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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam:
~~~~~~~~ Deacon Jones (1938-2013) of L. A. Rams Fearsome Foursome
~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ See Commentary.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2012 Commemorations ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Dave Brubeck (1920 - 2012) Jazz Pianist, 'Take Five' ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Alex Karras (1935 - 2012) NFL, Blazing Saddles ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Phyllis Diller (1917 - 2012) Outrageous Comedienne ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Larry L. King (1929 - 2012) Author: "None But A Blockhead"
~~~~~~~~ and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas". ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#137 July, 2013== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Beach Month of July:
Death is blowing out the candle
at the Break of Dawn.
— Jerald O'Collins
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Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#137 for July 2013
Table of Contents
1. July's Violet-n-Joey CartoonCommentary on the World
2. Honored Readers for July
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Crab Hors d'oeuvres
6. Poem inspired by Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia: "A Grace Note"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for July:
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. David "Deacon" Jones
5. A Reason for Not Using Reason
6. Tony Spatafora's Whistling Ducks
7. Willie the Lucky Ducky, A Story by Tony Spatafora
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. July Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
This month Violet and Joey learn about Knap Kidding Relatives.
"Knap Kidding Relatives" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/062113jv.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR July:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for July, 2013:
Dotty Zold in California
Kurt Cramer in Switzerland
Congratulations, Dotty and Kurt!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
ESPN3.COM and AMERITRADE SUCK, and OMAHA OVERSTOCKS! ! !
My LSU Fighting Tigers, ranked number one in the National in most polls after we won the SEC Tournament without a loss, were only ranked fourth in Regionals. ESPN in a really low blow decided to drop LSU from its broadcast lineup after blocking both COX Sports Channel and the LSU.Net's Geaux Zone from broadcasting the games of the Baton Rouge Regional, and shuttle us to its ESPN3.com streaming video channel which reminded me of watching a game on blurry 1950s color TV, except the reception and images back then were better and more consistent! Looked like the Geaux Zone five years ago when it was just learning to stream baseball games, only worse. Geaux Zone was a brilliant diamond compared to ESPN's rhinestone paste! Instead of ESPN3.com streaming video, I called it ESPN3.com screaming video because I was screaming at it and its poor quality for most of the three games!
Luckily the poor performance by ESPN was not matched by the Tigers and they won all their games and qualified for a Super Regional also in Baton Rouge. They went against Oklahoma's best pitcher and whipped him with superb performance by Aaron Nola. The second game was 11-1 victory and LSU packed for Omaha.
Unfortunately, LSU should have packed light. All the Omaha folks, especially the ones in the food and beverage industry loaded up the hungry and thirsty Tigers, hoping for a long stay. But no one checked with the folks designing the new AMERITRADE ball park which is located in a low area with lots of dead air (no breezes except those flowing in from outfield) Previous field was on a hill with lots of breezes from all directions. Good ole Rosenblatt Stadium. Note: A-MERIT-RAID would be a better name, as this park, to it's a-MERIT, RAIDed the Tigers of about 4 homers, four long fly balls which fell just short of the distance walls. Enough to cause LSU to lose its first two games and go home early. Many others CWS teams fared just as badly due to the large, dead-air field.
Sorry about your overstocking, Omahans! Save it for next, we hope to be back, and in the meantime, how about doing yourself and us a favor by getting those fences moved in to the average length of college baseball parks. It ain't fair for baseball teams to get to Omaha and have to play in a lousy field with extra long ranges to Left, Center, and Right! Yes, Mason Katz got a home run and it would have been enough for us to beat UCLA if it hadn't been for two unearned runs due to errors by usually error-free Alex Bregman and Ty Ross. We lost 1-2 in a game we should have won. Naturally the Championship was won by a teams who bunts constantly, and we all how much fun that kind of game is to watch. Watching a bunt is like watching a man kiss his sister! BOOORIINNNGG! !
STEINER BOOKS PROBLEM FIXED
At the beginning of June, I thought that I'd be doing the final updates to my reviews of Rudolf Steiner books so that any Reader could click on a link at the bottom of a review page and be taken into SteinerBooks' on-line Bookstore, down the correct aisle and to the very book they would want to purchase, where all they would have to do is grab the book, and buy it! Seemed to me a reasonable way for me to treat my Good Readers, but after all the work to make this possible, several days of my time in May, including multiple tests on my part to ensure my links would work this way, suddenly some global change was made to the SteinerBooks data base and my Good Readers were dropped outside the Bookstore instead! They had to search for the book, rarely knowing what the ISBN was, and navigate through other books with similar titles, etc. A mess! I had already ensured that the ISBN for these 150 books was in the link and it was now being ignored!I wrote a brief description of the problem to the head of SteinerBooks and the problem was fixed in short order. Now my readers are happy, and the conversion of all the .pdf files (which do not currently link properly) remains for me to do sometime in the future. Unfortunately, this was exactly the kind of task that can be done while I'm watching a streaming LSU baseball game on my computer, but their baseball season is now over. Meanwhile the .htm reviews have the correct links to the book on the shelf and I am happy once again for all my Good Readers, especially the Steiner book readers.
WEDDING BELLS: KATIE & STEPHEN, JOHN & KIM
Our grand-daughter Katie is engaged to be married in June of 2014, and Del was included in the shopping trip for the wedding dress, along with Kim, the mother of the bride. Luckily Katie knew exactly what she wanted and in the second place they stopped found sales assistants who could help get what she wanted. Still it was a long day of shopping and Del was ready to drop when she finally got home from Baton Rouge.
Two later trips to Timberlane by the wedding party followed. The first was by Kim, Katie, and Kate (the Maid of Honor). Del took the girls to Zea's Restaurant and then to the movie, "Internship". The morning after I showed the two Kates how artichokes grow on our two plants. I picked the largest artichokes on each plant, and asked Katie if she had ever cooked artichokes, she said, "No. I never tried to tackle one." Tackling is a good word to describe preparing an artichoke for someone who has never done it.
So we went inside to the kitchen and I invited her to watch how I prepared the artichokes for steaming. After I did a small one and a larger one, I let her take over to do the other larger one. My first artichoke prep was a little messy, so she saw how her first attempt might look, but my second one was masterful: cleaned out the choke with one stroke. She did the remaining artichoke and got to feel how hard it was to cut through an artichoke for your first time. Having a serrated edge CUTCO knife makes the job easier. Then she was able to remove the sometimes messy choke without much problem. She's good to go.
The second trip to Timberlane involved Michele, a bridesmaid from Baltimore, who has never been to New Orleans before. This time it was Katie picking up Michele at the Baton Rouge Airport and stopping to visit Oak Alley and Mardi Gras World on the way here. They may have done some shopping, but the primary activity was the next day in New Orleans with Del as the tour guide. Del asked me to remind her of the origin of the phrase "neutral grounds" which New Orleanians use to refer to the median strips. I explained it had to do with the time when the French people lived only in the French Quarter side of Canal Street, and the English-speaking Americans lived only in the uptown side of Canal Street. The large median strip separating the French and English folks was a neutral area where folks from both sides could meet in safety to discuss business, etc. Thus the name came into being and stuck around. It wasn't until I moved to California that I discovered that only people from New Orleans used "neutral ground" instead of median strip.
We took Katie & Michele to DiMartino's for dinner the evening they arrived. I seem to recall there was a Muffuletta for one of them that night. Del and I shared an oyster po-boy, one of my favorite New Orleans treats, which I get whenever I can and Peter DiMartino's Deli makes the best in the city.The oysters were a little thin during the aftermath of the BP problem in the Gulf, but now they're back and plush and juicy as ever. We always eat them "dressed" which means lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise to us city-folk in South Louisiana.
The next day Del took the girls on a tour of New Orleans, City Park, Lakeshore Drive, and ending up in the Garden District at the jewel of New Orleans' cuisine, Commander's Palace. Not sure what entrees they had, but the Bread Pudding Souffle is a must for first time diners at the Palace.
John & Kim
Meanwhile our son John has proposed marriage to Kim and given her a ring. Notice of their engagement came via a short video clip of him slipping the ring on her finger, our first ever receiving notification of engagement using this technology. John has an older sister named Kim, which will likely continue to cause a bit of confusion, but not as much as it did the first few weeks, for example when I heard John & Kim were coming to Timberlane, I asked, "John is coming with Kim, actually?"I later learned this had been repeated several times by John's two brothers until we began to call her "Kim Actually" to distinguish her from the sister. Now we know her last name and we are delighted to welcome with open arms another Kim into our family.
HUEY P. LONG BRIDGE SYMPOSIUM AND GRAND OPENING
As a kid I drove over the Huey P. Long Bridge when it was new because it was five years old when I was born. My earliest memory was when I was about five years old and there were anti-aircraft batteries, long green-barreled guns pointing into the air at each of the entrances to the bridge. They were stationed in the round neutral ground of the bridge's circles or rotaries and manned by the Louisiana National Guard. I also recall from that time frame the large blimps flying over our home in Westwego, and we often drove past the Blimp Base in Houma on the way to our grandparents' homes in Bourg, just south of Houma. In fact, we were on just such a trip to Grandpa Matherne's when we heard over the car radio that World War II had come to an end.
My next memories of the bridge come from when I was fifteen and driving a large 1951 Buick sedan over the narrow roadway of the bridge. This was a rite of passage for teenagers from both sides of the river, especially the West Bank, where we lived, because we went to Lake Pontchartrain to swim and catch shrimp from the steps of the concrete seawall once or twice a week during warm weather which for us is about 9 months of the year or more. I have never much enjoyed eating live clams since that time because I recall we would buy a bucket of clams near the seawall and it was our job as kids, me and three brothers, to smash the clams with a ball-peen hammer. We didn't eat them but instead threw the sorry mess into the lake as chum to attract the shrimp which our dad would catch with his homemade cast net. All we needed was those yucky clams, a Coleman Lantern and a cast net and Dad's tossing and retrieving skills to return home with enough shrimp for a brown gravy shrimp stew which Mom cooked every Friday like clockwork. In New Orleans you knew what day of the week it was by what was on the table for dinner: red beans and rice on Monday and shrimp stew on Friday. The other days were a little variable, but at small restaurants, the middle days were things like black-eyed peas on Tuesday, stuffed bell peppers on Wednesday, and Thursday, I forget.
And I digress.
Why was driving across the bridge a rite of passage for young drivers? Because the two nine-foot lanes were designed for the skinny Model T's and Model A's of the 1930's, not for the Fat Fifty Monster Sedans: the Mercurys, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, etc, those Chrome-plated Boats with their loosey-goosey steering wheels in those days before Americans ever heard of rack-and-pinion steering which allows for very tight steering without having to continually move the steering wheel back and forth just to stay in the lane. And driving across the Huey P., well, the lane was only 9-feet wide and you had to pass 18-wheelers in a curve sometimes! I know, I did it, and without ever hitting the curb, but believe me it required every brain cell to be at attention when I was passing someone on that bridge!
On Father's Day, June 16, 2013, the newly expanded bridge was due to open and I wanted to attend the Symposium at the U. S. Mint in New Orleans to learn about the bridge and its expansion. How safe and sturdy would the bridge be after it has been expanded from two 9-foot lanes going each way to three 11-foot lanes going each way (plus an 8-foot breakdown lane on one side and a 2-foot shoulder on the other side of each direction of traffic? Inquiring minds wanted to know.
The Symposium offered three panel sessions: The Original Construction, The Expanded Construction, and Huey P. Long, the man's history, how he got it built in the middle of the depression, and how he arranged to get assassinated just in time to ensure his name would be forever emblazoned on the bridge.
As for the safety of the expanded bridge, it's no sweat. Each railroad track's loading can handle the equivalent of 11 lanes of vehicular roadway traffic! With two tracks across the bridge, that's 22 lanes of vehicular traffic loading provided for just the railroad tracks, so two more vehicular lanes adds only about 10 percent more load on the total bridge, which even including the widened lanes and the new cantilever superstructure is well within the capacity of the original bridge.
The original bridge was an engineering marvel and is now recognized as such by the ACE (Association of Civil Engineers). Its foundations were inspected and they are as solid as they were 78 years ago. The bridge piers in the river were designed for a 92-Loading Spec, whereas other railroad bridges settled for a lighter and easier to achieve 70-Loading Spec. Plus the loading was calculated during a time when Steam Locomotive were getting larger and Southern Pacific was planning a super-large steamer called Big Bertha. The new bridge had to hold up two of these huge locomotives at the same time and railroad cars covering the length of the 7-mile long Railroad bridge going both ways. Like dinosaurs got huge just before the asteroid wiped them out, along came the asteroid known as diesel locomotives to wipe out Big Bertha and her buxomly sisters. Within a few years, the lighter, stronger diesel locomotive had replaced all the large steam ones. In short, the already-over-designed Huey P. Long bridge, even-expanded, still has a lot of excess load capacity.
In the third session about the history of bridge, one of the panelists was Tonja Koob Marking, who together with Jennifer Snape, authored the book, "Huey P. Long Bridge" which I was able to acquire an autographed copy for Del to have. On page 80, there's a photo of her Aunt Ruth helping Huey's daughter Rose Long cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony. Del had always said that her aunt was on the first auto going across the new bridge and this photo documents her being part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. I didn't know that I had any connection to the opening ceremony until I found out that the marching band shown on page 81 at the opening ceremony was the Hahnville High School Marching Band. My first impression was, 'Wow! Hahnville had a uniformed marching band some 78 years ago!" Then my surprise dampened and I sobered up a bit when I realized that only 20 years later, in 1955, I put on what was likely those same uniforms when I marched in that band during football games and Mardi Gras parades. But it's still special to me to realize that the only band, that I ever marched and played my trumpet in, had marched and played for the Grand Opening of the Huey P. Long Bridge.
Footnote on Symposium: I met two men named Jackson at the Mint that day. The guard downstairs had a last name of Jackson and I enjoyed talking to him before the symposium and made a point to visit him afterwards. He was helping visitors from San Diego find places to eat and to go and allowed me to join in with my suggestions for them.
The second man was Tom Jackson, a newly retired Civil Engineer who had worked on the local approaches and paths for the New Orleans area extension of I-49 which will soon tie New Orleans and Shreveport together and provide a much-needed alternative to I-10 between New Orleans and Lafayette as well as points north to Alexandria and Shreveport. Tom sat next to me and helped clarify some of the issues that came up during the Symposium. He had recently retired, but knew several of the speakers and dignitaries at the Mint that day.
After the Symposium, I walked through the French Market and when I got close to Café du Monde, I heard a familiar voice. Sure enough, it was Hock Bartholomew, my favorite trumpet player. I popped a fiver into his hat and he asked what I wanted and I requested A Closer Walk. I sat down inside at the empty table touching the wrought iron fence where I could shake hands with Hock and talk to him. He introduced me to his sideman, Chris, on the guitar. That's new — Hock usually plays and sings solo outside of Café du Monde. I met him there about twenty years ago, I was concerned when he didn't show for a year or two after Katrina. But he's back and I stumbled into him. The server came by right away to take my order and so I ordered my usual café au lait and 3 beignets. Del had dropped me off earlier was heading to the Quarter to pick me up so I thought I had enough time to listen to Hock and nosh on some hot doughnuts, french-style, and coffee, but Del got there before the coffee showed up, so I told Hock to share the stuff with Chris and give the money I left to the gal when she comes. I let Hock know I appreciated how he had spiced up his already great rendition of Del's favorite song, "A Closer Walk with Thee," as I left to cross the street where Del was waiting for me. I left behind my etheric body to enjoy coffee and doughnuts with Chris and Hock as we drove home.
We skipped the Grand Opening of the Huey P. Long Bridge, the Expanded Version, but I resolved to drive over the new span the very next day. Del and I decided to see the new Star Trek movie at Elmwood AMC Cineplex which is just over the bridge. The movie was terrific as you can tell my extensive blurb on it in this Issue. We enjoyed the drive over, and were thankful that it's still possible to see the Mississippi River from the bridge in spite of the concrete barriers. We'll miss being able to check the height of the river as we could through the iron bars of the old guard rails, especially in times when the river is nearing or over flood stage, but we can live with that.
RETIREMENT AND ROTARY
Gail and Jim are two good friends we have known for almost thirty years. Jim retired as a Lt. Colonel, a fighter pilot, in the US Air Force a few years after we first met him, and he soon began leading local high school AFROTC programs, first Destrehan and then Riverdale High School. I marched along with his cadets in many Mardi Gras parades, took a trip to the Sky Lab simulator in Baton Rouge one year, then recently went as a chaperone to the Blue Angels Air Show at Belle Chasse Naval Air Station.It's only 4 air miles from us, so if I stay home, I have to hear the show anyway, so why not go? And I did, and this time I stumbled upon a chance to fly an F16 Fighter Jet. Well, I was the cockpit of an F16 outfitted and connected to a simulator. Never left the ground, but I took off from Miramar Air Force Base in San Diego, the Top Gun Training Center, and flew out over the Pacific Ocean and landed safely back at Miramar, getting the plane's tires a little dirty as I ran off the end of the runway, but hey! It was my first flight! Jim and I have also fished together on many occasions, often even catching fish to take home and fry. We either had bad luck or were addicted to catch-and-release. Your choice as to which was the case.
Gail we knew years before Jim, only meeting Jim a few days before their wedding. Gail had done a lot of consulting for the Pentagon, but came to South Louisiana determined to get consulting work in the oil-field and other petrochemical plants, and has done so. She joined the St. Charles Rotary Club and has risen in the ranks over the years. She and Jim have worked every year parking cars for the Rotary-sponsored Alligator Festival for a couple of decades, it seems, from the very first one. When the festival is over and they tell friends, "See Ya Later, Alligator!" everyone knows what it means. Fall-time in St. Charles Parish means Alligator Festival!
All of which is prologue to what I wanted to share with you: this month Jim retired for a second time, from the Jefferson Parish School system and Riverdale High School. And Gail was elected President of her Rotary Club. I went to Jim's Retirement party at Zea's Restaurant in Kenner, Del having an previous appointment, and Del and I were invited to join Gail's table for the Rotary Annual Awards Meeting and New Officer Induction where Gail officially took over as the new President of the St. Charles Rotary Club, one of the most active chapters of the Rotary in South Louisiana.
COMPUTER CRASH REDUX
Now for the bad news.
For the past several years, I have been running two PC's side-by-side. My older XP operating system ran on a PC whose mainframe I first bought when we were living in Metairie before 1989. When the Mother Board crashed, I bought a new Main Board (term used by non-computer types) and added a new hard drive to run the new operating system on. As a result I have at least one hard drive that has lasted over 25 years or more. Then I spread my data over the remaining hard drives so that only the operating system was on the new larger drive (C:). With the advent of Windows 7, some of my software that I relied upon only ran on XP, so I acquired replacement software and began working on the eventual migration to a brand-new PC. I designed it and had A Prompt Computer build for me with two terabyte hard drives, and a video card and system capable of handling four monitors at the same time — this PC I call S7 for short. Currently I only use one large monitor, but plan to expand to three monitors shortly as my migration plans have moved to front burner when my XP system crashed this month. I will not be adding a new mother board, or spending much money on troubleshooting the source of the continuous crashes every time I reload the XP system using the System Restores. Last month it crashed and I was finally able to restore it on the third try; that was my "get-ready signal" and I'm moving full speed ahead with plans for the final migration and removal of the XP system.
With the XP system running, I felt like I had two thoroughbred horses at my disposal: the XP was a Quarter Horse workhorse, but S7 was an Arabian steed that I relied upon for fast work and equipped dual redundancy in its two terabyte hard drives. The data drives that are configured on TB1 (first Terabyte Physical Hard Drive) along with the C: partition of the operating system, are mirrored on TB2 (second physical HD). Either hard disk fails, all of my data is backed up on the other hard disk. If it's the Hard Drive containing C: (system), I reload software: if it's the other hard drive which contains only data and copy of system, then I buy a new hard drive and run the back up to be fully restored. Given the life expectancy that I have for hard drives from my own experience with my XP hard drives (four of them and none have ever failed), I'll be retiring in thirty years and the current hard drives will still be running. If you plan ahead, you get sucked in — that's one of my rules.
Where am I now? My Quarter Horse workhorse has turned into a Pack Mule — still doing the heavy lifting for vital publishing functioning, but slower than before. I'm running Windows XP in Safe Mode, and most of the functions I need for my publication work still work on it. The loss of Picture Publisher functions has required me to move my photo processing functions to Photoshop CS5 which is an inconvenience, but one which will help to learn to use a lot of Photoshop's capability than I have in the past. I need a good PS Tutor, if any knows of one or is one, contact me, please.
TIDBITS: Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen, Zed10 Blackberry, Bon Ton Restaurant
On the next night after the Huey P. Long Symposium, I cooked dinner for John & Sandra plus Diane and Ron. Del and I made a spectacular Mandala Salad, first one in a long time, and it was the hit of the evening. I remember when we would eat one of these once or twice a week years ago. There are multiple photos of the salads I've made over the years, but you can see a typical one by clicking on above link, for you Good Readers who are new to my monthly publication.Looking back, Del and I said we could have served only the salad and everyone would have had two servings. As it turned out we ate the rest of the Mandala Salad for the next two days; it was still fresh and delicious, only requiring some fresh avocado, which we usually have in the fridge ready to go. In addition to the Salad, I made a huge Crawfish Eggplant Dressing for Main Course with a side of Green Beans and Potatoes. John appreciated the home-style green beans and potatoes as well. He brought a gateau di sirop that he made himself. It was dark and delicious, made with Steen's Syrup, and was also a hit.
We've had our Blackberry Curve Smartphones for three years, and I remember how we used our time in Orange Beach to learn all the features on our new Maxima and on our new phones. We actually managed to get the Blue-Tooth of the Curves connected to the Maxima to make a phone call on the way home. How new that was only three years ago. Verizon wanted us to renew our contract, so I drove over to the store one day and it was a ten minute or longer wait. I left and went back the next day and got waited on immediately. First question: Does the Zed10 use the same power adaptor as the Curve? A quick plug-up test showed that it did. Great! We already have adaptors in car, with Laptop, in Master Bedroom, etc. and now we can have an extra connector.
This year, it seemed to me to be time to upgrade to 4GLTE and a larger screen, and I found the ideal solution in the new Blackberry Z10 Model. The Z10 is all display screen and the Q10 has a slightly larger screen but with hard keyboard for traditionalists. With our new Z10 (that's pronounced "ZED TEN" for you colonials!) Blackberry Smart Phone we will be heading to Orange Beach this summer, but we'll have most of its new features sussed out by then. Just the other day I had to use Del's Maxima to pick her up, and in the driveway before leaving, I worked out how to connect my new Z10 via Blue-Tooth to the Maxima's built-in, hands-free cell phone capability. Along the way, I noticed a capability to play songs and music from the Z10 to the radio in the Maxima.
The camera in the Z10 has a facial recognition and time-warp capability. For example, take a photo of, say, three people, Tom, Dick, and Harry. Tom is frowning, Dick's eyes are closed, Harry was looking to the side for a second. You can go back in time to when Tom was smiling, forward in time to when Dick's eyes had recovered from the blink, and backward in time to before Harry had glanced away! Then save a perfect photo. Very easy to use. Won't replace my pocket camera, but for one-time people photos you want to be perfect, it's just the ticket!
The Z10 power convertor is a gumball size device that plugs into the wall, but you can pull the USB connection out of the gumball and plug it into a USB port. When you do that on your PC, it automatically backs up your information on you PC for you. You can easily load photos from your own records onto the Z10 and then show them to people and use them, cropped, to identify people in your contact list. If your contact for your spouse has a photo in it and you open her contact detail to call her and then thumbnail the details, her photo will appear in a box in the upper left hand of your Z10 screen. If you put your own photo cropped correctly as wallpaper, as I do, then after talking to Del, her cropped detail shows her photo hovering over the edge of the right side of head as if I were thinking of her, which I was, because I had just called her. If you then thumbnail the Phone Box during a call to her, her photo will appear with a green phone icon just off the side of her face.
We have already connected ourselves together with streaming video as we're talking, which is easy to do if we both have a Wi-Fi connection available to us. Also swapped photos and contacts with a NFC tap of the phones together. With Orange Beach coming up, we're expecting to learn new ways to enjoy our new ZED10s, like listening to Norah Jones singing "Carnival Town" while we're sunning on the beach.
Bon Ton Restaurant
When I moved back to New Orleans in 1976, I discovered the Bon Ton for the first time and it immediately became my favorite restaurant. I was delighted to find Cajun Food served there daily, a food that I knew well, but had never found in a restaurant before. The crawfish etouffee was especially good and is a frequent choice when we go back there. The crawfish bisque is something rarely found on even Cajun restaurant menus because it is time-consuming to fix, but the Bon Ton has it as a regular menu item.It was my great fortune that my soon wife-to-be, namely Del, also loved the Bon Ton. In an unexpected bonus, her brother Dan and his wife Karen also love the Bon Ton. So when they come to town from Charlotte, N.C., it is natural that we go there to enjoy a great meal in wonderful ambience and great service. Wayne the manager usually comes over to talk to us when we are there, and he is truly a Southern gentleman of the first cloth. This past month, he was busy while Del, Dan, Karen, and I were enjoying our meal, but he managed to find us just as we went outside, and I took the opportunity to get a photo of Wayne standing next to the sign of his wonderful Bon Ton Café. Yes, it says Café, but make no mistake, it is a restaurant of the first cloth!
Long Beach City College Comes to Metairie
One day I stopped by East Jefferson High School to visit our daughter Maureen who is Asst. Principal there and she took me on a walk to see the filming that was going on. A crew was working the football stands which had been converted into Long Beach City College for the film. A photo of the stadium is in this Digest.
Brewing Equisetum Tea
On another day, my good friend Burt Lattimore came over to make some equisetum tea with me. We found some wild horse-tail rushes near here, and quickly put them into a bag because the rain had started. Went back to Timberlane and boiled them in a large stock pot to make an amber liquid of live silicon known as equisetum tea, after its Latin name, Equisetum. We each got a gallon jug which should last a year or so.There is no such thing as diseased plants, only plants responding to off-balanced soil. After a winter with a lot of rain, the Moon forces, which can only reach down into the soil as far as there is water, can affect grasses, bushes, and trees and cause all kinds of yellowing, mold, etc. A treatment with diluted equisetum tea provides living silicon (silicon coming from a living plant not a dead chemical jar) which will bring the Moon forces back into balance. It works like magic. I have always had good reports from landscapers and lawn men that I have recommended this concoction to.
I had the whole house all to myself twice this month.Del tries to take each of her grandchildren on a trip when they graduate from High School. This year's graduate was Kirt Rennick, Jim's step-son, who wanted to go to a National's baseball home game. So Del flew to DC and met Jim and Kirt who traveled by car from Dallas. A great time was had by all as the pictures clearly show.
Del was home for all of one day and then headed to Baton Rouge where John was having some minor surgery requiring her to overnight for two more days. She's home now and it sure is good to have her back and her front and her top and her bottom! (And her composing and typing up this section of things she did on her own.)
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING, SO UNTIL NEXT MONTH
The past 30 days of May have found me home with sunny skies with large white clouds (our Good Mountains), scattered showers, and warm days around our home in New Orleans. Our garden was and is still burgeoning with cucumbers, creole tomatoes, lady finger eggplants, bell peppers, cotton plants, corn, peanuts, a large watermelon (football size already), green beans, okra, Swiss chard, curly kale, and a lot more. Our Sub-Zero refrigerator is running at near sub-zero (degC), but my antique PC crashed (went tits up, we used to say in the computer field), and I am unable to recover from it by a System Restore or any other things I've tried, up until now. I have begun making plans to phase out the dinosaur upon which I have depended for over fifteen years, a good thing which must now give way to a new beginning.I have planned for this eventuality and now it's time to expand my large new PC to three monitors, among other things. More about that next month. The SteinerBooks data base change threw me for a loop, but I was able to get it fixed with help from a friend. My LSU baseball team is done for the season after losing two games in Omaha in the new dead air stadium.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
This coming month of July will find us with some of our kids and grandkids on the beach in Orange Beach, and doing other kinds of July adventures, including a surprise Anniversary Celebration you will hear about in the August issue. Till we meet again in August, God Willing and only gentle winds blow, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it warm and dry (it'll be warm and wet here) or cool and wet, rainy or sunny, remember our slogan for this God Given year of Grace:
MAY THE WORLD CONTINUE PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-THIRTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- The whole world is a mystery and Man is the solution.
- What is best in a given situation may be the enemy of the good.
Rudolf Steiner (20th-century Mystic and Philosopher, from his Biography by Christoph Lindenberg)
New Stuff on Website:From Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
In a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death.
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing each month five poems, one from each Chapter of the book. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)
1. Chapter: Hollyhocks
The Iconoclast Tradition
I follow Groucho Marx
In his iconoclast tradition,
His resistance to membership
I find it irresistible.
I wear Non-Members-Only shirts
Emblemmed with eyebrows and cigar.
I walk alone the road less taken
Along whose woods I do not know
Hand in hand with Robert Frost.
I build a cabin by myself
Alongside Henry's Walden Pond
So we might be alone together.
I shape myself as Emerson:
"Whoso would be a man," he said,
"Would be a non-conformist."
And when I meet Frank Sinatra,
I'll thank him, not in a shy way,
That, just like him, I did it my way.
It is better to give than to receive
Most people will admit that they believe —
But when the world's needs are pressing
A good listener's such a blessing.
For someone who can play the role —Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
And listen with an open heart —
They play withal a double part:
Hearing and nourishing the soul.
3. Chapter: Rose Mallow
The bridges are iced over
The river is frozen solid
There's a whirlwind in the air —
Only one way to get over it
The submarine ferry will carry you there.
Everyone gets a ticket to the other side
No one gets left behind
The goal is always out of sight
But the Captain's got his boat on time
Heading for the fire and the light.
Are you a veteran? she asked.
Yes, a veteran lover, I said,
A veteran of two wars,
Marriages, as they're known in bars.
Taking shrapnel in the gut,
Glancing blows upon the head,
Trench warfare is living in a rut,
Dropping bombs till each other's dead.
A purple heart upon your chest
Signifies your injury
In order to perform your best,
You jump sides to the enemy.
Peace breaks out and so you think
It's thunderstorms rumbling from afar
But deeper into the murk you sink
You're married to another war.
This time you take no prisoners —
No court dates with His Honors —
You divide up the property
And separate most properly.
Alone, with equanimity,
The trench has become a launching pad
For the best solo flight you've ever had.
5. Chapter: Violets
Mumbles From BelowOn the shores of infinity
‘neath the tides of today
lies the reefs of tomorrow
Through which the ship of destiny
slowly wends its way.Steaming up the river of yesterday
passing the driftwood of regrets
dodging whirlpools of frets
Parting is the roiling froth of sorrow —
absence that makes the heart go founder.
Eddie Pooh's wrecks are scattered on the shore
where ravens cry nevermore,
Jo Caster's Deli is off limits
for travelers who ask for more.The keystone cops' a laugh a minute
For Billy Fields and Mackie Sennett.America is a Polish joke
full of promise, full of hope
of chalcedony, myrrh, and rye
And whiskey on the rocks
until we die.The ship of fools's a certainty
for Werner and his gang
are shouting on the stern, "Assholes Ahoy!"And in their merry ploy
rake in the dough
of jaded Barbies
from the boroughAnd Kens whose folios
contain the keys to studios
where hieros gamos
in the sky
attracts their bodies by and by.
Cooperation is a cinch
and will lead them to the altar
With Smith-Barney or Merrill-Lynch
and a piece of the rock, Gibraltar.
The stones are silent
in the yard
Until the night falls low,
and there, where few will deign to go,
Voices Mumble from below,
"Destination Moon or Mars?
A thing the Living Dead
For real living takes
the O in UFO,
On trips more marvelous
than any one of those
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. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. 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.
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version.
“Star Trek: Into the Darkness” (2013) BEST EVER ! ! ! of all the Star Trek Movies. Will bring to young viewers the special Kirk and Spock relationship we watched develop over decades. New foursome is awesome as Kirk, Scotty, Bones, and Spock spring into action, also Sulu and Uhuru. Catch this on big screen now. It grabs you and doesn’t let go till the credits roll. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Life of Pi” (2012) much better without aggravating 3-D lenses and things poking out of screen. Cinematic masterpieces, especially night scenes and day scenes from above the boat. Leaves a wealth of delights for the reader of the novel to enjoy after watching this DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Cloud Atlas” (2012) is a three-hour epic interweaving 6 life stories happening from 1800s to 4400s, so be prepared to be amazed, delighted, confused, receive Hollywood messages about life styles, and be glad when it’s finally over.
“Safe House” (2012) makes the safe houses in the Bourne movies look like kindergartens by comparison. What good is a safe house if the Landlord is the one trying to kill you? Ryan Reynolds just upped his game with this tour de force performance. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“White Hunter Black Heart” (1990) Drum Roll, please! Movie went to Africa to capture the raw metaphor for this movie’s title. Early Eastwood film in which he plays a director of a movie.
“Battleship” (2012) when the world is under attack and Navy is on its swabby knees, it’s time to unleash the Big MO! A classic suitor-for-Princess-must-impress-the-King fairy tale based on a Hasbro board game. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Widow’s Peak” (1994) a young Natasha Richardson arrives in Ireland and Mia Farrow treats her horribly, to everyone’s dismay. Things go from bad to worse as Mia fights with Natasha on a boat and disappears. The earnest citizens of the town accuse Natasha of murder and are ready to hang her. Can a happy ending in an Irish movie be possible? Possibly. A DON’T MISS THE ENDING HIT ! ! !
“A Month by the Lake” (1996) an “Enchanted April” spent by Lake Como with Vanessa Redgrave and Edward Fox who fall in love with the aid of the flirting young Uma Thurman.
“The Dresser” (1983) tour de forces by Albert Finney as the aging stage actor and Tom Courtenay as his indulgent dresser. Will Albert finish the performance of King Lear? This is the must watch section of the movie which makes all the long buildup worth while.
“The Eagle” (2011) Marcus must recover the standard of his father’s lost troop, the Golden Eagle, and restore honor to his family. He must hold the far north fort in Britain against the savage people who aim to push the Romans out.“Stand-up Guys” (2012) stars three retired bad guys, Arkin, Walken, and Pacino, in a conundrum. Pacino killed Claphands’ son by accident, went to prison for 28 years and Walken is tasked with killing Pacino on the day he gets out of prison, the man who kept his silence about the other two being on the job with him. A long night with Walken and Pacino is filled with fun activities, all of which Al confesses to the priest, who says, “You did all this in one day?” Arkin, the getaway driver gets to display his chops after Al and Chris spring him from the old age home. In fact, these doddering dudes all get to display their chops for one more time, like the stand-up guys they are. A DON’T MISS HIT !
"The Last Stand" (2013) may be Arnold Schwarznegger's last movie, but it was a good one for an aging action hero. Best line: "I am the sheriff." Arnold plays a hotshot cop from L.A. morphed into a Keystone Kops sheriff in a jerkwater Arizona town which happens to be the selected path of a notorious crime boss escaping back to Mexico to skip death row. You'll like it, once the action starts.
"End of Watch" (2012) Two hotshot L. A. cops patrol the toughest gang sector and usually get their man and woman, one way or another. Someday the survivor will want to be sheriff in a jerkwater town.
"The Guilt Trip" (2012) Seth Rogan the only child is an inventor and Barbra is his doting mother who goes on a cross-country trip with him as he tried ineptly to sell his invention. The movie begins to be fun the moment Barbra starts having fun. Starts slow and gets funny, poignant, and insightful.
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.“Master” (2012) bating and baiting with a Messiah complex as Freddy and his girl Sandy make it on the beach. Truly a movie without a plot, only 2.5 hours of meaningless meanderings. A waste of Phoenix, Amy, and Hoffman’s talent. BORING!
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Potiche" (2010) two aging French actors, Catherine and Gerard, as Trophy Wife and Mayor re-warm their earlier love affair, but lacking any kindling, end up running for MP against each other.
“Straw Dogs” (2011) Hollywood writer in backwoods Mississippi working on screenplay of Russian victory in Leningrad when surrounded by Nazis is suddenly surrounded by red-neck nazis and must fight for his life to defend his home and his wife. Bloody awful at times as an apparent coward shows his hero stuff.
“Not Fade Away” (2012) is sort of a “Eddie and the Cruisers” without all the good stuff; more of a “Doug and the Losers” instead. Doug morphs into a Bob Dylan lead singer. Eddie was his own man.
“Separation” (2011) Iranian wife & husband get a divorce but are held together by 11-year-old daughter with a Sherlock instinct. This resembles a “Law & Order” episode, Iranian-style, as the husband gets accused of murdering a baby who is miscarried by the housekeeper he chose to take care of his ALZ father after his wife split. Is this a miscarriage of justice or not? Inquiring minds will want to know, but you’ll have to suffer through the slow parts of parental care to get to the interesting parts.
“The Twelve Chairs” (1970) was a dozen too many. Mel Brooks’ early attempt at a movie; he could have stopped with “The Producers” but nooo, he had all these chairs and one might worth a mint. Eu weh!
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This is a true story related to me by my friend Marty Martin at the Foxboro Co. who worked as a salesman in South Louisiana for several years.
He dated a Cajun gal named Marie and she took him to Mulate's in Breaux Bridge, to the Mardi Gras in Big Mamou, to the French Festival in Lafayette, and Marty said he always had a good time being with Marie.
One evening around dusk they were driving on a country road and Marty saw two eyes looking at him from the middle of the road. He slammed on his brakes, but it was too late, and he heard a thud as his car hit something.
Marie said, "Marty, you hit a rabbit!"
Looking back in his mirror, Marty could see the large rabbit lying still in the road, and he felt really bad, so he drove slowly on, vowing to be more careful in case there were any other rabbits around. But his reverie was interrupted by Marie's voice yelling urgently, "Marty! Go back for that rabbit!"
Marty was puzzled, he was sure the rabbit was dead, so why did Marie want to go back, he wondered. Well, when they got back, Marie picked up the rabbit, put it in the trunk, and told him to drive to her house where she cleaned it, made a roux, and cooked him a lip-smacking rabbit stew that night.
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for July, 2013 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Crab Hors d'oeuvres
Background on Crab Hors d'oeuvres: This recipe is based on a crab salad we made on many occasions and ate as a light lunch. We discovered that it goes nicely on top of Ritz Crackers and resolved to make some for the next event at the house. I prepared this for a recent House and Garden tour in which we had about 60 guests coming through our home.
1 and 1/2 cups of Blue Plate Mayonnaise
1/4 cup (2 TBSP) of Zatarain's Creole Mustard
1/2 cup of Plain Yogurt
sprigs of fresh basil and parsley
1 small green onion
6 hard-boiled eggs
2 large avocadoes (or 3 small ones)
16 oz of Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp of shrimp powder
Chop the green onion, basil, and parsley very fine. Blend into the Mayonnaise, Creole mustard, and Plain Yogurt, place in fridge till eggs are ready. Boil the eggs about 18 minutes, set in water to cool and place in fridge for an hour. Have avocadoes ripened ahead of time, barely soft to the firm squeeze.
Open the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and, feeling for and removing any small shell pieces, separate and divide the lumps and place half in each bowl.
Peel the hard-boiled eggs and slice longways into four pieces then cut across the four pieces about 1/4" pieces. Slice each avocado in half, remove stone, and cut the flesh into 1/4" pieces. Note: easy method for doing this can be found here.
Add the 3 chopped eggs go into each bowl. Add half the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat into each bowl. Gently blend the mayo mixture into the chopped eggs and avocados. Season to taste with Tony's. (The avocado and egg should be mixed in shortly before serving.)
Fill two or three elegant serving dishes with the chilled crabmeat mixture. Use a bowl which contains about 1/3 of the mixture . Surround it with Ritz or other crackers, with a knife or spoon for adding the mixture to the crackers. If being served by waiters, have kitchen staff apply a small spoon of the mixture to the top of each cracker shortly before being carried out to serve the guest.
This recipe makes 3 to 4 cups of crabmeat mixture for hors d'oeuvres, enough for a small party. If you want to prepare this ahead of time, add avocado shortly before serving.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY inspired by Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
A grace noteSuddenly out of nowhere, like a grace note in music which doesn't appear in the written score, Cicoria's love of music appears in his life and his life is enhanced by it. Dr. Cicoria's story as related by Oliver Sacks in his book Musicophilia inspired me to write this poem. Grace notes come as time waves from future, a feeling appears in the musician or composer to add a tiny, but important, flourish and a grace note appears. Why? No reason. It just feels right.
not to be questioned
Whether it be
flat or sharp —
A grace note
a lucky strike
A lightning strike
not to be questioned
But to be enjoyed.
A grace note,
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for July:
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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: some Blurbs may be condensations of the Full Reviews, lacking footnotes and many quoted passages. For the convenience of those who want to read the full review in printed form, simply CLICK on the Book Cover.
1.) ARJ2: The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde
To all the librarians
who have ever been,
ever will be,
this book is respectfully dedicated.
In the previous book, Thursday Next was missing, at least one of her was missing. The confusion of multiple Thursdays continues in this novel with the new technology of synthetic replicants called Day Players because they self-destruct after a day or so. But during that day, individuals are able to live within their Day Player and if they die, return immediately to their waiting body, slumped somewhere in a corner, all fit and ready to go. Well, er, for Thursday, not exactly fit, because after speeding around like a gazelle as a Day Player, she returned to her usual limping with a cane in her human body, bruised and banged up from her adventures in the previous book.
Being the head of the CIA for a spy might be the height of their ambition, but for a book lover and traveler in and out of fiction, being a Librarian might be a similar achievement. Of course, it was not first choice for former Spec-Ops Thursday when she was appointed Chief Librarian of the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat-At-Fatso's Drink Not Included Library.
Get ready as you read this book for another three-laughs-a-page Fforde coup! Take this example, as Thursday explains as first-person narrator:
[page 16] Spike's work with the semidead, ethereal horrors, demons, bogies and vampires wasn't everyone's cup of tea. In fact, aside from Spike himself with my occasional assistance, it wasn't anyone's cup of tea. His old division of SO-17 was known colloquially as "the Sucker and Biters," but they dealt with anything of a nominally undead or horrific nature. Despite the [budget] cuts, Officer Spike Stoker had managed to keep the phantasm-containment facilities and deep refrigeration units going in the subbasements, but only after he demonstrated precisely why there was a good reason. The councilor who was eager to make the cuts rashly took up Spike's offer of a tour. She was struck dumb for six months. Only a fool looked into anything below the fifth subbasement.
If you did not find any cause for the least smile in the above passage, you may have arrived in this book under false pretenses, perhaps through a practical joke by a friend who knew that you detested practical jokes but tried to convert you anyway, like the nun who had a candle-lit dinner with the priest but never let him get into the habit.
Or try this next passage, just to be sure. Thursday and her husband Landen needed to give each other a password in case one of Goliath Corporation’s Synthetic Thursdays, those nasty Day Players, were to replace Thursday. Pity poor Thursday, she not only had a job as Librarian to do, was badly beaten up in a previous episode, and had to walk with a cane, limping badly, but she had to remember a password sequence every day or Landen would be required to shoot her. Landen offered her this one.
[page 9] "What about if I say, 'No cookies at the hunt, sir!' and then you reply with, 'It's not a cookie, it's a Newton'?"
Thursday mused to herself about her lot in life as a former Special-Ops expert, "Sadly, a lifetime in law enforcement tends not to create a bunch of grateful villains happy that you have shown them the error of their ways, but rather a lot of disgruntled ne-er-do-wells eager for payback." (Page 9)
Sometimes Fforde provides useful definitions, such as Thursday's description of a zombie, how can they be dead and have a craving for human flesh, especially brains.
[page 26] "Actually," I added in order to fill the silence, "technically speaking, zombies are already dead, so you can can't kill them — just disable the diseased part of the cortex that gives them locomotion and an insatiable thirst for human flesh."
"I so didn't want to know that," said Chumley, staring at me, "and will now have to do my very best to forget it. But I have a feeling the thought will remain and fester in my subconscious until it bubbles to the surface as a full-fledged neurosis a dozen years from now, when I begin to have an inexplicable aversion to buttons and hedgehogs."
Chumley was a wonderful foil for Thursday as he was curious about her previous life in Spec-Ops, causing her to mention the wonderful character named Red Herring. (Reminds me of a gal with red hair I worked with years ago whose last name was Herrin.)
[page 31] "Was Red Herring a red herring?" asked Chumley in some confusion.
"No," I replied reflectively, "but his name was. By calling Red Herring Red Herring, it made people think that he couldn't be a red herring as it was too obvious, so his name — Red Herring — then became the red herring when we found out he wasn't a red herring. Simple, yes?"
"I agree it's complicated," I said with a shrug. "Working in fiction does give one a somewhat tenuous hold on reality, but it's not the hold that's tenuous — it's the reality: Which reality? Whose reality? Does it matter anyway? And will there be cake?"
In this novel novel, the cake is the almost-guaranteed three-or-more laughs a page. Sometimes three in one sentence or brief interaction. Like on page 37 when we learn about the Toast Marketing Board's attempt to raise the sales of jam, butter and bread in Fiona Pipette's "A Brief History of Toast." One toast, it seems, and you're toast! Suddenly a new fast food chain springs up known as Yo! Toast where you can have toast anyway you want it during a brief stop.
We live in a time when there seems to be a stupidity surplus without any safe way of discharging it. Take for instance the disastrous events in Benghazi that no one wants to take the blame for, or the Attorney General who signed a search warrant calling a respected journalist a criminal, and then denied doing it. We need an SEC.
[page 43] The SEC was the Stupid Events Commission, the government department created to oversee the safe discharge of the stupidity surplus. Some would argue that it was the SEC's good management and unimpeachably honest adherence to sound business practices that had gotten us into this mess, but anyone can attribute blame with the benefit of hindsight.
The book is full of novel ideas for government programs, such a jail which required no buildings, guards, food, cable television, or health care, namely, a "Closed-Loop Temporal-Field Containment" which would safely imprison the most-dangerous of criminals in a kind of Hatlo's Inferno(1). Take Oswald Danforth, for instance,
[page 47] whose punishment was to be trapped in an endlessly recurring eight-minute loop of time. In his case while his girlfriend, Trudi, tried on a camisole. She never knew about the loop, of course — but Danforth did. That's why it was called TJ-Maxx: Temporal-J, Maximum Xecurity.
Thursday had a tattoo on her wrist to remind her that her daughter Jenny was only a mindworm planted by Aornis Hades. The tattoo reduced the number of times Landen had to explain to Thursday about Jenny. When my mother-in-law Doris had beginning ALZ, she would constantly ask my wife where Dick, her deceased husband was and when was he coming to visit. She still believed Dick was alive, just as Thursday did about Jenny, only Jenny never existed at all. So Landen and Thursday decided to track down Aornis to get rid of the mindworm. Having no luck in TJ-Maxx, they were sitting down outside when Phoebe Smalls walked up to them.
[page 53] "Am I interrupting something?"
It was Phoebe Smalls.
"Nothing at all," I said. "Phoebe Smalls, this is my husband, Landen. Landen, meet the new head of SO-27."
"You seem quite young," said Landen.
"It's due to my age," said Phoebe, and Landen laughed, and I glared at him.
Meanwhile there was an asteroid hovering in the background of everyone's thoughts because it was hovering in the foreground of the cosmos heading to a cataclysmic collision which will probably wipe out the Earth in 41 years. With the ability to predict the future becoming rather accurate, many people were already receiving letters which told them when they were going to die, and no one had received a letter where they died more than 41 years in the future, enforcing the probability of Earth's being blasted out of existence. All this had led to the formation of Destiny Aware Support Groups, sort of a "Bereave Now, Pay Later" group therapy.
Jimmy-G of the ChronoGuard would have worked under Thursday's son Friday Next but for his accident and was now working in TJ-Maxx and helping Thursday and Landen find Aornis on their video footage. Jimmy-G said, "I was retired from field duty when a jump to the sixteenth century dumped me in the forty-fifth due to a gimbal-lock precession error on the fluxgates." Jimmy-G couldn't explain what that meant because he never got the ChronoGuard job in which he would have worked under Friday Next. After he gave them the images of Aornis, they thanked him.
[page 52] "Glad to be of help," he said, shaking our hands and giving us some discount vouchers. "Tell your son that Jimmy-G would have been proud working under him. If I had. Which I won't."
"You would have known him? I asked, intrigued that I'd met two people in one day who were ex-potential ChronoGuard.
"Yes, he helped me find a new job when the service wanted to retire me after my accident. He would have been a good friend. Will you ask him if wants to come to my Destiny Aware Support Group meeting tomorrow? I'm setting it up for ex-potential ChronoGuard who have received their life summaries, and Friday would be very welcome. We need guidance, and he would have been there for us time and time again. And might again. For the first time. You know. Anyway, it's at the sports center at night."
“I don’t think he’ll want to come.”
"If he's anything like the person I'm told he might have turned out to be, he'd say no but come anyway."
"I agree. I'll tell him."
When dealing with advance probabilities of future events, you'll find a lot of people talking in the subjunctive about how things might have been as if some events were already a reality, but just didn't turn out that way, remaining as a, you know, would have been reality.
Next next meets Wingco, Wing Commander Cornelius Scampton-Tippett, wartime RAF officer, and a fictional character she bought in a "BookWorld salvage yard to pep up one of Landen's books". Now Wingco acts as a family bodyguard and general assistant, constantly aware of Thursday's mindworm which has her believing in a fictitious daughter named Jenny.
[page 57, 58] "How's Jenny?" I asked.
"Unchanged since this morning," he replied, glancing at Landen, "but she ate some lunch, so I think the flu is easing."
"I'll go and see her," I said.
"I'll go," said Landen, and he walked off toward the stairs before I could argue.
"Any progress today?" I asked.
"Not much," replied the Wingco. "I've interviewed two dozen ICF's(2) since I've been here, three of which have subsequently vanished. None of them have ever managed to transmit anything back to me — it's like the Dark Reading matter is a heavy black curtain that allows movement only one way.
On ICF's, my wife had identical twin boys and while they were growing up, they had an ICF, which they shared, named "Plum Dee-dahl." One day while driving with the two in the wayback of the station wagon, she reports hearing one of them saying, "Look, Jim! There's Plum Dee-dahl's Dad!" and Jim replied, "I see him, John!" She reports looking around and seeing no one at all. Maybe ICF's have a family.
As for Dark Reading Matter, it appears to be the analogy of the Dark Matter postulated by physicists to satisfy their cosmological equations which require much more matter than what is visible. Dark Matter is that portion of the required mass of the universe which is not visible. Here's how Dark Reading Matter is described by the world's expert on the subject, Jasper Fforde:
[page 58] Theoretical storyologists had calculated that the readable BookWorld makes up only 22 percent of the visible reading matter — the remainder is thought to be the unobservable remnants of long-lost books, forgotten oral tradition and ideas locked in writers' heads when they died. A way to enter the Dark Reading Matter was keenly sought, as it might offer a vast amount of new ideas, plots and characters as well as a better understanding of the very nature of human imagination, and perhaps even why a story exists at all.
Recall that Thursday pioneered the method for entering books(3) and leaving books, and from her we have learned over many episodes about the features of BookWorld. But the dilemma with Dark Reading Matter is how can one read oneself into a book which does not exist anymore or never was in the first place? And if one were to successfully enter the DRM, how would one return to report on what one found? As with any new field, there was the potential for money to be made and the DRM was ripe for exploitation. Thursday said the Council of Genres was interested in the Dark Reading Matter as a fruitful source of "raw metaphor"(Page 58). I wonder what "raw metaphor" is a metaphor for? Raw material is a metaphor for naturally occurring material which can be shaped into finished products. What is naturally occurring about a written metaphor — is it not written by a person? And, besides that, a metaphor once written is a finished metaphor or not one at all, isn't that so? Fforde has given us a droll imaginary solution to finding a source of metaphors, which ensures him an Honorary Raw Ph. D. Degree (Pushing Harder and Deeper) in 'Pataphysics at some future International Convocation of 'Pataphysicians(4).
In her daughter Tuesday Next's laboratory, Thursday spotted an interesting machine.
[page 60] On a work top nearby lay a machine that could assemble itself into a machine that would be able to disassemble itself, the practical applications of which were somewhat obscure.
That machine was interesting to me as in 1975 I worked on a Pascal Compiler which was written in Pascal Language: This made the Compiler a Pascal program which could compile itself. I was able to make changes in the Pascal Compiler with the old Compiler to create a new Compiler and with the new Compiler compile programs that the old Compiler could not. Dealing with the ramifications during my research work led me to discover additional meanings to the %*#*@^& word, recursive.
Tuesday Next is a genius and a sixteen-year-old girl who reminds me of my granddaughter Sierra, both in ageness and geniosity, especially when she tells her mother, Thursday Next, how difficult it is for her to get along in a world of dimwits. Thursday explained to Tuesday that she and her father didn't insist she go to school for the education.
[page 60]"I know that," she said in a huffy manner, "but having to mix with dimwits is hideously boring. Great-Uncle Mycroft put it best when he said that for a genius this planet is excruciatingly dull, only made briefly more illuminating when another genius happens along."
"Maybe so," I replied, "but if you're to have even the hope of achieving a meaningful human relationship or learn to discourse usefully with us — the dimwits — you're going to have to suffer the slings and agonies, bruises, betrayals and compromises that all the other sixteen-year-olds have to suffer. I'm serious about this."
We learn about the Global Standard Deity (GSD) which has replaced GOD and the various names used currently by a plethora of religions and about the smithing which is due to happen to Swindon. Tuesday is working assiduously on an Anti-Smithing device which will neutralize the effects of the smithing, but is not getting very far along with it. Next Next takes us to her job, sort of a Bring-Your-Readers-to-Work-With-You day. She describes one of her subordinates at the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat at Fatso's Drink Not Included Library, Colonel Wexler:
[page 97] A lean woman with a face pinched by hard workout walked forward to greet me. She was in her mid-fifties, did not look well disposed to joy in any form and was wearing the standard SLS combat fatigues, replete with the distinctive camouflage patten of book spines for blending into library spaces.
Her reputation for killing eight people with a gun, four with a blunt instrument and two with her hands led immediately to a one-third drop in late book returns at the Library. Wexler asked Thursday if she would sanction dawn raids to retrieve overdue books, and Thursday said, in effect, "I'll take it under advisement", meaning no.
[page 97, 98] "That's a start," [Wexler] said. "I'd also like you to review the rules regarding spine bending and turning over the corners of pages. If we let simple things like that slide without punishment, we could open the floodgates to poor reading etiquette and a downward spiral to the collapse of civilization."
After bending the spine of this hardback book as far back as possible, I double-dog-eared the tops and bottoms of pages 97, 98, 99, and 100 in direct defiance of librarians, especially the Col. Wexlers among them, everywhere. Because of such rules, I have spurned libraries for decades, choosing instead to build my own library and do unto my books all manner of unlibrarian-approved bending, dog-earing, underlining, marginalia, and lots of doodles, some imaginative and a few unimaginable.
On her first day on the job as Chief Librarian, Thursday asked her assistant how the heavy schedule differs from the light schedule.
[page 102] "The same — only it's on blue paper and instead of lunch you get two more meetings: The first is a pep talk to the many frustrated citizens who weren't selected last year to train as librarians and will have to console themselves with mundane careers as doctors, lawyers, and lion tamers.
Thursday stared at the large number of meetings to attend and offered this suggestion to her assistant Duffy:
[page 103] "I've got an idea," I said. "I'll just turn up tomorrow morning and start having meetings until my brain turns to jelly. Then we'll stop and I'll hide for a bit, then do some more while thinking of other things, then forget it all by the evening — and rely on subordinates and assistants to deal with actually running the place."
"Thank goodness for that," said Duffy with a sigh of relief. "I was worried you had no experience of running a large public department."
Our daughter-in-law Sue might want to get one of the T-shirts described on page 108, the polite one of the two says, "I DON'T SCARE EASILY — I'M A LIBRARIAN." After all, Swindon librarians were protected by the "Justifiable Lethal Force by a State-Registered Librarian in the Course of Duty" regulation.
Thursday's visit to The Salisbury Plain order of the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster Convent nearly got her killed, and may get the author nominated for Creative Euphemism in a Religious Setting.
[page 135] No sooner had we taken two steps toward the convent than another nun had come running out of the doors firing a small pistol and screaming at the top of her voice that I was a 'procreating girl dog,' but not using those precise words. I was used to being called that, of course, but rarely by a nun.
Surviving that attack by the nun called Daisy, Thursday asked if she could speak to the Mother Superior, and was told, "Daisy is the Mother Superior." Here's how Daisy greeted Thursday as the Mother Superior.
[page 137] "Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Lobsterhood Salisbury Plain Chapter," she said in a sedate and measured manner. "My name is Mother Daisy. I do apologize for the attempted murder. It is not how we usually welcome distinguished guests. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?"
Thursday could, but Daisy could not forgive her for stealing Landen away from her, which led to her severe depression and entering of the convent in the first place. But Daisy and Thursday went on to have a mostly congenial conversation, talking about nothing being new in literature, for instance.
[page 144] "Horace wrote truly filthy limericks," added Mother Daisy. "We recite them on special occasions. There was a very good one about a young man from Australia who painted his arse like a dahlia. Do you want to hear it?"
Thursday quickly replied, "No thanks" but not before I heard the rest of the limerick twining into my ears from the Akashic Record,
There was a young man from Australia
Who painted his ass like a dahlia.
He got stung by a bee
While trying to pee,
And screamed to the bugger, "By Golly! I'll throttle ya!"
Thursday got all the best lines as befit her being the narrator and the heroine of these books. When Finisterre asked her, "Is there a grapevine?" Thursday replied with a half-smile, "I've heard there's one."(5) When her new boss, Phoebe Smalls came up with a great idea for discovering the thefts of isolated pages from obscure antiquity books, Thursday thought about the idea in her head, "It wasn't a good idea — it was a great idea. So great that I should have been the one making it." And then commented to Phoebe, "Goes without saying," after which Phoebe flashed her a quizzical look.
Those of you who think the portmanteau name of Swindon's library is long and tortuous should have fun with the name of the hospital of the region, the Lola Vavoom Discount Sofa Warehouse See Press for Details Memorial Hospital.
My hero of this novel is not Landen, but Jacob Krantz for the simple reason that he managed to merge physics and literature, something I am still wrestling with in my little corner of the bent-space-time continuum.
[page 160] "Krantz was one of three scientists who had contributed significantly to the transfictional drive on the Austen Rover Transfictional Tour Bus," said Millon(6). "He was professor of theoretical particle physics and literature. Loved both, they said."
Thursday has had, from the beginning of her literary life, a pet named Pickwick who is a re-sequenced formerly extinct wingless bird, a dodo, who walks around Thursday's home saying, "Pock." The Wingco proposed using a dodo in an ingenious attempt to retrieve information from across the Dark Barrier, all those precious raw metaphors for fun and profit, don't you know. Here's Wingco's explanation to Thursday:
[page 163] "We think a dodo's buffered thoughts might be able to transit the Dark Barrier," said the Wingco, "so all I need to find is an Imaginary Childhood Friend who is about to pass into the DRM with the death of its host and get the ICF to take a dodo with it. The dodo gets overstimulated by what it sees, and we read those buffered thoughts on the Encephalovision back home. It's really very straightforward."
Thursday was okay with the experiment so long as it doesn't involve Pickwick, and Tuesday assured her they will use some other dodo.
When Jack Schitt showed up — many people don't know him or won't admit they don't know Jack Schitt — Thursday was a bit apprehensive and put her hand on her gun. He claimed Goliath was not trying to harm her and she pointed to the Band-Aids on her face where she was recently beaten up by Goliath thugs. Jack says he doesn't know jack about that, and Thursday counterattacked verbally.
[page 188] "The Stout Denial Technique, eh?"
"If you'd like the Stout Denial with Faux Shock Outrage, you can have that, too. If you really want it, I can play the ever-popular Lawyers to File Suit for Defamation Gambit as well."
"I'm no longer SO-27," I told him. "I'm a respected member of the establishment running one of the pillars of modern society. Do you really think you'd win a PR war against a bunch of committed librarians?"
Jack shot Thursday, her Day Player, and Thursday said, "They're right. You never do hear the sound of the shot that kills you." (Page 193) Makes sense, the bullet going faster than the speed of sound. But it occurs to me that a silencer works by slowing the bullet to below the speed of sound, so if you get killed by a gun with a silencer on it, the shot won't make much noise, so your neighbors won't hear it, but you will. Some things are better taken on faith or from science than finding out about first hand.
Quarks have strange made-up varieties like Up, Down, Charm, Strange, etc. so it shouldn't seem strange that the key to Tuesday's Anti-Smite machine requires her to find the value for the Madeupion Unentanglement Constant. (Page 215)
As a freshman at LSU, I worked in the Library on campus refiling books. I came to have certain sections of the Library which were my favorites, Dewey 621 was one of them, full of photos that probably appear in sixth grade sex education classes today, a half-century later.
[page 257] "Librarying is a harder profession than the public realizes," he said. "People think it's all rubber stamps, knowing that Dewey 521 is celestial mechanics and saying, 'Try looking under fiction' sixty-eight times a day."
When we moved into a new home several years ago, it was partly in response to my wife Del's complaining, "Bobby, you cannot bring another book into this house." And my reply which finally was, "Perhaps we could get a bigger house." When we did, the fiction section went upstairs. Now, on occasions which happen more frequent than they should due to non-librarians reshelving the books, when I cannot find a non-fiction book downstairs, I tell myself, 'Try looking in fiction upstairs.' It's like taking step-climbing exercise without having to go to a smelly gym.
As the book winds down to its inevitable end, if not doom, I was delighted to discover that Dr. Brown in the movie "Back to the Future", the quintessential mad scientist, was fashionably unfashionable, as his mad-scientist style never went out of fashion, even in the time of Thursday Next, as she noticed in the canteen.
[page 286] The tearooms were filled with mad scientists of one sort or another, many of whom had the unkempt "wild hair" and mismatched-clothes look that never seemed to go out of fashion. Some sat quietly, too shy to order or too unaware to know that it was self-service, while others could not stop themselves and insisted on regaling the staff with logical methods by which they could serve more efficiently.
Having done all of these things myself at one time or another in my life, I couldn't help but feel a nibble from Fforde's biting satire.
Friday was due to kill Gavin because 30 years later Gavin would drive up in a Vauxhall, get out, and kill a whole bunch of people. Gavin said, "I'd never buy a Vauxhall," and asked Landen, "What suddenly changes me?"
[page 287] "We don't know," said Landen. "It could be anything: death of a loved one, passed over for promotion, brain abnormality, a bet, boredom. The list is long. And yes, Vauxhalls might be shit now, but in three decades they could be like Volkwagens are today."
"You mean driven by smug, self-important, middle-class individuals with hideously spoiled children?"
"It's possible, yes."
Galvin turned out to be the best person to calculate the Unentanglement Constant and prevent the Smithing Catastrophe, but he got side-distracted.
[page 289, 290] "Ah!" he said with a smile. "The ever-illusive Unentaglement Constant. I've been doing some initial work that looks promising, but I was distracted by the need to expand and catalog my collection of pornographic magazines."
"How long would it take?" asked Landen.
[and now we wait for the punch line as we turn the page . . .]
"Alphabetically, about a week. If I do it by my favorites, then a lot longer."
"Not the porn, the Unentanglement Constant."
"Oh. A workable solution to Uc? About a month."
Thursday dropped down to the library's subbasement to see how James Finisterre and Phoebe Smalls were doing on examining the palimpsests. James told her, "We're working through the pages of Brothels of Dorset on Sixpence a Day a leaf at a time." Certainly a more fun book to examine than Roman Trattorias on a Dollar a Day, in addition to being a rather nasty swipe at Dorset.
As the nitty got gritty, Thursday told Gavin,
[page 350] "Destiny will be with you and Friday in thirty-two minutes and four seconds. If it can be side-stepped, so much the better."
"How do you sidestep destiny?"
"It depends what sort of mood she's in — warm and forgiving or cold and immovable."
"How do we tell?"
"We can't — until afterward."
Gavin's face fell. "Bummer."Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
As Fforde hinted earlier, destiny is definitely a procreating girl dog. Gavin didn't have a leg to stand on. And Thursday and Landen, even after they lost their mindworm and got rid of Aornis, who had been under their noses all the time, they still missed Jenny and thought of her all the time.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Hatlo's cartoon appeared weekly in the 1940s Sunday papers for decades and he would occasionally regale us with his Hatlo's Inferno, including this one upon which he skewered his own profession, which can be seen in Fforde's earlier book, First Among Sequels, in which the temporal containment field first appeared in a retail outlet named T. J. Maxx, another reason for the name.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
"An ICF was an Imaginary Childhood Friend, those pretend friends one sometimes has when a child. Contrary to popular belief, they don't go away when no longer required; they simply wander the earth until their host dies." (Page 58) Wingco could see them and was hoping that one of them would be able to transmit something back to him from the Dark Reading Matter or DRM, which will be the subject of the next Next book.
We interrupt Thursday Next for a bit of fun:
A YouTube Clip of a Bit O'Trash Bug that I captured on Video Walking on one of our Columns at Home,
Click Photo of 5mm Bug to View Movie.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
"Not funny", you say? Where do you think Thursday heard that? From the grapevine, of course. (Page 152)
Footnote 6.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
Millon, you may have heard of him by his full name, Millon de Floss.
2.) ARJ2: Colour, GA#291 — 12 Lectures in Dornach from 1914 to 1924 by Rudolf Steiner
The title of this book poses a problem for me. During my reading and reviewing of over 200 of Steiner's books and lecture series, I have had to deal with a lot of Britishisms, that is, words translated from German into British spellings which are different from American spellings. The word colour is one of many of those spellings which seems weird to American readers, including such as these: centre, theatre, flavour, recognise, lustre, and many more, all of which both my spell-checker and my American sensibility balk at using. Whenever I encounter these spellings, I change them automatically, knowing there is nothing magical behind their usage, only the mundane fact that British translators converted Rudolf Steiner's words from his German into their own brand of English. Now for my dilemma: do I change the title of this book from Colour to Color? To avoid confusion, I will maintain the title of the book, but continue my customary practice of converting all spelling to American spellings, even the word colour into color within this review. I expect this will meet with approval from all my American readers.
My first reading of this book was about 1998 or so, and the book was a copy a friend of mine had loaned me. It was early in my study of Steiner's works, and I understood very little of what I read, so I deferred writing a review of the book till later, when I could read my own copy, making notes as I read and with the added plus of knowing more about what I was reading. I always say, when studying something new, it's best to know all about it before you start. The physical book I am reviewing now was published in 2005 and I received my copy in October, 2006. I began reading it during a cruise through the Panama Canal in January, 2012 and finished it a month or so later.
Why has this book taken me so long to get around to reviewing? I can't say for sure, but my reluctance surely has something to do with my academic training as a physicist in Newton's theory of light and color. Clearly I will have to deal with the conflict between Newton and Steiner on the issue of color, so I wish to alert you ahead of time as we undergo this study together, not just a journey into the realm of color, but into the realm of Bobby Matherne. Pull up a seat, fasten the red seat belt around your waist, and let's speed off into this terra incognito together.
Steiner was only 21 when Karl Schrörer recognized that young Steiner's knowledge of both Goethean and physics' theories of color made him the ideal choice to edit Goethe's scientific writings for publication. Here's what Steiner wrote in his Introduction:
[page 1] 'The processes in the starry heavens were observed long before Kepler and Copernicus, but they discovered the laws. The kingdom of organic nature was observed long before Goethe, but he discovered its laws. Goethe is the Copernicus and Kepler of the organic world.'
This was a bold statement for Steiner to make, and its impact and import has barely brushed much less entered the psyche of the establishment scientific community of today, a hundred years or so later. Ask almost any scientist what Goethe was famous for, and they will not likely say that he was the Copernicus and Kepler of the organic world. Instead they might mention that he was the author of Faust.
Much of the material I would have covered in my review of this book, I have already covered in my previous review of The Light Course, which I heartily recommend to my Good Readers, either before or after reading this review. Thus said, I will focus on specific comments in this book which will not repeat what I covered in the more comprehensive Light Course one.
In the time of the Atlantean culture, the world was shrouded in a heavy mist so thick that one negotiated through the world and recognized people by the spiritual light which shone from their bodies. If we had a green light friend, we could recognize him immediately by his distinctive green aura; a pink aura would be someone else, a lavender aura, another person. One could barely see the outlines or any light reflected from the surface of a person during that time. The mist came tumbling to Earth during the time referred to as the Flood, and once the mist was in liquid form, no longer suspended in the air, Man was able to see a rainbow for the first time because it requires direct sunlight upon a distant mist to create a rainbow; no rainbows are possible in a thick mist. What Rudolf Steiner strived to do was to paint the colors of the auras which surround people yet today, but because of our evolution into viewing only the surfaces of things, we have focused only on the colors reflected from the surface of objects, up until now. Steiner, able to see the auric spiritual colors, strove to find a medium and a method to depict them. If one looks carefully at the aquarelle on the cover of this book, you will find an auric painting of two people facing each other. Yes, we see their faces, but the entire scene is painted in auric or spiritual colors which seem to flow through the objects painted.
We often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it seems to shine through the object we admire. On the other hand, one might say that ugly is the mask of beauty, i.e., ugly conceals its true nature and prevents its inner beauty from shining forth. (Page 11, Synopses)
He said in a Berlin lecture on July 3, 1918:
[page 3, 4 Foreword ] 'When we paint the spiritual content of the world we are not dealing with figures illuminated by a source of light, but with figures shining with their own light.' . . . An aura is an object that shines with its own light, therefore the whole character of painting is entirely different. (GA 181)
We humans living in the Fifth-Post-Atlantean Epoch face a paradox about colors: we speak of their subjective effect on us, but look around at the objects they bounce off of for an objective reason they affect us in a certain way. In the "ether vibrations," which Newton and other scientists call light waves and light rays, we humans have wandered far away from the direct flowing experience of color into mere abstract concepts.
[page 16] For in conjuring up all these ether vibrations nothing is left of the real stuff of our world of color. In order to grasp color objectively we must try to keep within the world of color itself and not leave it; then we may hope to penetrate its real nature.
It was quite a chastening experience for me when I discovered that I had bought into the deep and pervasive metaphysical nature of materialistic science. Nowhere else can it be experienced so well as in the study of color, e.g., from Newton's simple prism experiment where a pinpoint of light creates a rainbow in a darkened room and physicists claim that all colors are located in the light beam. Yet, rightly understood, every light beam has only a subset of specific colors in it depending on the path it took on its way into one's eye. Only then does color exist; never in a physicist's instrument. Even in spectrometers, we can measure wavelengths, and attach probable colors to them, but no color exists until the light enters a human eye and is interpreted by a human brain. Rudolf Steiner does not talk metaphysically about what is in a light beam, but rather speaks of the flowing of colors objectively, talking about what can actually be experienced. On the other hand, materialists, following Newton, speak of color with subjectively introjected abstract logical constructs(1).
On pages 20 to 25, Steiner gives objective experiences of various familiar colors and justifies them. One can compare these to one's own responses to determine if these are objective in the sense of being the same for most people.
Green represents the lifeless image of the living.
Peach-blossom, the living image of the soul.
White or light, the soul's image of the spirit.
Black represents the spiritual image of the lifeless.
Green is ideal for playing surfaces for games of all kinds, Steiner says, and so we see card tables, gambling tables, pool tables, and athletic fields of all kinds laid out in green.
[page 31] Because a game is a limited, pedantic activity, completely philistine, we can quite easily associate it with a room in which there are green tables. An invitation to play cards at lilac-colored table would be enough to make one want to run away!
That feeling of aversion, of antipathy, to wrong colors is identical to the feeling I get when I see Hawaii and Boise State University teams play at home on artificial turfs of bright blue. Imagine that: blue fields! I cannot bear to watch more than a few minutes of a football game on a blue field.
[page 32] Imagine a surface with blue spread evenly over it. This is something which leads us away from the purely human. When Fra Angelico painted his even, blue surfaces he summoned, as it were, something divine into the earthly world. He felt he could paint an even blue only when he wished to bring something divine into the earthly world. He would never have allowed himself to do this for the purely human situation; for blue, because of its very nature and character, will not readily submit to being a flat, even surface. It needs the divine to intervene for blue to be spread evenly.
Last time, I checked football was a purely human situation with very little divine intervention, outside of occasional "Hail Mary" long pass plays which rarely succeed.
[page 32] Yellow must shine outwards.
Blue must shine inwards.
[page 34] Red affects me through its stillness.
The universal use of red for stop signs is a practical use of red's affect on people. Red is a sign of danger in both signs and industrial equipment. A red light indicates a motor is running, for instance, and is more of a danger to a passerby when it is in operation(2).
Next Steiner points to the luster in colors.
[page 36] Black, white, green and peach-blossom have an image-character —
they are 'pictures' of something.
Yellow, blue and red have a luster-character — something shines from them.
[page 39] Yellow is the luster of the spirit.
Blue is the luster of the soul.
Red is the luster of the living.
[page 41] The painters of earlier times, who had a natural feeling for such things, sensed the luster of the spirit in yellow. In yellow they looked up to the spirit, to the luster of the spirit. But they want to give earthly expression to the spirit. They had to give yellow weight. When, like Cimabue, they painted a gold ground, they gave the spirit a dwelling on earth; they realized the heavenly in their pictures. The figures could stand out from the gold ground, growing out of it as creation of the spirit.
Rarely do spiritual scientists apply a knockout punch to materialists, but Steiner was the Rocky Marciano of the spiritual boxing ring.
[page 44] Since physicists have in recent times regarded the theory of color as a part of optics, we find explanations of the nature of color in material objects worthy of recent physics. We find, for example, the characteristic explanation of the question: why is an object red? It is red because it absorbs all the other colors and reflects only red. This is an explanation characteristic of recent physics, for it is based more or less on the kind of logic which says: why is a man stupid? Fundamentally he is stupid because he has absorbed a great deal of cleverness and radiates only stupidity! If one turns this logical principle, so common in color theory, to the rest of life you see what interesting results occur!
Perhaps we need a Stupid Events Commission (SEC) as Jasper Fforde drolly proposed(3), which could keep itself busy even if it only dealt with physics explanations of color effects.
[page 44] You will recall how we first came upon the image character of the first four colors we dealt with. We saw how it was a question of one form of existence producing its shadow or image in another. We saw how green arises when the living appears as image in the lifeless, and then how peach-blossom color arises when the soul appears as image in the living. We saw also how white arises when the spiritual forms its image in the soul, and, finally, how black arises when the lifeless forms its image in the spiritual. There we have all the colors which have the character of image; the rest have the character of luster.In the external world, green is the most clearly visible expression of this image character. Black and white are in a certain sense borderline cases and for this reason are not generally considered by many to be colors. Peach-blossom, we have seen, is really only to be grasped in movement. Thus in green the image-character is most typically portrayed and with it we have the color which is really attached to the external world, in particular to the plant kingdom. In the plant kingdom, therefore, the origin of 'fixed' color as image really becomes apparent. It is now perhaps a question of discovering in the green of plants what is the true quality, the essential nature of green. In doing so we must go a good deal further with the problem than would normally be considered necessary today.
There was an old saying that the "Moon is made of green cheese", which saying is lost in the Halls of History since Man landed on the Moon in 1969. On that night, we watched the Moon Landing at a friend's house. He helped design Apollo Eleven's Saturn rocket boosters for Boeing at its Michoud facility in New Orleans. His wife made a globe of green cheese to resemble the Moon and planted a tiny American flag on its top. We began eating the cheese ball, not knowing for sure whether the Moon was made of green cheese, but by the end of the evening, we knew for sure it wasn't. The origin of the old saying escaped me until I read Steiner's Outline of Occult Science, when I discovered that the Earth was in a complete vegetative state during the Old Moon period of evolution, with everything the color of green and the consistency of cheese! Not only was the Moon once made of green cheese, but the Earth itself was part of the Moon and it was also made of green cheese.
[page 45] The plants were formed in the fluid conditions of the Old Moon evolution when there was no solid matter. This fluid state was permeated with flowing color. There was no need for it to be fixed to anything, or at least only to the surface. Only on the surface did the fluid element begin to solidify [RJM: e.g. like cheese]. So it would be possible to say, looking back to this earlier stage of evolutions, that in the formation of the plant we are concerned with an essential fluid condition in which green, as also color generally, existed in flowing movement.
Steiner's Lecture 3 entitled "Color in Matter — Painting Out of Color" would be better subtitled as "Painting Out of Pots of Color" rather than from a palette. To penetrate the essential nature of color, we must create a luster which is inwardly shining. (Page 51)
[page 51] If a wall is depicted in a painting it will not be a wall, but only the image of one, unless the color is made inwardly luminous. We must make the colors shine inwardly; they will then, in a certain sense, become mineralized. For this reason it would be good to give up painting from the palette, which leads merely to smearing coloring matter onto a surface and makes it impossible to evoke the inwardly shining quality in the right way. We should try to paint increasingly from pots of liquid paint with color that is liquid and has a flowing, shining quality. Generally speaking, the introduction of the palette has brought a materialistic form of painting, a failure to understand the nature of color — for color is never really absorbed by any material body but lives within it and emanates from it. Therefore, when I put my colors on a surface I must make them shine inwardly.
Steiner's point is that it is time for us to untrap color, to release it from the prism prison of Newton's physics, to ban the use of lines and diagrams when discussing and trying to understand the flowing nature of color. It came as a revelation to me some forty years ago when I discovered that my white coffee cup was not white! Its color depended on the light reflected upon it by its surroundings, its shadowy side was a different color from its bright side, etc. As a physicist I had my artistic side disabled by those lines and diagrams.
[page 57, 58] Just because color is such an ever-changing element it is most desirable that the painter does not allow his color to solidify on the palette, as he ususally does today, but keeps it fluid in the pot. It is just running away from the issue, however, when the physicist comes along and draws his lines on the board and tries to explain yellow or violet by means of these lines. This does not really belong to physics: physics is only concerned with light in space. But color — color can only be studied properly by taking into account the realm of soul. For it is sheer nonsense to say that color is merely subjective. And if one goes on to maintain that there is some objective cause outside that works upon us, upon our I, this is nonsense — and implies an inadequate conception of the I. The I itself is within the color. The human I and astral body are not to be separated at all from color; they live in color and inasmuch as they are united with the color they have an existence outside the physical body. It is the I and the astral body which reproduce color in the physical and etheric bodies. That is the point. The whole notion of there being an objective element in color which has an effect upon a subjective element is thus nonsense; for the I and the astral body are within the color anyway and enter with the color. Color actually bears the I and astral body into the physical and etheric bodies. The whole conception must simply be turned upside down if one is to penetrate to reality.
Everything that has thus found its way into physics and been narrowed down into lines and diagrams must be released again. It would be a good idea if for a while the drawing of diagrams were barred from physics when color is spoken of and the attempt made to grasp the ever-changing movement and life of color.
Using a palette instead of pots results in portraits of people who resemble mannikins, none of whom appear to have any life in them. The first life which appeared in photographs came with the advent of the snapshot because before then all photographs were posed and required the subjects to stand absolutely still for minutes or seconds at a time. Suddenly a photograph could be snapped of a person with a genuine, unforced smile, and the history of photography of real people looking alive became possible. Painters need to replace their stagnant palettes with pots of liquid paint to progress to the snapshot stage where they can capture the life essence in living people. "Living portraits can only be painted when one really knows how to live with color." (Page 57)
Polar bears suck in the whiteness of their surroundings, just as humans did during our astral level of evolution in the Old Moon stage. Chameleons and anole suck in the color of their environment so quickly we can watch it happen. Imagine a human being during the Moon stage of evolution looking at a rosy sunset and the colors of the sunset appearing in various place of its body. To understand animals we must understand how they live in their astral body and react to our astral body's reactions when we are around them. A horse does not see us the way we see a horse. We appear to them as shadowy ghosts or angels.To be an equestrian to ride as if a Guardian Angel upon a horse, and if our astral body is pleasant to the horse, it will consider itself privileged to carry us and to go wherever we direct it. One can only understand the bond between horses, dogs, and other pets and humans if we understand the astral nature of that bond. (Page 68, 69)
[page 69, 70] Yet during Earth evolution man had to lose this state of living with his body within the flowing sea of color, so that he might develop, in his Ego, his own world outlook. In his constitution he had to become neutral with respect to this flowing sea of color. . . . Human beings must find the way to spiritualize the astral body again and permeate it with Ego activity. And in doing so we must find the moving waves of color again out of which we emerged for the sake of developing our Ego, and look about us and take stock of our surroundings as a swimmer would do when he steps ashore. . . . We must bring to life what is in the color, not by practicing color symbolism, which is the worst thing, but by actually discovering what is in color, in the same way as the power of laughter is in someone who laughs.
What does it mean to ask, "What does it mean?" We would need a litany of epistemology to answer that recursive question. Too many scientists have been asking such questions for centuries since the 1400s and their questions and answers have kept us from seeing the nose in front of our face, that is, "what lives in the forms and colors is the living organ of the spiritual world".
[page 74, 75] Bridges must be built between what are still abstract ideas of spiritual science and what flows from our hands, our chisel or our brush. Our civilization and culture, which is abstract and for the most part superficial, is a hindrance at the moment to the creation of such bridges, and prevents creations from coming alive. This explains the unfounded belief that spiritual knowledge could be the death of art. It has certainly killed many a thing in a number of people, like the inclination to make allegories and symbols, and to keep asking 'What is the meaning of this, and what is the meaning of that?' I have already stressed that one should not keep asking what things mean. Just as there is no sense in asking what the 'meaning' of the larynx is, for it is the living organ of speech, similarly we must learn to see that what lives in the forms and colors is the living organ of the spiritual world.
Here is my poem inspired by Steiner's words above:
An Epistemological Litany
What does it mean?
What does it mean to ask a question?
What does it mean to answer a question?
What does it mean to be sure about one's answer?
What does it mean to be unsure about one's answer?
What does it mean to say I understand your meaning?
What does it mean to say I don't understand your meaning?
What does it mean to ask, "What does it mean?"
Steiner realizes that the empty forms and questions of material science can infuse spiritual science if we allow ourselves to be misled into abstract logic and hollow words that are used to interpret ancient myths; that will surely happen unless we learn to focus on what lives in the forms and colors in the world around us.
[page 75 ] Until we have thoroughly overcome the habit of inquiring in terms of symbols and allegories and of interpreting myths and legends allegorically and symbolically, and start sensing the breath of the spirit that weaves throughout the cosmos and feel its life in the figures of myths and fairy tales — until we do this we shall not have attained real spiritual knowledge.
Yet we have to make a start! It will be imperfect; and no one should think that we mistake mere beginnings for perfection, but the objection people are making about our spiritual movement at present is just as silly as previous objections, namely, that what we are trying to carry out with our Goetheanum building has no connection with our spiritual movement.
Having spent a week in the Goetheanum at a conference during which we used our hands, our bodies, our voices to create sculptures, dance in eurythmic elegance, and sing together in spiritual presence, I can testify that those buildings are vibrant, living spiritual realities today, nearly a century later. One's mere presence in the buildings is argument enough to still any counter argument or objections(4).
[page 76, 77] We know the reasons for their argument as well as they do. That we could pretend there is a connection between all that twaddle about 'higher ego' and all that raving about 'deification of the human soul' and the external forms is no news to us. And we know too, of course, that the study of spiritual science on a conceptual level can be done anywhere. But we feel that over and above the intellectual cultivation of spiritual science, when spiritual science enters livingly into human souls, it requires a different setting from the kind our dying civilization can offer. And we certainly do not need the outside world to tell us the platitude that spiritual science can be studied intellectually in any rooms other than those which have come alive with our forms. We must take the real ideal of spiritual science more seriously and ever more seriously.
Steiner relates a remarkable story about a famous lawyer who fainted when he realized that he had lost the suit and would be financially ruined. No one in the courtroom knew the reason for the fainting, but the man was later forced to go to America to escape his debts and the rest of his life he lived in severely reduced circumstances. Such short breaks in consciousness allow spiritual forces to enter a person, even though those around the person will mostly be unaware of the significance of the fainting spell.
[page 92, 93] During short breaks in consciousness all kinds of other spirituality can enter the human soul. And in that moment he received forces capable of restoring his impulse to go forward into the next incarnation. . . . I wanted to show you that man's conscious life is linked with an ongoing process in the unconscious, and that in man's conscious life there are really points where the consciousness is suppressed so that something can enter out of unconsciousness. . . . Yet a tremendous amount of spiritual life forces can stream into the human being at such moments, both good and bad, and capable of good and evil.
Spirit can shine through matter and reach into our unconsciousness, if our consciousness will get out of the way. This theme inspired me to write the following poem based on the material on page 93.
What's the Matter with Spirit?
Nothing. It shines through Matter.
What's the matter with Matter?
What's the matter with Materialism?
No Spirit shines through it.
Afraid of his own shadow,
the Materialist dons blinders
and trots through the City
While Spirit shines through the City,
the Materialist misses it completely.
What's the matter with Spirit?
What's the City with Spirit?
A Shining City on a Hill.
Is there hope for the Materialists which make up the majority of us humans today? Steiner speaks personally to each of us, telling us a big YES!
[page 93] You will gradually reach the point of becoming so perceptive for living links that you will recognize the moments in which the spirit comes near to each human being. In the future the world will no longer be explained so unequivocally as it is now, on the basis of material causes, but matter will be relegated to its rightful place. And at the same time people will realize that the material phenomenon is not the only thing, for spirit shines through it.
Our brain has cavities, did you know that? It consists of matter obviously because that is what we see when a human brain is pulled from a corpse and held up to us or placed in a specimen jar, only matter. But inside a living brain, in situ, there are ventricles, fluid-filled cavities, which fill the interior of the brain. Materialist scientists pay little attention to these ventricles, other than giving them scientific names; they consider them as worthless as the spleen, a spiritual organ whose meaning is ignored by doctors because humans seem to get along well if their spleen is removed(5). My supposition is that the ventricles of the brain which reach across the interior of the brain are fluid receptors of spiritual realities too delicate to be received by coarse matter itself.All imaginations, inspirations and intuitions flow through the coarse pink matter of the brain as if it didn't exist and resonate with the fluid in the ventricles and from which, they can be received as idea-filled images and thoughts by the brain. The ventricle-fluid thus acts as a galena crystal does in a crystal radio: it traps the electromagnetic waves which would else pass unimpeded through the copper wires and converts it into a pulsating current which can power an earphone.
[page 93, 94] . . . there are also windows through which, if we remain in the physical-material world, the spirit can descend to us.
If we do not perceive the fact that spirit descends to us through such windows, it is like someone opening a beautiful book who cannot read. . . . A person who cannot read world phenomena is like a cosmic illiterate where these phenomena are concerned. A person who can read, however, reads the ongoing process of the spiritual world in them. it is characteristic of the present materialistic age that materialism has made people illiterate with regard to the cosmos, almost a hundred-percent so. At a time when people are so proud of having reduced the percentage of illiteracy in civilized countries to such a great extent, they are enthusiastically heading towards illiteracy where the cosmos is concerned.
Ancient people were less literate than modern people but their native clairvoyance allowed them to see spiritual realities, which few literate people today can see. With civilization came our loss of this ability to see spiritual realities, loss of our ability to see the inside of things; it was replaced by our focus on the exterior of things, the things which matter, we say proudly, showing off, as it were, our cosmic illiteracy as if it were something to be proud of!We are, each and every one of us, cosmic illiterates at some level, and if we wish to become cosmic literates, we must learn first the alphabet, the very basics of spiritual science, and only then can we begin to make out a few words, and soon the world itself will begin to speak to us of its spiritual roots and realities flowing lively inside of those things which matter, and gradually we will come to realize the spiritual forces which also matter, very much, and of which we have so abysmally ignorant, up until now.
[page 101] If you delve into the nature of the will you discover the true nature of matter. Present-day philosophers of nature are merely imagining things when they say that matter consists of molecules and atoms. you find the true nature of matter when you enter into yourself mystically. There you find the other side of will, which is matter. And in matter — that is, in will — you discover basically a world that is constantly in a state of germinating and beginning.
Surely, you may be thinking, we know more about matter than in Steiner's day, we know about quarks, mesons, pions, bosons, etc, today. But these are clearly only names for the cosmic forces our delicate instruments reveal to confirm or correct our abstract logical Quantum Mechanical theories and equations; these are not reality but nebulous shadows that the flowing spiritual world casts upon our instruments.(6) Everywhere we look in the material world, we see only the past, never the living flowing present. The world happens before we know it, because signals must travel to us before we can receive them, sense them, and undergo the processes of thinking by which we can come to say, "We know." We look up to the starry realms at night and all the light we see comes from worlds from which the light left thousands and millions of years ago. We live in a world of the past.
[page 101] You look out into the world and there you are surrounded by light. In this light a past world is dying away. You tread on hard matter, and the world's strength bears you up. Beauty shines forth as thought in the light. In the shining of beauty the world of the past dies away. The world rises in its strength and its power but also in its darkness. The future world rises in darkness, in the element of matter and will.
If a time came when physicists were to take the truth seriously, they would give up speculating about atoms and molecules and would say 'The outer world consists of the past, and what is inside this does not consist of molecules and atoms but the future.' And if people were ever to say things like, 'The past shines visibly into the present, and concealed in the past is the future,' they would be speaking correctly; for wherever we look, the present is always a combination of the activity of past and future. The future actually lies in the strength of matter. The past radiates in the beauty of light, light having the meaning of revelation of any kind — for what we mean by light in this context also appears in sound and in warmth, of course.
We have wandered through these lectures about color and you may be wondering how we have gone so far astray in our understanding of color, up until now. A brief look at a passage from Steiner's Light Course may help.
[page 57, Light Course] Your difficulty lies in the fact that you are always hankering after a phoronomical treatment of light and color. The strange education we are made to undergo instills this mental habit. Thinking of outer Nature, people will restrict themselves to thoughts of a more or less phoronomical character. They will restrict their thoughts to what is arithmetical, spatially formal, and kinematical.
Note: phoronomy refers to the Kantian concept of motion deducible from a priori conceptions. Having learned this way of thinking about motion, we expect a similar treatment of light and color. It is the box in which we have been thought to think and we need a special effort of will to think outside of that box. There is more to light and color than can be described using the arithmetical, spatial, or kinematical concepts we have become inured to by long training. Taken together these two lecture series, The Light Course and Colour, will enable you to counteract the lifetime of training to understand the world only from a materialistic point of view and will point you to living spiritual forces which have flowed through your life mostly unimpeded and unnoticed, up until now.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
We can see the reason that such scientists berate Steiner for his "mysticism and metaphysical fantasies" — it is exactly what they are doing out of their own awareness, up until now. Psychologists call this process projection.
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Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
You can read a report of my stay at the Goetheanum in this DIGESTWORLD Issue and see the red Mi-cha-el Rose Window with the spirit shining through it which graces the western wall of the main building.
Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Rightly understood the spleen is a vital control center for the body's processes, but if removed, an etheric spleen remains behind, so materialistic doctors downplay its importance, being concerned only with things that matter, like the so-called grey matter of the brain, which is actually pink, only turning grey after death.
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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.1. Padre Filius Spots a Bumper Sticker this Month:
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 with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
Think You're Headed in the Wrong Direction in Life? This Bumper Sticker is for You:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments you write to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from one of my Devine friends:
Enjoyed your DIGESTWORLD Issue#136.
Especially enjoyed your poem: "It's Not That."
- EMAILfrom Tony Spatafora in New Orleans:
Thanks for sending. I love the flower pictures, and I think Orchids are really something else. But I could be wrong, as I don't really know my flowers as well as I should.
And the Artichokes were a pleasure to see. I used to grow them when I lived in San Jose, Ca. In fact people would use them as ornamentals.
Of course I remember "Pisto Pete". I watched him play.
I still have much to read, but wanted to get this message off to you before I forgot.
- EMAIL William Pilder in New York: Bobby:
I discovered your newsletter last year and have been enriched by your work ever since. I think I came upon you as a result of searching on Jung and Steiner using Google. Your book reviews are my favorite part of your monthly Digestworld.
I have been a student of Jung since 1961 and a fan of Steiner for almost as long. I sense that you have a deep appreciation for their works and how they complement each other even though they never met or spoke and Steiner had no use for either Jung or Freud.
- EMAIL from Kevin Dann (still time to bootstrap ENIGMA into production):
You may think that since I left Vermont to come to New York City three years ago, I have been swallowed alive by Gotham. NO! Dr. Dann lives!
As a theatrical producer, of ENIGMA, Brooklyn's only outdoor mystery theater, a 2-hour walking adventure through the streets of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. To generate advance interest in this show, I have created a Kickstarter campaign; it just went live this morning. I'm trying to raise $5000 for a wild and wonderful guerrilla marketing to sell out the first few weekends of performances, so that word-of-mouth will spread beyond Brooklyn – to your doorstep.
I hope you'll hop aboard the ENIGMA bus, and go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/740128233/enigma-the-show and watch the video, look over the incentives I've offered there. Also, please visit: http://enigmatheshow.com/ to learn more about the show. And please tell your friends!
Thanks so much,
- EMAIL from Orlando, FL:
Hi Bobby, Good to read that you and Del are doing well. We just got back from our trip. (To Europe and his native island in Greece) Hopefully we will adjust quickly to our time zone. We had a wonderful time. Having to high light a month trip is difficult. Janet and I will call to fill you in. I will say, I was surprised how much Janet enjoyed Chios. She even acquired a taste for Octopus.
Give my love to Del,
- EMAIL from Chad Webb in Florida:
It was good to see you guys, and share dinner! I hope we can do it again one day.
Thank you very much for the email of the picture.
Take care of yourselves. :)
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Canned Freedom"
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:
Who's going to set US free?Canned Freedom
NOTE: This poem was written about twenty years ago, before many other abominable regulations have been promulgated into law by the coercive bureaucrats whose rules make those of some Antebellum Southern Plantation owners seem mild by comparison. How did the slaves deal with the Plantation Master's onerous rules? ...shuffle...shuffle...shuffle...
"Does you have Prince Albert in de can?"From the Plantation House on the hill
"Yes, we do."
"Well, let him out!" - popular joke during the 1950's.
comes another stream of capitol ideas.
Businesses will be required to provide
12 weeks of maternity related leave
each year to every employee.
Businesses will be required to provide
medical insurance for each employee.
Businesses will be required to hire
non-English speaking employees.
Before the War Between the States,
slavery was concentrated in the South;
Now the entire country is enslaved
by the Plantation House on the Hill.
One night in 1970, I sat next to NFL's Deacon Jones at the head table of the Lockheed Electronics Management Club (LEMAC) and interviewed him for our LEMAC Newsletter. I remember Deacon as a soft-spoken and personable guy who was a joy to talk with. I asked how he got the name Deacon and he said as a kid growing up in Los Angeles, he looked in the telephone directory one day and counted 23 David Jones's and decided right then to take the name Deacon so everyone would know who he was.5. A Reason for Not Using Reason
His later prowess as a quarterback rusher in the NFL for the L. A. Rams and other clubs led him into the Hall of Fame, and the phrase he coined, "sacking the quarterback", came into general usage and after his playing time was kept as a statistic, so we have no record of his number of sacks, but we know that one of his techniques of slapping opposing linemen to get past them to the quarterback was later outlawed by the NFL.
If you need a reason for making a decision, you may be ignoring important information coming to you from the future. Why? Because reasons are based on things from the past: things you've learned, ways you've been thought to reason things out, and things that have already happened, is that not so? While reasoning may help you calculate probabilities of things which will happen in the future, reasoning cannot give you direct information on future events, only a time wave from the future can do that, and it comes as a feeling, not as the result of reasoned thinking. (See Matherne's Rule #36 for how one can spot a time wave from the future.)
Sounds weird, I know, thought so myself when I first began noticing these time waves from the future. The key is not how to make them happen, but to notice them when they happen. They happen all the time and are rarely noticed when they happen, up until now. With a little awareness and practice, you can begin noticing them. Think of them as messages from your Guardian Angel to you, and when one happens to you, thank your Guardian Angel, because these time waves from the future are very useful. They allow you to trust your intuition and make decisions that would otherwise seem to have no reason attached to them. In fact, if you always reason things out, you will never notice these fleeting feelings at all, and these time waves destined for you amount to nothing.6. Tony Spatafora's Whistling Ducks
I give many examples on the webpage devoted to Matherne's Rule #36, but here's a simple example which happened to me recently. It came to my attention because I made a decision in traffic that did not seem reasonable, in other words, I could not think of a reason why I decided to move into the left-hand lane on Earthart Expressway. Both lanes seemed to be moving equally well so far as I could see up ahead using my eyes. But a feeling came to me to move to left-hand lane and I did, following immediately by my second-guessing myself and searching for a reason why I did it. Couldn't find a reason, because I had none. And then a few minutes later, at a large intersection a pickup truck was stalled, unable to get its motor started when the light turned green. It was in the right hand lane as I passed. It was then that I realized that I would have been stuck behind that truck perhaps for several lights if I had not moved, apparently for no reason at all except for a time wave from the future which came to me and which I trusted enough to move into the left-hand lane.
This month's poem is called a A Grace Note, which rightly understood, is the result of a time wave from the future.
Remember this: Reason has its place, but if you always need a reason for everything you do, you will miss these subtle time waves from the future which often come in at the same time you're busy reasoning and these bits of precious data from the future will fall upon barren ground, never producing the fruit that could smooth out the bumps on the road of life for you. And when you notice one of these, remember to thank your own Guardian Angel, every time .Let me introduce you to Anthony Spatafora. You have seen his photo above in Letters, and recently in a previous DIGESTWORLD Issue with a photo of him tending the wood duck boxes. Tony checks, cleans, and repairs over a hundred of these in the surrounding area of the West Bank in the New Orleans Area. I had noticed his white pickup stopping along the bamboo and live oak-lined Timberlane Drive on many occasions. A couple of times I noticed him taking a step ladder out of the bed of his truck and a few other times I noticed him returning the ladder to the truck, but I never saw him take anything back with him. My curiosity grew to the point that one day a few weeks ago, I walked out to meet him as he unloaded his ladder. That’s when I found out his name and about his volunteer work in building and maintaining these wood duck houses in various places around Timberlane and the rest of the West Bank.
He showed me how he gently tapped on the side of the cypress or cedar wood duck box to alert the mother duck who may be inside nestling on her eggs or with her brood of small ducklings. If anyone were to bang on the box or open it without a gentle warning, the mother duck was soil the nest and leave it forever. Then Tony would have to clean out the rotten eggs and maybe dead ducklings the next time he came to inspect the box.
In addition to cleaning boxes for wood ducks, he also rousts any small predators like squirrels (which Germans call “tree rats”) who might try to take up residence. He recently sent me proof of the squirrel squatters in a photo with the temporary resident’s head sticking out the box’s hole as if to say, “We gave at the office!”
Tony keeps a record of the number of wood ducks he find on each pass through the area and his record show hundreds of wood ducks over a year’s time. A few days ago, I went out to say hello and Tony told about a red whistling duck and said he would send me some photos which I could use in my future DIGESTWORLD Issues. Yes, he’s is definitely a Good Reader, and he can’t figure out how I can write so much in a month just as I can’t figure out how he can clean so many wood duck boxes in a month.
I will include as many photos Tony sent as space allows and try to include his commentary on each photo. Hope you enjoy these photos. Plus, as a special treat, a story Tony wrote about Willie, a duck he saved, is included as Commentary 7 below.
First here's the details from Wikipedia about the Black-bellied Whistling Duck:From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Black-bellied Whistling Duck Northern subspecies (D. a. autumnalis, note brown breast). The white wing patch, a tell-tale feature of this species, is conspicuous in flight. Conservation status Least Concern (IUCN 3.1) Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Subclass: Neornithes Infraclass: Neognathae Superorder: Galloanserae Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae Subfamily: Dendrocygninae Genus: Dendrocygna Species: D. autumnalis Binomial name Dendrocygna autumnalis (Linnaeus, 1758) Subspecies D. a. autumnalis (Linnaeus, 1758)D. a. discolor P.L.Sclater & Salvin, 1873The Black-bellied Whistling Duck or Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), formerly also called Black-bellied Tree Duck, is a whistling duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In the USA, it can be found year-round in parts of southeast Texas, and seasonally in southeast Arizona, and Louisiana's Gulf Coast. It is a rare breeder in such disparate locations as Florida, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. There is a large population of several hundred that winter each year in Audubon Park in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana.Tony adds that this duck has the 30 degree latitude (which goes through New Orleans) as its northernmost range. All these photos of the whistling duck were made by Tony on the West Bank which is directly south of and across the Mississippi River from Audubon Park.
It is widely known as pijije (also pixixi or pichichi), chiriría or sirirí in Latin America, though this can also refer to other whistling-ducks and a qualifyer such as ala blanca or aliblanco ("white-winged") is usually added to signify this species. In Mexico, it is also called pato maízal ("cornfield duck") due to its habit of visiting such fields after harvest. And since it is one of only two whistling-duck species native to North America, it is occasionally just known as the "whistling duck" in the southern USA.
A Children's Story
Anthony J. Spatafora
Copyright Anthony J. Spatafora 2013
Long, long ago, in a swampland far, far away there lived an old man and a flock of wild ducks.
One day one of the hen ducks made a nest in which to lay her eggs. After laying one egg every day for 14 days she and her mate began to take turns incubating the eggs.
And then after 30 days the ducklings hatched, came out of their shells, and began to dry off. After drying off for about 12 hours or so, they began to jump to the ground, about 8 feet down from their nest as their mom called them from the ground since she had jumped first. They all jumped , except Willie who was still wet because he hatched late.
The mom duck led her brood of ducklings, followed by the dad duck, to the bayou, and they all swam away.
Later when the old man went to clean out the nest box which was about 8 feet above the ground, he found the still wet duckling and picked Willie up and put him in a warm dry place to finish drying. He later bought the best food he could find for the duckling and it began to eat and grow stronger.
Then one day when it was a little bigger and much stronger, the old man took it out to his front yard for exercise. And guess what? The duckling imprinted on the old man. It means the duckling began to follow the old man all around. The old man would walk along and step over a baby pool of water so that the duckling would run into it and discover pools of water. Willie, the duckling would drink and swim and have a good time.
And then as Willie got stronger, the old man would take the duckling along the grassy land next to the bayou and run as fast as he could, then turn around to look for Willie. But Willie would be right under his feet. Willie could run as fast as the old man. When the man got tired he would lie on the ground and Willie would climb on his chest and go to sleep
Then one day Willie began to become interested in the other ducks and the water in the bayou. The old man knew then that it was time for Willie to be on his own. He knew of a nice pond with ducks nearby and said, “That might be a good place for Willie to start his wild, free life.”
The old man brought Willie to the pond and found a mommy duck followed by a string of babies and a daddy duck right behind them. He thought, “I'll throw Willie near the babies because they are about his size.” But when he did, the daddy duck started to chase the stranger Willie away. The old man got sad and went closer to the string of ducklings. The daddy duck didn't like him getting closer to his string of ducklings and turned to face the old man. When the daddy duck took his eye off Willie, it gave Willie a chance to move into the middle of the string of ducklings. Then the daddy duck turned back but couldn't tell which one was the stranger. So Willie became one of the brood of ducklings in the line.
And so the whole family of ducks, along with Willie, went on their way to live the life of wild ducks ever after.Epilogue
Just days before being released Willie began walking in very small circles. The old man was puzzled by that activity and so he studied about it. He found that it was caused by a vitamin deficiency, a lack of thiamin. This problem was because Willie wasn't getting enough of the wild food that he needed. But a few days after being in the wild Willie was okay and doing just fine.
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