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January, 2017Quote for the New Year Month of January:
The State is a poor good beast who means the best: it means friendly. A poor cow who does well by you, — do not grudge it its hay. It cannot eat bread as you can, let it have without grudge a little grass for its four stomachs. It will not stint to yield you milk from its teat. You who are a man walking cleanly on two feet will not pick a quarrel with a poor cow. Take this handful of clover & welcome. But if you go to hook me when I walk in the fields, then poor cow, I will cut your throat.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, on (Page 332) of his Journal.
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#171 for January, 2017Table of Contents
1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for January, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: MAIL ALERT
6. Poem from Seven Types of Ambiguity:"TO OUR LADIES"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for January:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Genius of Language, GA# 299, Observations for Teachers by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: How To Thrive on Rejection by Alan Abel
- ARJ2: Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 (Part I) by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. Old Spice & Chocolate
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Rhyming Time.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Rhyming Time" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/161215vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR January:
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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 January, 2017:
Gene Gollogly in New York, NY
Barbara Louviere in New Orleans, LA
Congratulations, Gene and Barbara!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
JAZZ THEME CRUISE ON SERENITY TO CARIBBEAN, PART II
We began the month of December in the British Virgin Island of Tortola on the farthest swing of our Caribbean Cruise on the Crystal Serenity. We had about a week left before returning to New Orleans which made it impossible for me to complete the previous DW#16c Issue on time, which is why I sent out the reminder on December 10. In preparation for this cruise, I had prepared as much of this current issue, DW#171 as possible so that it could be completed and sent out on January 1, 2017.
On our previous cruise to Tortola a couple of years ago (See DW#152), the new dock was under repair which required the Serenity to anchor offshore and we had to take a tender to the small dock on shore. I called the rough ride ashore in the high seas of the Atlantic side of the island, an E-Ticket Disneyland ride, as the tender bobbed and weaved in all directions and water splashed through the side doors. So, it was a great pleasure to see the large concrete pier which the Serenity moored itself on. But, our excursion over the mountains behind Road Town to Pusser's Landing was another exciting E-Ticket Disneyland ride. Riding in an open air safari bus, a heavy rain hit us while going up the mountain. The oncoming cars barely had room to pass us, and the driver rev'ed up his engine to go as fast as possible to get up each rise, slowing down only to take a hairpin turn while honking loudly to warn traffic coming towards him, which he couldn't see.We unrolled the plastic sheets over the windows to keep from getting wet, so we couldn't see what the driver was doing, making our wild ride even more edgy and treacherous. One slip on the soaked road, one thump by a passing car, and we could be tumbling down the mountainside. This would be an XXX-Ticket ride if Disneyland could legally allow such a ride to exist.
We stopped near the top, which gave our hearts a chance to beat normally again and got some refreshments filled with rum at a rest stop. One man gave out the drinks and took money for the souvenirs people bought. We continued down with the rain stopped and plastic rolled up, we breathed easier as we drove along the coast to Pusser's Landing. We passed homes, inns, restaurants with a beautiful view of the waves rolling in on a white sandy beach. Luckily we didn't have to retrace our route up the mountainside on the way back. If you want to go to Pusser's Landing, there's a more level route there.
What was there was a nice marina with large sailing catamarans moored. Souvenir shops, and stores for stocking the sailing vessels lined the side of the harbor. A large open-air bar called Pusser's Landing was an obvious hang-out for the sailors and guests in the marina. The view was spectacular of the surrounding islands. If you wanted to stay in a scenic spot this was the place. No doubt you'd get plenty chances to sail to some of those nearby islands and to do a lot of fishing. There was one five-masted sailing vessel, a floating hotel with five or six decks anchored a ways out from the harbor with tenders coming back and forth to land. Couldn't catch its name but it was registered in Nassau. Two of my favorite names of the boats in the harbor were, "Dances with Whales" and "Training Wheels".Rising above Pusser's Landing was a row of three-story pink apartments with light purple roofs.
At night we went to the performance by Mike Siegel who did a great stand-up comedian routine, an old-fashioned one which was funny without being filled with obscenities. After that I stayed up to listen to the Jazzdagen group of Pieter Meijers and the All Stars with Banu Gibson. I realized that I had been missing the group which did my favorite kind of music, New Orleans improvisational jazz. After their show ended at 11 pm, I went to hear Yve Evans in the Avenue Saloon until midnight.
SEA DAY 1
The next day we sailed towards home with an upcoming layover in Key West. That morning a guy named Larry Noodleman and his wife Norma sat to the side of us in the Lido Café.Norma left and when she returned, she asked where her toast went, Larry had no clue. I figured an industrious server had cleared it away. I pointed out that Larry's Tee Shirt's prophecy "Another fresh Hell" had come true and he laughed. Later as we were leaving our server Jun discovered that Larry had left his Titlelist Cap on the floor. I told him the Portland couple's names and he said he'd get it to them. As we walked into Tastes, there was Larry coming in fast stride to recover his cap. We told him Jun had it for him. Another Tee Shirt Prophecy come true.
Later I was in the Bistro sipping my latte and adding photos to DW#16c. I knew that about 10 am my favorite, the custard tarts, would arrive. At breakfast if we were not going ashore on an excursion, I'd skip my omelet and get my eggs in the custard tart. The Bistro is a good place to do my writing if there are no strident voices talking loud enough to be heard across the open room.
At 11 am Del went to Yoga and I went to the Palm Court for the Jazzdagen Group's set. Enjoyed the show and talked to Banu Gibson afterward about Pat Suzuki and how she sang "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "Black Coffee" among others. Later when I went to Yve Evans lecture about Carmen McCrae, she sang "Black Coffee" as one of Carmen's favorite songs.
For lunch we decided to try the Salmon Burgers at the Trident Grill that Lois recommended and they were excellent. A small basket of sweet potato fries on the side made for a light and delicious lunch. We went back the next day for a reprise of the delicious sandwich. One plus of eating in the Grill is that the Scoops Ice Cream bar was just a few steps away from our table for dessert.
For many people sea days may seem boring, but not on a Crystal Ship: the sea day is filled with activities. I went to the Jazzdagen Lecture: Women in Jazz— Carmen McRae given by Yve Evans. Yve is a marvelous jazz pianist and singer herself. She was younger than the Women in Jazz she talked about, Ella, Billie, Sarah, and Carmen, but she learned from each one of these women who became her close friends. She made the point that a jazz singer never sings the same song in the same way, the song is simply a vehicle for her improvisational skills. One could certainly hear that in Ella Fitzgerald's singing. I became painfully aware that if we have only heard these ladies singing a song from recording, we know only as much about their singing that song as we would about their looks from a still photo. Their music lived in every song they sang and changed every time they sang it. If there's ever a reason to go hear some live music, that's it: no recording can do more than give us an auditory snapshot of a song, frozen forever in those vinyl grooves or digital bits.Jazz is living music and listening to Yve Evans and Banu Gibson play and sing with each other is a veritable living treat and one of the highlights of this cruise for me. They performed a miracle: keeping me up past 10 pm many a night on a busy cruise day to catch their work.
Later in the afternoon Hubert Gesser put on a Fashion Show displaying his various gem collections. The Ladies and Men dressed to the nines for this show and provided a walk showcase of various necklaces, bracelets, cuff links, earrings, and such. Our friend Beverly who always dressed elegantly with a matching hat had on a bright red dress for the show.When I saw her before the show I started to comment that she needed some necklace, then I realized she was waiting for Hubert to give her the necklace to wear for his show. During the show I sat next to Del who was sitting alongside Yve Evans. I talked to Yve and showed her my left pinkie which I apparently bruised while clapping for her. She kissed it and prayed for it to get better. I told her she had eyes just like Louis Armstrong. Told her the story of the two Crystal ships passing each other in the open Pacific waters offshore Costa Rica playing Louie singing, "What a Wonderful World" to each other.
Then we took tea time in the Palm Court with the Astoria Strings, always a relaxing treat. This night was formal night and that meant breaking out my black tie tuxedo for the evening meal. Before dinner Kip took our photo and we took Kip and Lois' photo. Also got one of Fred and Anne from our Table 62. After dinner, we went upstairs to the Palm Court for the Captain's Farewell. I always enjoy talking to Captain Birger, often bumping into him at Scoops in the afternoon.The big show in the Galaxy Theater was "Curtain Call" and even though we've seen this show several times on other cruises, each time it seems new and fresh, new faces, new costumes, new songs, dances, and staging.
SEA DAY 2
Still cruising to Key West. We ate breakfast in Lido alongside Kip and Lois who talked politics till we left. I went to Bistro to work, but it was too loud. I went to our Stateroom to do a Lawrence Welk ("A one and a two") and then sat at the desk to check my statistics till it was custard tart time in the Bistro. I spotted a Carnival Cruise ship moving off starboard on the horizon north of us on the way to the USA apparently, maybe Key West or likely Miami since we didn't see it docked in Key West when we arrived the next day.
In the afternoon Del and I went to see a new Mel Gibson movie in the Hollywood Theater: it Mel tryied to recreate his "Lethal Weapon" persona but that's a hard slog without Danny Glover's help. It was a very entertaining movie as we felt ourselves a little sad approaching the end of our cruise.
After dinner at Table 62 we went to see Guy Bavli, a mind reader, in the Stardust Lounge. He used an alphabet sequence to read the name of a person important to a woman. The name was Keandre, and somehow he read in her face the reaction to each letter of the alphabet and got it right. The rest of his act was a complicated magic act in which he created an imaginary cruise using words he coaxed out of the audience. Creating sentences like we did in the old MadLibs game created by Roger Price in the 1960s. When Mama Lee came out with the color "hot pink", Bavli put down just "pink" and everyone corrected him. Later, as he read the itinerary he wanted us to suppose he read everyone's minds and written the sentences on a ticket inside a balloon, we got to imagine Mama Lee riding in a hot pink limousine!Somehow appropriate for her, the famous resident of the Crystal Serenity. I then went to the Jazzdagen jam session with Yve Evans from 10 to 11 PM.
We docked early in the morning at the Navy Pier, the only Cruise ship there. I had booked a glass-bottom boat excursion but it was canceled due to lack of interest. I was glad, as I remembered the sad submarine experience in the Cayman Islands. So Del and I sat next to each other on the excursion Safari-like open trolley which crawled around Key West. Kevin was our driver and guide and his pleasant voice and first-hand knowledge made the entire trip enjoyable. For example, he mentioned the Green Parrot Bar is famous for free popcorn at all times of the day and night, saying, "I survived on popcorn for three months when I was getting started in Key West. Any time a shop closes, a bar is opened in its place."Kevin drove us a couple of times around Key West ("It's a small island" he explained). Kevin was great, not the kind of guide who parrots words from a guide book that you could buy and read for yourself. I enjoyed his coming at the same location from two different directions as I could take photos of interesting places from a second angle. By the time the long trolley ride was over, Del and I decided to head back to the ship for lunch. The big show in the Galaxy Theater that night was "My Life: The Music of Billy Joel". We brought our Bose earbuds to reduce the volume of the very loud pieces and were glad we did. Afterward Del hit the sack and I walked the length of the ship to the Stardust Club to hear Banu Gibson singing with the Jazzdagen All Stars, and when it was over, walked next door to the Avenue Saloon where Yve Evans was playing and singing till midnight. For me it was like being in New Orleans and living next to Frenchmen Street where I could hear great live music every nigh and walk home to bed in a hundred steps or so.
SEA DAY TO NEW ORLEANS AND HOME
Our last day of the cruise took us from Key West across the Gulf of Mexico to the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River shortly after night fall and had us docked next to the Riverwalk in New Orleans when we awoke and walked to the Lido Café on the top deck for breakfast. We'd packed our bags the night before, leaving behind a carry-on and the clothes we'd wear to go home in the morning. Our last breakfast in the Lido Café meant finding our favorite servers and tipping them. If you want a luxurious breakfast every morning, you can't do better than there. The servers begin working on your favorites when they see you, find you a table, pull out the chairs and lay a cloth napkin on your lap. Yes, once they brought me two sets of English Muffins (double-toasted), but Del enjoyed the second set. Some of these servers we have known for over ten years and it's like coming home to arrive in the Lido Café for the first morning of the cruise.Martin was a favorite of ours and he'd been promoted to working the Palm Court and Galaxy Theater. We got to see him often, but missed him in the Lido Café. Del wanted to be at Hubert's Jewelry Giveaway Drawing at 11 am and after waiting for it to finish and we walked to hear a rare midday performance of the Jazzdagen All Stars in the Palm Court. "Absolutely Fabulous" was the afternoon movie, but we watched 5 minutes of it previously and it was "Absolutely Rotten" — a low-life sitcom on steroids full of bad taste jokes and bad acting. After our final dinner in the Main Dining Room at Table 62, we said goodbye to Sandi and Holmes (Erwin), among our best ever servers for dinner, and went to the Farewell Variety Show in the Galaxy Theater. Back in our room I could see on the TV that the Serenity was nearing the mouth of the river, an area full of oil rigs where I had worked back 1964 and in 2001. So I walked out on our verandah and there were a couple of rigs in the distance all lit up and got a few photographs. One looked like it could be a cruise ship because at night you can't see if it's elevated and stationary or not. Plus I have been on large rigs offshore — they offer many of the amenities of life that cruise ships do, plus hot meals 24 hours a day and fishing over the side.
CHRISTMAS RUSH AT HOME
We woke up the next morning and went to the Lido Deck to enjoy our last breakfast on Crystal for a while. The New Orleans skyline was visible behind us. We ate breakfast with Kip and Lois Jenison in the Lido Café before we left the ship. We also had a chance to talk with tablemates Fred and Anne. A quick walk off the ship when our number was called and we quickly recovered our bags and walked through Customs without a hitch. Down to the cab area and a cab was waiting to take us home. Ten minutes later, we walked into our home, and went about turning water back on for washing machines, power on to the Bunn coffeemaker, and switching Ice Maker from Holiday to ON. Everything was shipshape, but soon we would be having to pick up a towel ourselves if we dropped one in the bathroom (unlike aboard ship with a daily maid). I went into my office and turned on my desktop's five monitors and they all came up, but I didn't have much time to work on my PC, because Del called from the kitchen saying, "It's only 9:30, you could get your massage." So I called Caroline and got my weekly massage which I had missed for a couple of weeks. Afterward I stopped by the bank to deposit some dividend checks and drove to Rouse's Supermarket to replenish our larder after the trip. They had some nice asparagus and I fixed some for supper.Also buttered up three Opelousas Sweet Potatoes and baked them also. Picked the first head of broccoli from the Babe Garden at Timberlane.
Only glitch on the day came when we sat down to watch DVR'ed NCIS and Blue Bloods: the Cox Box Remote was nowhere to be found. Also the Vizio Smart TV's remote was gone. We made do by watching NCIS live and Streaming Blue Bloods on Vizio using the remote from my new Monitor which is a VIZIO Smart TV as well. Its Netflix button and the rest of the buttons worked well, even though the mute and pause buttons were in slightly different locations. We bailed out of the Screening Room about 9PM as I was worn out. The next day I found where I had stored my two remotes for save keeping with the idea of keeping the TVs safe while we were gone. Great idea, but I'm noted for putting things in a good safe place and forgetting where that place is a few weeks later.
ASSISTANCE BY THE BAYOU
The next morning I was busy writing Personal Notes for DW16c (already a week late) when Del left for Renelle's for a haircut. She called to say she saw a man on the side of bayou by our house who was lying down and seemed to be barely moving. I put on my hat and walked across the street. I called over to him and finally got him to say he was trying to climb up the embankment and needed help. I drove two blocks over to the bayou side and got out of my car. I could see an old pickup truck parked there which was likely his.
I began talking to him to see if I needed to call 911, but he said not to. He had slipped down the side of the canal looking for turtles and was face down on the slope, unable to pull himself back up. He didn't want me to call his wife as she would be mad as she told him to stop hunting turtles.
I went down on the slope which had grass, but was steep and a bit slippery. I lifted his body and he grabbed the grass above his head with his hands and moved a bit higher, but not much. Finally, I walked back on the level area in front of him and asked if he had a rope in his truck. He said, "There's a towing strap in the passenger side." I got the strap, helped him buckle it under his arms, and put the loop around my lower torso and leaned back. By the pull I was creating under his arms he was able to move himself up, bit by bit, without slipping back down. Finally after about an hour he had cleared the edge of the slope and was lying down flat on his belly. He said, "Let me rest awhile," and then I helped him get up to his feet.
That's when I got his first name. He asked how old I was and I said, "76", and he said he was 74 and would be 75 soon. He was able to walk, and get into this truck to drive home.
His right palm was bloody in several places, but not bleeding anymore. The left side of his nose was bloody where his eyeglasses had scraped it. Half of his upper teeth were gone, but not from the accident. He told me he had separated his right shoulder some time ago and had lost strength because of that. He asked how he could repay me and I said "Thank you" is plenty. I told him about the time I was stuck down a long incline in the Foxborough State Forest on my trail bike. The path ended in a swamp and I had to push my bike uphill a few feet at a time, and then move a rock to keep it from sliding back down. That took me several hours and I could have really used a hand with that task, so I was glad to be there to help him. He told me he catches turtles and occasionally an alligator in the bayou. Gives the small turtles to his grandkids. Was apparently doing some Christmas 'shopping' on this day. These are the same turtles older kids would bring to sell to us in Westwego Elementary School, the red-eared slider, often called a painted turtle because of its colorful belly shell.
I came back home, cleaned my shoes, and quickly wrapped the two presents I had for Del before she returned. My HP 4+ printer went on a printing jag, dumping a dozen or so characters a page. I tried everything and it still printed garbage. I decided to leave it turned off over night and retest it. A week later I needed to print a review for Del to Copy-edit, so I got serious about the printer. There were no documents to be canceled in the printer queue, but I decided to try the Cancel All Documents option anyway and darn if that didn't solve the problem.
TONY BENNETT CONCERT AT THE SAENGER
I finished this in time to get dressed for a gala night. Del and I were meeting Dan and Karen at Mr. B's Restaurant before the Tony Bennett performance at the Saenger. The first time I saw Tony in person was with Linda Knowles in 1976 before I met Del. We were at the Blue Room of the Roosevelt. We were sitting close enough to talk to Tony during his show.
We parked at our favorite lot on Conti and found Mr. B's a few blocks and an easy walk away. We were a bit early and stopped in the lobby of the Monteleone Hotel across the street. I was taking a photo of Del in front of our favorite Grandfather Clock when a man offered to take a photo of the two of us in front of the clock. Turns out he was with a Convention of Cotton Farmers from Missouri. I told that I had picked a boll of cotton from my one cotton plant at home this morning. It was a volunteer and I pick the bolls for my daughter Maureen who is spinning cotton as a hobby.
Supper at Mr. B's was fine. The french baguette was great, Galatoire's quality, crispy and light! Didn't care for the dark roux in the seafood gumbo. I thought I had escaped dessert by not ordering any, but Karen insisted on getting a triple-scoop of ice cream and chocolate which neither she nor Dan hardly ate any of, so Del and I felt like we were back in the Crystal Dining with a delicious ice cream dessert to polish off.
Tony Bennett was amazing! His music trio consisted of a great pianist, bass fiddler, and drummer. The drummer was from the Count Basie band. They played about 20 minutes while the late-comers walked to their seats. About half of them walked across our faces, even as Tony had just come on stage. They clearly wanted to be ready for videoing Tony's singing which they did about half the time, their dumb phones glaring into our eyes while we attempted to enjoy the show we paid for.This was clearly announced as NOT ALLOWED! But without enforcement, the primary thieves had a field day, even using a flash at times. Will not go to another concert event like that again. Classical music is probably safe from obnoxious iPhone users because it attracts a mature audience. Clearly the 40-somethings in front of us during the Saenger Show were not only immature, but boorish as well.
During the show, the 90-year-old Tony sang a song which begins with this line, "Beautiful girls walk a little slower when you walk by me." This line had always puzzled me, up until now. It had remained an Unanswered Question (UAQ) each time I heard it sung, and try as I could, I never came up with an understanding of its meaning. Why, I thought, should beautiful girls walk slower when my girl is walking next to me? Didn't make any sense, but I couldn't create any other sense from the words which I interpreted as a statement of fact, something the singer observed.As I listened to Tony sing these words, the meaning flew from soul to soul into me and I understood! He was asking, imploring, beautiful girls to walk slower as they walked past him so he could enjoy looking at them as they passed! Here was another confirmation of my thesis that a live lecturer is important. I had heard this line sung many times by Frank Sinatra, and probably by several other singers, but never got a true understanding until I heard Tony sing it and received the meaning directly, person-to-person, soul-to-soul, during this concert. For me this understanding was worth the price of the concert!
Tony stood on his feet and sang for over two hours. We got out about 10:30 after several encores. During the show, he received about a half-dozen standing ovations. He put off singing his signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" so long, that after he sang it, we expected it was his final song and everyone stood in loud applause. But there was more. He did a verbal tribute to Louie Armstrong, saying he learned to sing by listening to him, and then chose "Smile" as one of Louie's songs to sing. He followed with another smile song, "When You're Smiling" and more standing applause. Everyone in the audience knew this was a living legend we were watching and listening to, and this would likely be the last live performance we would receive from Tony in New Orleans.
We were too tired to walk through the Roosevelt Lobby with its fabulous decorated aisle which goes an entire block to the next street. But we were glad we made the effort of attending the concert. As I sat in the large theater, I recalled the many nights in a row Del and I had sat in the Galaxy Theater aboard the Crystal Serenity during our cruise over the past two weeks, waiting for a show to begin. Only on this night, in the Saenger Theater, in New Orleans, the seats and stage were not gently rocking on the waves of the Caribbean Sea. However, the theater did begin rocking when Tony Bennett began singing!
CHRISTMAS TREE DOWN-SIZED AND DW ISSUE UP-SIZED
One customary activity got preempted by our cruise: Acquiring and decorating a tall Frazer Fir Christmas Tree. We might have done it in spite of our busy schedule, but neither of our girls were coming from out of state for their usual shopping trip with Daddy, a fun event of buying shoes in Dillard's, culminating with a Matherne family gathering of celebrating and gift exchange at Timberlane. Our oldest daughter Maureen stepped in and invited us to her family Christmas gathering across the river in Metairie on the Eve of Christmas Eve. At the last minute, Carla and Pat decided to come in and stayed with us a couple of days before going to Maureen's home for her gathering. Yvette wasn't able to come, stayed in Texas, and missed the fun. Del had set out a 3' tall Norfolk Pine and I added the Lobster Claw ornament I bought in Bar Harbor. Soon we added a couple more ornaments and two strings of tiny colored lights powered by AA batteries to the tree.
Del worked furiously upstairs with gift-wrapping and I worked furiously downstairs getting the second half of our Cruise photos processed for this Issue. I had completed reading Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy, Vol. 2, during the cruise and struggled to find time to work on its review. By Christmas Day I had written and Del had copy-edited eleven pages, about half of the full review, so the Publisher said, "Publish that in DW#171 as Part One and finish the review in January publish Part Two in DW#172." What a relief! It made it possible for me to finish the personal notes for December and post many more photos of our cruise and activities in addition to the review.
EARLY CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
Two nights after the Tony Bennett concert, we went to a large Christmas Party at my uptown club. I recall the early years of my membership when there might be 30 to 50 people at the Christmas Party, but this year there were about 200 and it was truly a gala event. The next day I had lunch with Jim, Frank, and Barlow at Timberlane Country Club. Del's Les Dames Christmas Party happened at the same time and I was able to take some photos of the ladies. Del and I had a breather the next night, a quiet evening at home — a rarity during this crowded holiday schedule.
The next day we drove to Baton Rouge to our son John's home where his twin brother Jim had flown in from his new home in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our four Hatchetts were there, Kim, Jim, John, and Stoney with most of their children and grandchildren. Kim and Wes's three, Katie, Weslee, and Thomas were there, Stoney and Sue's son Sam was there, and John and Kim's three, Collin, Kyle, and Jacob were there. The Hatchett's dad, Bill and his wife Carol were also there. The gift exchange was highlighted by a "Stealing Process" in which Sue grabbed onto the "Singing Monkey" I had acquired for the event. You plug in a Christmas song on your phone and it plays through a speaker in the Monkey and he lip-synchs the words. Sue had complained about her grade-schoolers driving her up the wall and this was just the thing to get their attention.A few days later Sue sent me a note of thanks and a short video of the Monkey singing the words, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". I knew just what to do with that video (as I'll explain later).
The next morning the three boys which I helped raise, Jim, John, and Stoney, drove to Timberlane, and Del bought two large Muffalettas (correctly pronounced "MOUFAH-LOTTAS" because they're a LOTTA sandwich! 12 inch diameter, about 3" high, filled with meat, cheese, and Italian antipasto). I thought she had bought enough food for a small army, but the Hatchett men polished off the two sandwiches with the help of their mom who did her bit as a Hatchett for about eleven years. I had the shrimp potato salad which is my favorite. Jim spent the night with us and Del drove him to the Louis Armstrong International Airport to fly home the next morning.
THE FIRST AID KIT MAKES ITS APPEARANCE161212 Grégor Trumel, Consul General of France in New Orleans and his daughter 2016 Joan of Arc, Grégor Trumel, Consul General of France in New Orleans and his daughter Héloïse Trumel, 2017 Joan of Arc
During this Christmas rush period, an idea came to me. For several weeks, I had been noticing an uptick in the traffic to the doyletics Main Page since I began labeling as a FIRST AID KIT. Several people, wanting to sell me Web Site Designs, had called my doyletics website "antiquated", a refugee from the 20th century, saying it had lots of disconnected stuff all over the place. That criticism created in me as an unanswered question, "What could I do?" Then one morning a light bulb went off in my mind. What's the one thing that is full of all kinds of disconnected stuff? A FIRST AID KIT! ! ! My doyletics website's Main Page is a FIRST AID KIT! Everything you need to do a Speed Trace and learn why the Speed Trace works is there in one place. Just like a FIRST AID KIT. A week or so later the idea of including a Red Cross emblem alongside the First Aid Kit words came to me, but Johnson&Johnson had trademarked a "red cross" for their Band-Aid, so I couldn't use it. Then I remembered the Swiss Flag is a red background with a white cross and I had a photo of the flag so I incorporated the Swiss flag, having it brace both sides of the FIRST AID KIT. Since the Red Cross and Band-Aids deal with bloody issues, and the Speed Trace of doyletics deals with non-bloody issues, namely, doyles (physical body states), a "White Cross" seems appropriate to mark the sides of the Speed Trace's FIRST AID KIT. Later I also added the Flagged Kit to all my reviews and DIGESTWORLD Issues.
KREME OF JOAN OF ARC CHRISTMAS PARTY
This is our first year as full-fledged members of the Krewe and we wanted to go to as many activities as possible, so we added its Christmas party into our already busy schedule. Del and I dressed up, not knowing the dress code, which turned out to be casual. At my coat and tie matched the dress of French Consul Gregor Trumel who was there. His daughter Héloise has been selected as the 19-year-old girl to play the part of Joan of Arc in the January 6, 2017 parade. We met her and her dad at the Eiffel Society for the Christmas party. It was a fun event with lots of fun and music. We received a membership booklet which has a nice photo of us. We met fellow members Jim and Susan Roe who are moving to a house in Algiers Point. It's nice to find replacements for Joy Paolo, John McKinney, Anne Koch, and Guntis Melbardis who have recently moved away from the Point and left us with no reason to visit that wonderful neighborhood until now.
SANTA BREAKFAST AND PARADE IN TIMBERLANE
Saturday, December 17th, was a busy one for us. It began with the Santa Breakfast in the Live Oak Grille of the Timberlane Country Club. About 30 adults and an equal number of kids were there. Del and I sat with Pepper and Sydney, her grand-daughter, for breakfast. I took photos of the roomful of people there. Mary Romano's Grille has had two or three events every night for the past week at the Club.
At the Santa breakfast one preteen had a device that looked like a portable microphone, but it had a built-in loudspeaker on the other end of the mike and it played Christmas songs you could sing along with and if you sang into the mike, it amplified your voice.The kids and adults took turns singing into the mike, adding a jolly atmosphere as we ate and waited for Santa's arrival.
I had read the children's book "My Little Black Dress" written by Tatum Gardner and seeing her at the breakfast took the chance to tell her how much I liked her book. The artwork was very beautiful and fit the delicate story of a little girl learning to dress. It was her daughter running around with the mike making Christmas music happen. This is the second author with a newly published book who lives in Timberlane Estates. The other is Jon Gegenheimer whose name in German means eponymously "in the neighborhood or an inhabitant". He walks up and down the length of Timberlane Drive almost daily picking up any litter on his way. His book is a mystery novel titled, "The Griffin Murders".
During our previous lunch at the Club, Frank wanted to take a photo of me, Jim, and Barlow with Mary Romano in the photo, but Mary was so busy with the Les Dames luncheon, she ran off before Frank could take the photo. So at the Santa Breakfast I took a photo of Mary Romano with her Santa hat rotated from "Nice" in the front to "Naughty" and sent it to Frank Arneman. Unfortunately Frank has an old flip photo like our buddy Jim, and can't receive photos by TXT, so I had to re-send it by email. Jim and Frank need to pulled, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, I suppose.
BOOK SIGNING OF BOURG BOOK IN BOURG
A year or so ago, my first cousin, Adrian, wrote me asking if I had any old photos of Bourg, the small town in South Louisiana just south of Houma where my parents and grandparents grew up. It's a place I have riden and driven to about 300 times in my life and when Adrian announced his Book Launching and Signing event, we had to go there.Del and I drove to Bourg, waited a few minutes for Adrian to get out of Mass at St. Ann's to join us in the Fellowship Hall, where I bought the first two books from him. One was for me and one was for my brother Paul who was unable to come to the signing. Adrian inscribed both books for us.
He wrote this very nice inscription to me on the inside cover of my book (See above).
An inspired author, cousin
and cherished friend —
Enjoy the journey
Adrian P. Matherne
On the day of book signing Adrian's brother-in-law Richard Martin died. Richard was married to Adrian's sister, Anita, for many years who had pre-deceased Richard. A few days later, we drove back to Bourg for his funeral in the same church, St. Ann's Catholic Church. I brought along a bottle of wine given to me by my brother-in-law Dan and his wife Karen. They had bought the wine on a trip to France. It was bottled in the town of Bourg in the Bordeaux section of France. Karen was born a Hotard, descended from the founding fathers of Bourg, and it seemed fitting that the author a History of Bourg should receive a bottle of Bourg wine. So we gave the bottle to Adrian as thanks for his hard work on putting this book together. Before the wine left my hands, I took a photo of it alongside the Bourg book which will appear in this Issue.
RICHARD MARTIN FUNERAL IN BOURG
Del and I had to leave at about 9 AM to get to Bourg on time for Richard Martin's viewing and funeral. We had a nice drive, getting there about 10:15. Viewing was in the church not the new Fellowship building. I waited as Del went into to use their rest room. The Monsignor came by as I was photographing his unusual blooming cactus-like plants. He told me they bloom year round.
Inside I greeted Brian, Tommy and Tammy, Paul and Joyce, Aunt Nan, Richard's son Kenny and daughter (Alice). Then I went over to talk to my cousin Marie and her husband Earl Baudoin. Next talked to my Aunts Carolyn and Marie. Marie is hardly recognizable because she's lost so much weight. Claims she misses her husband Dave, but perhaps her weight loss is due to Dave's hearty appetite and his heavy cooking. Whatever it is, Marie looks a lot healthier now. I told her that she's now Jackie-size, referring to her youngest child, Jackie, the thin beauty who was the only one of Marie's kids who was there.
Aunt Nan, who was Richard's mother-in-law, said, with tears in her eyes, "Bobby, you're always here." Meaning I come to all the funerals in Bourg. Both sets of my grandparents worshiped and were buried here which makes this a special place for me.It was a very long service, made longer by the priest's Asian accent which make him hard to understand fully . Before the mass started, I gave Paul his copy of Adrian's book. Then Adrian came out with me to get his bottle of Bourg wine that I had promised him. He appreciated it. He said that he's sold all but 8 of his initial printing of 150 books, and is waiting for a new shipment to come in.
After the Mass was over, Del walked with me to the mausoleum in the rear of the cemetery behind St. Ann's for the burial, and I got photos of several tombs with names and date on them for our family tree records.
Most memorable was my conversation with Peggy Ann Boquet, she was originally a Bascle who married Leward Boquet. Also met her youngest sibling, Debbie, who is a talker. Both of them hardly stopped talking. I found out that Peggy called my Grandpa "Uncle Clairville" because he married her Aunt Belle Rogers after Grandma Nora died. Got a photograph of Peggy and her sister Debbie.
After the burial Del and I got a Tuna Sub at the Subway next to St. Ann's to sustain us over the long drive home. When we arrived home, we took a well-deserved nap.After supper we watched the Pelicans win a game from the Sixers by a comfortable margin, a 40-point second quarter after a pitiful first. Its second string led the way to victory. We then watched a Blue Bloods before hitting the sack.
MORE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
Christmas Eve Eve at Maureen's
Two days before our daughter Carla arrived from Beaumont I worked on my new review for this month, getting up at 4:30 AM each morning and working most of the day. Del copy-edited the second day and it will be published at 11 pages long, about halfway through the book. The second half will likely be done after New Year's Day and included in DW#172 for February, 2017.
Once Carla and Pat arrived, we gave them our full attention. With Molly and Garrett in High School, Molly graduates in May, Carla and Pat have been unable to bring them along with them and were kept too busy this Christmas season to come by themselves, up until now. Del made a large minestrone soup which we love and we know Pat loves. A great cold weather soup fitting to the frigid temperatures when they arrived. I think Pat ate three bowls full the night they got here.
After they had eaten, we watched our Northwest Passage video with them on my Yoga LT at the kitchen table. I had to get it ready by updating Norton security software and, when it was done, the LT was ready to go while on the table.I shaped it into Tent Mode and they watched as I narrated a bit. They loved it, even putting on the two NWP wool caps for the viewing. Carla's daughter, Molly, without knowing I had one, had recently chosen the same Lenovo Yoga Laptop for her personal use. Smart girl. The only problem I have with her is that she prefers Lemon Doberge over the Chocolate, so Pat buys a doberge cake (half- choc, half-lemon) in order to take the Lemon Doberge side home to Molly. We tease each other about that. A lot.
We spent a fun day with Carla and Patrick. Pat went to PJ's with me and ended up buying four Haydel's Hand Pies to take home to Garrett. Then Pat and I sat at the kitchen table while Carla and Del kept busy in the next room. Pat is like a DVR machine — just push a button and he plays back every conversation he's had about the distant parts of my family in Beaumont and points West. I just listened and took it all in, about three hours worth.
Carla packed up their van so she and Pat could leave Maureen's party and drive directly home to Beaumont. Carla left early in the afternoon to visit her sister and assist her with the preparations for the party at Maureen's home. For her family Christmas, her beau, Jason, had his Mom, Cheryl, fly in with Carlos from Connecticut to be with him and his daughter, Trinity, for the first time in a long time.
Our grandson, Chris, and his wife, Sarah, were there and they loved Chris' framed Dolphin Painting which I gave them as a Christmas Present. He painted it at age 5 and I bought it from him, using it as the cover art for my Dolphin Novel, The Spizznet File, and now Chris is married, in a home of his own, I figure he and Sarah will treasure it.
Chris had caught some redfish and largemouth bass earlier in the day and fried them for us. I always fried the fish first as appetizers, but we had to wait until the turkey had been fried in the peanut oil outdoors over a propane burner until the fish went in. They were certainly fresh and tasty, but I longed for the fresh yellowy crispness that I achieved when I fried sac-au-lait, trout, and largemouth bass in fresh oil directly on the indoor stove.
All four of Maureen's kids were there: Tiffany, Jennifer (Anthony), Chris (Sarah), and Gabe.
Her set of three grandsons were there Ben (6'), Aven (5'4"), Preston (4' 5'). Ben is a wide receiver on his high school football team. Said that he's learned to catch the football. He's so tall that Jay calls him, "Stilt", and he may yet grow taller.
Maureen loved her rocks from the Caribbean that I had bagged and tagged to add to her collection and the NWP Vest I gave her. Carla and Yvette both got a NWP sweater, because I couldn't find a Small Vest for them. So far, Carla's sweater fits her well, and it seems like Yvette's will also. Tiffany surprised the girls by giving them an all-in-one pajama set in bright red with small white Mickey ears printed all over them and a black hoodie with Mickey Mouse face and ears too. Those PJ's begged for group photos and began a fun spontaneous event for the evening.After everyone opened and shared presents, we said goodbye to Carla and Pat who were driving home from there, then said our goodbyes to the rest of family and guests. We came home and watched a Blue Bloods before our long's night sleep.
Christmas Eve at Dan and Karen's
At last, Del and I were alone, again, naturally! I worked on adding the Swiss Flag to my website surrounding the First Aid Kit links. The New Orleans Saints game, normally noon, was pushed later to 3:30 PM and we packed up the car before the game started in case we decided to leave at half-time for Dan and Karen's home across Lake Pontchartrain over the 24-mile-long Causeway Bridge. So, when Karen texted that Dan was watching the Saints' game, we left for Dan's house. Alas, we missed one Saints touchdown during our drive before we remembered to turn the game on WWL radio. Our Saints won going away and may have knocked Bucs out of playoffs.They handed a big Christmas present to their Coach Sean Payton: his 100th Win. Good chance Saints will have a break even season at 8-8, especially if Falcons have locked home field advantage and rests its key players for the New Year's Eve game, which has also been moved from noon to 3:30. Drew and Mark were passing and running and they kept Bucs off-balance. Jairus Byrd was looking again like an All-Star defensive back. Cam Jordan making sacks like a guy who should be in the Pro Bowl. Looks to be a great 2017 season for the Saints, who have never fully recovered from the Roger Goodell thrashing-behind-the-corn shed after the Saints won the Super Bowl, up until. He seemed determined to make sure only large TV market teams would win the prestige NFL game.
At Dan's house, his son Randy (who is now looking like his dad) and Denise came in first with their brood, Brooke and Brandon. Then Heather arrived.She's on Dean's List at LSUA taking nursing. Then her parents, Frank and Cherie, arrived. Frank is looking great, hale, hearty, and happy. Cherie is a little too thin but pretty as ever. Stoney and Sue came by for the first time. They live nearby in Mandeville, but missed the previous year's party. Del's mom always had her family get-together on Christmas Day in the late afternoon and evening. I didn't know that, prior to me and Del getting together, Doris did her party on Christmas Eve. Doris simply switched forward one day to make it possible for me and Del to come the day after we went to my parents on Christmas Eve. She never said a word about it, gracious lady that she was.
We stayed until about 9 PM, Del drove us home, and we hit the sack early, about 10 PM, thankful we didn't have to assemble toys for kids for a couple of hours before we could get to sleep. We have both been there, done that, and never once felt imposed upon. The joy of seeing our kids eyes sparkle wide-open with delight the next morning was ample reward for the small sacrifices we made. Want to know if Santa Claus is for real? Check in on a neighbor with kids under 12 about 10 PM on Christmas Eve some year and you'll know for sure.
Christmas Day at Timberlane
Del and I woke up without having preteens jumping on our bed urging us up. We had coffee, a light breakfast, then sat down to open our presents from each other. She gave me a new Black Tie Tuxedo to replace my 20 year old one which I thought was still good, but it had seen better days. My new one needs only to be hemmed. Plus she gave me a beautiful sports coat that fits great across my chest and only needs the sleeves shortened about a half inch or so. It came with black wool dress trousers which need hemming. Also two pair of pajama trousers which each need the hem about 2" taken in to make them a 29" inseam. My tailor Kevin will do the hems of the black wool pants, tuxedo pants and two pajama bottoms, and Dillard's Lakeside will do the sleeves of sports coat.
Del loved the Tanzania stones that Hubert Gesser showed in his store on the Serenity. She would have liked a ring, but I explained that I wanted something special to help her to forget the diamond crystal pendant she loved so much that was lost on cruise/flight home years ago. She's only seen a colorful photo of the pendant which I created from Hubert sketch of the pendant. The actual pendant will arrive from his offices in Los Angeles in a week or two via FED EX. Del had a wait-on present for me, I have to wait for the Univeral Tape to DVD convertor which is due in shortly.
Inspired by the new hedge trimmer that Connie our neighbor got a month ago, I ordered the Lee Valley trimmer and wrapped it for Del. She went outside to givet it a try and liked it very much. It is light and slender with a sharp edge. She can do some trimming on her own now, instead of waiting for me to it. And she'll enjoy doing it. The kimono I gave her is made from "up-cycled kimonos" — a fancy name for re-purposed — and it fit her nicely. She also gave me Cephalon pans to replace the cheapy pans we have been using. I drew a line at the black spoons and spatula and she's returning them. We also got from Santa some new hand towels for bath, kitchen towels, and a down coverlet for our bed, among other things.
Remember the Singing Monkey that Sue had so much fun with? I had bought two Singing Toys, the other is a Bulldog which lip-sync's with the words or music you feed it from you phone. To demonstrate the Bulldog to Del after she opened her present and found it, I plugged the Monkey video on my phone Singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" into the Bulldog and we got the Bulldog singing a duet with the Monkey. And then I decided to play T-Paul telling a Cajun Joke through the Bulldog's mouth. Hilarious! ! !
LAST MINUTE EVENTSBetween Christmas and New Years Day we had a couple trips to get alterations done, a lunch with our good friend Barbara Louviere, an LSU Citrus Bowl game, and a New Year's Eve Play and Party at Timberlane Country Club. We have already acquired the fixings for our traditional New Orleans fare for New Year's Day: steamed cabbage, Papa Frank's cornbread, and blackeye peas with rice.
Happy New Year to all of you in 2017! ! !
REMEMBER: EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW GOOD BEGINNING
The past month of December has been warm and muggy, cold and dry with clear skies, wet with cloudy skies, and everything in-between. Typical New Orleans winter weather. I can remember one December 18th we had about 18 inches of rain and on the day of our Christmas party for our local brood. One December 11th we had snow, and even on one Christmas Day. Our Fall Vegetable gardens are producing Bell peppers, large heads of Broccoli, Green Onions, Parsley, with red potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Cabbage due to be picked soon.
LSU's new Coach O has the Tiger offense getting ready for the Citrus Bowl on December 31. He has acquired a new Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada and it looks like Bobby April will shore up our special teams as its coordinator soon. They won't come aboard fully until the New Year, but I hope their presence in spirit will inspire our Tigers to beat Louisville in the Citrus Bowl Game on New Year's Eve.Because our Caribbean cruise spanned the last week of November and first week of December, we decided to split the Travelogue between two Issues. Although December 1st Issue was late, the January 1st Issue will go out on time. We have another great selection of Reader's Comments for you to enjoy. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us and we'll share them with your fellow Readers, lightly edited. Till we meet again in February, 2017, enjoy your dark winter months or bright Summer months down under. Whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, Remember our earnest wish during the God-given year of 2017:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SEVENTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- Space Travel is easy if you take the Earth along with you.
Bobby Matherne (21st Century Philosopher, Comedian, and Poet)
New Stuff on Website:From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, most of which have never been published on the Internet before. Here at the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems and notes have been published on-line. Some of these poems have appeared in earlier DIGESTWORLD Issues and are being republished here with their associated NOTES above each poem.
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Who Dreams the Dream?: This poem was written on September 11, 1991. It was inspired by reading Urban Shaman by Serge King while driving to work at 7:30 a.m. one day. It was written on page 147 and page 191 while I was still driving. Here's the passage which triggered the poem.
King described a clients's quests with a hawk as his companion. The last quest was memorable to me.[page 146, 147] "The last challenge was a small table, almost like an altar, set up next to a cliff where the path ended. On the table were two beautifully carved and painted eggs, like the ones the Russians used to make as works of art. There was also a sign that said, 'Take only one, but take the right one.' I smiled because it seemed so obvious and reached out for the one on the right. But then I wondered if it was so obvious because it was a trick. The correct one could be the left one. I asked the hawk, but he was silent, and so were the eggs when I asked them. I was stuck until I asked the altar, and all it said was, 'Who dreams the dream?'
"At last I understood and tore the sign in half and took both the eggs. In one was a moon that represented Love, and in the other was a sun that represented Power. I brought them back to my Garden, put them away, and thanked my hawk and sent him back to Lanikeha. Finally, I came back to my normal awareness and symbolically placed a spiritual form of the eggs into each half of my brain so I would remember to use Love and Power together."
What impressed me in 1991 was the altar's question, "Who Dreams the Dream", which inspired me to write this poem which later found its way into my book, Rainbows & Shadows. So the dreamer took both eggs! Like Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot, King's client cut through the interwoven interconnections of rules and meanings and did what he wanted to do.
What impresses me in 2017 is the idea that one should use both Love and Power together when deciding on a plan of action. This is what Alexander did as he roamed the known world, bringing Love and Power to all the peoples he met. It was the gift to them of Love and Power, rightly understood, which conquered them, filling them with respect for Alexander!
Who Dreams the Dream?
When things are not what they seem
And you walk as though you're in a dream,
When terrors unnerve you at every turn,
Do not run, do not scream,
Remember: Who dreams the dream?
When the world is going to pot,
And you are not so sure that you're not,
When phobias hound you from all around you
Know that things are not what they seem,
Remember: Who dreams the dream?
Know, when disease is so rampant,
And chances for life are so scant,
When fears that hold you get bolder and bolder,
Know that things are not what they seem —
After all: Who dreams the dream?
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). The Problem is the Solution: This poem's title and first stanza was written April 10, 1991, and the second stanza on April 11, 1991. They were written on the rear overleaf of Owen Barfield's Saving the Appearances.
The Problem is the Solution
Problems are solutions
that we haven't understood,
up until now.
They are God's way
of directing our attention
to an area of our life
where a solution
3. Chapter: Rainbows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). POOF!: This poem was written on March 11, 1984. Artwork is on page 22 of The Center Book . We share with you, Good Readers, the original sketch. Notice the NLP accessing clues as our hero wakes up, from left to right: kinesthetic (feeling), constructed visual, auditory, and recalled visual. The hand is Bobby's left hand which assented to model for his right hand which drew the sketch. Mr. Walter's Park is a small park created by Mr. Walter along South Shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Metairie near Bonnabel. The year of the sketch was 1984, the year of the New Orleans World's Fair, and thus the sign proclaiming "The World's Terrific".
4. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). God Is Dead: This poem was written on November 20, 1991. It was inspired by a sentence in Course in Miracles, Workbook, page 351, about God being dead (in italics below). Note: this poem earlier appeared in DW16a, but without these prefatory notes.[page 351] Pain proclaims God cruel. How could it be real in any form? It witnesses to God the Father's hatred of His Son, the sinfulness He sees in him, and His insane desire for revenge and death. Can such projections be attested to? Can they be anything but false? . . . Pain is a sign illusions reign in place of truth. It demonstrates God is denied, confused with fear, perceived as mad, and seen as traitor to Himself. If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God. For vengeance is not part of love. And fear, denying love and using pain to prove that God is dead, has shown that death is victor over life and that the body, the Son of God, is corruptible in death, as mortal as the Father fear has slain. Peace to such foolishness! The time has come to laugh at such insane ideas.
We hope the ludicrous marble cross, with GOD emblazoned on it, will help you to laugh at the insane idea that God is dead. We mention this because in the past year numerous readers when questioned admitted they never read the name on the cross. The photo of the cross I used for this God cross was that of the Unknown Soldier in the United States cemetery in Normandy, France.
God is dead
He committed suicide
In the thrall of eternal
The Father simply blew
The Holy Ghost was most
The Son was in
Neither could accept
Where did He go,
To His Maker or
Where He went
I must suppose
Is a place
God only knows.
5. Chapter: Rainbows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Chances Are: This poem was written on May 20, 1992. It was inspired by a book I saw listed in a book catalog which contains the odds of anything happening to you. The poem brings out in the open the presuppositions behind such a book and such a way of thought. Statistics are useful only for the average person, and such a person I have never met. Each person I've met is a unique individual who would do best to laugh at such statistics. Chances are many of you do already. If not, here's your chance to do so from now on. Note: this poem earlier appeared in DW143, but without these prefatory notes.
There are books that give scientific odds
on anything you ever
hoped or feared
might happen to you,
Everything being equal.
But science has never proven
that everything is equal —
it has merely assumed
that everything is equal.
Yet science has
Convinced enough Western minds
that this is so
that, believing this is so,
it has become so,
Thus providing a convincing demonstration
that reality follows belief
And therefore the odds of any of those things
happening to you are not the same
as of them happening to anyone else,
but rather depend on your belief
in the possibility of them happening to you.
Odds are individual, not global,
as any gambler will assure you.
Chances are no scientist will ever believe this.
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.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version."Papa: Hemingway in Cuba" (2016) Ed Myers follows an aging Hemingway around in Cuba and lives to write this story of those fading years. Papa writes short story of 6 words for him: "For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Race" (2016)Is about racing and racism. Eighty years after Jesse Owens won four gold medals in Berlin Olympic this movie tells the inside story of his challenges and accomplishment. It reveals that not all Americans were racists and not all Germans were Nazis at the time. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Manhattan Night" (2016) a forensic reporter's life is upended by a beautiful gal he tries to help. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"11/22/63" 2 DVDs (2016) shows the world if JFK is not killed. A beautiful love story which ends in a poem, "We did not ask for the room, for the light, or for the music, but it's here, so let's dance." A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Blood Father" (2016) Mel Gibson as an ex-con living alone in a trailer, estranged from his daughter who arrives running from drug lords trying to kill her. It is Mel at his "Lethal Weapon" best but with an unusual twist at the end. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Sound of Music" (1965) best movie musical of all time. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! ! !
"I. T." (2016) with Peirce Brosnan as an incompetent CEO who allows an un-vetted Hacker into his all-wired life to ravage his corporation, his home, his family, and him. Can all the king's horses and men ever put him back together again?
"Lone Star" (1998) Sheriff Chris Cooper unravels the mysterious life of his sheriff father and the previous sheriff and makes a discouraging discovery.
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.
"Do You Believe?" (2015) Yes, I believe I'll send this one back half-watched.
"Captain America: Civil War" (2015) when second superhero arrives in a flick I stomp the DVD.
"Chevalier" (2016) weird Greek men playing children's game which we ended by shipping DVD back without watching most of it.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Time Out of Mind" (2015) Richard Gere, homeless, living on the street, with no one but a daughter who won't help him. It's a drag.
"Miller's Crossing" (1990) early Coen Bros shoot'em up, Italians vs Irish and neither side wins.
"Keanu" (2016) This cat is real. Its masters unreal scumbags. A bit of comedy lightens the massively amoral plot line.
"The Brothers Grimsby" (2016) These cats are unreal - the Bond Bros - Bond would blush at their antics, maybe even spill his martini. Penelope Cruz remains clothed but everyone else is near naked.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Boudreaux's father was up in age and he loved going dancing at Mulate's every week. One night he met Camille, a gal about 30 years younger than he was, and he was smitten.
As they danced a slow dance, very close, he held her tight and whispered in her ear, "Cheri, brought yo'sef back wit' me to mah place for some coffee, and we can took dis all de way."
Camille whispered into his ear, "Mais oui, Cher, but Ah must tole yah sumpin'. Ah'm on my menstrual cycle."
Boudreaux said, "Mais, dat's okay, Yah can follow me in mah pick'em up truck."
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5.Household Hint for January, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux:
(See photos of Pre- and Post- Triggered Alert)
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Background on MAIL ALERT: We love our new home with a Mail Slot which goes directly into the house! Our previous home required us to walk 50 or more feet just to see if the mail man had come, and we had to open the front door to check if there was mail. To check if a new Blu-Ray from NetFlix had arrived was a chore, especially if we walked, opened the door, and then opened the Mail Box to find it was empty. Bah! One reason we love the through the wall mail slot is that the NetFlix disks in the Red Envelopes arrive in our Screening Room! We can pick them off the floor as we enter the Screening Room and slip them into the player. We never have to walk outside to look in a mail box.
Since Del and I work out of our home, we can usually hear when the mailman comes. But we needed a bit of assistance, because snail mail doesn't BEEP like email when it arrives. For the first year or so, I'd hear a strange noise and walk around the house to find out what caused the noise. (You folks with kids still at home, don't have this problem, I'll bet! Strange noises can happen all the time. And you can yell to stop the noise without having to walk around. My Indoor voice can be as loud as anybody's outdoor voice.)
Before I put in the MAIL ALERT, I got tired of picking up the mail from the floor. When you're over 70 and have to pick something off the floor, you look around to see if anything else needs to be picked up. So I installed a stand, attached a large wooden tray to its top, and velcroed it to the wall (So we can move it when we leave for a trip. Then a large canvas US Mail Bag sits on the floor and catches the mail.) It's great not to have a mailbox fill up! Most of the mail gets into the wooden tray, but as I said earlier, sometimes there's no noise, so I needed a louder alert, that's where the small bell comes.
Several Mardi Gras necklaces
A small metal bell. (I use a model of the Freedom Bell because it's already cracked!)
Scatter the Mardi Gras necklaces or suitable replacements in Mail Tray. If you don't know anyone who lives in New Orleans (We natives always have extras.), any old costume jewelry necklaces will likely work as well. The rustle of the necklaces when the mail hits the tray will be a good unambiguous signal. The small bell will add a tinkling sound when it gets hit. A few minutes ago, I heard some glass breaking in the house and I'm the only one here, so I walked around to investigate and I noticed the white USPS vehicle through our front door, so I walked to get the mail. What sounded like glass-breaking was the bell hitting the floor as it did its job.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Seven Types of Ambiguity:
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This poem first appeared in my 2010 review of William Empson's book Seven Types of Ambiguity:
Can you spot the pattern in Othello's words, "the flinty and steel couch of war"? We have a noun and noun of noun, or this one, "the flint and steel with which you fire your gun." (Page 90) Or this one from 'Hamlet' (page 91), "Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults." Or this one from 'Measure for Measure', "Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness" (Page 92). Or this one of the form "by noun and noun, the noun": "As when, by night and negligence, the fire is spied". Or "noun and noun with noun", and so on. There is a good reason this usage seems familiar. 'Shakespeare used it very often, Empson says. This form has been drummed into the hearts and ears of his readers, until we take it for granted.
[page 94] Within the book and volume of my brain.
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind.
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
The whips and scorns of time.
The natural gates and alleys of the body.
After reading all these examples of the form, I could not resist incorporating the form into a poem I was writing for our Annual Cat & Mouse Dinner where we fete our ladies with a formal dinner at Antoine's Restaurant in the French Quarter and afterwards read poems to them. This is the poem I wrote for and read on that occasion in 2010.
TO OUR LADIES
In this year and night of mirth we come here
To feast and fete you ladies with our song.
Let us lift our Spirit and our Task to Thee
Whose voices and shapes to Heav'n belong —
While we Earth-bound and bound to worship Thee,
Loose our tongue and spirit with our melody.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Genius of Language, GA# 299, Observations for Teachers by Rudolf Steiner
This is a series of lectures which Steiner was asked to give while giving the Light Course (GA 320). The translator Teutsch tells us, "Not only did he teach a scientific course with only a minimum of equipment, but he was willing to improvise a course on language, requested by the teachers only on his arrival in Stuttgart." (Page 13) And amazingly, he gave them both during the same period of a week or so.
The translator herself did an amazing job of giving us English speakers access to Steiner's insights, most of which deal with his native language, German. She adds ample English examples in brackets to complement the German examples and place single word or phrase translations into English in single quotations following German ones.
This is not an easy book to read, but the insights into the formation and quality of language are valuable and worth the intense effort. The quality of Steiner's presentation on language is noted in the Afterword by Adam Makkai, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Chicago:
[page 103] Nothing can be more telling about Rudolf Steiner's depth of insight into widely disparate subjects, than the number of trouvailles or "hits" he achieves in what is - admittedly - a merely improvised series of hastily arranged lectures at the request of a number of friends. Few, if any, during the course of the past two thousand years were able to do what Steiner did, day in and day out, during the entire course of his life.
Language was no exception in this regard. Steiner's intuitions, as seen from the vantage point of what we today consider scientific linguistics were all on the right track . . .
Concepts may spring into being from the spiritual world but cannot be communicated unless the concepts are clothed in words. This is what happened when Christianity spread northward from Rome to northern and central Europe - the peoples there were unable to grasp the content of Christianity with their native words and sounds.
[page 25] Therefore, those who brought Christian concepts and Christian perceptions also brought their "word clothing." . . . In the same way, everything connected with schooling streamed northward, too, words like Schule 'school' itself, Tafel 'blackboard', and so forth. [They] have been integrated into the German language organization so thoroughly that no one today would recognize them as loan-words.
[page 19] Everything pertaining to school entered our language from outside; it came - with education itself - with Latin or the Romance languages from the South.
There were some education-related words with Germanic roots. For example, the beech-wood sticks which the ancient Germans carved runes into. When they read the runes, they picked up the beech-wood sticks and attempted to glean a meaning from them. The literal translation of beech-sticks was buch-staben and this compound word is the current German word for "letters of the alphabet".Something that holds a lot of buchstaben came to be called simply a buch, from which English gets the word, "book." To pick up these beech-sticks to harvest their meaning, Germans used the word lesen and that word is currently the German word for "to read". Steiner adds that the word for teacher Lehrer comes directly from lesen. (page 19, 20)
In English we may call someone who makes puns a "punster" and in German they call someone who makes shoes a Schuster. The root of this German word comes from the Latin sutor and it came about when the Italians (and other immigrants from the South) taught the Germans to sew their foot-coverings instead of merely tying them together. Our word for sewing done by surgeons is "suture" and it comes as well from the Latin sutor which means sewing. Note how this gives us a specific example of how concepts, new ways of doing or thinking about things, arrive with their own "word-clothing."
Ponder everything you learned about consonants and vowels in school, and you will likely, as I did, only recall being taught about the separation of the alphabet into 5 vowels and 21 consonants, and not much more. In these lectures, Steiner gives us much more to consider. Consonant sounds are those we make in imitation of the world outside of us. This easily explain the prevalence of consonants in the speech of primitive folk, such as the tongue-clickers of Kenya. Cultures just learning languages use gestures to discuss features of the outside world. This is something that it's possible to watch today as people use gestures to complement their speech, especially when attempting to describe some physical object. Soon these gestures feed into the body and modulate the speech mechanisms to create analogous consonant sounds. Examples which come to me are words like flutter, jingle, tintinnabulation, etc. The consonants chop up sounds flowing from the larynx like the action in the outside world portrayed by word the consonants comprise.
In the case of vowels - Aah! There's the power of vowels! They allow us to express our inner feelings in a situation. "Oh, Boy!" is a demonstration of enthusiasm as much as a verbal phrase of language. Its power resides in the powerful repeated vowel, "O".Anyone hearing that expression can immediately and directly pick up the excitement inside the speaker. Over the ages, the primitive peoples speaking only consonants begin to discover vowels along with the discovery of and wish to represent their inner feelings. The vowels begin to be interlaced with the consonants to form a type of speech we are more familiar with now. In an interjection the translator states, "Wadler once described the consonant as the musical instrument on which the vowel-melody is played, hence the ever-changing vowels in epochs of time and in comparable languages."
When one begins to grasp the interplay of consonants and vowels in language rightly, one must agree with Steiner that the "bow-wow" theory of language development(1) is barking up the wrong tree! As he says further on page 28, ". . . the 'bow-wow' or 'ding-dong' theories are horribly wrong. They are incorrect and superficial." Speech sounds, rightly understood, are connected with whatever we want to reveal of soul and spirit.
The word "gestalt" is a familiar word in the English language referring to some emergent figure from the totality of the background field. The origin of this word came from an old expression in German Hagestalt which meant a "confirmed bachelor."To understand this, consider that a hedged surrounded plot in a larger farm was called a Hag and someone who owned a plot of ground was a stalt. The man who owned such a hedged field was a Hagestalt. In the local laws of the time, the first son got the main part of the farm, and the second son only the hedged-in field. The small field was not enough for the second son to become married, therfore a Hagestalt would likely remain a bachelor for his entire life. Thus, the emergent figure from the field or gestalt should etymologically remind us of the Hagestalt, the lone man standing out in his hedged-in field, all of which data, taken as a whole, resolved into the meaning of a confirmed bachelor in earlier times. (Page 31)
Steiner tells us that translations from one language to another should be made by the heart, not by the book.
[page 34] Words in general have the most varied transitions of form and meaning, of course; translations following only the dictionary are artificial and pedantic. First of all, we should follow the genius of language, which really has something other in mind than what seems obvious at first glance.
One of my favorite etymologies done by Steiner was when he tracked down Lord and Lady as the Keeper of the Bread and the Kneader of the Bread. Bread was originally a Gothic word hlaifs from which we get our modern word for a unit of bread, "loaf". In Old English hlaford or hlafweard meant "bread keeper" - note the ending weard appears in "steward" which refers to a keeper of some property.Shortened over time, hlaford morphed into "Lord." On the other hand, hlaefdige in Old English referred to "one who digs into the loaf" or a "bread kneader." Over time, it morphed into Lady.
How is that we find roots of some words in widely scattered regions across the globe and yet the two languages in which they appear are not mutually understandable? Steiner says that during some primeval time these languages were formed in similar ways, and then later they diverged. Languages merge when there is intercourse between the two cultures, but when that intercourse stops, the two languages begin to separate again. He asks us to envision waves of evolution as various languages developed in step with each other during one expansive, interactive phase and then differentiated themselves from other languages during another more insular phase. (page 39)
Languages also evolve differently if the people live in a mountainous area or a low-lying plain. One can only think of the famous Swiss yodelers of the high mountains as one reads this next passage and compare them to the drawl of Southerners in the United States who for the most part live in low-lying areas with heavy, moisture laden air compared to the thin, light, dry air of the high mountains. As the word "Y'all" is voiced by a Southerner, one can almost feel the heavy air slowly being pushed through the larynx.
[page 41] Languages start out with a primitive structure. What then brings about the differences in them? Variety is due, for instance, to whether a tribe lives in a mountainous area or perhaps on the plain. The larynx and its related organs wish to sound forth differently according to whether people live high up in the mountains or in a low-lying area, and so on, even though at the beginning of speech, what emerges from the nature of the human being forms itself in the same way.
Our word for measuring the size of a plot of land is "acre" and Steiner traces this word back for us to A-K-R an Egyptian earth-god, to Ikker a Hebrew peasant, to Acker (in German the land itself), and finally to our "acre." He notes the progression goes from GOD to man to physical land to a measurement of land. This shows "how ancient words with a spiritual meaning descend through the ages to a sense that is more and more physical and abstract." (Page 54)
One interesting prefix is ge- which forms the middle of our word "together" and means a "gathering" or "coming together". If we place it in front of the word for hall selle you get in German Geselle "fellow" - a person who shares the hall or room with you. Add schaft and you get Gesellschaft "society." Many words beginning with ge- have an innate sense of coming or being together in them. Gleich means "very similar" or "identical" in German, and it stems from the joining together of ge- "gather" and leich "forms" or forms which are similar to each other.
As I live and breathe , Steiner's next insight about double phrases got to me! Consider our familiar ones as provided by the translator: might and main, time and tide, rack and ruin, part and parcel, and head to toe.Note that the two parts are not reversible - one cannot say main and might and be comprehended in the same way as might and main. Professor Makkai points this out on page 119. He calls these dyads, "irreversible binomials" and adds these to the list: drawn and quartered, nip and tuck, and touch and go.
What makes these dyads live in our language? They allow us to express something that we cannot otherwise pin down, but which is ineffable, so we use two partials to explain some whole we have no exact word to describe. With all our might and main, we will go to rack and ruin, and perhaps be drawn and quartered if we are unable part and parcel to communicate from head to toe what we mean exactly.
[page 58, 59] Suppose I want to describe how a person acts, what his habits are, what his essential nature is. I will probably hesitate to use just one word that would make him out to be a living person but passive - for I don't want to characterize him as living essentially a passive life nor on the other hand an active life; I want to deduce his activity out of his intrinsic nature. I can't say his soul lebt 'exists'; that would be too passive. Nor can I say, his soul webt 'is actively in motion, weaves, wafts'; that would be too active. I need something in between, and today we can still say, Die Seele lebt und webt 'Just as he lives and breathes.'
Steiner gives us an example from the Middle Ages of the expression krankem Schilfrohr 'sick reeds.' What seems to be "sick reeds" to us meant merely "thin reeds" to people back then. Over time the meaning of being "thin" came to be applied to the thinness that accompanied sickness as people lost their appetite and grew thin from some disease. This kind of changing from descriptive to evaluative (thin to sick) was first described to my knowledge by C. S. Lewis in his book, Studies in Words. The translator inserts an interesting passage which illustrates this kind of evolution of three very common English words: amusing, awful, and artificial.
[page 68] [An English example: when James II (1633-1701) first saw St. Paul's Cathedral in London, he called it amusing, awful, and artificial. He meant that it was 'pleasing to look at'; 'meriting awe'; and 'full of skillful artifice'.]
Another lost meaning for us in English is our word "bitter" as it refers to a kind of taste sensation we usually don't like very much. Its origin is in the word beissen 'to bite' in German, and if one thinks about it, a bitter taste has a certain "bite to it." Also note how we still use "bitter" and "biting" interchangeably in the idiomatic expression "a bitter cold" or "a biting cold". (Page 70)
Another amazing modifier is the single letter "l" when it is added to the end of a word which adds a feeling that something is moving about. Take the word "fond" which is means to like someone and add an "l" syllable to the end of the word and you get "fondle" which adds some moving and touching to the otherwise stagnant action of being fond of.You might "need" something from someone without ever mentioning it, but if you "needle" them, they will certainly be aware of the motions you are making to fulfilling your "need." The translator gives these English examples; tramp-trample, side-sidle, and tread-treadle.
Consonants are actually gestures we make with out mouth and vocal apparatus in the process of talking, Steiner tells us in this next passage:
[page 81] Let us suppose we would like to speak about an angle. First, we have an image of a certain angle in mind. To describe the sides of the angle with our hand, we would do this [Rudolf Steiner makes a gesture]. What we do like this with our hand we actually do with our organs of speech in forming certain consonants. Language is in this respect only the audible expression of gestures that are not being made externally with the limbs but with much finer parts of the human organism, our beneficent air-organism.If you think about these inner laws, you will gradually develop the insight that language imitates either the outer world directly or imitates what we experience in the outer world through our feelings and sense perceptions.
We mentioned the tongue-clicking of certain African tribes earlier to illustrate how primitive peoples will begin with consonants. Here Steiner lays out the progression of development from consonants to vowel to consonants again.
[page 83] 'Tongue clicking' disappears when human beings begin to express more of their inner feelings through sound structure. Consonant formations must be considered the first step. Then the second step will be the vowel formations, but the inwardness found in vowel formations is actually a stage of transition. Finally the signs of aging in the genius of language appear: the vowel-forming power recedes and the consonant-forming power comes to the fore again.
Our human language journey involving the development of language proceeds essentially from outward to inward and then from inward to outward. We can observe this procedure directly in the sound-structure; it is the intrinsic essential fact through the whole forming of language. It is the intrinsic, essential fact to such a degree that we encounter it in every aspect of language.
Conjugating verbs is a hassle to anyone studying European languages, especially Latin. "Why do I have to remember all these ending for every verb?" is a common refrain. Steiner explains that the special ending for each verb is simply the adding on of a pronoun to the verb. In a time when people formed words by linking two already known words together, like an early English word for ship was "sea-horse," it was natural for them to link a pronoun designating who was performing an action to the verb designating the action itself. For example: salbom, 'I anoint' or salbos, 'you anoint'. At some point in development, as the people worked their way from outward to inwardness the pronoun was removed from the verb form and placed in front of it as a separate word, i. e., 'I anoint' or 'You anoint'.
[page 85, 86] Repositioning the pronoun from the end of the word to the beginning and making it an independent word was the path to the greatest inwardness, the kind of inwardness that perceives how spiritually abstract our inner nature really is. Now the person is separated off and placed ahead of the verb. You can learn something important from this procedure if you go back to the primitive constructions of the language-forming genius that does not really know anything about an I or a you separated from external things, and that still presses into the word whatever has to be said about I or you. Later, the genius finds the pronouns within the word itself - Latin is a language at this level - and plucks them out, comes to a mirror image of itself, comes to ego consciousness, and then puts the I and the you up ahead of the verb.This growing sense of egoism, this arrival at self-visualization is reflected quite clearly in language development. One can say that becoming aware of oneself at a certain unconscious level has been achieved as the result of the ancient Apollonian precept "know thou thyself"; this was followed everywhere in the languages of the western world by taking the personal pronouns out of the verb forms.
Consider now verbs which have prominent vowels in them, like "feel", "cool", "will", "wish" [RJM: note that "w" is actually a vowel sound formed of "ou"]. Such verbs are used to represent one's inner state of being.
[page 86] With a little reflection you will realize that the verbs in which the vowel element - expressing inner sensitivity - is more important than the consonants are those that describe an activity we can connect ourselves with inwardly and wholeheartedly.
This next piece of information was a revelation to me: the origin of our adding "-ed" to verbs to represent an action that took place in the past.
[page 87] If you want to express the fact that [some action of placing happened] some time ago, you will say . . . place-did. You do place yourself, you did place yourself; in metamorphosis this becomes placed, for the -ed is the transformed did.
One of the curious things about German when I studied the language was the prevalence of adding -n or -en to a noun to create a plural. In this footnote to page 91, the translator explains the various forms of plural in early English:
[page 91] 3. Old English had many ways of forming noun plurals. The most common was the addition of -an, but -as (later -es, -s ) gained ground and finally carried the day. However, we still have oxen, children, kine, brethren. The mutation plural (changing the vowel) we find in geese, feet, mice, lice, men, and women.
Each of us has an etheric body which normally nests completely within our physical body. But in cases of certain illnesses this supersensible body may separate itself from the body, a fact which will be visible to clairvoyant sight. As an indication that this type of sight was a circadian ability of early peoples, we can find idiomatic expressions still extant which point to that ability. We may say, for example, if a woman is acting crazy that "she is beside herself", "she is off her rocker", or "she is deranged". In German the word is "verrückt".
[page 92] In cases where the supersensible does not quite fit into the rest of the human being, people felt: the etheric body is verrückt ['shifted', literally 'moved off its place', a word that today means 'deranged', 'insane', 'crazy']. This was then transferred to the whole person: Der Mensch ist verrückt 'that person is shifted', i.e., 'crazy'. A purely external fact is described, the displacing of the etheric body. Just this sort of picture-making, going back to the time when pictures of the spiritual world could still be observed, is exceedingly interesting. If people would only recognize this, if learned philologists were not so sound asleep, proceeding as they do quite surperficially on their materialistic tracks! If they could enter instead into the inward soul element that finds its expression in external language-forming, philology would turn of itself into a science of the soul and then into spiritual science. For this reason it is a shame that philology has become so materialistic; young people actually have no opportunity to observe the effects of soul and spirit on the forming of language.
I attended public school in the United States and must say that I certainly had no opportunity to observe the effects of soul and spirit on the forming of the English language or any language, up until now. With the advent of Waldorf Schools in this country, this situation can change for the better through the study and sharing with our children such insights into the soul and spirit present in the genius of language from now on.
Steiner makes an interesting statement on page 93, "We no longer train ourselves to imbue the words that sound alike with the very same inward feelings." With this statement he answered what has long been an unanswered question in my mind: "Why does poetry use rhyming of words?" The answer seems clear: when we rhyme we repeat a certain sound and thereby reinforce the inward feeling when we do so. In my first book of poems, Flowers of Shanidar, I wrote this in the Preface:
Deli really loves it when my poems rhyme.
She says, "Can't you make it happen all the time?"
I explain that modern poetry
has well-known un-rhymed notoriety.
So she listens patiently awhile
but only when it rhymes does she smile.
Each of us has a little boy or girl that lives inside of us. The above poem was written for the little girl inside my wife, Del. For her many of my poems rhyme.
The little boy or girl inside each of us is a feeler, a part of us which can tap into inward feelings and respond to them. It is the reason that nursery rhymes are so popular with children, and when parents read them to their small children, if they match with their children's feeling states as they are intensified by the repetitive rhymes, they will enjoy themselves as well(2).
On the other hand, we drive our children into materialism by giving them abstract instruction instead of nursery rhymes. Waldorf teachers were exhorted to use concrete examples when teaching subject matter instead of chopping up the subject matter into pieces and treating each piece as if it could exist outside of the total subject matter.The chopping into pieces of the school day is one example of this kind of so-called modern treatment of subjects which deadens the bodies, souls, and minds of the young children in schools. Those schools which use such digitization of a whole subject create materialistic robots who regurgitate material to achieve graduation from school instead of actually learning with their body, soul, and spirit. I can do no better to end this review than with Steiner's charge to his audience of future Waldorf teachers:
[page 94, 94] Therefore I believe that what I have given you in this course can be a practical, methodological extension of the course I gave before the Waldorf School began. And I believe that you can accomplish a great deal by pondering, "How should I organize my class teaching, translating all this into what is right of children - for it is possible to adapt it in every subject - so that it follows this process of drawing in a spiritual quality by means of concrete examples?" If you do this, you will not easily run the risk almost all teaching does of not getting finished with the load of subject matter. It is only when subject matter is shredded into atoms and systematized that you don't get finished with it, because it is so tempting to take up the single, atomized parts that are uncharacteristic and pile them up, trying to show what is characteristic. Of course, there are uncharacteristic examples in all the school subjects; using these means that a great deal has to be strung together. If you make the effort, however, to choose characteristic examples and develop what is spiritual through your examples, you will achieve a certain necessary economy in your teaching.
I would be happy, my dear friends - and let it be said in all friendship, especially to those who are teachers here at the Waldorf School - I would be happy if two things have been noted in these improvised talks: First the stimulus toward educating yourselves in a kind of brotherly-sisterly alliance with the language genius; on the other hand, that the method of teaching is influenced to some extent by what I have just pointed out to you.
--- Footnotes ---
Footnote 1. A theory which holds that language sounds began as imitations by human beings of the sounds in the world around them.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. While doing the copy-editing of this piece, Del scribbled at this point, "Now I know why I like your poems to rhyme."Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
2.) ARJ2: How To Thrive on Rejection by Alan Abel
By the author of 100 Uses for a Dead Cat, this book is filled with hilarity and guffaw-provoking anecdotes from Abel's experience. Abel is not a humorist to be taken lightly [!] as the Helmsley Hotel discovered when they refused him the use of their rest room. He hauled a pretend outhouse in psychedelic colors to the front of the hotel and raised a storm of protests. To prevent anyone from actually trying to use it, he hired an opera singer to sit inside and if anyone knocked on the door, she was to break out into song. Sure enough a construction worker who needed a restroom in the worst way knocked persistently on the door and soon the strains of the diva inside singing Toreador at the top of her lungs were drifting over Park Avenue.
In another episode, Hugh Hefner tried to remove Abel's play Is There Sex After Death from his theater, ignoring Abel's contract to stay as long as the play was successful. Playboy Enterprises sent construction workers to begin noisy renovations to drive away patrons. Abel's response was to show up at the theater with four "killer" guard dogs that were going to attack anyone making the slightest noise. After Abel gave his spiel to the cowering construction workers, they all left the theater and were replaced by Playboy's lawyers. They were suddenly ready to negotiate terms favorable to Abel, who held in one hand the contract and the other the leash of the "killer" dogs.
Tom Snyder, still angered from the time Abel removed Tom's shoes and socks right before Tom began an introduction speech, wouldn't let Abel on his Tomorrow Show. Abel got on anyway disguised as Omar the Beggar, complete with bodyguard and actress Evelyn Jones pleading loudly as they entered NBC for Omar not to go on TV. Snyder never found out till much later about Abel's ruse.
Abel started the SINA (Society for Indecency to Naked Animals) with the premise that animals were indecent without clothes on. The BBC tried to trick him with an interview on the subject using a double-talk expert, but Abel answered the questions and deftly turned the interviewer into an interviewee by the end of the program. The BBC thought Abel never knew about their ruse - I wonder if the BBC reads books - they might learn something if they read this one.
So many of Abel's pranks were of his own devising, but sometimes he just stumbled onto the right move. Once while having lunch with a publisher who was informing him of the rejection of his new book, The Fallacy of Creative Thinking, Abel, trying to recover from a full year of wasted effort, decided to pick up the check for lunch. This was so unusual that the publisher decided to overrule his staff and publish the book anyway.
In another episode, he had primed his 8 year-old daughter Jennifer to ask him during their appearance on Canada's Tonight Show, "Where does the Lone Ranger take his garbage?" The answer was to be, "To the Dump, to the Dump, to the Dump, Dump, Dump" - to be sung to the tune of the Lone Ranger theme song, the William Tell Overture. In the rush to end the show (credits rolling) she got flustered and said, "Where does the Lone Ranger go to take a dump?"
3.) ARJ2: Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 GA#218 & 304a by Rudolf Steiner
Anthroposophy is not some metaphysical hogwash, but rather a practical approach to life. If you are interested in your existence as a human being, continue reading, as Steiner will help you to understand how the spiritual world becomes a part of all material events.
[page 1] When we look at a living human being, we are faced not only with what we see, what we understand through speech, and perhaps everything else that person's being expresses that we can perceive with normal consciousness; we also confront the spiritual being living in that person, the spiritual, supersensible being that continually affects that individual's material body.
Few places else in human existence is this awareness of a spiritual being living in a human being more obvious that when we confront a baby or a small child. A baby absorbs everything we experience in our soul and reacts immediately to us. Smile at a baby and it will absorb and reflect back at you the feeling in your soul which led you to smile. Pretend to smile when you don't feel like it and the baby will also reflect that inner feeling back to you. Move a camera between you and the baby and you'll see a troubled look on its face immediately. If you understand this process, you'll appreciate the job that parents, caregivers, and teachers have when dealing with young children. Everything they feel will be absorbed by their charges, and echoed back at them. Going back to the baby example: Yes, we can perceive the changes in the baby's face with our sensory perceptions, but it is reacting to changes within our soul directly when it smiles so that, if we move the camera in front of our face, the baby acts puzzled by the soulless object we have confronted it with.
[page 2] We can never comprehend very much of the world through the knowledge we gain through normal sense perceptions and the intellect connected with those perceptions. People delude themselves into thinking that, when we someday perfect conventional science, we will comprehend more of the world through our intelligence, sense perceptions, and experiments.
It will not happen because each new abstract logical construct will build on the set of older ones like a large house of cards which the simplest breeze can knock over. We exist in a time-being similar to the way we exist in our physical-being, our body, and what's important to teachers etal is that this time-being is very active during childhood and remains active for the rest of our lifetime, reflecting back to our mature selves the results of our early learnings.
[page 3] The time organism is particularly active in early childhood, but is continually active throughout life in much the following way: Suppose someone has an opportunity at age thirty-five to enter a new situation. If that person meets the situation by doing what is right, then such a person may become aware that at around age twelve important things were learned that now make it possible to move quickly into this new situation.
Around the age thirty-one I encountered a situation when doing what was right was crucial to me. A guiding principle came to me: I was to make decisions in such a way that the outcome would be best for all the people concerned. The principle allowed me to move quickly into the dramatically new situation exactly as Steiner explains above. I cannot attest how that learning came to me, to what might have happened to me, what teacher may have influenced me around the age twelve, but at age 31 I found the exact guidance I needed to sort through the morass of possibilities in a joyful mood and make healthy and effective decisions. Looking back from my present age of 76, I can attest that the decisions I made were best for all concerned.
[page 3, 4] A certain kind of joy occurs at age thirty-five that arises from the interaction that person had as a child with a teacher. What occurred in that etheric body [RJM: time-body] of eight or ten years old, due to the teacher and the instruction given to the child, acts exactly the same way that our treatment of an organ far from the head acts to cure the headache. Thus, the experiences of a young child affect the thirty-five-year-old person later and create a joyful mood or depression. The entire disposition of an adult depends on what the teacher developed in the etheric body of that adult as a child, in just the same way that one organ of the human spatial body depends upon all the others.
In the "Sound of Music" we hear Maria sing this line, "Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could. So somewhere in my youth and childhood, I must have done something good." As a child if we do something good, it is because we imitated the behavior of a caregiver or teacher doing something good. Thus the verse above points to a childhood teacher that influenced Maria as a child in such a way that now in adulthood, she experiences a joyful moment marking the beginning of the rest of her lifetime as Baroness von Trapp leading her family in joyous singing.
How do we teach our children to do something good? We do something good in their presence. We teach them to hold good thoughts in their mind by holding good thoughts in our minds.We ensure our inner and outer actions match, what in psychotherapy is called "being congruent". When we tell an untruth we are automatically incongruent because our inner and outer realities do not match. A child maintains a spiritual connection with us and so it is always aware of our inner realities because it shares that inner reality with us. If our words and action do not match our inner reality, the child gets confused, and something that is not good happens in the child. It's the "not good" that can return at age thirty-five as a full-blown depression as Steiner says in the above passage.
If you do not believe this spiritual connection is true, is your belief due to a lifelong indoctrination in believing that sensory data is the only means of transmission between humans? It may be so between two adults, especially adults who have been carefully taught it is true, but children arrive un-taught and their reality is much different than most people are taught, up until now. You can instruct child under the age of seven in good and evil, but what is inside of you they will receive more powerfully than anything you can say.
[page 8] If we believe we can achieve anything by instructing the child about good and evil, we only delude ourselves. We can educate very young children only when we present them with examples they can imitate, including thoughts. A subtle spiritual connection exists between children and those who raise them. When we are with children, we should be careful to harbor only thoughts and feelings they can imitate in their own thoughts and feelings. In their souls, young children are entirely sense receptors and perceive things so subtle that we as adults could not dream they even occur.
After age seven the child sees the teacher as a model to imitate, both the good and bad aspects of what they do.
[page 8] At this point children are just as devoted to what the teacher says and develops within the children as they were earlier to the gestures and activities around them. Between seven and fourteen years of age, an urge arises within children to devote themselves to natural authority. Children thus want to become what that authority is. The love of that natural authority and a desire to please now become the main principle, just as imitation was earlier.
When I was nine and ten years old, I read a lot of comic books, Superman, Captain Marvel, the Blackhawk flying squadron, Nancy, Henry, Heckle and Jeckel, and so on. I couldn't afford to buy comic books, but my Uncle Frank bought a lot of them, and put them into a box at my Grandma's house when he was done.When we went there, I'd pull out the box and read a two-foot high stack of comic books in one afternoon under a pecan tree. I learned all I needed to know about good and bad from these comic books. In Superman and Captain Marvel, I found models of a moral person who corrected injustices. My parents to their credit left me alone in my comic book reading.
[page 13] When children have reached age nine or ten, we may begin to present pictures that primarily stimulate the imagination. We may present pictures of good people, pictures that awaken a feeling of sympathy for what people do. Please take note that I did not say we should lecture children about moral commandments. I did not say we should approach children's intellect with moral reasoning. We should approach children through esthetics and imagination. We should awaken a pleasure or displeasure of good and bad things, of just or unjust things, of high ideals, of moral action, and of things that occur in the world to balance incorrect action. Whereas previously we needed to place ourselves before the children as a kind of moral regulator, we now need to provide them with pictures that do no more than affect the imagination living within their sense nature. Before puberty, children should receive morality as a feeling.They should receive a firm feeling that, "Something is good, and I can be sympathetic toward it," or "I should feel antipathy toward something bad." Sympathies and antipathies, that is, judgments within feelings, should be the basis of what is moral.
When I say that comic books shaped my early moral judgments, I mean that sincerely. My parents did not lecture me on morality, except for terse statements about stealing and such, like: "You do that you go to jail".
[page 13] You cannot make a plant's root blossom; you must wait until the root develops into the plant and then the plant blossoms. In the same way, you must, in a sense, tend the moral root in the feeling and develop sympathy for what is moral. You must then allow children to carry that feeling into their intellect through their own forces as human beings. Later in life they will have the deep inner satisfaction of knowing that something more lives within them than just memories of what their teacher said was right or wrong. Instead, an inner joy will fill their entire soul life from the knowledge that moral judgment awoke within them at the proper time. That we do not slavishly educate children in a particular moral direction, rather, we prepare so that their free developing souls can grow and blossom in a moral direction, strengthens people not only with a capacity for moral judgment, but also gives them a moral strength.
When I studied psychotherapy, a wise teacher told me about a farmer who would go out at night to check on his new seedlings and give each one a tug to help it grow. All of his plants died before long. Children are like seedlings, are they not?
[page 15] If you tend plants as a gardener, you certainly do not make the sap move from the root to the flower. Rather, you prepare the plant's environment so that the flow of sap can develop. As teachers we must be just as selfless so that the child's inner forces can unfold. Then we will be good teachers, and the children can flourish in the proper way.
The third stage of life is puberty, which is the flowering stage of children and its fruit is morality.
[page 16] The capacity for intellectual moral judgment awakens in the third period of the child development, which is oriented toward the spirit. This occurs as surely as the plant in the light of the Sun blossoms and fruits. Morality can only take firm root in the spirit if the body and soul have been properly prepared. It can then freely awake to life, just as the blossom and fruit freely awaken in the plant in the light of the Sun.
Steiner likens being a caregiver for a small child to that of being a painter. I did not master the first step of painting because I was lashed to a theoretical understanding of color and painting. I never raised myself from my early childhood coloring book stage and later paint-by-numbers stage. Late in life, I took a short workshop in painting with the Sufi Artist Verna and she helped me to see colors directly, and paint what I saw, but it was too late for me.
[page 22] Painters or other artists must learn two things in order to practice their art. In the case of painters, they must first learn a particular skill for observing form and color. The artist must be able to create from the nature of form and color and cannot begin with some theoretical comprehension of them. The artist can begin only by living within the nature of form and color. Only then can the artist learn the second thing, namely, technique.
My parents were artists in raising children. They did not try to push me in any direction, but stood aside and allowed me to choose my life's path. I absorbed their parenting skills and deftly applied them with my own children, raising four of them from the time I was twenty-five years old. Luckily I had no time to acquire a "theoretical understanding", and simply proceeded on what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do. There were speed bumps, but I am very happy with the way all four have turned out.
In the next passage, Steiner emphasizes the importance of nurture over nature, something I heartily agree with.
[page 28] Contemporary understanding overvalues way too much what is call "heredity." When people see the characteristics of some adult, they often say such traits are inherited by purely physical transfer from one generation to another. Those who truly understand human beings, however, see that children's muscles develop according to the impressions from their surroundings. They can see that — depending on whether or not we treat a child with tenderness and care, with love or in some other manner — the child's breathing and circulation develop according to the feelings experienced. If a child often experiences someone approaching with love, who instinctively falls into step with the child will, in subtle ways, develop healthy lungs.
One can understand if someone approaches a child with a forcible attitude, such a dentist trying to get a young child to open his mouth, the resulting effect on the child can be a lifetime of asthma problems.
[page 29] To the extent that a person's physical body is strong or weak, that the physical body can be depended upon, gratitude or blame for the way one walks through life — even in old age — is due to the impressions made on a person as a small child.
From the science of doyletics we learn that these impressions on children before teeth change can be stored as physical body states (doyles) which can be recapitulated indefinitely for the rest of the child's life. One episode in a dentist's office is enough to create asthma, a mother screaming because her child's playing with a roach can create a lifetime fear of roaches, etc.
[page 30] Everything that occurs in the child's presence before the change of teeth penetrates the depths of the child's being.
Steiner reveals an understanding of the basic principle of the science of doyletics. This science provides individual ways to undo the deep penetration of a human being by onerous events which occurred in their childhood(1).
The only instruction valuable to me as a young child was my mother or father telling me, "Here's how you do it" followed by my doing it and matching what they did.
[page 30] Children do not learn what they for any reason found in the instruction itself. Children learn because they see what an adult knows and is able to do, and because an adult who is the child's accepted educational authority says this or that is something appropriate to be learned. That goes right into the child's moral foundation.
Definitions are soul-killing! Give one to a child between teeth change and puberty and it's like putting shoes on a child at age seven and leaving the same pair on until age 14. Children need inwardly flexible concepts which can grow as they grow. A good unanswered question is more valuable to a child than a stultifying definition, rightly understood.
Games and activities also affect a child's health. Give a daughter a beautiful doll all dressed-up and the child's blood becomes thicker. Better to give her a sock and allow her to see you draw eyes on it. This activity will liven the child's blood and breathing system. A melancholic girl should not be given bright colors to cheer her up, but rather tints of blue and violet. "Otherwise the bright colors could overstimulate such an inwardly active child." (Page 36) I was such an inwardly active child, with a melancholic temperament, and the color violet has always appealed to me. Our first bedroom set, I chose because of its violet-colored headboard and matching dressers.
[page 37] Throughout the kind of education we are discussing, it is always important that the teacher have a good sense of what lives within the child and can, from what is observed within the child's body, soul, and spirit, practice every moment what is right through the teacher's own instinct for teaching.
If it sounds difficult, maybe that's only because it is so novel for teaching to be intimately concerned with each pupil. And yet that is the guideline for a Waldorf School and is at the core of its success in drawing the best out of each student. Rightly understood, educare means to draw out and includes the root of the word ductile which is the quality of a metal which allows it to be drawn out into a wire. Waldorf teachers, however, do not draw things out of a student, but provide the environment in which what is present in the student as a seed can grow, flower, and be fruitful.
[page 37] In this way, the teacher can see the pedagogy needed for the children. In the Waldorf School, we discover the curriculum in each child. We read from the children everything we are to do from year to year and month to month and week to week so that we can bring them what is appropriate and what their inner natures require.
One thing a child requires is to learn things it cannot yet understand through its thinking. A teacher does best when the child learns what it will only come to understand fully later in life. This theme comes up in many Steiner lectures on the Art of Teaching and it bears repeating.
[page 40, 41] If I have already comprehended everything as a child, then I could never have the following kind of experience. Suppose something happens to me around age thirty-five that reminds me of something I learned from a beloved teacher or a loved authority, something I had learned from that authority through my desire to believe. However, now I am more mature and slowly a new understanding arises within me. Returning in maturity to things we learned earlier, but did not fully comprehend, has an enlivening effect. It gives an inner satisfaction and strengthens the will.
There were two dicta atop the Temple of Apollo in ancient Greece: Know Thyself and Everything in Moderation. Steiner's anthroposophy is devoted to the first dictum, as it enables us to know the human being in body, soul, and spirit, a full knowledge which one can only find in earlier times when religion, art, and science were a unity and we felt ourselves to be part of the divine spirit pervading the world. In accordance with the dicta of moderation, each of the three parts of the human: body, soul, and spirit were deemed equally important, as were each of the three areas of religion, art, and science.
When, in the course of human evolution, our direct experience of the spiritual world began to wane, the cold, hard facts of science came to prominence and "Know Thyself" became an exertion. One scientist, Du Bois-Reymond, came up with an anti-Know Thyself cry, Ignorabimus — "we cannot know ourselves because we are fated to ignorance". Yes, we can know ourselves, he claimed, but only through the science of the senses which has allowed us to see so far into the reality of the world. But this sensory reality is only material reality and the real essence of the human being hides out of sight from our sensory-world experience, leaving us in the state of Ignorabimus, unable to know our true selves.
We have telescopes to see far out into the cosmos and microscopes to see deep into the material, but we as human beings each contain the instrument we need to see into and experience the essence of the human being, and I call that instrument the macroscope. We are the only instrument which can probe humans, beings of body, soul, and spirit. To do so, the macroscope requires us to use the full abilities of body, soul, and spirit as Steiner teaches in his anthroposophy or spiritual science.
[page 49] Two things must be understood fully about spiritual science: First, it is impossible to fathom the secrets of human nature by knowledge gained exclusively from natural science; second, it is possible to penetrate the spiritual world in the same fully conscious state that so-called empirical research uses in the sense world, and with the same clarity. However, I must quickly add that the importance of what has just been said can be appreciated and confirmed only through personal, practical experience in matters of spiritual knowledge.
If we use only our natural scientific tools, we can perceive only the bones of our skeleton, and the pieces of our flesh. We can make a complete inventory of the human body in a dissection lab, but what we miss is the enlivened soul and spirit which activates the human being. One needs a macroscope to fully realize the complete human being.
[page 49] People who try — and this has been done again and again — to apply the methods of experimental laboratory research to the investigation of the human being will not succeed, for the essence of human nature must be experienced in one's own self to be experienced at all in a living way. It is well known that, in the absence of self-knowledge, one remains always at the periphery of the human being, and I would like to make the following paradoxical statement: If a researcher were to apply the natural-scientific research method to the study of the human being, and then to verify the findings, applied them to his or her own being, believing this to really be what true humanity is about, the following would happen. Precisely when such a person felt most enthusiastic, the following realization would jump up in front of the soul: When I experience myself through the natural-scientific method, applying all my senses and all my powers of knowledge, I still feel the way one would feel looking at one's own skeleton.The experience of such natural-scientific investigation would in fact be devastating. Human beings would "skeletize" themselves. To experience this feeling is to touch on the impulse that gave rise to spiritual science. We must bring the essence of the human being out in ways other than through bringing forth lifeless nature.
In his Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner wrote: "To fully understand the human being, an artistic appreciation of ideas is needed, not merely an abstract comprehension of ideas." He explains what this means:
[page 52, 53] A real enlivening is required to make the leap that transforms the abstraction of concepts we use to understand nature into artistic display. This is possible. It requires that knowledge be allowed to flow into art, which leads to the development of the artistic sense. As long as we remain within the boundaries of natural science, we have to acknowledge that we will never understand how consciousness is connected with matter; but the moment we allow anything to flow naturally from the realm of ideas into an artistic view, the scales fall from our eyes.
There is a philosophic conundrum called the "hard problem of consciousness" which says we cannot know how consciousness is connected to matter (our brain). Steiner continues the above passage and shows us that problem can be solved.
[page 53] Everything in the realm of idea and concept is transformed into an artistic seeing, and what we see in this way spreads over the essence of humanity, just as the colors conceived by the eye spread their hues over the outer appearance of plants or other natural phenomena. Just as the physical organ of the eye, in the process of conceiving color, merges with the essence of color phenomena in nature, so the artistic sense grows inwardly in conjunction with the nature of the human being as a whole. We need to have seen colors with our eyes before we can think them. Likewise, only after we have had a vision of the nature of the human being through this artistic sense, can our abstract concepts and ideas fully encompass it.
This is what is necessary to keep us from "skeletizing" ourselves with our physical world instruments. Let us pull our eyes from the microscope and open our eyes to the macroscope.
[page 53] If science thus becomes an art, then all our knowledge of the human being, and all our deliberations about first forming an artistic picture of the human being, will not turn to a bag of bones in the soul; instead, we will be at one with our own concepts and artistic ideas about the human being, and they will flow into and through the soul just as blood and breath circulate through the body. Something will reside in us that is as full of life as our sensations are when our breathing and blood circulation function normally and give us a sense of health and well being.
What does all this mean? How is it connected to educating our children?
[page 54] The crown of human life, the power of love is expressed in the healthy human being. Ultimately health and all healthy soul forces stream together into a feeling permeated with love, enabling me to acknowledge the person next to me, because I acknowledge the healthy human being in myself. . . . Such knowledge of human nature does not become the theoretical instruction given to a technician who then applies it mechanically; rather it becomes a direct inner experience leading immediately into practical life. For in its transformation it flows into the power of love and becomes an active form of human knowledge. If as teacher and educator, I meet a child through my knowledge of what a human being is, then an understanding of the child will blossom within my unfolding soul and spiritual love. I no longer need instructions based on the example of natural science and on theories of child development. All I need is to experience the knowledge of the human being, in the same way that I experience healthy breathing and healthy blood circulation as bases of my general health. Then the proper form of knowledge, correctly stimulated and enlivened, will become a pedagogical art.
Steiner in this lecture on "Education and Art" is systematically developing the principles of the macroscope which teachers in the Waldorf School will use in the course of teaching children.
[page 55] Our knowledge of the human being must be transformed into an inner attitude where it is alive in the form of love. This is the most important basis for teaching today. Education must be seen as a matter of one's own inner attitude, not as a matter of thinking up various schemes, such as how to avoid training the child's intellect exclusively. We could constantly reiterate this tenet, of course, and then go about it in a thoroughly intellectual way, taking it for granted, for example, that teachers should use their intellects to think up ways to protect their pupils from intellectualism!
He reveals his sense of humor above as he uses it to wipe intellectualism in the teachers.
[page 55] It goes without saying that our work must begin with the teachers. We must encourage them not to fall back entirely on the intellect, which, by itself, never has an artistic nature. Starting with the teachers, we will create the proper conditions for the theory and practice of education, based on our knowledge of the human being and given in a form suitable for nurturing the child. This will establish the necessary contact between teacher and child, and it will turn our knowledge of the human being, through the working of love, into right education and training.
The hard problem of consciousness tells us that materialistic science by itself cannot understand how consciousness works in the human body. Why not?
[page 55] Because it cannot comprehend how the artistic experience occurs and how it is formed. Knowledge of the human being makes us realize that consciousness is an artist whose material is the material substance of the human being.
And it is only with the consciousness of an artist that we can learn to use the macroscope to examine and understand the full human being, especially that of an evolving child. He says, "If the evolving child is viewed from this perspective, with insight stemming from an artistic sense and carried on wings of love, we will see and understand very much." For example we will understand the importance of child's play, and never again use the phrase "child's play" in a demeaning manner.
[page 56] Compared to the activities of the adult, which are dictated by necessity, the child's play is connected with a feeling of well-being and happiness. You need only observe children at play. It is inconceivable that they are not in full inner accord with what they are doing. Why not? Because playing is a liberating experience to children, making them eager to release this activity from the organism. Freeing, joyful, and eager to be released — this is the character of child's play.
It comes as a shock when a child becomes an adult and its daily activity turns from liberating to burdensome. Within an educational system that incorporates art, the oppressive nature of work takes on an expressive nature accompanied by the liberating feeling of child's play.
[page 56, 57] If we follow the child's development with the artistic understanding I spoke of just now, we will find such a bridge in the role art plays at school. If applied properly as an educational tool, art will lead from the child's liberating play activity to the stage of adult work. With the help of art, this work no longer needs be an oppressive burden. Unless we can divest work of its oppressive character, we can never solve the social question. Unless the polarity between the young child's playing and the adult's burdensome daily work is balanced by the right education, the problem of labor will reappear again and again in different guises.
Why do I continue my work on writing these detailed studies of Rudolf Steiner's lectures? Because my work is expressive, creative, and fills me with as much delight as I took in my childhood play. Every person desires such a work activity, and to the extent that they form such an activity for themselves, they will be happy. If they struggle under a burdensome work situation, they find leisure activities like fishing, golf, and other sports to recover this childhood joy of play.
[page 58] Play is fun for an adult, an enjoyment, a pleasure, the spice of life. But for children, play is the very stuff of life. Children are absolutely earnest about play, and the very seriousness of their play is a salient feature of this activity. Only by realizing the earnest nature of child's play can we understand this activity properly.And by watching how, in play, human nature pours itself in complete seriousness into the treatment of external objects, we can direct the child's inborn energy, capacity and gift for play into artistic channels. These still permit a freedom of inner activity while at the same time forcing children to struggle with outer materials, as we have to do in adult work. Then we can see how precisely this artistic activity makes it possible to conduct education so that the joy of engaging in artistic activities can be combined with the seriousness of play, contributing in this way to the child's character.
END OF Part I of Volume 2 Review, CLICK HERE to READ Part II Next.
-~^~- Footnotes -~^~-Footnote 1. 1. See The First Aid Kit for removing unwanted doyles. It contains in one place all the tools you need for a simple Speed Trace — it is the answer to the question, "Can such-and-such be removed by a Speed Trace?"
Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Click Here for a List of 25 books of Waldorf Education Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
Read/Print the Entire Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. 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 coverse 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 An Interesting Eye Patch 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 DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Sees an iPatch on Pirate Brian Dunn:
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 or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Barbara Louviere in New Orleans:
Thanks, Bobby for another wonderful issue of DigestWorld — the picture of Adele and me in Houston's reminded me of how important your and her friendship is to me —
And, I did read this DIGESTWORLD — not just scan the pictures — and found this issue much denser with philosophical content and poetry than the others I have read — much more to ponder — thanks, Barbara
EMAIL to/from Duane & Judy in New Mexico:
Dear Duane and Judy,
Missed you guys on the Caribbean Cruise, but the ship was so full of Santa and Christmas decorations, Duane might have felt uncomfortable as a defrocked Santa.
But I did find a very large anchor in St. Bart's and rode it in Duane's honor.
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Bobby and Del
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reply from Judy ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Good morning Bobby and Del, so good to hear from you. We thought of you guys on the cruise, wishing we could have joined you. Hopefully another time. I have read part of your Dec issue, looks like you had a fun cruise, although the submarine ride didn't sound like too much fun! Looking forward to the rest of your pictures. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Love to you both, Judy and Duane
P.S. Duane wants that anchor!
EMAIL from Joan Bergy
Wonderful issue as always. Most fun is simply looking at you and Del radiating happiness. I remember the evening I joined Table 60....Del raised her arm saying " I'm Del" and smiled oh so warmly.
On Saturday, I fly to Auckland....will board Symphony for cruise through New Zealand. On New Year's Eve, we passengers transfer to smaller glass walled vessels to join boat parade in Sydney harbor.
Later we will witness the dazzling display of fireworks and the start of the New Year around the World. My dress is all silver sparkles and fits like a dream.
It's all about fun !
EMAIL from Film-Maker Jon Fox:
Subject: Newman Documentary Release Update
Telling the story of Joseph Newman was a labor of love and frustration that took years of work to complete. His story is like no other I know of and our movie, I hope, does justice to the man, his work and his life.
You, Bobby, are a prominent character in it! Thank you for being part of this journey with me and my incredible team who labored along side me for the last few years. For those of you who have made movies yourself, we all know well what having incredible Executive Producers, Producers, Cinematographers, Editors, Composers and a host of others whose hands are on this final product, means to this totally collaborative process. I have thanked each of the team members individually but will thank them all here as a group as well. I believe we made something very special to share with the world and I truly look forward to experiencing the reactions with you as this movie will now be experienced.
EMAIL to Kevin Dann in Brooklyn, New York:
Kevin sent me an evite to his Book Launch for the Thoreau Book he was worked so earnestly on for several years. It will be at his home in Brooklyn and I will not be able to attend it as much as I would love to. So I wrote him as follows:
I so wish I could be there for your Book Launch Party. I hope I have at least acted as a modest booster rocket for the launch.
Love and best wishes,
EMAIL from Adrian Matherne in Bourg, Louisiana:
I have just received copies of my book "A Look Back in Time: Life in Bourg, Louisiana" and will host a book signing ceremony on these two days:
. Saturday after St. Ann's 4:00pm Mass. The book signing will be from 5:00-7:00pm in the conference room of the St. Ann Parish Center.
. Sunday from 7:00 - 11:00am in the conference room of St. Ann Parish Center. Looking forward to seeing you.
Adrian P MatherneEMAIL from Srdjan Kojic in Belgrade:
NOTE: This was written by Srdjan in Kaisu's voice with her approval:
My 'patient', the lawyer Srdjan Kojic from Belgrade has made a real ophthalmological treasure find in the book Neurology and Metaphysic written by Charles McCormick, published in 1905, which on the page 63 contains this text:
First, hyperopia is the primary cause, or one of the primary causes of nearly all human ills. Second, the ignorance of the general practitioner in this matter is disgraceful; that of the oculist, criminal.
These findings are the same the ones expressed in my own books and scientific articles because of which I have been scoffed at for nearly a half a century!
It means that all eye professionnals are Criminals !
Kaisu Viikari PhD, M.D.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Head Trip"
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:
4. Old Spice & Chocolate
Beat the bush
With a pack of lies
Up'll pop a quail
Or two of roasting size.
Seize property freely
From Columbus Land
Made of sand.
Decapitate the druggers
And be rid of them
And you'll never get rid of the buggers
Who decapitate them.
We went to the Mayan Cacao Factory in Cozumel last month where they put on a demonstration of how chocolate is made. It included a story about what happened when the Emperor Montezuma met the Spanish explorer Cortez. Thinking Cortez in his shining armor was a god, he served him a drink reserved for Emperors and God, chocolate. When Cortez tasted the bitter drink, he grimaced. Montezuma immediately gave instructions to the Royal Kitchen to sweeten the drink with some sugar, some milk, and other spices. Cortez loved the new drink and milk chocolate as we know it came into existence. If you think Chocolate is a food for the Gods, you have good reason.
Among the spices the Mayans added to chocolate was allspice. They passed around a leaf from the allspice tree and suggested we crush it and smell it. The allspice leaf gives off a subtle but distinctive aroma. We might not have placed the aroma but for a curious mispronunciation of the word "allspice" by the Mayan men doing the demonstration. They said it exactly as we pronounce the words "Old Spice". They sound the word "all" as "old". We English speakers in the audience tried to understand what they were saying, knowing the correct way of saying "allspice" and finally one of the man moved his arms around like he was putting on aftershave lotion and said, "No, not this, but allspice" once more saying it like old spice. They were unable to say the word correctly. Maybe, I thought, allspice is the basis of Old Spice aftershave and cologne.
What if someone decided to soak some of these allspice leaves in alcohol and use it as an aftershave lotion? They could have decided to use the same name the natives used for the leaves, but spell it in English as "Old Spice", could they not? And if this aftershave contained a subtle ingredient also found in chocolate, might not women, who almost universally loved chocolate, be attracted to men wearing one of its ingredients? It's been my only aftershave since I was fifteen or so, and just a week or so ago a woman told me after we hugged, "You smell good."
Men: take notice of Old Spice again — you've never too young to learn something new, especially if it's time-tested and good.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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