The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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Entries from July 2012

He had a more direct method

July 31st, 2012 · No Comments

“Alexander didn’t torture the Gordian knot when it wouldn’t come untied.” – Lydia Davis, “Kafka Cooks Dinner”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Lydia Davis

There’s a there there

July 30th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“It does not follow that because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively no shape at all or an infinity of shapes.” — E.H. Carr (quoted by Roger Cohen in “Revealing ‘Turkey’s Hidden Past’”)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Or it may scratch and bite and cling to the ceiling

July 29th, 2012 · 7 Comments

“A person has other concerns, but at each moment in its life, a cat has only one concern.  This is what gives it such perfect balance, and this is why the spectacle of a confused or frightened cat upsets us: we feel both pity and the desire to laugh.  It faces the source of danger […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Lydia Davis

The cascading double-dog dares

July 28th, 2012 · No Comments

Ninety-eight years ago on this very day the so-called Great War (aka, the World War, aka the First World War) “broke out,” as wars are said to do.  How did this misfortune come about?  Through an unstoppable cascade of double-dog dares, to wit: A Serbian nationalist assassinated an Austrian (aka, Austro-Hungarian) duke; The Austrians (aka, […]

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Tags: Economics · Other Stuff · Politics & Law · Verandah

Not even thesis defense

July 28th, 2012 · No Comments

“Nothing in a graduate degree in art history prepares you for the eloquence of the eraser.” – Adam Gopnik, “Life Studies”

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Tags: Adam Gopnik · Lit & Crit

Fingerpaints and doodles

July 27th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“Whatever sense of professional competence we feel in adult life is less the sum of accomplishment than the absence of impossibility: it’s really our relief at no longer having to do things we were never any good at doing in the first place—relief at never again having to dissect a frog or memorize the periodic […]

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Tags: Adam Gopnik · Lit & Crit

In many lands this is the case

July 26th, 2012 · 1 Comment

“When sophisticated business people begin to adopt the methods of common criminals, we have no choice but to treat them as such.” – Preet Bharara, US Attorney, SDNY

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law

Lemmings on parade

July 25th, 2012 · No Comments

“‘The market’—like ‘dialectical materialism’—is just an abstraction: at once ultra-rational (its argument trumps all) and the acme of unreason (it is not open to question).  It has its true believers—mediocre thinkers by contrast with the founding fathers, but influential withal; its fellow travelers—who may privately doubt the claims of the dogma but see no alternative […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · Tony Judt

Provocative consistent conjunction

July 24th, 2012 · No Comments

“A plot is the means by which fiction portrays the consequences of actions, but it is not like a pool table; one event never mechanically causes another.  In a plot each event provokes other events by making it possible for them to happen–possible but not inevitable, because human beings are always free to choose their […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

It’s because they know all that is, all that has been, and all that will be

July 23rd, 2012 · No Comments

“Without doubt cats are intellectuals who have been, by some mysterious decree of Providence, deprived of the comfort of the word.” — Rebecca West, “Pounce”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rebecca West

And all places are alike to them

July 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

“I have never felt jealous of other women because they were more beautiful than I was, for almost any cat was far more beautiful than either me or them.” — Rebecca West, “Pounce”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Rebecca West

Souls on sale

July 21st, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today.  For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose.  We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth.  We no longer […]

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · Tony Judt

Here comes another one now

July 20th, 2012 · No Comments

“Everything happens to an artist; time is always redeemed, nothing is lost and wonders never cease.” – Muriel Spark, Loitering with Intent

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Tags: Lit & Crit

It’s–I dunno–sorta like, mebbe imho, roflmao–or maybe not, but whose to say?

July 19th, 2012 · 6 Comments

“Shoddy prose today bespeaks intellectual insecurity: we speak and write badly because we don’t feel confident in what we think and are reluctant to assert it unambiguously (‘It’s only my opinion…’). Rather than suffering from the onset of ‘newspeak,’ we risk the rise of ‘nospeak.’” — Tony Judt, “Words”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tony Judt

Decisions, decisions

July 18th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“Whether we should endure the violence of the state, as a defense against the yet more fearful violence of our neighbors, and whether there comes a point where the violence of the state must be resisted are great recurrent questions of moral and political life.” — Robert Bartlett, “Lords of ‘Pride and Plunder’”

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Tags: Politics & Law

In the land of mocha

July 17th, 2012 · No Comments

“Under our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race.  That concept is alien to the Constitution’s focus upon the individual.  To pursue the concept of racial entitlement–even for the most admirable and benign of purposes–is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · Verandah

Some write fiction

July 16th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Rebellion against fate, the attempt to stop time, to be always young, leads to a kind of death too.  For to stop the process of decay is to stop living.” — Ian Buruma, “The Mystery of Female Grace”

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Tags: Lit & Crit

All roads lead to Rome

July 15th, 2012 · 5 Comments

“The novelist and the historian are seeking the same thing: the truth—not a different truth: the same truth—only they reach it, or try to reach it, by different routes.  Whether the event took place in a world now gone to dust, preserved by documents and evaluated by scholarship, or in the imagination, preserved by memory […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

They called him “Little Mac”

July 14th, 2012 · No Comments

“I have done the best I could for my country; to the last I have done my duty as I understand it.  That I must have made many mistakes I cannot deny.  I do not see any great blunders; but no one can judge of himself.  Our consolation must be that we have tried to […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Working in the fields

July 13th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Whatsoever a man sows, that must he reap, and he not only reaps what he sows but he must reap all he sows.  When we plant a seed of good or of evil we are hardly aware how large a tree may grow from it or how much fruit it may bear.” — Wilbur Fisk, […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

On this day in history

July 12th, 2012 · No Comments

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Tags: Economics · Other Stuff · Politics & Law · The Ancients · Verandah

Nowhere to hide

July 11th, 2012 · No Comments

“One meets all sorts of men in the army, and he often finds himself in a crowd of the very roughest of the human species.  But human nature is very much the same everywhere.  No matter how ‘rough’ a man may become, or how wicked, he naturally admires the excellent qualities of others, and condemns […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Now for something completely… complete

July 10th, 2012 · 3 Comments

This was featured on APOD today:

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Tags: Economics · Other Stuff · Politics & Law · The Ancients · Verandah

The silence of duty

July 10th, 2012 · No Comments

“The scenes in a soldier’s life are continually shifting, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, and we soldiers get to be nearly as indifferent about the matter, and care as little where we go, as a horse cares where his driver may see fit to drive him.  And we have just as little voice […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

An uncontrolled experiment

July 9th, 2012 · No Comments

“Treat men like brutes and they will become like brutes, but you treat them worse than brutes and there is no telling what they will become.” – Wilbur Fisk, Hard Marching Every Day (eds. E. and R. Rosenblatt)

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Physical and moral knowledge

July 8th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“If a man wants to know what it is to have every bone in his body ache with fatigue, every muscle sore and exhausted, and his whole body ready to sink to the ground, let him diet on a common soldier’s fare till he has only the strength that imparts, and then let him shoulder […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Spotsylvania, Virginia, May of 1864

July 7th, 2012 · No Comments

“The most singular and obstinate fighting that I have seen during the war, or ever heard or dreamed of in my life, was the fight last Thursday.  Hancock had charged and driven the enemy from their breastworks, and from their camps, but the enemy rallied and regained all but the first line of works, and […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Discipline and punishment

July 6th, 2012 · No Comments

“The band discoursed a dirge-like piece of music, when the prisoners [John Tague and George Blowers] were conducted to their coffins, on which they kneeled, and the guard filed around and took position in front of them, scarcely half a dozen yards distant.  A sergeant put a circle around the neck of each, from which […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

Hurry up and wait

July 5th, 2012 · No Comments

“The duties of a soldier are very unequally divided in regard to time.  Some days he may have nothing whatever to do but to pass the time as best he can; and then of a sudden he may be called upon to perform all that his physical powers can possibly accomplish, and often his power […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

The frontiers of language

July 4th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“See major, see!  The domned skillipins skedaddle extinsively—extinsively sir!” – CSA Captain “Old Tarantula” Reilly, Second Manassas, 1862 (quoted in John J. Hennessy’s Return to Bull Run)

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit