Archives for October 2016

It’s the birthday of Ezra Pound,

born 127 years ago today in Hailey, Idaho (1885). He was known as “the poet’s poet” because he was so generous about promoting the work of other writers – including James Joyce, William Carlos Williams, D.H. Lawrence, Marianne Moore, Hilda Doolittle, and T.S. Eliot.

In his early 20s, he started teaching literature at a small college in the Midwest, until he caused a scandal by allowing a stranded vaudeville actress to sleep over at his place and was fired. But the college gave him the rest of his year’s salary, and he headed off to Europe with it.

He believed that Yeats was the greatest poet writing in English, and he was determined to make himself an apprentice to Yeats. He found him, befriended him, worked as his secretary, and later, he married the daughter of Yeats’s former lover.

In 1914, Pound met T.S. Eliot, and he campaigned to get “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” published in Poetry magazine. He’s sometimes credited as “discovering” Eliot because of this.

He spent most of his writing life on The Cantos, a modern epic. There are 109 completed Cantos; the first of The Cantos begins:

“And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship.
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us out onward with bellying canvas
Circe’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.”


Reposted from Writer’s Almanac.

It’s the birthday of convicted murderer and best-selling detective novelist Anne Perry

born Juliet Hulme in London (1938). She had tuberculosis, and her doctor said she wouldn’t survive another winter in England, so she was sent away to live in the Bahamas, and then South Africa. She rejoined her family when she was 13, after her father – a well-known physicist – got a job as a president of a university in Christchurch, New Zealand. She became close friends with a classmate, Pauline Parker, who also struggled with health issues. When Juliet was confined to a sanatorium for several months, she exchanged daily letters with Pauline. They created an elaborate fantasy world together; they were both working on novels, which they were convinced were brilliant. They planned to run away to New York together, find publishers for their novels, and then make them into Hollywood movies – they would be actresses and they would handpick famous actors to star in their films.Then Juliet’s parents decided to leave the country and take their daughter to South Africa. The two girls were absolutely devastated and begged for Pauline to move to South Africa too. Juliet’s parents thought the girls needed to be separated, but they said all right, as long as it was OK with the Parkers – knowing full well they would never consent. Sure enough, Pauline Parker’s mother refused. The teenage girls decided that Pauline’s mother was the only thing ruining their lives, and that the only way to solve everything would be to kill her. So they did, inviting her to go on a walk in the park and then bashing her head with a brick tied in a stocking. When the girls returned to the teahouse where they had eaten lunch, they were covered in blood, and quickly arrested. Juliet was 15 years old, and Pauline 16. The brutal murder shocked the country, and the two girls were given a high-profile trial. The prosecution read extracts of Pauline’s diary, in which the girls coldly planned the murder. They were each sentenced to an indefinite prison sentence, and were released separately about five years later under the condition they never contact each other. The girl who had been Juliet Hulme changed her name to Anne Perry. She converted to Mormonism, and settled in a remote Scottish village with her mother. In 1978, she published a murder mystery called The Cater Street Hangman, set in Victorian England. She expanded the book into a series, and then wrote another detective series. For decades, no one knew that Anne Perry and Juliet Hulme were one in the same. Then, in 1994, the Parker-Hulme murder case became the inspiration for the film Heavenly Creatures, starring Kate Winslet as Juliet. A reporter was writing a story about the film and discovered that not only was Juliet Hulme still alive, she was a best-selling, world-famous writer named Anne Perry. She writes for 12 hours a day, and she has written more than 50 novels, which have sold more than 25 million copies. Perry said of her writing: “It is vital for me to go on exploring moral matters.” Reposted from Writer’s Almanac

The King Is God

Watching the sky for falling stars on a mountain called Angel Crest with Donna on my lap, a bright campfire, a dreamy star filled night, and fresh picked peyote tea filled my wishes for heaven on Earth.

I plucked my guitar and began to sing, “Do the stars, looking down on us, make a wish when they see us side by side sharing dreams and do they like to hear me singing the blues?” I nuzzled Donnas’ neck as musical words rolled from my lips, “Do the stars above make music like I do? Can they boogie woogie all night long and drink until dawn?”

“Stars don’t dance.” Donna said.

“Of course they do, can’t you see them shimmer, shimmer?”

“No more peyote for you,” Donna said.

“Maybe they make music to draw another star toward them and when they collide, they’ll create stardust that forms into a brighter star than either was before they danced?

“Stars aren’t alive,” Donna said. God just put them there to light the night sky for us.”

“Do they have a desire to sing deep from their molten cores, I asked. “Or are they just burning hunks of rock? How about the planets? Do you think any of them are alive?”

“Are you hallucinating?” Donna asked.

“I don’t need drugs to think that if the moon had a voice, it would howl louder than

any man, wolf, or dog? Are planets hollow shelled conveyors of heavenly harmony played on quantum strings? Is music filling empty space plucked by an unseen hand holding stars, planets, and our destinies like threads of theoretical string?”

“I can’t answer those questions, but I’ll send you to the stars when we make love so you can discover if music is played and if stars and planets, like us, want another to love.”

“Look!” I shouted, “A falling star.”

As we watched the speeding light, it slowed, stopped in midair, changed from white to a glowing red hunk of metal the size of a bus. It sank to the mountain top where we were. An acrid aroma of hot metal enveloped us. It reminded me of welding fumes. “It smells like a dead star.”         “Smells like barbecued steak to me,” Donna said.

It sizzled when it touched damp ground and sent up a cloud of steam that obscured it.

“What should we do?” Donna asked holding me tight.

“Let it cool off and then carry as much of it as we can home.”


“Meteorites are worth a fortune.”

The wall of steam began to dissipate in the mountain breeze and we saw the object from the sky wasn’t a meteorite. It was smooth shiny metal and it made a buzzing sound as a hatch slid open and beautiful celestial music wafted around us. Feelings of peace and wonder coursed through me as the volume increased and increased until Donna and I had to cover our ears.

There was movement inside the silver sphere and suddenly a young slender Elvis sprang from the interior singing, “I’m just a hunk, a hunk of burning love.”

“The king lives,” Donna said.

I strummed my guitar and joined Elvis in singing, “Since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell, its down at the end of Lonely Street at Heartbreak Hotel.”

Elvis set his guitar down and sat in a fold up chair I had by our campfire. “I’ve come to tell you that stars indeed can boogie and sing, but you’ll have to wait until you die before you can bond with heavenly things.”

“Does everyone live on after this life?” Donna asked Elvis.

“Only if you can dance and sing. No wallflowers allowed. They get in the way of the harmonic universe. So If you can’t dance, you’re born again and again until you learn how.”

“Is there a God?” Donna asked.

“You’re looking at me,” Elvis said.


Written by Joe DiBuduo.






A Real Poet who became famous for a book-length poem he wrote!

It’s the birthday of poet and professor John Berryman, (books by this author) born in McAlester, Oklahoma (1914). He wrote a hundred sonnets based on an affair he had with one of his graduate students, and then he became famous for a book-length poem he wrote to a Puritan woman who’d been dead nearly three centuries.That work, Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, took him five years to compose. He was very meticulous about how he worked on it. He would draft a stanza of the poem in the morning and then stick it under a sheet of translucent paper so that he could see the stanza but not touch it. Then he would sit and stare at it for hours, making notes. When he felt sure he was ready to make the changes, he took out the stanza manuscript, wrote in the corrections, stuck it back under the translucent paper, and stared at it some more. Then, when he was satisfied with the changes, he would type it up. He did one stanza each day like this. After a stanza was done for the day, it was never revised again. His second marriage fell apart during the time he spent composing Homage to Miss Bradstreet, which begins:

“The Governor your husband lived so long
moved you not, restless, waiting for him? Still,
you were a patient woman. –
I seem to see you pause here still.”

He struggled with alcoholism and depression, and part of his therapy was to keep a journal of his dreams. Many of his dreams made their way into his poetry cycle “Dream Songs.” A batch of these poems, published as 77 Dream Songs (1964), won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize. He wrote nearly 400 “Dream Songs,” all narrated by a middle-aged man named Henry. He wrote, “These Songs are not meant to be understood, you understand. / They are only meant to terrify & comfort.”

The first of The Dream Songs begins:
“Huffy Henry hid the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point, – a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought
they could do it made Henry wicked & away.
But he should have come out and talked.”

Berryman was a Shakespearean scholar and a professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His books include Love & Fame (1970) and Recovery (1973).

He wrote in “Dream Song 14”:
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.


Reposted from Writer’s Almanac.

A Penis Manologue

Tourists brought entire mummies home to display in their living rooms, and mummy unwrapping parties became popular.

The 1830 artwork “Liberty Leading the People” was created by renowned French painter Eugene Delacroix. The artist is known to have used pigment made from ground mummy.
By Kristin Romey

Eugene Delacroix’s most famous painting, “Liberty Leading the People,” hangs in a revered spot in Paris’ Louvre Museum. Inspired by the 1830 Paris Uprising, it has been held up as an embodiment of the French national ethos, and most recently as a justification for the country’s controversial burkini ban.

But “Liberty Leading the People” may also have been literally painted with people.

From at least the 16th century until as late as the early 1900s, a pigment made from mummified human remains appeared on the palettes of European artists, including Delacroix. Painters prized “mummy brown” for its rich, transparent shade. As a result, an unknown number of ancient Egyptians are spending their afterlife on art canvases, unwittingly admired in museum galleries around the world.

Mummies for Medicine and Entertainment

The use of mummy as a pigment most likely stemmed from an even more unusual use—as medicine. From the early medieval period, Europeans were ingesting and applying preparations of mummy to cure everything from epilepsy to stomach ailments. It’s unclear whether Egyptian mummies were prized for the mistaken belief that they contained bitumen (the Arabic word for the sticky organic substance, which was also believed to have medicinal value, is mumiya), or whether Europeans believed that the preserved remains contained otherworldly powers.

Tourists brought entire mummies home to display in their living rooms, and mummy unwrapping parties became popular.
What is clear to researchers is that early artist pigments were derived from medicines at the time, and were commonly sold alongside them in European apothecaries. And just as mummy was waning in popularity as a medical treatment, Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the end of the 18th century unleashed a new wave of Egyptomania across the Continent.

Tourists brought entire mummies home to display in their living rooms, and mummy unwrapping parties became popular. Despite prohibitions against their removal, boatloads of mummies—both human and animal—were brought over from Egypt to serve as fuel for steam engines and fertilizer for crops, and as art supplies.

Picture of the mummy room at the British Museum
View Images
A 1937 view of the British Museum’s mummy room. It’s possible that mummy remains may also be present in the museum’s painting galleries.

By the beginning of the 20th century, however, the supply of quality mummies for pigment appears to have dried up. A 1904 ad in the Daily Mail requests one “at a suitable price,” adding: “Surely a 2,000-year-old mummy of an Egyptian monarch may be used for adorning a noble fresco in Westminster Hall…without giving offence to the ghost of the departed gentlemen or his descendants.”

Did Artists Know Whom They Were Painting With?

Nonetheless, many artists may have been unaware that mummy brown was a pigment actually made from mummies. “You just wouldn’t expect that to happen,” says Gary Bowles, a representative of C Roberson and Co. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Roberson was one of Europe’s preeminent “colorists,” supplying paints and pigments to everyone from the artists of the UK’s Royal Gallery to amateurs like Winston Churchill.

It would be quite interesting to see if these artists were using mummies to paint mummies.
Sally Woodcock | Conservator
Until 1933, Roberson’s featured mummy brown in their artist’s catalog, and Bowles recalls seeing mummy parts in the shop as late as the 1980s, when the company was bought out. “There’s no more mummy brown around,” he confirms.

In one unusual anecdote about the pigment, the writer Rudyard Kipling describes a day in the 1860s spent with two pre-Raphaelite painters, Edward Burne Jones, Kipling’s uncle, and Lawrence Alma Tadema. After Alma Tadema informed his colleague that mummy brown was indeed made from mummies, a horrified Burne Jones retrieved his tube of mummy from his studio and buried it in the yard. “[H]e descended in broad daylight with a tube of ‘Mummy Brown’ in his hand, saying that he had discovered it was made of dead Pharaohs and we must bury it accordingly,” Kipling recalls.

Drawing Depicting English Artist Sir Edward Caley Burne Jones at Work
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A drawing of Edward Burne Jones at work. The artist allegedly buried his tube of mummy brown once he was told that it actually contained mummy.
“Alma Tadema was an important customer at Roberson at the time they were grinding up mummies in the mid-nineteenth century,” says Sally Woodcock, a painting conservator and researcher at the Roberson Archive of the University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum. “It’s quite possible that he had seen it being prepared.”

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Woodcock notes that many of the pre-Raphaelite artists who purchased mummy brown from Roberson, such as Alma Tadema, painted Egyptian scenes. “It would be quite interesting to see if these artists were using mummies to paint mummies,” she adds.

Why Mummy Brown Will Remain a Mystery

But while we know that mummy brown was a pigment sold by shops and purchased by artists, it’s almost impossible to scientifically determine what specific paintings may feature the pigment, even through the use of mass spectrometry.

The few recipes that exist for making mummy brown vary wildly, with some calling for the use of the whole body and others using “only the finest muscle.” In addition, the techniques for mummification changed over the centuries, with different resins, oils and plants used at different time, notes Alan Phenix, scientist and head of Treatment Studies research at the Getty Conservation Institute.

While the use of embalmed Egyptians as paint pigment has long been out of vogue, art suppliers are still selling tubes of paint called “mummy.”
“The things that might have been used in embalming and wrapping, such as mastic resin, are all used by artists as varnishes, vehicles, or additives, so to say that something is associated with [mummy brown] is extraordinarily difficult,” says Barbara Berrie, head of scientific research at the National Gallery of Art. “The characteristic molecules that would let you know it was of mammalian origin would likely be present in very small quantities.”

While the use of embalmed Egyptians as paint pigment has long been out of vogue, art suppliers are still selling tubes of paint called “mummy.”

“I’m sure people don’t really understand why the name would be mummy, that it actually refers to the original source for the colorant,” Berrie observes. “But I don’t think they’re using real mummies anymore. I hope not!”

A Penis Manologue Trailer

“There is good reason to believe that the sharing of memory can happen”

Human memory is about to get supercharged. A memory prosthesis being trialled next year could not only restore long-term recall but may eventually be used to upload new skills directly to the brain – just like in the film The Matrix.

The first trials will involve people with epilepsy. Seizures can sometimes damage the hippocampus, causing the brain to lose its ability to form long-term memories. To repair this ability, Theodore Berger at the University of Southern California and his colleagues used electrodes already implanted in people’s brains as part of epilepsy treatment to record electrical activity associated with memory.

The team then developed an algorithm that could predict the neural activity thought to occur when a short-term memory becomes a long-term memory, as it passes through the hippocampus.

Early next year, Berger’s team will use this algorithm to instruct the electrodes to predict and then mimic the activity that should occur when long-term memories are formed. “Hopefully, it will repair their long-term memory,” says Berger. Previous studies using animals suggest that the prosthesis might even give people a better memory than they could expect naturally.

A similar approach could eventually be used to implant new memories into the brain. Berger’s team recorded brain activity in a rat that had been trained to perform a specific task. The memory prosthesis then replicated that activity in a rat that hadn’t been trained. The second rat was able to learn the task much faster than the first rat – as if it already had some memory of the task.

“There is good reason to believe that the sharing of memory can happen,” says Berger.

For the first time ever, I quit a hike I attempted Wednesday Oct 19.

Had my pacemaker adjusted and since then can’t catch my breath when walking up hills. I never had this problem before I was talked into getting a pacemaker. I didn’t need it and now would like to have it removed. But, I can’t do it arbitrarily as Amazon has done with its book reviews!


Reminds me of someone running for office presently.

It was on this day in 1933 that Albert Einstein officially moved to the United States to teach at Princeton University. He had been in California working as a visiting professor when Hitler took over as chancellor of Germany. Einstein’s apartment in Berlin and his summer cottage in the country were raided, his papers confiscated, and his bank accounts closed. He returned to Europe and handed in his German passport, renouncing his citizenship. He considered offers from all over the world, including Paris, Turkey, and Oxford. Einstein eventually decided on Princeton, which offered him an attractive package teaching at its Institute for Advanced Study – but he had his hesitations about the university. For one thing, it had a clandestine quota system in place that only allowed a small percentage of the incoming class to be Jewish. The Institute’s director, Abraham Flexner, was worried that Einstein would be too directly involved in Jewish refugee causes, so he micromanaged Einstein’s public appearances, keeping him out of the public eye when possible. He even declined an invitation for Einstein to see President Roosevelt at the White House without telling the scientist. When Einstein found out, he personally called Eleanor Roosevelt and arranged for a visit anyway, and then complained about the incident in a letter to a rabbi friend of his, giving the return address as “Concentration Camp, Princeton.” In 1938, incoming freshmen at Princeton ranked Einstein as the second-greatest living person; first place went to Adolf Hitler.
Reposted from WDA.