As long as our civilization is essentially One of property of fences of exclusiveness it will be mocked by delusions. Our riches will leave us sick; there will be bitterness in our laughter; and our wine will burn our mouth. Only that good profits which we can taste with all doors open and which serves all men. Emerson
300 quotes from Emerson
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What Love is…..The best way to know God is to love many things. Vincent Van Gogh
“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” Mark Twain
If you are insecure, guess what?
The rest of the world is, too.
Do not overestimate the competition
and underestimate yourself.
You are better than you think.”
T. Harv Eker
Balanced and Serene
A short story
John William Tuohy
Francis Mooney loved his garden and his cat and his friend Ludy Boltzmann. Ludwig was gone now. Their cat, the one they had adopted, had not been far behind him. The rain that morning kept Francis from his garden. It was Ludy, the love of his life, now dead and gone, that gave him his first, last, and only Valentine’s Day gift, a dozen red roses. Dressed in his blue jeans and white thermal shirt, tattered, and worn from the weather, he drove his pickup to a late breakfast at the Valley Diner.
He slid his aging, narrow frame into his usual booth, the one towards the front, folded his hands on the table and crossed his legs in a way that was unfamiliar in the Valley.
What he liked about the Diner was that it never changed, ever. Not one single thing about it had changed since he first came here forty, or was it fifty years ago? Even the potholes in the parking lot remained the same, unchanging in size or depth, year after year. Time stood still in the Valley Diner.
He looked out of the fog-stained window and watched a well-dressed young man in his mid-thirties pacing around the parking lot. He perused the plastic-covered menu, although he knew its contents by heart. It’s what people who eat alone do, day after day. They read the menu. These days, he ate alone but it was all right. He didn’t mind and that was why he enjoyed the Diner so. He never felt alone here in this unchanging place. Besides, he liked to be alone on these dark and rainswept days.
Turning his gaze to the window from the snug warmth of his favorite booth, he thought that the rain meant more to him now that he was a man of the gardening science, as Ludwig used to call it. Rain is an important event to a gardener’s soul.
These dark and windy days reminded him of so many things. They reminded him of the vacation to Dublin, Ireland, and that reminded him of his mother, Terra, and he thought about how much he missed her in his life. He was a private man. He never told her about himself. It was not the sort of thing one discussed with Terra Mooney; it was one of the many, many things one did not discuss with Terra Mooney. But she knew about him, he was fairly certain.
He was a private man. Aside from a small circle of friends, he never discussed his life with Ludwig, how happy they had been all those decades, and how much he missed him in every second that passed and with every breath he took. And when he shared those things with his small circle of friends, he cried and they held him and told him he and Ludwig would be together again and that everything was all right. But then, another one of them would die and the small circle of friends grew even smaller.
His thoughts returned to Terra. That was what he called her, Terra. He had never called her Mother or Ma, but Terra. It was the way things worked out. Unlike him, Terra had never, in her long life, found a man who made her happy. Still, she was a remarkable woman in an unremarkable way. She had left the poverty of her childhood in Europe as a girl of fifteen years and arrived in New York City by boat, alone. She married the first man who asked her. He turned out to be a drunk, and a mean one at that, who beat her. Or at least he did until one day, after he slapped her, she took a coal shovel and beat him unconscious with it. She took Francis by the hand and with thirty dollars in her worn pocketbook, took the first train out of the city. They arrived as far away as her money would take them, which was only as far as Connecticut.
She was a doting mother and overly protective of her only child. She was his muse, his pusher and shaker, and his motivator. Although Francis grew to be a strapping young teen with a natural inclination for almost any sport he tried, she kept him from the rougher contact games and guided him into figure skating and tennis, at which he excelled.
“It’s the tennis game,” she said with one of her exaggerated winks, “where you’ll meet the gals with the money.”
His reminiscing was interrupted by a short, homely man draped in a waiter’s white coat. He seemed to appear from nowhere. Francis recognized him as the porter.
“The waitress is late,” the homely little man said in a voice that was much, much too loud and brimming with both resignation and disapproval. It made Francis wonder if the little man wanted him to leave or was simply creating a one-sided conversation.
“I’m gonna take your order,” he said in what sounded to be more of a threat than an offer. Francis sat forward in good humor and joined the little man’s no-nonsense demeanor.
The little man readied his stubby yellow pencil, taking a stance as if he were prepared to absorb a terrible blow.
“Tea,” Francis said, for this was one of those moments in life that one needed to be direct.
“Tea, what?” the homely little man asked without lifting his concerted glare from the notepad.
“Why?” the little man asked, this time lifting his gaze from the pad and looking at Francis with deep concern. “You can have tea if you want it,” he said, and then he waved his arm majestically across the whole of the room and said, “This is a diner.”
Francis did not know how to respond to that either, so he nodded appreciatively, now fairly certain that this odd-looking fellow was not only condescending to Francis, but losing patience with him as well. There was an uncomfortable silence between them for what seemed like an eternity. Francis spoke carefully.
“May I have a cup of tea?” he asked.
The little man darted his eyes quickly to the right, sighed, and once again waved his hand tiredly across the whole of the diner.
“I’m sorry, I’ll try to be more astute and aggressive,” Francis said. “I would like a cup of tea.”
The odd-looking little man bowed his head in defeat. He was really growing tired of Francis. “You have to tell me what kind of tea you want.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask this,” Francis said carefully, “but what are my choices?” and then added quickly, “or do I have choices? I apologize for not knowing.”
The man answered in a tone that was breathtakingly patronizing although Francis understood it was this person’s way of explaining the overly complex things in life the way he would like to have them explained to him.
“They got regular tea,” he said looking back at the counter. “That’s the regular kind. They got the kind with the yellow tag with the Chinese guy on it and they got that other kind.”
“Ah! The other kind!” Francis said with raised eyebrows and a mock delight that prayed the man would not understand, for he did not want to be cruel or mean.
“I absolutely love the other kind,” he continued rubbing his hands together briskly “Bring that, garcon!”
“My name isn’t garcon,” he replied and then leaned forward and whispered, “Girls drink tea, so I’ll bring it to you in a coffee cup.”
“Thank you,” Francis whispered, and then the little man disappeared behind the black swinging door that led to the kitchen. He reappeared several minutes later with a piping hot cup of black coffee in a teacup.
“There you go,” the little man said proudly and very loudly.
As the little man disappeared behind the black door once again, a woman that Francis decided was the actual waitress, a determination he made solely on the fact that she had the desperate look of lateness about her, rushed into the kitchen.
He knew the desperate look well. His mother wore it, and she wore it constantly during her lifetime. The look was a mixture of fear on the edge of exasperation, all of it self-imposed although she blamed money for the cause of her constant, unending worry. And because of that, she worked and she worked and she worked in the rubber shop in Naugatuck, five days a week on the first shift, gluing the soles on men’s sneakers. Three nights a week, she worked at the snack bar at the Valley Bowl and Pins. On weekends, she tended Mrs. Whitehead who, when she died, left them her expansive Victorian house on North Cliff Street, because all her family and everyone whom she had ever known, except Terra and Francis and the parish priests, had died decades before.
She dressed him in the finest clothes and the latest fashions and when he was old enough to drive, something she never learned to do, she bought him a new car. Terra never expected him to work to help lessen her self-imposed burden. He offered, many times, but she pretended not to hear. He wanted for nothing because of her endless labors and he rewarded her by never causing a problem of any kind, and by always achieving the highest grades and by being her dearest and closest friend. When the time came for him to go to college, he chose the nearby Catholic Fairfield University. Although with his grades he could have chosen any school he wanted, that would have meant leaving home and leaving Terra alone, so he stayed close. He was a good son.
The late waitress breezed out of the kitchen through the black door and on to the Diner floor, like a heroine in a play. She walked up to his table, a familiar small note pad, and stubby yellow pencil in her hand, and he wondered how much of a struggle the odd-looking fellow had put up before handing those treasured instruments back to their rightful owner.
“Do you need anything?” she asked in a way that was deeply sincere. She was very young and there was vulnerability about her. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but he was certain she might tell him, and he was a very private man and had no room for her troubles in his life. But he thought that she had a good face, an Irish face, honest and complete in its revelation of her every thought and feeling.
“A menu,” he said, and she disappeared wordlessly to fetch him one.
He was an art major in college and an outstanding one at that. He never told Terra. “Art indeed,” she would have said. “College and education are serious issues not to be squandered.” Oh, how she had loved to use that word, “squandered,” “on things as useless as art and such.”
No, she had other plans for him. One day, as graduation approached and without asking him, Terra marched up to the rubber shop’s international headquarters in Oxford. Skillfully using charm and flattery, she landed an unscheduled meeting with the company chairman. When it was over, they emerged on a first-name basis and with a managerial position for Francis. He was to be the facilities coordinator for the corporate office. Not quite a mailroom clerk, but not far from it either.
“The only man in the history of the Mooney family,” Terra beamed with pride, “to ever wear a suit and tie to work.”
He took the job because he needed a job, but he hated his work and he planned to leave it when he could and he told Terra as much. He wanted to be a high-school art teacher. When he told her that she cried, and he recalled now that it was the first time and only time in his life that he saw her cry, and when the crying stopped it was the first time he had seen her truly angry and it was a frightening experience. She ranted and screamed at him about everything she gone through to get him that job. Afterwards, she did not speak to him for days.
So he stayed. He left for work each morning from the house on North Cliff Street, dressed in the drab-colored suits that Terra chose for him, carrying the bland lunch that Terra packed for him in plain brown paper bags.
They ate at home every night. The food in restaurants disagreed with them and they were frugal New Englanders. After each meal, they watched television until ten, usually in silence. On Saturday, there was food shopping, and Mass on Sunday. Aside from a trips to Dublin nothing in their lives changed except the level of his dissatisfaction with his life, this life that drained the color from his existence. He aimed low in everything, if only to be assured of an occasional sense that he had won something. And because of that, he felt as if it were always winter in the discontentment that was his life. Nothing was easy because nothing was right, nothing was balanced, and he knew no peace from the voices raging inside his head reminding him what a hopeless failure he was.
As the years passed, forty of them in total, he came to forget what his dreams had been because he assumed his dreams would never be anything more than dreams and he buried them. And so it was that he became a man who would never reach his life’s goals, which only made him like most men who have ever lived. There was no tragedy in that. The tragedy was that he had given up dreaming that he could, one day, one far-off day, fulfill his dreams.
Terra worked at the mill until her legs gave out and she spent the rest of her days at home, watching television. She took up drinking for the first time in her life at age 76 because the whisky soothed the pain in her hips, and she became quite good at drinking. She lived long enough to attend the grand retirement party the company gave for Francis when he turned 54. A week after that—it was in the early summer—he went to her room to wake her for morning Mass, but she did not wake. She was gone. He missed her deeply for she was his best and oldest friend and for a long while he looked for her on crowded streets or in stores hoping against hope that it had all been a miscalculation, a mistake by God. Finally, one day, he accepted that she was gone and that he was alone in the world.
The house was empty then. There were some friends, not many, but some. There was always church and he would take in a film now and again. He ate frozen foods because he had never learned to cook. Terra wouldn’t hear of it. Although he wanted for nothing, he felt a great emptiness inside and he found that he was angry most of the time although he didn’t know why.
He had to talk about it with someone. He had tried the parish priest, a man named Connelly, but Connelly was too young, and that went nowhere. It left them both feeling very uncomfortable in each other’s presence after that. So he saw a therapist down in New Haven. And while it took him more than a few visits to open up, when he did, the floodgates unlocked and it all came pouring out. He talked about his fears and frustrations. The therapist, who insisted on being called by his first name, Ludy, short for Ludwig, listened, and when it was his turn to speak, he told him something that Francis had never considered.
“Don’t think about your frustration and fears, Francis,” he said. “Think about your hopes and your dreams, your unfulfilled potential. From this day on, concern yourself not with what you tried to do and failed, but what is still possible for you to do.”
Francis considered Ludwig’s advice and he stared at him—past him, really—while he let those wonderful, simple notions take hold. Let go and dream of the future of possibilities.
After nearly one full minute of silence Ludwig said, “That’s the complete sum and total of the worldly wisdom that I can offer you today. Well, that and always separate the darks from the lights when you’re doing the laundry. You’d be amazed the damage one black sock can do to a bunch of white shirts.” And for the first time, Francis noticed that Ludwig’s white shirt was actually a sort of off-pink white. Ludwig noticed, nodded his head and said with exaggerated sadness, ‘That’s right. Black socks rub off.”
In his next session Francis asked Ludwig what he should do to fill an unfulfilled life and Ludwig shrugged and said, “Damned if I know.”
“Thank you,” Francis said.
“Look,” Ludwig said, “you’re you, and the rest of us are somebody else who are not you. We all have a different notion of what self -fulfillment is. Only you can discover what you want out of this life. Only you can know what you want to give and take from yourself to live that life. Only you can figure out what you should stand for,” he paused and pointed a stubby boney figure at Francis, “and only you can prevent forest fires.”
“Thank you,” Francis said. “I’ll try to remember that.”
“That last thing doesn’t have any psychological merit,” Ludwig said, “but it’s good to remember anyway. I picked it up from a bear I’m treating for fire phobia.” He moved himself in his chair and leaned closer to Francis. “Francis, can you see yourself as a happy, fulfilled human being?”
“I’m sixty-four years old,” he answered.
“That isn’t what I asked you,” Ludwig responded. “Can you see yourself as a happy, fulfilled human being?”
“Yes,” Francis said, as pictured himself happy.
“Then go be happy,” Ludwig said, “and I think the way you should start is by stepping out of the very, very wide safety zone that you’ve built around yourself.”
He leaned back in his chair and said softly, “Look, Francis, the ugly truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. It’s in these moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. You might risk failure at first, but that’s good. Failure, in this case, is good. As long as you don’t stop trying and you understand the role that failure now plays in your life.”
He paused and said, “So I would say, first,” he paused again for that dramatic effect he so enjoyed, “get a dream. It’s kinda hard to make dreams come true if you don’t have a dream, Francis, so you gotta go get one of those. That’s step one. Step two is to fit that dream together with stepping out of your safety zone. And step three is giving your dream a chance to happen. You’d be amazed how many people give up on a really great dream within a few hours. And again, forget the past, Francis. It’s over. You can go back to the past a thousand times a day and it won’t change a damned thing. What lies behind you is a tiny matter compared to the greatness that lies ahead, a greatness that comes from within.”
He stood from his chair, patted Francis on the back, and said, “Now go on out there and fail at something! I know you can do it, I’ve got faith in you!”
So Francis returned to the safety of his home and looked for something that would challenge him. The ancient, enormous, and musty basement seemed to hold some promise. Over the years, they had stored a little of everything down there, and some of the things had potential, particularly his old bicycles. They were some of the many gifts Terra had provided for him that he never used. The bikes held promise because he entertained the notion of biking down to Manhattan for no good reason at all. But first, he would have to learn to ride the bike. And that was what Francis Mooney, at age sixty-four, did. He taught himself to ride a bicycle.
The following Monday morning, he appeared in Ludwig’s office, limping and sporting a Band-Aid over his left eye.
“What happened to you?” Ludwig asked.
“I stepped out of my safety zone and tried something new.” “Cage fighting?”
“No,” Francis said, slowly and carefully sinking his sore bones into a chair. “Bicycle. I learned to ride a bicycle.”
“Wow,” Ludwig said pushing out his lower lip. “I’m impressed. At our age, cage fighting would have been safer. You can reason with a cage fighter, but bikes, not so much. I applaud your courage, sir. But perhaps you should start with something that requires less blood. Like fishing, as an example.”
That afternoon, Ludwig carried the bike back down to the basement. In a small room off one of the main rooms, he found an ornate black silk box, covered in a thick layer of dust. He opened it gently, for it was a very old and very fragile box and found inside it tintype photographs that he judged to be from the 1890s, when the house on North Cliff Street was new. One picture showed the house with the surrounding lots filled only with trees and not Godforsaken ranch-style houses.
In several of the photos there were children, one of whom he reckoned to be the late Mrs. Whitehead. She sat in a perfectly trimmed, sprawling garden that seemed to engulf the children in its majesty. A series of closer looks at the photograph over the next few days revealed that the majestic garden had been in the back yard under the enormous elm tree. Although he had lived in the house on North Cliff Street almost his entire life, he seldom went into the expansive back yard that had long ago surrendered to an invasion of wild weeds and sprawling thick vines. He was not a man interested in back yards, vines, or weeds, or for that matter, the outdoors in general. He had allergies. But for several days he considered the photos, and by midweek he had taped the picture of the garden to his desk and considered it. On Friday, for lack of anything else to do, and most of his days were like that now, filled with less and less to do, he stepped out into the back yard and started to rebuild the English garden that was there, someplace, under the overgrowth.
Over the course of that first year in the great outdoors of his back yard, Francis came to understand that his garden was like child, a spoiled child that demanded all of him. It demanded his attention and his passion. He was very concerned that without his attention, something would die, and even from the beginning, when he had no idea what he was doing out there, he felt sad when even the least important of his plants died.
He also came to understand that his garden restored him in a way that the words of his beloved Yeats or Shelley never could. He learned that the earth was a forgiving partner and not all the failures in his burgeoning garden were the result of his inexperience, nor was failure, in this wonderful spot of earth, a testing ground of his character. Sometimes plants died and flowers faded simply because they did and it had nothing at all to do with him.
Gardening taught him these things and it gave him a sense of proportion. Yet he understood that on his sacred soil, all plants were equal, and no small thing was doomed to insignificance. In the garden, as in life, everything is significant because it is all a part of God’s creation.
He learned that gardening could not be taught in a class or learned from a book. No, gardening, like life, was learned through hands-on experience, through the occasional tiny triumph and its cousin, the constant big failure. Life and gardening, he realized, give one a sense of humility. He quickly learned that first year that there is no gardening without humility.
Now, after a lifetime of being alone and dreading that loneliness, he felt that it was good to be alone in his garden, the place he never felt alone. He buried a lot of troubles in that dirt and things grew there that he never planted, like passion and happiness and completeness. And he rediscovered things there, like the sun’s kiss, and the happiness of a bird’s song, and that wonderful childlike feeling of anticipation for tomorrow. But there was nothing bucolic and meditative at all about gardening. It was hard work. It was about wholeness and passion. A good garden grew from a happy heart. And he saw all this, the failure and the triumphs, as good and positive and kind and so he allowed his garden to consume him.
By the year’s end, with the onset of winter, he thought that if he had ever heard the voice of God, it would be in his garden on a perfect New England autumn day. Nor would it astound him to hear the voice of God there. It fact, he thought, it would make sense.
He had stopped seeing Ludwig, as a therapist, six months after he started the garden and began a friendship with him. They spent their weekends in the garden although Ludwig wasn’t very good at it.
“If I had a rock garden, the rocks would die,” Ludwig said.
“You’ve learned a lot,” Francis countered.
“Yes indeed,” Ludwig answered. “I learned not to wear cologne in the garden. If you do, bees will assume you’re a large walking flower and pollinate you.”
Francis leaned into and whispered to a particularly troublesome geranium.
“What are you doing?” Ludwig asked.
“You have to speak to the plants if you want them to grow, especially the geraniums. They bloom better if they’re spoken to.”
“Yes” Ludwig nodded with a small smile, “but I wonder if so much attention will embarrass them?”
“Are you jealous?” “Yes, especially of that guy.” Ludwig replied with an eye narrowed on a lilac. “I don’t trust him at all. A little too flashy, if you ask me.”
“Don’t be jealous,” Francis said, and then spoke the next words with slightly trembling lips. “You are my world.”
“That’s foolish,” Ludwig said kicking about some dirt. “I’m one man, one man in the world.”
“I need only one rose to make a garden,” Francis said, standing and looking directly at Ludwig. Ludwig returned this gaze and there was a silence between them that terrified Francis because he knew that he had gone too far, too fast. He watched in heartbreak as the smile fell from Ludwig’s face. He had ruined everything.
“Listen,” Ludwig said making the words sound more like a declaration than a statement. It was the way he said all things. “I’ve been so lonely for so long and you’re about the best thing that has ever come into my life now or at any other time, so I’d like to move in with you if that’s all right. I think we are of that age that we can be direct in the things we want. I’d offer to have you move in with me but you’d have an awful time moving this garden of yours into a one-bedroom New Haven high- rise. Believe me, I know because I tried it once. And besides, I really don’t want these bees living with me because I like wearing cologne, and no, I didn’t really try to build a garden in my apartment. That was a joke actually, although I realize this isn’t a really good time to joke but it’s what I do when I get nervous, but I’m always nervous. Okay, I’m all done talking now.”
So Ludwig moved into the house on North Cliff Street and they lived the next two decades in happiness, true happiness. Being together made them both better people. They laughed a lot, Ludwig saw to that. The garden blossomed.
One day Ludwig died. He simply grew old and he died of being old. He was much older than Francis although, as Ludwig so often said of himself, he was “the soul of an innocent and happy child unfairly trapped in the astoundingly hot body of a brilliant yet modest man.”
These days, when he thought of Ludwig he laughed, and Ludwig would have liked that, and when he thought of Terra he was lonesome, and Terra would have liked that. Now, looking over his life, he thought that although he had not become a man of success, he was a man of value.
The waitress returned with his menu and handed it to him but he didn’t look at it and placed it on the table.
“Do you know what you want?” she asked.
“Then go be happy,” Ludwig whispered from across the table, “and I think the way you should start is by stepping out of your very, very wide safety zone that you’ve built around yourself.”
“Yes,” Francis told her with a smile. “I’d like something greasy and unhealthy. That would make me happy today.”
"I really enjoyed reading the following quote, and you know, I never lie, so..there you go" George Washington
25 Latin Phrases Every Student Should Know
by Brittany Britanniae in Latin Language
These phrases will assist in all student’s ability to write well and impress their instructors. Thus, here is a list of Latin phrases that student should try to use and commit to memory during the summer for their fall terms (if they are not in summer school/session). Latin is more than a dead language; it is access to a better understanding to terms that are used in daily academics.
1. Carpe diem: This well-known phrase comes from a poem by Horace. While there have been arguments about the exact translation, it is most commonly held to mean “seize the day” encouraging individuals to live life to the fullest today without expectation of a tomorrow.
2. Cogito ergo sum: Translated from the Latin, the quote means “I think, therefore I am” and comes from the writing of philosopher Rene Descartes. 6
3. Veni, vidi, vici: These famous words were purported uttered by Roman emperor Julius Caesar after a short war with Pharnaces II of Pontus. Translated, it means “I came, I saw, I conquered” an adage you can hopefully keep in mind come finals time.
4. In vino veritas: If you’re old enough to drink or have been around others who have imbibed, you’re more than likely already familiar with the wisdom behind this quote from Pliny the Elder meaning, “in wine there is the truth.” It is often followed up with “in aqua sanitas” or “in water there is health”– something all college students should remember.
5. E pluribus unum: Simply take a look at American currency to see this Latin phrase in use. It means “out of many, one” and is found on anything bearing the seal of the United States.
6. Et tu, Brute?: These are the famous last words of Julius Caesar after he is murdered by his friend Marcus Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. They mean “Even you, Brutus?” and are used poetically today to designate any form of the utmost betrayal.
7. Ad infinitum: You might be able to guess what this phrase means simply through its similarity to the word we use in English. It means “to infinity” and can be used to describe something that goes on, seemingly or actually endlessly, as some students might feel about certain classes.
8. De facto: In Latin, de facto means “from the fact” and in use in English it is often used to distinguish was is supposed to be the case from what is actually the reality. For example, legally, employers are not allowed to discriminate in hiring because of age, but many still practice de facto (in reality, in fact) discrimination.
9. In toto: No, this phrase doesn’t mean that the cute little dog from The Wizard of Oz ate something, it means in all or entirely. Think of it as saying “in total” in a really weird voice.
10. Ipso facto: Meaning “by the fact itself” this commonly used and misused term is denotes when something is true by its very nature. For example, if you don’t feed your dog you are ipso facto a bad owner.
11. Tabula rasa: When you were a child, your mind might have been more of a tabula rasa than it is today. This Latin phrase means “clean slate” and denotes something or someone not affected by experiences and impressions.
12. Terra firma: Those who hate to fly or get seriously seasick will be able to put this term to good use. It means firm ground, and you might be thanking your lucky stars to be back on it after a trip through the air or rough waters.
13. Mea culpa: If you want to admit your own guilt or wrongdoing in a situation, use this Latin phrase that translates literally to “my fault.” It’s a bit like a fancier, less outdated way of saying “my bad.”
14. Persona non grata: From the Latin meaning an “unacceptable person” this term designates someone who’s no longer welcome in a social or business situation.
15. In situ: If something happens in situ it happens in place or on site, though the term often designates something that exists in an original or natural state. Like a rare species sighted in situ or an invaluable artifact found on an archeological site.
16. In vitro: Most students will be familiar with this term because of modern fertility treatments, but have you ever considered what the term actually means? In Latin, in vitro means “in glass” and any biological process that occurs in the laboratory rather than in the body or a natural setting can be called in vitro.
17. In vivo: While an experiment taking place in a glass test tube might not cause a stir, many are up in arms about this kind of experimentation. In vivo means “within the living” and the two most common examples of this kind of experimentation are animal testing and clinical trials.
18. Ante bellum: During your history courses, you’re bound to encounter this term. It means in the most basic sense “before the war” and while it can be applied to any 4 war it is most commonly used to refer to the American Civil War and the Antebellum Era the preceded it.
19. Sic: Found in writing, this Latin word most commonly finds a home in brackets (like this: [sic]) when quoting a statement or writing. It indicates that there is a spelling or grammar error (or just something out of the ordinary) in the original quotation and that the publication has only reproduced it faithfully, not made an error of their own.
20. Id est: You’ve likely seen this term in writing before, even if you weren’t aware as it is commonly abbreviated to i.e. In Latin, it means “that is” and is used in English when the speaker or writer wants to give an example or explanation that specifies a statement.
21. Deus ex machina: In direct translation, this term means, “God out of a machine” and it harkens back ancient Greek and Roman plays. When the plot would become too tangled or confusing, the writers would simply bring in God, lowered in via a pulley system (the machine) and he would wrap it all up. Today, it’s still used in literature to describe a plot where an artificial or improbable means of resolving a conflict is used.
22. Exempli gratia: You’ll often see this term abbreviated to e.g. in writing. It means “for the sake of example” and when it see it in a sentence you can expect that is will be followed by some examples.
23. Et cetera: Few out there aren’t familiar with this term but may not know it as well when it’s spelled out like this and not abbreviated as etc. Meaning “and the others” it is used to denote that a list of things could continue ad infinitum (see below for definition) and that for the sake of brevity it’s better to just wrap things up with a simple etc.
24. Ex libris: Back in the days when books were rarer and more expensive commodities than they were today, it was common to mark your books with a label bearing your own name and this phrase which means “from the library of.” While not as common today, some true bibliophiles still use the labels.
25. Ibidem: Another abbreviated term, this word is more commonly seen in research writing in the form of “ibid.” From the Latin for “in the same place” it is found in footnotes and bibliographies to designate that the same source has been cited twice in succession.
26. Et alii: You’re unlikely to encounter this Latin phrase in its unabbreviated form, and will most likely only ever see it as et al when included. This is also a term that is found in footnotes and bibliographies which allows writers to refer to a large 3 number of authors without having to write each name out (for example, you could say that your source is Dr. Henry Jones et al.)
And now, a moment for my favorite writer and Irishman, F. Scott Fitzgerald.......................
F. Scott Fitzgerald House Changes Hands at $2.5 Million
The house at 244 Compo Road South, known as the F. Scott Fitzgerald House since the celebrated writer and his wife lived there briefly in 1920, has changed hands for $2.5 million, according to the latest property transfers from the Westport Town Clerk’s Office. Sellers were Andrew J. and Jeannine C. Flower and buyers were Eric and Amy Lerner. The Flowers purchased the property in 2008 for $2,950,000. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Gatsby and the folly of hope
On the classi¬c’s annive¬rsary, The Expres¬s Tribun¬e reflec¬ts on the treatm¬ent of dreams
By Zeeshan Ahmad / Creative: Talha Khan
“By capitulating to life, this world has betrayed nothingness…I resign from movement, and from my dreams. Absence! You shall be my sole glory…Let ‘desire’ be forever stricken from the dictionary, and from the soul! I retreat before the dizzying farce of tomorrows. And if I still cling to a few hopes, I have lost forever the faculty of hoping.”
In his 1949 book A Short History of Decay, Romanian thinker and perpetual pessimist Emil Cioran railed at length against man’s tendency to dream — “his need for fiction over evidence and absurdity” — when confronted by the arbitrariness of life. “Idolaters by instinct, we convert the objects of our dreams and our interests into the Unconditional.” This kind of ‘idolatry’ peppers F Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby.
Much has been made of Gatsby and its commentary on society and the illusory nature of the American Dream. This illusory nature, however, extends to all aspirations in the novel. So much so that the book can even be seen as a cautionary tale against ‘dreaming’.
Case in point, take Jay Gatsby whose life revolves around using his dreams and ambitions to defeat the ‘tick of the clock’ — the irreversibility of time.
At the heart of the novel lies Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan. For Gatsby — who loathes his impoverished past and invents an entirely new concept of self in a bid to escape it — Daisy represents all the luxury and sophistication he has always longed for. Gatsby falls in love with Daisy and lies to her in order to convince her — and perhaps himself — that he is good enough for her. When he misses his chance to be with her, ironically because of his own ambitions, he dedicates himself to winning her back — to reclaim the past.
“You can’t repeat the past,” Nick, our narrator, remarks before Gatsby at one point. “Can’t repeat the past…Why of course you can!” is the response he gets.
Events, however, prove Gatsby wrong. Before his life is abruptly cut short by the jilted husband of the mistress of his own arch nemesis — Daisy’s husband Tom to be precise — he catches a glimpse of his dream being just that, fiction.
That Gatsby dies is not the tragedy in Fitzgerald’s story. Gatsby’s death, in fact, could even be read as him being emancipated from materialism by the very arbitrariness of life; a kind of moksha in the Hindu sense.
The tragedy is the very hollowness of Gatsby’s dream of a future, or even a meaningful past, with Daisy. Did Daisy, who for Gatsby was perfect in every way, ever have any real connection with him? Or was Gatsby simply a temporary relief from the boredom imposed on her by society’s demands?
More so, did Gatsby really love Daisy or did he love what she represented? In his own words, her voice was “full of money”.
This hearkens back to Cioran’s lament against ‘idolaters’ who convert the objects of their dreams into unconditional truths.
Obsessions which mirror Gatsby’s, plague minor characters in the novel as well: Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, whose desperate search for a life away from poverty is what kills her, and her husband George, who deeply loves her despite her greed and materialism.
Others, like Jordan Baker — briefly a romantic interest for narrator Nick — constantly twist the truth, creating even more fictions.
Even Nick himself may not entirely be reliable when recounting his encounters with Gatsby. His account is dotted with “probably” and “perhaps”, and “possibly” and “I suspect”. Is Nick reinventing Gatsby to fulfil his own spiritual needs?
At one point, he does compare Gatsby to Jesus, calling him a “son of God” who “sprang from his Platonic conception of himself”.
In the end, however, Nick does allude to the folly of losing touch with reality and chasing “the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” He admits that “it eluded us then”, but that we will continue to “run faster” and “stretch out our arms farther”. “[And] so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.
In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
Hidden Monet Discovered Behind Another Drawing
A previously unknown drawing by Claude Monet has been uncovered, found tucked behind another pastel. The hidden artwork was located behind the mount of an already-rare piece, and was only discovered after London art dealer Jonathan Green brought the bargain pastel combo (along with a third from the same period) home from a 2014 auction in Paris.
Though Monet was avid about drawing and sketching, the Impressionist artist was best known for his paintings, and his pastels are less common. The previously unknown pastel depicts the jetty and lighthouse in Le Havre, the French town where Monet grew up. His famous Impression, Sunrise—the painting that gave Impressionism its name—also depicts a port in Le Havre.
Monet himself gave the three pastels as a wedding present to his art dealer’s granddaughter in 1924, and the works had stayed in the family until appearing at the Paris auction last year. The unknown pastel was authenticated by the Wildenstein Institute, a French art research center. All three pastels are thought to be from 1868, when Monet was just starting out as a young artist.
While we're on the subject, here's some more really good art for your eyes to take in...............
Bradley Wood , Shore Club
Edgar Degas. Femme se peignant les cheveux
Edouard Manet - Oysters, 1862
Pierre Auguste Renoir - Lily and Greenhouse Plants, 1864
Preparing for the Matinee, Edmund Charles Tarbell, 1907. Oil on canvas.
“The Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day,” c. 1745, by Canaletto
The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.
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New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest is accepting scripts
through July 31, 2015 (Email Submission Date)
For Guidelines and Application Form go to:
$300 + a professional reading and Q&A
As writers, we have been given a precious gift. Let us use that gift to create powerful
new works that not only entertain, but also educate, enlighten, and uplift humanity.
We look forward to receiving your script.
New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest
The 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize deadline is less than a week away. Seven days from now I'll sit down and start reading each of a few thousand entries, and I really hope your best poems will be in the running for the $10,000 first prize.
As a non-profit, Rattle's mission is simply to promote the practice of poetry, and this annual contest, with its massive award, is probably the most important thing we do all year. The goal is to keep as many people as possible excited about participating in poetry - not only writing it, but also reading it, and sharing it with each other. That's why the $20 entry fee is just a print subscription, and that's why we've made the prize so large.
As you probably know, the competition also awards ten finalists a combined $4,000, plus publication - so that's $14,000 in total prize money. It's one of the biggest awards of its kind in the world - the only one with so many winners, and a same-value subscription that comes by entering. Past winners have run the gamut from undergraduate students, to retired school teachers, to working lawyers, to nationally acclaimed poets. Our 2010 winner, Patricia Smith, is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion and National Book Award finalist. (Read her winning poem here.) Two years later, Heidi Shuler won with the first poem she ever published. The idea that every one of us has the ability to write an amazing poem is the founding principle of Rattle, and the Rattle Poetry Prize is a demonstration of that. If you don't believe me, you can read nine years of winners (103 poems in all) at our website right now.
As I begin reviewing entries for our tenth year, what I'm looking for hasn't changed, but what that is might surprise you - as always, I'm looking to be stirred, to be shaken, to be rattled, as it were, but I'm always hoping that the winning poem is as different from the previous winners as possible. Personally, I love meter and rhyme and very short poetry, and it breaks my heart that most of the winning poems have been narrative free verse. It's entirely due to the false assumption that a longer poem is more valuable - the vast majority of entries are always in this longer, more narrative style. But I want nothing more than for a sonnet or haiku to win - imagine $10,000 for 17 syllables! In the end, what matters most is that you share whatever you're proud of, and not try to predict what will win. I believe in descriptive editing - I want to showcase the best of what you're writing, not prescribe what that should be. So send your favorite unpublished poems, and try not to over-think it.
There are two ways to enter the competition - through the mail in hardcopy, or by our Submittable portal. Whichever you choose, we've tried to make it as easy a process as possible, and we promise to announce the winners on September 15th, as we have every year. We're punctual, even if it kills me.
Thanks for reading this far, and I do hope you enter. There's nothing more exciting, as an editor, than reading the first line of a poem, when every poem might be the winner. And that's even less exciting than that poem being yours, I imagine ... I wish I could enter myself!
Ms. LuPone, thank you. On behalf of every writer and actor in the world and in worlds to come, thank you.
BROADWAY STAR SNATCHES AUDIENCE PHONE
She called her out. Patti LuPone, Tony-winning star of Shows for Days, caught an audience member texting and responded by swiping the phone from her hand mid-show while managing to stay in character. The legendary diva, known for not tolerating audience disruptions, called mid-play texters ”rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate,” and said she feels defeated by the modern theater-going environment. But perhaps technology is also the solution: LuPone says the idea of signal-scrambling to render cell phones useless in theaters does have a nice ring.
13 Incredibly Smart Tips To Be Happier From Mental Health Experts
Genius tips from people whose job it is to make you feel better.
It’s pretty safe to assume that you want to be happy, because…well, who doesn’t? But how to actually make that happen is a little more elusive. BuzzFeed Life talked to a bunch of experts to get their best tips.
Of course, everyone brings their own set of experiences to the table and some people might be living with mental illnesses like depression or anxiety that make things more complicated. But hopefully you might be able to find a few pieces of advice here that can help life feel a little easier.
Heads up: Responses were edited for length.
1. Realize that happiness doesn’t mean having everything you want and being problem-free all the time.
“We cannot control everything that happens to us in life, but we can choose how we respond. When we respond with an attitude of ‘Why is the happening to me?’ and adopt a victim mentality, we suffer. When we choose to respond with an attitude of ‘Why is this happening for me and what can I learn?’ then we feel a lot more empowered which impacts our mental state positively.
The biggest misconception about happiness is that we can outsource it — that something external is going to make us happy. Happiness is NOT a constant state. As humans we experience and grow through a variety of emotions. The expectation that we should be happy all the time will leave anyone with an expectation hangover. What we can be is grateful.”
—Christine Hassler, empowerment coach and author of Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love, and Life
2. Cut “should” from your vocabulary, because it basically guarantees whatever you think “should” happen, won’t.
“When we use the word ‘should,’ it’s like this big, judgmental finger wagging at yourself. ‘I should work out more, I should be happier, I should be more grateful.’ It causes us to feel guilt and shame. It depletes our happiness. It causes us to engage in behavior that are completely against what we want.
Instead, replace ‘should’ with ‘I would like.’ For example, ‘I’d like to lose weight, because I want to have more energy and be a role model.’ That is more motivational, it’s more based on passion rather than the fear and judgment of ourselves that prevents us from being the people that we want to be.”
—Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love
3. Remember that your negative thoughts are not true. They’re just thoughts.
“Sadly, many people make the mistake of believing the negative things that their ‘inner voice’ tells them, often without even being aware of their right to question whether these things are accurate! When it comes to mental health care, many people still think you will need to spend years exploring your childhood or past in order to get better. That’s simply not the case nowadays. Catch, challenge, and change negative thoughts.”
—Simon Rego, Psy.D., Director of Psychology Training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NY
4. Start your day by reminding yourself one positive thing about your life.
“This can be a small observation like enjoying beautiful weather or something more profound like recognizing you have achieved one step towards a life goal (working in the industry you always dreamt of, have a best friend who you are grateful for, etc). We tend to hold onto negatives a lot stronger than positives so this can be a small way to give yourself a moment to check in with the ‘happier’ thoughts and realities.”
—Jess Allen, LMSW, ACT, NYC-based cognitive behavioral therapist
5. Anyone can benefit from therapy, so consider making an appointment for a checkup.
“There is a stereotype that many people have about the unique person who chooses to see a therapist. ‘They must be an emotional wreck,’ or ‘they can’t take care of their own problems,’ or ‘they must be crazy’ That last one is probably the most popular and worst misconception of them all!
It takes a lot of insight and emotional awareness to realize that you want to enlist the services of a trained mental health therapist to get the right help you need. Yes, there are some clients who seek therapy when they are at the absolute lowest emotional point in their lives, but there are also just as many who simply want to become emotionally healthier people to enhance their work and intimate relationships. No problem is too small or large when you come to see one of us. It’s all welcomed because our job is to meet you where you are at in life, not where we or anyone else thinks you should be.”
—Gabriela Parra, LCSW, California-based counselor
6. Don’t think about your work responsibilities at home, and vice versa.
“Be present when present, which requires dropping the guilt. Guilt has no benefits for anyone. When you are at work, stay focused, when you are home, give [it] your undivided attention. Doing your best in each place will keep you sane and feeling good about your output.”
—Samantha Ettus, work-life balance expert
7. Stop checking your smartphone randomly. Instead, give yourself specific times to catch up on social media and email.
“Most people would be happier (and less stressed) if they checked their phone less. A study of college students at Kent State University found that people who check their phones frequently tend to experience higher levels of distress during their leisure time (when they intend to relax!).
Instead of willing ourselves to just check less often, we can configure our devices and work time so that we are tempted less often. The goal is to check email, social media, and messages on your phone just a few times a day — intentionally, not impulsively. Our devices are thus returned to their status as tools we use strategically — not slot machines that randomly demand our energy and attention.”
—Christine Carter, Ph.D., happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work
8. Make keeping up with your friendships a priority.
“People think that when work or school or family responsibilities get busy, then hanging out with your friends becomes a luxury that has to be cut. It’s often the first thing to go, even if people are still going to the gym or binge-watching whatever’s new on Netflix. In reality, making sure to spend time with your friends has enormous mental health benefits, and keeps your stress level in check. It’s a great coping mechanism and a necessity for your health that should not be cut when things get tough — on the contrary, you need it more then than ever.”
—Andrea Bonior, Ph.D, clinical psychologist
9. Actually take the time to plan shorterm pleasure AND longterm goals — AKA actively make your life what you want it to be.
“A lot of people rush around without devoting a few minutes each week to reflecting and strategizing. We may all recognize we’ve periodically contemplated signing up to volunteer at big brother big sister, then totally forget. Or we mean to switch jobs and then procrastinate, [then] we’re facing our second year in a position we planned to quickly exit.
As Greg McKeown notes in his book, Essentialism, ‘When we don’t purposefully and deliberately choose where to focus our energies and times, other people — our bosses, our colleagues, our clients, and even our families — will choose for us, and before long we’ll have lost sight of everything that is meaningful and important.’
Spend time each week planning ahead — plan activities you may enjoy in the moment and also think bigger, considering what you want longterm.”
—Jennifer Taitz, Psy.D., clinical psychologist
10. Treat yourself with compassion and lots of love.
“People believe that self-care is selfish, so they avoid doing things that are actually necessities. Self-love, self-care, and self-fulfillment. It’s a lot of self, because happiness starts from within. Self-love includes eliminating negative self talk and accepting yourself, flaws and all. Self-care means setting boundaries and taking time to refill your energy. Self-fulfillment is all about living your values and having authentic relationships.”
—Rachel DeAlto, communications and relationship expert
11. Don’t forget that your physical health has an impact on your mental health, too.
“Some physical things you can do to create a habit of happiness:
—Honor your circadian rhythm by waking shortly after sunrise and going to sleep a few hours after sunset. Not only do we need 7-9 hours of sleep in order to be happy, but our brain functions better by sharing the rhythm of the sun.
—Incorporate play into your life: some easy ways to this are when you exercise, do something that makes you laugh like a dance class, jumping on a trampoline, or play a group sport.
—Meditate. This can be as simple as an app [like] Headspace.”
—Jennifer Jones, Ph.D., clinical psychologist
12. Several times throughout your day, take a deep breath and tell yourself that everything is OK. Eventually, your brain will get the memo.
“The bills may be piling up with you having no idea of how they are going to get paid. Your mother may have Alzheimer’s and dealing with that is wearing you out. You may be starting to wonder if there really is someone out there for you. BUT in this moment, your heart is beating, you’re breathing, and you have food in your tummy and a roof over your head. Underneath all the circumstances, desires, and wants, you’re OK. While fixing dinner, walking through the grocery store, driving to work, or reading emails, come into the present moment and remind your brain, ‘I’m all right, right now.’
Over time with repetition, learning to come into the present and calming your brain and body will actually change the neural pathways in your brain — a scientific truth called neuroplasticity — so that this becomes the norm for you.”
—Debbie Hampton, founder of The Best Brain Possible and author of Beat Depression And Anxiety By Changing Your Brain
13. Make a conscious effort to take care of your mental health the same way you would your physical health.
“Too many people neglect to make their mental health a priority! And so it gets forgotten about and put in the ‘too-hard’ or ‘too-busy.’ But just like physical health, mental health really should be considered non-negotiable because without it, we have nothing else.
If I had to limit the key ingredients to happiness and good mental health to just a few I’d say good quality relationships and connectedness, good physical health and wellbeing, living a life with meaning and purpose, loving oneself and others, and having a sense of hope and optimism for the future.”
—Timothy Sharp, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of 100 Ways To Happiness: A Guide For Busy People.
Over 500 people from around the world to read Chekhov
July 8, 2015 RIA Novosti
Participants from different countries will team up to read around 50 works by Russian writer Anton Chekhov in Russian as part of Google's online dramatized reading, called “Chekhov Is Alive”, which will be held on September 25.
More than 500 people, including actors, musicians, politicians and athletes will take part in a dramatized reading marathon called Chekhov Is Alive. The organizers of the project – Google, the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater and the Russian Book Union – have selected around 50 works. The reading will take place on September 25 at different venues around the world: from Harvard to Hong Kong and Sakhalin Island. The continuous online broadcast will last about 24 hours.
The project is part of the Year of Literature program in Russia. It also coincides with the anniversary of Chekhov’s birth, which was 155 years ago this year.
“There is a lot of talk that people are reading less and literature is not in demand,” said Oleg Novikov, vice-president of the Russian Book Union. “[But] new technology is enabling us to find new and in-demand formats for popularizing literature and reading.”
Last year saw the project Karenina: Live Edition. For the first time in the world, more than 700 people from different cities and countries read the famous novel Anna Karenina live on Google+ and YouTube. Fyokla Tolstaya, the great writer’s great granddaughter, managed the project, which lasted 30 hours in total.
“People spend a lot of time online these days, especially the younger generation,” explains Dmitri Kuznetsov, Google Russia’s marketing director. “With this project we wanted to show that the Internet isn’t just a jumble of assorted information; it is somewhere you can join really important, relevant, remarkable projects – including ones focused on reading.” He added that the project got its title because the organisers believe that Chekhov never loses his importance.
According to Kuznetsov, the organizers have largely taken their inspiration from Karenina: Live Edition, but the new project will be slightly different. He said that the format of the new action was dictated by the very “nature of Chekhov's works.”
“The broadcast can be seen live on YouTube. The recording will remain available on the website after the broadcast, it will be possible to watch, listen to and relive it again,” Kuznetsov added.
To take part in the readings at the project, you need to take the test to discover which one of Chekhov’s characters you are on the website g.co/chekhov, record an excerpt of one of the works on video and send it via the online form. Applications will be accepted until August 10.
This is an abridged version of an article by RIA Novosti.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, playwright and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics.
Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife", he once said, "and literature is my mistress." Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater.
Chekhov renounced the theatre after the disastrous reception of The Seagull in 1896, but the play was revived to acclaim in 1898 by Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and premiered his last two plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. These four works present a challenge to the acting ensemble as well as to audiences, because in place of conventional action Chekhov offers a "theatre of mood" and a "submerged life in the text".
Chekhov had at first written stories only for financial gain, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.
Anton Chekhov was born on the feast day of St. Anthony the Great (17 January Old Style) 29 January 1860, the third of six surviving children, in Taganrog, a port on the Sea of Azov in southern Russia. His father, Pavel Yegorovich Chekhov, the son of a former serf, was from a village Vilkhovatka near Kobeliaky (Poltava Region in modern-day Ukraine) and ran a grocery store. A director of the parish choir, devout Orthodox Christian, and physically abusive father, Pavel Chekhov has been seen by some historians as the model for his son's many portraits of hypocrisy.
Chekhov's mother, Yevgeniya (Morozova), was an excellent storyteller who entertained the children with tales of her travels with her cloth-merchant father all over Russia. "Our talents we got from our father," Chekhov remembered, "but our soul from our mother."
In adulthood, Chekhov criticised his brother Alexander's treatment of his wife and children by reminding him of Pavel's tyranny: "Let me ask you to recall that it was despotism and lying that ruined your mother's youth. Despotism and lying so mutilated our childhood that it's sickening and frightening to think about it. Remember the horror and disgust we felt in those times when Father threw a tantrum at dinner over too much salt in the soup and called Mother a fool."
Chekhov attended the Greek School in Taganrog and the Taganrog Gymnasium (since renamed the Chekhov Gymnasium), where he was kept down for a year at fifteen for failing an examination in Ancient Greek. He sang at the Greek Orthodox monastery in Taganrog and in his father's choirs. In a letter of 1892, he used the word "suffering" to describe his childhood and recalled:
When my brothers and I used to stand in the middle of the church and sing the trio "May my prayer be exalted", or "The Archangel's Voice", everyone looked at us with emotion and envied our parents, but we at that moment felt like little convicts.
In 1876, Chekhov's father was declared bankrupt after overextending his finances building a new house. To avoid debtor's prison he fled to Moscow, where his two eldest sons, Alexander and Nikolay, were attending university. The family lived in poverty in Moscow, Chekhov's mother physically and emotionally broken by the experience. Chekhov was left behind to sell the family's possessions and finish his education.
Chekhov remained in Taganrog for three more years, boarding with a man called Selivanov who, like Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, had bailed out the family for the price of their house.
Chekhov had to pay for his own education, which he managed by private tutoring, catching and selling goldfinches, and selling short sketches to the newspapers, among other jobs. He sent every ruble he could spare to his family in Moscow, along with humorous letters to cheer them up. During this time, he read widely and analytically, including the works of Cervantes, Turgenev, Goncharov, and Schopenhauer, and wrote a full-length comic drama, Fatherless, which his brother Alexander dismissed as "an inexcusable though innocent fabrication." Chekhov also enjoyed a series of love affairs, one with the wife of a teacher.
In 1879, Chekhov completed his schooling and joined his family in Moscow, having gained admission to the medical school at I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.
Chekhov now assumed responsibility for the whole family. To support them and to pay his tuition fees, he wrote daily short, humorous sketches and vignettes of contemporary Russian life, many under pseudonyms such as "Antosha Chekhonte" (Антоша Чехонте) and "Man without a Spleen" (Человек без селезенки). His prodigious output gradually earned him a reputation as a satirical chronicler of Russian street life, and by 1882 he was writing for Oskolki (Fragments), owned by Nikolai Leykin, one of the leading publishers of the time. Chekhov's tone at this stage was harsher than that familiar from his mature fiction.
In 1884, Chekhov qualified as a physician, which he considered his principal profession though he made little money from it and treated the poor free of charge.
In 1884 and 1885, Chekhov found himself coughing blood, and in 1886 the attacks worsened, but he would not admit his tuberculosis to his family or his friends. He confessed to Leykin, "I am afraid to submit myself to be sounded by my colleagues." He continued writing for weekly periodicals, earning enough money to move the family into progressively better accommodations.
Early in 1886 he was invited to write for one of the most popular papers in St. Petersburg, Novoye Vremya (New Times), owned and edited by the millionaire magnate Alexey Suvorin, who paid a rate per line double Leykin's and allowed Chekhov three times the space. Suvorin was to become a lifelong friend, perhaps Chekhov's closest.
Before long, Chekhov was attracting literary as well as popular attention. The sixty-four-year-old Dmitry Grigorovich, a celebrated Russian writer of the day, wrote to Chekhov after reading his short story "The Huntsman" that "You have real talent, a talent that places you in the front rank among writers in the new generation." He went on to advise Chekhov to slow down, write less, and concentrate on literary quality.
Chekhov replied that the letter had struck him "like a thunderbolt" and confessed, "I have written my stories the way reporters write up their notes about fires — mechanically, half-consciously, caring nothing about either the reader or myself." The admission may have done Chekhov a disservice, since early manuscripts reveal that he often wrote with extreme care, continually revising.
Grigorovich's advice nevertheless inspired a more serious, artistic ambition in the twenty-six-year-old. In 1887, with a little string-pulling by Grigorovich, the short story collection At Dusk (V Sumerkakh) won Chekhov the coveted Pushkin Prize "for the best literary production distinguished by high artistic worth."]
In 1887, exhausted from overwork and ill health, Chekhov took a trip to Ukraine, which reawakened him to the beauty of the steppe. On his return, he began the novella-length short story "The Steppe," which he called "something rather odd and much too original," and which was eventually published in Severny Vestnik (The Northern Herald).
In a narrative that drifts with the thought processes of the characters, Chekhov evokes a chaise journey across the steppe through the eyes of a young boy sent to live away from home, and his companions, a priest and a merchant. "The Steppe" has been called a "dictionary of Chekhov's poetics", and it represented a significant advance for Chekhov, exhibiting much of the quality of his mature fiction and winning him publication in a literary journal rather than a newspaper.
In autumn 1887, a theatre manager named Korsh commissioned Chekhov to write a play, the result being Ivanov, written in a fortnight and produced that November. Though Chekhov found the experience "sickening" and painted a comic portrait of the chaotic production in a letter to his brother Alexander, the play was a hit and was praised, to Chekhov's bemusement, as a work of originality.
Mikhail Chekhov considered Ivanov a key moment in his brother's intellectual development and literary career. From this period comes an observation of Chekhov's that has become known as "Chekhov's gun", a dramatic principle that requires that every element in a narrative be necessary and irreplaceable, and that everything else be removed.
The death of Chekhov's brother Nikolay from tuberculosis in 1889 influenced "A Dreary Story", finished that September, about a man who confronts the end of a life that he realises has been without purpose.
Mikhail Chekhov, who recorded his brother's depression and restlessness after Nikolay's death, was researching prisons at the time as part of his law studies, and Anton Chekhov, in a search for purpose in his own life, himself soon became obsessed with the issue of prison reform.
In 1890, Chekhov undertook an arduous journey by train, horse-drawn carriage, and river steamer to the Russian Far East and the katorga, or penal colony, on Sakhalin Island, north of Japan, where he spent three months interviewing thousands of convicts and settlers for a census. The letters Chekhov wrote during the two-and-a-half-month journey to Sakhalin are considered to be among his best. His remarks to his sister about Tomsk were to become notorious
"Tomsk is a very dull town. To judge from the drunkards whose acquaintance I have made, and from the intellectual people who have come to the hotel to pay their respects to me, the inhabitants are very dull, too."
Chekhov witnessed much on Sakhalin that shocked and angered him, including floggings, embezzlement of supplies, and forced prostitution of women. He wrote, "There were times I felt that I saw before me the extreme limits of man's degradation." He was particularly moved by the plight of the children living in the penal colony with their parents. For example:
"On the Amur steamer going to Sakhalin, there was a convict who had murdered his wife and wore fetters on his legs. His daughter, a little girl of six, was with him. I noticed wherever the convict moved the little girl scrambled after him, holding on to his fetters. At night the child slept with the convicts and soldiers all in a heap together."
Chekhov later concluded that charity was not the answer, but that the government had a duty to finance humane treatment of the convicts. His findings were published in 1893 and 1894 as Ostrov Sakhalin (The Island of Sakhalin), a work of social science, not literature, that is worthy and informative rather than brilliant.
Chekhov found literary expression for the "Hell of Sakhalin" in his long short story "The Murder," the last section of which is set on Sakhalin, where the murderer Yakov loads coal in the night while longing for home. Chekhov's writing on Sakhalin is the subject of brief comment and analysis in Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84. It is also the subject of a poem by the Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, "Chekhov on Sakhalin" (collected in the volume Station Island).
In 1892, Chekhov bought the small country estate of Melikhovo, about forty miles south of Moscow, where he lived with his family until 1899 . "It's nice to be a lord," he joked to his friend Ivan Leontyev (who wrote humorous pieces under the pseudonym Shcheglov), but he took his responsibilities as a landlord seriously and soon made himself useful to the local peasants. As well as organising relief for victims of the famine and cholera outbreaks of 1892, he went on to build three schools, a fire station, and a clinic, and to donate his medical services to peasants for miles around, despite frequent recurrences of his tuberculosis.
Mikhail Chekhov, a member of the household at Melikhovo, described the extent of his brother's medical commitments:
From the first day that Chekhov moved to Melikhovo, the sick began flocking to him from twenty miles around. They came on foot or were brought in carts, and often he was fetched to patients at a distance. Sometimes from early in the morning peasant women and children were standing before his door waiting.
Chekhov's expenditure on drugs was considerable, but the greatest cost was making journeys of several hours to visit the sick, which reduced his time for writing. However, Chekhov's work as a doctor enriched his writing by bringing him into intimate contact with all sections of Russian society: for example, he witnessed at first hand the peasants' unhealthy and cramped living conditions, which he recalled in his short story "Peasants". Chekhov visited the upper classes as well, recording in his notebook: "Aristocrats? The same ugly bodies and physical uncleanliness, the same toothless old age and disgusting death, as with market-women."
In 1894, Chekhov began writing his play The Seagull in a lodge he had built in the orchard at Melikhovo. In the two years since he had moved to the estate, he had refurbished the house, taken up agriculture and horticulture, tended the orchard and the pond, and planted many trees, which, according to Mikhail, he "looked after ... as though they were his children. Like Colonel Vershinin in his Three Sisters, as he looked at them he dreamed of what they would be like in three or four hundred years."
The first night of The Seagull, at the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on 17 October 1896, was a fiasco, as the play was booed by the audience, stinging Chekhov into renouncing the theatre. But the play so impressed the theatre director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko that he convinced his colleague Constantin Stanislavski to direct a new production for the innovative Moscow Art Theatre in 1898.
Stanislavski's attention to psychological realism and ensemble playing coaxed the buried subtleties from the text, and restored Chekhov's interest in playwriting. The Art Theatre commissioned more plays from Chekhov and the following year staged Uncle Vanya, which Chekhov had completed in 1896.
In March 1897, Chekhov suffered a major hemorrhage of the lungs while on a visit to Moscow. With great difficulty he was persuaded to enter a clinic, where the doctors diagnosed tuberculosis on the upper part of his lungs and ordered a change in his manner of life.
After his father's death in 1898, Chekhov bought a plot of land on the outskirts of Yalta and built a villa, into which he moved with his mother and sister the following year. Though he planted trees and flowers, kept dogs and tame cranes, and received guests such as Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, Chekhov was always relieved to leave his "hot Siberia" for Moscow or travels abroad. He vowed to move to Taganrog as soon as a water supply was installed there.
In Yalta he completed two more plays for the Art Theatre, composing with greater difficulty than in the days when he "wrote serenely, the way I eat pancakes now". He took a year each over Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.
On 25 May 1901, Chekhov married Olga Knipper quietly, owing to his horror of weddings. She was a former protegée and sometime lover of Nemirovich-Danchenko whom he had first met at rehearsals for The Seagull.
Up to that point, Chekhov, known as "Russia's most elusive literary bachelor," had preferred passing liaisons and visits to brothels over commitment. He had once written to Suvorin:
By all means I will be married if you wish it. But on these conditions: everything must be as it has been hitherto — that is, she must live in Moscow while I live in the country, and I will come and see her ... I promise to be an excellent husband, but give me a wife who, like the moon, won't appear in my sky every day.
The letter proved prophetic of Chekhov's marital arrangements with Olga: he lived largely at Yalta, she in Moscow, pursuing her acting career. In 1902, Olga suffered a miscarriage; and Donald Rayfield has offered evidence, based on the couple's letters, that conception may have occurred when Chekhov and Olga were apart, although Russian scholars have rejected that claim.
The literary legacy of this long-distance marriage is a correspondence that preserves gems of theatre history, including shared complaints about Stanislavski's directing methods and Chekhov's advice to Olga about performing in his plays.
In Yalta, Chekhov wrote one of his most famous stories, "The Lady with the Dog" (also called "Lady with Lapdog"), which depicts what at first seems a casual liaison between a married man and a married woman in Yalta. Neither expects anything lasting from the encounter, but they find themselves drawn back to each other, risking the security of their family lives.
By May 1904, Chekhov was terminally ill with tuberculosis. Mikhail Chekhov recalled that "everyone who saw him secretly thought the end was not far off, but the nearer [he] was to the end, the less he seemed to realise it."
On 3 June, he set off with Olga for the German spa town of Badenweiler in the Black Forest, from where he wrote outwardly jovial letters to his sister Masha, describing the food and surroundings, and assuring her and his mother that he was getting better. In his last letter, he complained about the way German women dressed.
Chekhov's death has become one of "the great set pieces of literary history," retold, embroidered, and fictionalised many times since, notably in the short story "Errand" by Raymond Carver. In 1908, Olga wrote this account of her husband's last moments:
Anton sat up unusually straight and said loudly and clearly (although he knew almost no German): Ich sterbe ("I'm dying"). The doctor calmed him, took a syringe, gave him an injection of camphor, and ordered champagne. Anton took a full glass, examined it, smiled at me and said: "It's a long time since I drank champagne." He drained it and lay quietly on his left side, and I just had time to run to him and lean across the bed and call to him, but he had stopped breathing and was sleeping peacefully as a child
Chekhov's body was transported to Moscow in a refrigerated railway car meant for oysters, a detail that offended Gorky. Some of the thousands of mourners followed the funeral procession of a General Keller by mistake, to the accompaniment of a military band. Chekhov was buried next to his father at the Novodevichy Cemetery.
Dune, 50 Years On: How a Science Fiction Novel Changed the World
By Hari Kunzru / The Guardian
In 1959, if you were walking the sand dunes near Florence, Oregon, you might have encountered a burly, bearded extrovert, striding about in Ray-Ban Aviators and practical army surplus clothing. Frank Herbert, a freelance writer with a feeling for ecology, was researching a magazine story about a US Department of Agriculture programme to stabilise the shifting sands by introducing European beach grass. Pushed by strong winds off the Pacific, the dunes moved eastwards, burying everything in their path. Herbert hired a Cessna light aircraft to survey the scene from the air. “These waves [of sand] can be every bit as devastating as a tidal wave … they’ve even caused deaths,” he wrote in a pitch to his agent. Above all he was intrigued by the idea that it might be possible to engineer an ecosystem, to green a hostile desert landscape.
About to turn 40, Herbert had been a working writer since the age of 19, and his fortunes had always been patchy. After a hard childhood in a small coastal community near Tacoma, Washington, where his pleasures had been fishing and messing about in boats, he’d worked for various regional newspapers in the Pacific northwest and sold short stories to magazines. He’d had a relatively easy war, serving eight months as a naval photographer before receiving a medical discharge. More recently he’d spent a weird interlude in Washington as a speechwriter for a Republican senator. There (his only significant time living on the east coast) he attended the daily Army-McCarthy hearings, watching his distant relative senator Joseph McCarthy root out communism. Herbert was a quintessential product of the libertarian culture of the Pacific coast, self-reliant and distrustful of centralised authority, yet with a mile-wide streak of utopian futurism and a concomitant willingness to experiment. He was also chronically broke. During the period he wrote Dune, his wife Beverly Ann was the main bread-winner, her own writing career sidelined by a job producing advertising copy for department stores.
Soon, Herbert’s research into dunes became research into deserts and desert cultures. It overpowered his article about the heroism of the men of the USDA (proposed title “They Stopped the Moving Sands”) and became two short SF novels, serialised in Analog Science Fact & Fiction, one of the more prestigious genre magazines. Unsatisfied, Herbert industriously reworked his two stories into a single, giant epic. The prevailing publishing wisdom of the time had it that SF readers liked their stories short. Dune (400 pages in its first hardcover edition, almost 900 in the paperback on my desk) was rejected by more than 20 houses before being accepted by Chilton, a Philadelphia operation known for trade and hobby magazines such as Motor Age, Jewelers’ Circular and the no-doubt-diverting Dry Goods Economist.
Though Dune won the Nebula and Hugo awards, the two most prestigious science fiction prizes, it was not an overnight commercial success. Its fanbase built through the 60s and 70s, circulating in squats, communes, labs and studios, anywhere where the idea of global transformation seemed attractive. Fifty years later it is considered by many to be the greatest novel in the SF canon, and has sold in millions around the world.
Dune is set in a far future, where warring noble houses are kept in line by a ruthless galactic emperor. As part of a Byzantine political intrigue, the noble duke Leto, head of the Homerically named House Atreides, is forced to move his household from their paradisiacal home planet of Caladan to the desert planet Arrakis, colloquially known as Dune. The climate on Dune is frighteningly hostile. Water is so scarce that whenever its inhabitants go outside, they must wear stillsuits, close-fitting garments that capture body moisture and recycle it for drinking.
The great enemy of House Atreides is House Harkonnen, a bunch of sybaritic no-goods who torture people for fun, and whose head, Baron Vladimir, is so obese that he has to use little anti-gravity “suspensors” as he moves around. The Harkonnens used to control Dune, which despite its awful climate and grubby desert nomad people, has incalculable strategic significance: its great southern desert is the only place in the galaxy where a fantastically valuable commodity called “melange” or “spice” is mined. Spice is a drug whose many useful properties include the induction of a kind of enhanced space-time perception in pilots of interstellar spacecraft. Without it, the entire communication and transport system of the Imperium will collapse. It is highly addictive, and has the side effect of turning the eye of the user a deep blue. Spice mining is dangerous, not just because of sandstorms and nomad attacks, but because the noise attracts giant sandworms, behemoths many hundreds of metres in length that travel through the dunes like whales through the ocean.
Have the Harkonnens really given up Dune, this source of fabulous riches? Of course not. Treachery and tragedy duly ensue, and young Paul survives a general bloodbath to go on the run in the hostile open desert, accompanied, unusually for an adventure story, by his mum. Paul is already showing signs of a kind of cosmic precociousness, and people suspect that he may even be the messiah figure foretold in ancient prophecies. His mother, Jessica, is an initiate of the great female powerbase in an otherwise patriarchal galactic order, a religious sisterhood called the Bene Gesserit. Witchy and psychically powerful, the sisters have engaged in millennia of eugenic programming, of which Paul may be the culmination.
This setup owes something to the Mars stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, as well as the tales written by Idaho-born food chemist Elmer Edward “Doc” Smith, creator of the popular Lensman space operas of the 1940s and 50s, in which eugenically bred heroes are initiated into a “galactic patrol” of psychically enhanced supercops. For Smith, altered states of consciousness were mainly tools for the whiteous and righteous to vaporise whole solar systems of subversives, aliens and others with undesirable traits. Herbert, by contrast, was no friend of big government. He had also taken peyote and read Jung. In 1960, a sailing buddy introduced him to the Zen thinker Alan Watts, who was living on a houseboat in Sausalito. Long conversations with Watts, the main conduit by which Zen was permeating the west-coast counterculture, helped turn Herbert’s pacy adventure story into an exploration of temporality, the limits of personal identity and the mind’s relationship to the body.
Every fantasy reflects the place and time that produced it. If The Lord of the Rings is about the rise of fascism and the trauma of the second world war, and Game of Thrones, with its cynical realpolitik and cast of precarious, entrepreneurial characters is a fairytale of neoliberalism, then Dune is the paradigmatic fantasy of the Age of Aquarius. Its concerns – environmental stress, human potential, altered states of consciousness and the developing countries’ revolution against imperialism – are blended together into an era-defining vision of personal and cosmic transformation.
Books read differently as the world reforms itself around them, and the Dune of 2015 has geopolitical echoes that it didn’t in 1965, before the oil crisis and 9/11. Remember that European beach grass binding together those shifting dunes? Paul Atreides is a young white man who fulfils a persistent colonial fantasy, that of becoming a God-king to a tribal people. Herbert’s portrayal of the “Fremen” (the clue’s in the name) owes much to TE Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger’s enthusiastic portrayals of the Bedouin of Arabia’s Empty Quarter. Fremen culture is described in words liberally cribbed from Arabic. They go on “razzia” raids, wear “aba” and “bourka” robes, fear a devil called “Shaitan” and so on. They are tough, proud and relatively egalitarian. The harshness of their environment has given them an ethic of fellowship and mutual aid. They are what Kipling would have termed “one of the martial races”: absolutely to be admired, possessing none of the negative “oriental” traits – deviousness, laziness and the like. They are, however, not carbon-copy Bedouin: Herbert freely mixes elements of Zen into their belief system, and also, intriguingly, suggests that their messianic eschatology – the sense in which they were “waiting” for Paul – may have been seeded in previous millennia by the Bene Gesserit order as part of its murky eugenic plans. Herbert, whose female characters are consistently strong and active, has also ditched the strict sexual divisions of actually existing Bedouin culture. Thus Fremen women do their share of fighting and fearlessly contradict their menfolk, though there is still a fair amount of child-bearing and housework to be done while the men are off riding worms.
What makes Dune more palatable than, say, the gruesome spectacle of a blonde-wigged Emilia Clarke carried aloft by ethnically indeterminate brown slaves in Game of Thrones, is the sincerity of Herbert’s identification with the Fremen. They are the moral centre of the book, not an ignorant mass to be civilised. Paul does not transform them in his image, but participates in their culture and is himself transformed into the prophet Muad’Dib. If Paul is one-part Lawrence of Arabia, leading his men on to Aqaba, he is also the Mahdi. Dune glosses this word as “in the Fremen messianic legend, The One Who Will Lead Us into Paradise”. In Islamic eschatology, the honorific Mahdi has a long and complex history. Various leaders have claimed or been given it. Most Shia identify the Mahdi with the 12th or Hidden Imam, who will imminently reveal himself and redeem the world. To the British, it will always be the name of the warrior prophet who swept through the Sudan in the 1880s, killing General Gordon on the steps of the palace in Khartoum and inspiring a thousand patriotic newspaper etchings. As Paul’s destiny becomes clear to him, he begins to have visions “of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad’Dib”. If Paul accepts this future, he will be responsible for “the jihad’s bloody swords”, unleashing a nomad war machine that will up-end the corrupt and oppressive rule of the emperor Shaddam IV (good) but will kill untold billions (not so good) in the process. In 2015, the story of a white prophet leading a blue-eyed brown-skinned horde of jihadis against a ruler called Shaddam produces a weird funhouse mirror effect, as if someone has jumbled up recent history and stuck the pieces back together in a different order.
After Dune was published, Herbert, the consummate freelancer, kept a lot of irons in the fire. He wrote about education for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and lectured at the University of Washington. In 1972, during the American push to extricate itself from the south-east Asian quagmire, he worked in Vietnam, part of a project called “Land to the Tiller”, aimed at cutting Viet Cong recruitment by enacting land reform. He built a family home on the Olympic peninsula which he thought of as an “ecological demonstration project”. He built his own solar collector, wind plant and methane fuel generator. In a 1981 interview he described himself a “technopeasant”. As the cult of Dune took off during the 1970s, he wrote a series of increasingly convoluted sequels, following Paul’s descendants as they fulfilled the cosmic destiny of the Atreides line. Since his death in 1986, his son and another writer have produced a further 13 books.
By rights, Dune ought to have become a big movie. An attempt by the visionary Chilean film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky to bring it to the screen became one of the great “what if” stories of SF cinema. Jodorowsky had extraordinary collaborators: visuals by Moebius and HR Giger, spaceships designed by the English illustrator Chris Foss. Orson Welles was to play Baron Harkonnen, Salvador Dali the Emperor. Pink Floyd and Magma were on board to do the soundtrack. But Jodorowsky’s prog-tastic project was strangled in the crib by risk-averse Hollywood producers. After a period of film industry bloodletting, David Lynch shot a version in 1984, only for Universal to release a cut that he hated so much he had his name removed from the credits. Lynch’s film is actually much better than its terrible reputation, but Sting in a codpiece and a Toto soundtrack will never match the potential greatness of Jodorowsky’s unmade epic.
Actually, the great Dune film did get made. Its name is Star Wars. In early drafts, this story of a desert planet, an evil emperor, and a boy with a galactic destiny also included warring noble houses and a princess guarding a shipment of something called “aura spice”. All manner of borrowings from Dune litter the Star Wars universe, from the Bene Gesserit-like mental powers of the Jedi to the mining and “moisture farming” on Tattooine. Herbert knew he’d been ripped off, and thought he saw the ideas of other SF writers in Lucas’s money-spinning franchise. He and a number of colleagues formed a joke organisation called the We’re Too Big to Sue George Lucas Society.
Though in his later years he enjoyed huge success, Herbert, the man who dreamed of greening the desert, had mixed feelings about the future. In Dune, he has Kynes, the “First Planetologist of Arrakis” (and hero of the novel’s first draft) muse that “beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.” Gloomy Malthusianism was much in vogue in the 1960s and 70s. In 1968 Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb became a runaway bestseller, predicting mass starvation unless population growth was restricted. The flip side of the green movement’s valorisation of small scale and self-reliance is an uneasy relationship with the masses, and with the idea of economic growth more generally. Herbert’s libertarian politics reinforced this worry. In Dune, Paul knows that if the desert planet is made to bloom, it will support a larger population, and the ethic of individualism will be eroded. He himself, as he is transformed from aristocrat to messiah, loses his individuality and begins to dissolve into myth, becoming part of a Jungian collective unconscious. But perhaps Herbert would take heart from the thought that history does not appear to be teleological and some long-term plans do not take on the character of destiny. Fifty years after Dune’s publication, the US Department of Agriculture is still at work on the Oregon Dunes, rooting out European beach grass, an “invasive non native species”. They want to return the dune processes to their natural state.
Shakespeare schoolroom to be restored
A building where William Shakespeare went to school and saw theatre performances is to be restored thanks to a £1.4m lottery grant.
The Guildhall, which dates back to 1420, at King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon, includes his schoolroom and a theatre.
The project includes repairing the timber structure and conserving medieval paintings.
Work is scheduled to end in April 2016, 400 years after Shakespeare's death.
It will include upgrading the heating system and installing an accessible toilet and a lift.
The Guildhall, not far from Shakespeare's birthplace, was where he saw some of his first theatre performances, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) said.
It is still used for teaching every day, but the project will allow children from Coventry and Birmingham to have a lesson where Shakespeare once sat.
Under the initiative, there will also be creative writing sessions for members of the public at the Guildhall, along with lessons for children in a Tudor style, interactive displays and performances being shown on screens.
Head of HLF West Midlands Reyahn King said: "This project will enable the wider public and tourists from around the world to sit where Shakespeare sat and gain an insight into the world which helped inspire him to become the world's greatest playwright."
The school, known to have been in existence from 1295, is a state-funded academy trust selective school for boys.
The Guildhall has also been used as a base for Stratford borough council.
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When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone
When one has lived a long time alone
one refrains from swatting the fly
and lets him go, and one hesitates to strike
the mosquito, though more than willing go slap
the flesh under her, and one lifts the toad
from the pit too deep for him to hop out of
and carries him to the grass, without minding
the toxic urine he slicks his body with,
and one envelops, in a towel, the swift
who fell down the chimney and knocks herself
against the window glass and releases her outside
and watches her fly free, a life line flung at reality,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
one grabs the snake behind the head
and holds him until he stops trying to stick
the orange tongue, which splits at the end
into two black filaments and jumps out
like a fire-eater's belches and has little
in common with the pimpled pink lump that shapes
sounds and sleeps inside the human mouth,
into one's flesh, and clamps it between his jaws,
letting the gaudy tips show, as children do
when concentrating, and as very likely
one down oneself, without knowing it,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
among regrets so immense the past occupies
nearly all the room there is in consciousness,
one notices in the snake's eyes, which look back
without paying less attention to the future,
the first coating of the opaque milky-blue
leucoma snakes to get when about to throw
their skins and become new––meanwhile continuing,
of course, to grow old––the exact bleu passé
that discolors the corneas of the blue-eyed
when they lie back at last and look for heaven,
a blurring one can see means they will never find it,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
one holds the snake near a loudspeaker disgorging
gorgeous sound and watches him crook
his forepart into four right angles
as though trying to slow down the music
flowing through him, in order to absorb it
the milk of paradise into the flesh,
and now a glimmering appears at his mouth,
such a drop of intense fluid as, among humans,
could form after long exiting at the tip
of the the penis, and as he straightens himself out
he has the pathos one finds in the penis,
when one has loved a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
one can fall to poring upon a creature,
contrasting its eternity's-face to one's own
full of hours, taking note of each difference,
exaggerating it, making it everything,
until the other is utterly other, and then,
with hard effort, possibly with tongue sticking out,
going back over each one once again
and cancelling it, seeing nothing now
but likeness, until . . . half an hour later
one starts awake, taken aback at how eagerly
one swoons into the happiness of kinship,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone
and listens at morning to mourning doves
sound their kyrie eleison, or the small thing
spiritualizing onto one's shoulder cry "pewit-phoebe!"
or peabody-sparrows at midday send schoolboys'
whistlings across the field, or at dusk, undamped,
unforgiving clinks, as from stonemasons' chisels,
or on trees' backs tree frogs scratch the thighs'
needfire awake, or from the frog pond pond frogs
raise their ave verum corpus—listens to those
who hop or fly call down upon us the mercy
of other tongues—one hears them as inner voices,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
one knows only consciousness consummates,
and as the conscious one among these others
uttering compulsory cries of being here—
the least flycatcher witching up "che-bec,"
or redheaded woodpecker clanging out his
music from a metal drainpipe, or ruffed grouse
drumming "thump thrump thrump thrump-thrump-
through the treees, all of them in time's
unfolding trying to cry themselves into self-knowing—
one knows one is here to hear them into shining,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has loved a long time alone,
one likes alike the pig, who brooks no deferment
of gratification, and the porcupine, or thorned pig,
who enters the cellar but not the house itself
because of eating down the cellar stairs on the way up,
and one likes the worm, who by bunching herself together
and expanding rubs her way through the ground,
no less than the butterfly, who totters full of worry
among the day-lilies, as they darken,
and more and more one finds one likes
any other species better than one's own,
which has gone amok, making one self-estranged,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
sour, misanthropic, one fits to one's defiance
the satanic boast—It is better to reign
in hell than to submit on earth—
and forgets one's kind, as does the snake,
who has stopped trying to escape and moves
at ease across one's body, slumping into its contours,
adopting its temperature, and abandons hope
of the sweetness of friendship or love
—before long can barely remember what they are—
and covets the stillness in organic matter,
in a self-dissolution one may not know how to halt,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has loved a long time alone,
and the hermit thrush calls and there is an answer,
and the bullfrog, head half out of water, remembers
the exact sexual cantillations of his first spring,
and the snake slides over the threshold and disappears
among the stones, one sees they all live
to mate with their kind, and one knows,
after a long time of solitude, after the many steps taken
away from one's kind, toward the kingdom of strangers,
the hard prayer inside one's own singing
is to come back, if one can, to one's own,
a world almost lost, in the exile that deepens,
when one has lived a long time alone.
When one has lived a long time alone,
one wants to live again among men and women,
to return to that place where one's ties with the human
broke, where the disquiet of death and now
also of history glimmers its firelight on faces,
where the gaze of the new baby looks past the gaze
of the great-granny, and where lovers speak,
on lips blowsy from kissing, that language
the same in each mouth, and like birds at daybreak
blether the song that is both earth's and heaven's,
until the sun has risen, and they stand
in a light of being united: kingdom come,
when one has lived a long time alone.
Galway Kinnell (February 1, 1927 – October 28, 2014) was a poet. For his 1982 Selected Poems he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and split the National Book Award for Poetry with Charles Wright. From 1989 to 1993 he was poet laureate for the state of Vermont.
An admitted follower of Walt Whitman, Kinnell rejects the idea of seeking fulfillment by escaping into the imaginary world. His best-loved and most anthologized poems are "St. Francis and the Sow" and "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps".
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Kinnell said that as a youth he was turned on to poetry by Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson, drawn to both the musical appeal of their poetry and the idea that they led solitary lives. The allure of the language spoke to what he describes as the homogeneous feel of his hometown, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He has also described himself as an introvert during his childhood.
Kinnell studied at Princeton University, graduating in 1948 alongside friend and fellow poet W.S. Merwin. He received his master of arts degree from the University of Rochester.
He traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, and went to Paris on a Fulbright Fellowship. During the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States caught his attention. Upon returning to the US, he joined CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and worked on voter registration and workplace integration in Hammond, Louisiana. This effort got him arrested.
In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. Kinnell draws upon both his involvement with the civil rights movement and his experiences protesting against the Vietnam War in his book-long poem The Book of Nightmares.
Kinnell was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University and a Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets. As of 2011 he was retired and resided at his home in Vermont until his death in October 2014 from leukemia.
While much of Kinnell's work seems to deal with social issues, it is by no means confined to one subject. Some critics have pointed to the spiritual dimensions of his poetry, as well as the nature imagery present throughout his work.
“The Fundamental Project of Technology” deals with all three of those elements, creating an eerie, chant-like and surreal exploration of the horrors atomic weapons inflict on humanity and nature. Sometimes Kinnell utilizes simple and brutal images (“Lieutenant! / This corpse will not stop burning!” from “The Dead Shall be Raised Incorruptible”) to address his anger at the destructiveness of humanity, informed by Kinnell’s activism and love of nature. There’s also a certain sadness in all of the horror—“Nobody would write poetry if the world seemed perfect.” There’s also optimism and beauty in his quiet, ponderous language, especially in the large role animals and children have in his later work (“Other animals are angels. Human babies are angels”), evident in poems such as “Daybreak” and “After Making Love We Hear Footsteps”.
In addition to his works of poetry and his translations, Kinnell published one novel (Black Light, 1966) and one children's book (How the Alligator Missed Breakfast, 1982).
Kinnell wrote two elegies for his close friend, the poet James Wright, upon the latter's death in 1980. They appear in From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright.
I’m trying to teach myself Spanish and this is what I learned today.....................
Opuesto (oh-pwehs'-toh) opposite, opposing
1. Si veo una cucaracha, salgo disparado en la dirección opuesta.
If I see a cockroach, I run off in the opposite direction.
2. Cuando le pregunté a los niños quién había roto el florero, me contaron historias opuestas.
When I asked the kids who had broken the vase, they told me opposing stories.
Ir de acampada: to go camping
Example sentence: De pequeño solía ir de acampada.
Sentence meaning: I used to go camping as a child.
Suave (swah'-veh) soft, smooth; gentle
1. Nos acabamos de comprar unas sábanas muy suaves de algodón egipcio.
We just bought some very soft sheets of Egyptian cotton.
2. El preparador le habló en voz suave al caballo para calmarlo.
The trainer spoke to the horse in a gentle voice to calm him.
Corresponder: to match
Example sentence: Su versión de los hechos no corresponde a la realidad.
Sentence meaning: Her version of the events does not match up with the truth.
Bailar (bi-lahr') to dance
1. En Venezuela se baila el joropo el cinco de julio para celebrar la independencia del país.
They dance the joropo in Venezuela on the fifth of July to celebrate the country's independence.
2. Aunque estaba prohibido, Ren le enseñó a su amigo Willard cómo bailar.
Although it was prohibited, Ren taught his friend Willard how to dance.
Example sentence: La mayoría de esta población es indigente.
Sentence meaning: The majority of the population is destitute
Example sentence: Este libro se llama "El barbero de Sevilla".
Sentence meaning: This book is called "The Barber of Seville
Doler (doh-lehr') to hurt
1. Los músculos siempre me duelen a dos días de haber hecho ejercicio.
My muscles always hurt two days after having worked out.
2. Tengo que ir a recoger a mi hijo de la escuela porque le duele el estómago.
I have to go pick up my son from school because his stomach hurts.
Example sentence: Viven en el campo.
Sentence meaning: They live in the countryside
El abogado (ah-boh-gah'-doh) attorney, lawyer
1. Mi mejor amigo de la universidad es abogado.
My best friend from college is a lawyer.
2.¿Cuánto dinero gana una abogada al año?
How much money does an attorney make in a year?
Sombrío (sohm-bree'-oh) dark; gloomy, somber
1. Mi oficina no tiene ventanas y es tan sombría.
My office doesn't have windows and is so dark.
2. El gobierno publicó un sombrío pronóstico para la economía esta mañana.
The government published a gloomy outlook for the economy this
Example sentence: Fracasó en su intento de batir el récord mundial.
Sentence meaning: He failed in his attempt to beat the world record.
La leche (leh'-cheh) milk
1.¿Has probado la leche de cabra?
Have you tasted goat's milk?
2. He oído decir que la leche de almendra es más saludable que la leche de vaca.
I've heard that almond milk is healthier than cow's milk.
Conservatorio: music academy
Example sentence: Empezó a estudiar en el conservatorio de Viena.
Sentence meaning: He started to study at the music academy in Vienna.
Enterrado (ehn-teh-rrah'-doh) buried
1. Nuestra primera carpa dorada está enterrada en el patio.
Our first goldfish is buried in the backyard.
2. Se dice que en esta isla hay tesoro enterrado.
They say that there's buried treasure on this island.
Gritar (gree-tahr' ) to scream, to shout
1.¿Por qué a los niños les gusta tanto correr en círculos y gritar?
Why do kids love running around in circles and screaming so much?
2. Estuvimos gritando el nombre de nuestro jugador favorito y finalmente nos saludó.
We were shouting our favorite player's name and he finally waved at
Example sentence: La verdadera maldición es la ignorancia.
Sentence meaning: The real curse is the ignorance
Empujar (ehm-poo-hahr') to push, to shove
1. Empuja la puerta para abrirla. No jales.
Push the door to open it. Don't pull.
2. Por última vez, ¡no empujes a tu hermana!
For the last time, don't push your sister!
Empezar: to start
Example sentence: Que empiece la fiesta.
Sentence meaning: Let's get this party started.
Aconsejar: to advise
Example sentence: La ha aconsejado cómo cuidar a su bebé.
Sentence meaning: She advised her how to take care of her baby.
Stringent \STRIN-junt\ 1 : tight, constricted 2 : marked by rigor, strictness, or severity 3 : marked by money scarcity and credit strictness
Words that are synonymous with stringent include rigid, which implies uncompromising inflexibility ("rigid rules of conduct"), and rigorous, which suggests hardship and difficulty ("the rigorous training of firefighters"). Also closely related is strict, which emphasizes undeviating conformity to rules, standards, or requirements ("strict enforcement of the law"). Stringent usually involves severe, tight restrictions or limitations ("the college has stringent admissions rules"). That's logical. After all, rigorous and rigid are both derived from rigēre, the Latin word meaning "to be stiff," and stringent and strict developed from the Latin verb stringere, meaning "to bind tight."
Limpid (LIM-pid) 1.Clear; transparent.2. Easily comprehensible; clear. 3. Calm; serene. From Latin limpidus (clear). Earliest documented use: 1609.
Bespoke (bi-SPOHK) 1. Custom-made.2. Relating to custom-made products. Shortening of bespoken, past participle of bespeak (to speak for, to arrange), from Old English besprecan (to speak about).
Accidence (AK-si-dens) 1. The fundamentals of any subject. 2. The branch of grammar dealing with inflections of words. 3. A book of fundamentals of a subject. From Latin accidentia (from Latin accidens), from accidere (to happen), from ad- (toward) + cadere (to fall). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kad- (to fall), which is also the source of cadence, cascade, casualty, cadaver, chance, chute, accident, occident, decay, recidivism, perchance, casuistry.
Categorical (kat-uh-GOR-ih-kul) 1: absolute, unqualified 2:of, relating to, or constituting a category. The ancestor of categorical and category has been important in logic and philosophy since the days of Aristotle. Both English words derive from Greek katēgoria, which Aristotle used to name the 10 fundamental classes (also called "predications" or "assertions") of terms, things, or ideas into which he felt human knowledge could be organized. Ironically, although those categories and things categorical are supposed to be absolute and fundamental, philosophers have long argued about the number and type of categories that exist and their role in understanding the world. High-level philosophical disputes aside, the word categorical continues to refer to an absolute assertion, one that involves no conditions or hypotheses (for example, the statement "all humans are mortal").
Fardel: (FAHR-dl) 1. A bundle. 2. A burden. From Old French fardel, diminutive of farde (package, burden), from Arabic farda (piece, pack). Earliest documented use: 1300.
Ramble (RAM-buhl) 1. To talk in an aimless manner. 2. To walk in an aimless manner. A leisurely, sometimes lengthy walk.Probably from Middle Dutch rammelen (to wander about in heat, used of animals). Earliest documented use: 1443.
Apprehension \ap-rih-HEN-shun\ a : the act or power of perceiving or comprehending b : the result of apprehending mentally : conception 2 : seizure by legal process : arrest 3 : suspicion or fear especially of future evil : foreboding The Latin verb prehendere really grabs our attention. It means "to grasp" or "to seize," and it is an ancestor of various English words. It teamed up with the prefix ad- (which takes the form ap- before p and means "to," "toward," or "near") to form apprehendere, the Latin predecessor of our words apprehension, apprehend, and apprehensive. When prehendere joined the prefix com- ("with," "together," "jointly"), Latin got comprehendere, and English eventually got comprehend, comprehension, and comprehensive. Prehendere also gave us the words comprise, prehensile ("adapted for seizing or grasping"), prison, reprehend, and reprise, among others.
Sorb 1To take up and hold by absorption. 2. To take up and hold by adsorption. Back-formation from absorb, from Latin absorbere, from ab- (away) + sorbere (to suck). Earliest documented use: 1909.
Waddy \WAH-dee\ cowboy. Evidence suggests that waddy originally referred to a cattle rustler, a usage that wouldn't support the wadding theory. There is also an Australian waddy meaning "stick" or "club," but definitive evidence of a connection between the Australian and American words remains elusive. All researchers can say with certainty is that waddy has been used to refer to a cowboy since at least the late 19th century.
Eviscerate 1. To remove the entrails; to disembowel.2. To deprive of essential parts; to weaken or to destroy. From Latin eviscerare (to disembowel), from ex- (out) + viscera (internal organs), plural of Latin viscus (flesh, internal organ).
Futile \FYOO-tul\ : serving no useful purpose : completely ineffective :occupied with trifles : frivolous. Futile floated into the English language in the mid-16th century from Middle French, where it took shape from the Latin adjective futilis, meaning "that easily pours out" or "leaky." That leak of information lets you in on how futile developed its "ineffective" and "frivolous" meanings: things that are leaky are of no use. In 1827, English author Robert Southey found use for the word by blending it into utilitarian to form futilitarian, a word that is used today for anyone who believes that human striving is futile.
Splenetic (spli-NET-ik) Bad-tempered; spiteful. From spleen, from French esplen, from Latin splen, from Greek splen. In earlier times it was believed that four humors controlled human behavior and an imbalance resulted in disease. According to this thinking an excess of black bile secreted by the spleen resulted in melancholy or ill humor. Also, the spleen was considered to be the seat of emotions. To vent one's spleen was to vent one's anger.
Enervate (EN-uhr-vayt, adj.: i-NUHR-vit) : To deprive of strength or vitality. Deprived of strength; Weakened. From Latin enervare (to weaken), from ex- (out) + nervus (sinew).
When America's Librarians Went To War
American Library Association volunteers in Paris on Feb. 27, 1919. Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives hide caption
itoggle caption Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives
Looking back at the nationwide support for American troops in the two world wars, we see Americans of all stripes making patriotic contributions and sacrifices — including farmers, factory workers and librarians.
Wait. What? How did librarians fit in to national security in the 20th century? In an array of ways, says Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association. Libraries were established at hospitals and military bases.
"In both wars, librarians back at home or on the front were key in collecting and distributing books to soldiers," Bertram says. "During World War I, librarians maintained camp and hospital libraries," and in both world wars, "librarians promoted books drives and encouraged donations."
Librarians were especially active during World War I. The ALA reports that between 1917 and 1920, its Library War Service established three dozen camp libraries with the support of the Carnegie Corporation and raised $5 million in public contributions. Special uniforms were created for librarians in World War I. The American Library in Paris — established in 1920 by the ALA and American expatriates, and seeded with books from the LWS — continues to this day.
On the homefront, libraries solicited books for the troops in both conflicts. During the First World War, the ALA and other organizations collected more than 10 million volumes, Bertram says. And during the Second World War more than 17 million books were gathered through the Victory Book Campaign.
Librarians volunteered to sort the books before they were shipped, Bertram says, "often weeding out books that were in poor condition or books that were not suitable for fighting young men, such as children's books and gardening books."
The books that did make it into the hands of the troops, she says, boosted morale, provided connections to people back home and offered technical guidance.
She adds that the books from home were therapeutic for those convalescing in hospitals, "helping them to get over physical and emotional pain." And certain books helped to alleviate homesickness, chase away boredom and provide training to those who wanted to land jobs when they returned home.
In the Second World War, American libraries became centers for public information and technical education. In her 2012 book Books and Libraries in American Society During World War II, Patti Clayton Becker points out that some Army bases and USO clubs featured libraries. But public libraries also served as magnets for military members.
In Lake Charles, La., she writes, several dozen servicemen used the library often to polish up on mathematics and economics. The Chicago Public Library created a special Servicemen's Center — run by volunteers — with 5,000 books. And other libraries provided music and local tourist information to visiting troops.
A glance at one of the pro-U.S. posters from World War II provides one more way that librarians and books aided in the war effort. "Books are Weapons in the War on Ideas," it says, referring to the burning of books by the Nazis. Quoting Franklin Roosevelt, the poster notes: "No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man's eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons."
And librarians are the weapons experts.
Books in the War: the Romance of Library Service by Theodore Wesley Koch
Library History Buff
When Books Went To War by Molly Guptill Manning
Universal Basic Income—The Foundation of a Technically Advanced Society
By Nicole Sallak Anderson
The 2016 Presidential elections are well underway. As usual, many topics will be discussed, but there are many other important policies that will be left untouched. The scripted, binary world of American Politics leaves out much of importance during its process, preferring instead to emphasize fear tactics as a means of garnering votes.
One of the more important issues on the table for me is Universal Basic Income. This is not welfare, or assistance, or social security. This is a guarantee that every single human being in our society has shelter, food and health care. UBI is a call to finally use our technology to provide the most basic needs to all our citizens.
It isn’t altruism that drives me to the viewpoint that human life is important enough to protect. It’s pragmatism, and I believe that futurists need to consider UBI as an important step to achieving a more prosperous and technologically advanced society.
Welfare Isn’t Only For the Poor
The system of welfare, social security and other social support systems that we currently employ are based on the desire for those who have, to lord over those who don’t. Layers upon layers of administration exists for the sole purpose of deciding who is worthy of support, who is actually needy enough, and who can be given help. Each year we heap on more requirements, the most recent being restrictions on buying steak and salmon with food stamps. This behavior is inherently childish. It supposes that some of us are better than others.
Here’s a very simple suggestion: what if we got rid of EVERY safety net, from SNAP to Social Security to Unemployment, and pooled that money together to create a guaranteed minimum income of $30,000 to be paid to every living American, eighteen and older. In addition, we cut our military spending and add that money to the pool as well.
Now many will say, $30K!!! That’s outrageous. But remember, one war in Iraq has cost us TRILLIONS, so please don’t say we don’t have enough money. In addition, all the administrative costs of lording over the current assistance programs, i.e. deciding who is worthy of help, go away. Now there are only two qualifications for receiving assistance: Are you alive? Are you over 18? Done.
This is for everyone. Hillary’s grandchildren will get $30K a year as well as the immigrant’s child. ALL are worthy of welfare, not just the poor or elderly. All of us are worthy of food, shelter and health care. And this $30K will cover that, if you’re frugal.
Look up the word, welfare, in the thesaurus and see the many synonyms: well-being, abundance, euphoria, contentment, thriving. Who doesn’t deserve this?
Universal Basic Income Allows Freedom
So now, at 18, you get $30K a year, for the rest of your life. The government has no say in how you spend it, or what you do with it. However, $30K will not get you a Tesla, or an apartment in Silicon Valley, or NYC. Here’s where the freedom lies; Capitalism still exists. You want to live a more opulent life, then use the money to go to college and become a software engineer, or doctor, or financial wizard. There’s no stopping you. Earn as much as you want, continue with business as usual. This isn’t socialism, this isn’t a mandatory maximum wage, rather it’s a guarantee. The sky’s the limit. Go be Elon Musk if you want. Or drop out of college and invent the next big thing. More power to you. With everyone now fed and sheltered, the market place demand for your product has grown.
UBI would also open the door to tax reform and simplification. The first $30K earned each year is NOT taxed, regardless of your total income or net worth. Anything you make above that, whether in wages or investments, is taxed at a simple rate across the board. Consumption taxes on luxury goods can also be considered.
Most importantly for futurists: UBI will allow technological advancement. When a farmer is guaranteed a basic income to pay her bills, she might be more willing to try a new sort of crop and take the economic hit a few years. Or when fast-food workers are replaced by robots, they can still thrive while figuring out their next step. Experts suggest that within 20 years, robots will replace 40% of our jobs. (Yes, each of the highlighted words in that sentence link to an article about the robot revolution that’s coming.) This is great for efficiency and technology, but not for humans if we don’t have any way of making an income. This means that many industries will AVOID technical advancement, rather than embrace it, because of the fear of losing their jobs and their livelihood. Take that risk away and watch the world change from one where many go hungry to one of abundance and health.
What Would You Do?
Many people fear that giving money away to others will support those “bad” people, like stoners, unwed mothers, and immigrants (Their words, not mine.) I hear this argument all the time. To me, UBI is about supporting humanity, plain and simple. We’ve been on this abundant planet long enough, the time has come to make it a good, safe and clean home for everyone. A guaranteed minimum income frees us from the fear of failure, and gives all of us a chance to start again, over and over, throughout our lives. Our tit-for-tat way of dealing with one another is only getting in our way and slowing us down.
Rather than fear what others would do with the money, let me ask you this, what would YOU do with a guaranteed minimum income of $30K a year? Would you:
Raise a child?
Care for an elderly relative?
Start a new business?
Go to college?
Get your PhD?
Paint beautiful scenes on hospital walls?
Write that screenplay?
Direct that documentary?
Leave your abusive spouse?
Tutor children in math?
Retire and raise goats?
Live simply in a tiny home?
Form a band?
Invent new technologies?
Work in the Open Source Movement?
Run for political office?
There are approximately 244,673,000 adults in the US, which means that this question really over two million answers, for each of us has our own desires, needs and wants.
While the Democrats and Republicans are sure to leave UBI out of their discussions, there are many third-party initiatives that include it as important. The Green Party is one. In an article, Transhumanist Party founder and first presidential candidate, Zoltan Istvan, mentioned many futurist parties that include some form of UBI in their platform. They have to, for their futuristic goals are held hostage until we can change our economic policies from scarcity to abundance thinking. This is the thinking that made Silicon Valley. UBI completes the promise. Futurists looking to learn more about UBI should read Marshall Brain’s write up in IEET.
Lastly, dear Libertarians, you too can find UBI as part of the freedom you desire. Matt Zwolinski’s article on Cato Unbound is an excellent source for actual numbers and the effectiveness of a guaranteed basic income. Check it out and start thinking about what you would do with $30K a year.
Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”
THE BOOK OF FUNNY, ODD AND INTERESTING THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAY
John William Tuohy
Funny Facebook Status Updates
Be nice to the ones who smoke.. every cigarette might be their last.
God created the earth, God created the woods
God created you too, but yes, even God makes mistakes!
Do not disturb, I am enough disturbed as it is....
Only once in a lifetime will you get someone with whom you will like to spend your time, love to share your smiles & talk. Until then, manage with your spouse.
There should be a limit on the number of frogs you have to kiss before you find your prince. Too many frogs are having fun!
Corporates are really funny... they keep talking about team work and then seek individual credit in a team.
..... is trying to decide if she has an attitude problem today, or not.
..... is thinking it's funny how, when people talk to God, it's called prayer. When God talks back, it's called schizophrenia !!!
I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up.
...... you know you need to get a life when you've just spent half an hour compulsively rearranging your trees in Farmville.
Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.
...... if at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving probably isn’t for you.
I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.
If someone throws a stone at you, throw back a flower, but make sure that the flower is still in the pot.
used to be a werewolf, but I'm alright nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
One day your prince will come. Mine just took a wrong turn, got lost and is too stubborn to ask for directions.
...... says in about 50 years from now, tombstones will read 'Beloved Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, and Facebook friend
Dismayed! I don't even know how to spell anymore. I type the 1st half of the word and wait for auto correct to do the rest.
Some people get so upset when you delete them from your fb friends list. What is the big deal it's not like we're real friends and hang out everyday.
"...... is proud of himself. He finished a jigsaw puzzle in 6 months and the box said 2-4 years."
".. thinks copy & paste is the greatest invention ever thinks copy & paste is the greatest invention ever thinks copy & paste is the greatest…"
"You can have everything in life u want, if u will just help enough other people get what they want."
".....is a nobody, nobody is perfect, therefore I’m perfect."
"Men are like parking spots, the good ones are taken and the free ones are handicapped."
"Insert coin to view my status message"
"I always try to go the extra mile at work, but my boss always finds me and brings me back."
"loves poetry, long walks and poking dead things with a stick."
"....is OCD and gathering her thoughts in alphabetical order…"
"I am so ecstatic but why is it nothing sticking to me?"
"Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them, but you know they are always there..."
"Always give 100% at work: 12% Monday, 23% Tuesday, 40% Wednesday, 20% Thursday, 5% Friday"
"........….understands that hard work has a future payoff but Laziness pays off now. "
"….not for everyone. Clinical tests show that he may cause nausea, fatigue, and kidney or liver problems. Ask your doctor if he is right for you."
"….master of his domain."
"is still wondering why they make flavored shampoo, I've tasted them all and they make my mouth all bubbly. "
"....is thinking: Nothing is quite so annoying as to have someone go right on talking when you're interrupting! "
"A male gynecologist is like an auto mechanic who never owned a car!"
"My words are lyk a china phone...they have no guarantee!"
".......death is hereditary(u like it or not)..blame it on the grannies!"
"When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always! "
"I don’t believe in the easy way out, but rather the smarter way out… "
"I am so sick of speaking words that no one seems to understand."
"Sometimes, not remembering may be better."
"The greatest thing about Facebook, is that you can quote something and totally make up the source." – George Washington
"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."
"Don't play stupid with me... I'm better at it!"
"...... is reading a book called "The Perfect Man". She found it in the fiction section."
"........is such a thrill seeker, when I see a ‘Caution, Wet Floor’ sign, I walk faster."
"is wondering when people will learn... The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on Facebook!"
"I have got the best business idea of 2009....i am going to start Facebook rehab centers throughout country."
"Third person never creates misunderstanding between two people...but misunderstanding between two people create space for third person...!!!!"
Architecture for the blog of it
Art for the Blog of It
Art for the Pop of it
Photography for the blog of it
Music for the Blog of it
Sculpture this and Sculpture that
The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)
Album Art (Photographic arts)
Pulp Fiction Trash (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)
Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)
The Godfather Trilogy BlogSpot
On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)
Good chowda (New England foods)
Old New England Recipes (Book support site)
And I Love Clams (New England foods)
In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener (New England foods)
Wicked Cool New England Recipes (New England foods)
Old New England Recipes (New England foods)
Foster Care new and Updates
Aging out of the system
Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system
Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System
The Foster Children’s Blogs
Foster Care Legislation
The Foster Children’s Bill of Right
Foster Kids own Story
The Adventures of Foster Kid.
Me vs. Diabetes (Diabetes education site)
The Quotable Helen Keller
Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to his children (Book support site)
The Quotable Machiavelli (Book support site)
Whatever you do, don't laugh
The Quotable Grouch Marx
A Big Blog of Irish Literature
The Wee Blog of Irish Jokes (Book support blog)
The Wee Blog of Irish Recipes
The Irish American Gangster
The Irish in their Own Words
When Washington Was Irish
The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)
The Blogable Robert Frost
The Beat Poets of the Forever Generation
Holden Caulfield Blog Spot
The Quotable Oscar Wilde
NEW ENGLAND BLOGS
The Quotable Thoreau
Old New England Recipes
Wicked Cool New England Recipes
The New England Mafia
And I Love Clams
In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener
The Connecticut History Blog
The Connecticut Irish
God, How I hated the 70s
Child of the Sixties Forever
The Kennedy’s in the 60’s
Music of the Sixties Forever
Elvis and Nixon at the White House (Book support site)
Beatles Fan Forever
Year One, 1955
Robert Kennedy in His Own Words
The 1980s were fun
The 1990s. The last decade.
The Russian Mafia
The American Jewish Gangster
The Mob in Hollywood
We Only Kill Each Other
Early Gangsters of New York City
Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man
The Life and World of Al Capone
The Salerno Report
Guns and Glamour
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Recipes we would Die For
The Prohibition in Pictures
The Mob in Pictures
The Mob in Vegas
The Irish American Gangster
Roger Touhy Gangster
Chicago’s Mob Bosses
Chicago Gang Land: It Happened Here
Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland
The Mob Across America
Mob Cops, Lawyers and Front Men
Shooting the Mob: Dutch Schultz
Bugsy& His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill
After Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate on Organized Crime
Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee (Book support site)
The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)
The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings (Book support site)
Joe Valachi's testimony on the Mafia (Book support site)
Mobsters in the News
Shooting the Mob: Dead Mobsters (Book support site)
The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)
Mobsters in Black and White
Mafia Gangsters, Wiseguys and Goodfellas
Whacked: One Hundred Years of Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Mob (Book support site)
Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal (Book support site)
The Best of the Mob Files Series (Book support site)
It’s All Greek Mythology to me
The Rarifieid Tribe
The Upscale Traveler
The Mish Mosh Blog
DC Behind the Monuments
When Washington Was Irish