Bad Apple

August 15, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, METAPHYSICS, Ulalume |

Piet Mondrian's pointillist 'Apple Tree' c. 1908/09

The Apple had a bad rap even before the Book of Genesis. On Mt. Atlas, the golden apples grew, guarded by the daughters of Atlas, the Hesperides, who were pilfering the apples while Dad groaned under the weight of the world.  Heracles (Hercules), on his 11th labour, agreed to shoulder the burden while Atlas plucked the apples from the tree.  He then conned Atlas into taking up the slack again, and made off with the forbidden fruit.  He was a pathological liar, that Heracles! Ironically, Heracles ended up presenting the treasured apples to Athene, who gave them back to the…

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Aren’t Those the Eagle’s Claws?

July 20, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, METAPHYSICS, POLITICS |

20 July, 1969: Apollo 11 Mission lands men on the Moon, in the Sea of Tranquillity. In these days of rapid technological advances and diminishing personal heroism, it is easy to forget how earth-shaking this achievement was.  But anyone alive and out of nappies in July 1969 won’t forget. “From time immemorial men have gazed into the sky and pondered, theorised, even worshipped ‘the silver ornament of night‘”.* At Rice University in Houston, 12 September 1962, President John Kennedy said: “…the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and  the planets beyond…We have vowed that we shall…

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The Truth About Truth

July 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, METAPHYSICS, USA History |

Not as it seems (photo by CGP Grey)

8 July, 1947: The Army Air Field at Roswell, New Mexico, issued a press statement about salvaging the remnants of a “flying disc” from a nearby ranch and taking it to the air field, where it was quickly spirited to an undisclosed location. It wasn’t till about 30 years later (probably after the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)) that dozens of people started asserting they’d seen aliens, flying saucers, men in black, and so on. It was good business for a long time.  But it wouldn’t even pass muster with Stephen Glass. Truth remains an elusive,…

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February 28, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, METAPHYSICS, PETER'S WRITING |

"The Chasseur in the Forest", Caspar David Friedrich, 1814 (detail)

[A lunatic from the past, Bela Kiss, living in conditions of relative tranquility (in Hungarian, “Nyugalom“), made recordings of his ravings in the first-person mode obtaining from time immemorial. These have been transcribed and lovingly italicized by a team of scholars with rather too much affection for the source. The editor has taken the liberty of suggesting that the ensuing statements in the manuscript smack of self-serving apologia, akin to the homilies obtaining in the forwards of most modern three-volume biographies, to the effect that guessing, decontextualizing, moralizing and or fiction are necessary in order to render an antique subject…

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The Heart is a lonely Hunter

(Carson McCullers) Not as completely ghastly as a Flannery O’Connor but up there in the southern Gothic oh-my-gawd stakes.  The ultimately empty, Christ-like Singer and the yearning tomboy Mick are stock characters perhaps but they live and breathe in this story of poverty, hopelessness and waste.  Ian Hunter’s “Cambreau” from Strange Cargo and Conrad Veidt’s “Stranger” from The Passing of the Third Floor Back meet Scout Finch in a boarding house, a café and a ditch.

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