathological anatomy, while everything that had previously existed in the field of medicine was based on certain persistent effects of ancient clairvoyance.
We know from Steiner's other works that every human being also has an astral body and an Ego or "I am" eternal spirit. Those will be involved with various aspects of illness, injury, and healing also, but the etheric body is the life body and its effects are most noticeable by doctors and other healers. If you injure yourself, e. g., by a bruise, the area of the bruise will hurt because the etheric body has been dislocated temporarily from the injured area. Healing by laying on hands, I suspect, works because the etheric body of the healer flows into the injured space to supplant the missing etheric body and promote quicker healing of the area. It also reduces the pain immediately as shown by the success of the well known “Let Mother kiss it better” technique.
Steiner closes out the first lecture by saying, "the important point for today is to show that medicine must once again turn its attention to something that cannot be accomplished through either chemistry or conventional comparative anatomy, something that can be achieved only if we move on to consider the facts from a spiritual-scientific viewpoint . . . what is most needed is a spiritual recognition of the healing value that may be present in a material remedy." (Page 17)
Every new set of Steiner lectures I read — I have read over 191 books of his lectures — contains new and mind-boggling concepts that I either had not heard of before or contains fuller explanations of something which he had only hinted at earlier. The "heart is not a pump" is of the latter type: I have read in several places of his explanation of how the heart works and I will explain to you my understanding as a way of setting the stage for the new revelations in this book. Anyone who has watched the throbbing bulb of the fetus in the place where the heart will eventually grow cannot explain how the heart could be a pump as there are no visible pumping mechanism in operation(2).Truly one is witnessing the circulation of the blood (which is primary) causing the tiny hydraulic ram in the tiny bulbous heart (whose beating is secondary, caused by the circulating blood pushing the valves). What is the function of the valves which act as hydraulic rams? To create vortices which intermix the blood from the lungs carrying oxygen with the blood from the intestines carrying nutrients from the digestive system. Rightly understood, the pulsing of the blood is not due to the pumping action of the heart, but it is absolutely necessary to ensure that the key ingredients of life: Oxygen and Nutrients are completely mixed together in the blood before it continues on its circulatory path to the cells of the body! The heart is not a fuel pump, to use an automobile metaphor, but it is rather a carburetor. What does the carburetor do? Its job is to get a balanced mixture of oxygen and gasoline to the spark plugs to ensure that the internal combustion proceeds smoothly. Too much oxygen, the fuel mixture does not ignite. Too much gasoline and the engine floods and won't run. An automobile requires two things to run: Fuel and Spark. Every mechanic knows that. But unless the fuel is the proper mixture, which the carburetor ensures, the engine will misfire or not fire at all, or will run very sluggish with very little power. Does that sound to you like someone with a "bad heart"? It should, because, rightly understood, the heart is the carburetor for the human body. It is not a mechanical pump(3).
[page 19, 20] If we take cardiology as our starting point today, however, the connection between knowledge of the human being and the needs of medicine becomes especially difficult. I could say that something present as a mere potential in the study of bones and muscles has emerged fully in the view that has developed with regard to cardiology. (Let us restrict ourselves to the heart for the time being.) And what is the general view of the human heart? It is seen as a pump of sorts, pumping the blood into the various organs. All kinds of interesting mechanical constructions have been invented in the attempt to explain the heart as a pumping machine. In reality, these mechanical constructions completely contradict embryology, but people have not been attentive enough to really question this mechanical theory of the heart, so it has not been tested, or at least not in the generally accepted scientific way. I will first sketch the situation for you, and what I present in the next few days will confirm, bit by bit, what I can initially present only as a point of view. The main thing to consider in looking at the heart is that the heart absolutely is not, and cannot be, a so-called active organ. The activity of the heart is not a cause; it is a consequence.
Steiner tells us the respiratory processes and the metabolic processes are "thirsting" for each other and this thirsting is satisfied during the flow of the blood through the lungs. (Page 20) But along the way, a pulsation is set up by the interruption of the blood flow long enough (i.e. during one heart beat) to ensure a complete mixing of the two disparate blood flows, one from the lungs (air) and the other from the digestion (nutrients).
Steiner quotes an Austrian physician, Dr. Karl Schmidt, who wrote in his article "Pulse Curves and the Beating of the Heart" that "the beating motion of the heart resembles the action of a hydraulic ram which is flow-activated." (Page 21)
What does all this mean? One might ask.
[page 21, italics added] When we see all cardiac function as the consequence of these interpenetrating flows (as I can now symbolically term them) of fluid and of gas, we are still viewing matters only on the mechanical level. But ultimately, what is the heart? It is a sense organ. And ultimately, even if we are not directly conscious of the heart's sensory function, even though this is one of our subconscious sensory activities, the heart nonetheless exists so that our upper activities may sense and perceive our lower activities. Just as you perceive color processes in the environment with your eyes, you also perceive with your heart, although in the dimness of the subconscious. You perceive what is taking place in the lower part of your body. Ultimately, the heart is an organ of inner perception, and it must be addressed as such.
What are our upper activities and our lower activities? If we imagine the human body with a line drawn through the heart, the upper activities are divided from the lower activities and the heart is the sense organ which provides feedback and coordination between the two activities of respiration/sensory-neural and digestion/nourishment/metabolism. He says, "The balancing of nourishment with respiration takes place through our rhythmical activity, the significance of which we will still have to discuss." (Page 22)
How is the heart a sense organ? Good question.
[page 22] Essentially, the heart is the organ whose perceptible movement expresses the balance between these upper and lower poles. On a psychological — or perhaps it would be better to say sub-psychological — level, the heart acts as the organ of perception that mediates between these two poles of the human organization. You will see that only this principle, if kept in mind while studying everything that anatomy, physiology, and biology have to offer, is capable of shedding light on the human organization. As long as you do not differentiate between these upper and lower poles with the heart mediating between them, you will be unable to understand the human being, because there is a fundamental difference between all of the lower organizational activity of the human being and the activity of the upper organization.
As Above, so Below is a famous dictum of spirituality and we can see its process in the way the Above region has a counterpart in the Below region. Basically, this means if something is wrong in the sensory-neural realm (Above region), we could expect to find something amiss in the metabolic realm (Below region) and vice versa. The dividing line I mentioned earlier does not actually go through the heart, but rather, the two regions are separated in space by the diaphragm which facilitates our breathing. The organs of the lower region, the spleen, pancreas, kidneys, liver, and the intestines are separated from the upper region by the breathing diaphragm. Any excess activity in the upper region of an individual can show up somewhere in the lower region as an abnormality in one of the organs located below the diaphragm. Any abnormality in the lower region can show up as an abnormality in the area above the diaphragm. A physician who understands this relationship can make a change in one region to fix problems in its polar region.
This relationship will not be discovered by the tools of the materialist scientist because there is no transfer of material substance only a polar relationship.
[page 22, 23] Everything taking place down below has its negative image or counterpart up above. We can always find a corresponding image in the lower region for everything that is involved in the upper region. The most significant point here, however, is that there is no material transfer of substance between the upper and the lower, but only a correspondence. We must always understand how to relate something from down below to something else up above, without insisting on a material transfer. Let us take a very simple example — the cough reflex and actual coughing — in the context of what is up above, or to the extent that these things belong up above. Their counterpart down below is diarrhea. We will always find that anything in the upper region has its counterpart below. We understand the human being correctly only when we are able to grasp these correspondence correctly, and we will encounter many of them in this lecture course.
I hinted at how these polar attributes can lead to disease and here's how Steiner describes the situation. If you know anyone who is a hard working thinker who suddenly develops problems in the polar region of their body, this is a sure sign of this connection and an adjustment to the worker's habits may be called for or evolve through some exigency connected with their problem. I knew a young man whose severe kidney stones forced him to retire and he has had no problems with his kidneys since then. As Steiner avers, "These are more than just abstract correspondences."
[page 23] At the same time, in any healthy organism, an intimate association is taking place between the upper and the lower. In a healthy organism, this association of pairs is such that any particular upper-body function — perhaps a respiration-related activity or one related to the sensory-neural apparatus — must overcome another activity down below and run its course in complete harmony with this lower counterpart. An irregularity immediately occurs in the organism if a process from below somehow gains ascendancy or precedence so that it is far too strong for its corresponding activity above, or vice versa. (Later, this will lead us to a true understanding of the disease process.) Upper functions must always correspond to lower ones in a specific way — overcoming each other, taking place in ways that reflect their orientation toward each other, as it were. This orientation is very specific and is individually different in each person, but in every case there is a very specific correspondence between how upper processes and lower processes run their course.
As humans we strive to remain balanced, but sometimes one of our realms may veer off-course and an imbalance begins to reveal itself, a dis-ease or ill-ness appears first in the etheric body. For practical purposes, one can simply ask the patient about the first signs of their ill-ness, as that will reveal the source of the dis-ease. Steiner gives us an example of where the lower region is over strong, which can result in a problem in the upper region.
[page 23, 24] Let us assume that down below, in food intake and in the digestive system in the broader sense, the inherent chemical and/or organic forces of the ingested food predominate. In a healthy organism, all of these forces that are active and inherent in the food itself, all the forces we study externally in the laboratory, have to be overcome by the upper element to such an extent that they become irrelevant to any internal activity of the organism. No outer chemistry or outer dynamics or the like continues to function. It is all completely overcome. It can happen, however, that the correspondence is not strong enough for the upper element to really grasp and pervade its lower counterpart completely. In a sense, the upper element cannot completely "cook" the lower or — as I might also put it — etherize it through and through, which would be a slightly more accurate description. In such a case, the process that predominates in the human organism really does not belong there. It is a process just like those taking place in the outer world, and it should not be taking place within the human organism.
As a cook, I know that food must be cooked thoroughly for it to be digested properly, and I make sure that happens. But if I get interrupted by a long phone call, I may run out of time, and the food will not get cooked long enough. The process which should have taken place in the outer world of my cooking pot must then take place inside the human eating it which may lead to a stomachache. This is a crude example of what Steiner said above about the etherization of the food being like an internal cooking which goes on.
He gives us the two polar opposites of hysteria (excessive independence of metabolic processes) and neurasthenia (debility of neural system, perhaps revealed by negative thinking). In hysteria we find metabolic (nutrient) processes driven too hard. In neurasthenia, we find the call on the upper organs so demanding that its forces do not reach into the lower flow of nutrients. Clearly the ability to understand these processes in the early stages before they reach detection by lab tests and procedures is important. And these aberrant processes will eventually reach that stage where even the most materialistic medical doctor will be able to point to the conclusive evidence, but the patient may be very sick or dead by that time.
[page 25] You can also see that it is more important — far more important, I might say — to study a syndrome's outer manifestations than to study defective organs postmortem. An autopsy of defective organs merely reveals consequences. The essential thing is to grasp the overall picture, the phenomenon of the illness, which in some way will always tend more in one direction or the other, toward neurasthenia or hysteria.
My first exposure to the abdominal diseases which result from hysteria came in a book by the famous Swedish doctor Axel Munthe(4) who strove to maintain a successful practice for the rich women in Paris for many years. These women were mildly hysterical, and they came to him on a regular basis complaining of abdominal pains. He diagnosed them as suffering from an inflammation of the appendix or appendicitis and gave them various medications to provide them relief. They each went away happy and returned in a week or so for a repetition of the examination, diagnosis, and a new prescription for relief. Then one year, a remarkable thing happened, a doctor in America was reported to be curing appendicitis by removing each patient's appendix. Voilà, no more appendicitis. But Dr. Munthe's ladies refused to allow him to take out their appendix and consequently stopped coming to his office for treatment. He became desperate because, as a young doctor, he had no large reserves of money to fall back on, and his primary source of income had dried up. He talked to his fellow doctors who revealed that they had similar problems and they had begun diagnosing their patients' identical symptoms as colitis. Dr. Munthe began doing the same and soon his waiting room was filled with eager ladies who left very pleased with a diagnosis of colitis and a prescription. And they returned on a regular basis as before.
The above anecdote is true and would be humorous but for an interesting fact. Colitis is rarely diagnosed these days, a hundred years after Munthe's Paris practice, but the exact same symptoms are presented to gastroenterologists and internists who diagnose it as irritable bowel syndrome and these patients make up a substantial source of their income.
[page 25] Similarly, in the other direction neurasthenia assumes an organic form in diseases of the throat and head. For the medicine of the future, it will be extremely important to study these "imprints" of what are initially functional/physical symptoms in neurasthenia and hysteria. The consequence of hysteria that has become organic, if I may put it this way, will be irregularities occurring anywhere in the digestive system or in abdominal processes in general. But what takes place in one such system of organs works back into the organism as a whole. We must not ignore the fact that irregularities occurring here work back on the entire organism.
There was a time in my life, in my middle twenties, when I went through both a mild hysteria and neurasthenia. As a result of the hysteria (I called it hypochondria back then), I was beset by amoebic dysentery caused by some tropical intestinal bug, Dr. Everett told me. It required me to submit stool specimens to confirm the disease and later ones to confirm its absence. I went through two courses of this disease in two years. There were the symptoms in the abdomen caused by some "excessive independence of my metabolic processes" as Steiner calls it on page 24. After that disease was over, I moved to neurasthenia with a series of throat infections leading me to have a tonsillectomy at age 29.
[page 25] In neurasthenia, we have an upper function that demands too much of the upper organs; as a result, something that should have been transmitted from above via the heart in order to take place down below instead takes place prematurely up above and reaches its conclusion there. The activity in question is not transmitted through the damming-up process in the heart and thus does not extend down into the lower flow, the flow of liquefied nutrients.
That was me at age 28 or so. My heart was blocking the transmission of my feelings to the lower organs causing the throat problem which resulted in the operation which seemed to solve the problem. What is interesting to me now is first to note how quickly I went from hysteria to neurasthenia, and what was going on inside of me mentally and emotionally at the time. The hysteria showed itself to me by my overweening concern with my health. The slightest thing could trigger some dreadful fright that I might be dying and soon I was back in Dr. Everett's office. He finally located the amoebic dysentery and I felt a relief at knowing what I had was curable. At one point, the repeated stool specimens caused me to begin describing to the kind old doctor what my stools looked like between specimens, and one day he told me, "You know, Bob, there is no silver standard in Paris for stool specimens." That droll statement caused me to smile and I think that helped to cure my hysteria and stop my constant worrying about my health(5). But soon my throat was sore all the time, almost as if an underlying condition had arisen that the hysteria had been masking.This time, the crucial element of my healing actually came a few days before the operation when my surgeon, Dr. Zurik, looked at me and said, "This is a serious operation, Bob, you are an adult now." That statement hit me like a lightning bolt, "I am an adult!" No one had ever told me that before. It was if he had said, "Time to put away your childish things." Yes, childish things, like my hysteria and neurasthenia. And I did. The operation was a success and I recall vividly the recovery period when I arrived back in my home in Kenner, surviving on frequent chewing of Aspergum (aspirin laced gum) which was the only thing that seemed to relieve the pain in my throat. Barely functional, I was facing a severe hurricane Camille heading straight for us, which could overtop the Lake Pontchartrain levee a few miles north of our home. I was hauling food and furniture upstairs and making my four children ages 4 to 9 feel comfortable and safe. We survived the hurricane fine as it veered at the last moment to the Biloxi area, and a month later I took a job in California. I grew up a lot in those few years. I had indeed put away my childish things. And now for the first time, I can see the relationship between what was going on in my head to what was going on in my body.
This next passage could be titled, "Suppress Cough Suppressants", because Steiner leads us to understand the importance of the cough reflex as a corrective action taken by the body, which otherwise might run into physical ailments. This is the first time I've read anyone explaining the benefits of coughing, and yet, I've avoided cough medicines and suppressants ever since the events of my twenties (back in the 1960s). In addition, I have noticed in many movies when a person is under pressure, they break into a nervous cough. It is a real cough by their cough reflex designed to keep certain things getting in to skew either their upper or lower region. It is best not to suppress this balancing reflex of the body by artificial cough syrups and suppressants.
[page 28] When a person's lower organization is such that it cannot be controlled by the upper organization, the cough reflex is a healthy reaction on the part of the body, an attempt to prevent certain things from getting in. Simply preventing coughing by direct means under any and all circumstances may cause damage, because harmful factors will then be able to enter. The body coughs because in its present condition it cannot tolerate these harmful factors and wants to eliminate them. The cough reflex is just a sign of something happening in the organism that makes it necessary to prevent the entry of invaders that could otherwise easily gain access.
Night sweats, of which I have no personal experience, is a condition used by Steiner to explain the unconscious anabolic processes and conscious catabolic processes. It helps me to remember that catabolic processes are "destructive" processes because the root "cata" appears in cataclysm and catastrophe. Anabolic are building up processes, on the other hand. Night sweats provide an example to illustrate the polar processes.
[page 29] In order to do full justice to this subject, we must know a bit about the intimate connection between all excretory functions, including sweat formation, and the aspect of our nature that includes psychological and spiritual activity. Building-up processes, the vital anabolic processes, really constitute only a basis for the unconscious, while excretory processes, wherever they may take place, correspond to the awake and conscious activities of the ensouled organism. Our thinking, too, corresponds to the brain's excretory or catabolic processes rather than to its anabolic processes. Night sweats constitute an excretory process that normally ought to parallel an activity of the soul and spirit, but because the upper part of the body is not interacting with the lower in the right way, this process waits until night, when the organism is freed from activity of spirit and soul.
What did my bouts of amoebic dysentery and sore throats have in common? Were they perhaps my body's marshaling of its forces against some unseen and incipient disease? This thought never crossed my mind until I began reviewing the material on pages 30 and 31. First a little more background on me. My Aunt Carolyn, three years older than me, had tuberculosis. She was living with us at the time when I was a senior in high school. All members of our household had tests for TB which were negative. She entered the Dibert-Brown TB Clinic on Tulane and Claiborne and I visited her there a few times. She was released after a couple of years completely healed and has never had a recurrence of the disease. Neither have I ever been diagnosed with TB, but a curious thing happened about 16 years ago when I had a minor operation to seal up a small belly-button hernia. The X-Ray they took showed a small spot on my lungs and the specialist I went to explained that it was a very old TB scar. Somehow my body, without my knowing it, had healed itself of TB at some time in the past by inducing series of sore throats and coughing and following up those corrective actions with diarrhea from the dysentery. As improbable as all this seems, it matches the processes Steiner discusses on pages 30 and 31.
[page 30] The symptoms of an illness are united in a functional structure, a nonmaterial organization, as it were. In a certain sense, one symptom belongs with another. As a result, if other conditions in the organism ought to provoke some sort of reaction — let us stick to incipient tuberculosis here — but the organism itself does not have the strength to accomplish this, then the rational thing to do is to assist the reaction just at that point, causing one illness to follow on another. Ancient physicians stated this as an important rule in the education of physicians. They said that the danger in being a physician lies in being able to induce illness as well as drive it away. Physicians are able to induce illnesses to the same extent that they are able to cure them. . . . But these induced disease states are illnesses in their own right. And coughing, sore throat, chest pain, weight loss, night sweats — all of these are real symptoms of illness. It may be necessary to induce them, but they remain real symptoms nonetheless.
In my case, it seems that my body was able to induce these disease states to ward off the incipient tuberculosis, though I only recall sore throats out of the list of induced disease states. When I read the next paragraph, I noticed that the setting straight of the upset digestive process required the process of diarrhea, which is exactly what the dysentery caused me to have.
[page 30] Of course it is easy to realize that, having half cured a person — that is, having induced these symptoms — we cannot simply abandon the patient to his or her fate. At this point, the second part of the healing process must set in. We must take care not to stop with inducing reactions to ward off the disease; something must then ensue that cures these reactions and sets the whole organism back on the right track. We would have to ensure, for instance, that when coughing or a sore throat either develops naturally or is artificially induced as a defense against incipient tuberculosis, the digestive process, which in such cases always shows signs of constipation, is set straight. In one way or another, we will notice that this digestive process needs to be guided in the direction of an elimination process — diarrhea, for example. It is always necessary to allow diarrheal processes to follow coughing symptoms, sore throats, and the like. This points to the fact that a symptom appearing in the upper part of the body must not be seen in isolation.
What started out as a description of how our heart works as a carburetor and a sense organ has evolved into a deep understanding of the healing processes of the body by considering the upper and lower realms mediated by that marvelous sense organ, the heart. Compared to Steiner's knowledge, what cardiac specialists in modern hospitals know about the heart seem kindergartenish.
[pag 31] You see, once a real understanding of cardiac function enables us to grasp correspondences between the upper and lower parts of the human being, and once we also understand the first signs of disease on the functional or etheric level, as in neurasthenia and hysteria, we can then move on to an understanding of their imprints on the organic and physical level. By studying the outer manifestations of symptoms that belong together — including symptoms we ourselves have induced — we will discover how to guide the course of an illness in a certain direction, deflecting it to a greater or lesser extent in order to lead the entire process back toward health at the right moment.
Steiner closes Lecture 2 with a brief discussion of homeopathy. My earlier reading decades ago in non-anthroposophic literature was that in homeopathy, very diluted substances (which could be poisonous at stronger concentrations) were given to patients so that by causing the symptoms of the illness they have, could cause their body to get well, thus, the origin of the word, "homeo" meaning "similar". What I had assumed was that progressive dilutions would continually decrease the effect of the chemical, but I find now that my materialistic assumption from my chemistry lessons was wrong!
[page 32] If you call to mind the properties of any substance, the properties that make its effect apparent to us in any way, you have what is absorbed into the human being's lower functions once it has been overcome by the organism, as happens in digestion. It is also possible, however, to homeopathize substances (if I may put it like that), to eliminate the substance's internal cohesiveness. This happens when we dilute the substance in any way or prepare homeopathic doses. The resulting phenomenon has in no way been given due consideration by our modern science, and in any case people tend to consider everything abstractly.
But one cannot continue dilutions indefinitely; there is a rebound effect.
[page 33] No such activity ever vanishes into infinity. Instead, it goes only as far as the limits of a definite sphere and then snaps back on itself as if it were elastic. Admittedly, however, its qualitative aspect is then often different from the quality of the original outgoing force. Only rhythmical processes exist in the natural world. There are no processes that lose themselves in infinity; there are only processes that rebound on themselves in a rhythmic way.
This is true of both quantitative and qualitative expansion. When you begin dividing a substance, it possesses certain properties from the outset. These properties do not decrease into infinity as you continue the divisions. Beyond a certain point, they swing back and turn into the opposite properties. This inner rhythm is also the basis of the contrast between our lower organization and our upper organization. Our upper organization is a homeopathizer. In a certain way, it immediately counteracts the ordinary digestive processes, forming their opposite, their negative image. It could be said that when homeopathic pharmacists produce their dilutions, they are really transforming properties that otherwise relate to the lower human organization into properties that then relate to the upper human organization.
This completes my review and study of the first two of the twenty lectures in this book. I have learned a lot about some of the mysteries of my own life that I didn't even consider to be mysteries or knowable. I have learned that my writing reviews of Steiner's lectures takes me into a deeper understanding of his spiritual science than I could receive on a first reading. I look forward to sharing with you my study of the rest of the lectures in the coming months, and will publish these in multiple reviews as I progress through the rest of book.
~^~ Links to All Lectures 1 through 20 of Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine, GA#312
To Read a Review of Specific Lecture, Click Below.Lectures in Dornach, March 21, 22 of 1920: Lectures 1 and 2
Lectures in Dornach, March 23 to 27 of 1920: Lectures 3 to 7
Lectures Dornach, Mar 28 - April 9 of 1920: Lectures 8 thru 20
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. For those who write for help with using the doyletics memory procedure, I created a short questionnaire for them to use: "Send this information — Name, Location in the world, Age, Sex, Marital Status, Children, Occupation, and Current Challenges in your life." This allows them to shed light on who they are as a human being rather than focusing on one presenting problem.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. With modern technology I was able to witness a short video of the throbbing bulb of a live fetus. One can only wonder how Steiner witnessed this in his lifetime a hundred years ago.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. Granted, ingenious engineers, by pretending the heart is a pump, have created mechanical devices which by a pumping action can cause the mixing of oxygen and nutrients to occur for a certain period of time, but it is not an efficient or long-term replacement for the human heart so far as I know. Mechanical devices lack the amazing sensing mechanisms of the heart and a replacement human heart will out perform any mechanical heart in the long run.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5. Another droll comment from Dr. Peter Everett’s dry wit came after I had noticed him commenting on my low blood pressure every time he removed the strap from my arm. I grew concerned, so I asked him one day what that meant. He replied, “It means you may be cursed with a long life.”Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Read or Print the Review 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 reads about Ninja Chicken Protest and Spots a Picketer.
2.Comments from Readers:
- EMAIL from cousine Suzanne Potier in Baton Rouge:
Click on: http://www.whathappenedinmybirthyear.com/ The screen is going to fade to black. You'll be pleasantly surprised with this one...
Type the year only.
Then click the question mark (?) and sit back and enjoy.
- EMAIL from Sam (Salvo) DiChiera in Australia:
Been hectic since our last email/correspondence.
Please send across your phone number and suitable time to call. I might be in Adelaide for week as my Mum is having surgery and I'll be doing some travelling and spending time in waiting rooms during the night (your day!) and would love to catch up and talk.
Hope things are going well for you.
NOTE: I knew Salvo as Sam back in the early days of working with Doyle Henderson (1998 to 2000). Sam was a ready resource for many things we tried to do. In the days before YouTube, Sam helped me to come up with a short video clip for on line usage. He has gone back to his given name of Salvatore, and his friends call him Salvo. Great to have him back in my world. We had an hourlong phone call to renew our acquaintance a few days ago. Bobby
- EMAIL from Ed Smith in Lubbock, Texas:
I was very moved by this, pondering as I watched it how there was a warm love and compassion moving between the human kingdom and the group soul of the water mammal. I couldn't help but think of some of the things also that Steiner said about our relationship to the elementary beings. Romans 8:19-23 always comes to my mind when I contemplate these things.
- EMAIL from Jeff Parsons:
A 3D Printer which can replicate objects with moving parts within minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboxMsSz5Aw
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Curtains for the Wall"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell, this one written shortly after the Berlin Wall was breached in 1989:
Curtains for the Wall
From Budapest to Bucharest
Democracy's in from the West
Communism's on its knees
Heedless of its dictators' pleas
Economies of running free
Dog the heels of history.
In the Eighties' East Germany
It took half a years salary
To buy a color VCR
And a BMW car
Required the riches of a czar.The Wall fell downIt wasn't hammers and chisels
And broke its crown
And all the King's horses
and all the King's men
Couldn't put it together again.
Or rockets or guided missiles
That transformed the Wall into dust
And turned the Iron Curtain to rust
But seeds of democracy nourished
By flowing tears of the vanquished.
And when the Wall at last disappears
We'll remember over the years —
As the Wall recedes, brick by brick —
Communication did the trick.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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