to learn that if I like the look
of someone, she or he
will not automatically
like the look of me.
Dingo the Dissident
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Monday, 25 January 2021
Sunday, 24 January 2021
Saturday, 23 January 2021
which has one large eye for looking up
and one small eye for looking down.
and the Odd Bobtail Squid, which shoots out
luminescent snot to confuse its predators.
Quite a clown!
Friday, 22 January 2021
Thursday, 21 January 2021
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
When you eliminate the possibility of playfulness,
you remove the possibility of learning
- which leads to banality, brutality, and destruction."
- composed by Artificial Intelligence !
(But the rest is not so good...
However, the Church of the Divine A.I. could join with the Church of the Other Kind of A.I. and breed a wonderfully-hybrid Master Race.)
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
Monday, 18 January 2021
which of course is not about a wolf-hunt.
I abandoned obedience
and got out of their cage
and rejoiced at the shrieks of the sheeple.
I'll keep going, keep going, going on, going on -
but yesterday was better than today.
Tomorrow they will catch me
tomorrow they will kill me.
They'll look for my body and see nothing.
They'll look at my body and see nothing...
Sunday, 17 January 2021
The Hurdy-gurdy Man from Schubert's bleak song-cycle Winterreise.
1. with hurdy-gurdy accompaniment.
2. the original piano version with Thomas Quasthoff accompanied by Daniel Barenboim.
There are also beautiful interpretations by Fischer-Dieskau, and with Hans Hotter and Gerald Moore,
together with the German text by Wilhelm Müller.
|Barefoot on the ice he|
stumbles here and there;
and his little coin-cup
stays forlornly bare.
Nothing on his feet, he
staggers through the cold.
No one puts a farthing
in his battered bowl.
It took me most of a morning to translate these simple lines!
Those, like me, who were around and interested in the British and Irish Folksong revival of the 1950s and 1960s (thank you Lonnie Donegan!) may remember Cyril Tawney's The Oggie-Man, about the demise of a man who sold a kind of savoury pasty...
Saturday, 16 January 2021
is Raoui, راوي by the Algerian singer Souad Massi.
This my gloss on the lyrics:
O STORYTELLER راوي
Speak, storyteller, tell us a story.
Make it as long as War and Peace.
Tell us about people gone before,
men of infamy, women of glory.
Tell us about the Thousand Nights and a Night,
A thousand and one ever-falling leaves -
Sinbad and Odysseus on their stormy Sea of Stories,
Sheherazade, Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves,
Start your story, start your story,
Take us away from our misery,
Let it briefly stop being the main part
Of our story. Tell your story, tell your story,
There's a story in everyone's heart.
Tell your story, tell your story,
There's a terrible story in everyone's heart.
Tell your story, tell your story,
There's a wonderful story in everyone's heart.
Start telling while forgetting that we have grown up,
Imagine us as children trusting,
Not knowing what is and what is not crime.
Tell us everything, everything, but keep us
'Once upon a time'.
Here is the (somewhat different) original text
which of course I cannot read, being a 'blind translator' :
Friday, 15 January 2021
Nation States are like Backward Children
mainly because politicians
are backward and backward-looking -
which is one reason why they keep talking
about going forward.
Come to think of it : human beings
(compared with dogs and bonobos)
are a 'backward' species.
Can 'evolution' be retrograde ?
Thursday, 14 January 2021
was a bowdlerisation of a pain in the ass/arse/butt.
This is not the case; it refers to the crick
liable to afflict the neck when listening to
and gazing at (seemingly for ages)
boring, long-winded orators
on platforms or on stages.
Wednesday, 13 January 2021
that the Empress Maria Theresa
of 18th-century Austria-Hungary was
pyrophobic after a bad experience
when she was a kid.
She imposed strict laws on the building and upkeep of hay-barns,
and decreed that all tobacco-pipes
be furnished with a lid:
This is a (probably unsmokable) modern variation:
is that it has a murky past.
Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Monday, 11 January 2021
Porcelain 'shepherdesses' from Dresden
do not, of course, represent keepers of sheep,
but well-dressed courtesans (high-class sex-workers)
who, like the figurines, did not come cheap.
Sunday, 10 January 2021
despite my anthropophobia
and our world-stifling sleaze
(often referred to as Our Common Humanity)
are Breakfast, Dinner, Sleep,
My Cherished Plants, my admiration
of Rats - and (of course) Trees.
[No, not masturbation !
Though it's sweet for a bit
when enhanced by cannabisation*.]
*a neat new word for the wictionary
Saturday, 9 January 2021
of children's TV series featuring a man with an uncontrollable penis."
Men's 'dangly-bits' are funny not only to children
but still to me.
Which is why I could never "take sex seriously"
and used it mainly as an opportunity for fun and games
with the very few like-minded men that I was able,
with much effort, to find - in Paris, or London,
or Northern Ireland.
I guess I never left the infantile stage of sexuality,
which, along with an infantile perception
of human social reality as a miasma,
doubtless has contributed to
my social and emotional inadequacy.
Generally, I consider all of us 'a waste of space'
simply by existing, and everything we do is harmful
in some way or other. But last year the younger brother
of my only friend in the later days of my
rough schooling died - of Alzheimer's disease,
and I discovered how, although he bred three children,
he (a modern opposite of old Diogenes)
was as near as any human can get to being benign.
Others who come to mind are Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall...
but Peter Pritchard (whose fascination with snakes
I remember from 65 years ago) devoted his life to turtles,
finding them, saving them, protecting them, discovering
new species which were named after him, initiating
projects for their protection from Guyana to Vietnam.
“His life was gentle; and the elements
so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up
and say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN !”
Dr Pritchard in his early twenties (above)
and in his sixties (below)
Friday, 8 January 2021
Thursday, 7 January 2021
Wednesday, 6 January 2021
of how best to live,
have nearly all come across the Essays
of Michel de Montaigne, and admired
his judicious and rational integrity
both in what he wrote and in how he acted
in different official and clandestine capacities
in a time of plagues and civil war.
But his travel diary is less well-known
and equally delightful. In his year-long journey
(mostly on horseback) through Eastern France,
Southern Germany and Switzerland
to Rome, and via Lucca up through Southern France
back home (near Bergerac), he eagerly noted
local customs, local food (regretting that he hadn't
brought his cook with him) and the peaceful
variations of religion in the places that he passed.
Towns that were part of the Holy Roman Empire
allowed freedom of faith, whereas those ruled
by the Austrian Habsburgs were Catholic.
Some towns in Switzerland were Lutheran,
others followed Zwingli and were more puritan,
but almost nowhere were statues decapitated
or removed, nor organs smashed,
unlike Atlantic Europe north of the Pyrenees.
Some towns could not be entered, due to fear of plague.
And all the time M. de Montaigne, never writing
in the first person, commented on architecture,
vineyards, dress, behaviour, wildlife, beds and linen,
cutlery and comfort, and especially on all the spas
he visited to ease the bladder- and urethral pain
caused by the chronic kidney-stones which killed him
(like his father) but never complaining.
He was a one-man 16th century TripAdvisor,
but very much more entertaining.
see Fausta Garavina (Paris 1983): Montaigne, Journal de Voyage (with notes and translation into Italian)
and Waters, W.G. (William George): The journal of Montaigne's travels in Italy by way of Switzerland and Germany in 1580 and 1581 [Reprint 2020] Volume: 1 (1903)
and Marvin Lowenthal (New York 1935). The Autobiography of Michel de Montaigne: Comprising the Life of the Wisest Man of his Times: his Childhood, Youth, and Prime; his Adventures in Love and Marriage, at Court, and in Office, War, Revolution, and Plague; his Travels at Home and Abroad; his Habits, Tastes, Whims, and Opinions. Composed, Prefaced, and Translated from the Essays, Letters, Travel Diary, Family Journal, etc., withholding no signal or curious detail.
Montaigne's own vineyards (which are still producing wine) yielded up to ten thousand bottles a year.
Outrageously, there is no other English translation of his travel-diary.
Tuesday, 5 January 2021
Monday, 4 January 2021
Sunday, 3 January 2021
In the first week of 2021
the European Union
(population 445 million)
unregretfully said goodbye to Brexit Britain,
and signed a trade deal with harshly-totalitarian China
(population almost one and a half billion),
and the newly-independent Brexitstan
(population 60 million)
signed a trade deal with totalitarian Turkey
(population 83 million).
Nobody signs trade-deals with Iran.
|Actually, Yahwé, |
I much prefer old bearded men to young beardless women.
Eve is off playing with her snake -
so I wonder if you'd care to abuse me a little ?
It will, I assure you, get bigger and harder.
when - too late - the grasping fools
realise that a wolf
is worth twenty thousand sheep,
twenty thousand sheeple.
Saturday, 2 January 2021
I have never been much interested in joining groups,
and those I have joined I tend to abandon quickly,
but if I lived in faction-torn Lebanon,
I think I might start smoking a pipe again,
and join The Pipe Club of Lebanon,
seen here on one of their outings.
omáda ομάδα : bloc, team, squad, gang, troop
Friday, 1 January 2021
Thursday, 31 December 2020
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
Tuesday, 29 December 2020
Monday, 28 December 2020
the word wrack appears as a verb.
Dear authors (and journalists)
WRACK (noun) is a type of seaweed
seen around many shores.
There is no verb.
TO RACK (verb) wine, brains or bodies
means (1) to separate sediment in wine by turning bottles
sitting horizontally in a supporting structure
known as a wine-rack;
(2) to torture by means of stretching the body
limb from limb on an apparatus
known as a rack, which was very popular
in mediæval and 'renaissance' Europe.
Jars of spices may rest upon a spice-rack
but (as with a toast-rack)
neither removal of sediment nor torture is involved.
against Covid were developed with amazing speed,
but there will never be inoculation
against even-more-amazing hypocrisy and greed.
Sunday, 27 December 2020
Saturday, 26 December 2020
as I - one of the world's obscenely privileged -
keep a roof above my head
my Best Friend will remain
my sweet, faithful Bed.
Meanwhile, excavations in Pompeii have revealed
a Roman snack-bar.
|Parco Archeologico Di Pompei/EPA|
Friday, 25 December 2020
has turned into The Emperor's
Politics is, of course, childish.
But, of course, 'someone has to do it'.
The weakness of democracy
is that it depends upon a well-informed
and intelligent electorate,
which is rare
and may soon be taken into care.