Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday commute lvii: Sharing the burden of the quiet

for our native

                   Every now and again one would
                   feel honour-bound to pile into
                   a cranky red Alfa and commute
                   to Carmel, 90 miles from Tele-
                   graph Hill, to visit the sec-
                   ret of her quiet, even at the
                   beach, even at the Bach Fes-
                   tival, at least in the Par-
                   titas. The pacific atmosphere
                   was exacerbated by the prox-
                   imity of Fort Ord, site of a
                   an intelligence academy for
                   recruits the US Army really
                   was not allowed to accept,
                   my dearest friend in life
                   among them, whose musical
                   ear for Hungarian, Russian
                   and other Cold War tongues
                   allowed for unadmitted bend-
                   ings of the rules. Our lin-
                   guistic infantry could gain
                   liberty on most weekends,
                   and took to it well.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Imagine, one had assumed the obligation

Parents have asked friends of theirs
down for the weekend, and you are ex-
pected to entertain their get. You 
have accepted a commission to sketch
someone's offspring, and in he walks.
You are at Betty Comilfaux's for a
meeting on preserving the Art Deco 
tiles in the town swimming pool, and 
the gardener wanders in for the rake.
There's been a general bombardment in 
the neighbourhood and you have to bil-
let your share of the homeless.

Oh, I know. These things happen.

And why. Why, you ask, were you not
told. Now you know how Dickie Hakluyt
felt, finding beavers at 2 shillings
a nod, in the New World. What, you
very reasonably ask, is a coup de
foudre doing, to intervene so peremp-
torily in your orderly existence?

Oh, my dear Dickie. It just doesn't

Jacob Riley x Tassos

Suppose it were Friday lvi: Chardonnay with those we love

You and I will be admirers of Chardonnay for our entire lives. In time, sampled from almost every principal growing region in the world - from New Zealand, the most promising in the New World, to Bourgogne, its home - its singular conduciveness to many styles of expression will come to represent questions (one can hear the resistance already) of ethics as much as of taste, as in preference as well as in flavour. Why is it, that if I cannot persuade myself to support balance in the development of a youth, I have no compunction to support the same in my wine? 

A trial has now concluded in Virginia of an under-graduate homicide, one athlete against another, his erstwhile girlfriend, by shades of negligence and intent which a jury split down the middle. In his summation the defense attorney dismissed his client as a "stupid boy [immersed in] "sports, sex, and alcohol."

That this honourable stab at the "twinkie defense" which exculpated the mur-derer of the Mayor of San Francisco, happened not to prevail in this case, is of less moment than that it could describe the cultivation of youth at the University of Virginia. Possibly we'd agree, this is rather poor winegrowing.

Yet the only practical meaning in the attorney's blaming of the University, is that such a place is a universe of cultivation, not a single vine row or wine barrel. Choices of taste have ethical dimensions in both cases. One simply cannot derive a wine of balance by wishing it so; and one cannot miti-gate or conceal an imbalance by exalt-ing a heroic attribute above weakness in others. If we find this simile, puerile, we might recall that lifelong bond with Chardonnay, and our devotion to principles of cultivation and wine-making which assure that our tastes are met. Possibly, we are conscious of this already. Our reverence bears no guilt, only an interesting limitation.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Good-night, February

I think the paradox of this page is
that it is not one which I could
recommend to the population of its
recurring evidence, simply because
the underlying point of view, while
sound, sometimes exhibits the very
bitterness it seeks to discredit,
even subdue. I discovered this 
point of view in myself at a very 
young age - approximately 6 or 7 - 
and to obtain my university's bac-
calaureate degree I found it liter-
ally expressed in my honors thesis:
I rue the influence over the mind's
reach into all its possibilities, in
the existence of any external com-
pulsory power. In that project, I
cited this horror as the touchstone 
of the nation state, but so it is,
also, of sectarian orthodoxy and
other crime syndicates. 

From a mind conscious, at the age of
Hopalong Cassidy, of the corrupting,
limiting influence of compulsion, it
is very difficult to do justice to
the emergency whence it arises - the
fruition of youth - if one has ever
been subjected to such compulsion.
And who has not? To my knowledge,
red mug, blue linen is notable for
at least exploring this point of
view at the moment, although alter-
natives are both plentiful and ad-
mirable: accepting constraint of
possibility, in calm delectation
of the remainder. Indeed, they're
so admirable I'd regard another as
more superfluous than exemplary.

I can accept the complaint of mal-
adjustment in the blog, therefore,
but not in its point of view. I can
so little accept the tolerance of
compulsion, as a model to suspend
over the life depicted on every page 
at this address, that this refusal  
is what must shape it. Now, against 
the advantage of blogging's always-
recurring immediacy, lies the pathos 
of its swift effacement of previous
entries, even if you might say one
should be grateful for these "born
again" dispensations. I am not 
grateful for that; there is a story
here, as well as a viewpoint, and
their relationship is vital to the
page. Still, there are grounds for
adjusting the voice, by the tone
and terms of the model being pro-

Even as I resolve to pursue these
matters, I am more cognisant every 
day of the limiting compulsion of
the closet here. I do not refer
only to the guytummy thing, but 
to the feudalistic integration of 
every social policy in Virginia.
This is a tiny, hermetic culture;
associates of mine are redundantly
enmeshed in all its ruling threads. 
Everyone I know subscribes to the 
terror. Its rejection, being im-
possible, mitigates the burden of 
the closet, rather, as something
of a refuge of sanity. I return to
my object, which is not to inhibit
the mind behind that face up there,
a little less, but to keep it open.

I return, then, to the alarm I
felt for my own mind as a child.
I would like this page to find a
voice to speak to him. I want to
find the default face of a greater
freedom than that of expression.
I want to see the face of the
freedom to think.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Virginia Governor pays off gun lobby .. and gets his pregnancy bill

  As much as anyone else,
  I was hoping to cherish
  the 29th of February as
  a trouvaille, a found
  day without taint.

February 28th was a banner day for the Pretty Boy Floyd of the Republican Vice-Presidential sweepstakes. Risky Santorum lost twice to the Virginia Governor's chum, Mitt Romney, as the Governor signed repeal of Virginia's single nod toward sanity in gun laws, a 20-year-old statute limiting handgun purchases to one per household per month. No limits on freedom in Virginia, at least for goodfellas who kept the Commonwealth as their private armoury before 1993. Famously the steaming septic tank of a generation of Republican resentments, the Virginia Senate is now in full orgy mode under its right-wing majority, a tocsin to humanity, everywhere.

Now, every single vested interest in lethal corporate conduct, from filthy coal to murder weapons to diabetic vend-ing in schools, carries the prestige in the Virginia Senate that misogyny and homophobia do, and there is a Governor drooling from his pen to take their pay. Yesterday, Republicans won what they vow is only their first infringement of the reproductive right of privacy.

Reason would tell you, that this one day's happy hour in Richmond would spell the end of a Governor's ambitions for national office; that his call for an "uninvasive" invasion of human rights would carry all the moral weight of the "light" cigarette, that foul jest of the Commonwealth's largest industry; that his bending over for Browning and Colt would not look like a favour to freedom, anywhere. But Republicans are nothing if not the hysterics of their passions that they are for their excuses, and quite blind to unsuitabilities the nation sees too clearly. To their rush to repeal modernity, this Governor's an ideal ornament.

Of one mind in two modes

As to the latest barrage of sec-
tarian balloting, may I refer this 
honourable house to remarks I made 
some moments ago. Today, granted 
the dispensation of our quadren-
nial correction day, I don't mean 
to detain you at length in the 
contemplation of Republicans. One 
of them speaks from his hair, the 
other from his pulse. Even in the 
Curia, there is room for style; 
but an orthodoxy is what you get.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not every coincidence is an irony

     not every collision,
     a catastrophe;

     not every drenching,
     a disaster


 How was it then, Hercule, 
 that you bumped into me? 

 Quite by design, I fear, 

 And would it have made it
 ironic if I had not been

 That would only have been
 heartbreaking. For irony,
 I'd have had not to have
 been amused.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The fall of man and the morning mail

A columnist for The New York Times has lately delved into that sort of scandalous sign of the decline of the West which Mr Rick Santorum has been enumerating in ever more delirious raptures, all Winter, which obviously must be attributed (when verified in Rome) to our governance by an alien Nazi Islamofascist secularist (a Christian - we are not denying - despite his saying that he is). Evidently there is a prevalence, whether cannily conspiratorial or merely impotently degenerate, of Harvard College alumni in the mail room - and not just for sociable reasons, mind - but to gain a chokehold on employment sinecures heretofore reserved for decent Americans. 

It's bad enough, that they flaunt graduation Rolexes and solipsistic conditioning (credit us, dear Reader, for censor-ing the worst of it) at our service entrances already; they exhibit a prosperity vaster from descent than from their paycheck, and right at the epicenter of our decadent entertainment industry. It was one thing for the Times' man to perceive this as careerist; yet it's quite another, to ignore the chosen career.

This, you may reliably trust us not to do. An entire industry, based on the bizarre and patently degenerate principle that persons are entitled to pleasure, is precisely that infringement of snobbery upon the sacred hierarchy of stupidity which our Founders or-dained, which flourishes as the suppurating wound of the status quo.

Nor is it for us to make light of where this could lead, but to the slippery slope of francosocialism: to find employment undermined by income subsidies necessary to en-dure it. Soon enough, entitlements will take hold, upon the lewd back of egalitarianism; and that beast of two backs of the Santoric solecism will be exposed as, well, junk mail.

Even you and I, slogging our way through our morning herring, must steel ourselves for another Monday fraught with hotties, subduing the sinful reflex to faint when the courier comes to our desk.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday tasting note



                                      the aroma of fermenta-
                                      tions in the soil, pos-
                                      sibly involving apples;
                                      a ripening suspension
                                      in the consciousness at
                                      the same time, a warmth
                                      rising in memory and in