Darkening Sky



The hospital is out of the question, those will be canvassed. McGregor’s mansion has proven a grave error— the Tiarna still has the talisman. The blood drains: the old man is handy with a pistol.

His belt a tourniquet, Colm heads to Nessa’s — where else can he go? Despite her anger, the healing ritual cast in circle. Foolhardy bravado: Colm feels useless, helpless. She cradles him closely as the sky begins to darken.

McGregor stands high on the balcony, laughing savagely: darkness flows into him. Quietly, his servant pushes him over the edge.

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The Lunchtime Incident

THE PERPETRATOR MOVES through the lunch line, dining only a secondary concern.   When the fiend nears the condiments and silverware: the true objective occurs surreptitiously, hardly noticeable: whole handfuls of napkins are scooped from the stainless steel holders; nestled in waistband under the tent-like shirt.

        Just before the next-period bell, the thief runs unseen to the top of the sophomore hall staircase, where he doesn’t belong, breathing heavily, adrenaline spiking.

The mob of noisy adolescents echo in the stairwell, hundreds of napkins snow down onto the perplexed students.
W.T.F. ! ? !

The Napkin Beast strikes again !


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Separation Narrative:



Basic Military Training, 6 Weeks, Apr 85;
NCO Leadership School, 4 Weeks, Aug 91;
NCO Academy, 6 Weeks, Jul 97;
USAF Senior NCO Academy, 7 Weeks, Sep 03.
Subject to Recall to Active Duty
by the Secretary of the Air Force.
20 Years, 08 Months, and 26 Days:
Plumber. Aircraft Mechanic. 16 medals. 16 devices.


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A.W.A.D: Related to 29 in 29






Assign to a thing
value in cha-ching.

Of revelry unchecked:
eat, drink, sex.

Of a leap day fixfor annual hour + six.

Time of moonglow
ere fall of shadow.

Succinctly said,
astern of the head.

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Flouropolymer 45

The false obituaries,
reports of demise grossly exaggerated:

‘John McCain not a war hero’ [because he was captured (POW)]
Skips the Fox News debate [Megyn Kelly asked pointed question       concerning misogyny]
Grab ’em by the pussy tape [case in point]
Hurricane Dorian projection Sharpie-gate [weather map altered to prove       Bama could be slammed]
Impeachment [acquitted on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power       and obstruction of Congress]
Drink bleach [for Covid]
January 6th [criminal referrals including conspiracy to defraud the federal       government; obstruction of an official proceeding, in this case Congress’       certification of electoral votes; conspiracy to make a false statement; and       inciting or assisting those in an insurrection]
2nd impeachment [acquitted on single article of impeachment: incitement       of insurrection against the U.S. government and lawless action at the       Capitol] *TeflonLogo

TEFLON. [So far]

Until the electorate cares, and inters
the blaring bullhorn of demagoguery.

* List not all inclusive, just highlights of a plethora of scandals, exposés, outrages, and norm breaking.

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Sylvia Beach: Joyce, Hemingway, and Shakespeare & Company

Yes this great event of James Joyce Tower opening brings me back to the days in 1922 when I published Ulysses by James Joyce in my little bookshop called Shakespeare & Company in Paris; yes I started life in a Presbyterian parsonage in Princeton New Jersey where my father was a pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, and we lived on a street called Library Place, and in the pews of church you’d see ex-president Grover Cleveland and future president Woodrow Wilson; yes I left Princeton and went to Paris during the first world war, and I was studying and teaching a little too, and it was my French friend Adrienne Monnier yes who encouraged me to open a bookshop in Paris; I didn’t imagine such a thing as having a James Joyce frequenting it, going in and out the door, nor Hemingway, nor any of those people; well yes I opened my book shop and already I had all these young Americans who were pouring into Paris from America, and they were disgusted with America because they couldn’t get drink, it was prohibition, and they couldn’t get Ulysses, I used to think those were the two causes of their discontent; it was always women who were publishing Joyce yes, and they were trying to publish this thing, and it was suppressed, and finally their review was suppressed, and they were hauled off to prison on account of Joyce; yes, you see I met Joyce one day at a party I wasn’t supposed to attend at all as I wasn’t invited, but in the end Monnier took me; I was so scared, and I imagined Joyce up in the clouds somewhere with the gods you see; yes, never did I think I could meet him in the flesh, and yes I went into a room where a lot of books were piled up in a little library yes, and leaning in the corner against the bookshelves was James Joyce drooping, and I went up to him boldly, and we had a conversation together, and he said, “what do you do?,” and I said, “I have a book shop,” “Oh you have, give me the address,” and I told him it’s Shakespeare and Company at 8 Rue Dupuytren Paris Six, and he took this all down peering very closely at it because his eyes were not good; and finally he came one day to show me this little review, and he said see this is now being completely suppressed, and my book will never come out, so he sat there with his head in his hands, and I said to him, “Would you like me to publish Ulysses?,” and he said, “Yes, I would”; he seemed very much relieved in fact, why I don’t know, because it wouldn’t inspire confidence in anyone who had such a book that he’d taken seven years to write, to put it in the hands of someone so inexperienced and young yes, and a little bookshop, not a publishing house at all, so that’s the way I started publishing Ulysses; and then Joyce being a member of my library checked out Riders to the Sea, that was the first book he borrowed; he began to frequent the bookshop like all these other people who had adopted it as their headquarters, yes, and Hemingway and all the young writers used to practically live in my bookshop, I could hardly get any work done, and the newspapers called me mother hen of The Twenties yes, and they seemed to come to me about everything; and I met Ernest Hemingway when he came from the wars in Italy where he was very badly wounded, and he had still the scars on his leg and his foot, and he said, ‘would you like to see my wounds,’ and I said, ‘yes indeed,’ and he took off his shoe and showed me all these dreadful scars on his leg and foot; and I decided to stay in Paris although the Germans were coming fast nearer and nearer, and Paris was emptied, none were left hardly, and packs of hungry dogs were running through the streets yes, and the Parisians prayed; I saw them passing on foot, retreating, and the Germans were coming in, and tears were streaming down our cheeks yes, and it was a very awful experience, horrible; and the Germans of course didn’t like me yes but I kept my shop open for a while until their German officer came in and said, ‘I want that copy of Finnegans Wake you’ve got in the window,; well I said, “That’s the only copy left in Paris and you can’t have it” yes, and he was very angry yes, and he went out and got into his great military car surrounded with other fellows and helmets and drove away; then he came back again in about ten days, and he said, ‘your copy of Finnegans Wake has gone from the window what did you do with it?,’ and I said, ‘Yes I’ve put it away, it’s for me,’ and he was so furious he said, “Well you know, we’re coming this afternoon to confiscate,” and he said, “now will you sell Finnegan’s Wake,” and I said, “Not at all,” so he disappeared in a rage, booming down the street yes, and I immediately had everything removed from my shop in about two hours, everybody, all my friends came rushing to the rescue, and we hid everything upstairs, and when the Germans came that afternoon, I peered out the windows that were all shuttered up, and I had Shakespeare and Company painted off the house by painters, and carpenters took down the shelves and the shutters were up, so the Germans must have come and saw nothing left at all yes; and I retired upstairs; well, they kept track of me because I had to sign at the commissaries once a week as an enemy alien, and so I signed in a big book that they could never find, I used to find it for them, yes, and I’d sign in this book, and it said opposite my name: has no loss, yes, and I never knew why, and I think they were trying to trace the horses yes in France, and then the Gestapo kept track of me; then they’d say you have a Jewish girl helping you in the bookshop and we have a black mark against you yes and I said okay okay and then they said well we’ll come for you and I’d say well okay—I always said okay to them yes, and then one day they did come, it was rather frightening, and they came with a big truck, and the soldier stood there with his tin plate around his neck, and waited, and gave me very little time to prepare to go off as a prisoner, and they hustled me onto a truck and took me off with other American friends, then they drove us, and we didn’t know why, couldn’t see where we were going, but when we got there, found out that we were in the zoo, yes out in the Jardin d’Acclimatation; well, we spent ten days in the zoo, in what we called The Monkey House yes, and in this house we were all in a big room of over 200 American women, and on these cot beds with the water dripping from the roof, and the Germans were up on this gallery above, and they were checking on us all the time; all night long they would flash the light on our faces to count us, and they went around counting us, and we were never the same number yes, and they found us a great bore, and then they took us out to a camp in these awful old trains stuffed with what the French said were donkey’s feathers yes, and we landed in this prison where we were kept, I stayed there only about five or six months, and then I was let out on sick leave, and I came back to Paris, and hid in a student’s home, and they never let on, nobody let on; I used to go back and forth in the streets while the liberation was going on, and they were shooting at us in the streets; and Adrienne and I went out one day because we heard that the enemy was leaving us; yes everybody was cheering, and the Germans were retiring with all their mechanized forces down the street and they got so angry because people were so happy waving WC brushes yes that they began to shoot their machine guns along the sidewalk and my friend and I had to lie on our stomachs until this was over; when we raised our heads, we saw stretchers taking the wounded away; well then after that we were liberated by Ernest Hemingway, yes, and Hemingway was the first American that we saw that we knew who arrived in Paris he was with the first ones, with General Leclerc; then I heard noise out in the rue de l’Odéon and looked out the window, and I saw a string of Jeeps and then I heard people calling and calling, and I heard this big boy yes saying, ‘Silvia, Silvia’ and it was Ernest Hemingway yes and his men, and I rushed down the stairs, and he picked me up and swung me around and swung me around yes, and then everybody was looking out of the windows, and they cheered, and then I took him up to Adrienne’s apartment, and he sat down with his clanking machine gun, and he was all bloody in battle dress, and we asked him what he would like us to do for him and he said, “Soap, soap, I’d like some soap,” and soap was very rare by that time yes but everyone got out her last piece of soap, and then he said what can I do for you and we said, ‘Oh liberate us liberate us’ yes because the enemy was still firing from the roofs, and the resistance was firing also from the roofs, and this shooting was going on all the time day and night and especially on Adrienne’s roof, so Ernest’s timing is with us and he signaled his men to come up out of those jeeps, and they went up on the roof, and we heard a great deal of shooting going on for a few minutes yes, and then the shooting stopped forever yes.

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Explication of Yeat’s “Leda and the Swan”


Boxx Version | “Leda and the Swan.” Jerzy Hulewicz [1928].

Yeats constructs “Leda and the Swan” around an allusion to the events central to Homer’s The Iliad, for the offspring engendered from the mythological forceful rape perpetrated by Zeus as swan upon the vulnerable Leda is Helen of Sparta whose willing defection ultimately crumbles the Trojan fortress. The parallel to Judeo-Christian lore is noteworthy: the spirit of God in the form of a white bird impregnating a virgin, the resultant child of historical import.

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                                  Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

W. B. Yeats —

       The poem’s first two quatrains relate Leda’s helplessness within a flurry of feathers, the closing septet: the aftermath. The dizzying rape rages within the sonnet’s pithiness. “A sudden blow” propels the attack in media res the moment that Leda is buffeted by Divine will (1). The phrase snatches the reader’s attention to the violent indifference of rape notwithstanding its heavenly origin. The alliterative parallel of “blow” and “beating” compressed in the first line highlights the clash against the edge of divine knowledge, an implicit meaning of the poem. Any tenderness suggested in “thighs caressed” is immediately challenged by metonymic portioning of the avian incarnation, the darkness of the webbed feet: webs suggestive of capture, not a willing interaction on the part of the virgin. Yeats then immediately proves the capturing motif with Zeus’ beak clamping another tender point of erogeneity. The last line of the first quatrain rounds the concerns of capture and awkward intimacy with more alliteration: “He holds her helpless breast upon his breast,” ensnarement in the H’s and impingement in the B’s — the thoracic repetition stresses the union, and more to the theme of approaching godlike power, the terror (4).

       The first line of the second continues contemplating the terror but in light of the disparity between the spiritual and the mundane by reversing expectations of reality, for the somatic attributes of Leda become insubstantial: her fingers “vague,” her thighs “loosening,” under the assault of the incarnated “white rush,” the spiritual blood propelled by heartbeat. Other snapshot phrases amidst the violent incursion underscore the disparity between god and mortal. The hurled bolts show up in certain bestial phraseology: “The great wings beating”, “dark webs”, “feathered glory” and a “white rush” (1-7). These make myth corporal.

       Oppositely, Leda is helpless against divine concupiscence; relegated to weak phraseology: “the staggering girl”, “caught” and “helpless” (2-4). The mystery of intimacy between the spirit and the clay contemplated by the poet appears in “Did she put on his knowledge with his power / Before the indifferent beak could let her drop ?”; by posing the question at the end, Yeats plants a seed of contemplation within the reader’s mind, thereby extending the poems affect on the reader.

       “A shudder in the loins” marks the climax destined to spark war in Ileum some years hence (9). The progeny of this ill-fated union will generate crumbling Trojan walls, mentioned in synecdochic fragments: “broken wall” (10), “burning roof and tower” and “Agamemnon dead” (10-11).

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The Feature Retired, Fifteen Netflix Reviews before


Before the Flood

You rated this movie:

Oh dear, the ostriches dig their heads deeper, sand scratching sclera, instead of appraising the media. Five stars for urgency. One does not need to be a trained musician or artist to make a documentary about classical music or cubists; that’s where previous study and interviews come to the fore, from an almost ubiquitous chorus of EXPERTS that say that the majority of current climate change [moving at lightspeed compared to those ice core snapshots of climate cycles on geological time scales] is, indeed, manmade. Some flatlanders may never believe in roundness, even after viewing an arc for themselves, after rides to the edge of space soon become available; such is the nature of delusion.


A Very Murray Christmas

You rated this movie:

Very sly, honest, asymmetrical joy—Christmas askew. Some sincere carols, but most are quirky. Murray always interests.


The Tiger

You rated this movie:

Are curmudgeon critics enamored with the word “glowing” ? The reason for the glowing reviews is because it glows. Acting. Pacing. Effects. Grit. Plot. Editing. Well, a list that glows. Come to think of it, the tiger did kind of levitate:  I’m ok with that. Documentaries are real, fiction is fiction. Expectation therein.



You rated this movie:

The very opposite of “Daemonium,” splendidly done — very entertaining and thought provoking. No spoon-feeding here, imagination required. Wonderful performances and direction. Endings ? O, the modern crowd, “2001: A Space Odyssey” would not have a chance these days. If the movie was tied up in a nice bow at the end, I guarantee most would forget the film in minutes; as it is, it crawls around your noggin for a while and may remain.


I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

You rated this movie:

A spectacular spectre film that experiments with structure, frames within frames, circular and open-ended. It’s like decay viewed within golden amber, so beautifully does the movie unfold like a flower destined to “fall apart.” Particularly, much of the dialogue is lyrically succinct, mesmerizing. For the (many it would seem) detractors of this understated gem, as Charley Sheen said in Two and a Half Men [S1E7], “I understand.”


The Tribe

You rated this movie:

I endured this to the end. I do not recommend that you do the same. This movie is just terrible. Unless you fancy queasiness induced by witnessing depraved humans acting out. The director favors nihilism distilled in long, unblinking shots that study humanity’s bestial edge. Pointless, banal misery despite the sign-language gimmick posing as edgy.


The Forbidden Room

You rated this movie:

There are so many classics and masterpieces available during one’s short stay; why squander precious hours on a movie that only aspires to be completely different, that’s the nutshell of the approach. The senses and contemplation of each person must name that which is art. Alas, the language of this film is foreign to my ears. It exists for those who find continuity disheartening and embrace the quantum uncertainty of packets of jest dribbled indeterminant on a roll of celluloid, then edited in the manner of a lead guitarist that gets all shake-weight orgasmic with wah-wah, fuzz and feedback effects as his fingers speed pointlessly up and down scales, instead of serving a holistic product to delight the audience. Enjoy a dose of modernity !



You rated this movie:

Excellent film. An aesthetic tied-bow closing is not required, and many times counterproductive. A meditation on the human condition. Well-made in all respects. Art !


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

You rated this movie:

Spectacular film. Everything is done spot-on. A film that makes you treasure life, the thousands of small joys that fill everyone’s, if they’d pay attention. Cathartic for the 9-11 national loss, but with affirmation to continue on. Thomas Horn’s performance was tremendous; it goes in my list of great young performances; The Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes comes to mind. Well, I’m off to Amazon.com to get the book to read. In short, this movie is highly recommended: it visits most human emotions with aplomb.



You rated this movie:

Work of art ! I heartily concur with the 5-star crowd. The gulf between haters and lovers always baffles. I just wish more films had this level of direction, acting, and cinematic realization. That, my friends, is where the accolades come from. A gem.



You rated this movie:

A striking film. An aesthetic gem that drips noir starkly into cerebral action. The bold animation explores ethical questions typical of science fiction that promises to become the science of tomorrow, sooner rather than later. The solid plot entertains well enough; however, the animation contains enough imagination and competence to recommend it alone. So, to sum up: fantastic art with stylistic rendering, plus a compelling story, sound, and voice acting.



You rated this movie:

Beautiful and quirky. Looks like a love-it-or-hate-it movie by the ratings; reminds me of the critical split for “Blue Velvet.” Answers in nightmares. I love the dangerous kids across the lake and the child vampire.


Robot & Frank

You rated this movie:

Beautiful movie where Frank Langella shines. The movie touches on: the sadness of mental reality ebbing away before the body does; the nature of relationships with artificial intelligence; and the cost and benefits of crime. Besides, Susan Sarandon is always a bonus to any movie she is in.


Citizen Kane

You rated this movie:

Astonishing ! The greatest movie ever made is a mystery about loss, self-exile and the limits of wealth. A tragedy with comedy. A mystery about a single word that may sum up a person’s life. Mercurial and perfectly balanced. A mythic masterpiece that embodies all cinematic elements with aplomb: screenplay, cinematography, music, acting, direction, editing; and, more than anything: innovation. Welles flawlessly achieves overall composition with many standout scenes, yet never losing focus on the fall of one man. Monolithic.



You rated this movie:

“Life isn’t linear, it’s sideways.” — Nicolas Roeg Roeg’s movies study the human condition in montage. The jump cuts reveal continuity in apparently disparate events, insightful planning from the director. Fine film for aesthetes.

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*Sad Boy

SAD BOY DEPENDS ON LOLA.   Many days he doesn’t feel like the ole rise and shine, and most likely would rarely get out of bed if not for her.   Lola is his protectress.   She prods him onward for their daily travels of new adventure.   Like a cherub with a flaming sword, she shields him from the riffraff in the alleyways.   Sad Boy does not like people either.

        A bit peckish one day, Lola gets trapped and taken away.   Sad Boy falls apart; depressed.   Fortunately, the humans notice and set Lola free. Reunited—Sad Boy recovers and looks happier every day.SadBoy

*Based on a YouTube story from The Dodo | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyUlM1RAGUE

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