August 23, 2017

Travels in My Homeland (Almeida Garrett)

Excerpts from: Almeida Garrett, Travels in My Homeland (Viagens na minha terra, 1846)

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No – go to the Devil, you generation of steam and pottery; macadamize roads; make railways; build flying machines, like Icarus, to cover faster and faster the numbered hours of this material, coarse and humdrum life that you have made of the one God gave us, which was so different from the way we live today. Go on, money-grubbers, go on! Reduce everything to figures, reduce all the considerations of this world to equations of material interest: buy, sell, speculate. At the end of it all, what profit will there have been for the human species? A few dozen more rich men. I ask the political economists and the moralists if they have calculated the number of individuals who must be condemned to misery, to excessive labour, to depravity, to villainy, to wanton ignorance, to insurmountable wretchedness, to absolute poverty, in order to produce one rich man. The British parliament should be able to tell them, after so many commissions of inquiry there, they must have computed the number of souls that must be sold to the Devil and the number of bodies that must be delivered before their time to the cemetery to make a wealthy, noble textile manufacturer like Sir Robert Peel, or a mine-owner, a banker, a gentleman farmer or whatever: every rich, well-to-do man costs hundreds of unhappy wretches.

Therefore the happiest nation is not the wealthiest. ...

I has long been said that honour and profit are not good bedfellows ... (ch. III)

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Because the story of this world is the story of the house that Jack built. Here is the dog that bit the cat that killed the rat that gnawed the rope, etc. etc: it keeps going on like this. (ch. XIII)

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Joaninha’s eyes are a vast book, written in moving characters whose infinite combinations are beyond my comprehension.

What are your eyes saying, Joaninha?

What language do they speak?

Oh, why do you have to have green eyes, Joaninha?

The lily and the jasmin are white; red the rose; the rosemary blue . . .

The violet purple and the jonquil gold.

But all nature’s colours come from one alone, green.

Green is the origin and first type of all beauty.

The other colours make up green; in green is the whole, the unity of created beauty.

The eyes of the first man must have been green.

The sky is blue . . .

The night is black . . .

The earth and the sea are green . . .

The night is black, but beautiful. Your eyes, Soledade, were black and beautiful as the night.

The stars that shine in the depths of night are beautiful, but who does not sigh for day at the end of a long night?

And for the stars to disappear, to go away, at last! . . .

Comes the day. . . . The sky is blue and beautiful, but one’s eyes weary of looking at it.

Oh, the sky is blue like your eyes, Georgina! . . .

But the earth is green and the eyes find it restful, never tiring of the infinite variety of its pleasant hues.

The sea is green and rises and falls. . . . But oh, it is as sad as the earth is joyful.

Life is made up of joys and sadness . . .

Green is sad and joyful, like the joys of life itself!

Joaninha, Joaninha, why do you have to have green eyes? (ch. XXIII)

[cf. James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939), pages 611–612]

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I hate philosophy and I hate reason, and I sincerely believe that in such a topsy-turvy world as this, a society which is so false, an existence as absurd as this one is made by its laws, customs, institutions and conventions, to affect in words the accuracy, the logic and integrity that does not exist in things themselves, is the worst and most pernicious incoherence there is.

Let us say no more about this, because it is not good for one, and let us end the chapter here. (ch. XXXVIII)

The end of the previous chapter is, I know, a terrible document in support of the charge of scepticism that has been brought against me by certain unlettered moralists, at whom I have the audacity to laugh, at them, their indictment and their accusation, at the same time protesting that I shall neither seek redress nor appeal, nor ask for any reversal of the wondrous judgement their most excellent hypocrisies may deign to pronounce against me.
After this solemn declaration, let us proceed.

And as for you, benevolent reader, to whom I wish to give only pleasure, if these fantasies still weary you, I advise you to turn over this obnoxious page, because the reflections in the last chapter are as out of place in my book as most things are in this world. Go to sleep, then, and wake not from the fine ideal of your logic.

It is a discovery of mine, of which I am vain and conceited, this idea that logic and punctuality in life’s affairs are much more a dream and an ideal than the most fantastic dream and the most exquisite ideal in poetry. (ch. XXXIX)

August 18, 2017

Lyme disease: natural prevention, first aid, and treatment

Sojourns Community Health Clinic in Westminster, Vt., provides herbal and "integrative" treatment of Lyme disease, with a couple of their naturopaths being "tick experts". The following is from their handout on prevention and first aid.

  • Use "Tick Shield" by Cedarcide as a repellant. It's safe for medium-size and large dogs, too, not for cats.
  • After possible exposure, put your clothes in the dryer on high for 15 minutes. Check your body, especially the warm moist areas. They also recommend some (rather expensive) herbal support regimens to take "during" possible tick exposure.
  • If you've been bit, get the tick tested. Note the date, and watch for symptoms over the next 30 days. Treat the bite topically with Andrographis tincture. If worried (before any symptoms), start a course of herbal antibiotics.
And the following outlines their integrative treatment regimen.
  • Antibiotics: Ceftin (cefuroxime axetil) or doxycycline
  • Nystatin (antifungal) and probiotics to mitigate the effects of the antibiotics
  • Serrapeptase to expose the bacteria by breaking down their protective biofilm
  • Their own "Tick Bite Formula" of cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa), Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), cryptolepis (Cryptolepis sanguinolenta), and houttuynia (Houttuynia cordata)
    Note:  In addition to the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, ticks may carry a Babesia parasite (B. microti is now classified as Theileria microti) and Bartonella bacteria. Cat's claw and Japanese knotweed target Borrelia, cryptolepis Babesia, and houttuynia Bartonella.
  • — all of the above for at least 2 months
  • After the Tick Bite Formula, "A-L Formula" (Byron White) for immune support for 1 month.
Their herbal-only option is just the Tick Bite Formula and Serrapeptase. A child-friendly option is Samento (Nutramedix; cat's claw) and Serrapeptase.

You can order the herbal medicines from the Sojourns apothecary.

Note:  Dosages have been deliberately left out here; you should consult your own Lyme-literate integrative naturopath or holistic practitioner. Alexis Chesney of Sojourns has written a book, "Living Tick-Free: Preventing Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease", that is available electronically.

August 17, 2017

The dangerous madness of “antifa”

Statement by Gainesville Antifascists:
The method of "opposing" fascism that calls for ignoring the genocidal ideology and its supporters and strict non-violence (in lieu of self/community defense) is often an attempt to abdicate responsibility by the advocate.

However, this spectacle of claiming the moral high ground actually exposes the speaker's ignorance and privilege. Only someone unaware of and temporarily safe from the immediate threat of fascism would claim this is a viable solution.

A diversity of tactics is always welcome and needed, but singing hymns and holding 'peace' signs is not a direct way to defend your community against fascism. It may help bridge solidarity amongst participants -- and this is needed. But the antifascists will be the ones risking life and limb to oppose the fascist violence.

If your preferred tactic is nonviolence and/or you personally choose to "ignore" fascist recruitment, at the very least, you are morally bound to avoid denouncing the only historically successful tactic of organized antifascist community defense.
Comments:

Paragraph 1. Who has called for ignoring genocidal ideology? Did Martin Luther King or Mohandas Gandhi thus "abdicate responsibility" in their adherence to nonviolent resistance? Self-defense and community defense beyond nonviolent demonstration requires an actual physical attack. Gatherings of the Weekend Wehrmacht that are not actually violent themselves, however inherently provocative, are not actual attacks requiring violent defense.

Paragraph 2. Again, what communities are actually facing a fascist takeover (beyond what Americans have already inured themselves to for decades)? And again, where is the actual concerted physical fascist violence that needs to be opposed?

Paragraph 3. Again with the straw man that nonviolence means "ignoring" something. And again with the fantasy of community defense.

In short, if you don't agree with the tactics (or grasp of reality) of this self-described antifascist group, you are by definition fascist yourself. And as a fascist, you represent an "immediate threat" of genocide et cetera and must be met with decisive violence ("fire and fury", eg).

This sounds exactly like every hate group in history.

This group is particularly dangerous, however, because, unlike the marginal and marginalized who misdirect their rage into hateful white identitarianism, the anti-white identitarians are egged on by elitists, mainstream media, and even politicians. Their eagerness for violence and vandalism is backed by the powers of the state. They are agents of the regime change being pursued by those who cannot accept the results of the 2016 election. They are making the US a banana republic. This is, in fact, fascism in action.

August 13, 2017

The (dishonest) madness of George Harvey

Once again (actually, no doubt more than once (see next paragraph), but once more it comes to this writer’s attention) George Harvey betrays his inability to acknowledge any adverse impacts of the energy alternatives he advocates for by setting up a straw man from which he launches an ad hominem dismissal and proceeds to change the subject with his usual non sequitur pabulum.

Harvey maintains a blog, cohosts a community television show, and writes for Green Energy Times, and the first piece referred to here was reprinted in The (Windsor County, Vermont) Commons newspaper from the Clean Technica web site. In fact it was reprinted also in the issue of Green Energy Times (in which issue 13 articles were penned by Harvey) that this writer picked up for another headline (see next two paragraphs). Thus the central example here is unlikely to be unusual.

The headline that caught our eye was “Hanover [N.H.] Pledges to Go 100% Renewable: How Are They Going to Do It?” by Rick Wackernagel. It is not a short article, yet it does not describe how “they are going to do it”. The few plans mentioned are, besides throwing up solar panels everywhere, mostly installing heat pumps, thus switching from fossil fuel burned efficiently on site to electricity (fossil fuel burned inefficiently off site). The one specific plan is that Dartmouth College will replace diesel in its steam heating system with “biofuel”, possibly from Dartmouth’s forests in the White Mountains in the ridiculous accounting by which mowing down forests is credited as “green”. Even this very issue of Green Energy Times mentions (in a book review) the importance of forest protection in reversing climate change and (in a rant against noise regulations for giant wind turbines) the contribution of deforestation to global warming. (The latter writer apparently exempts turning forested mountain ridgelines into energy plants.)

Nowhere is there mention of cutting the town off from the regional grid, so the fact is that they will still get the same electricity as everyone else in New England. Commendably, they plan to use less of it – along with less of other fuels – but “100%” will doubt rely mostly on buying the Enron-invented scam of “green tags”.

Back to George Harvey, ... actually, we have already said all that needs to be said about the piece of his originally mentioned, titled “The Sound of Wind Turbines and the Horror of Genocide”: He sets up a straw man from which he launches an ad hominem dismissal of all dissent and proceeds to change the subject with non sequitur pabulum.

There is, however, another piece by Harvey in the same issue that is actually informative. It is about research to reduce methane emissions from ruminant – particularly cows’ – digestion by adding seaweed to their diet. The results are reported to be quite dramatic, even to the claim of eliminating 99% of the methane.

Yet Harvey neglects to mention that the methane from cows is only part of the climate change contribution and environmental destruction of animal agriculture, which is the leading cause also of deforestation, species loss, water depletion, and ocean dead zones – none of which are due to their flatulence. The subtitle of Harvey’s article invokes helping to save the planet, but it is only about reducing one source of methane emissions, not at all about actually saving the planet. It is about “greenwashing” one of the planet’s primary destroyers.

August 12, 2017

On the upper sea

Hodd by Adam Thorpe (Jonathan Cape, 2009) begins (after Introduction and Translator’s preface) ...

The seas are folded over us, above our heads, the lower sea becoming the upper sea and yet still blue when not girt with sea mist, which is grey and melancholy. Some men when they look up see birds, but I see only a kind of fish, sometimes in great shoals. These fish are beaked and feathered, as we all know, and return to dry land to nest in trees, shrubs, meadow grass or crops, rocks or walls, or even under our own thatch, where the nestlings make a great beseeching noise that might keep us from sleep.

Only birds pass from the sky’s air to its water without harm, for they have the property, like the fish of the lower sea, of breathing underwater. And I have seen with my own eyes a cormorant swimming under the water of the lower sea, and a myriad of gannets plunging into its waves at a good distance from its cliffs. Likewise do birds plunge into and out of the blue of the upper sea without harm. If men sail far enough, namely a sufficient number of leagues beyond the horizon, they unwittingly pass over our heads, yet too high up to discern us or the dark of our forests through the blue of the waters of the upper sea.

It has been recounted to me that mariners have lost knives overboard and that these same knives have been found caught in trees, or that they plunge through a [thatched] roof to stand upright and trembling in a table, to the surprise of those eating. And fish sometimes fall (as we know) from the sky, like arrow-struck birds, but with no visible wound.

I myself once found a piece of cork ballast in the middle of a field, very far from the sea. I looked up and saw a dark cloud in the shape of a ship, as if I was perceiving it from underneath. In former ages perhaps men knew of such things, having greater clarity and knowledge, since it is well known that we have declined in wisdom, and are running further and further into ignorance as the world approaches its end in the manner that St Paul foretold. I myself have heard the faint echo of infernal torments discernible on the wind, as these come closer and closer towards us, heralded by the blast of trumpets.


If I had happened not to have met with the outlaw called Robert Hod, so many years ago that none are still living from that time but myself, I would be less tormented in my spirit; for quite apart from the other matters it was Hodde who put strange ideas and questionings into my head. ...

July 25, 2017

Donald Trump’s story to the Boy Scouts about William Levitt

From Donald Trump’s remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24:

THE PRESIDENT: In life, in order to be successful, and you people are well on the road to success, you have to find out what makes you excited. What makes you want to get up each morning and go to work? You have to find it.

If you love what you do and dedicate yourself to your work, then you will gain momentum, and look — you have to, you need to. The word momentum — you will gain that momentum, and each success will create another success. The word momentum.

I’ll tell you a story that’s very interesting for me when I was young. There was a man named William Levitt — Levittowns, you have some here, you have some in different states. Anybody ever hear of Levittown? (Applause.) And he was a very successful man. He was a homebuilder — became an unbelievable success, and got more and more successful. And he built homes, and at night he’d go to these major sites with teams of people and he’d scour the sites for nails and sawdust and small pieces of wood. And they’d clean the site so when the workers came in the next morning, the sites would be spotless and clean, and he did it properly. And he did this for 20 years, and then he was offered a lot of money for his company.

And he sold his company for a tremendous amount of money. At the time especially — this was a long time ago — sold his company for a tremendous amount of money. And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: Should I tell you? Should I tell you?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life. So — look at you. Who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right?

So he had a very, very interesting life, and the company that bought his company was a big conglomerate. And they didn’t know anything about building homes, and they didn’t know anything about picking up the nails and the sawdust and selling it — and the scraps of wood. This was a big conglomerate based in New York City, and after about a ten year period they were losing a lot with it. It didn’t mean anything to them, and they couldn’t sell it.

So they called William Levitt up and they said, would you like to buy back your company, and he said yes, I would. He so badly wanted it, he got bored with this life of yachts and sailing and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places. You won’t get bored, right? You know, truthfully, you’re workers. You’ll get bored too. Believe me. (Applause.) Of course, having a good few years like that isn’t so bad. (Applause.) But what happened is he bought back his company, and he bought back a lot of empty land. And he worked hard in getting it zoning, and he worked hard on starting to develop.

And in the end he failed, and he failed badly. Lost all of his money. He went personally bankrupt, and he was now much older. And I saw him at a cocktail party, and it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party. It was the party of Steve Ross who was one of the great people — he came up and discovered — really founded — Time Warner, and he was a great guy. He had a lot of successful people at the party.

And I was doing well so I got invited to the party. I was very young, and I go in — but I’m in the real estate business — and I see 100 people, some of whom I recognize and they’re big in the entertainment business. And I see, sitting in the corner, was a little old man who was all by himself. Nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt of Levittown, and I immediately went over — I wanted to talk to him more than the Hollywood show business communications people.

So I went over and talked to him, and I said, Mr. Levitt, I’m Donald Trump. He said I know. I said, Mr. Levitt, how are you doing? He goes, not well, not well at all. And I knew that, but he said not well at all. And he explained what was happening and how bad it has been and how hard it has been. And I said what exactly happened? Why did this happen to you? You’re one of the greats ever in our industry. Why did this happen to you? And he said, Donald, I lost my momentum. I lost my momentum. A word you never hear when you’re talking about success. When some of these guys that never made ten cents, they’re on television giving you things about how you’re going to be successful, and the only thing they ever did was a book and a tape.

But I’ll tell you, it was very sad, and I never forgot that moment. And I thought about it, and it’s exactly true. He lost his momentum. Meaning, he took this period of time off long — years — and then when he got back, he didn’t have that same momentum. In life, I always tell this to people, you have to know whether or not you continue to have the momentum, and if you don’t have it that’s okay. Because you’re going to go on and you’re going to learn and you’re going to do things that are great. But you have to know about the word momentum.

But the big thing: Never quit. Never give up. Do something you love. When you do something you love — as a Scout I see that you love it. But when you do something that you love you’ll never fail. What you’re going to do is give it a shot again and again and again. You’re ultimately going to be successful, and remember this, you’re not working. Because when you’re doing something that you love like I do — of course I love my business, but this is a little bit different. Who thought this was going to happen? We’re having a good time. We’re doing a good job. (Applause.) Doing a good job. But when you do something that you love, remember this, it’s not work.

The above excerpt begins at 16:15 and goes to 23:08 in the video below:

July 24, 2017

A good word

Irish adage:  Níor bhris focal maith fiacail riamh.

Pronunciation:  Neer vrish fuhcul-mah fihcul-riff.

Translation:  A good word never broke a tooth.

Actual word order:  Did not break a word good a tooth ever.