The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Music to soothe the beastly baby

April 22nd, 2018 · No Comments

“The positive benefits of music can be extended to infants before they are even born. For instance, from as early as the 24th week of an unborn infant’s life, their perceptual world is embedded within the sound of their mother’s heartbeat. The child is not grown in an acoustic vacuum, but rather in an environment textured by the regularly occurring beats of the mother’s heart and the melodic contours of her physiological states. These temporally regularized acoustic textures provide security to the infant as their regularity affords an environment in which the infant’s expectations can be repeatedly satisfied and secured. It is unsurprising, then, that one of the most stressful changes that occurs during the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life is the loss of rhythm that the fetus has become accustomed to through months of being exposed to maternal movements, breathing, and heartbeat. Research has suggested that an infant’s transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life, and as a result, their transition from a more rhythmic to a more chaotic acoustic environment, has the unwelcome effect of disrupting the infant’s basic life processes [. . . and] adversely affects neonatal biorhythms which, in turn, affect sleep regulation and state lability. In short, babies have good reason to be kicking and screaming as they enter the new world; for the new world is acoustically unstable, unpredictable, and in a constant state of unharmonious disequilibrium.” – Adam M. Croom, “Music, neuroscience, and the psychology of well-being”, Frontiers in Psychology, January 2012 (citations and internal quotes omitted)

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The necessary qualities

April 21st, 2018 · No Comments

“There is no man alive who is braver than Yessutai, no march can tire him and he feels neither hunger nor thirst; that is why he is unfit to command.” – Chingis Khan (quoted by James Chambers in The Devil’s Horsemen

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The good artist borrows, the best artist steals

April 20th, 2018 · No Comments

“No one owns anyone’s culture, and that to believe otherwise is to deprive us of the human fullness and richness we all deserve. To reconcile this insight with an equally compelling American truth—that racial injustice is our inheritance and our responsibility—is the challenge for every artist and critic, black or white.” – George Packer, “Race, Art, and Essentialism”

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Doan dwit

April 19th, 2018 · No Comments

“Girls, never trust a man under 40, because he’s still a boy.” – John Mellencamp (interviewed by Edna Gundersen in AARP The Magazine)

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How it is to be done

April 18th, 2018 · No Comments

“To obtain the right training for virtue from youth up is difficult, unless one has been brought up under the right laws. To live a life of self-control and tenacity is not pleasant for most people, especially for the young. Therefore, their upbringing and pursuits must be regulated by laws; for once they have become familiar, they will no longer be painful. But it is perhaps not enough that they receive the right upbringing and attention only in their youth. Since they must carry on these pursuits and cultivate them by habit when they have grown up, we probably need laws for this, too, and for the whole of life in general. For most people are swayed rather by compulsion that argument, and by punishment rather than by a sense of what is noble. This is why some believe that lawgivers ought to exhort and try to influence people toward a life of virtue because of its inherent nobility, in the hope that those who have made good progress through their habits will listen to them. Chastisement and penalties, they think, should be imposed upon those who do not obey and are of an inferior nature, while the incorrigible ought to be banished abroad. A good man, they think, who orients his life by what is noble will accept the guidance of reason, while a bad man, whose desire is for pleasure, is corrected by pain like a beast of burden. For the same reason, they say that the pains inflicted must be those that are most directly opposed to the pleasures he loves.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10, Ch. 9

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Go figure

April 17th, 2018 · No Comments

“Some people believe that it is nature that makes men good, others that it is habit, and others again that it is teaching. Now, whatever goodness comes from nature is obviously not in our power, but is present in truly fortunate men as the result of some divine cause. Argument and teaching, I am afraid, are not effective in all cases: the soul of the listener must first have been conditioned by habits to the right kind of likes and dislikes, just as land must be cultivated before it is able to foster the seed. For a man whose life is guided by emotion will not listen to an argument that dissuades him, nor will he understand it. How can we possibly persuade a man like that to change his ways? And in general it seems that emotion does not yield to argument but only to force. Therefore, there must first be a character that somehow has an affinity for excellence or virtue, a character that loves what is noble and feels disgust at what is base.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10, Ch. 9

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Keeping them in line

April 16th, 2018 · No Comments

“The natural tendency of most people is to be swayed not by a sense of shame but by fear, and to refrain from acting basely not because it is disgraceful, but because of the punishment it brings. Living under the sway of emotion, they pursue their own proper pleasures and the means by which they can obtain them, and they avoid the pains that are opposed to them. But they do not even have a notion of what is noble and truly pleasant, since they have never tasted it. What argument indeed can transform people like that? To change by argument what has long been ingrained in a character is impossible or, at least, not easy. Perhaps we must be satisfied if we have whatever we think it takes to become good an attain a modicum of excellence.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10, Ch. 9

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That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh

April 15th, 2018 · No Comments

“Pleasure is considered to be deeply ingrained in the human race, and that is why in educating the young we use pleasure and pain as rudders with which to steer them straight. Moreover, to like and to dislike what one should is thought to be of greatest importance in developing excellence of character. For in view of the fact that people choose the pleasant and avoid the painful, pleasure and pain pervade the whole of life and have the capacity of exerting a decisive influence for a life of excellence or virtue and happiness.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10, Ch. 1

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Let not their name be legion

April 14th, 2018 · No Comments

“Ought we to make as many friends as possible? Or will the mot juste about hospitality, ‘not too many guests, nor yet none,’ also fit friendship in the sense that a person should neither be friendless nor have an excessive number of friends? The saying would seem to fit exactly those who become friends with a view to their mutual usefulness. To accommodate many people in return for what they have done to us is troublesome, and life is not long enough to do that. Accordingly, more friends than are sufficient for one’s own life are superfluous and are an obstacle to the good life, so that there is no need of them. To give us pleasure a few friends are sufficient.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 9, Ch. 10

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Down, boys, down

April 13th, 2018 · No Comments

“In a way, anger seems to listen to reason, but to hear wrong, like hasty servants, who run off before they have heard everything their master tells them, and fail to do what they were ordered, or like dogs, which bark as soon as there is a knock without waiting to see if the visitor is a friend.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 7, Ch. 6

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Hence the scales

April 12th, 2018 · No Comments

“Justice is a sort of mean, not in the same way as the other virtues are, but in that it is realized in a median amount, while injustice belongs to the extremes.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 5, Ch. 5

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It stings and burns

April 11th, 2018 · No Comments

“Evil destroys even itself, and when it is present in its entirety it becomes unbearable.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 4, Ch. 5

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And then ask for your pity

April 10th, 2018 · No Comments

“Only a worthless man would endure utter disgrace for no good or reasonable purpose.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 3, Ch. 1

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Put your back into it

April 9th, 2018 · No Comments

“Both virtue and art are always concerned with what is harder, for success is better when it is hard to achieve.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, Ch. 3

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Tending in this direction

April 8th, 2018 · No Comments

“In our transactions with other men it is by action that some become just and others unjust, and it is by acting in the face of danger and by developing the habit of feeling fear or cowardice that some become brave men and others cowards. The same applies to the appetites and feelings of anger: by reacting in one way or in another to given circumstances some people become self-controlled and gentle, and others self-indulgent and short-tempered. In a word, characteristics develop from corresponding activities. For that reason, we must see to it that our activities are of a certain kind, since any variations in them will be reflected in our characteristics. Hence it is no small matter whether one habit or another in inculcated in us from early childhood; on the contrary, it makes a considerable difference, or, rather, all the difference.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, Ch. 1

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Won’t argue with that

April 7th, 2018 · No Comments

“He who cannot see the truth for himself, nor, hearing it from others, store it away in his mind, that man is utterly useless.” – Hesiod, Works and Days (trans. Richmond Lattimore)

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Tastes good with pineapple

April 6th, 2018 · No Comments

“If you put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig.” – Jeffrey J. Kroll, “Cross Is More Fun, but Direct Is What Wins”

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Listen to it rant

April 5th, 2018 · No Comments

“Fueled by self-love, the I is at its most garrulous inside its lonely garage.” – Will Schutt, “Storm”

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It’s cold and dark in there

April 4th, 2018 · No Comments

“Marriage is the tomb of love.” – Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, Memoirs

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Use your low beams

April 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow

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Uncomfortable in their own skin

April 2nd, 2018 · No Comments

“How do people come to know themselves? One way is by reading fiction. The profound act of empathy demanded by a novel, forcing the reader to suspend disbelief and embody a stranger’s skin, prompts reflection and self-questioning. But most people don’t read novels.” – Nathaniel Rich, “James Baldwin & the Fear of a Nation”

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Guilty as charged

April 1st, 2018 · No Comments

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.” – James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village”

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Breathe deep the gathering gloom

March 31st, 2018 · No Comments

“A novel insistently demands the presence and passion of human beings, who cannot ever be labeled. Without this passion we may all smother to death, locked in those airless, labeled cells, which isolate us from each other and separate us from ourselves.” – James Baldwin, “Preservation of Innocence”

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Same as we ever were

March 30th, 2018 · No Comments

“In good fiction, as in real life, there tend not to be sentimental heroes and cruel villains but only deeply compromised human beings who struggle with their sins and shortcomings as best they can.” – Nathaniel Rich, “James Baldwin & the Fear of a Nation”

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The crux of the matter

March 29th, 2018 · No Comments

“Race was—is—the fundamental American issue, underlying not only all matters of public policy (economic inequality, criminal justice, housing, education) but the very psyche of the nation.” – Nathaniel Rich, “James Baldwin & the Fear of a Nation”

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A powerful acid

March 28th, 2018 · No Comments

“Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated and this was an immutable law.” – James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”

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It’s called racism

March 27th, 2018 · No Comments

“Police killings of unarmed black children, indifference to providing clean drinking water to a majority-black city, or efforts to curtail the voting rights of minority citizens are not freak incidents but outbreaks of a chronic national disease.” – Nathaniel Rich, “James Baldwin & the Fear of a Nation”

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March 26th, 2018 · No Comments

“A real writer is always shifting and changing and searching.” – James Baldwin (quoted by Nathaniel Rich in “James Baldwin & the Fear of a Nation”)

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Sojourning in the wilderness

March 25th, 2018 · No Comments

“Refugee camps provide food and shelter, but they do not provide political voice and agency for their populations. Global institutions do not have the power to include stateless people in political membership. This is the danger of cosmopolitan institutions—that everyone becomes a mere human body to be managed in a camp.” – Thomas Nail, “Migrant Cosmpolitanism”

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Drilling down

March 24th, 2018 · No Comments

“If it were in my power to change the mercantile laws of literary society, I could easily spin out my existence writing and rewriting the same story in the hope that I might end up understanding it and making it clear to others.” – Ignazio Silone (quoted by Dorothy Day in The Catholic Worker, January 1968)

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