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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Malcolm "Mac" Rebbenack (1941-2019) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ Dr. John — Iconic New Orleans Composer and Singer] ~~~~~
Hear Dr. John do Take Me Out to the Ballgame like no other ever can again.
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#197 July, 2019== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Independence Month of July:
It is only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
— Antoine St. Exupery, The Fox's Secret in "The Little Prince"
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Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#197 for July, 2019
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. July's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for July
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. . . .
6. Poem inspired by The Little Prince: "The Silence of the Desert"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for July:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Kingdom of Childhood by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau
- ARJ2: Silver-Wheeled City - New York by Bicycle & Camera by Kevin Dann
- ARJ1: The Songwriter's Handbook by Tom T. Hall
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4.EAT-O-TWIST IN ACTION
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. July Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Google.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Google" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/190611vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR July:
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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 July, 2019:
George White in New Orleans
Martin Rizzi in Guerrero México
Congratulations, George and Martin!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
After several months of Del doing most everything for me, I am now taking over chores that I previously had done on my own. Hefted the kitchen garbage bag out to the can and rolled the can into place at the curb. Then I noticed the loquat tree needed trimming and came into the house to get the hand clipper, then I clipped the long branches off and tugged them to the garbage can at curb. Still needed more trimming and after carrying them to side of the can I clipped the long, high branched full of barbs from the Meyer lemon tree. I also trimmed other trees with low-hanging branches. I feel good being able to do indoor and outdoor jobs around the house again.Del and I have gone out to dinner several times and will be attending the Twilight Concert of the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra on Thursday night.
Finished reading two books this month and reviewed them. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau and Silver-Wheeled City - New York by Bicycle & Camera by Kevin Dann. You can read these in this Issue below. In addition, I have included two reviews which were published in blurbs in much earlier DIGESTWORLD Issues. They are: from 1999 The Kingdom of Childhood — Introductory Talks on Waldorf Education by Rudolf Steiner, and from 1987 The Songwriter's Handbook by Tom T. Hall. Hope you enjoy the four reviews we have cued for you this month. By the way, the book Silver-Wheeled City is like an invitation for you to take a guided tour on bicycles by Dr. Dann when you are in the Big Apple. I have done walking tours with him and I assure that you will be delighted with his tours.
GLITCHES AND FIXES
INTERNET EXPLORER SIZE FUBAR:
My PC rebooted automatically overnight, as it is wont to do every week or so for some Windows update, and when I came to PC, my reviews on Internet Explorer were too big for my screens. If I zoomed down from 100% to 75%, only the text got smaller and the right edge was still off the screen. Same thing on my DIGESTWORLD ISSUE pages. Sizes on everything were okay when viewed in my Chrome browser which I keep around for backup, but I prefer the way my reviews look on Internet Explorer. I went to Del's PC and the sizes were okay on IE11 there. Came back to the PC on my desktop workstation, and the size problem seemed to disappear after awhile, a little at a time. Reviews looked okay, but one leftover DW Issue was still too big. Closed and reopened that page and it was ok. Go figure. No Freaking Idea what happened to cause this. But since 1966, I have had this Computer Motto:
IF IT HAPPENS ONCE, FORGET IT!
POWER OUTAGE OF LOCAL AREA
One of our treats this month was receiving the DVDs of Season 4 of Outlander. I hadn't read any of the many books which went into making this series, but after watching the first episode of Season 1, I was hooked. We don't subscribe on Cable to any of the premium channels, just like we rarely go to see first-run movies at theaters. We would rather wait until these movies arrive on NetFlix to watch them. When I saw that the first of the five disks for Season 4 was on a very long wait list, I decided to watch, 2, 3, 4, and 5 first and wait for Disk 1 when it finally arrives. It was a good choice as we were able to watch the four disks on successive nights, but at a critical spot in Jamie's rescue of Roger from the Mohawks, a huge lightning bolt hit a tree. NOT in the Outlander episode, but in our local area knocking our power off for four hours. We decided to sleep, leaving the lights in our bedroom on to awaken us when power returned, as it did at 12:30 AM. We got up and watched the rest of the episode and can now wait in peace for the first episode to arrive.
CLEANING OF ICE MAKEREvery 3 months or so, the red light on our Kitchen Aid Ice Maker comes on which signals that it's time to run the cleaning fluid through it. This time, we couldn't find the instructions, so I Googled them and printed them out. See above. Plus, doing the cleaning requires getting on one's knees and is still a bit of trouble for me. I suggested that it was time for Del to learn how to clean the ice maker and she was game. The hardest problem was turning the ice maker to OFF. One has to press the button very strongly and hold it for a long time, maybe 25 seconds or more, and that is very difficult to do. I usually buy two bottles of cleaning fluid when at the Appliance Repair store near here and the second bottle was ready to go. Del followed the instructions, including washing any tiny debris in the ice container after the cleaning. Turning the ice maker on was a slight push, and after an hour or so, it was making its tiny ice cubes again.
One day I rode with Del to Lakeside for her to return some clothes. Our first stop was to see Barry Pizzalotta at his Designs in Jewelry — he was out but his assistant polished our rings for us till he returned. Then we drove nearby to Riccobonno's Peppermill for some catfish and potato salad. This is one of the restaurants begun by Mama Rosa's family. She waited on us for several years in Rick's Café in Gretna. This was our go-to place for breakfast and a tasty lunch before a big box drugstore replaced their prime corner on Stump and Westbank Expressway. We got a feeling for, a reminder of, the lunch crush of typical Metairie restaurant. Couldn't find place to park and had to wait for a table. Good thing the food was good.
Next stop was the Pottery Barn entrance to Lakeside Shopping Center, the busiest shopping mall in the South. I had to park in the middle of a row and wait for Del to finish returning her stuff. Since I had moved to the driver side, I drove us home when we left. Del told me how to get out of shopping center. I would have simply exited my way, gone up to 17th St and turned right, but she insisted her way was easier. So I turned left and I ended up in wrong lane with traffic heading towards me (2 lanes coming, only one going out, not very well marked). Blew my horn and quickly moved to right-hand lane. No harm, no foul. Then I followed more of her directions and while listening to her talk, I went where she said, but it was wrong.I saw the correct lane to get to New Orleans as I was taking the wrong lane that she told me to. I ended up in a Discover-America-Accidentally route, going across I-10 to the frontage road and, after several turns, all the way to Bonnebal entrance before we could get onto I-10 for home.
A few says later Del and I joined her brother Dan and his wife Karen at the Bon Ton for dinner. It was a Friday night and the parking was very expensive, almost as much as their entrees, and that will make our dinners there less frequent.
One day Gary Arnold came by and we chatted for an hour or two. Told him about Kevin Dann and suggested that they should know each other. They did and we three are planning to do a radio show together soon.
BEWARE — THERE BE TECHNICAL STUFF BELOW:
My daughter Maureen have some time off and came over about ten one morning. She said she liked my portrait-oriented monitor and wondered how she could add one to her PC at work. I explained how to check if her video card will support a third PC, if not, she'll need it upgraded. Then I showed her how a simple Right-Click on any monitor will bring up the Control Panel's Screen Resolution box. In mine it shows all five of my monitors, where they are located on my workstation, and to how find the resolution of each and move its location in relation to the other monitors. If you add another monitor, click on the Detect button to add it to your system. I showed her how to identify the Main Monitor and various other options she needed to know about. Then I showed her how NOTEPAD ++ works.She had taken a course in HTML but had little experience in coding it to do useful jobs, so I showed her how I had created my custom templates for my DIGESTWORLD Issues to maintain consistency of display. I open the template, save it as the new DW name, and begin changing all the fill-in data for the new Issue: Its number, month, year, etc. With NOTEPAD ++ a simple Ctrl-H find the code for year, e.g., and you place the new year in it and select and the Replace All command.The most amazing feature of this app is that you can open a 100 files, make a replacement in ALL the files with one push of a button!
Sidebar: I recall a story from my early computer days in the 1960s about a guy running a payroll using a punched card for each employee. His program looked for the code VOID in the first four letters as a signal of the end of data. After months of running successfully, one week his program kept stalling part-way through and no more payroll checks could be printed! He had a disaster on his hands until he figured out what was wrong. He finally discovered that a man whose last name was Void had joined the company and his payroll program figured it was done after doing this man's check. BIG LESSON HERE: When choosing a code, ALWAYS ensure your code will NEVER become part of the data!
I shared this coding system with Maureen, and I also will share with you, my Good Readers, the simple coding system that I devised. All my text involves English language and there are no words in English which both begin and end with a 'q'. So my code for date, e.g., is qdateq.
Then I showed Maureen how to use the Mclip shareware program which allows you to Copy and Paste into and from up to TEN clipboards. Next I explained how using Pure Text will allow her to strip unwanted garbage from any file, text, or Excel file, or whatever. I use Pure Text a lot to strip unwanted codes from Word files by using the Pure Text app to Paste the file into a Word Perfect file. Often my text would disappear in superfluous codes provided by Word, changing font styles and sizes, etal, and requiring a lot of time to sort the text from the chaff. No more. Btw: you can use this code for a Template in any number of software text applications, Word, Word Perfect, Excel, etc.
Maureen and I worked together for about three hours and she never once got overloaded by information. As she was driving out the driveway, Del reminded me I wanted a photo of her, and we yelled at her to come around and open her window so we could. I had tried earlier to get a photo and she demurred, saying she was hot and sweaty.
About a week later Maureen came over again. First off she wanted to try out the new Zero Gravity recliner from Timber Ridge that she got me for Father's day and my Birtday. She loved it, as do I. Fits in my car's trunk for traveling and is super comfortable to sleep in if the bed available is not.
This time I showed her a lot of new stuff. A large number of photos I had started to copy while waiting for her was still an hour from completing, and when I tried to abort it, the cursor hung and it required a RESET. So she got to watch as I had to reconfigure my five monitors back into normal configuration. I showed her how Include files worked:Make one change in a file and it appears in multiple files at the same time. To demonstrate, I added the new month of July to idigestarchives.html, made a minor mistake and corrected it. Then I added a couple of new photos to DW197 and let her do the third one on her own with my help. A great learning lesson for her and she absorbed it like a sponge. Now to get her back here when I do the new DW Issue #198, so she can see the procress of creating a new webpage from a template and soon she'll be capable of creating her own template and webpages for her own work. I built a new Journal in Word Perfect for this week. Showed her the way my file folders were created for Journals and Reviews and photos.
LSU BASEBALL, FOOTBALL, and BASKETBALL
LSU won their Regional at Alex Box Stadium and went up against Florida State. I should say, "Went down against them" as they lost both close games of the Super Regional, sending FSU to Omaha. In previous years when LSU has lost in a Super Regional, the winning teams went on to the National Championship. We'll see. For me it was a relief to not have to sit through another baseball game. The close games and extended innings games were frazzling. Also it was discouraging watching LSU lose close games due to fielding and base-running mistakes. Coach Manieri has some work to do on the team's execution on baseball basics for next year. In addition the injuries to his pitchers the past two years need addressing. If he cannot fix these problems, there's a new sheriff in, Scott Woodward, who can.
LSU seems to be losing only two players to the NBA from its Sweet Sixteen team and with Coach Wade adding new talent, expectations are high for the next Basketball season.
We are counting down the days to the 2019 Football season. With Joe Burrow coming back as a seasoned quarterback, injured Tigers returning to the team, and a fistful of freshmen coming in, the Tigers will be a force to reckon with in the SEC and the Nation this Fall.
New Orleans Saints are gearing up for another run to the Super Bowl this year. Drew Brees is planning to hand off to Alvin Kamara and to pitch wide-outs to Michael Thomas again this season.
New Orleans Pelicans have a new front office which is making sweeping changes, e.g., the GM has swept Anthony Davis out the door in exchange for two outstanding players plus a gaggle of future draft choices which will keep the Pelicans flying high for many years to come.
These are the only four sports teams that I watch, but, when in October basketball starts, I encounter an embarrassment of riches when all four teams are playing at the same time! Luckily that happens only rarely, but with my five TV's in our Timberlane Screening Room, I am ready for it.
NEW LEVIATHAN ORIENTAL FOXTROT ORCHESTRAWhen I returned to New Orleans after eight years of job assignments in California and New England, I knew I was here for good, and I began looking around for good things to do. One of them was the Tea Dances every Sunday afternoon in the Atrium of the new Hyatt Regency. The music was lively, fresh-sounding, and danceable, provided by the 18 piece ensemble of the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra featuring the unlikely combination of a tuba, trombone, banjo, and Theramin, in addition to several violins, saxophones, trumpets, guitars, a drummer, and vocalists. Together they perform no songs written after 1933, focusing instead on familiar pop classics and seldom heard ones, but all played in a sprightly enjoyable manner.
When their Sunday dances moved to the Dream Palace on Frenchmen Street, we followed them. The old building had a flavor of what a cafe might have looked like in Istanbul back in the 1920s when the S. S. Leviathan steamed from New Orleans to then called Constantinople and the big band on board featured Oriental foxtrots. This year they came to City Park's Two Sister's Pavilion for a Twilight Concert and we made sure we were there to welcome them and enjoy their music. They even played a song composed by a man from Westwego named Ardoin who wrote it in collaboration with Hoagy Carmichael which begins, "Up a Lazy River . . .". I walked the banks of the lazy Mississippi River many times as a pre-teen and know what it was like squishing my toes in the wet clay of its banks as I walked up the lazy river.
We arrived early to grab a front row seat and then Del and I walked to the back of the Arboretum in the cooling evening and I took photos of the flowers blooming. At one point I was taken aback by the large Mohawk Indian sculpture as it appeared to me between two oak trees: it was like I had been transported to the Mohawk village in New York as Jamie of the series Outlander was coming to rescue Roger. We later took our seats and enjoyed the toe-tapping music. What would the Sheik of Arabi sound like if it were played without a Thermin warbling its eerie sound at strategic points. At break I walked over to say Hi to the Orchestra founders, Jack Stewart and George Schmidt. George was asked how the orchestra came into being, and he obliged by giving the entire history of the Oriental foxtrot, the SS Leviathan whose cruise ship's orchestra played it, how it inspired Jack and George to revive the music of that time, all before 1993, with a specially designed orchestra to play it.Del and I several years ago took our "orchestra-completion tour" from New Orleans to Istanbul and when our ship docked in Istanbul, I looked down and there was a band dressed in NLOFTO costume playing directly below me songs that our favorite orchestra could be playing back in New Orleans!
I then walked over to compliment the saxophone player for how adeptly she switched from an alto sax to baritone sax without missing a beat. She admitted it was hard to keep from knocking out her front teeth. Then Charles Lataxes who was sitting behind us came over and we talked about Westwego friends. Edmund Fleischman of CODOFIL came over to say hi. John Rankin, guitar player deluxe, just there to enjoy the music came over to say how much he enjoyed my DIGESTWORLD ISSUES, "I really have a hard time reading them all the way to the end." The break was too short to talk to all the friends in the audience, one of the pleasures of going to the Twilight Concert.
As we left the Two Sisters Pavilion and walked into the twilight air, I realized how much I love twilight in New Orleans.The heat of the first day of summer had squooze most of the moisture from the air and a cool breeze whispered to me,"Sit down and enjoy me." Del was ready to head home, but I did stop to comment to a lady seated on the side of a flower bed waiting for her husband, "Isn't this a marvelous evening?" to which she nodded, "Indeed it is."
JOHN'S REVAMPED YARD IN BATON ROUGE
Our son John and his wife Kim completely reworked their yard and invited us over to enjoy an afternoon BBQ there. In the balmy 85 degree day, we didn't get a demo of their new fire pit, but instead a tour of all the new plantings they did before we went indoors to eat the hamburgers John had grilled with all the fixings, including my favorite dessert, a Lemon Meringue pie.Those of you who may be a fan of the "Blue Bloods" CBS series will have followed how Danny Reagan's sons, Jack and Sean, have grown up over the past ten years, with Jack now in college, and Sean finishing high school. John's two son, Collin and Kyle, are about the same age as Jack and Sean and have progressed through the same stages as them over the past ten years. Collin is preparing to enter LSU this fall, and Kyle will be a Junior in high school, a year or so behind Danny's boys, but the challenges faced by the two sets of teens has been remarkable.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
These are events which happen so close to the first of the month publication deadline that I may have only time for a couple of photos and a brief mention.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW GOOD BEGINNING
Our Celeste Fig tree is full of baby figs which will be ready to eat by the end of June. We have finally had some heavy rains to feed the various fruit trees and our St. Augustine grass which had been scarred by cypress knee removals, but the patches put into the scars are beginning to grow and fill in lawn nicely. Till we meet again in the warm, sultry days of July in New Orleans where the fewer clothes on the better is the motto, God Willing and the River Don't Rise any further, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it frozen winter or steamy Summer,
Remember our earnest wish for the second half of this year:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-NINETEEN
To those Good Readers who are puzzled by How the Moon could be Rising In Front of a Mountain, Click on Photo. To see 161021 photo, Click Here. ALSO: if you are puzzled because you No Longer get our Monthly Reminder, you may have Changed Your Email Address without notifying us. NOTIFY US NOW by a simple Click Here!
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PHOTO CAPTIONS (CURSOR FLYOVER ISSUE RESOLVED):If you have been enjoying the photos in DIGESTWORLD, but have wondered who or what you were looking at, you will now be able to hold your cursor still over the photo and the photo's description will appear. (Test on Butterfly-Crab Image at Right.) We spend a lot of time writing these photo captions and hope you will read them. All the Archived Issues have been updated to provide descriptions when your cursor rests for a second on a photo. Note that older Reviews have not been updated. If you haven't finished reading text when description disappears, move cursor away and back on photo to finish. We thank you for your patience and hope this pleases you.
Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
The spiritual world is to the material world as computer software is to its hardware.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - ) written August 12, 2000 in my journal.
Life is a result of the placebo effect, rightly understood.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - ) written November 23, 1999 in an email to Warren Liberty.
I'll take someone who asks good questions over someone who has easy answers any day.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - )
Remember: your Soul Captain leads you if you're willing and drags you if you're unwilling.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - ) written May 22, 1997
Politics is the art of answered questions; education is the art of unanswered questions.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - ) Written October 28, 1998.
There are no wrong or right ways of doing things, but all ways have their consequences.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - ) written January 10, 1999
Denial: the passing breeze of truth.
Bobby Matherne (1940 - ) written January 2, 1987.
New Stuff on Website:New Stuff on the Internet:
A TIDBIT OF Humorous Happenings in Wal-Mart
Letter to wife from Wal-Mart:
Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras. Read the whole list by a CLICK HERE!, but below is an example of his escapades:
15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!'
Below are Four of Bobby's Published Books. Click to Read Them.
~^~ Aprons, How They were Used by Moms and Grandmas
(Sent in by Jeff Parsons, June 8, 2019. Edited by Bobby Matherne)
I wonder if kids today know what an apron is. Let's see if we can enlighten them.
The principal reason for Mom's and Grandma's apron was to protect their dress underneath because they had only a few dresses.
Also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses, and aprons were easier to sew and used less material.
But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. (My two daughers raising quail would find an apron handy.)
When company came, those aprons were handy places for shy toddlers to hide beneath.
And when the weather was cold, they wrapped the apron around their arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in their apron.
From the garden, they used the apron to carry all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, they used it to carry out to discard the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, the woman of the house, finished cooking, walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
The apron is a reminder of the hard-working women who raised us and the times they went through.
Their apron filled with stains of various kinds was a visible sigh of the hard-work they put into raising us, feeding us, and keeping the house comfortable in a day when most women worked at home and had only a few dresses to wear.
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."The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" (2018) expanded version of the Nutcracker story fleshed out enjoyably for the big screen. Clara visits four hidden worlds before she can dance with her father.
"Creed II" (2018) the son of Apollo holds the title but is beaten up and needs Rocky to help him beat the Russian. Predictable, but good.
"A Perfect Man" (2018) James and Nina split up and met again as strangers over the phone to began their future together.
"The Least of These" (2019) details how Graham Staine devoted his life to changing lepers into human beings in India and how cub reporter Banerjee had to write two stories, one to keep his job, and two to tell the truth about Graham.
"Unlock" (2017) Noomi Rapace sans her dragon tattoo goes after foreign terrorists, but not so foreign as you might expect. Thrilling from beginning to end. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Mary Poppins Returns" (2018) and now we know why. A DON'T MISS HIT !
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."Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" (2018) boring stuff about dark wizards and has lost all the adventure and excitement of Harry Potter episodes."Aquarius" (2018) watched mostly to see Sonja Braga again, this time as a long-time tenant of an apartment, determined to stay until she or it collapsed.
"Never Grow Old" (2019) and never watch this movie.
"Destroyer" (2018) destroyed everyone around her, this movie, and herself.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Shame" (1968) Liv Ullman and Max van Sydow are young couple on remote farm when war comes to them. Ingmar Bergman film ends lugubriously.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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(Told to me by T-Paul in Opelousas. June 8, 2019)Boudreaux and Broussard were best pals since high schools days when they both pitched for their school teams. They always talked about baseball when they regularly got together to down a few Dixies at Mulate's in Breaux Bridge after they had both retired.
One day Broussard went to visit his good buddy Boudreaux who was on his deathbed. The subject got around to baseball, and Boudreaux said, "Broussard, Ah know how much you love baseball, and when Ah get to heaven, Ah promise to return and let you know if there's baseball there."
A few weeks later after Boudreaux had passed, Broussard was awakened in the middle of the night and Boudreaux was standing there talking to him. Boudreaux said, "Mais, Ah'm glad to see you Broussard. Ah gots some good news for you, Cher: there is baseball in heaven! Just yesterday Ah was pitching to Mickey Mantle, Willy Mays, and Mel Ott. Talk about fun!" Broussard said, "Bon Dieu! Ah can hardly wait!"
Boudreaux said, "Well, you won't have to wait long. You're the starting pitcher tomorrow night!"
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6. POETRY by BOBBY inspired by The Little Prince:
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NOTE on 'The Silence of the Desert': Saint-Exupéry loved to meditate, and he found the desert was a great place for meditation because of its silence. The people of the desert probably have as many words for silence as the Eskimos have for snow. Below is a found poem in which Saint-Exupéry describes in a letter the various silences of the desert. From his biography by Stacy Schiff. (In found poems, I only change the formatting of the text.)The Silence of the Desert
There is a silence of peace when the tribes are reconciled,
when the cool evening falls. . . .
There is a midday silence,
when the sun suspends all thought and movement.
There is a false silence, when the north wind has died
and insects, torn like pollen from the interior oases,
arrive to announce the sandstorms from the east.
There is a silence of intrigue,
when one learns that a faraway tribe is plotting
There is a silence of mystery,
when the Arabs discuss their incomprehensible
differences among themselves.
There is a tense silence when a messenger
is late returning.
A sharp silence when, at night,
one holds one's breath to listen better.
A melancholy silence,
when one remembers loved ones.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for July:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and fourth reviews this month will be ones which were published as blurbs or in very early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our current DIGESTWORLD Readers. The other two reviews 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.
1.) ARJ2: The Kingdom of Childhood by Rudolf Steiner
Steiner was "then already a sick man" Christopher Bamford tells us in his Introduction to this book, but you couldn't tell it from the vibrancy of his living thoughts as expressed in these lectures. What is in our natures when we descend to our life on Earth? This is a worthy question for any teacher of small children to ask, just like a physiologist might ask what are the shapes and sizes of the organs of a human, how the sizes of lungs, livers, and hearts vary from a young person to an old person. We are all creatures of thinking, feeling, and willing, but for most people these are mere words without any sense of reality, up until now. Here's what Steiner tells us about thinking, feeling, and willing - these two sentences may not make much sense at first, but allow them to work on you as unanswered questions for awhile and the sense will grow out of them in time.
[page 3] . . . it is not known that willing, as it appears in the soul, is young, while thinking is old; that in fact thinking is willing grown old, and willing is a youthful thinking in the soul. Thus everything that pertains to the soul contains youthfulness and old age, both existing in human beings simultaneously.
After pondering this quote overnight, I picked up early this morning a computer printer that I bought from a company that is going out of business. It was hooked to a network box and I wondered whether I should take the box also - it might be useful later if I network my home office computers. I decided the moral thing to do was to leave the box. But that didn't stop the thoughts from bugging me all the way home. No, I thought, I didn't specifically buy that box, only the printer. No one would have objected, and the person I bought the printer from is now gone, so no one could check what we had agreed. Suddenly I thought, why are these thoughts bothering me? If it was a doyle bothering me, a physical body state that I'd stored from before I was five, I could simply trace and erase it, but what do I do with thoughts that are bothering me? All I can do stop them by the force of my will.That's when the unanswered question above popped into my head! Why, those thoughts are simply old willing converted into thoughts. What is pestering me is my old form of willing that would have made taking the box okay! I had originally thought that what Steiner referred to as old willing was previous lifetime willing now converted into our thoughts of this lifetime, but here I was this morning experiencing my former willing returning to pester me as thoughts I didn't want, thoughts that represented an earlier willing, an earlier me in this lifetime, now returned as shades from my past to haunt my present, up until now. I was experiencing the macrocosm in the microcosm of my daily life.
Unfortunately for us today, we are as handicapped if we do not distinguish these connected aspects of young and old thinking, feeling, and willing, as is the physician who cannot distinguish a child from an old man — to borrow the metaphor that Steiner uses. He goes on to say that without the ability to make such a distinction, there is no science of the soul today, and that, "as for the spirit, there is no such thing!" We are left only with the word spirit, which is not much help. The disappearance of the spirit from the human being back in the 4th Century has hindered dramatically our ability to express the very concept of living spirit, up until Rudolf Steiner and his living science of anthroposophy which teaches a science of unified materialistic and spiritual worlds.
Steiner says so many people say, "Make me a good teacher" but when told to begin by making anthroposophy a basis for their pedagogy, they declaim, "Oh, is that really necessary?" Thus, he says, they are reacting like the old German proverb that goes, "Please wash me but don't make me wet!" (Page 4) They do not want to learn the effect that too much thinking has on their young charges, so that, for example, when the child becomes pale during the year, they will not have to take responsibility for having given the child too much rote memory work.
[page 7] I am constantly squeezing the soul into the ideas I give the child when I give concepts that are intended to be permanent; when I worry the child with fixed, unchangeable concepts, instead of giving the child concepts capable of expansion.
Without capability for the expansion, the child gets hardened into the concepts, just like arteries not capable of expansion are hardened. To feed the abstract too soon to the child is to freeze their development prematurely and to stultify their excitement over the subject being taught. Rightly understood, the prevalent dislike for mathematics and algebra in our public schools is a natural consequence of too much abstraction too soon, and leads to hardening of the arteries.
Steiner gives us readers a way of understanding the soul-spiritual nature of the child beginning with the birth to seven year old child. For the development of that age child he recommends that we do best if we "make the same impression on the child that its own arm makes." I take that to mean that we move when the child wants us to move and obtain things for the child that lie outside of its immediate surroundings. The child's arm would be incapable of hitting the child or causing it injury, so its caregivers would be well-advised to avoid such acts. He uses the metaphor of fingers pressing into a sack of flour to indicate how the impressions made by caregivers remain in the child — "because you yourself are really one with the child." (Page 14) With the knowledge provided us by the nascent science of doyletics [See ARJ: The Trauma of Birth ], we can understand that this oneness is the primary mechanism of the transmission and acquisition of doyles before about the age of two or so when the child's environment consists mainly of close family and caregivers.
Being at one with its mother before birth is a physical connection, but for those first seven years, the child still contains some part of its mother's cells in its own body and thus is her etheric body yet associated with the child. When the mother suffers a trauma when the child is in her womb, the connection is via chemicals passing through the blood stream directly. When the mother suffers a trauma in the presence of her child for the early years after its birth, the child responds exactly as the mother does. I helped a woman trace a doyle that had led her migraines so strong that she had told a friend she thought she had a brain tumor. At three years old she saw herself holding her mother's hand and watching a house in flames burn down across the street from their home.I doubt that a three year old would have any natural reaction other than excitement at watching a large fire, but she was holding her mother's hand, and was still at one with her mother. Thus, she absorbed the intense tearful feelings of her mother, feelings so strong, that later as an adult whenever something triggered those experiences she had a flaming migraine headache. For the two years after that fifteen minute doyle trace in a group seminar with 17 other people, she has been free of her intense migraines, able to sidestep them when they seem to start up. Reuters Health News carried an article this morning that claimed, "Patients with cluster headaches may experience non-painful, premonitory symptoms several days to several weeks in advance of an attack." Perhaps research will lead us to confirm scientifically that the premonitory symptoms are doyles, and that removal of the doyles via a simple five minute self-administered trace prevents the cluster headaches from ever occurring again.
With the coming of teeth change around seven, the child begins to develop curiosity and fantasies. At birth it required bodily milk, and at age seven, Steiner tells us on page 14, it requires soul milk. The activities of reading and writing provides nourishment or soul milk for the child after teeth change, but these two essential activities must be incorporated together or it would be like separating the chemicals of bodily milk and giving it to a baby separately. (I note that commercial baby formula milks do that today with less success than their cost seems to justify.) How does one combine reading and writing and fantasy into one whole activity? By leading the child into an artistic activity in which they are all incorporated seamlessly, even with simple flourishes of arithmetic.
In the next critical stage of growth for the child, which begins at puberty, around age fourteen, Steiner says that they will require spiritual milk. That spiritual milk must be in its immediate family and caregivers or else the "boys and girls will be left to themselves during the difficult adolescent years." (Page 15)
Focusing on the need for fantasy and symbolism in the soul milk stage between seven and fourteen, Steiner writes about one of the terrible sins of our materialistic age and it sounds as if it were written today instead of seventy-five years ago in 1924:
[page 22] Take for example the so-called beautiful dolls that are so often given to children these days. They have such beautifully formed faces, wonderfully painted cheeks, and even eyes with which they can go to sleep when laid down, real hair, and goodness knows what all! But this kills the fantasy of the child, for it leaves nothing to the imagination and the child can take no great pleasure in it.
When I first shared this concept of Steiner's with her a while back, my artist daughter reminded me that when we gave her and her sisters some beautiful dolls when they were under ten years old, they responded by pulling out the hair and tearing away the doll's clothes so that the formerly "beautiful" dolls could become the raw material of their fantasy play. As she told me this, I envisioned the mother who insisted that her daughter's beautiful doll be kept in pristine condition on display in her room. That daughter will likely grow up to be a shell of a woman, all painted and pretty on the outside, and empty on the inside.
Steiner told his lecture audience if they wanted a formulated axiom, here was one: "You must be able to observe life in all its manifestations." (Page 21) One example would be for us to observe:
[page 27] In reading only the head is occupied and anything that only occupies a part of the organism and leaves the remaining parts impassive should be taught as late as possible. It is important first to bring the whole being into movement, and later on the single parts.
So why is the study of spiritual science, of anthroposophy, important when raising a child? We can't teach them such things while they are children, can we? So why not wait till they're older for us to learn such things, too? Through anthroposophy you learn once more that a spiritual world pervades the material world and this gives new life to otherwise jaded fairy tales and myths. When you read them to your children, the stories will be filled with a quality of soul. The alternative is to be like the scholarly teacher who believes fairy stories are foolishness and reads the story from a purely intellectual perspective. If such a teacher were to follow Steiner's maxim and observe life, they would note the crippling effect that the intellect has on children, and the enlivening effect that imagination has on them.
In Lecture Three, he goes on to explain the disastrous effect that pulling a plant from the ground to take inside for children.
[page 37] Here we have a plant (see drawing) but this alone is not the plant, for the soil beneath it also belongs to the plant, spread out on all sides and maybe a very long way. . . . Something else is living besides the actual plant; this part here (below the line in drawing) lives with it and belongs to the plant; the earth lives with the plant.
Plants are like the hair of the Earth, and just as pulling hair from your head causes you pain, but getting your hair cut can bring you pleasure, so it is with the Earth. And examining a single human hair and trying to make sense of it is as meaningless as examining a plant pulled from the Earth of which it is a living, integral part.
In his description of the animal kingdom on page 44, Steiner says that "the animal kingdom is the human being spread out, and the human being is the animal kingdom drawn together." All of the animal kingdom is represented somewhere in that great synthesis of creation known as a human being — one needs only to become sensitive to how the various animals are combined into one's own body. When children are educated to understand this many-to-one relationship of animals and humans, they will laugh at the materialistic evolutionists who proclaim that humans descend from animals.
[page 48] For they will know that humankind unites within itself the whole animal kingdom, the human being is a synthesis of all the single members of it.
What is the proper way to teach mathematics has been a source of considerable thought and research and yet none of the new math approaches have ever achieved the simple goal of getting children to like doing math. Let's see what happens in the Steiner approach to teaching in his Waldorf Schools.
[page 52] In the Waldorf School we have had some very gratifying experiences of this. What is the usual method of punishment in schools? A child has done something badly and consequently is required to "stay in" and do some arithmetic for instance. Now in the Waldorf School we once had rather a strange experience: three or four children were told that they had done their work badly and must therefore stay in and do some sums. Whereupon the others said: "But we want to say and do sums too!" For they had been brought up to think of arithmetic as something nice to do, not as something that is used as a punishment.
As for the creative methods of discipline, no better example is available than the story Steiner tells of a Dr. Stein, who, upset by the students continually passing notes under the desk to each other during his teaching, changed to talking about the postal system. The students were puzzled at first, but soon realized the reason for the lecture on the postal system and stopped passing notes in class.
One of my basic rules of living is "Make my biggest mistakes first." I was amazed when I took military science and we did mortar sighting that we always overshot on purpose for the first shot, and then undershot on the second shot. Then, from the information that the forward observer relayed to us, we were able to pinpoint the target. The first two shots were always based on calculated and estimated data or mathematical maps that had to be correlated to the territory by the observations of a human in the field. Only when those two had been lined up could we proceed with "fire for effect" which is the unleashing of the full firing capability of the mortar. Thus I learned, always aligns my internal maps with the territory before I unleash my full energies on a project. Making your biggest mistake first has the concomitant danger of getting you labeled as clumsy, but as Steiner points out, this is a necessary step towards progress.
[page 56] For you see, whenever you undertake a spiritual activity, you always must be able to bear being clumsy and awkward. People who cannot endure being clumsy and doing things stupidly and imperfectly at first never really will be able to do them perfectly in the end out of their own inner self.
In the next passage, he explains that "everything always turns out the way it's supposed to" which I like to remember by use of the acronym EAT-O-TWIST. A bit of thinking will convince one that this applies to all the people that one meets in this life. It is only through avoiding clumsiness at costs that one remains clumsy throughout one's lifetime.
[page 57] You must say to yourself: Something is leading me karmically to the children so that I can be with them as a teacher though I am still awkward and clumsy. And those before whom it behooves me not to appear clumsy and awkward — those children — I shall only meet in later years, again through the workings of karma.
On page 58 is the story of the tiny violet who becomes frightened by the sky when it first opens its petals for the first time. When she asks the dog he frightens her more by telling her it's a big violet that is going to crush her. She becomes more frightened. The next day a lamb tells her that the big violet will not crush her, that "that is a great big violet, and his love is much greater than your own love, even as he is much more blue than you are in your little blue form." The children will want to know why the dog said what he said and why the lamb said what he said to the violet. This is the form of teaching that will lead to a deep understanding of spirituality in harmony with what the child is able to absorb at a tender age. Things great and small in that story will help them to understand the things great and small that they will encounter in later life. This is a story that a wise teacher can draw on again and again as appropriate as the child matures. The child will only understand later as an adult of forty what they took on authority from their teacher.
So many teachers of arithmetic become upset when they see children counting on their fingers. Steiner says let them do it as it "calls forth the greatest possible skill" in them. (page 77) For, he says, "sports do not really make people skilled", but only those tasks which involve the entire body, such as "holding a pencil between the big toe and the next toe and learning to write with the foot, to write figures with the foot." The head is simply a passenger being driven by the chauffeur which is the body.
One should not learn to count by placing five blocks and saying "1, 2, 3, 4, 5. . ." but rather by seeing a whole and dividing it in two parts and noticing how the TWO make up the ONE. Our atomistic basis of materialistic thinking began when we started teaching counting in the former way.
He tells a humorous and insightful story about two children Henry and Anna. The mother told Henry to divide it for him and Anna, but do it in the Christian way, which the mother explained, meant he must give Anna the bigger piece. Henry thought about it for a second and said, "In that case, let Anna divide it in the Christian way!"
The key to successful education is to draw out the child in the right way at the right time of its development. Steiner provides us with abundant insights as a spiritual scientist on how a child's development proceeds. When the child is born, its body is taken 100% from its mother and only after birth does the etheric body begin working on building up the second physical body, a process which consumes all the energies of the etheric body for seven years. Seven years, as you will remember from biology, is how long it takes for all the cells of the human body to completely replaced. The etheric body is the sculptor, rightly understood, of the child's body, and it begins immediately after its birth in that task. Ever wonder why a seven year old loves to model forms and paint them?
[page 92] For the first seven years of life the etheric body has been carrying out modeling and painting within the physical body. Now that it has nothing further to do regarding the physical body, or at least not as much as before, it wants to carry its activity outside.
All the while the etheric body is being drawn out of the child's body between seven and fourteen years old, the astral body is being drawn inward. Upon the completion of the drawing in process of the astral body, puberty with its human sexuality and capability for reproduction begins. This drawing in process takes place in an astral form of inspiration, a breathing-in that Steiner describes thus:
[page 96] So that during this time when the astral body is gradually finding its way into the physical body with the help of the air breathed in, it is playing upon something that is stretched across like strings of an instrument in the center of the body, that is, upon the spinal column. Our nerves are really a kind of lyre, a musical instrument, an inner musical instrument that resounds up into the head.
What does this tell the wise teacher to do for musical education for their children? The teacher should provide activities in which the children can come to feel what it means for "their own musical being to flow over into the objective instrument." He cautions that a piano is the absolute worst instrument for the child at this point. Instead, a recorder, or some other simple wind instrument, should be employed so the child may feel the music resonating within itself, just as its astral body resonates with its spinal column.
There was a situation comedy called Happy Days that ran on television for many years starring a character called Fonzie. In early episodes Rickie, Pottsy, Ralph, and the other boys who admired Fonzie's style, would exclaim, "AAA!" whenever the Fonz did something that astonished them. In later episodes, Fonzie adopted the saying "AAA!" as a sort of pre-emptive strike of the automatic exclamation he expected to follow. In his analysis of the natural meanings of sounds, Steiner said, some fifty years before Fonzie said his first "AAA!", "... in every language, English included, we find that the vowel A expresses astonishment and wonder." (Page 102)
Our grandchildren, Katie (9) and Weslee (7) were visiting a week ago as I began to grind some coffee beans. In astonishment, Katie asked, "Coffee comes from beans?" "Sure," I said, and she and Weslee gathered close to me as I showed them the beans. I put two half beans together to show how they formed an ovoid solid and explained how coffee was discovered. Some goats were seen cavorting on Turkish hillsides after eating the beans from this plant.Curious, the Turkish shepherds began to experiment with eating the bitter green beans and gradually discovered that if they roasted the beans, crushed them, and then boiled them, that the liquid made a delightful and refreshing drink which we now call coffee. The beans I had came from Costa Rica, so I asked if either of them knew where Costa Rica was. Nope. So we went over the encyclopedia and looked up Costa Rica on a map, then went to globe to look at where it existed relative to Louisiana where we were. This little adventure in learning went on delightfully for about twenty minutes. I hadn't read the following passage at the time, but it speaks volumes to the pedagogy of young children. Lessons that proceed, as mine did, from life draw children out, and they will pursue knowledge for its own worth and will never tire until they have exhausted all the possibilities.
[page 112] The golden rule for the whole of teaching is that the children should not tire. Now there is something very strange about the so-called experimental education of the present day. Experimental psychologists register when a child becomes tired in any kind of mental activity, and from this they decide how long to occupy a child with any one subject, in order to avoid fatigue. The whole conception is wrong from beginning to end.
He goes on later to point out that what the experimental psychologists observe is, not some basic datum about when children tire, but how badly the teacher has taught them. Another example of bad teaching can be found in the daily newspaper when, for example, it proclaims that five criminals were sentenced to a total of 75 years in prison. Since all of them will be out of prison before the 75 years are over, Steiner tells us that is meaningless, and that we must avoid teaching anything to children in this foolhardy, unrealistic way that bears no connection to something that can be found in life.
[page 117] You must guide the child to think only about things that are to be found in life. Then through your teaching reality will be carried back into life again. In our time we suffer terribly from the unreality of people's thinking, and the teacher must consider this very carefully.
Finally, as much as it is urged that teachers learn from their students and share what they learn with other teachers, it is hard to find exemplary cases of such systematic sharing going on in either secondary or post-secondary educational institutions with the exception of Waldorf Schools. Such meetings were built into the very structure of Waldorf education by its founder Rudolf Steiner some eighty years ago, and it will be well to end this review of The Kingdom of Childhood with his words to the Waldorf educators in Torquay, England.
[page 118] To support this we have our teachers' meetings in the Waldorf School, which are the heart and soul of the teaching. In these meetings, all the teachers speak of what they as individuals have learned from their classes and from all the children in them, so that each one learns from the other. No school is really alive where this is not the most important thing, this regular meeting of the teachers.
RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURES
and WRITINGS ON EDUCATION
LEGEND: (TBA) indicates this review to be added later.
Underlined Title indicates Available Review: Click on Link to Read Review.
(NA) indicates the Book is NOT in Print presently, so far as we know.
I. Allgemeine Menschenkunde als Grundlage der Pädagogik: Pädagogischer Grundkurs, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919 (GA 293). Previously Study of Man. The Foundations of Human Experience (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
II. Erziehungskunst Methodische-Didaktisches, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, (GA 294). Practical Advice to Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 2000).
III. Erziehungskunst, 15 discussions, Stuttgart, 1919 (GA 295). Discussions with Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
IV. Die Erziehungsfrage als soziale Frage, 6 lectures, Dornach, 1919 (GA 296). Previously Education as a Social Problem. Education as a Force for Social Change
(Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
V. Die Waldorf Schule und ihr Geist, 6 lectures, Stuttgart and Basel, 1919
(GA 297). The Spirit of the Waldorf School (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
VI. Rudolf Steiner in der Waldorfschule, Vorträge und Ansprachen, 24 Lectures and conversations and one essay, Stuttgart, 1919-1924 (GA 298) Rudolf Steiner in the Waldorf School: Lectures and Conversations
(Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
VII. Geisteswissenschaftliche Sprachbetrachtungen, 6 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919
(GA 299). The Genius of Language (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
VIII. Konferenzen mit den Lehrern der Freien Waldorfschule 1919-1924, 3 volumes
(GA 300a-c). Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner, 2 volumes: Volume 1, Volume 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1998).
IX. Die Erneuerung der pädagogisch-didaktischen Kunst durch Geisteswissenschaft,
14 lectures, Basel, 1920 (GA 301). The Renewal of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2001).
X. Menschenerkenntnis und Unterrichtsgestaltung, 8 lectures, Stuttgart, 1921
(GA 302). Previously The Supplementary Course: Upper School and Waldorf Education
for Adolescence. Education for Adolescents (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XI. Erziehung und Unterricht aus Menschenerkenntnis, 9 lectures, Stuttgart, 1920, 1922, 1923 (GA 302a). The first four lectures are in Balance in Teaching (Mercury Press, 1982); last three lectures in Deeper Insights into Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1988).
XII. Die gesunde Entwicklung des Menschenwesens, 16 lectures, Dornach, 1921-22
(GA 303). Soul Economy: Body, Soul, and Spirit in Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2003).
XIII. Erziehungs- und Unterrichtsmethoden auf anthroposophischer Grundlage, 9 public lectures, various cities, 1921-22 (GA 304) Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
XIV. Anthroposophische Menschenkunde und Pädagogik, 9 public lectures, various cities, 1923-24 (GA 304a). Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XV. Die geistigseelischen Grundkräfte der Erziehungskunst, 12 Lectures, 1 special lecture, Oxford, 1922 (GA 305). The Spiritual Ground of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004).
XVI. Die pädagogische Praxis vom Gesichtspunkte geisteswissenschaftlicher Menschenerkenntnis, 8 lectures, Dornach, 1923 (GA 306) The Child's Changing Consciousness as the Basis of Pedagogical Practice (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XVII. Gegenwärtiges Geistesleben und Erziehung, 14 lectures, Ilkley, 1923
(GA 307) Two Titles: A Modern Art of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004) and
Education and Modern Spiritual Life (Garber Publications, 1989).
XVIII. Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens, 5 lectures, Stuttgart, 1924 (GA 308). The Essentials of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
XIX. Anthroposophische Pädagogik und ihre Voraussetzungen, 5 lectures,
Bern, 1924 (GA 309) The Roots of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
XX. Der pädagogische Wert der Menschenerkenntnis und der Kulturwert der Pädagogik, 10 public lectures, Arnheim, 1924 (GA 310) Human Values in Education(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971).
XXI. Die Kunst des Erziehens aus dem Erfassen der Menschenwesenheit, 7 lectures, Torquay, 1924 (GA 311). The Kingdom of Childhood (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
XXII. Geisteswissenschaftliche Impulse zur Entwicklung der Physik. Erster naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: Licht, Farbe, Ton — Masse, Elektrizität, Magnetismus
10 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919-20 (GA 320). The Light Course (Anthroposophic Press, 2001).
XXIII. (NA) Geisteswissenschaftliche Impulse zur Entwicklung der Physik. Zweiter naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: die Wärme auf der Grenze positiver und negativer Materialität, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1920 (GA 321). The Warmth Course (Mercury Press, 1988). This Mercury Press edition may still be in print.
XXIV. (NA) Das Verhältnis der verschiedenen naturwissenschaftlichen Gebiete zur Astronomie. Dritter naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: Himmelskunde in Beziehung zum Menschen und zur Menschenkunde, 18 lectures, Stuttgart, 1921 (GA 323). Available in typescript only as "The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy."
XXV. Six Lectures in Berlin, Cologne, and Nuremberg from 1906 to 1911, (Misc. GA's.) The Education of the Child — Early Lectures on Education (a collection; Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
2.) ARJ2: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau and a friend took a boat to float, sail, oar, and camp for seven days along the meadowy river of Concord north through the logging-filled river of Merrimack and back home. Why should we care? They didn't get attacked by wild Indians or get over-turned in rapids causing them to nearly drown. They simply went somewhere they had never been before, carrying minimal provisions, and finding places along the shore to spend the night. Together they had to pass through locks with their boat so often that the word "lock" was most often used as an action verb. Thoreau described his companion rarely, referencing perhaps when he stayed with boat while Henry walked into the woods to seek some berries, so I will refer to Henry as if he were a solitary traveler. Henry occasionally stopped at a home along the shore to ask for some fresh water. Once he bought an apple wrapped in a sheet of newspaper, and for his nickel received nourishment for his body and news of the world.
There may have been only two men in the boat, but Thoreau carried companions in his mind as he described the men he encountered along the river. He was a writer, comparing these men to writers, who lacking paper on which to write, left records on the fields as they toiled. It was their writing that Thoreau came to experience, their journals written along the riverside in the materials of their trade, turning into the words of Thoreau's journal as he boated by.
[page 9] You shall see rude and sturdy, experienced and wise men, keeping their castles, or teaming up their summer's wood, or chopping alone in the woods, men fuller of talk and rare adventure in the sun and wind and rain, than a chestnut is of meat; who were out not only in '75 and 1812, but have been out every day of their lives; greater men than Homer, or Chaucer, or Shakespeare, only they never got time to say so; they never took to the way of writing. Look at their fields, and imagine what they might write, if ever they should put pen to paper. Or what have they not written on the face of the earth already, clearing, and burning, and scratching, and harrowing, and ploughing, and subsoiling, in and in, and out and out, and over and over, again and again, erasing what they had already written for want of parchment.
He talks about the shallow Concord river flowing peacefully through a meadow except where during sharp bends it turns briefly into a river, saying, ". . . the meadow is skirted with maples, alders, and other fluviatile trees overrun with the grape-vine". For all but nine years of my life, I lived near the great river Mississippi and might consider myself to be fluviatile as well. For most of my life I bathed in and drank water harvested from its inexhaustible waters. Throughout my lifetime our monthly water bill cost me the equivalent of six hotdogs.
The boat which carried them to New Hampshire and back they had built during a week in the spring, fifteen feet long by three and a half feet at it widest, equipped with wheels to be rolled around falls, two sets of oars, several push poles, and two masts for sails, one which served as a tent-pole to cover their bed, a mattress of buffalo-skin, and a sheet of cotton for a roof. After loading it with potatoes and melons from their garden, they pushed it a half-mile to the river and disembarked. As they floated beneath the old North Bridge as we now call it, Henry recalls what his pal Emerson wrote, "By the rude bridge that arched the flood/Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,/Here once the embattled farmer stood,/And fired the shot heard round the world."(Page 15) And today in 2019 some 244 years forward the wondrous sound of freedom still echoes across the world.
Thoreau was a man who drank from deep wells. As a writer both his poetry and prose were filled with graceful tropes and similes.
[page 18, poem]
For lore that's deep must deeply studied be,
As from deep wells men read star-poetry.
[page 18, prose]
Gradually the village murmur subsided, and we seemed to be embarked on the placid current of our dreams, floating from past to future as silently as one awakes to fresh morning or evening thoughts.
Thoreau gives us the Latin name of plants he writes about which makes it easy, with the help of Google and Wikipedia, to share a couple of photos with you, namely the Chelone glabra(left) and the Eupatiorium purpureum (right).
What Thoreau mused about that was impossible in the mid-19th century is easily accomplished by any traveler on a boat with a Smart Phone in our 21st century. Besides, large hibiscus flowers can be seen on drives around one's neighborhood, so popular and available the plants have become.
[page 19] As we were floating through the last of these familiar meadows, we observed the large and conspicuous flowers of the hibiscus, covering the dwarf willows, and mingled with the leaves of the grape, and wished that we could inform one of our friends behind of the locality of this somewhat rare and inaccessible flower before it was too late to pluck it . . .
My brother David loved to fish and every day when he was off work, he beat the sunrise to his fishing spots. It was a meditation to him to be in his boat and fishing. Friends of his who did a catch-and-release kind of fishing, David caught and released.
[page 22] His fishing was not a sport, nor solely a means of subsistence, but a sort of solemn sacrament and withdrawal from the world, just as the aged read their Bibles.
Fish therapy is a new form of earning income is certain Caribbean cruise ports as we discovered last December. Booths has sprung up with tanks of water to sit in and small fish come to your feet and nibble the dead skin away. Reports are the sensation is pleasing as well as therapeutic. But few people today would have the patience to get a bream guarding its eggs to nibble one's fingers.
[page 24] The breams are so careful of their charge that you may stand close by in the water and examine them at your leisure. I have thus stood over them half an hour at a time, and stoked them familiarly without frightening them, suffering them to nibble my fingers harmlessly . . .
Nearing the end of their first day they passed between Carlisle and Bedford and noticed the men cutting hay in the distance, "we see men haying far off in the meadow, their heads waving like the grass which they cut." They said good night to Saturday and camped for the night. Thoreau describes the repast which they will enjoy from their food stores and local bushes before they erect a tent on shore using one of the boat's masts.
[page 33] Here we found huckleberries still hanging upon the bushes, where they seemed to have slowly ripened for our especial use. Bread and sugar, and cocoa boiled in river water, made our repast, and as we had drank in the fluvial prospect all day, so now we took a draft of the water with our evening meal to propitiate the river gods, and whet our vision for the sights it was to behold. The sun was setting on the one hand, while our eminence was contributing its shadow to the night, on the other. . . . The sides of these cliffs, though a quarter of a mile distant, were almost heard to rustle while we looked at them, it was such a leafy wilderness; a place for fauns and satyrs, and where bats hung all day to the rocks, and at evening flitted over the water, and fire-flies husbanded their light under the grass and leaves against the night. When we had our lonely mast on the shore, just seen above the alders, and hardly yet come to a stand-still from the swaying of the stream; the first encroachment of commerce on this land. There was our port, our Ostia(1) .
Thoreau hears hounds baying in the distance before he drops off to sleep, and shares with us what he considers the most perfect art in the world.
[page 35] All these sounds, the crowing of cocks, the baying of dogs, and the hum of insects at noon, are evidence of nature's health or sound state. Such is the never-failing beauty and accuracy of language, the most perfect art in the world; the chisel of a thousand years retouches it.
One Sunday morning Thoreau and his companion eats breakfast in the fog through which their fire's smoke spiraled into the air, fading away as the rosy light of morning filled the sky. "But the impressions which the morning makes vanish with its dews, and not even the most 'persevering mortal' can preserve the memory of its freshness to mid-day." (Page 36)
In this wonderful passage he gives us a synopsis of how the name Yankees was given by the Red man natives to the solid White men who came to plant the town of Billerica etal with civil apples among the wild pines. We can see the colonial culture of New England rising before our eyes, brick upon brick, town after town, name after name.
[page 43, 44] Some spring the white man came, built him a house, and made a clearing here, letting in the sun, dried up a farm, piled up the old gray stones in fences, cut down the pines around his dwelling, planted orchard seeds brought from the old country, and persuaded the civil apple-tree to blossom next to the wild pine and the juniper, shedding its perfume in the wilderness. Their old stocks still remain. He culled the graceful elm from out the woods and from the river-side, and so refined and smoothed his village plot. He rudely bridged the stream, and drove his team afield into the river meadows, cut the wild grass, and laid bare the homes of beaver, otter, muskrat, and with the whetting of his scythe scared off the deer and bear.He set up a mill, and fields of English grain sprang in the virgin soil. And with his grain he scattered the seeds of the dandelion and the wild trefoil over the meadows, mingling his English flowers with the wild native ones. The bristling burdock, the sweet-scented catnip, and the humble yarrow planted themselves along his woodland road, they too seeking "freedom to worship God" in their way. And thus he plants a town. The white man's mullein soon reigned in Indian cornfields, and sweet-scented English grasses clothed the new soil. Where, then, could the Red Man set his foot? The honey-bee hummed through the Massachusetts woods, and sipped the wild-flowers round the Indian's wigwam, perchance unnoticed, when, with prophetic warning, it stung the Red child's hand, forerunner of that industrious tribe that was to come and pluck the wild-flower of his race up by the root.
The White man blends in with the Red man but brings knowledge of different things, of building fixed houses, of attaching new names from foreign countries to these collection of framed houses he calls towns, buying the Red man's mocassins and hunting grounds and plowing their burial grounds into oblivion.
[page 44] The white man comes, pale as the dawn, with a load of thought, with a slumbering intelligence as a fire raked up, knowing well what he knows, not guessing but calculating; strong in community, yielding obedience to authority; of experienced race; of wonderful, wonderful common sense; dull but capable, slow but persevering, severe but just, of little humor but genuine; a laboring man, despising game and sport; building a house that endures, a framed house. He buys the Indian's moccasins and baskets, then buys his hunting-grounds, and at length forgets where he is buried and ploughs up his bones. And here town records, old, tattered, time-worn, weather-stained chronicles, contain the Indian sachem's mark perchance, an arrow or a beaver, and the few fatal words by which he deeded his hunting-grounds away. He comes with a list of ancient Saxon, Norman, and Celtic names, and strews them up and down this river, — Framingham, Sudbury, Bedford, Carlisle, Billerica, Chelmsford, — and this is New Angle-land, and these are the New West Saxons whom the Red Men call, not Angle-ish or English, but Yengeese, and so at last they are known for Yankees.
Skipping to myths and fables, Thoreau tells of Joseph Wolff, a missionary who read the tales of Robinson Crusoe to the Arabs who exclaimed, "O, that Robinson Crusoe must have been a great prophet!"
[page 49] To some extent, mythology is only the most ancient history and biography. So far from being false or fabulous in the common sense, it contains only enduring and essential truth, the I and you, the here and there, the now and then, being omitted. Either time or rare wisdom writes it. Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years. The poet is he who can write some pure mythology to-day without the aid of posterity.
He would have thought J.R.R. Tolkien to be a true poet as his tales of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are pure mythology with no anchor in historical fact whatsoever. He even projects Ben Franklin as a god-like human in some future classical work: "He aided the Americans to gain their independence, instructed mankind in economy, and drew down lightning from the clouds." (Page 50) He explains how metaphor preceded many inventions, such as the dagger, in this expressive phrase, "He looked daggers at me."
[page 52] First, there was the glance of Jove's eye, then his fiery bolt, then, the material gradually hardening, tridents, spears, javelins, and finally, for the convenience of private men, daggers, krisses, and so forth, were invented.
Traveling on Sunday led Thoreau into pages of discourse about churches and the people who would scorn anyone boating by on the Sabbat. But they managed to lock their boat into the Merrimack by a man who came to help them, in spite of this being his day of rest, enter the state of New Hampshire. We learn that the Merrimack ran fast enough that it formed no "broad and fertile meadows."
"History," in Thoreau's mind, "is but a prose narrative of poetic deeds." He deems "poetry to be a natural fruit" of mankind, as the acorn a natural fruit of the oak. To him all the written wisdom should have the rhyme and rhythm of poetry.
[page 74] There is no doubt that the loftiest written wisdom is either rhymed, or in some way musically measured, — is, in form as well as substance, poetry; and a volume which should contain the condensed wisdom of mankind need not have one rhythmless line.
He advises us: "Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all."
[page 78] Certainly, we do not need to be soothed and entertained always like children. He who resorts to the easy novel, because he is languid, does no better than if he took a nap. . . . Books, not which afford us a cowering enjoyment, but in which each thought is of unusual daring, such as an idle man cannot read, and a timid one would not be entertained by, which even make us dangerous to existing institutions, — such call I good books.
He admonishes us, "We do not learn much from learned books, but from true, sincere, human books, from frank and honest biographies." (Page 80) We can learn as much from an honest man as we can from a law-breaker because our need of laws can be inferred from those who observe them, but is obvious in those who flagrantly violate them. We can also learn a lot from the naturalist Thoreau who explains how poets, like bears, nourish themselves on their excess fat during winter hibernation by sucking their claws.
[page 80] At least let us have healthy books, a stout horse-rake or a kitchen range which is not cracked. Let not the poet shed tears only for the public weal. He should be as vigorous as a sugar-maple, with sap enough to maintain his own verdure, beside what runs into the troughs, and not like a vine, which being cut in the spring bears no fruit, but bleeds to death in the endeavor to heal its wounds. The poet is he that hath fat enough, like bears and marmots, to suck his claws all winter. He hibernates in this world, and feeds on his own marrow.
Some sentences flow easily and quickly as if in a rush into battle.
[page 84] Compared to these, the grave thinkers and philosophers seem not to have got their swaddling-clothes off; they are slower than a Roman army in its march, the rear camping to-night where the van camped last night.
A wonderful farming metaphor: "A sentence should read as if its author, had he held a plough instead of a pen, could have drawn a furrow deep and straight to the end." (Page 87)
And when Sunday draws to a close, Thoreau gives us a close up sample of their nightly activity on a peaceful shore.
[page 93] Having reached a retired part of the river where it spread out to sixty rods in width, we pitched our tent on the east side, in Tyngsborough, just above some patches of the beach plum, which was now nearly ripe, where the sloping bank was a sufficient pillow, and with the bustle of sailors making the land, we transferred such stores as were required from boat to tent, and hung a lantern to the tent-pole, and so our house was ready. With a buffalo spread on the grass, and a blanket for our covering our bed was soon made. A fire crackled merrily before the entrance, so near that we could tend it without stepping abroad, and when we had supped, we put out the blaze, and closed the door, and with the semblance of domestic comfort, sat up to read the Gazetteer, to learn our latitude and longitude, and write the journal of the voyage, or listened to the wind and the rippling of the river till sleep overtook us. There we lay under an oak on the bank of the stream, near to some farmer's cornfield, getting sleep, and forgetting where we were; a great blessing, that we arc obliged to forget our enterprises every twelve hours. Minks, muskrats, meadow-mice, woodchucks, squirrels, skunks, rabbits, foxes, and weasels, all inhabit near, but keep very close while you are there.
Monday morning brought a bit of housekeeping before the two brothers could eat and get underway. "One of us took the boat over to the opposite shore, which was flat and accessible, a quarter of a mile distant, to empty it of water and wash out the clay, while the other kindled a fire and got breakfast ready. At an early hour we were again on our way, rowing through the fog as before, the river already awake, and a million crisped waves come forth to meet sun when he should show himself." (Page 95)
Thoreau seems to be saying below that in the furrow of tomorrow we can discern the results of our efforts of today.
[page 104] We know not yet what we have done, still less what we are doing. Wait till evening, and other parts of our day's work will shine that we had thought at noon, and we shall discover the real purport of our toil.
A lot of the day Thoreau spent in writing about the country of India and its mythology, but remembers at one point having encountered the Aeolian harp when he reached a railroad. Telegraph lines were strung along the railroads as they provided a straight route through the forest to the next town. The wind blowing across the wire sounded like a harp being plucked and played by the gods to Thoreau.
[page 143] . . . when I reached the railroad in Plaistow, I heard at some distance a faint music in the air like an Æolian harp, which I immediately suspected to proceed from the cord of the telegraph vibrating in the just awakening morning wind, and applying my ear to one of the posts I was convinced that it was so. It was the telegraph harp singing its message through the country, its message sent not by men, but by gods. . . . It told of things worthy to hear, and worthy of the electric fluid to carry the news of, not of the price of cotton and flour, but it hinted at the price of the world itself and of things which are priceless, of absolute truth and beauty.
Monday had come in like a lamb, but at night it went out like a lion, tearing apart cornfields in the area, but causing little inconvenience for Thoreau and his brother nestled ashore in their tent.
[page 144, 145] There was a high wind this night, which we afterwards learned had been still more violent elsewhere, and had done much injury to the cornfields far and near; but we only heard it sigh from time to time, as if it had no license to shake the foundations of our tent; the pines murmured, the water rippled, and the tent rocked a little, but we only laid our ears closer to the ground, while the blast swept on to alarm other men, and long before sunrise we were ready to pursue our voyage as usual.
Tuesday morning Thoreau gives us a sample of their daily preparations before sailing away.
[page 147] Long before daylight we ranged abroad, hatchet in hand, in search of fuel, and made the yet slumbering and dreaming wood resound with our blows. Then with our fire we burned up a portion of the loitering night, while the kettle sang its homely strain to the morning star. We tramped about the shore, waked all the muskrats, and scared up the bittern and birds that were asleep upon their roosts; we hauled up and upset our boat and washed it and rinsed out the clay, talking aloud as if it were broad day, until at length, by three o'clock, we had completed our preparations and were ready to pursue our voyage as usual; so, shaking the clay from our feet, we pushed into the fog. Though we were enveloped in mist as usual, we trusted that there was a bright day behind it.
Thoreau never felt alone, except perhaps in the presence of poor company. Like Thomas Jefferson, he was "in the best of company when he dined alone". So Thoreau scoffs at the idea of being lost.
[page 15] If a person lost would conclude that after all he is not lost, is not beside himself, but standing in his own old shoes on the very spot where he is, and that for the time being he will live there; but the place that have known him, they are lost, — how much anxiety and danger would vanish. I am not alone if I stand by myself. Who knows where in space this globe is rolling? Yet we will not give ourselves up for lost, let it go where it will.
I have encountered in several of his Journals Thoreau talking about a fast-moving squirrel which dashes about and wondered if this squirrel came to be called a chipmunk. On page 159 he gives us the Latin name for the squirrel, which, when Googled, gives us "the eastern chipmunk." Sometime between the mid-1800s and today, the name chipmunk was coined to describe Thoreau's chipping and striped squirrel, Sciurus striatus.
Next he offers a novel explanation of the Sahara desert being a "great sore caused by the bite of an African flea". This was a theory Thoreau arrived at by close analysis of the origin of a sandy area along the road in Litchfield.
[page 161] Here too was another extensive desert by the side of the road in Litchfield, visible from the bank of the river. The sand was blown off in some places to the depth of ten or twelve feet, leaving small grotesque hillocks of that height, where there was a clump of bushes firmly rooted. Thirty or forty years ago, as we were told, it was a sheep-pasture, but the sheep, being worried by the fleas, began to paw the ground, till they broke the sod, and so the sand began to blow, till now it had extended over forty or fifty acres. This evil might easily have been remedied, at first, by spreading birches with their leaves on over the sand, and fastening them down with stakes, to break the wind. The fleas bit the sheep, and the sheep bit the ground, and the sore had spread to this extent. It is astonishing what a great sore a little scratch breedeth. Who knows but Sahara, where caravans and cities are buried began with the bite of an African flea? This poor globe, how it must itch in many places! Will no god be kind enough to spread a salve of birches over its sores?
Thoreau loved reading classical works, finding them a source of peace and solace. He enjoyed his readings, likening them to a tour of Greece or Italy, like a long walk down the Appian Way into Rome perhaps, a high way where the cares and troubles of the world are left far behind.
[page 183] I know of no studies so composing as those of the classical scholar. When we have sat down to them, life seems as still and serene as if it were very far off, and I believe it is not habitually seen from any common platform so truly and unexaggerated as in the light of literature. In serene hours we contemplate the tour of the Greek and Latin authors with more pleasure than the traveler does the fairest scenery of Greece or Italy. Where shall we find a more refined society? That highway down from Homer and Hesiod to Horace and Juvenal is more attractive than the Appian. Reading the classics, or conversing with those old Greeks and Latins in their surviving works, is like walking amid the stars and constellations, a high and by way serene to travel. Indeed, the true scholar will be not a little of an astronomer in his habits. Distracting cares will not be allowed to obstruct the field of his vision, for the higher regions of literature, like astronomy, are above storm and darkness.
In the late afternoon, they transited Moore's Falls via the locks and entered a broad reach of the river where it was possible to see pickerel lying near the bottom of the shallow water.
[page 189] Strange was it to consider how the sun and the summer, the buds of spring and the seared leaves of autumn, were related to these cabins along die shore, how all the rays which paint the landscape radiate from them, and the flight of the crow and the gyrations of the hawk have reference to their roofs. Still the ever rich and fertile shores accompanied us, fringed with vines and alive with small birds and frisking squirrels, the edge of some farmer's field or widow's wood-lot, or wilder, perchance, where the muskrat, the little medicine of the river, drags itself along stealthily over the alder-leaves and muscle-shells, and man and the memory of man are banished far.
The brothers wished to make camp on a large rock in the middle of the shallow river, but with no place to anchor their tent, they moved to the mainland shore to say goodnight to Tuesday.
Wednesday begins with their discovering that out their choice of place to spend the night was in the middle of the path used by the masons who worked the locks. The word lock is used mostly as a transitive verb by Thoreau as a shorthand for "moving a boat and raising it as the water fills the area behind the downstream side of the movable dam of the lock."
[page 194] It was a pleasant change, after rowing incessantly for many hours, to lock ourselves through in some retired place, — for commonly there was no lock-man at hand, — one sitting in the boat, while the other, sometimes with no little labor and heave-yo-ing, opened and shut the gates, waiting patiently to see the locks fill.
Thoreau examines the pools and eddies near Shelburne Falls and admires the work of Nature in its delicate and smooth shaping of the stones, sees the rocks losing the battle to the fluids with the inexorable passage of time.
[page 202, 203] The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time. . . . That which commenced a rock when time was young, shall conclude a pebble in the unequal contest. With such expense of time and natural forces are our very paving-stones produced. They teach us lessons, these dumb workers; verily there are "sermons in stones, and books in running streams." In these very holes the Indians hid their provisions; but now there is no bread, but only its odd neighbor stones at the bottom. Who knows how many races they have served thus?
One recent race forged the brass kettle that was unearthed by an old woman gathering pennyroyal, a plant used to make tea and for various medicinal purposes.
[page 208] A little south of Uncannunuc, about sixty years ago, as the story goes, an old woman who went out to gather pennyroyal, tript her foot in the bail of a small brass kettle in the dead grass and bushes. Some say that flints and charcoal and some traces of a camp were also found. This kettle, holding about four quarts, is still preserved and used to dye thread in. It is supposed to have belonged to some old French or Indian hunter, who was killed in one of his hunting or scouting excursions, and so never returned to look after his kettle.
Considering the story he heard about the old woman picking pennyroyal likely steered Thoreau's thoughts to the physician using medicines created by drug companies and the native American medicine man (a Powwow) who created his own medicine using locally available herbs and plants.
[page 209] In respect to religion and the healing art, all nations are still in a state of barbarism. In the most civilized countries the priest is still but a Powwow, and the physician a Great Medicine. Consider the deference which is everywhere paid to a doctor's opinion. Nothing more strikingly betrays the credulity of mankind than medicine. Quackerv is a thing universal, and universally successful. In this case it becomes literally true that no imposition is too great for the credulity of men. Priests and physicians should never look one another in the face. They have no common ground, nor is there any to mediate between them. When the one comes, the other goes. They could not come together without laughter, or a significant silence, for the one's profession is a satire on the other's, and either's success would be the other's failure. It is wonderful that the physician should ever die, and that the priest should ever live. Why is it that the priest is never called to consult with the physician? It is because men believe practically that matter is independent of spirit. But what is quackery? It is commonly an attempt to cure the diseases of a man by addressing his body alone. There is need of a physician who shall minister to both soul and body at once, at is, to man(2) .
Thoreau devotes pages 211 to 236 to a discussion of friendship, beginning with a short passage on being kind, which to my philological mind means to treat someone as if they were kin. What we mean by kin literally is someone who shares our blood, is of our blood-line. But we are told in the New Testament that we are to treat everyone as if they were of our blood-line, that the physical blood is to be replaced by a spiritual blood.
[page 211] While we float here, far from that tributary stream on whose banks our Friends and kindred dwell, our thoughts, like the stars, come out of their horizon still; for there circulates a finer blood than Lavoisier has discovered the laws of, — the blood, not of kindred merely, but of kindness, whose pulse still beats at any distance and forever.True kindness is a pure divine affinity,
Not founded upon human consanguinity.
It is a spirit, not a blood relation,
Superior to family and station.
A learned professor from the West wanted to meet a famous sage in the East and learn from him. He was invited for tea. The ancient sage pours the tea into the professor's teacup, and, as the tea fills the cup to the brim, he continues to pour the tea, which spills over the sides of the teacup, scalding the professor's hand. Dropping the teacup, the professor exclaims, "Can't you see the teacup is full? You can't pour tea into a full teacup!" To which the sage replies calmly, "Yes, you are right. Unless one brings an empty teacup, one cannot receive new tea." The learned professor, with his mind packed with knowledge, had lacked the "intellectual humility" necessary for him to learn anything from the sage, up until now. Thoreau discusses such people who came to visit him with their full teacups on occasion.
[page 215] One or two persons come to my house from time to time, there being proposed to them the faint possibility of intercourse. They are as full as they are silent, and wait for my plectrum to stir the strings of their lyre. If they could ever come to the length of a sentence, or hear one on that ground they are dreaming of!
As I wrote in this review, Meditative Thinking, to bring an empty teacup to a conversation is to have intellectual humility. To say to yourself, "You never know until you find out" and "There's allways even more" is to open yourself up to intellectual humility and to seed the possibility for spiritual-filled thinking. This is the essence of applying the principles of spiritual activity to our language: In time the empty phrase may be replaced by language filled with the content of our souls.
Thoreau quotes a poet's couplet about love (Page 218):Why love among the virtues is not known,
Is that Love is them all contract in one.
It is true that the list of virtues does not contain love as a separate virtue. Why? Because, rightly understood, love is the combination of all the listed virtues in one. The most complicated form of love in my experience is friendship. Often friendship disappears when love goes away. The truest kind of love is that which lives in friendship.
Thoreau warns us:
[page 221] Beware, lest thy Friend learn at last to tolerate one frailty of thine, and so an obstacle be raised to the progress of thy love. There are times when we have had enough even of our Friends, when we begin inevitably to profane one another, and must withdraw religiously into solitude and silence, the better to prepare ourselves for a loftier intimacy. Silence is the ambrosial night in the intercourse of Friends, in which their sincerity is recruited and takes deeper root.
A handful of what I had considered very good friends in the 1980s have moved into that ambrosial night with me. I await the taking deeper root of their sincerity. I agree with Henry that "The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings. It is an intelligence above languages." (Page 222) He adds from Confucius, "The only motive of Friendship with any one, ought to be a contract of Friendship with his virtue."
[page 229] But men wish us to contract Friendship with their vice also. I have a Friend who wished me to see that to be right which I know to be wrong. But if Friendship is to rob me of my eyes, if it is to darken the day, I will have none of it.
During a time when a moderate-sized hurricane was approaching, I had decided to stay at home and ignore the evacuation order. They predicted sustained winds barely at the 75 mph minimal-hurricane rating. I had bought a large generator after Hurricane Katrina and a window air-conditioning unit big enough to cool my bedroom, neither of which I had set up and used before. I would be busy full-time getting everything ready. I had moved an axe into the ceiling over the garage to break through the roof if a levee were to break and flood my area. My wife had already left to evacuate to her daughter's home 200 miles away and I was in the middle of all these preparations when a Friend called me. He asked if I would pick up a friend of his that I had never met before at the hospital and have her stay with me during the storm. I asked my Friend, "Where are you?" He replied, "Oh, I'm in Shreveport already." I gulped. This was a huge decision for me to make. My thirty-year friendship hung in the balance. He was asking me to do something illegal: to break the evacuation order. If I allowed this person of unknown health to stay with me, I would be responsible if she couldn't climb into the attic to keep from drowning. If she got hurt or further sick while with me, I would also be responsible. Plus there would be no air conditioning in the room for her, and I had only planned on enough food for me to last about three days. He was depending on my frailty of always helping him and this request was definitely an obstacle to the continuance of our friendship. Helping me make this decision was my realizing how often he had asked me for help in recent years and I had obliged, only to find out later the favor I was doing was not for him, but for a friend of his. I told him over the phone that I was unable to help him in this matter and hoped for his forbearance. Alas, our friendship collapsed and we haven't spoke since.
Thoreau says that two travelers must share the same view of things or there will be problems. He gives an example of a blind man and his friend are walking together when they came to the edge of a steep cliff. The friend said, "Take care, here is a precipice, go no farther this way." "I know better," said the other and stepped off. (Page 230)
[page 230] It is impossible to say all that we think, even to our truest Friend. We may bid him farewell forever sooner that complain, for our complaint is too well grounded to be uttered.
Wednesday is being put to bed by Thoreau as he lies awake in the tent with his brother beside him and a brook close by the river as he shares with us his reverie.
[page 241] Whole weeks and months of my summer life slide away in thin volumes like mist and smoke, till at length, some warm morning, perchance, I see a sheet of mist blown down the brook to the swamp, and I float as high above the fields with it. I can recall to mind the stillest summer hours, in which the grasshopper sings over the mulleins, and there is a valor in that time the bare memory of which is armor that can laugh at any blow of fortune. For our lifetime the strains of a harp are heard to swell and die alternately, and death is but "the pause when the blast is recollecting itself."
He leaves us with this couplet about the singing brook (Page 242):
Silver sands and pebbles sing
Eternal ditties with the spring.
Thursday morn the brothers awaken to gentle rain falling on the cotton roof of their tent and proceed further on foot. Thoreau as a gifted handyman could find odd jobs when on a journey by foot. Often he was asked to sell or make things he carried with him, like a tin cup or an umbrella, or was offered a job in a factory after he succeeded in closing a window. He gives us the minimal necessities he required when traveling on foot.
[page 249, 250] We now no longer sailed or floated on the river, but trod the unyielding land like pilgrims. Sadi tells who may travel; among others, "A common mechanic, who can earn a subsistence by the industry of his hand, and shall not have to stake his reputation for every morsel of bread, as philosophers have said." He may travel who can subsist on the wild fruits and game of the most cultivated country. A man may travel fast enough and earn his living on the road. I have at times been applied to to do work when on a journey, to do tinkering and repair clocks, when I had a knapsack on my back.A man once applied to me to go into a factory, stating conditions and wages, observing that I succeeded in shutting the window of a railroad car in which we were traveling, when the other passengers had failed. . . . Farmers have asked me to assist them in haying, when I was passing their fields. A man once applied to me to mend his umbrella, taking me for an umbrella-mender, because, being on a journey, I carried an umbrella in my hand while the sun shone. Another wished to buy a tin cup of me, observing that I had one strapped to my belt, and a sauce-pan on my back. The cheapest way to travel, and the way to travel the farthest in the shortest distance, is to go afoot, carrying a dipper, a spoon, and a fish-line, some Indian meal, some salt, and some sugar. When you come to a brook or pond, you can catch fish and cook them; or you can boil a hasty-pudding; or you can buy a loaf of bread at a farmer's house for fourpence, moisten it in the next brook that crosses the road, and dip into it your sugar, — this alone will last you a whole day; — or, if you are accustomed to heartier living, you can buy a quart of milk for two cents, crumb your bread or cold pudding into it, and eat it with your own spoon out of your own dish. Any one of these things I mean, not all together. I have traveled thus some hundreds of miles without taking any meal in a house, sleeping on the ground when convenient, and found it cheaper, and in many respects more profitable, than staying at home.
He adds, when walking let weariness be your pillow and appetite. Thoreau has little use for the complaining person, using lawyer-talk to make his case, "We can never have much sympathy with the complainer; for after searching nature through, we conclude that he must be both plaintiff and defendant too, and so had best come to a settlement without a hearing. He who receives an injury is to some extent an accomplice of the wrong-doer." (Page 253) After waxing satirical about the complainer, Thoreau says, "The greater the genius, the keener the edge of the satire."
Thursday draws to a close with an account of his restless sleep and awaking one time thinking he was in bed at home instead of on the banks of the Merrimack. He observes what I have found in my 20 years of creating a monthly publication, I cannot spend my whole time writing or I will have nothing to write about, I must budget my time between doing things and writing about them. Thoreau had promised himself to write down all his experiences, but on Thursday night he records his failure and the reason for it:
[page 270] Having eaten our supper of hot cocoa and bread and watermelon, we soon grew weary of conversing, and writing in our journals, and, putting out the lantern which hung from the tent-pole, fell asleep.
Unfortunately, many things have been omitted which should have been recorded in our journal; for though we made it a rule to set down all our experiences therein, yet such a resolution is very hard to keep, for the important experience rarely allows us to remember such obligations, and so indifferent things get recorded, while that is frequently neglected. It is not easy to write in a journal what interests me at any time, because to write it is not what interests us.
On this theme, Thoreau writes an couplet: (Page 279)My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.
Thoreau says they went to sleep in summer and awoke in autumn. They were soon back in their boat and headed for home, enjoying the sights and sounds of the new season.
[page 273] We heard the sigh of the first autumnal wind, and even the water had acquired a grayer hue. The sumach, grape, and maple were already changed, and the milkweed had turned to a deep rich yellow. In all woods the leaves were fast ripening for their fall; for their full veins and lively gloss mark the ripe leaf, and not the sered one of the poets; and we knew that the maples, stripped of their leaves among the earliest, would soon stand like a wreath of smoke along the edge of the meadow. Already the cattle were heard to low wildly in the pastures and along the highways, restlessly running to and fro, as if in apprehension of the withering of the grass and of the approach of winter. Our thoughts, too, began to rustle.
Thoreau recognized that his riches could not be stolen. As a surveyor he could walk over every piece of Concord's 1100 plus acres without being accosted by the owner who holds the deed. He was rich in everything which was important to him and pitied the so-called "rich man." On this journey the Merrimack River was his.
[page 285] The poor rich man! all he has is what he has bought. What I see is mine. I am a large owner of the Merrimack intervals. . . . He is the rich man, and enjoys the fruits of riches, who summer and winter forever can delight in his own thoughts. Buy a farm! What have I to pay for a farm which a farmer will take?
Floating on a river one sees the patterns the clouds display on the water, as if a type-setter were filling up a sky-full of type and embossing it upon the water for our entertainment .
[page 292] If there is nothing new on the earth, still the traveler always has a resource in the skies. They are constantly turning a new page to view. The wind sets the types on this blue ground, and the inquiring may always read a new truth there. There are things there written with such fine and subtle tinctures, paler than the juice of limes, that to the diurnal eye they leave no trace, and only the chemistry of night reveals them. Every man's daylight firmament answers in his mind to the brightness of the vision in his starriest hour.
Thoreau and his brother carried no Smart Phone with which to discover the happenings in the world, but the method they used brought them nutrition with their news.
[page 292, 293] With a bending sail we glided rapidly by Tyngsborough and Chelmsford, each holding in one hand half of a tart country apple-pie which we had purchased to celebrate our return, and in the other a fragment of the newspaper in which it was wrapped, devouring these with divided relish, and learning the news which had transpired since we sailed.
For fourteen years I worked at a nuclear power plant, and saw to my daily work till I retired, but that work was punctuated by numerous delays which I filled with my own thoughts. Even my hour-plus drive each way, to and from work, I filled with my own thoughts as I drove alone, radio off, and learned to drive safely on remote stretches of road reading with a book on my steering wheel. Over 300,000 safe miles and hundreds of books read — that was the salary I paid to myself for having to work long hours, 40, 60, and sometimes 84 hours a week. My wife and I called it "nuclear prison" because there was razor wire topping all the fences around my work areas and the work consumed much of life, but I didn't allow it consume all of my thoughts.
[page 294] Behind every man's busy-ness there should be a level of undisturbed serenity and industry, as within the reef encircling a coral isle there is always an expanse of still water, where the depositions are going on which will finally raise it above the surface.
When I left the nuclear plant with my pension, my real work began: writing. I compiled my early reviews into two volumes of A Reader's Journal, then wrote a novel about how humans would learn two-way communication with dolphins and other cetaceans, A SPIZZNET FILE. I continued to write poetry, publishing two books of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and Rainbows and Shadows. In addition I continued to draw cartoons, take photos, and collet Cajun jokes which eventually found their way above the surface of my life. I became, in the words of my friend Calvin, like a volcano "which forms in its own water." People ask me why I never got into social media. To me it would have been like driving to work to the nuclear plant listening to talk radio or to a handful of carpoolers everyday. I had no use for the interruptions of Facebook, for example, a media that came out several years after I was already saying all I had to say to the world in every DIGESTWORLD Issue. Plus I maintained complete copyright ownership of my original works when they appeared like volcanos above the watery surface of my life.
Back to Thoreau, rounding third and heading for home, he pens a long prose paean to Chaucer, saying we should come to Chaucer after we have read the writings and poetry which preceded him. Our reading these works would be equivalent to a long, somber Lent of fasting and abstinence which will leave us hungry for some real food, such as the banquets we will find in Chaucer's works.Isn't Chaucer old-fashioned and stuffy? Not to Thoreau, who writes, "Chaucer is fresh and modern still, and no dust settles on his true passages. It lightens along the line, and we are reminded that flowers have bloomed, and birds sung, and hearts beaten in England. Before the earnest gaze of the reader, the rust and moss of time gradually drop off, and the original green life is revealed. He was a homely and domestic man, and did breathe quite as modern men do." (Page 301)
Yes, Thoreau cautions us about Chaucer: "His genius does not soar like Milton's, but is genial and familiar. It shows great tenderness and delicacy, but not the heroic sentiment. It is only a greater portion of humanity with all its weakness. He is not heroic, as Raleigh, nor pious, as Herbert, nor philosophical, as Shakespeare, but is the child of the English muse, and that child which is the father of the man. The charm of his poetry consists often only in an exceeding naturalness, perfect sincerity, with the behavior of a child rather than of a man."
Thoreau says a true poem is distinguished by the atmosphere it creates in us. (Page 304) He sees two types of poets.
[page 304] There are two classes of men called poets. The one cultivates life, the other art, — one seeks food for nutriment, the other for flavor; one satisfies hunger, the other gratifies the palate. There are two kinds of writing, both great and rare; one that of genius, or the inspired, the other of intellect and taste, in the intervals of inspiration.
The first kind bubbles with life, filling us with inspiration and is immune to criticism by all. If there are laws of poetry, this kind creates its own law.
[page 304] It vibrates and pulsates with life forever. It is sacred, and to be read with reverence, as the works of nature are studied. There are few instances of a sustained style of this kind; perhaps every man has spoken words, but the speaker is then careless of the record. Such a style removes us out of personal relations with its author; we do not take his words on our lips, but his sense into our hearts. It is the stream of inspiration, which bubbles out, now here, now there, now in this man, now in that. It matters not through what ice-crystals it is seen, now a fountain, now the ocean stream running under ground.
The second kind fills us with admiration for its technique and wisdom.
[page 304] The other is self-possessed and wise. It is reverent of genius, and greedy of inspiration. It is conscious in the highest and the least degree. It consists with the most perfect command of the faculties. It dwells in a repose as of the desert, and objects are as distinct in it as oases or palms in the horizon of sand. The train of thought moves with subdued and measured step, like a caravan. But the pen is only an instrument in its hand, and not instinct with life, like a longer arm. It leaves a thin varnish or glaze over all its work.
"A good book," Thoreau tells us, "is the plectrum with which our else silent lyres are struck." He anthropomorhizes the absence of noise, knowing Silence to be uninterruptible except for short periods by authors striking their printed lyres.
[page 319] It were vain for me to endeavor to interrupt the Silence. She cannot be done into English. For six thousand years men have translated her with what fidelitv belonged to each, and still she is little better than a sealed book. A man may run on confidently for a time, thinking he has her under his thumb, and shall one day exhaust her, but he too must at last be silent, and men remark only how brave a beginning he made; for when he at length dives into her, so vast is the disproportion of the told to the untold, that the former will seem but the bubble on the surface where he disappeared.
As I come to the end of Thoreau's boat journey over the Concord and Merrimack, I am left in alone in the boat as the two brothers go ashore, hearing only the distant bubbling of the locks and waterfalls and the fading music of Henry's lyre lapsing at last into silence.
~~~~~~~~ Footnotes ~~~~~~~~
1. The ancient Roman port which in 2019 sits about twenty-five miles from the Italian shoreline, no longer useful as a port.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Such a physician can be found in 2019 in a doctor who practices "anthroposophical medicine", a practice of medicine founded by Rudolf Steiner a century ago which is coming more into use as faith in the doctor of the body wanes and the seeking for a doctor of body, soul, and spirit increases.
3.) ARJ2: Silver-Wheeled City - New York by Bicycle & Camera by Kevin Dann
Join Kevin Dann as a "flâneur on wheels" — a passionate spectator as described by Charles Baudelaire in 1863. The bicycle fad didn't take off until the 1890s so Baudelaire's flâneurs were known for their propensity for walking, strolling along boulevards, and observing the world along the way. This is what our tour guide Kevin Dann has done much of his life. If you visited Kevin at his home years ago as I did, chances are you ended up walking with him around Woodstock, Vermont or Brooklyn, New York as I did on several occasions, meeting interesting people, pulling the rope on a church bell with him, talking to an artist doing screen prints, stopping for a photo with him on the Appalachian Trail, etc, in Vermont, or you might be walking the length of Fifth Avenue to the Marble Collegiate Church, coming back up diamond row, stopping in every small park along the way, visiting St. Paul's Chapel and hearing him talk about its famous pew for George Washington, and how Broadway, the street which runs the length of Manhattan, was famous for its ticker tape parades and has bronze plaques imbedded in its sidewalks to remember those parades.If the word peripatetic had not been invented by Kevin Dann's time, any student of philology would have coined it just to describe him!
Imagine the treat awaiting if you're interested in New York City. Sign up for a bicycle tour with Kevin Dann, and you'll have a flâneur on wheels at your service as you fly through the five boroughs discovering amazing places with him, freshwater flowing springs now mostly forgotten about along busy roads, a boulevard ride from Grand Army Plaza to Coney Island, a ride through Central Park as if on wings, or cruising the length of Rockaway's 5.5 mile bike pathway on the boardwalk, stopping to see the Ridley's Turtle Nests at one end.
The most famous bicycle mechanics could be the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, who put wings on bicycle wheels and flew an early flight in their aeroplane the length of Manhattan, becoming world famous because of it. But the island itself was full of silver-wheeled bicycle makers of all types who fed the urge for cheap, fast transportation in the years before the automobiles. Fast, efficient, healthful, and no stopping for gas to fuel the bicycle, only food to fuel the hungry pedaler.
This book contains an overall map of Kevin's nine bicycle tours and a detailed map for each of the tours, full of places to stop and view on foot, usually a few feet from your bicycle. You'll learn how the bicycle and the camera came into existence at almost the same time and how people were soon finding ways of mounting their box cameras to their bicycles to take photos of their adventures. So make sure your Smart Phone is fully charged before setting out on a tour with Kevin because there will be plenty of photo ops (like this one) along the way from Staten Island to Coney Island to far Rockaway, including the obligatory selfie with the Master Flâneur himself.
For more on Dr. Kevin Dann's work, especially what adventures he is currently creating for fun and profit, see www.drdann.com.
4.) ARJ1: The Songwriter's Handbook by Tom T. Hall
Excellent book for beginning songwriters: light, easy reading with lots of tips on getting published, recorded and best of all, paid. The chapter on how to write hit songs was deleted at the last minute when the publisher remembered his money back guarantee.
Rule 1: There are no rules for writing hit songs.
Given that paradoxical requirement, old Tom T. comes up with an excellent rule for song/poem writing: make each line complete in itself. Here's my first attempt at following that advice:
It's a nice trick
Try it for yourself
A poem's both smooth and slick
Take one from your mental shelf.
When I was halfway through the book several mornings ago, I started my daily free writing exercise and it came out in poetry. The three pages became more and more poetic until I had about three poems laid out in front of me. The first punctuation or parsing was to give a title to the third page, "The Song of Freedom" which is about a country where the freedom bell is not cracked. The first page became the poem "Write Away" and the second page, the poem "Conquer the World." Not bad dividends for a twelve dollar investment in this book.
Here are two of the poems. Note how Tom has influenced my style right away in the complete thought per line, especially notable in the second one:SONG OF FREEDOM
An epic song of freedom calls to me,
to leave my moorings on this murky sea
To set my tattered sails for brighter climes,
to where the crackless bell of freedom chimes.
A land of earnest volunteers,
bereft of bureaucrats for years:
They left because their lawful force
found no one willing to coerce.
We cannot fight for liberty you see
is not consistent with bureaucracy.
It's only by our joint consent
we do on freedom's shores relent.
We lose our declared independent roots
by pursuit of democracy in polling booths.
Conquer The World
You never wrote a song before — what of it?
Alexander never conquered the world
before he did it.
He crossed the sea in harmony
and stayed until the land was won;
His only goal was just to see
what lies beyond the next horizon.
He won the world but not with might,
The evidence is now at hand,
he won it with his rag-time band.
So heed the lessons one and all
the world is at your beck and call
To conquer the world without a casualty
you must first set your bodies free.
Free to dance and free to sing
will bring you joy in everything,
For bodies free will ne'er lie
and let your carefree spirits fly.
Now for my extended attempt at following his advice that every line express a complete thought. Read it and decide for yourself if I achieved that or not.
Tips from Tom T. Hall
To write a poem every time,
Write a fully stated design.
The listener will hear what you say.
Thoughts will upon his psyche prey
A sentence must express a complete thought
A fragment is like half a boat
No matter how titanic, it will sink of its own weight
Half an auto will not go, half a driver also, no.
Half a loaf will nourish some,
Half a friend means no chum.
Writing lines in half a minute
Half a moon and half a sum
Have a heart or halve a heart
Broke in half is not much fun
So you read a book by Tom T. Hall
He displays no modesty at all.
You decide that you can write some songs
Tell tales of her to whom your love belongs.
Read/Print the 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 converse 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 Reads a Help Wanted Sign in Edinburgh 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 is Tickled by Mannikin in Kilts:
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 to/from Smiley Anders of The Advocate:
Smiley's Daily Column had several letters about "Stopping Trains" which reminded me of something that happened to me on my daily school bus ride from Mimosa Park to my high school in Hahnville:Smiley wrote me back asking for the city I lived in and I took the opportunity to ask him a question that had puzzled me. "Seems like I’ve been reading your column since I was at LSU 1958-62, is that possible?"
In the South Louisiana the only hills our School Bus had to drive over was the railroad tracks which have to be elevated to protect from the rails from flooding. Our road to school went over the tracks in Luling and the 1950s tradition was for the bus to stop before the track, let out a teenager with a flag who would walk across the track to check for a train coming. He was supposed to wave his flag to indicate the track was clear and the bus could come safely over track and he’d get back on the bus.
Our flag boy was Sammy. This was a job Sammy could handle and he was proud of it, doing his job with a flair, always smiling, and everyone loved Sammy. He was a bright spot of the otherwise dull school bus ride. Then one morning, a train was visible coming down the track, the school bus stopped, Sammy got out, and he began running towards the train, waving his flag!
No one had ever explained to Sammy what to do if an actual train was coming, and he thought it was his job to stop the train, and stop it he did.
He replied, "Actually, yes. I did a column, MeANDERings, for LSU's Daily Reveille in 1958-59, when I was a news editor and then editor. Glad you remember..."
- EMAIL from Anne in Massachusetts:
Hey Bobby and Del,
I just finished reading your latest news letter. Great pics of Burke an Candace. AND most important you are looking great. Keep up the good health. You are in my prayers. Hugs. Annie
- EMAIL from Itinerant Historian Dr. Dann:
I am feeling a bit of wanderlust coming on, and will no doubt soon be cooking up another wild pilgrimage. Thanks for the inspiration!
Keep you fingers crossed for me please; tomorrow I have a phone call scheduled with Kathy Donchak about The Embryonic Arcade, which she would like to publish. I would love to do this as a Lindisfarne Press book. . .
Off now for belated Father's Day brunch at Jordan's, with Keith's father. A belated HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to you, daddy-o!
P.S. Nothing to that colorizing app; just start with a great photo — this one (it is my screensaver!) from our trip to NOLA when we had such a nice visit with you and Del
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Pig on a Stick"
Give me your poor, huddled masses, your deplorables 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 our oyster — 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, referencing George H. W. Bush's Nominating Convention in New Orleans:
Pig on a Stick
The Lord of the Flies has a parachute
Piggy doesn't think he's very cute
His mates are buzzing, flitting in and out
Attracted to what they hold dear, no doubt.
The boar's head on the stake is speared
In the service of life's greater fear,
The mob at quadrennial convention,
Picking clean his temples for their board.
The Lord of the Flies has a parachute
Buffy thinks he is very cute.
She angles ever closer for a look
Ere her Lord is squashed by a history book.
4. EAT-O-TWIST IN ACTION: From my Journal of Wednesday, April 24, 1985.NOTE: Here is my Journal Notes from a day I began to suspect that our expectations create our reality. I had mused over "Creative Parking" by which I meant that if you think of a parking place as something you "find" it is hard to find one, but if you think of it as something you "create", well, why not create one next to the door in the shade? By generalizing the process, it turned into EAT-O-TWIST and became Matherne's Rule No. 10 .
When I worked as an EDP Consultant for a CPA firm in 1980, I drove one day to St. James Parish with a high-paid world-traveling accountant who was in New Orleans to develop a completely new set of accounting systems for St. James Parish. The epitome of the left-brain skeptic. On the way home he asked about the Volkswagen we were riding in & I bragged on how the 1973 Super Beetle had never had a flat or left me stranded. As I was saying those words, I could feel the incredulity radiating from him, and about a half hour later we had a flat tire on Airline Hwy around St. Rose. Not having ever had the need to change a tire before (or since) I had no tools for doing so (which he likewise found unbelievable). We flagged down a VW and put the spare on & drove home. This was one of many experiences which got me wondering about the structure of reality and how our supposing affects it, at times immediately.
I began to understand that the "radiating incredulity" of the accountant was in fact his "supposing" that this vehicle he was riding in was old, unsafe, and "what would happen if we had a flat on this busy highway." (And he quickly found out, didn't he? But instead of learning a new process, he probably felt vindicated in his being "right".)
EAT-O-TWIST stands for "Everything allways turns out the way it's supposed to" and bang! there we were! Seven years and 300,000 miles on the VW, all put on by me, only one flat midway in the seven years, and on that solitary occasion with the skeptical, fearful accountant in the car with me.
Afterward I began watching carefully what happened when I had others in the car with me — how my experience varied depending on who was with me. I noticed when riding with one friend, we frequently encountered heavy traffic, vehicle problems, and other delays which rarely happened when I was alone in my car.
Around 1981 I began eating in Houston's Restaurant and began to see that by eating in the same place (even the same food), I could hold constant a plethora of variables so that the main variable would be the other person having dinner with me. Thus any variance in the service, quality of food, ambience, etc., would be a measurement of the person I was dining with. Del and I ate there two or three times a week for over 8 years, and this allowed me to calibrate for having another person with me. (We still did as of January 14, 2014, but not as often. As of June 16, 2019, Metairie location has closed and only the St. Charles Ave one remains open. We eat there a couple of times a month.) Del is so close to me in processes that being with her is almost as good as or better than being alone, more so than with anyone else. Another reason we have been together over 40 years as of 2019 as I compile these notes.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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