The Art of Tetman Callis

Some mature content; some puerile

The Art of Tetman Callis header image 1

Simple statement of historical fact

March 6th, 2015 · No Comments

“All contractors involved in the production of U.S. war materials were barred from practicing racial discrimination.” – Robert Goralski, “May 27, 1943,” World War II Almanac: 1931-1945

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Breathe deep and clear your mind

March 5th, 2015 · No Comments

“Expectation bias is a well-established phenomenon that occurs in scientific analysis when investigator(s) reach a premature conclusion without having examined or considered all of the relevant data. Instead of collecting and examining all of the data in a logical and unbiased manner to reach a scientifically reliable conclusion, the investigator(s) uses the premature determination to dictate investigative processes, analyses, and, ultimately, conclusions, in a way that is not scientifically valid. The introduction of expectation bias into the investigation results in the use of only that data that supports this previously formed conclusion and often results in the misinterpretation and/or the discarding of data that does not support the original opinion. Investigators are strongly cautioned to avoid expectation bias.” – Technical Committee on Fire Investigations, Sec. 4.3.8, NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations (2011 Edition)

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · Verandah

Wrangling unicorns

March 4th, 2015 · No Comments

“Any hypothesis that is incapable of being tested is an invalid hypothesis. A hypothesis developed based on the absence of data is an example of a hypothesis that is incapable of being tested. The inability to refute a hypothesis does not mean that the hypothesis is true.” – Technical Committee on Fire Investigations, Sec., NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations (2011 Edition)

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · Verandah

Prescient lad

March 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

“Germany’s military overthrow was not an undeserved catastrophe, but a well-merited punishment which was in the nature of an eternal retribution. This defeat was more than deserved by us.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (trans. Murphy)

→ No CommentsTags: Adolf Hitler · Politics & Law · The Great War · The Second World War

Pin a tail on that donkey

March 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

“As some historians have contended, [British Prime Minister] Chamberlain in the end saw himself as a practical businessman willing to deal with the world as it was, engage in hardheaded negotiation with others, and strike a mutually beneficial bargain on the assumption that all parties would honor their parts of the deal. Like the vast majority of his countrymen, he had vivid and terrible memories of the [First] World War and felt revulsion at the thought of a new generation dying on the killing fields of Western Europe. In both instances, he was a liberal—a man of humane sentiments and reasoned intellect. The Realpolitik he tried to practice was itself largely a creation of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment in reaction to previous catastrophic wars of religion; it thought of states and their leaders as rational actors seeking to maximize advantage but pursuing limited aims. Chamberlain expressed the most important weakness of his superficially tough-minded realism when he declared his determination to deal with the grievances of adversaries through the application of ‘our common sense, our common humanity” in seeking the solution to outstanding problems. Realpolitik in the age of Hitler and Stalin required an understanding of the darker angels of human nature. Businessman in background, Unitarian in religious training, liberal politician in vocation, Chamberlain had scant conception of the phenomenon of evil.” – Alonzo L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The Great War · The Second World War

What Coy Said

March 1st, 2015 · No Comments

Identity Theory has published my story, “What Coy Said,” from my collection, Cocktails.

→ No CommentsTags: Previously Published Stories · Words

Hang the carrot from the stick, and it works

March 1st, 2015 · No Comments

“Dictators told journalists what to write. Democratic leaders manipulated them, none more successfully than Franklin Roosevelt.” – Alonzo L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The Second World War

It was near to time for torches and pitchforks

February 28th, 2015 · No Comments

“ ‘We are at the end of our rope,’ Hoover remarked to an aide late on the evening of March 3 [1932]. And so it seemed might also be the country. Here and there in the midwestern farm regions, armed groups effectively prevented foreclosure sales. In Iowa, the Farmers’ Holiday Association sporadically blocked shipments of produce to market. In some cities, laid-off utility workers tapped electric lines to restore power to homes that had failed to pay their bills. There were scattered reports of groups invading supermarkets and appropriating supplies of food without paying.” – Alonzo L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law · The Second World War

And with minimal delay

February 27th, 2015 · No Comments

“Supreme court rules are not suggestions, but rather, they are mandatory and must be followed.” — Judge Daniel J. Pierce, Northwestern Memorial Hospital v. Sharif, 2014 IL App (1st) 133008

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law

No consolation in that prize

February 26th, 2015 · No Comments

“The essential purpose of a contract between commercial people is actual performance—they do not bargain merely for a promise, or for a promise plus the right to win a lawsuit.” – Bradford Stone and Kristen David Adams, Uniform Commercial Code in a Nutshell

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law

You got what you wanted, now what do you want?

February 25th, 2015 · No Comments

“A controversy exists when the plaintiff wants more, or different, relief than the defendant is willing to provide. If A says that B has caused an injury of $100,000, and B offers $110,000 in recompense, A cannot spurn the offer and sue for $100,000. Once the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate and no controversy to resolve. In other words, you cannot persist in suing after you’ve won.” – Judge Frank A. Easterbrook, Smith v. Greystone Alliance, LLC (internal cites and quotations omitted)

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law

It fills my to-do list

February 24th, 2015 · No Comments

“They say I’m lazy, but it takes all my time.” – Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Verandah

How much for the little girl?

February 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

“Thus it happened that Adolf Schiele, then twenty-four, encountered Franz Soukup’s twelve-year-old daughter. According to family legend, it was love at first sight, at least for Adolf, who vowed to make Marie his wife. Whether, as has been said, the Soukups opposed the marriage is debatable; the connection with the prosperous Schiele family was certainly not one to be disdained. However, Marie was scarcely more than a child when in 1879, at the age of seventeen, she married Adolf. Strictly educated in a Viennese convent, she knew nothing of the world and supposedly still played with dolls. On her wedding night, it is said, she fled the nuptial chamber in horror. Adolf Schiele was no such innocent: at about the time of his wedding, he had contracted syphilis. He refused to seek treatment and remained essentially asymptomatic until 1902, when the disease surfaced in its final, mortal stage. For Marie Schiele, the first years of marriage were blackened by the illness. Annually, more or less around the date of her wedding anniversary, she gave birth, and each year, for three years in succession, the infants were stillborn. Finally, on May 28, 1883, she bore a seemingly normal girl, christened Elvira. (All of the Schiele children would be raised in the Catholic faith, their mother’s religion.) In 1886, a second daughter, Melanie, was born. Egon, who came into the world on June 12, 1890, was the first and only son to survive. ‘[H]e is a dear strong child,’ Marie noted in her diary. ‘God preserve him for us. may he grow and flourish!’” – Jane Kallir, Egon Schiele: Life and Work (footnotes omitted)

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Vizarts

Tears of a clown

February 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

“If comedy is tragedy plus time, I need more fucking time, but I would really settle for less fucking tragedy.” – John Stewart, The Daily Show, Dec. 3, 2014

→ No CommentsTags: Verandah

Wandering naked down Main Street

February 21st, 2015 · No Comments

“Complete privacy does not exist in this world except in a desert, and anyone who is not a hermit must expect and endure the ordinary incidents of the community life of which he is a part. Thus he must expect more or less casual observation of his neighbors as to what he does, and that his comings and goings and his ordinary daily activities, will be described in the press as a matter of casual interest to others. The ordinary reasonable man does not take offense at a report in a newspaper that he has returned from a visit, gone camping in the woods or given a party at his house for his friends. Even minor and moderate annoyance, as for example through public disclosure of the fact that the plaintiff has clumsily fallen downstairs and broken his ankle, is not sufficient to give him cause of action under the rule stated in this Section [652D]. It is only when the publicity given to him is such that a reasonable person would feel justified in feeling seriously aggrieved by it, that the cause of action arises.” – Kenneth S. Abraham and Albert Clark Tate, Jr., compilers, A Concise Restatement of Torts

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · Verandah

Hail, Britannia

February 20th, 2015 · No Comments

“An Englishman’s duty is to secure for himself for ever, reasonable clothing, a clean shirt a day, a couple of mutton chops grilled without condiments, two floury potatoes, an apple pie with a piece of Stilton and pulled bread, a pint of Club médoc, a clean room, in the winter a good fire in the grate, a comfortable armchair, a comfortable woman to see that all these were prepared for you, and to keep you warm in bed and to brush your bowler and fold your umbrella in the morning. When you had that secure for life you could do what you liked provided that what you did never endangered that security.” – Ford Madox Ford, The Last Post

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

Deep and wide

February 19th, 2015 · No Comments

“You know there are three ways to say X thing, but one will say it better than the other two. And in saying it better, it gets you closer to something. When you achieve it fully, you create something that’s transparent—that people can move into and through their own experiences. As a writer, I don’t want people spending time thinking, ‘What does she mean?’ I want, in a way, my text to go away. So that the words on the page become a door to one’s own internal investigation. It’s just a passage. If the work does its job, it just opens.” – Claudia Rankine (interview by Meara Sharma in Guernica)

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit

Open to offers or up for grabs

February 18th, 2015 · No Comments

“English people of good class do not dress for dinner on Sundays. That is a politeness to God because theoretically you attend evening service and you do not go to church in the country in evening dress. As a matter of fact you never go to evening service—but it is complimentary to suggest by your dress that you might be visited by the impulse.” – Ford Madox Ford, The Last Post

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

But where’s the profit in it?

February 17th, 2015 · No Comments

“This was the war of attrition. . . . A mug’s game! A mug’s game as far as killing men was concerned, but not an uninteresting occupation if you considered it as a struggle of various minds spread all over the broad landscape in the sunlight. They did not kill many men and they expended an infinite number of missiles and a vast amount of thought. If you took six million men armed with loaded canes and stockings containing bricks or knives and set them against another six million men similarly armed, at the end of three hours four million on the one side and the entire six million on the other would be dead. So, as far as killing went, it really was a mug’s game. That was what happened if you let yourself get into the hands of the applied scientist. For all these things were the products not of the soldier but of hirsute, bespectacled creatures who peered through magnifying glasses. Or of course, on our side, they would be shaven-cheeked and less abstracted. They were efficient as slaughterers in that they enabled the millions of men to be moved. When you had only knives you could not move very fast. On the other hand, your knife killed at every stroke: you could set a million men firing at each other with rifles from eighteen hundred yards. But few rifles ever registered a hit. So the invention was relatively inefficient. And it dragged things out! And suddenly it had become boring.” – Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up— (ellipsis in original)

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

Nowadays we call them “trust-fund brats”

February 16th, 2015 · No Comments

“Gentlemen don’t earn money. Gentlemen, as a matter of fact, don’t do anything. They exist. Perfuming the air like Madonna lilies. Money comes into them as air through petals and foliage. Thus the world is made better and brighter. And, of course, thus political life can be kept clean!” – Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up—

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

Stiff upper lip, wot?

February 15th, 2015 · No Comments

“To a sensitive officer—and all good officers in this respect are sensitive—the psychology of the men makes itself felt in innumerable ways. He can afford to be blind to the feelings of his officers, for officers have to stand so much at the hands of their seniors before the rules of the service give them a chance to retaliate, that it takes a really bad Colonel to put his own mess in a bad way. As officer you have to jump to your C.O.’s orders, to applaud his sentiments, to smile at his lighter witticisms and to guffaw at those that are more gross. That is the Service. With the Other Ranks it is different. A discreet warrant-officer will discreetly applaud his officer’s eccentricities and good humours, as will a sergeant desirous of promotion; but the rank and file are under no such compulsion. As long as a man comes to attention when spoken to that is all that can be expected of him. He is under no obligation to understand his officer’s witticisms so he can still less be expected to laugh at or to repeat them with gusto. He need not even come very smartly to attention.” – Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up— (emphasis in original)

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

And when you got there, how could you hide?

February 14th, 2015 · No Comments

“The regular and as if mechanical falling of comrades spreads disproportionate dismay in advancing or halted troops. It is no doubt terrible to you to have large numbers of your comrades instantaneously annihilated by the explosion of some huge engine, but huge engines are blind and thus accidental; a slow, regular picking off of the men beside you is evidence that human terribleness that is not blind or accidental is cold-bloodedly and unshakably turning its attention to a spot very near you. It may very shortly turn its attention to yourself. Of course, it is disagreeable when artillery is bracketing across your line: a shell falls a hundred yards in front of you, another a hundred yards behind you; the next will be half-way between, and you are halfway between. The waiting wrings your soul; but it does not induce panic or the desire to run—at any rate to nearly the same extent. Where, in any event, could you run to?” – Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up—

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

If I close my eyes, I’ll be safe

February 13th, 2015 · No Comments

“If you are lying down under fire—flat under pretty smart fire—and you have only a paper bag in front of your head for cover you feel immeasurably safer than you do without it.” – Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up—

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

Or being Europeans

February 12th, 2015 · No Comments

“The whole of military history, in so far as it concerned allied operations of any sort—from the campaigns of Xerxes and operations during the wars of the Greeks and Romans, to the campaigns of Marlborough and Napoleon and the Prussian operations of 1866 and 1870—pointed to the conclusion that a relatively small force acting homogeneously was, to the nth power again, more effective than vastly superior forces of allies acting only imperfectly in accord or not in accord at all.” – Ford Madox Ford, No More Parades

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

Same ol’ same ol’

February 11th, 2015 · No Comments

“The beastliness of human nature is always pretty normal. We lie and betray and are wanting in imagination and deceive ourselves, always, at about the same rate.” – Ford Madox Ford, No More Parades

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

And they mansplain

February 10th, 2015 · No Comments

“She was by that time tired of men, or she imagined that she was; for she was not prepared to be certain, considering the muckers she saw women coming all round her over the most unpresentable individuals. Men, at any rate, never fulfilled expectations. They might, upon acquaintance, turn out more entertaining than they appeared; but almost always taking up with a man was like reading a book you had read when you had forgotten that you had read it. You had not been for ten minutes in any sort of intimacy with any man before you said: ‘But I’ve read all this before. . . .’ You knew the opening, you were already bored by the middle, and, especially, you knew the end. . . .” – Ford Madox Ford, No More Parades (ellipses in original)

→ No CommentsTags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

“Disabled,” Wilfred Owen

February 9th, 2015 · No Comments

He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow.  Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.

About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
—In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls’ waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease.

There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He’s lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he’d drunk a peg,
He thought he’d better join.  He wonders why . . .
Someone had said he’d look a god in kilts.

That’s why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join.  He didn’t have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet.  He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.

Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women’s eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is!  Why don’t they come
And put him into bed?  Why don’t they come?

– Wilfred Owen, “Disabled”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · The Great War · Wilfred Owen

“Wild with all Regrets,” Wilfred Owen

February 8th, 2015 · No Comments

To Siegfried Sassoon

My arms have mutinied against me—brutes!
My fingers fidget like ten idle brats,
My back’s been stiff for hours, damned hours.
Death never gives his squad a Stand-at-ease.
I can’t read.  There:  it’s no use.  Take your book.
A short life and a merry one, my buck!
We said we’d hate to grow dead old.  But now,
Not to live old seems awful:  not to renew
My boyhood with my boys, and teach ‘em hitting,
Shooting and hunting,—all the arts of hurting!
—Well, that’s what I learnt.  That, and making money.
Your fifty years in store seem none too many;
But I’ve five minutes.  God!  For just two years
To help myself to this good air of yours!
One Spring!  Is one too hard to spare?  Too long?
Spring air would find its own way to my lung,
And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.

Yes, there’s the orderly.  He’ll change the sheets
When I’m lugged out, oh, couldn’t I do that?
Here in this coffin of a bed, I’ve thought
I’d like to kneel and sweep his floors for ever,—
And ask no nights off when the bustle’s over,
For I’d enjoy the dirt; who’s prejudiced
Against a grimed hand when his own’s quite dust,—
Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn?
Dear dust,—in rooms, on roads, on faces’ tan!
I’d love to be a sweep’s boy, black as Town;
Yes, or a muckman.  Must I be his load?
A flea would do.  If one chap wasn’t bloody,
Or went stone-cold, I’d find another body.

Which I shan’t manage now.  Unless it’s yours.
I shall stay in you, friend, for some few hours.
You’ll feel my heavy spirit chill your chest,
And climb your throat on sobs, until it’s chased
On sighs, and wiped from off your lips by wind.

I think on your rich breathing, brother, I’ll be weaned
To do without what blood remained me from my wound.

– Wilfred Owen, “Wild with all Regrets”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · The Great War · Wilfred Owen

“Exposure,” by Wilfred Owen

February 7th, 2015 · No Comments


Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us . . .
Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent . . .
Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient . . .
Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
But nothing happens.

Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire.
Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
Northward incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,
Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.
What are we doing here?

The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow . . .
We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.
Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army
Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of gray,
But nothing happens.

Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.
Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,
With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew,
We watch them wandering up and down the wind’s nonchalance,
But nothing happens.


Pale flakes with lingering stealth come feeling for our faces—
We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,
Deep into grassier ditches.  So we drowse, sun-dozed,
Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.
Is it that we are dying?

Slowly our ghosts drag home:  glimpsing the sunk fires glozed
With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;
For hours the innocent mice rejoice:  the house is theirs;
Shutters and doors all closed:  on us the doors are closed—
We turn back to our dying.

Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;
Nor ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.
For God’s invincible spring our love is made afraid;
Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,
For love of God seems dying.

To-night, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,
Shrivelling many hands and puckering foreheads crisp.
The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,
Pause over half-known faces.  All their eyes are ice,
But nothing happens.

– Wilfred Owen, “Exposure”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · The Great War · Wilfred Owen

“Dulce et Decorum est,” by Wilfred Owen

February 6th, 2015 · No Comments

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep.  Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod.  All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas!  GAS!  Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie:  Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

– Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum est”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · The Great War · William Faulkner