Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday commute cxxx: It's not as if one were lost

     so much perhaps
     as out of season
     but as to that
     one can't be sure
     in all cases 



iii  Max Barczak

iv   Grigory Basov

Friday, July 22, 2016

Principles of epidemiology i: Spare us your cooties

Did nobody else see little
Donny Thump-Thump endeavor-
ing to spread his cooties
last night, with molesting
condescension? Can he con-
ceive no limit to the al-
lure of his infection, as
his hot mob exults in his
foul, fulsome recruitment,
thanking them for applaud-
ing his seduction of sur-
vivors of their own crime?

At the level of his devel-
opment, we recognize that
feint as offering cooties.

Where is Nancy Reagan when
we need her. Just say no.

Running on a platform to
strip people of their
rights, anathematize their
lives, hound them with an
establishment of religion,
and indemnify their foes,
it is sadistically preda-
tory to insult them with
a hug. What, no torches?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A man could stand up

The beach restores one to
responses of conviviality
and discretion, exertions
as natural (it is natural
to believe) as inhalation
and other delectations of
a pleasing walk. It's al-
ways reasonable to keep a
care for one's noggin, as
one might happen upon the
best directed flight of a

He glanced aside and upwards: that coxcomb of phosphorence ... If you are lying down under fire - flat under pretty smart fire - and you have only a paper bag in front of your head for cover you feel immeasurably safer than you do without it. You have a mind at rest. This must be the same thing.

One can't know how much a
mane of paranoia could be
worth in an election, but
that affliction is not to
be recommended as policy.
As it rises this evening,
to claim the embrace of a
Party volunteering raptly
to be mad, it will not be
proper to mock its disab-
ling of the soul. It asks
for vaccination; it would
be ungenerous to condemn,
and not aspire to stop it.

A Man Could Stand Up --
Parade's End
Alfred A. Knopf, 1961©
op. cit.

32nd President
  of the United States
1882 - 1945
Summer, 1897

ii  Damon Winter
    The New York Times©
    July 19, 2016

The third term

Not since the first George Bush succeeded the only Ronald Reagan has the same Party held the Executive branch of the US government for more than two elected terms. With the prospect of Barack Obama’s being succeeded by a Democrat, many complain of his two terms these days less for their character, much less for any possible decline, than for a sense of supernumeration which this would represent. It is expedient, for them, to intone the words, “third term,” with an air of being affronted. 

But in this projected succession there is another third term being proposed, to which its putative claimant is only too merry to stipulate. Possibly, the Constitutional ban on the practice exerts a special appeal to the pride of outwitting it, as a kind of glass ceiling for suckers. The 42nd President was elected to two terms and served their entirety, overcoming a show of some resistance to his completing the second. But that President had always taken care, as this new claimant in his Party does so often now, to proclaim that there were two holders of that office simultaneously. 

The Constitutional restraint against a third term for just such a Presidency is more prophetic than we seem to notice. The 22nd Amendment applies in relevant part to a “person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected.” It speaks of a person, which is to say, without excluding any unelected person, because the restraint is intended to apply to every person. The present Democratic claimant to the office is candid to confess to having acted as President for two terms, and is candid to confess to enlisting the person who was elected to those terms to serve again, sometimes to be “in charge of reviving the economy,” sometimes to be “in charge” of actual Presidential duties, as may pop up.

It will be objected, that this is a semantic observation. It will be objected, that this is a “sexist” observation, besmirching the autonomy of one conjugal partner from another. But it cannot be protested, that the writers of this proscription would have left those objections any breath, if they had anticipated its flouting by two persons united for life. 

This is not to say, it would be unwise to lend the experience of the law a little exercise in contemporary conduct. It is only to construe the law by the intent of its framers, as revealed in its text. Far be it from this page to be hidebound by strict construction, especially where the Party which rejects this candidacy so imaginatively is attached so pathologically to that philosophy, without having struck upon this unambiguous definition of the candidacy’s self-described illegitimacy. How seldom, indeed, has anyone else ever been so qualified to be President, Mrs Woodrow Wilson episodically aside.

On the contrary. I agree, the Constitution is a device to commend, sometimes to deplore, conduct which we know we have the power to absolve by politics, by vote or by other transactions. Our strictest constructionists have shown this repeatedly. And 2016 speaks to no political reality more starkly, than the power of ethical ingenuity to exert the will over any construct of constancy in its way. In-evitably, there may be cognitive irritation, along that path, and just as its clarity seems so dazzling.

ii  Hedi Slimane

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxxiii: Seeking chance

Last evening's certification,
that the Republican Party would
not refuse nomination for the
Presidency to Donald Trump, has
eliminated one prospect of being
spared the negligence of the oth-
er Party, in yielding its nomina-
tion without care or scruple, to
a dispiritingly unworthy claimant.

It's for eventualities such as these, that trains were invented. Means of escape, not deportation, to settings where one can clear one's desk, one's calendar, to reason through a predicament. I go hiking, for everything about it. From the variable textures underfoot to the impromptu alternations in sun and shade overhead, hiking registers to me my presence, which is to say, it counts me. The demand not to abstain from voting is the argument offered for torture: if you could do good, wouldn't you willingly do wrong? This is the torture of a loyalty oath, and compulsion, as we learned at Nuremberg, affords no excuse. One has no vote, if none against that.

Philippe Sands
East West Street
  On the Origins of
  Genocide and Crimes
  against Humanity
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016©

i  Maxim Steklyanov

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


         With so much blame for
         their humiliation, be-
         ing cast into the mob,
         who had pause to feast
         on their disgrace?

Wole Soyinka
The Bacchae of
  A Communion Rite
Norton, 1974©
op. cit.


Monday, July 18, 2016

A staggering genius for command

           A real Ulysses Grant,
           a real Abraham Lincoln,
           a real Dwight Eisenhower,
           just to pluck a list of
           Republican commanders,
           from their thinning air.

           What a bar room nancy
           boy these lemmings have
           followed to their ditch.


John Keegan

The Face of Battle
Jonathan Cape, 1976©

The Mask of Command
Viking, 1987©

Fields of Battle
  The Wars for
  North America
Alfred A. Knopf, 1996©

Max Hastings

  D-Day and the Battle
  for Normandy
Harper Collins, 1984©

  The Battle for
  Germany, 1944-1945
Alfred A. Knopf, 2005©

A triumph of the will

And now it starts. Donald Trump
has called for torture, to iden-
tify and assemble his friends. 
There are enough of them to win
control of a Party, because with 
their exultant loyalty the raid
may still go on against equality.

There's no possible way to be
pretty about this and there is
no excuse for trying. A Party,
called Republican, has wholly
pledged itself to a will it has
renounced refusing. Their stooges
are in Cleveland. Their stain, ev-
erywhere delight can be found in
the abuse of people, is united.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Salutary rituals ii, without the other kind

   Who could have guessed what
   a lark it would be, to be a-
   ble to get past Donald Trump
   and Elizabeth Warren in the
   same day, despite the risks
   in gorging a single news cy-
   cle on such richly seasoned
   fare? May I recommend it, as
   a purgative restoring light-
   ness to the leap, and ela-
   tion to the shot; even that
   annoyance one can sometimes
   feel in smoking crowds dis-
   pels itself as the lifting
   of accrued affronts from
   the loud and the lurid. It
   can make Summer great again.


i, iii  Eber Figueira