Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“I am the bread of life...."

The dubious sculpture
You have to wonder what the sculptor of the statue pictured above was thinking.  Was it really just a case of not thinking things through, a tremendous case of oversight -- or was it a jab at the Catholic Church's pedophilia cover-ups?  Or merely a childish joke?


Covered up, eh?  As for reality being the metaphor, you can't get much better.  When the statue was installed, students at the school immediately  saw the humor in it, taking pics and posting them on Instagram.  The school wrote a note of apology explaining the situation (above) and then covered it up until a solution can be found.  I'm sure the Blackfriars Priory School is loving all the attention.
The cover up.
It's kind of a shame, really, because the Saint depicted, St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639), seems like a pretty decent fellow, known for a genuine commitment to the poor, having established both an orphanage and a children's hospital.

Born in Lima, Peru, he was the illegitimate child of a nobleman and a freed slave.  Though an unusually devout child, his mixed race prevented him from fully joining a religious order.  But when the Prior ignored the law due to Martin's unflagging dedication to healing the sick and caring for the poor, he was allowed to take vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic.  Unfortunately, not all the monks were as open-minded as the prior, and he suffered insults and harassment from his new "brothers".

There are several anecdotes that attest to his humanity: bringing an old man covered with ulcers to his own bed, saying that "Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness" when he was criticized by a dubious brother.  Another time he was reprimanded by the Prior for bringing a dying Indian to his room and he responded "Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity."  Zing!  St. Martin had certainly learned the true meaning behind Jesus rebuking the Pharisees when they criticized him for healing on the Sabbath.  He was thereafter given liberty to do as as wanted when it came to merciful acts.

There are reports he cured the sick merely by giving someone a glass of water, and that during an epidemic he worked tirelessly, even walking through locked doors into quarantined areas.  His alms could feed up to 160 people a day.  Other miracles have him levitating in ecstasy, light filling rooms as he prayed, a remarkable rapport with animals (he was a vegetarian), miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and my favorite, bilocation.

Because of the miracles that occurred when he was invoked in prayer, his body was exhumed 25 years after his death.  His body was said to be incorrupt and to have given off a sweet fragrance.  Numerous pleas were sent to Rome for his beatification, and though his works were eventually recognized as heroic, he wasn't beatified until 1837.  He was made a saint in 1962.  He's often shown carrying a broom to symbolize his belief that all work was holy and he is also sometimes pictured with a dog, cat and mouse drinking from the same bowl, symbolizing peace.

He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and those seeking racial harmony.  His feast Day is November 3.  In Santeria he is venerated as Papa Candelo.

The Adelaide Blackfriars probably wanted to unveil something nice for Saint Martin's saint day, but unfortunately they, erm, blew it.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Open Source Band Names List for as yet unnamed or non-existent bands III

List II

Burkini Fatso
Bill Cosplay

The Wayward Sun
The Spectacle of Society
Life Before Death
Dadbeat Dead
Dork in Boots
The Dworkins
Road Rage
Sarah Palindrome
Spandex Ballet
Borneo Bullet Boy (B3)
C3P.O. Box
Spork and Mindy
Mindless Rubbish
Bar Baron
Dogs on Crack
Doctor Hate
Fools in Love
Fops in Paradise
Ford Rivers
Red Range Rover (R3)
The Maimed Stars
Rockets over Riyadh
Laughing at the Graveyard
Fiery Death Ball
Shit Gibbon
The Weathered Veins
Pic-nique ta mère
Donald Dork
Hangin' w/ Chris and Chester
Ad Astra

Cortisone Kids
Koala Kandy
Bill's Board

White Arrow
Sniff the Doo Doo
The Fires of Artifice
Poète + Maçon = André Béton
Once Upon a Thyme
Dorks in Paradise

Silt Dragon
The Golden Polymers
Annoying Kuntz
Bingle Jell Rock
Pudding Jakarta
Important for Life
Riders on my Bone
Strangers in my Pants
Stranger than Fiction
Guitar Zero
Queer as Fuck
Apple Eaters
Apple Boys
Girl Powder
Riot Sqrrls
Cattle Proud
Cat Collect Call
Spanish Moses
Moss Man
Stones of the Queen Age
Percy Bysse Shellfish
Emerson, Lake & Palm Frond
Morder Philharmonic Orc-estra
Ravi Longshanks
Flood Zone
Dollars for Jesus
Disco Dollar
Dog Caller
Kale Factory
Bowl of Poop
Surrender Turdlings!
Take us to your Leather

Saturday, November 25, 2017

'The Ice Mine' cometh

I didn't want to make an announcement prematurely, and even after the contract was signed I could scarcely believe it, but the publicity poster below is the pinch on the arm that makes it seem finally oh so real:  My first published work of fiction will appear in the early months of 2018.

Entitled The Ice Mine: "The Relation" of Ricardo Etienne Bream, it will be published by Whisk(e)y Tit.

Whiskey Tit attempts to restore degradation and degeneracy to the literary arts.

I'll drink to that.

Fiction editor/honcho Miette Gillette publishes  

books that don’t fit neatly into genre/length/media packages. We proudly publish books that are too long or too short, books in which the authors insist upon no back cover blurbs, books whose best genre descriptions might be “comedy of terror,” “memnoir,” “randy seafaring misadventure,” or “low-tech noir.”

Here's the first publicity poster.  Color me stoked, firemen!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Las Vegas Mass Murder

Back when I first head about the horrendous mass shooting as the concert in Las Vegas I immediately honed in on a few details I knew the synchromystics would be exploring.  I abandoned that article because it seemed to me that it would be pointless.  Lots of "true believers" would be hard at work decrypting the "twilight language" and finally, it seemed to be in bad taste.  I'd already pretty much decided to leave synchromysticism behind and focus on history, public art, and folklore, but even there I've flagged.  I spent the better part of 2017 working on a novella (which will be published by an honest-to-God publisher -- Whiskey Tit -- in 2018) and have since been working on a full-length novel.  Hence the paucity of posts and their brevity.

But I didn't want to bin these notes so I'll just post them here for the heck of it.  Strangely, when looking at the link for the 23 enigma, I saw a link to a phenomenon named after an old Texas joke:  A guy shoots a slew of rounds into the side of a barn, then paints a target around the densest cluster of hits....then claims to be a sharpshooter!  The fallacy is defined thus:

[The] Texas sharpshooter fallacy is an informal fallacy which is committed when differences in data are ignored, but similarities are stressed. From this reasoning, a false conclusion is inferred. This fallacy is the philosophical or rhetorical application of the multiple comparisons problem (in statistics) and apophenia (in cognitive psychology). It is related to the clustering illusion, which refers to the tendency in human cognition to interpret patterns where none actually exist.

I've always thought synchromysticism to basically be a form of apophenia or clustering illusion, but it was startling to hear this term used after years of looking at synchromysticism in the context of America's deadliest mass-shooting.  

Also reminds me of a witty remark apparently made by my great-uncle Homer B. Adkins: 

Basic research is like shooting an arrow into the air and, where it lands, painting a target.


What the synchromystics will be looking at:

The gunman fired from the Mandalay Hotel, referencing a city in Burma/Myanmar.  A country expelling Muslims.  A "person of interest" -- a girlfriend or roommate -- was sought, described as "Asian", named "Marilou Danley".  Perhaps Indonesian, a predominantly Muslim country. [She is in fact Australian-Filipina]  She is no longer a person of interest in the case.

Concert venue dominated by Luxor Hotel with its giant pyramid and obelisk.... (Masonic symbolism)

Shooter was described as firing from the 32nd floor....

23 arms were found in shooter's room.... 

The shooter's father was a notorious bank robber on the FBI's "most wanted" list....

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Pulling an Oneida, Pt. 3

Back in January 2016 I wrote about a town in New York whose seal depicted what appeared to be a frontiersman throttling a Native American fellow.  Critics called it racist and offensive, defenders said it portrayed an actual historical event, a friendly wrasslin' match between one Hugh White and an unnamed Oneida, a test of strength and manliness.

The seal looked pretty darn dubious, but Whitesboro residents were not phased and didn't want to change it.  Well, national media coverage must have had an effect because less than two weeks later it was reported that the town and reps from the Oneida Nation were going to come up with a new seal.

Just a peek at the original:

I don't think one need be a "social justice warrior" to see why this seal is problematic.  If I didn't know the story, I'd probably think it was satire.  I mean, even the name...Whitesboro!? 

Well, I'm a bit late (it was reported back in September) but they've finally come up with something that's basically the same image but a little more even-handed:

I think it's a good compromise.  Sign o' the times.

Although now it's "case closed", you can still enjoy this witty bit The Daily Show did back when the kerfuffle was still causing noise....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Confederate Monuments: Removal and Resistance

I've written a couple of posts about honoring the Confederacy and the removal of Confederate monuments here on LoS, so I found this Op-Ed interesting.  In the wake of today's violent clashes in Charlottesville, which resulted from a rally to protest such a removal, it seems especially relevant.

The Charlottesville clashes came after the KKK and various white nationalist groups planned a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the slated removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee.  For the time being, the statue is still in Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park.  That alone is the sign of the times -- the change itself, and the resentment it has provoked.  It was the third, and largest, rally held in Charlottesville this year. 

And like the previous two, the rally was met by large number of counter-protesters, and things quickly degenerated:

On Saturday morning, men in combat gear — some wearing bicycle and motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs and sticks and makeshift shields — had fought each other in the downtown streets, with little apparent police interference. Both sides sprayed each other with chemical irritants and plastic bottles were hurled through the air.

After the protesters had begun to disperse, someone taking a cue from terrorists in London and Paris drove their car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring 19.  Three cars had already smashed into one another earlier in the day, sending people running.  A State of Emergency is in place.

None of this surprises me.  I've seen too many "The South will Rise Again" bumper stickers on trucks with gun racks.  As I wrote in 2010:

Wild and woolly times ahead.
Be Prepared for the Years of Lead!

I have the feeling this just the beginning. 

Update:  from today's NYT, a little more background.  Art matters.

The Statue at the Center of Charlottesville’s Storm

Update 8/16:  Who'd a thunk it?   

Robert E. Lee opposed Confederate monuments (except grave markers apparently)

Update 8/17:
NYT list of Confederate monuments coming down across the country

Update 8/19:

 .  .  .  .

More on Laws of Silence

The Battle of the Battle of Liberty Place
Ain't just whistlin' Dixie  
The Politics of Removal  
Tea for Two: American Years of Lead

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bourdelle's "La France": Montauban copy

When I first saw Bourdelle's La France in Paris in 2011 (on LoS), it encompassed a lot of what I was writing about at the time, featuring symbols with which I'd become very familiar:  A strong woman as an embodiment of France, a serpent, pillars, and a triangle.

There are four bronze castings of the sculpture made from the original maquette, and the Paris version is the fourth (dedicated June 14, 1948).  Another is in Montauban, the capital of the Tarn-et-Garonne, just a short hop up the road from chez moi.  This second casting was dedicated on November 13, 1932.  The base feautures plaques commemorating every conflict from WWI to 21st-century military actions in places such as Chad and ex-Yugoslavia, a couple of names each on small "ex-voto" compared to the hundreds of names around the base naming the staggering number of victims of the Great War.  If you examine my not-so-great photographs, you'll see that for some reason in version two the spear carried by the Athena-like woman is longer than version four, the spearhead seems slightly different, and it certainly isn't hung with the two wreaths one sees on the Paris casting.

The third version is also quite a bit different, as it (quoting myself): 

had originally been placed at the entrance of the "foire d'Alger." After the foire, it was put on the terrace of the Musée de Beaux-Arts, where she scrutinized the Mediterranean.  This one has the most storied history.
As a symbol of de Gaulle, the statue was blown up on the evening of November 26, 1961 by the OAS (Organisation armée secrète), a far-right group who despised de Gaulle for what they perceived as his treason towards Algeria, then a French Department, after his actions led to Algerian independence in 1962.  The socle was pulverized and the statue damaged. 
After this symbolic attack, the pieces were collected and stored until the statue could be repaired.  The French ambassador obtained permission to recover the statue but the French administration refused to pay for the transport cost, instead foisting the responsibility upon Paris' Bourdelle museum.  It was eventually taken to be repaired but the part of the support which depicted the snakes, as well as that part of the lance which held the olive branches, were too damaged to be repaired.  This lance was later sawed down in order for it to fit inside the museum of the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan military academy.
So.  Not much new, I just happened to stumble upon La France (#2) in Montauban recently, after having forgotten my idea to try and hunt it down after reading about it while researching the one in Paris.  The different castings each have their own history, and I was surprised to learn they had originally been cast for different kinds of monuments. For example, the original maquette was made to commemorate the US' entry into the First World War.  The project floundered but a half-sized casting was exposed at the Salon in 1923.  In 1925, the full-sized, 9m version was cast for use in an expo, after which it was acquired by Briançon, where it stands alone as the city's war memorial.  The second was made directly for Montauban's monument aux morts.  The commission for the Montauban monument, described as a "temple," was given to Bourdelle in 1921, but the monument was not completed until 1930, a year after Bourdelle's death.  The third sat outside a museum in Algiers, was dynamited by the OAS, and then reassembled for another museum, inside this time, at the École St-Cyr.  Number four honors the Free French and "the call" of June 18 by de Gaulle, and was privately funded.  The OAS must have been thrilled.

In addition to the four 9m casts, there are also some 4.6m casts held by various museums.

Apparently, Bourdelle considered La France to be his greatest work, which is saying something, considering that Bourdelle's body of work is impressive in both quantity and quality.  If you look at his lifespan, 1861-1929, the radical modernity of his work is especially striking.  It's really kind of surprising he's not as well-known as say, Rodin, who was an admirer.  I'm lucky that quite a few of his sculptures dot Montauban.  La France is only one of many Bourdelle's works to be found in and around the historic city center near what is now a museum for another native-son, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.