Saturday, 28 March 2020

FOX


The Lion cannot defend himself against snares and The Fox cannot defend himself against Wolves. 

Therefore, it is necessary to be a Fox to discover the snares and a Lion to terrify the Wolves. 
Those who rely simply on The Lion do not understand what they are about. 

" The most striking thing is that there appear to be a set of confusions centring around the issue of  'Power'. 

Every discussion so far has centred on a presumption that almost all relationships in The Workplace and elsewhere are centred around The Exercise of Power

Knowingly or otherwise these Women have all imbibed the Foucauldian world view in which Power is The Most Significant Prism for Understanding Human Relationships. 

What is striking is not just that everyone seems to have paid lip-service to this, but that these women are focused only on one sort of Power. 

This is a sort of Power which – it is presumed – has historically been held solely by mainly Old, mainly Rich, always White Men. 

It is why the joking and berating about the behaviour of ‘Alpha Males’ goes down so well. 

There is a presumption that if the Alpha and Maleness could be squashed out of These People, in some great majestic Social-Justice blending device, then the Power squeezed out of them might be drunk up by Women Like Those in The Room Today

[i.e., by THEM, or Their Allies (which in-turn directly benefits and privileges THEM.)]

That it will be used to nourish, and grow, Those Who Deserve The Power More

Here are Deep Waters. But I suggest in my contribution that our conversations are being limited by this misunderstanding. 

Even if we concede – which we should not – that Power (rather than, say, Love) is The Most Important Force Guiding Human Affairs, why are we focusing only on one type of Power? 

There certainly are types of Power – such as rape – which Men can sometimes hold over Women. 

And there is a type of Power which some Old, typically White, Males might be able to hold over less successful people, including less successful Women. 

But there are other types of Power in This World. 

Historical Old White Man Power is not the only such source. Are there not, after all, some Powers which only Women can wield. 

Like what?’ Someone asks. 





Chapter XVIII :
Concerning the Way in which Princes should Keep Faith

Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word. You must know there are two ways of contesting,[*] the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man. This has been figuratively taught to princes by ancient writers, who describe how Achilles and many other princes of old were given to the Centaur Chiron to nurse, who brought them up in his discipline; which means solely that, as they had for a teacher one who was half beast and half man, so it is necessary for a prince to know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not durable. A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. 

Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion do not understand what they are about. Therefore a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep faith when such observance may be turned against him, and when the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer. If men were entirely good this precept would not hold, but because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound to observe it with them. Nor will there ever be wanting to a prince legitimate reasons to excuse this non-observance. Of this endless modern examples could be given, showing how many treaties and engagements have been made void and of no effect through the faithlessness of princes; and he who has known best how to employ the fox has succeeded best.

[*] “Contesting,” i.e. “striving for mastery.” Mr Burd points out that this passage is imitated directly from Cicero’s “De Officiis": “Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi, unum per disceptationem, alterum per vim; cumque illud proprium sit hominis, hoc beluarum; confugiendum est ad posterius, si uti non licet superiore.”

But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived. One recent example I cannot pass over in silence. Alexander the Sixth did nothing else but deceive men, nor ever thought of doing otherwise, and he always found victims; for there never was a man who had greater power in asserting, or who with greater oaths would affirm a thing, yet would observe it less; nevertheless his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes,[*] because he well understood this side of mankind.


[*] “Nondimanco sempre gli succederono gli inganni (ad votum).” The words “ad votum” are omitted in the Testina addition, 1550.
Alexander never did what he said, Cesare never said what he did.
Italian Proverb.

Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.

And you have to understand this, that a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to fidelity,[*] friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it.

[*] “Contrary to fidelity” or “faith,” “contro alla fede,” and “tutto fede,” “altogether faithful,” in the next paragraph. It is noteworthy that these two phrases, “contro alla fede” and “tutto fede,” were omitted in the Testina edition, which was published with the sanction of the papal authorities. It may be that the meaning attached to the word “fede” was “the faith,” i.e. the Catholic creed, and not as rendered here “fidelity” and “faithful.” Observe that the word “religione” was suffered to stand in the text of the Testina, being used to signify indifferently every shade of belief, as witness “the religion,” a phrase inevitably employed to designate the Huguenot heresy. South in his Sermon IX, p. 69, ed. 1843, comments on this passage as follows: “That great patron and Coryphaeus of this tribe, Nicolo Machiavel, laid down this for a master rule in his political scheme: ‘That the show of religion was helpful to the politician, but the reality of it hurtful and pernicious.'”

For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.

For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody; because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on.

One prince[*] of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never preaches anything else but peace and good faith, and to both he is most hostile, and either, if he had kept it, would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time. 

[*] Ferdinand of Aragon. “When Machiavelli was writing ‘The Prince’ it would have been clearly impossible to mention Ferdinand’s name here without giving offence.” Burd’s “Il Principe,” p. 308.
 




Like what?’ Someone asks. 

At which point, having waded in this far it only makes sense to wade further. 

Among other types of Power that Women wield almost exclusively, the most obvious is this. 

That Women – not all Women, but many Women – have an ability that Men do not. 




This is the ability to drive members of the opposite sex MAD. 

• To derange Them. 

• Not only to destroy Them but to make Them destroy THEMSELVES. 

It is a Type of Power which allows a Young Woman in her late teens or twenties to take a Man with Everything in The World, at the height of his achievements, torment him, make him behave like a fool and wreck His Life utterly for just a few moments of almost-NOTHING. "



Friday, 27 March 2020

EPISTASIS



.... in effect, material abundance, maximum epigenetic diversity, mass migration and population explosion during periods of historic plenty inevitably produce a retardation of Human (and all other kinds of) Evolution.











HENS


It's my job to outshine the fox in cleverness

“Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed. 

For, besides the things that have been said, the nature of peoples is variable; and it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to keep them in that persuasion. 

And thus things must be ordered in such a mode that when they no longer believe, one can make them believe by force."

— The Prince, 
Niccolò Machiavelli






The Queen :
Have you seen how the hens in
the yard peck at each other?
Each choosing the one just weaker.
Why do the ladies peck at you?

Ophelia :
I'm not noble, My Lady.

The Queen :
Did you know I was not raised at court?
My sister and I were sent as girls to a convent in France.
But even there, there were hens and they pecked.

Ophelia :
Even the nuns?

The Queen :
But I had my sister to defend me.

The Existential Pain of Living with The Consciousness of Death






Dr. AGNES JURATI :
Hi.
Oh.
You're reading.
I won't, uh -

Capt. RIOS :
Be my guest.

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
So, space turns out to be super boring.
Go figure.

Capt. RIOS :
What were you expecting? 

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
I don't know.
It's so empty.
I mean, of course, right? It's right there in the name.
"Space".
It's not like it's called 
"vast quantities of stuff".

Although, come to think of it, there are over three billion stars in our galaxy alone and ours is one of two trillion.
There are a septillion known planets, so maybe it should be called "vast quantities of stuff".
Like, why focus on the negative? 

I caught up on two years of back issues of the "Journal of Theoretical Cybernetics", including the Festschrift for Professor Kwok.

I watered your plants.
You're welcome.

I was gonna watch a holo, but weirdly, all you have on board is Klingon opera.

Capt. RIOS :
Long story.

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
I used to live with a guy who liked paper books.
I bothered him, too.

Capt. RIOS :
(resigned, closing his book)
What did he used to do about it? 

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
He was My Dad — He had to put up with it.
What's your book about? 

Capt. RIOS :
The existential pain of living with the consciousness of death, and how it defines us as human beings.


Dr. AGNES JURATI :
.....
...Well, •that's•. not a conversation killer at all.
I •totally• want to talk about the existential pain of living with the consciousness of death.

Auntie RAPHIE :
Rios! 

Capt. RIOS :
Oh, Thank God.




Are you having a good laugh now, Q? 
Does it amuse you to think of me living out the rest of my life as a dreary man in a tedious job?

Q: 
I gave you something most mortals never experience. A second chance at life. And now all you can do is COMPLAIN? 

PICARD: 
I can't live out my days as that person. That man is bereft of passion and imagination. 

That is not Who I Am. 

Q: 
Au contraire, he's the person you wanted to be. One who was less arrogant, and undisciplined as a youth. One who was less like me. 

The Jean-Luc Picard you wanted to be, the one who did not fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember. 

That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realised how fragile life is or how important each moment must be. 
So his life never came into focus. 

He drifted for much of his career, with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. 

He never lead the away team on Milika Three to save the ambassador, 
or take charge of the Stargazer's Bridge when its Captain was killed. 
And no one ever offered him a command. 

He learned to play it safe. 
And he never, EVER got noticed by ANYONE


PICARD: 
You're right, Q. 
You gave me the chance to change and I took the opportunity. 

But I admit now, it was a mistake. 

Q: 
Are you asking me for something, Jean-Luc? 

PICARD: 
Give me a chance to put things back the way they were before. 

Q: 
Before you died in Sickbay. 
Is that what you want? 

PICARD: 
I would rather die as the man I WAS than live the life I just saw.

The Art of Dying Well : Baze and Chirrut




“In really Dark Times it’s really faith that sustains people so, if we’re going to take The Force out of This movie, there was always going to be this question if whether anybody is ever going to believe in it again or whether it mattered at all.

We recognised that, for people who don’t have PHYSICAL evidence of Magick, or their religion, you find it in OTHER PEOPLE....

In what you are Willing to Do For Them, and in What They are Willing to Do for You.”



A miracle, my friend, is an event which creates faith. 
That is the purpose and nature of miracles. 
They may seem very wonderful to the people who witness them, and very simple to those who perform them, but does not matter: 
if they confirm or create faith they are true miracles.



EPITASIS





In classical drama, the epitasis (Ancient Greek: ἐπίτασις) is the main action of a play, in which the trials and tribulations of the main character increase and build toward a climax and dénouement. 

It is the third and central part when a play is analyzed into five separate parts: prelude, protasis, epitasis, catastasis and catastrophe.


In modern dramatic theory, the dramatic arc is often referred to, which uses somewhat different divisions but is substantially the same concept overall.


“Victory? Victory, you say? Begun, This Clone War has.”

“The Son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.”

“He Will Join Us, or Die.”




I have dreamed a dream, 
and now that dream has gone from me.


I know it was you, Fredo. 
You broke my heart. 
You broke my heart!



This guy don't just want to win, you know. 
He wants to bury you, he wants to humiliate you, he wants to prove to the whole world that you was nothing but some kind of a... a freak the first time out.









Vision: 
You're afraid.

Ultron: 
Of you?
Vision: 
Of Death. 
You're the last one.

Ultron: 
You were supposed to be the last. 
Stark asked for a savior, and settled for a slave.

Vision: 
I suppose we're both disappointments. 

[Ultron chuckles]

Ultron: 
I suppose we are.

Vision: 
Humans are odd. 
They think Order and Chaos are somehow opposites, and try to control what won't be. 
But there is Grace in their failings. 

I think you missed that.

Ultron: 
They're doomed.

Vision:
Yes. 
But a thing isn't beautiful because it lasts.
It's a privilege to be among them.

Ultron: 
You're unbearably naive.

Vision: 
Well - I was born yesterday. 



Father? 
If you can hear me, I failed. 
I failed you, I failed myself, and... and all humanity. 

I traded my birthright for a life submission in a world that's ruled by your enemies. 

There's nobody left to help them now... the people of the world... not since I... FATHER!!



It’s my fault. 
The whole thing is my fault. 
If I hadn't bought that damn book, none of this would have ever happened!

Doc: 
Well, it's all in the past.

Marty: 
You mean the future.

Doc: 
Whatever!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

APPALLING STRANGENESS






My Auntie is most firmly of the opinion that this is Nature’s Revenge for all the abuses Humanity has (recently) inflicted and heaped upon The Earth — I myself take an entirely different view  of this.

I feel that we have to regard this as a chastisement by God.





You cannot conceive, nor can I - nor can anyone of us, for that matter - The Appalling Strangeness of The Mercy of God.




THE WILD MAN



The Wild Man is always to be found covered in mud, at the bottom of a dark pool in the centre of The Forest, and/or deep under and inside The Earth, directly below The Central Mountain of The World - The Axis Mundi.








“So, you know, I have felt that the men have suffered a great deal in losing The Wild Man, which is a certain form of spontaneity connected with The Wilderness itself. And they’ve suffered a great deal since the Second World War in losing The Warrior. It’s very strange how this works.

We gave up the The King, that is, we founded our country with getting rid of The King. And you know, The King is weak in American men also; how can it be otherwise?

MOYERS: 
The King being–

BLY: 
The King [being] the part of the man that determines what he is going to do now. 
What my course is going to be.







nostalgia (n.)

1770, "morbid longing to return to one's home or native country, severe homesickness considered as a disease," Modern Latin, coined 1688 in a dissertation on the topic at the University of Basel by scholar Johannes Hofer (1669-1752) as a rendering of German heimweh "homesickness" (for which see home + woe). From Greek algos "pain, grief, distress" (see -algia) + nostos "homecoming," from neomai "to reach some place, escape, return, get home," from PIE *nes- "to return safely home" (cognate with Old Norse nest "food for a journey," Sanskrit nasate "approaches, joins," German genesen "to recover," Gothic ganisan "to heal," Old English genesen "to recover"). 

French nostalgie is in French army medical manuals by 1754. 

Originally in reference to the Swiss and said to be peculiar to them and often fatal, whether by its own action or in combination with wounds or disease. 

By 1830s the word was used of any intense homesickness: that of sailors, convicts, African slaves. 




"The bagpipes produced the same effects sometimes in the Scotch regiments while serving abroad" 

Penny Magazine," Nov. 14, 1840

Corona Doesn't Want to Kill You



ARCHER:
How much longer? 

PHLOX:
As I said, in another few hours. 

ARCHER:
Can you speed that up a little? 
Phlox, I've got an idea. 
If we want to get out of here in one piece, we've got to get that cure, and we're got to get it fast. 

PHLOX:
I could finish the antivirus in less time if I had a human host to replicate enough antibodies. 

ARCHER: 
I don't see any other humans around. 

PHLOX: 
Captain, I would have to expose you to the plague. I cannot predict what it might do to you. 

ARCHER: 
Will it give you the cure? 

PHLOX:
Unquestionably. 

ARCHER:
Let's get started. 


Corona Doesn't Want to Kill You



“We Should Not Give-in to This Damn Virus.”

“As you might imagine, it was hard to sustain this level of controlled breakdown while running a business. My cometary rise was equaled by a fall; a plunge into dissolution. The more perverse and inhuman the enemies of the Invisibles became, the sicker I got. By the time I realized I’d become semifictional, it was too late to defend myself.

The downward spiral expressed itself in darker magic as the Invisibles faced bacterial gods from a diseased twin universe. After trying out a Voudon ritual in 1993, I found myself facing down an immense scorpion creature that tried to teach me how to psychically assassinate people by destroying their “auras.” 

When the ritual was done, I switched on the TV to decompress and caught the last fifteen minutes of Howard the Duck, in which nightmarish extradimensional scorpion sorcerers attempted to clamber their way into eighties America. 

These spooky coincidences were commonplace, but I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I wrote King Mob into the hands of his “enemies. Tortured and drugged, he was made to believe his face was being disfigured by a necrotizing fasciitis bug.

Within three months, bacteria of a different kind had nibbled a hole in my cheek. My beautiful big house had degenerated into creepy, lightless squalor, with a duvet hung up in the bedroom window instead of curtains. I came out in boils, traditional signs of demon contact. Fortunately for me, I was physically fitter than I’d ever been, although it only delayed the inevitable for a few more months.

I’d been granted superpowers. I’d danced with monster gods and shaken souls with angels, but my end-of-act-2 reverse could no longer be denied. The Achilles’ heel revealed! The death trap sprung!

On the night before I was hustled into the hospital, with what I later found out was probably less than forty-eight hours to live, I hallucinated something I recognized immediately as “Christ.”

A column of light phased through the door, clear as day, then a powerful sermon seemed to download into my mind. I understood that this power I was facing was some kind of Gnostic Christ. A Christ of the Apocrypha. An almost pagan figure that I’d found at the bottom, at the last gasp. Here at the end, there was this light. Christ was with us, suffering right there with us and promising salvation. This living radiance was nothing like the morbid fever visions of hearses and twisted window frames I’d been having. This was what turned dead-end junkies into born-again Christians, but of the whole heart-melting experience, I remember only the first resonant words:

“I am not the god of your fathers, I am the hidden stone that breaks all hearts. 
We have to break your heart to let the light out.” 

These words sounded through my head, but they were bigger and more complete than any thoughts I was familiar with; more like a broadcast. The loving voice and its powerful words seemed not to be mine and offered me a stark choice there in the living room: I could die now of this disease or stay and “serve the light.” 

I might as well have been recruited into the Green Lantern Corps, in what was for me a very genuine “cosmic” moment. 

I did as most of us would and elected to live. Like Captain Marvel, I wanted to go back to Earth armed with Eon’s knowledge. 

I felt I’d lived my own Arkham Asylum dark night of the soul, and without the understanding that I was on a well-trod and signposted “magical” path, I’m not sure if I could have handled my illness or recovery process quite as well.

I’d reached that point in the story where I’d survived the crisis and still had a chance to be reborn with a new costume and better powers, but it was touch and go; every passing second was the ticking clock to the ultimate life-and-death cliff-hanger.

How the fuck would I get out of this one?

As it happened, as in the best serials, it was some kind of dumb luck that saved me. The day after Jesus popped by, something odd occurred. 

My sister was in London, and her boyfriend Gordon was on his way down for a visit. He’d just missed catching up with my mum, who’d been looking in on me, with increasing apprehension. She’d correctly diagnosed my appendicitis when I was twelve and now she was sure that the doctor’s flu remedy was not what my damaged lungs really needed. 

She made it to her living room, looked out the window, and saw Gordon at the crossroads hailing a cab to take him to the station. She willed him to turn around, as she tells it, and he did.

Gordon came upstairs to collect a bundle of clothes for my sis. Mum told him about me, and he promised to mention it to his mate Graham, who had a good local doctor, apparently, a GP whose own bohemian temperament led him to specialize in the treatment of football stars, musicians, and artists.

When he got to London, Gordon was as good as his word. Graham immediately called his miracle doc, who agreed to visit me on short notice. 

To my shame, I’m not sure that I would have acted so promptly (or at all) in the same circumstances. 

Graham didn’t know me. He was five hundred miles away and had no idea how seriously ill I was.

The doctor checked my temperature and listened to my chest with growing alarm before contacting the hospital. 

I felt safe at last, as if a true guardian angel had arrived to rescue me from the mire of disease where I could no longer function. 

There were no beds at the Tropical Diseases Ward (my travel history made this the obvious first port of call), but with so many coincidences already flying around, another one was attracted to all the commotion: It just so happened that the receptionist had gone out with the doctor’s friend. 

Charm and nepotism swung me a room. Within hours, I was in a private ward in Glasgow’s Ruchill Hospital with a drip in my arm, while frantic doctors held me down as if I were devil possessed. They had to get the needle in when the tremors were at their most intense, so I lay shuddering, freezing, barely able to breathe as my arm was secured and blood drawn.

I was quickly and efficiently diagnosed with a tempestuous Staphylococcus aureus infection that had settled in my lungs, collapsing one of them. I was septicemic and severely lacking in natural salts and minerals, but the good doctors pulled me back.

Two days later, I had a painful tube in my arm, the vein was hard as wood, but I was alive, and I could feel the venom of the scorpion loa succumbing to the mighty medicine of antibiotics.

Staph aureus, or golden staph, derives its distinctive color from carotene, and when the bugs had been flushed from my system, I succumbed to an epic lust for raw carrots that could be satisfied only by a daily three-pound bag from the greengrocer. Depleted, I had to consume my weight in the power elixir, the golden superfood.

Not even the junkies outside the window prowling the hospital grounds for used or discarded needles could intrude on my sense of having been rescued from the brink. I settled back to recuperate, imagining ocean sets, distant beaches, and health.

I counted the days between episodes of Father Ted and Fist of Fun, enduring a battery of painful tests to discover if the staph infection had spread to my heart, and reading comic books my friend Jim brought me from the Forbidden Planet store he owns on Buchanan Street. It was one of a growing chain of pop culture emporia that rewrote the comic shop idea for the High Street consumer. 

For a few days, there was even an AIDS scare, followed by a test and then the obvious relief.

My dad visited every night and told me stories from the war, his presence a calm rock. He insisted that he was trying to bore me to sleep, but it never worked that way. I could have listened to him all night.

While the doctors got on with their work, I also decided to take matters into my own hands and elected to treat the living bacteria inside me as totem animals. If, I speculated, they had a physical existence and purpose, surely they could be endowed with a mythic or magical intent by a human intelligence. 

In the wee small hours, with the alcoholic night nurse on duty, I spoke to the germs and promised them a starring role as the baddies in my current magnum opus, The Invisibles, if they left me alone. 

This, I explained to them, would give them a far longer life and greater symbolic significance than any mere physical overthrow of my body could offer. I gave Staph aureus the chance to become fiction. It was a good deal, and they seemed to go for it.

As I waited nervously for test results, I wrote King Mob’s recovery into The Invisibles, spelling myself out of my own predicament by restoring the fiction suit to full health. If he could survive this and be stronger, so, naturally, would I. 

I’d made a magical model of the world, and by tweaking the model, I could seem to be able to effect actual changes in the real world.”

Excerpt From
Supergods
Grant Morrison

The Art of Dying Well : U.S. Grant




“Manifestly, dying is nothing to a really great and brave man.”

- Samuel Clemens, 
Letter to Olivia Clemens, 
7/1/1885 (referring to General Grant)










THE HERO

Of Appomattox Surrenders at Last,
This Morning at 8:30 O’clock
To the Conqueror of All,
After Nine Months Struggle and Fortitude
Surrounded by His Family, Friends and Physicians,
At Mt. McGregor

Surrendered at Last.

Mt. McGregor, July 22. – [Special.] – Gen. Grant this morning left his chair for the last time. When asked by Fred. if he would like to lie down, he nodded and in attempting to rise, fell back. The nurse came to his aid and he was put to bed. The family were all gathered at the bedside of the sick man and again Dr. Newman at Mrs. Grant’s request knelt beside the general and prayed, heads were bowed down, tears were on the cheeks of men as well as women. The doctors stood somewhat apart and the family was near its fast-sunk head, and then after an hour death seemed a little less rapidly going on, on the man it has pursued just nine months today, for it is just nine months ago today that General Grant walked into Dr. Douglass’ office to seek his professional aid for the cancer that has done what foes and war could not.

The general answered “yes and no” to several questions. Time passed slowly indeed and at length at fifteen minutes past eight, Dr. Douglass left the cottage. “How is it, doctor?” was asked him. “He is dying,” said the gray-haired physician. “Will he live an hour?” was asked again. “Oh yes, and possibly more, but he is passing away,” was the response, and after a little time at the hotel Dr. Douglass returned to the cottage. At nine the general’s pulse was up to [the] point of one hundred and sixty-five to the minute and was fluttering. After his rally at about nine o’clock General Grant sank into sleep that was described by a witness as the peaceful and beautiful sleep of a child. The general continued in a somnolent condition during the day, the respirations growing more shallow.

Barely Alive.

Mt. McGregor, July 23, 5:25 a.m. – The respirations have increased to sixty, and the death rattle occasioned by the filling up of the lungs and throat with mucous, is heard. He now recognizes his friends by opening his eyes.

8:30 a.m. – The General is dead, having just breathed his last surrounded by his family, friends and physicians. The remains will be taken to New York, where they will probably lie in state and be placed in charge of Gen. Sheridan according to the general’s request.

Washington, D.C., July 23. – [Special.] – The death of Gen. Grant, though not unexpected, casts a pall over all classes and conditions of men. All the departments will be promptly closed and draped in honor of the dead hero. The usual proclamations will be issued.

Biographical.

Ulysses S. Grant was born April 27th, 1822, at Point Pleasant, Ohio. It is generally asserted that his father, Jesse R. Grant, was of Scotch descent. He received a common school education and later a military education at West Point, where he graduated 25th in a class of 35, June 30, 1843. He entered the U.S. service as brevet, 2nd Lt. infantry at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., where he became acquainted with Miss Julia B. Dent, whom he married August 22nd, 1848, after his return from the Mexican war, where he served under Taylor to Monterey, at which place he was Adjutant. He served also under Scott from Contreras to Mexico, and at Chepultepec was promoted to 1st Lieutenant for bravery.

After his marriage he moved to Sackett’s Harbor, New York, where they commenced housekeeping. He then lived at various points at periods down to March, 1860, when his father made him a clerk at Galena, Ill. That year he cast his first vote, which was for Buchanan. He had, however, been a quiet Democrat. He was, however, dissatisfied with Douglas, and when Lincoln was elected, joined in the rejoicings.

When the war broke out, he went to Cincinnati to apply to McClellan, who was then organizing the militia of Ohio, but failing to see that officer, returned again to Galena without making known his errand. On his return he was soon put in command of a regiment forming at Decatur, quite accidentally, and marched to Southern Missouri. He occupied Paducah, Ky., and headed off a Confederate column at Belmont which he defeated.

Much delay followed. In February 1862, however, he was permitted to move against Fort Henry which was captured by Foote before the land forces arrived. His first signal victory was at Fort Donelson where he captured Gen. Buckner who lately visited him, and about 10,000 men. He here won the name of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant because he replied to Buckner’s message, “What terms?” “Unconditional surrender.” Then followed Pittsburg Landing [Shiloh], and Vicksburg, the latter place surrendering with 40,000 men under Pemberton., July 4th, 1863, on the same day that Lee was driven back broken and dismayed from Gettysburg, by Meade.

His subsequent operations in Tennessee were the prelude to his transfer to Washington and the command of all the armies of the United States with untrammeled power. March 9, 1864, he was made Lieutenant General. Then followed the series of heavy and bloody, but indecisive battles in the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor, in which the losses on both sides were terrific, and later the siege of Petersburg which after a series of bloody contests terminated in the surrender of Lee at Appomattox and the virtual end of the war, April 9, 1865.

In 1868, the American people rewarded Grant with the highest gift – the presidency, and in 1872 he was re-elected by the greatest popular majority ever obtained by any president – and that over Horace Greeley, the leading spirit of the war, who had been enticed by the “possum policy” of the Democrats. He was the Republican candidate and pursued a vigorous Republican policy both terms. After his second term, he made a trip to Europe and Asia having been granted an ovation wherever he went, as a representative of our Republic and a distinguished soldier. In 1880 some of his warm and loyal friends sought to re-nominate him for a third term at Chicago, but a combination was produced which resulted in the nomination of James A. Garfield.

He took up his residence in New York soon after his return from Europe and resided there until his removal to Mt. McGregor about a month ago. His last days have wonderfully lifted the veil of his life and stamped his character with not only heroism but fortitude. First came the failure of his banking house, which so nearly prostrated him, and the accident by which he was lamed for the rest of his days and then the fatal and insidious cancer which has sapped away his life and palsied his energy.

His literary labor during the past six months now ended by death, will be one of the marvels of his life. The spectacle of the “silent man,” as his adversaries were wont to call him, making history in the face of death, has but one known prototype – the dying Socrates teaching the immortality of the soul to his weeping students, with the hemlock poison in his hands.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

The Power of Sacramentals in Times of Pestilence







  1. Tend The Sick
  2. Feed The Hungry
  3. Give Drink to The Thirsty
  4. Clothe The Naked
  5. Harbour The Stranger
  6. Minister to Prisoners
  7. Bury The Dead.


  1. Wisdom
  2. Understanding
  3. Counsel
  4. Fortitude
  5. Knowledge 
  6. Piety
  7. Fear of The Lord

  1. Convert The Sinner
  2. Instruct The Ignorant
  3. Counsel Those in Doubt
  4. Comfort Those in Sorrow
  5. Bear Wrongs Patiently 
  6. Forgive Injuries
  7. Pray for The Living and The Dead

MORALE

I am the Mister Neelix of Pandemics

‘His function on this crew is diverse.’ 

That's what Seven of Nine said about you. 

Even our Borg understands how important you are on this ship. 

It's not just the duties you perform, it's the way you make people feel when you're around. 

“Well, you know, as men we’re taught not to not to feel pain and grief, as children. 

I remember seeing one of my boys, he was maybe about nine. 

He was hit in a basketball [game], maybe hit by the ball, and I saw him turn around and bend down and get control of his pain and his grief before he stood up again. 

That same boy would be so wonderful in being open to wounds and crying and so on when he was very small. 

But, you know, The Culture had said to him, “You cannot give way to that, you must turn around and when you must turn around; you must have a face without pain or grief in it,” right?

So therefore, as a son of an alcoholic, I received that. I mean, when you’re in an alcoholic family, you’re hired to be cheerful. 

That’s one of your jobs. 
You’re appointed that way. 

One is hired to be a trickster, another I was hired to be cheerful, so that when anyone asked me about the family. 

I’d have to lie in a cheerful way and say, “Oh, it’s wonderful, yes, indeed, we have sheep, you know, and we have chickens, and everything’s wonderful.”

Well, then if you can deny something so fundamental as the deep grief in the whole family, you can deny anything. 

So then how can you write poetry, then, if you’re involved in that much denial? 

So the word denial was very helpful to me.

MOYERS: Did you resent your father? Did you feel -

BLY: No, I think that what happened was that as far as the grief goes, being appointed to be the cheerful one in the family, I would tend to follow a movement upward like this, hmm? 

More and more achievement, more and more and so on, hmm? 

That’s what you’d do. And finally you’d redeem the family’s name by doing this.



(Neelix enters with a tray.

NEELIX:
Time for refreshment. 
Ailis paté, Felada onion crisps, stuffed Cardaway leaves. Yum.

JANEWAY: 
I appreciate the thought, Neelix, 
but this is hardly the time.

NEELIX: 
As the morale officer on this ship, I insist that a break in the workload is both healthy and necessary. 
Go on, Mister Vulcan. It might even help you loosen up. Or not.

TUVOK: 
May I ask when you became morale officer?

NEELIX: 
Oh, just a few minutes ago when I sensed crew morale might be especially low.

Mine certainly was. 

We were in a free fall at the time.

KES: 
Cooking always helps Neelix to unwind.

NEELIX: 
Yes, and after we stabilised, I certainly needed to unwind.
So, it seemed to me, I had a choice to either come up here and say I told you so -

PARIS: 
No.

NEELIX: 
Or to try to do something constructive to help out in my own humble manner. 
Try the stuffed Cardaway leaves. 
They're irresistible. 

(Janeway takes one.

NEELIX: 
Now, as your new morale officer, I thought it might be fun for us all to sing a few songs together.

JANEWAY: 
Don't push it, Neelix.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Sevens







  1. Tend The Sick
  2. Feed The Hungry
  3. Give Drink to The Thirsty
  4. Clothe The Naked
  5. Harbour The Stranger
  6. Minister to Prisoners
  7. Bury The Dead.


  1. Wisdom
  2. Understanding
  3. Counsel
  4. Fortitude
  5. Knowledge 
  6. Piety
  7. Fear of The Lord


  1. Convert The Sinner
  2. Instruct The Ignorant
  3. Counsel Those in Doubt
  4. Comfort Those in Sorrow
  5. Bear Wrongs Patiently 
  6. Forgive Injuries
  7. Pray for The Living and The Dead

World War-Z



Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. 

That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.





“And this is where I directly benefited from the unique circumstances of our precarious security. In October of 1973, when the Arab sneak attack almost drove us into the Mediterranean, we had all the intelligence in front of us, all the warning signs, and we had simply “dropped the ball.” We never considered the possibility of an all-out, coordinated, conventional assault from several nations, certainly not on our holiest of holidays. Call it stagnation, call it rigidity, call it an unforgivable herd mentality. 

Imagine a group of people all staring at writing on a wall, everyone congratulating one another on reading the words correctly. 

But behind that group is a mirror whose image shows the writing’s true message. No one looks at the mirror. 

No one thinks it’s necessary. Well, after almost allowing the Arabs to finish what Hitler started, we realized that not only was that mirror image necessary, but it must forever be our national policy. 

From 1973 onward, if nine intelligence analysts came to the same conclusion, it was the duty of the tenth to disagree. No matter how unlikely or far-fetched a possibility might be, one must always dig deeper. If a neighbor’s nuclear power plant might be used to make weapons-grade plutonium, you dig; if a dictator was rumored to be building a cannon so big it could fire anthrax shells across whole countries, you dig; and if there was even the slightest chance that dead bodies were being reanimated as ravenous killing machines, you dig and dig until you strike the absolute truth.”




But didn’t the plague originate in China? 

It did, as well as did one of the greatest single Maskirovkas in the history of modern espionage. I’m sorry? It was deception, a fake out. 

The PRC knew they were already our numberone surveillance target. They knew they could never hide the existence of their nationwide “Health and Safety” sweeps. They realized that the best way to mask what they were doing was to hide it in plain sight. Instead of lying about the sweeps themselves, they just lied about what they were sweeping for. 


The dissident crackdown? 

Bigger, the whole Taiwan Strait incident: the victory of the Taiwan National Independence Party, the assassination of the PRC defense minister, the buildup, the war threats, the demonstrations and subsequent crackdowns were all engineered by the Ministry of State Security and all of it was to divert the world’s eye from the real danger growing within China. 

And it worked! Every shred of intel we had on the PRC, the sudden disappearances, the mass executions, the curfews, the reserve call-ups— everything could easily be explained as standard ChiCom procedure. 

In fact, it worked so well, we were so convinced that World War III was about to break out in the Taiwan Strait, that we diverted other intel assets from countries where undead outbreaks were just starting to unfold. The Chinese were that good. And we were that bad. It wasn’t the Agency’s finest hour. We were still reeling from the purges . . . 

You mean the reforms? 

No, I mean the purges, because that’s what they were. When Joe Stalin either shot or imprisoned his best military commanders, he wasn’t doing half as much damage to his national security as what that administration did to us with their “reforms.” 

The last brushfire war was a debacle and guess who took the fall. We’d been ordered to justify a political agenda, then when that agenda became a political liability, those who’d originally given the order now stood back with the crowd and pointed the finger at us. 

Who told us we should go to war in the first place? Who mixed us up in all this mess? The CIA!” 

We couldn’t defend ourselves without violating national security. We had to just sit there and take it. And what was the result? Brain drain. Why stick around and be the victim of a political witch hunt when you could escape to the private sector: a fatter paycheck, decent hours, and maybe, just maybe, a little respect and appreciation by the people you work for. 

We lost a lot of good men and women, a lot of experience, initiative, and priceless analytical reasoning. All we were left with were the dregs, a bunch of brownnosing, myopic eunuchs. 

But that couldn’t have been everyone. 

No, of course not. There were some of us who stayed because we actually believed in what we were doing. We weren’t in this for money or working conditions, or even the occasional pat on the back. We were in this because we wanted to serve our country. We wanted to keep our people safe. But even with ideals like that there comes a point when you have to realize that the sum of all your blood, sweat, and tears will ultimately amount to zero. 

So you knew what was really happening. 

No . . .no . . .I couldn’t. There was no way to confirm 

. . . But you had suspicions. 

I had .. . doubts. 

Could you be more specific? 

No, I’m sorry. But I can say that I broached the subject a number of times to my coworkers. 

What happened? 

The answer was always the same, “Your funeral.” 

And was it? 

[Nods.] I spoke to . . . someone in a position of authority . . . just a fiveminute meeting, expressing some concerns. He thanked me for coming in and told me he’d look into it right away. The next day I received transfer orders: Buenos Aires, effective immediately. 

Did you ever hear of the Warmbrunn-Knight report? 

Sure now, but back then . . . the copy that was originally hand delivered by Paul Knight himself, the one marked “Eyes Only” for the director . . . it was found at the bottom of the desk of a clerk in the San Antonio field office of the FBI, three years after the Great Panic. It turned out to be academic because right after I was transferred, Israel went public with its statement of “Voluntary Quarantine.” Suddenly the time for advanced warning was over. 

The facts were out; it was now a question of who would believe them.




Do you understand economics? I mean big-time, prewar, global capitalism. Do you get how it worked? I don’t, and anyone who says they do is full of shit. There are no rules, no scientific absolutes. You win, you lose, it’s a total crapshoot. The only rule that ever made sense to me I learned from a history, not an economics, professor at Wharton. 

“Fear,” he used to say, “fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe.” That blew me away. 

“Turn on the TV,” he’d say. “What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products.” 

Fuckin’ A, was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells. That was my mantra. “Fear sells.” 

When I first heard about the outbreaks, back when it was still called African rabies, I saw the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ll never forget that first report, the Cape Town outbreak, only ten minutes of actual reporting then a full hour of speculating about what would happen if the virus ever made it to America. God bless the news. I hit speed dial thirty seconds later. 

I met with some of my nearest and dearest. They’d all seen the same report. I was the first one to come up with a workable pitch: a vaccine, a real vaccine for rabies. Thank God there is no cure for rabies. A cure would make people buy it only if they thought they were infected. But a vaccine! That’s preventative! People will keep taking that as long as they’re afraid it’s out there! We had plenty of contacts in the biomed industry, with plenty more up on the Hill and Penn Ave. We could have a working proto in less than a month and a proposal written up within a couple of days. By the eighteenth hole, it was handshakes all around. 

What about the FDA? 

Please, are you serious? Back then the FDA was one of the most underfunded, mismanaged organizations in the country. I think they were still high-fiving over getting Red No. 2 out of M&Ms. Plus, this was one of the most business-friendly administrations in American history. J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller were getting wood from beyond the grave for this guy in the White House. His staff didn’t even bother to read our cost assessment report. I think they were already looking for a magic bullet. They railroaded it through the FDA in two months. Remember the speech the prez made before Congress, how it had been tested in Europe for some time and the only thing holding it up was our own “bloated bureaucracy”? 

Remember the whole thing about “people don’t need big government, they need big protection, and they need it big-time!” Jesus Christmas, I think half the country creamed their pants at that. How high did his approval rating go that night, 60 percent, 70? I just know that it jacked our IPO 389 percent on the first day! Suck on that, Baidu dot-com! 

And you didn’t know if it would work? 

We knew it would work against rabies, and that’s what they said it was, right, just some weird strain of jungle rabies. 

Who said that?

 You know, “they,” like, the UN or the . . . somebody. That’s what everyone ended up calling it, right, “African rabies.” 

Was it ever tested on an actual victim? 

Why? People used to take flu shots all the time, never knowing if it was for the right strain. Why was this any different? 

But the damage . . . 

Who thought it was going to go that far? You know how many disease scares there used to be. Jesus, you’d think the Black Death was sweeping the globe every three months or so . . . ebola, SARS, avian flu. You know how many people made money on those scares? Shit, I made my first million on useless antiradiation pills during the dirty bomb scares. 

But if someone discovered . . . 

Discovered what? We never lied, you understand? They told us it was rabies, so we made a vaccine for rabies. We said it had been tested in Europe, and the drugs it was based on had been tested in Europe. Technically, we never lied. Technically, we never did anything wrong. 

But if someone discovered that it wasn’t rabies . . . 

Who was going to blow the whistle? The medical profession? We made sure it was a prescription drug so doctors stood just as much to lose as us. Who else? The FDA who let it pass? The congressmen who all voted for its acceptance? The surgeon general? The White House? This was a win-win situation! Everyone got to be heroes, everyone got to make money. Six months after Phalanx hit the market, you started getting all these cheaper, knockoff brands, all solid sellers as well as the other ancillary stuff like home air purifiers. 

But the virus wasn’t airborne. 

It didn’t matter! It still had the same brand name! “From the Makers of . . .” All I had to say was “May Prevent Some Viral Infections.” That was it! Now I understand why it used to be illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater. People weren’t going to say “Hey, I don’t smell smoke, is there really a fire,” no, they say “Holy shit, there’s a fire! RUN!” [Laughs.] I made money on home purifiers, car purifiers; my biggest seller was this little doodad you wore around your neck when you got on a plane! I don’t know if it even filtered ragweed, but it sold. Things got so good, I started setting up these dummy companies, you know, with plans to build manufacturing facilities all over the country. 

The shares from these dumbos sold almost as much as the real stuff. It wasn’t even the idea of safety anymore, it was the idea of the idea of safety! 

Remember when we started to get our first cases here in the States, that guy in Florida who said he’d been bitten but survived because he was taking Phalanx? OH! 

[He stands, mimes the act of frantic fornication.

God freakin’ bless that dumbass, whoever he was. 

But that wasn’t because of Phalanx. Your drug didn’t protect people at all. 

It protected them from their fears. 

That’s all I was selling. Hell, because of Phalanx, the biomed sector started to recover, which, in turn, jump-started the stock market, which then gave the impression of a recovery, which then restored consumer confidence to stimulate an actual recovery! Phalanx hands down ended the recession! I . . . I ended the recession! 

And then? When the outbreaks became more serious, and the press finally reported that there was no wonder drug? 

Pre-fucking cisely! That’s the alpha cunt who should be shot, what’s her name, who first broke that story! Look what she did! Pulled the fuckin’ rug right out from under us all! She caused the spiral! She caused the Great Panic! 

And you take no personal responsibility? 

For what? For making a little fuckin’ cash . . . well, not a little [giggles]. All I did was what any of us are ever supposed to do. I chased my dream, and I got my slice. You wanna blame someone, blame whoever first called it rabies, or who knew it wasn’t rabies and gave us the green light anyway. 

Shit, you wanna blame someone, why not start with all the sheep who forked over their greenbacks without bothering to do a little responsible research. 

I never held a gun to their heads. They made the choice themselves. They’re the bad guys, not me. I never directly hurt anybody, and if anybody was too stupid to get themselves hurt, boo-fuckin-hoo. Of course . . . If there’s a hell . . . [giggles as he talks] . . . I don’t want to think about how many of those dumb shits might be waiting for me. I just hope they don’t want a refund.


“And hey, what about pushing Phalanx right through the FDA? 

But Phalanx didn’t work. 

Yeah, and do you know how long it would have taken to invent one that did? 

Look how much time and money had been put into cancer research, or AIDS. Do you want to be the man who tells the American people that he’s diverting funds from either one of those for some new disease that most people haven’t even heard of? Look at what we’ve put into research during and after the war, and we still don’t have a cure or a vaccine. 

We knew Phalanx was a placebo, and we were grateful for it. It calmed people down and let us do our job. 

What, you would have rather we told people the truth? That it wasn’t a new strain of rabies but a mysterious uber-plague that reanimated the dead? 

Can you imagine the panic that would have happened: the protest, the riots, the billions in damage to private property?