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Clownin'

Remembering Myself, Travestying Time…and Phonying towards Perfection

Surprise!

Rainy day. Curious visitors in the store-room.

Photograph. Samsung Galaxy Prime J5

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Quote #108

“Teachers lived in their own cosy little world. They wouldn’t last five minutes outside the classroom. Why wouldn’t they? They knew nowt. They thought it was marvellous if somebody passed their exams and got on to one of the slave-labour schemes.”

Border Crossing. Pat Barker.

Quote #107

M. Adam and his fellow apothecaries sold Perpetual Pills of metallic antimony. These were swallowed, irritated the mucous membrane as they passed through the intestine, thus acting as a purgative, and could be recovered from the chamber pot, washed and used again, indefinitely. After the first capital outlay, there was no further need for spending money on cathartics. [….] Perpetual Pills were treated as heirlooms and after passing through one generation were passed on to the next.

(On 17th century France)

Aldous Huxley. The Devils of Loudun. 1952.

Quote #106

Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and strong.

(So it is with) all things.

Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.

Tao te ching. Lao Tzu.

Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 7: Lombroso and the Art of Spotting Uggos

When Cesare Lombroso, the 19th century Italian, the “father of criminal anthropology”, made the astounding statement that you could measure criminality based on a person’s looks, the world (his world) rolled on to its side, clutching its stomach, peeling with laughter. A person’s head was the repository of malignant, murderous secrets, secrets which could be excavated without prying open his skull but merely by looking. Among the telltale signs of the criminal were the enormous jaw, large ears, thin upper lip, tattooing, gambling, idling, and so forth.

Lombroso faced ridicule and opposition from various quarters of academia, explicitly on grounds of the pseudoscientific footing, obviously subjective data collection, and prejudicial assumptions, although secretly they worried about the Lombrosian yardstick of perfect form. The critics feared, with sufficient cause, that they themselves were not exempt from censure when it came to looks.

Continue reading “Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 7: Lombroso and the Art of Spotting Uggos”

Quote #105

Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glanirbhavati suvrata |
Abhyutthānamadharmasya tadā prakrtisambhavah ||

O keeper of righteous vows, remember this,
Whenever dharma is in decline,
Or there is an upsurge of adharma;
The Sacred Feminine will incarnate.

Adbhuta Rāmāyana. Epigraph, Sita: Warrior of Mithila, Amish

Quote #104

The end of the twentieth century, therefore, will probably see a generation to whom it will not be injurious to read a dozen square yards of newspapers daily, to be constantly called to the telephone, to be thinking simultaneously of the five continents of the world, to live half their time in a railway carriage or in a flying machine … It will know how to find its ease in the midst of a city inhabited by millions …

Max Simon Nordau. Degeneration. 1895.

Expecting Familiar Humans

My first snapshot of an animate being other than trees, trees, and trees. This dog is a crazily cheerful stray, never takes offense, follows random people around for no reason, and has a permanently lopsided ear.

Quote #103

Zina took him for a walk on the lead along Obukhov Alley and the dog burnt with shame as he walked like some felon under arrest but, by the time he had walked the length of Prechistenka as far as the Church of Christ the Saviour, he realised what a collar meant in a dog’s life. Furious envy was clearly to be seen in the eyes of all the curs they encountered and at Myortvy Alley, a lanky stray who’d lost part of his tail barked ferociously, calling him a “bloody aristo” and a “boot-licker”.

Mikhail Bulgakov. The Heart of a Dog. 1925.

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