Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ennui




So many mysteries, so little time...

Was it the gentleman of eclectic past who once thought militarism might be undone?

Or perhaps the guitar strumming ghost from Wynacht's Point?

Or, even better, Professor Plum in the Study with the Rope?

Then again:




Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw -
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

Mcavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square -
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair -
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it's useless to investigate - Mcavity's not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
`It must have been Macavity!' - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long-division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!
-- T. S. Eliot

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Home again

"...Y la vida es misterio, la luz ciega
y la verdad inaccesible asombra;
la adusta perfección jamás se entrega,
y el secreto ideal duerme en la sombra.

Por eso ser sincero es ser potente;
de desnuda que está, brilla la estrella;
el agua dice el alma de la fuente
en la voz de cristal que fluye de ella..."
Rubén Darío




Home. I wish.

And, since that is a subject which is ever on my mind, that’s probably why I’ve been thinking so much lately of other homes, home.

Not the OC, but what came before. Not the EZ and their spokesperson, but those who, we were told, gave them writ and path.

Those who, we were told, taught them, changed them, gave them new ways of seeing the world, of claiming it and making it.

And so there were autonomous communities, municipalities, evolving into other structures. There was governance from below, “governing obeying”, rotating leadership positions, the removal of unfit officials by the governed, decision-making by consensus-making, and much more.

It was what many called zapatismo. It existed before the OC, even, in many senses, before the EZ, and, I presume, it still exists today. In the communities – which have not suddenly disappeared off the map just because spotlight and words have departed. And it exists in many other places. In the hearts, minds, dreams and even path of people, groups and organizations quite literally throughout the world.

The communities grew, disproportionately we know, and, as they did, their needs evolved as well. From being overwhelmingly concerned, in many cases, with security measures against paramilitary and military forces, they were able to focus more on thriving rather than surviving.

Schools, housing, medical care, food, became paramount. Self-sustaining paradigms for these were required, as well as financial and moral support, better communications and infrastructure. The hard work grew harder, more demanding and daily, less dramatic.

But the communities still exist, as do their schools and clinics, warehouses and brick-making machines, basketball courts and cultural centres.

As do the paradigms and playing fields.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A promise or two


I have been enjoying the proliferation of claimed spaces of late. Other feet on ground, making up the worlds they wish to live in. And the ensuing linkage.

Odd, how these words have a vaguely familiar ring.

Ten days of silence above/below, but the acolytes have had much to say, all the same naughty words, full of sound and fury, signifying, well, what we know they signify.

They were given permission a number of years ago, when the words started to change, permission to replace history, reasoned argument and wisdom with ephemera, invective and argumentum ad hominem.

Una lástima, in every single meaning of that simple word.

So, no more words from me on the subject for quite some time, I’m afraid. Although I am still hoping that another mama, of long standing and good stead, might be having a few words to say, perhaps even a scolding along with the hugs, for one of the boys in question.

And cheers to the ghosts in the Parlour machine today, who succeeded, however briefly, in taking us down. I assume it was the posies and poesy that pushed you over the edge, providing firewall for invective but coaxing you to brute force attack.

All is well, of course, and I believe Jasmine and Peony have already solved the case and are plotting cunning revenge.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweetness and light


Yes, I’ve decided to stay in the Parlour/Garden, and not just for the summer.

A much finer place from which to view the world. Feet more or less firmly planted on ground. Hands in dirt. Tending or flirting, dozing, reading, playing, nibbling, weeding, gathering.

Even plotting and solving, as Jasmine and Peony well know.

We also enjoy silence from time to time, even more when it’s followed by greater wisdom, perspective and lightness of spirit. Especially, may it please the gods, the latter, although I still believe the latter is a necessary and much wished for consequence of both the former.

And, speaking of wisdom, perspective and lightness of spirit…wishing my most favourite person an even greater abundance of all, always.

Especially the latter. Especially today. And tons of love and cheer.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Under the lilacs


Simply reclaiming space, or Parlour, this weekend.

And also hoping that a bevy of posies and poesy might even act as a kind of firewall, warding off the ill-humoured, whilst welcoming, with endless embrace, the other. Or, as our dear John Keats once noted:


GIVE me women, wine, and snuff
Untill I cry out "hold, enough!"
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection:
For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Jasmine and Peony



Down by the Salley Gardens
DOWN by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
William Butler Yeats

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Derring-do and derring-don't

Well, Blogger is still denying pics, despite having closed down today in order to "fix" said incapacity. And I so felt the need for a bit of beauty and grace.

I will keep trying, but, in the interim, I wished to alert those Readers Who Care of two new contributions.

One is Jasmine's first fling, or, rather, filing, in YO! dangerous and daring piece of derring-do that they hope shall leave their readers breathless.

And, in an almost frightening bit of Life Imitating Art [as the YO! reportage was filed prior to this one], we have archived a new Set of Rules, posted today on the Page, in our Library. I am quite sure that one of our recent Commenters will be thrilled, although I was tempted to tears.

I may or may not translate it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Disrobing redux

Despite my usual penchant for masques, mystery and Marvell, this evening seems to demand something other from us, given current words.

Once upon a time, in celebration of the first issue of a new magazine, a much-renowned gentleman penned the following lines, paradoxically [given perceived possible disconnect between said lines and recipient] and ironically [given perceived lack of disconnect between method of address and said recipient], to a compa he addressed as his “big brother”:


“...UNO.- El quehacer intelectual de izquierda debe ser, ante todo, un ejercicio crítico y autocrítico.
Como lo autocrítico siempre queda pospuesto para el número siguiente, entonces la crítica se convierte en el motor único del pensamiento...”

Or, in one of our other languages:

“...ONE. – The intellectual work of the left should be, above all else, a critical and self-critical exercise.
Since self-critique is always postponed for the next issue, then criticism becomes the sole engine of thought..”

For those of doubting nature:
http://www.revistarebeldia.org/html/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=148

One might be tempted to assume that the eternally self-perpetuating postponement, the illusory Next Issue, is shaping up. The fact is, as one of our noted salonistas has already noted, like the Real Slim Shady, the Auto-Critique Issue has been out there for some time. It has been easy to miss, however, since the moment one its articles, or comments, has appeared, the author has been summarily dismissed, reviled, garroted or purged.

The segue to Josef and his Compas-in-Arms presenting itself so handily… there was an earlier Post, two in fact, on the subject. Disrobing [yes, “v”, always] and Noblesse Oblige, both in February of this year. There are some interesting crumbs to be followed there, speaking of, oh, fawning, faux and perhaps false spin doctoring.

But, speaking of purges, we are delighted to announce that our Pulitzer-ready YO! undercover reporter, Yasmin, is putting the final touches on a daring exposé of her own. She tells us that it has to do with mysteriously non-revolving IP numbers, “shaping the story” faux pas, site administrators gone wild and rude children with much too much time on their hands.

Do look for it soon, if, that is, you enjoy a pinch of criticón along with the crítico.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Just a note

Well, no images again tonight, so I shall ask you to imagine our demure flapper, adjusting her high-denier stockings, whom you must remember and who can be seen...yes... Below and to the Left.

I did wish to let most of you know that we have a new acquisition in our Library, which I know some of you shall enjoy as much as I do. The gentleman in question and I share many concerns, most especially, as you will see, in the very last line of his essay.

For the spear-carriers amongst us, please feel free to leave your Comments in the Library.

More anon, I should imagine.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What girls fancy


Italy.

Yes, yes.

And we thank all relevant gods for their sweet indulgence.

Now, back to the subject at hand [and regretting most deeply that it’s not the above], as some of our salonistas may be aware, our precious Glossy has, for some time now, been promising to present a special Eye Candy edition. You know, something along the lines of the 100 Sexiest Boys Alive. And, since YO! is most assiduously Below and To the Left, their crack research team set off to discover a properly positioned bevy of such adorable ones.

Sigh.

Under the unfortunate circumstances, we felt compelled to come to their rescue in some small way.

We would have grandly titled this What Women Want, but, not wishing to set up our own Straw Person debate [and Carl, unlike his sparring partner, did indeed know], we thought we should notch things back a bit and, oh, sow a few seeds prior to assuming harvest.

We [and I hasten to note the purely editorial plural, though I am acquainted with a fair few ladies who share our desires] are rather more easily pleased than some gentlemen might assume.

And tonight we shall mention just a few of our girlish predilections, saving the obverse for another, less celebratory, evening.

We adore passion and engagement, but do not demand [nor even often wish] that such passions mimic our own. It is the capacity to be enthralled that we adore.

Attentiveness, of course, but not of the currying, scurrying sort.

Cute is always wonderful, but by no means sufficient or even necessary. One of the various reasons ladies tend to mention a gentleman’s eyes, given what can so readily be therein divined.

Substance, period. As we have been noting here, there and everywhere of late.

Unstudied grace. The ability to sense appropriate move, word and moment. In many ways this note may be primary, all others flowing from it. Perhaps.

And, goodness, we even had a divinely inspired picture of such grace note, but suddenly the Image Demons deny. We shall try our homage in YO!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

An evening in

Time, past time, to reacquaint ourselves with the Parlour.

Gentlemen callers. A rubber or two of whist, charades, perhaps, and most certainly a passionate tête-à-tête in the Conservatory.

Sinful sounds on the phonograph, a surfeit of artless delicacies [in lieu of artful swill] and the back garden flush with mignonette, nicotiana, heliotrope and one very special clematis.

Not difficult to conjure at all.

Would we fancy silly board games on the floor? Or card tricks in the corner with an earnest cad?

Stacks of books everywhere and nary a piece of electronica to be found.

So, do we have any suggestions as to games, music, books, delectables of any and all sort?

Lorca, she said

Pasadas las zarzamoras,
los juncos y los espinos,
bajo su mata de pelo
hice un hoyo sobre el limo.
Yo me quité la corbata.
Ella se quitó el vestido.
Yo el cinturón con revólver
Ella sus cuatro corpiños.
Ni nardos ni caracolas
tienen el cutis tan fino,
ni los cristales con luna
relumbran con ese brillo.
Sus muslos se me escapaban
como peces sorprendidos,
la mitad llenos de lumbre,
la mitad llenos de frío.
Aquella noche corrí
el mejor de los caminos,
montado en potra de nácar
sin bridas y sin estribos.
No quiero decir, por hombre,
cosas que ella me dijo.
La luz del entendimiento
me hace ser muy comedido.
Sucia de besos y arena,
yo me la lleve del río.
Con el aire se batían las
espadas de los lirios.

Because I promised a respite from the overtly political.

Because I prefer the original. And I am not speaking of language.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A modest proposal: on sweeping, rather than draining, the pond

Well, I had been planning on hoisting a white flag here today – declaring a tregua from all things political [whether otherly or otherwise] – but it seems the gods are bitch-slapping me back into submission.

After all, the topic on offer is certainly, always and now, of the greatest importance, at least for those who care. Despite the fact that it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that a decreasingly fewer number of persons do, in fact. Care, that is.

Dissent. Constructive criticism. Democratic and/or participatory decision-making. Horizontal [in lieu of, you know, vertical] structure. A voice where all voices count.

The battle has always raged and never more fiercely than on the Left, in any Left. The words say one thing, the peer pressure [although that is only the weapon of choice for enforcing unspoken protocol] something else entirely.

Suddenly, though, the Issue is peeking out from behind closed doors and minds. On the Page, concerning path, way and means, daring to question received wisdom. In the Kitten Fights between the tubby old gringos, as if some of the rugged cowboys have managed to retain the odd principle, or at least a semblance thereof. In exceptionally focused, wise and articulate pages being written by some, off-Page.

Even here.

There are undoubtedly many reasons why the Left has always attracted more than its fair share of those who shudder, shriek and shrink at any questioning of current gospel. And a fair few more reasons when dealing with imbedded icon and animus ridden projection.

But there it is.

And unless some somewhere somehow manage to walk the bloody walk of their words, and, in fact, listen, and, in fact, learn from others, and, in fact, open their arms instead of giving in to the urge to purge, and, in fact, not prescribe doctrinal litmus tests, and, in fact…

Oh, what the fuck.

Why the hell should they anyway? Their fans would probably put out their own eyes or take the Kool-Aid en masse, if the bottle feeding were ever to stop.

On the other hand – very deep sigh – I know for a fact that there still a few who have no interest in either the taking or receiving of pablum. Oddly enough many of them [though not all] are women who would rather think for themselves, speak for themselves and fritter away their odd moments fancying Argentinean futbol players than throwing themselves at the feet of doctrine and messiah.

So the issue is either going to be taken out of the closet and addressed, or, once again, nothing is going to happen or change, at least not for the better.

There was a time, once upon a time, when some saw a different model, one that purportedly had no truck with predigested formula, wizened wizards-in-hiding, exclusion, patronizing sophistry, dogma and witlessness.

There was constructive thought, action and model. Grounded in the reality of real lives and real needs. There was no disconnect between short and long term words, tactics, strategy and goals.

The pond was filling as it should: artlessly, seeking its own level. So it seemed, and so it was. And not, we know, just by men willing to fire “cannon and bazooka” in temporary service to long-term, pre-scripted, political agenda.

[And, depressingly enough, this was written before today's sterling example of all the above in our tabloid.]

More, later on the life-cycle of ponds, but now I really am going to wave the white flag.

At least for the Primera Plana.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sigh



Now, I despise irony, and it is Saturday night, and I should be allowed to at least delude myself into believing that I have better things to do...

But I am afraid I must, once again, take our Etiquette Primer off the shelf.

Here, in our Parlour, we are delighted in and devoted to civility, wit, nonsense, Balzac, Serious Subjects, stockings, farce and a universe of other delicious subjects, pastimes and ventures.

But I could never have imagined that the previous post would have generated what I can only characterize as an attempt to mimic the very behavior I was excoriating.

Therefore, a reminder: we discuss, however heatedly, whatever we wish. But we do not, ever, attack other salonistas. I know we all know this, but please. As I noted below, there are an abundance of other venues for that type of discourse.

Now, back to Proust and/or Remy and/or plonk and/or that rueful Northern Italian...