Sunday, July 26, 2015

Iliad, Book XV - Alexander Pope translation

Zeus/Jove sends Iris to tell Poseidon/Neptune to stop helping the Greeks. Poseidon/Neptune refuses at first, then relents, thanks to Iris's prudent counsel. Harold Bloom's suggestion that one should not read poetry but rather declaim it, or, his words, chant it, seems highly appropriate here.

And to blue Neptune thus the Goddess calls:        195
  ‘Attend the mandate of the Sire above,
In me behold the Messenger of Jove:
He bids thee from forbidden wars repair
To thy own deeps, or to the fields of air.
This if refused, he bids thee timely weigh        200
His elder birthright, and superior sway.
How shall thy rashness stand the dire alarms,
If Heav’n’s omnipotence descend in arms?
Strivest thou with him, by whom all power is giv’n?
And art thou equal to the lord of Heav’n?’        205
  ‘What means the haughty Sov’reign of the Skies?’
(The King of Ocean thus, incens’d, replies):
‘Rule as he will his portion’d realms on high,
No vassal God, nor of his train, am I.
Three brother deities from Saturn came,        210
And ancient Rhea, earth’s immortal dame:
Assign’d by lot, our triple rule we know:
Infernal Pluto sways the shades below;
O’er the wide clouds, and o’er the starry plain,
Ethereal Jove extends his high domain;        215
My court beneath the hoary waves I keep,
And hush the roarings of the sacred deep:
Olympus, and this earth, in common lie;
What claim has here the Tyrant of the Sky?
Far in the distant clouds let him control,        220
And awe the younger brothers of the pole;
There to his children his commands be giv’n,
The trembling, servile, second race of Heav’n.’
  ‘And must I then’ (said she), ‘O Sire of floods!
Bear this fierce answer to the King of Gods?        225
Correct it yet, and change thy rash intent;
A noble mind disdains not to repent.
To elder brothers guardian fiends are giv’n,
To scourge the wretch insulting them and Heav’n.’
  ‘Great is the profit’ (thus the God rejoin’d),        230
‘When ministers are bless’d with prudent mind:
Warn’d by thy words, to powerful Jove I yield,
And quit, tho’ angry, the contended field.
Not but his threats with justice I disclaim,
The same our honours, and our birth the same.        235
If yet, forgetful of his promise giv’n
To Hermes, Pallas, and the queen of Heav’n,
To favour Ilion, that perfidious place,
He breaks his faith with half th’ ethereal race;
Give him to know, unless the Grecian train        240
Lay yon proud structures level with the plain,
Howe’er th’ offence by other Gods be pass’d,
The wrath of Neptune shall for ever last.’
  Thus speaking, furious from the field he strode,
And plunged into the bosom of the flood.        245

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2:19 -- John Hammond (2001)

Grand Central Station

I lost everything I had in the '29 flood
The barn was buried 'neath a mile of mud
Now I've got nothing but the whistle and the steam
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

I said, hey, hey, I don't know what to do
I will remember you
Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

Now there's a fellow that's preaching 'bout hell and damnation
Bouncing off the walls of the Grand Central Station
I treated her bad, I treated her mean
Baby's leaving town on the 2:19

I said, hey, hey, I will remember you
Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
Hey, I don't know what to do
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

Now I've always been puzzled by the yin and the yang
It'll come out in the wash, but it always leaves a stain
Sturm and Drang(1), the luster and the sheen
My baby's leaving town on the -

Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
Hey, hey, I will remember you
Hey, hey, I will remember you
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

Lost the baby with the water(2), and the preacher stole the bride
Sent her out for a bottle, but when she came back inside
She didn't have my whiskey, didn't have my gin(3)
With a hat full of feathers and a wicked grin(4)

I said, hey, hey, I will remember you
Yeah baby, I will remember you
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

On the train you get smaller, as you get farther away
The roar covers everything you wanted to say
Was that a raindrop or a tear in your eye?
Were you drying your nails or waving goodbye?

Hey, hey, I will remember you
Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
Oh baby
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

I will remember you
I don't know what to do, baby

Written and produced by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Waits-Brennan
Published by: Jalma Music (ASCAP), © 2001
Official release: Wicked Grin, John Hammond. 2001. Emd/Virgin
John Hammond: Acoustic Guitar and Vocal. Stephen Hodges: Drums, Larry Taylor: Bass. Augie Meyers: Piano
Assistant producer: Marla Hammond. Executive producer: Michael Nash. Engineered and mixed by Oz Fritz
Recorded at Prairie Sun Recording Studios, Cotati, CA or Alpha & Omega Studios, San Rafael, CA
Transcription by Ulf Berggren. Yahoo Groups Tom Waits Discussionlist. July 2, 2001

(1) Sturm und Drang: (literally: "storm and stress") was a Germany literary movement that developed during the latter half of the 18th century. It takes its name from a play by F. M. von Klinger. While the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau were a major stimulus of the movement, it developed more immediately as a reaction against what was seen as an overly rationalist literary tradition. Sturm und Drang was revolutionary in its stress on personal subjectivity and on the unease of man in contemporary society, and it firmly established German authors as cultural leaders in Europe at a time when many considered France to be the center of literary development. The movement was also distinguished by the intensity with which it developed the theme of youthful genius in rebellion against accepted standards and by its enthusiasm for nature. The greatest figure of the movement was Goethe, who wrote its first major drama, Götz von Berlichingen (1773), and its most sensational and representative novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774). Other writers of importance were Klopstock, J. M. R. Lenz, and Friedrich Müller. The last major figure was Schiller, whose Die Räuber and other early plays were also a prelude to romanticism. (Source: Wikipedia/ studies by R. Pascal (1953, repr. 1967) and M. O. Kirsten (1969))
(2) Lost the baby with the water: variation on "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water" or its parallel proverbial expression "To throw the baby out with the bath water" meaning: to reject the good with the bad. (Thanks to Leroy Larson for pointing out this reference. October, 2005)
(3) She didn't have my whiskey, didn't have my gin: "She didn't have my whiskey, didn't have my gin" is very similar to the line "Send out for whiskey, baby, send out for gin" in the Jackson C. Frank song "The Blues Run The Game". Jackson Carey Frank was a relatively unknown folk musician whose life was wrought with depression and medical problems. Although he only released one album, his music has influenced a large number of contemporary folk musicians. Jackson C. Frank died on March 3, 1999. Lyrics (December, 1965): "Catch a boat to England baby maybe to spain. wherever i have gone wherever i have gone. wherever i've been and gone the blues run the game. send out for whiskey baby send out for gin. me and room service oh we're living the life of sin me and room service honey. When i ain't drinking baby you are on my mind me and room service babe when i ain't sleeping honey, when i aint sleeping mama. when i aint sleepin oh you know you'll find me crying. Catch a boat to England baby maybe to Spain. wherever i've been and gone wherever i have gone wherever i have gone the blues run the game. livin is a gamble, baby lovins much the same wherever i have played wherever i throw those dice wherever i have played the blues run the game. maybe when i'm older, baby someplace down the line i'll wake up older so much older mama i'll wake up older and i'll just stop all my tryin. Catch a boat to England baby wherever i have gone wherever i've been and gone maybe to Spain wherever i have gone the blues, they're all the same." (Thanks to Leroy Larson for pointing out this reference. October, 2005)
(4) A wicked grin: Being the title of the 2001 John Hammond album

Friday, July 24, 2015

Is the Chattanooga shooter just another American mass murderer?

It's worth considering that we are observing in the Chattanooga shooter the same downward spiral that we see in other mass murderers, whether they shoot people in a college lecture hall, or bomb a federal building. Cultural/political factors play a role, but may not be central here. What we have is a young, alienated male, resentful that his life hasn't turned out the way he felt it should, depressed and desirous of self-annihilation, fascinated with firearms, and hoping (delusionally) to make his death more meaningful than his life had been.

Daily Beast
"His family says Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez suffered from depression and fought a drug problem and was let go from his job and was having money difficulties and harbored suicidal thoughts.
All of which could explain why the 24-year-old might do something suicidal.
But it does not explain why he would deliberately target an armed forces recruiting center and then a Navy facility, killing four Marines and a sailor.
The reason for that is almost certainly to be found in the pair of blog posts he posted on July 13, the same date his family says he began “a three-day downward spiral” as a result of his personal problems.
In the posts, Abdulazeez describes the material world as a prison and says liberation comes only in following the example set by the disciples of the Prophet Muhammad. He notes that “every one of them fought Jihad for the sake of Allah.”
“We ask Allah to be pleased with us, reward us with Janna,” he writes at the end of the second post, “Janna” being Paradise.
Here he proves himself to be just another dupe who embraced what Islamic extremists offer as an instant solution to all your problems and disappointments.
“If he’s not a terrorist, they ought to redefine the word terrorist,” a counter-terror law enforcement official said Monday.
Most likely, Abdulazeez’s problems go back to the troubled relationship between his parents, which include allegations the mother made in court papers that she had suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the father.
And surely everybody would have been better off if the family had succeeded in getting Abdulazeez into a drug rehab program, as it seems they had hoped to do.
That makes him no less a jihadi than Dylann Roof’s fractured family and drug use made him any less a white supremacist with fantasies of starting a civil war by massacring a Bible study group in a historic black church in Charleston
Extreme, violent ideologies bent on the murder of innocents are seldom havens for the well-adjusted."