The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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Entries from February 2012

It’s futile either way

February 29th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“The world resists me and I resist the world.” — John Gardner, “The Song of Grendel”

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

So let’s not know anything

February 28th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“In the grand scheme of things, everything we know points toward human beings not occupying a privileged position.” — Brian Greene, The Hidden Reality

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

February 27th, 2012 · No Comments

“The art of physics lies in deciding what to ignore.” — Brian Greene, The Hidden Reality

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit

At least some of them

February 26th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“If the laws you have prove mutually incompatible, then—clearly—the laws you have are not the right laws.” — Brian Greene, The Hidden Reality

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit

The voyage and the view

February 25th, 2012 · No Comments

“What’s gratifying about being human, what’s exciting about being part of the scientific enterprise, is our ability to use analytical thought to bridge vast distances, journeying to outer and inner space… it is the depth of our understanding, acquired from our lonely vantage point in the inky black stillness of a cold and forbidding cosmos, […]

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Tags: Brian Greene · Lit & Crit

This extends also to other pursuits

February 24th, 2012 · 3 Comments

“A man cannot be a master artist if he lies to himself, settles for illusions.” — John Gardner, “The Temptation of St. Ivo”

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

Dearly maddened, we gather today in song

February 23rd, 2012 · No Comments

“The scheme of providence demands of us all that each man humbly perform his part, sing his own line in the terrestrial hymn, as the planets are singing, unheard, above us, and with charity forgive those to left and right when they falter.  That may sound pompous, simpleminded, but it’s true, or anyway I hope […]

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

True egalitarians

February 22nd, 2012 · 6 Comments

“Pneumococci are great levelers of vanity and ambition.” — Joseph Stanley Pennell, The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Yee-haw! Git along, little dogies

February 21st, 2012 · 2 Comments

“The best way to do good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” — Benjamin Franklin (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVIII, Ch. XXIV, Sec. 3)

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

What’s the role for unpopular information?

February 20th, 2012 · No Comments

“A popular government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.”  — James Madison (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXIII, Sec. 18)

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

This does nothing but it does it well

February 19th, 2012 · 6 Comments

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Tags: Verandah

Indirectly can be any direction

February 19th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“The knowledge of what tends neither directly nor indirectly to make better men and better citizens is but a knowledge of trifles. It is not learning but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness.” — The Rev. Dr. William Smith (Provost, University of Pennsylvania, 1755-1779), quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, […]

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

Ignorance and silence in the name of God

February 18th, 2012 · No Comments

“Learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world and printing has divulged them and libels against the best of governments. God keep us from both.” — Sir William Berkeley (Governor of Virginia, 1641-1677), quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXIII, Sec. 3

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

I’ll have a slice of happiness, thank you, and a cup of joy on the side

February 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“To despair was to wish back for something already lost.  Or to prolong what was already unbearable.  How much can you wish for a favorite warm coat that hangs in the closet of a house that burned down with your mother and father inside of it?  How long can you see in your mind arms […]

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

Would you like fries with that?

February 16th, 2012 · 3 Comments

“The man who serves is the one who comes to understand other men.” — Nathaniel Wright Stephenson, The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. XXII, Sec. 9

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

Minding everyone’s business

February 15th, 2012 · No Comments

“Gradually public opinion concerning the scope and purpose of government in its relation to the general welfare underwent a transformation. The view which had long been dominant was that national prosperity depended upon the prosperity of the manufacturing and commercial classes of the country; when they flourished the labourer would enjoy a ‘full dinner pail,’ […]

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

Making the magic

February 14th, 2012 · 11 Comments

“It’s in words that the magic is—Abracadabra, Open Sesame, and the rest—but the magic words in one story aren’t magical in the next.  The real magic is to understand which words work, and when, and for what; the trick is to learn the trick.” — John Barth, “Dunyazadiad”

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

Some things you just can’t buy

February 13th, 2012 · No Comments

“You cannot conjure madness out of a cabbage.  You cannot craze a block of wood with an axe.  You cannot blow the brains from a squash.  You cannot sell such a fine fierce commodity as madness and pass it over a grocer’s counter.” — Joseph Stanley Pennell, The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Not even for fifteen minutes?

February 12th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Calmness, forbearance, candor, and soft speech—these virtues of the good are by the insolent taken for the effects of incompetency.  The person who is self-laudatory, wicked, badly bold, and who publishes his own praise and metes out chastisement everywhere, is honored in the world.  By moderation one cannot attain celebrity; by moderation one cannot obtain […]

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Tags: The Ancients · Valmiki Ramayana

A different kind of profit and loss

February 11th, 2012 · No Comments

“Even a wicked-minded enemy, if he with folded palms and a poor heart craves for your shelter, should not be slain.  If an enemy, proud or terrified, seeks shelter in fear, he should be saved by a great man even at the risk of his own life.  One who from fear, ignorance, or willfulness does […]

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Tags: The Ancients · Valmiki Ramayana

It is good that this is not always true

February 10th, 2012 · 6 Comments

“Women fall in love when they get to know you.  Men are just the opposite.  When they finally know you they’re ready to leave.” — James Salter, “American Express”

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

A moment’s rash action, a lifetime of regret

February 9th, 2012 · 6 Comments

“The king who, arriving at certain conclusions, carries on his regal affairs agreeable to justice, has no need to repent afterwards.  But those actions that are done without deliberation, like unto clarified butter poured onto an unclean sacrifice, conduce only to harm.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddhakanda Sarga 12

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Ancients · Valmiki Ramayana

That tower looks like it may fall

February 8th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent. The reaction must come. The tower leans from its foundations, and […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law

News to some

February 7th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Compromise on public issues is the price of civilization, not an abrogation of principle.” — Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence

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Tags: Politics & Law

In case anyone is still wondering

February 6th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“Sound loans are at the heart of a sound banking system.  Unsound loans are the surest route to disaster.” — McLean & Nocera, All the Devils Are Here

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Tags: Economics

Suitable for a Sunday morning

February 5th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“It’s a strange horrific world and while it hurts it fascinates.” — Joseph Stanley Pennell, The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

The binding ties

February 4th, 2012 · No Comments

“If Americans want the U.S. to continue to exist in something like its current form, they will need to respect the fundamental tenets of our unlikely union. It can’t survive if we end the separation of church and state or ban the expression (or criticism) of offensive ideas. We won’t hold together if presidents appoint […]

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Tags: Colin Woodard · Politics & Law

Paying it forward

February 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

“I am like the middleclass housewife who drapes her house with plush horrors: I festoon myself with small beasts and give them to eat and suck and warm them.  I am a truly generous mound of flesh.  I daily lay down my life not for my friends but for those hungry little persons I have […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Perhaps not

February 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

“If in war time the theatre has made itself necessary, does it not follow that some day the Government, regarding the theatre as a necessary social institution for the American people, will give it Congressional support in its artistic maintenance, and recognize its importance by having it represented in the Presidential Cabinet by a Secretary […]

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

Great lucky monkeys

February 1st, 2012 · 5 Comments

“Who knows not the prowess of the monkeys who in the days of yore used to visit the celestials invited?” — Valmiki Ramayana, Sundarakanda Sarga 58

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Tags: The Ancients · Valmiki Ramayana