The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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Entries from August 2011

Foolproof method

August 31st, 2011 · No Comments

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” — Oscar Wilde

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit

A pull, a strain, a cramp

August 30th, 2011 · No Comments

“For most people will power is a limited resource; if we spend lots of energy controlling our impulses in one area, it becomes harder to control our impulses in others.  Or, as the psychologist Roy Baumeister puts it, will power is like a muscle: overuse temporarily exhausts it.” — James Suroweicki, “In Praise of Distraction”

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Tags: Economics · James Suroweicki

Prisons as deterrents

August 29th, 2011 · No Comments

“In punishing wrongdoers, no one concentrates on the fact that a man has done wrong in the past, or punishes him on that account, unless taking blind vengeance like a beast.  No, punishment is not inflicted by a rational man for the sake of the crime that has been committed–after all one cannot undo what […]

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Tags: Plato · Politics & Law · The Ancients

This will be on the test

August 28th, 2011 · No Comments

“No one is angered by the thoughts which are believed to be due to nature or chance, nor do people rebuke or teach or punish those who exhibit them, in the hope of curing them; they simply pity them.  Who would be so foolish as to treat in that way the ugly or dwarfish or […]

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Tags: Plato · Politics & Law · The Ancients

Why won’t this thing straighten out?

August 27th, 2011 · No Comments

LHC results put supersymmetry theory ‘on the spot’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14680570 (Dark matter is space.  Remember, you may have heard it here first.)

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Tags: Verandah

Hurtled screaming into the void

August 27th, 2011 · No Comments

The voice in “the talking french cat” came to me in a dream.  I thought of writing an entire book in that voice, but I couldn’t sustain it, then it was gone.  And would a reader really want to spend an entire book, even a slim volume, with that person and that voice?  Madness and […]

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Tags: Previously Published Stories · Words

Tea, anyone?

August 26th, 2011 · No Comments

“The mass of people notice nothing, but simply echo what the leaders tell them.” — Plato, Protagoras (trans. Guthrie)

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Tags: Plato · Politics & Law · The Ancients

Relative values

August 25th, 2011 · No Comments

“Stealing a man’s wife, that’s nothing, but stealing his car, that’s larceny.” — James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit

Equality, entropy, and justice

August 24th, 2011 · No Comments

“We mold the best and strongest among ourselves, catching them young like lion cubs, and by spells and incantations we make slaves of them, saying that they must be content with equality and that this is what is right and fair.  But if a man arises endowed with a nature sufficiently strong, he will, I […]

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Tags: Plato · Politics & Law · The Ancients

There’s always something that needs doing

August 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

“A poet is a man, who, having nothing to do, finds something to do.” — Anatole Broyard (from The Granta Book of the American Short Story, ed. Ford)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Granta Book of the American Short Story

To sleep, perchance

August 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

“Above the autumnal opacity of the park the night is flushed by a vague reddish glow.  In the ravaged upholstery of the treetops crows wake with caws of mindless alarm and, deceived by the false dawn, take off in noisy squads; their yawping, reeling disarray throws tumult and vibrations into the murky redness tartly redolent […]

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Tags: Bruno Schulz · Lit & Crit

Abscission

August 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments

“Autumn is the human soul’s yearning for matter, essence, boundary.  When for unexplored reasons human metaphors, projects, dreams begin to hanker for realization, the time of autumn is at hand.  Those phantoms that, formerly spread out over the furthest reaches of the human cosmos, lent its high vaults the colors of their spectra now return […]

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Tags: Bruno Schulz · Lit & Crit

Such a pretty face should be dressed in lace

August 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Very few of the stories I’ve had published have undergone no substantial rewrite, “substantial” being a subjective term that, whatever it may mean, almost certainly means more than giving a story a “polish” (whatever that may mean).  “Rag Doll” was first drafted about fifteen years before I finally got it into a shape a publisher […]

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Tags: Previously Published Stories · Words

You think so?

August 19th, 2011 · No Comments

“Faith is nice but doubt gets you an education.” — John Lahr, “God Squad”

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Tags: John Lahr · Lit & Crit

Comin’ to life, stayin’ alive

August 18th, 2011 · No Comments

“Once upon a time, there existed gods but no mortal creatures.  When the appointed time came for these also to be born, the gods formed them within the earth out of a mixture of earth and fire and the substances which are compounded from earth and fire.  And when they were ready to bring them […]

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Tags: Plato · The Ancients

Where the coyotes moan so low

August 17th, 2011 · No Comments

“Intense loneliness gives all great American literature something in common, the sense of a lonely animal howling in the dark.” — Stephen Spender (from The Granta Book of the American Short Story, ed. Ford)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Granta Book of the American Short Story

Well, shut my mouth

August 16th, 2011 · No Comments

“Once language exists only to convey information it is dying.” — Richard Hugo (from The Granta Book of the American Short Story, ed. Ford)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Granta Book of the American Short Story

The role of standardized tests

August 15th, 2011 · No Comments

“All knowledge, when separated from justice and virtue, is seen to be cunning and not wisdom.” — Plato, Menexenus (trans. Jowett)

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Tags: Plato · Politics & Law · The Ancients

The gleanings

August 14th, 2011 · No Comments

“We have been outsourcing our intelligence, and our humanity, to machines for centuries.  They have long been faster, bigger, tougher, more deadly.  Now they are much quicker at calculation and infinitely more adept at memory than we have ever been.  And so now we decide that memory and calculation are not really part of mind.  […]

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Tags: Adam Gopnik · Economics · Lit & Crit

Epistemology

August 13th, 2011 · No Comments

“Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickles and Fries” is the result of taking a handful of ideas languishing in the workshop, mixing them together to see how they might fit, and making a prose bracelet out of them.  It was published in The Writing Disorder on New Year’s Eve last year.

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · Previously Published Stories · Words

Enchanted

August 12th, 2011 · No Comments

“We played host to mysterious distinguished strangers and lost ourselves in conjectures in our desire to penetrate their disguises.  In the evenings everyone gathered in the great hall, where, by flickering candlelight, we listened to one tale or revelation after another.  There were times when the plot spun through these stories jumped out of the […]

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Tags: Bruno Schulz · Lit & Crit

Give life an inch, it’ll take a whole planet

August 11th, 2011 · No Comments

“The town lives under the sign of the Weed, of wild, avid, fanatical plant life bursting out in cheap, coarse greenery–toxic, rank, parasitic.  That greenery grows under the sun’s conjury, the maws of the leaves suck in seething chlorophyll; armies of nettles, rampant, voracious, devour the flower plantings, break into the gardens, spread over the […]

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Tags: Bruno Schulz · Lit & Crit

Probated

August 10th, 2011 · No Comments

“The honor of parents is a fair and noble treasure to their posterity, but to have the use of a treasure of wealth and honor, and to leave none to your successors, because you have neither money nor reputation of your own, is alike base and dishonorable.” — Plato, Menexenus (trans. Jowett)

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Tags: Economics · Plato · Politics & Law · The Ancients

We’ll meet tomorrow and form a committee

August 9th, 2011 · No Comments

“The king who does not deal with the concerns of his kingdom in person and on time, verily he, those concerns, and even his kingdom get ruined.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Aranyakanda Sarga 33

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · The Ancients · Valmiki Ramayana

Narcissoid void

August 8th, 2011 · No Comments

“What do I look like?  Sometimes I see myself in the mirror.  A strange, ridiculous, and painful thing!  I am ashamed to admit it: I never look at myself full face.  Somewhat deeper, somewhat farther away I stand inside the mirror a little off center, slightly in profile, thoughtful and glancing sideways.  Our looks have […]

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Tags: Bruno Schulz · Lit & Crit

Touch-up paints are available in most common colors

August 6th, 2011 · No Comments

Usually, once I’ve published a piece, I make no more modifications to it.  This is a rule I abide by strictly except for those occasions when I choose to break it. This week I’m posting “Karen and the Dropout,” a story published in 2010 in White Whale Review.  Prior to publication, Randi Shapiro, the fiction […]

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Tags: Previously Published Stories · Words

Self-contained as a nut

August 5th, 2011 · 2 Comments

“He whose happiness rests with himself, if possible, wholly, and if not, as far as possible, who is not hanging in suspense on other men, or changing with the vicissitude of their fortune, has his life ordered for the best.” — Plato, Menexenus (trans. Jowett)

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Tags: Plato · The Ancients

With a clarifying effect

August 4th, 2011 · No Comments

“The truth, for all its power, is merciless.” — from “A Murder Foretold,” by David Grann

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

A plea for good posture

August 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

“It’s better to die standing up than live on your knees.” — Alexey Navalny (from “Net Impact,” by Julia Ioffe)

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Tags: Politics & Law · Verandah

Traveling lightly

August 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

“No poet or prose man can take down to posterity a baggage wagon of his works, and he is lucky if he can save enough to fill a saddle-bag.” — Brander Matthews, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Ch. 23

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature