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 While feeding the Augsutulus, I've been playing the new Met production of Don Giovanni n the background. I notice that throughout the first few scenes the backdrop on stage is a New Oreleans whore house, complete with whores standing on the balconies. In the middle of Leporello's catalog aria, the whore house set separates and slides off into the wings, to reveal behind it...another New Orleans Whore house.
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 I see it was announced today that Pixar is going to make a CGI version of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden, to be released by Disney. Sigourney Weaver as voice talent will reprise her role from the 1994 Roman Polanski version, while the role of Dr. Miranda will be voiced by Keanu Reeves. Ben Kingsley will still be featured in the project, however. He will voice and act via rotoanimation a wisecracking cockroach named Gregor that will befriend Weaver's character in prison. The artist formerly known as Prince has been signed to write the sound track.
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 Remus the cat died yesterday, in a very unusual way for a cat. He was pelted to death by hail.

Anamnesis

Apr. 21st, 2012 10:14 am
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 Madeline--What word goes there?
Malkhos:--Read the first part. Now read the second part. What word goes in between?
Madeline--but! Thanks, Dada.
Malkhos--For what? I didn't teach you anything. I just reminded you to remember it.
      (more generally)--I just proved the theory of anamnesis.
Mme. Malkhos--What?!?

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 Our European readers probably have no idea what is going on over here.

Read the headline, then look at the story to see what organization Fox News calls a Civil Rights group.



 


To be fair, the most likely explanation is that reporter and her editor did not know what the abbreviated name of that organization is, and so couldn't make any larger connection. It has to be that way, because the alternative is too terrible.

The original story has been removed, by the way, but not before this screen-capture was re-posted all over the internet.
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 'Your're coming too close to expressing an opinion different from mine. Stop it or I'll smite you! Despite the fact that everyday I express an opinion contrary to and provocative of yours and I expect you to tolerate it.'
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 Proof that there is no limit to human vanity and stupidity.
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  Clearly the author of this passage must have been a rabid support of Darwin and Evolutionism, and an opponent of specific creation according to Genesis, just as so many creation scientists assure us he was:




Everybody who has the right kind of feeling for his country is solemnly bound, each within his own denomination, to see to it that he is not constantly talking about the Will of God merely from the lips but that in actual fact he fulfils the Will of God and does not allow God’s handiwork to be debased. For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will…

Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth.

Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind. Each animal mates only with one of its own species. The titmouse cohabits only with the titmouse, the finch with the finch, the stork with the stork, the field-mouse with the field-mouse, the house-mouse with the house-mouse, the wolf with the she-wolf, etc…

From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.



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 How often I've told students that Marie Antoinette and her ladies would go and play milk-maid--actually dressing up like peasants (well peasants in cloth of gold) and miming peasant work. This was because milk-maids were notorious for their beauty. They had the clearest skin because they never got small pox. From their milking they all got cow pox.... and the then Jenner etc.

But I never actually say their play yard until now:


 


(Marie Antoinette's Cottage ont he Grounds of Versailles)

Raptors

Jan. 30th, 2012 12:39 pm
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 For the first time in a long time my chauffeuring duties and the weather conspired to permit e to take the Augustulus on a stroll around the neighborhood. What did we see on out return except two raptors gyring on the current of hot air rising from our house. One of them was most likely the peregrine that lives around here (certainly it wasn't the red tail). But the other was a bald eagle, the first one I'd ever seen here.
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 According to the Mail, St. Louis has been moved bodily across the rover so that the down town sets atop Cahokia (of course they show photos of Cahokia with no 40 story sky-scrapers on it, but I guess that was before the shift. One benefit of this is that our house now sits directly underneath the Arch. Also amazing is that 50 year old archaeology is breaking news.
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porphyry: (Nergal)
Here is a fellow who thinks that Burroughs' Pellucidar novels are historical truths, that the earth is hollow and somehow habitable and inhabited on the inside. In particular, he thinks Byrd the polar explorer was really exploring deep with the hollow earth:


A few years ago I spent a great deal of time researching the Arctic and Antarctic exploits of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd looking for anything that could explain why his name continues to pop up in any serious study of the Hollow Earth Theory.

 

I have already reported in my research about the possible involvement of the Admiral in the exploration of lands located inside our global world. The most significant fact is the lack of proof otherwise that really stands out in our investigation.


What a phrase he has found  in 'the lack of proof otherwise'! If you can't disprove to me whatever insane thing I just thought up--and bear in mind, I'm insane and therefore impervious to argument--it must be true!

Anyway, here is Byrd's  Snowcruiser, which is possibly worth seeing.

  


It was world famous in 1939, but quickly broke down in Antarctic conditions. Evidently the shifting ice fields periodically bury and expose it.


porphyry: (Nergal)
Here is a fellow who thinks that Burroughs' Pellucidar novels are historical truths, that the earth is hollow and somehow habitable and inhabited on the inside. In particular, he thinks Byrd the polar explorer was really exploring deep with the hollow earth:


A few years ago I spent a great deal of time researching the Arctic and Antarctic exploits of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd looking for anything that could explain why his name continues to pop up in any serious study of the Hollow Earth Theory.

 

I have already reported in my research about the possible involvement of the Admiral in the exploration of lands located inside our global world. The most significant fact is the lack of proof otherwise that really stands out in our investigation.


What a phrase he has found  in 'the lack of proof otherwise'! If you can't disprove to me whatever insane thing I just thought up--and bear in mind, I'm insane and therefore impervious to argument--it must be true!

Anyway, here is Byrd's  Snowcruiser, which is possibly worth seeing.

  


It was world famous in 1939, but quickly broke down in Antarctic conditions. Evidently the shifting ice fields periodically bury and expose it.


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Gerhard Wilhelm von Reuten, 1849


 





porphyry: (Nergal)
Obviously there are innumerable things wrong with Hollywood's perception of antiquity (the Victorian bookie's green board on display outside the Colosseum in Gladiator comes to mind as an obvious symbol), but here is an annoying pattern that's just emerged for me.

In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, all the slave Pseudolus wants is to be free, but his master tells him, "People just don't go around freeing slaves everyday." I've known that one for some time.

But last night I saw the silent version of Ben Hur (in what sense was he a prince, anyway?). Hur's mother is so pleased with the service of her slave Simonides (why not ben Simon?) that she tells him, "I would free you if the law allowedit?" Even more oddly he replies to this by saying, "I don't care about actually being free, so long as you allow everyone to think I am free?" What?

For those who didn't pay attention in Ancient history class, the manumission of slaves was quite common in the Roman Empire, and was an import form of patronage and wealth creation, since the freedman could start his own business, and his former master, as his patron, would have ultimate control of the newly created resources. In fact, shortly after the time of Ben Hur, the richest man in the world was Pallas, a freedman of the Emperor Claudius, who was also effectively the Prime Minister of the Empire. His brother Felix, also a freedman, would succeed Pilate as Procurator of Judea, incidentally.

So why do these films insist one exactly the opposite of one of the most obvious and important truths about Roman society (the very existence of the words 'manumission' and 'freedman' might have been suggestive)? In neither case does it materially affect the plot (Pseudolus is eventually freed, and Simonides refuses to denounce his mistress under torture, but freedmen were certainly liable to be tortured). While less common, manumission was certainly a feature of American slavery (although the final Supreme Court decisions that actually sparked off the Civil War seem to have disallowed it), so that couldn't have clouded the film-maker's thinking. Is it just to make the Romans appear more horrible (along the lines of making Masalla ignorant of the polite forms of discourse that allowed honetiores talk to inferiors about the difference in power between the classes without being insulting?)?

And this was supposed to be about 3 lines when I started...

Mephisto

Dec. 10th, 2011 07:55 pm
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We now know the Augustulus is an imp of Satan.

He was sitting on my lap just now, and when the Mepsisto Waltz came on the radio. He suddenly stood up, almost causing me to drop him, and starting maniacally dancing, swaying his hips and stamping his feel wildly, with an abandoned enthusiasm I have never seen before in him.
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Lately the Augustulus has begun to make facial expressions for the sole purpose of making Mme Malkhos laugh:



funny expressions here )

Ramayama

Dec. 5th, 2011 10:23 am
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I'm working on the Ramayana now, with the main thrust being parallels with other Indo-European epics, mainly the Iliad; hardly original work, though I do see a few new details here and there.

The main reason for thinking that these similarities mean anything is the hypothesis that the stories of the bards go back to a common original tradition of the steppe that descended and changed between India and Greece in something like the way the language did..That is the kind of argument I generally like, but here is the problem. I just read the scene where the monkey god Hanuman acting as a spy visits Sita during her captivity in the ogre Ravana's fortress. Supposedly this scene is supposed to be a parallel for Odysseuss' visit to Helen in the Iliad. However, it struck me as being much closer to Papageno's rescue of Pamina in The Magic Flute, and there's no possibility of a connection of any kind between that and the Ramayana. Oh well...

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