Lore

It is Lore time.  Or Law time as some will have it.  The time when aboriginal boys become men.  The time for initiation rites.  I was away last year at this time, on leave, then trapped in Halls Creek by the weather.  This year I plan to be trapped here.

There are a lot of new faces in the community, all male.  The women and girls are making themselves scarce.  They are packing up and heading to visit relatives in Halls Creek, or in Warmun or Kununurra, centres where no Lore is practised.  Those remaining stay mostly at home.  There do not seem to be many children about either.

We gardia keep to ourselves and don’t stray near the men’s areas.

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John 8:32

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Starting the year with this resolution, formulated for me by Annie Reneau.

A belief, opinion, or viewpoint based on verifiably false claims is not worth my consideration. Period. Refusing to entertain them doesn’t make a person intolerant, it makes them reasonable and intelligent. Tolerating lies is ridiculous and illogical. And if your opinion is based on lies, it is invalid and it should be called out as such.

A viewpoint based on verifiably false claims is not worth my consideration.  Period.”
Especially when that opinion causes or permits harm to others.
With so many opportunities to learn the facts, crosscheck and verify them from independent and expert sources, it takes a particular combination of stupid and cognitive dissonance to continue believing bullshit.
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Even an atheist can quote the book.
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May it Be

 

 

newyear
R Crumb

 

 

May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home…..

Howard Shore, Eithne Ni Bhraonain, Nicholas John Ryan, Roma Shane Ryan

 

 

Who but I, I ask, would put Robert Crumb and Eithne Ni Bhraonain on the same page?

Argo

Constantine_Volanakis_Argo
The Argo, by Konstantinos Volanakis (1837–1907).

Mad and meandering mindlessly, I
Sleep now beneath her hull;
Despoiled, disintegrating,
Sinking into sand.

Share with me your bread,
Your fish.  A little wine?
In return for tales of Argo in her glory:
To Colchis and away she bore me
With my companions.

They laugh and jeer;
This is not she – nor are you he!
But tell us, once again, old man
Of Calais and of Zetes
Or of lion-robed Herakles.
A story!  While we mend our nets.

Mad and meandering mindlessly, I
Tell – nowhere now to travel, but into wandering dream –
Of Atalanta, of Hypsipyle,
Of Medea, before she became a bitch;
Of what was
Or of what might have been.

©ARF
Atalanta_Peleus_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_596
Peleus and Atalanta wrestling, black-figured hydria, c. 550 BC
Medea about to murder her children
  Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798 -1863)   Medea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hypsipyle
Johann Christian Reinhart
Hypsipyle and Opheltes-Archemoros

Bigly Sad

A rather touchingly beautiful piece of writing by Dan Rather ~  American journalist:

When the time comes, and I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot and the defiling of our communal, social, and democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s already infamous quote:

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing… as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Grassley’s vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars and private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth.

I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, and yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile – and in her, I see America.

I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help and who get no extra pay for their efforts, and in them I see America.

I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills and wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, and in them I see America.
I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital and the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, and in them I see America.

I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender’s office, and in them I see America.

I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, and paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly and infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, and in them I see America.

I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early fall morning, or driving a cab through rush hour traffic to make better lives for their families, and in them I see America.

I have seen the science students unlocking the mysteries of life late at night in university laboratories for little or no pay, and in them I see America.

I have seen the families struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or dementia in a parent or spouse. Amid the struggles of mortality and dignity, in them I see America.

These, and so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists and moneyed classes. And yet, the power brokers in Washington today seem deaf to these voices. It is a national disgrace of historic proportions.

And finally, what is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley’s demeaning phrasings? Those who can’t afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, and all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their “darn pennies” on the simple joys of life.

Never mind that almost every reputable economist has called this tax bill a sham of handouts for the rich at the expense of the vast majority of Americans and the future economic health of this nation. Never mind that it is filled with loopholes written by lobbyists. Never mind that the wealthiest already speak with the loudest voices in Washington, and always have.

Grassley’s comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party and it it is not pretty. This is not a view of America that i think President Ronald Reagan let alone President Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have recognized. This is unadulterated cynicism and a version of top-down class warfare run amok. 

When the time comes, and I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot and the defiling of our communal, social, and democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s already infamous quote:

I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing… as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.

Grassley’s vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars and private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth.

I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, and yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile – and in her, I see America.

I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help and who get no extra pay for their efforts, and in them I see America.

I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills and wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, and in them I see America.
I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital and the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, and in them I see America.

I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender’s office, and in them I see America.

I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, and paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly and infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, and in them I see America.

I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early fall morning, or driving a cab through rush hour traffic to make better lives for their families, and in them I see America.

I have seen the science students unlocking the mysteries of life late at night in university laboratories for little or no pay, and in them I see America.

I have seen the families struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or dementia in a parent or spouse. Amid the struggles of mortality and dignity, in them I see America.

These, and so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists and moneyed classes. And yet, the power brokers in Washington today seem deaf to these voices. It is a national disgrace of historic proportions.

And finally, what is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley’s demeaning phrasings? Those who can’t afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, and all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their “darn pennies” on the simple joys of life.

Never mind that almost every reputable economist has called this tax bill a sham of handouts for the rich at the expense of the vast majority of Americans and the future economic health of this nation. Never mind that it is filled with loopholes written by lobbyists. Never mind that the wealthiest already speak with the loudest voices in Washington, and always have.

Grassley’s comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party and it it is not pretty. This is not a view of America that I think President Ronald Reagan let alone President Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have recognized. This is unadulterated cynicism and a version of top-down class warfare run amok.

“In them I see America” – THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.  Sad.  Bigly sad. 

I fear there is no coming back from the present state of affairs for the US any more than there is for the world in general from the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

Interesting also that Grassley sees women as “things” to waste money on.   Also he fails to recognise that people spending every penny they have on products, consumables and entertainment are the ones keeping the economy going.  Not the investors who are milking it.

Rather’s statement is in reference to this.

Listening to Burns

I have been listening to Bobby Eaglesham of Five Hand Reel singing one of my favourite Burns songs.  Ae Fond Kiss.  Eaglesham died at the age of 61 in 2004, and is perhaps best remembered  partnering with Dick Gaughan in Five Hand Reel.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy,
Naething could resist my Nancy:
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never lov’d sae kindly,
Had we never lov’d sae blindly,
Never met-or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.

 

Robert Burns wrote this for a Mrs Agnes MacLehose after their affaire ended, when she set off to try to reconcile with her husband.    I believe it is the finest of all love songs.  Sir Walter Scott may agree.  He said it “contained the ‘essence of a thousand love tales”.  I like it because it contains not a trace of bitterness, just a rueful acknowledgment that a broken heart is a price one must sometimes pay.

I first heard this song in 1980 on one of Five Hand Reel’s albums,

For a’ That

 

My second favourite song by Burns is Green Grow the Rashes O.

In particular a brilliant version by Cherish the Ladies which I like for the beautiful vocals and for the particularly haunting flute melody played by Joanie Madden.

 

Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spent,
I spent amang the lasses, O.

There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’,
In ev’ry hour that passes, O:
What signifies the life o’ man,
An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O.

Green grow, &c.

The war’ly race may riches chase,
An’ riches still may fly them, O;
An’ tho’ at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O.

Green grow, &c.

But gie me a cannie hour at e’en,
My arms about my dearie, O;
An’ war’ly cares, an’ war’ly men,
May a’ gae tapsalteerie, O!

Green grow, &c.

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this;
Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O:
The wisest man the warl’ e’er saw,
He dearly lov’d the lasses, O.

Green grow, &c.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her prentice han’ she try’d on man,
An’ then she made the lasses, O.

Green grow, &c.

I just thought I would share that.

 

Assuaged

Assuage
Pron:  əˈsweɪdʒ/
In one of those “hmm” moments that occur now and then in one’s life, it occurred to me that I was not entirely sure how to pronounce the word assuaged.  Dredging through my now fading memory I could not recall ever having heard the word said by anyone else.

 It is one of many, many words that are not used in daily conversation and which one is often ever only likely to read.  I know perfectly well what it means, but on consideration, I realised I could not say it correctly with definitive certainty.  Az-swarge  or az-swayge?  It turns out to be the latter: əˈsweɪdʒ/ .   That settles that.  It took me nigh on sixty six years to determine the answer to a question I had never asked myself until now. 
Why,  I hear you ask, was I wondering this in the first place?
I live alone with a dog and, until a couple of nights ago, a frog.  I talk to myself and to them.   Some days they are the only beings I talk to apart from under ten year old children for whom English is a second or third language.
Far from being a sign of insanity, talking to oneself is a habit of the wise.  We tend to speak to the most intelligent person in the room.  I use my vocabulary to its fullest extent as much as I can.  All too often these days I find myself groping for words that once came to me easily.  I worry about getting Alzheimers, so I constantly test my own memory in as many ways as I can.
Which is why I was asking Zeus the dog if he would like me to assuage his hunger by providing him with his daily dog bowl of delicious comestibles comprised of a handful of doggy biscuits,  a few scoops of canned dog food and a portion of the macaroni cheese that I had just made.  He indicated enthusiastically that he thought this was a great idea. Especially the macaroni cheese part.
While preparing his dinner I cheerfully pointed out to him that this bounteous meal was brought to him through the advantages of evolution, which led to me having opposable thumbs, which enabled me to open cans and use spoons, pots and pans.  And which also created in me the generous nature that made me  willing to share what I had in return for the dubious pleasure of his company.  I asked him to enlighten me as to how exactly did he fulfill his side of the bargain?  As far as I could tell his sole contribution to the arrangement was to bring back a knotted rope ball every time I threw it away.  It seemed a little one-sided when put that way.  I suggested he lift his game and learn some useful function.
It was about that time I began saying “az-swarge  or az-swayge?” to myself, and decided finally to look it up.  I found I had been thinking and pronouncing it wrongly all my life.
I remember well the very first word that I mispronounced that was corrected by a teacher:  Penelope.  I said pee ne lope (to rhyme with antelope).  I was embarrassed at the time to be corrected by an adult and to be laughed at by the others in my class.  Years later I realised I should not have been.  I should have been proud to have known the word at all. What other eight year old was reading Homer’s Odyssey?  When I encounter  people who mispronounce  words I do not laugh, because I figure they had found the word in a book, and were using it without ever having heard it spoken, just as I did when I told the class at school about Odysseus and Penelope in my book review.
   
But then I wondered what kind of life did I lead these days if no one around me ever used words like assuage?
Note.  As I proofread the above words before hitting the publish button, I found myself still pronouncing assuage wrong in my head.
Visual non-sequitur:
Image may contain: sky, tree, plant, outdoor and nature
Here is a picture I like. A scene near Mosgiel, South Island, NZ.  Photo taken by Trish Threlfall.