The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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Entries from April 2015

Something wicked this way comes

April 30th, 2015 · No Comments

“By 10.30p.m. the first reports were coming in of a number of serious border incidents, including an armed ‘Polish’ assault on the German radio station at Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia. These had been planned for weeks by Heydrich’s office, using SS men dressed in Polish uniforms to carry out the attacks. To increase the semblance […]

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Tags: Adolf Hitler · Ian Kershaw · Lit & Crit · The Second World War

No citations to brickbats

April 29th, 2015 · No Comments

“Self-help may be resorted to, not only to reveal the falsity of the defamatory statement and to vindicate the reputation, but also to punish the defamer and retaliate against him. In earlier times the principal method of this type of self-help was the clan or blood feud. It was supplanted for a time by the […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The American Constitution

In my profession, we call it ‘extortion by lawsuit’

April 28th, 2015 · No Comments

“Defamation actions have not infrequently been brought—or jury verdicts have been rendered, irrespective of the plaintiff’s motivation in bringing the action—not to compensate for actual pecuniary loss or to vindicate the plaintiff, but instead to cudgel the defendant and to mulct him for substantial damages that may be like a windfall to the plaintiff.” – […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · The American Constitution

Here’s looking at you, kid

April 27th, 2015 · No Comments

“Totalitarian systems preclude civil society by withdrawing the right to privacy that is the foundation of liberal citizenship.” – Robert Huddleston, “Poetry Makes Nothing Happen”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Czecho-Slovakia

April 26th, 2015 · No Comments

“Thousands tried to flee. Masses packed the railway stations, trying to get out to Prague. They had the few possessions they could carry with them ransacked by the squads of men with swastika armbands who had assembled at the stations, ‘confiscating’ property at will, entering compartments on the trains and dragging out arbitrarily selected victims […]

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Tags: Adolf Hitler · Ian Kershaw · Lit & Crit · The Second World War

The Zen of Criticism

April 25th, 2015 · No Comments

“To judge a contemporary work of art correctly demands that calm, unprejudiced mood which, while susceptible to every impression, carefully guards against preconceived opinion or feelings. It requires a mind completely open to the particular work under consideration.” – Carl Maria von Weber, (Composers on Music, ed. Sam Morgenstern)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Vizarts

Amateur hour in Mesopotamia

April 24th, 2015 · No Comments

“Experience at the end of World War II demonstrated that it is much more difficult to order the affairs of liberated nations than of defeated ones. This is because it is undesirable, if not impossible, to arbitrate their affairs with the same ruthlessness. If Washington’s twenty-first-century neoconservatives had possessed a less muddled understanding of the […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Max Hastings · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

How to believe the unbelievable, in an endless number of difficult lessons

April 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

“British and American intelligence possessed enough information by late 1944, from Ultra and escaped Auschwitz prisoners, to deduce that something uniquely terrible was being done to the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, if the right conclusions had been drawn from the evidence. . . . [G]iven the known limitations of precision bombing even where good target […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Max Hastings · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

That day in history

April 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

“Some illusions persist that the wartime Allies missed opportunities to promote the cause of ‘good Germans’ who opposed Hitler, rejecting approaches from such men as Adam von Trott. Yet the British seemed right, first, to assume that any dalliance of this kind must leak, fuelling Soviet paranoia about a negotiated peace and, second, in believing […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Max Hastings · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

If it’s the best you can do

April 21st, 2015 · No Comments

“Clarity is not the prize in writing, nor is it always the principal mark of a good style. There are occasions when obscurity serves a literary yearning, if not a literary purpose, and there are writers whose mien is more overcast than clear. But since writing is communication, clarity can only be a virtue. And […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

Thing

April 20th, 2015 · No Comments

“Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there’s a ten-center handy, ready and able.” – William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

Highly likely perennially timely

April 19th, 2015 · No Comments

“Adverbs are easy to build. Take an adjective or a participle, add -ly, and behold! you have an adverb. But you’d probably be better off without it.” – William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

Stout and swarthy and brittle of bone

April 18th, 2015 · No Comments

“The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place.” – William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

Lifting heavy letters, kicking out the jambs

April 17th, 2015 · 2 Comments

“Writing is, for most, laborious and slow. The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by.” – William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

The sprig of clever metaphor enlivens not the bland repast

April 16th, 2015 · No Comments

“Young writers often suppose that style is a garnish for the meat of prose, a sauce by which a dull dish is made palatable. Style has no such separate entity; it is nondetachable, unfilterable.” – William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

Good luck, everyone

April 15th, 2015 · No Comments

“Who can confidently say what ignites a certain combination of words, causing them to explode in the mind? Who knows why certain notes in music are capable of stirring the listener deeply, though the same notes slightly rearranged are impotent? These are high mysteries . . . . There is no satisfactory explanation of style, […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

A boxing of chocolates

April 14th, 2015 · No Comments

“Life is a lot like boxing. You’ve got to do your roadwork, and when you get knocked down, you’ve got to get back up.” – Sugar Ray Leonard

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Tags: Verandah

How shall the will triumph?

April 13th, 2015 · No Comments

“In formal writing, the future tense requires shall for the first person, will for the second and third. The formula to express the speaker’s belief regarding his future action or state is I shall; I will expresses his determination or his consent. A swimmer in distress cries, “I shall drown; no one will save me!” […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Strunk & White

My enemy’s enemy is not my friend, but can be quite useful

April 12th, 2015 · No Comments

“For many years after 1945, the democracies found it gratifying to perceive the Second World War in Europe as a struggle for survival between themselves and Nazi tyranny. Yet the military outcome of the contest was overwhelmingly decided by the forces of Soviet tyranny, rather than by Anglo-American armies.” – Max Hastings, Winston’s War

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

We’re all queer

April 11th, 2015 · No Comments

“I believe in aristocracy, though—if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · Verandah

Call me lucky

April 10th, 2015 · No Comments

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” – Ecclesiastes 9:11

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Ancients · Verandah

No waffles at the power breakfast

April 9th, 2015 · No Comments

“Clear leadership, violent action, rigid decision one way or the other, form the only path not only of victory, but of safety and even of mercy. The State cannot afford division or hesitation at the executive centre.” –  Winston Churchill, The World Crisis, Vol. 2

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

Make me pine for you

April 8th, 2015 · No Comments

“Men should always be difficult. I can’t bear men who come and dine with you when you want them.” – Benjamin Disraeli (Max Hastings, Winston’s War)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

Such as tossing a few overboard or underbus

April 7th, 2015 · No Comments

“No great country was ever saved by good men, because good men will not go to the lengths that may be necessary.” – Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, “Letter to the Countess of Ossory”

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · The Second World War

It has close contenders

April 6th, 2015 · No Comments

“Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.” – Winston Churchill, The River War

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War · Winston Churchill

Start with having one

April 5th, 2015 · No Comments

“Learning is a precious thing and knowing one’s mind is even more so.” – Virgil Thomson, Taste in Music

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Work it. Infinite repetitions.

April 4th, 2015 · No Comments

“For practical living, man needs to be free in his thought and responsible in his actions. But in dealing with art, responsibility of thought, which makes for slowness of judgment, and freedom of action, which makes for flexibility of taste, constitute the mechanics of vigor.” – Virgil Thomson, Taste in Music

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Vizarts

Coincidental that it is Good Friday

April 3rd, 2015 · 2 Comments

“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” – Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

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Tags: Economics · Ernest Hemingway · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War · Verandah

Ripe times await

April 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

“Wait until you’re hurt before you start to cry. Wait until the fight before you get angry.” – Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

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Tags: Ernest Hemingway · Lit & Crit · The Second World War

And nobody’s friend

April 1st, 2015 · No Comments

“No animal has more liberty than the cat; but it buries the mess it makes. The cat is the best anarchist.” – Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

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Tags: Ernest Hemingway · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War