Archive for June, 2005

Article Schmarticle

These days I’m making myself busy and dizzy over overseas projects *et plus*. But for you, I’d like to get *something* through…even if the usual rules for engagement are violated.

If you have a chance, you might want to wander over to a bookstore or newspaper stand, and take a look at a few ditties in July’s *Harper’s*. To wit, there’s a fine article Lynn Freed for anyone interested in what’s called creative writing and/or teaching. Also, there’s something by Tom Bethell titled “Sparks,” which is an invaluable collection of previously unpublished (short) bits of wit by former longshoreman Eric Hoffer. One doesn’t have to be an unqualified, fanatical supporter of his The True Believer to appreciate what’s there. In addition, the regular “Harper’s Index” (on page 11) has a few *must-sees*, including the 12th and 13th entries concerning CO2 emissions. On the latter, by the way, I’m still waiting to hear from readers respecting our encouragement of overseas air travel.

“Fore!” and The Seventeen and 500 Scorn: Unsettling Numbers

> “I go numb trying to settle scores. Help others? That’s a worse proposition for me. I look out for Number One the easiest way possible…on The Green.” — The author’s awful neighbor

> “If Bolivia’s indigenous see better days now, what astute political analysts are going to be able to dismiss the contribution made –so long ago– by Che’s violent escapades in that region?” — The author’s decent neighbor

Doug Weaver, Mark Wiebe, Jerry Pate and Nick Price each aced the 159-yard sixth hole at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., within a one-hour, 50-minute span of the second round on June 16, 1989. Only 17 hole-in-ones had been recorded previously for the U.S. Open which began in the early 20th-century. That particular hole had never been aced before, and has been only once since.

Strange Fruit Still

Billy Holiday

Mideast breeze bears strange fruit
Blood for the news
Rotten at the root
Dark bodies planted in deserted pews
Deranged fruit squashed for the few
Who bloom just fine destroying the South
With bulging eyes and a twisted mouth
Smelling the *green* sweet, enmeshed
With spoiled yield made of flesh
Despoiled product for just fools to pluck
for our pain to gather
to say *no more muck*
for children to rot
abominations to stop
Along with *profit* from this bitter crop

Enid Starkie: Almost Clueless at Columbia

Enid Starkie

An Irish-born critic of French literature, Enid taught modern languages at the universities of Exeter and Oxford, producing studies of Baudelaire (1933), Rimbaud (1938), and Andre Gide (1954). She was instrumental in establishing the poetic reputation of Rimbaud, and is especially remembered for her critical studies of Gustave Flaubert, which were published in two volumes, in 1967 and 1971. And that’s just for starters.

It was in June of ‘68 that I met her (when she was a visiting professor) on the campus of Barnard, across the street from the “rioting” at Columbia University, my alma mater. What a difference a little 37 years makes.

The Sharon Must Go On?

Special Note: We request feedback on the latest articles, and encourage readers to delve into the Archives for others. There will probably not be another article posted until Monday… but there is an entry for today (June 10th) in Today’s Alternative
Blind Dates

> “Murders on our highways I consider charitable acts compared to some financial deals.” — Balzac’s Du Tillet asserting his judgement on speculations that were thought to be completely honorable by the general public in *Cesar Birotteau*.

> “‘She says Paris will not survive the brutality of those who covet her….That we have to throw the financiers, the developers, the speculators into an enormous pit, which is done in the last act. Only thus is the plague arrested.’ The developers at the bottom of a pit –that is clear, simple, definitive, and adequately expresses what they deserve. There is no reason to explain further either the opinions about developers or the developers themselves. The word itself, as it comes from the pen, falls like the blade of the guillotine: developers!” — Pierre Marcabru’s comments on the view of Giraudoux’s “Madwoman of Chaillot,” elaborated upon by Louis Chevalier in (his magnificent) The Assassination of Paris.

Something of Value?

Kikuyu Dead

On the 6th anniversary of the British government telling veterans of the Mau Mau rebellion to go screw themselves, I submit that it’s time for anti-Amerikans to consider parallels between their situation and that of 1950s Kikuyu Kenyans.

For that purpose, it might be interesting for readers to review a 1999 World Socialist Website article by Jean Shaoul [1], paying special attention to:

> “The best selling novel *Something of Value*, by Robert Ruark, reinforced this official version of ‘black savagery’. In 1957 it was made into a motion picture starring Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier. Prime Minister Winston Churchill even narrated a prologue to the movie.

Getting Los Gatos (Out of the Bag)

Jimmy Clanton

> “Just a dream, just a dream….” — Jimmy Clanton

In the middle of cloudland, I was laying out a plan for some hip-hop Hispanic from not-too-far-away San Jose, CA. He was to organize all of his dark-skinned friends –hopefully 1000 plus– and have them infiltrate white Los Gatos… where I live… the Hummer capital of the world.

It was maybe going to take place –this disruptive event– on some anniversary of the Iraq war. But it could have been arranged for any day. Like on a Sunday, when they have their Farmers’ Market at the Town Center… in that quaint little park of privilege.

Where poodles poop, and they don’t care if the rest of us are unrested, too pooped to live. Uncontested they will continue on their way. Until others are laid to rest, or more firmly in our *places* than tombstones.

The Hispanic must have thought I was out-of-my-white-mind ’cause he never called back.

When Shadows Hold Their Breath

Alfred de Vigny

> “An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air” — Emily Dickinson

Alfred de Vigny developed stomach cancer in his early sixties, which he endured with exemplary stoicism: *Quand on voit ce qu’on est sur terre et ce qu’on laisse/Seul le silence est grand; tout le reste est faiblesse*. “When you see what we are and what life amounts to/Only silence is great; everything else is weakness.” Reminds me of Giacometti… who I just wrote about at here.

And it reminds me of Beckett… who I’m always writing about at Ox to Grind… and elsewhere.

*Silence to Silence*, an eighty-minute documentary on Beckett, with French subtitles (”D’un silence l’autre”), produced by Radio Telefis Eirann is something to see… if you’re interested in this subject. To wit, want subjecting yourself to… this idolatrous idea, subject.

Anti-Opera Tore in(to) Me


**Hans Schulz is an unofficial *goffer* for the Staatsoper Stuttgart in Germany. Long-time buddy from my days in and around Civil Rights era humiliations, Hans did a telephone fandango the other day…which tore me apart. This is not just for sopranos**.

ROX: So…what’s the deal with Morton Feldman and Samuel Beckett?

HS: When Feldman and Beckett set out to write an opera *ensemble* in ‘76, they were together on one single significant point: neither of them liked opera.

ROX: Whoaa, Beckett didn’t like opera?

HS: Let’s use that point as a point of departure, shall we? Beckett initially refused Feldman’s request for a text, but when he realized the composer shared his intense antipathy to the form, he changed his mind.

ROX: What did they produce?