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 2017

I’ll see your destruction and raise you some death

April 30th, 2017 · No Comments

“It is the nature of escalation that each move passes the option to the other side, while at the same time the party which seems to be losing will be tempted to keep raising the ante. To the extent that the response to a move can be controlled, that move is probably ineffective. If the […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Vietnam War

To the victor go the spoils

April 29th, 2017 · No Comments

“When you win big, you can have anything you want for a time. You come home with that big landslide and there isn’t a one of them who’ll stand in your way. No, they’ll be glad to be aboard and to have their photograph taken with you and be part of all that victory. They’ll […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Politics & Law

You can’t get there from here

April 28th, 2017 · No Comments

“To make it in America, to rise, there has to be some sort of propellant; sheer talent helps, but except in very rare instances, talent is not enough. Money helps, family ties and connections; for someone without these the way to the power elite can seem too far, too hopeless the challenge.” – David Halberstam, […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Economics

In God’s country

April 27th, 2017 · No Comments

“The land was hard and unfertile and taught its own lessons, stern lessons. The virtues were the old ones and the sins were the old ones, and the Bible still lived. No one ever expected life to be easy, and forgiveness was not the dominating trait. It was not a land which produced indulgence of […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Vietnam War


April 26th, 2017 · No Comments

“I wouldn’t make the smallest concession for moral leadership. It’s much overrated.” –  Secretary of State Dean Rusk (quoted by David Halberstam in The Best and the Brightest) Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedinemailPrint

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Vietnam War


April 25th, 2017 · No Comments

“The capacity to control a policy involving the military is greatest before the policy is initiated, but once started, no matter how small the initial step, a policy has a life and a thrust of its own, it is an organic thing. More, its thrust and its drive may not be in any way akin […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Vietnam War

The sting of the WASP

April 24th, 2017 · No Comments

“McCarthyism went deeper in the American grain than most people wanted to admit: it was an odd amalgam of the traditional isolationism of the Midwest; McCarthy’s own personal recklessness and cruelty; the anxiety of a nation living in a period of new and edgy atomic tensions and no longer protected from adversaries by the buffer […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Vietnam War

The desire of Khan

April 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Mexico is my mother; the United States the best friend I will ever have. And so I dream of the day when my mother will say, ‘Ricardo, you have chosen a wonderful friend.’ And the day when the friend will say, ‘Ricardo, you have a sensational mother.’ That is why it is very important to […]

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Tags: Verandah

Which means never

April 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“In security matters there’s no democracy.” – Defense Minister Moshe Dayan (quoted by Michael B. Oren in Six Days of War) Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedinemailPrint

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

Cleared that up

April 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“An attack from a state is an attack by a state.” – Ambassador Ephraim Evron (quoted by Michael B. Oren in Six Days of War; emphasis in original) Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedinemailPrint

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

You can’t buy that

April 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“When Jefferson opposed the spread of manufacturing, Jackson opposed a centralized financial system, Lincoln criticized wage labor, the Progressives criticized the trusts, and numerous states tried to halt the spread of chain stores, they did so not only for reasons of distributive justice, but even more from a desire to preserve the material conditions of […]

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Tags: Abraham Lincoln · Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law · Thomas Jefferson

Ask not what the one hand does

April 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” – George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Middlemarch Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedinemailPrint

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

In theory

April 18th, 2017 · No Comments

“As a political theory, liberalism is systematically ambivalent. In its historically dominant version, it holds that maximum individual autonomy is the highest political good; that value preferences are purely subjective and arbitrary, hence none is more worthy of encouragement through social policy than any other, and that individual behavior is largely intentional rather than deterministic, […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law

A failure to grasp the situation

April 17th, 2017 · No Comments

“On June 4 [1967], one Lieutenant Hamid, a newly graduated Egyptian second lieutenant, assigned to a transportation company near Suez, was ordered to take a convoy of antitank ammunition to Kuntilla, near the Egypt-Israel frontier. He left that afternoon, bivouacked with his convoy east of Nakhl that night, and early the following morning reported to […]

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Tags: The Forever War · Trevor N. Dupuy

Can’t have cake and eat it, too

April 16th, 2017 · No Comments

“The Egyptians and their Arab allies make much of the fact that the [1956] war was begun with a surprise Israeli attack, which they therefore characterize as ‘aggression,’ or ‘unprovoked aggression.’ However, this places them in the position of basing their case upon two inconsistent arguments. Either they were not at war with Israel—in which […]

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Tags: The Forever War · Trevor N. Dupuy

It’s complicated

April 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“It is simplistic and misleading to suggest that the Zionist Jews used the pretext of religion and ancient historical tradition to eject the legal occupants of Palestine from their homes by force and terror, and then illegally expropriated their land. It is equally simplistic to suggest that the sole Israeli answer to such accusations is […]

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Tags: The Forever War · Trevor N. Dupuy

Mox nix

April 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“If it can make no practical difference which of two statements be true, then they are really one statement in two verbal forms. If it can make no practical difference whether a given statement be true or false, then the statement has no real meaning.” – William James (quoted by George Scialabba in “Genuine Reality”) […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · William James

The house always wins

April 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“The romantic, reckless, very lucky Colonel John Charles Fremont stumbled down into northern Nevada from Oregon in 1843. Against all advice, he decided to cross the Sierras in winter. It was a mild winter, so he discovered Lake Tahoe and returned East in glory to write a best-selling account of the expedition. Three years later […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Lit & Crit


April 12th, 2017 · No Comments

“What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it our for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory—property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over […]

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Lit & Crit · Verandah

Eyes shut tight

April 11th, 2017 · No Comments

“Submission to fate, the total abdication of your own will in the shaping of your life, the recognition that it was impossible to guess the best and the worst ahead of time but that it was easy to take a step you would reproach yourself for—all this freed the prisoner from any bondage, made him […]

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Lit & Crit

Big, bold, and ill-defined

April 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“Our Russian pens write only in large letters. We have lived through so very much, and almost none of it has been described and called by its right name.” – Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (trans. Whitney) Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedinemailPrint

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Lit & Crit

Some weather we’ve been having

April 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“The first prerequisite to civilization is an ability to make polite conversation.” – W. H. Auden (interviewed by Michael Newman in The Paris Review) Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedinemailPrint

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah · W. H. Auden

Drones for what?

April 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“I think foreign policy should definitely be taken out of men’s hands. Men should continue making machines, but women ought to decide which machines ought to be made. Women have far better sense. They would never have introduced the internal combustion engine or any of the evil machines. Most kitchen machines, for example, are good; […]

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · W. H. Auden

Nuts and bolts

April 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“Poetry is not self-expression. Each of us, of course, has a unique perspective which we hope to communicate. We hope that someone reading it will say, ‘Of course, I knew that all the time but never realized it before.’ On the whole I agree here with Chesterton, who said, ‘The artistic temperament is a disease […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · W. H. Auden

Watch the parking meters

April 6th, 2017 · 2 Comments

“Writers seldom make good leaders. . . . It’s very easy for a writer to be unrealistic. . . . in cases of social or political injustice, only two things are effective: political action and straight journalistic reportage of the facts. The arts can do nothing. The social and political history of Europe would be […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · W. H. Auden

Form and substance

April 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“If I had to ‘teach poetry,’ which, thank God, I don’t, I would concentrate on prosody, rhetoric, philology, and learning poems by heart. I may be quite wrong, but I don’t see what can be learned except purely technical things—what a sonnet is, something about prosody. If you did have a poetic academy, the subjects […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · W. H. Auden

How that all turned out

April 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“In 1900 there were grounds for optimism about the coming century. Apart from bloody but brief contests between Prussia and Austria and Prussia and France, Europe had been at peace since Napoleon. The first great age of industrialization had vastly increased national wealth and standards of living throughout Western Europe and North America. A moderate […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Going ungentle into that bad night

April 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“For many years the Black Marias were steel-gray and had, so to speak, prison written all over them. But in the biggest cities after the war they had second thoughts and decided to paint them bright colors and to write on the outside, ‘Bread’ (the prisoners were the bread of construction), or ‘Meat’ (it would […]

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Traveling light

April 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

“Own nothing! Possess nothing! Buddha and Christ taught us this, and the Stoics and the Cynics. Greedy though we are, why can’t we seem to grasp that simple teaching? Can’t we understand that with property we destroy our soul? . . . Own only what you can carry with you: know languages, know countries, know […]

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Economics · Lit & Crit · Verandah

Open wide

April 1st, 2017 · No Comments

“Artificial feeding has much in common with rape. And that’s what it really is: four big men hurl themselves on one weak being and deprive it of its one interdiction—they only need to do it once and what happens to it next time is not important. The element of rape inheres in the violation of […]

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Lit & Crit