From “Ethica Nicomachea”
A thinking Greek
for the end at which boxers aim is pleasant — the crown and the honours — but the blows they take are distressing to flesh and blood, and painful, and so is their whole exertion; and because the blows and the exertions are many the end, which is but small, appears to have nothing pleasant in it. And so, if the case of courage is similar, death and wounds will be painful to the brave man and against his will, but he will face them because it is noble to do so or because it is base not to do so. And the more he is possessed of virtue in its entirety and the happier he is, the more he will be pained at the thought of death; for life is best worth living for such a man, and he is knowingly losing the greatest goods, and this is painful. But he is none the less brave, and perhaps all the more so, because he chooses noble deeds of war at that cost.
A lot has been said about the worth of life, it’s value, whether its riches are in its joys. The value of life and thus the tragedy of death as its negative space is measured in the void, the sacrifice of a hero or soldier is what they give for their cause or even their art or even, their passion. The noble warrior’s sacrifice of all his previous and future happiness is the measure of his tragedy.
I made this piece in honor of my wife’s birthday. It depicts her, in the fullness of her life, when her body, in its descent, crosses paths with her increasing wisdom. It is at this moment when the Moon and Sun are in equal placement above the East and West horizons and there in the center is Romy, with as much strength of wisom and body that she will ever have at the same time.
There may come a time, hopefully many, many years from now when Romy and I, if we save up enough dough, will inherit this lovely piece of property that has already been hundred-year stormed this century. That means no more for another hundred years right?
This is if we are willing to leave the delicate pleasures of living on Algiers Point, the toots of the ferry, the bending notes of the calliope as they soar across the river, the midnight freight trains, the “Coming Around the Mountain” MIDI of the ice cream / weed man or the school bands marching down Pacific. If we are willing to trade those for calm still days where one can hear the surf from the Gulf, intercoastal barge traffic and choruses of frogs. Doris would love it but she’ll be long gone if this ever comes to pass.
I’ve only entertained this foray into one possible future because I envision by this time I will be so schooled in every manner of political corruption here in New Orleans and Louisiana and the manner in which to detect it, that as I sit down at my computing device (whatever it may be) an old man blogger, I will have before me the ripe, mostly untouched fields of political corruption in the city of Pensacola, the county of Escambia and the glorious state of Florida before me. This is a place where the citizens view their seemingly functional governments as the good guys and the endless corrupt administrations in Louisiana and Illinois as the bad guys like what Scarface said. Many of these people need to be shown the ugly underbelly of their own glad-handing elected officials. Perhaps they have touched on it a time or two but they looked away in horror.
Yes sir, the corruption is less sophisticated there. Schooled in the basics by local bloggers and activists here in New Orleans, even a lucky-ass folk artist like myself will be able to “follow the money” to quote Sandy Hester or Detective Freamon (not sure who to credit with that one). I may be able to be a big fish in a small pond. Hammering away at my futuristic version of a keyboard and keeping up with the young ones using my New Orleans-earned education in thieving crook politicians.
Anyway, visions of the future aside the only reason I got all into the fourth dimension was because my friends back home were getting all uppity when poor folks complained about this…
These are middle class people too. The middle-class American pays for everybody. They pay for the rich mansions and the public housing. We are the pipeline for the entire country. I don’t grasp why people would rather funnel their working class tax money up into the hands of crooked politicians and other corporations that have them by the balls in lieu of down into their own neighborhoods. Do they not understand that they are much more closer financially to the person that makes $12,000 a year than they are the one that makes $250,000 and up? Ego doesn’t allow that. Must be racism I guess. Maybe classism.
Salvaged wood art featuring subject crying out “Oh, Samsara” a variation of the older “Ah, Samsara” an acceptance of the general condition of life. The balding, pale subject, still struggling with the noble truths, decries his condition of suffering rather than accepting it.
See, if it’s a suicide attempt, the person is lying in a hospital bed somewhere with stitched up wrists or having their stomach pumped or someone barges in and cuts them down in the midst of a hanging.
If none of these things happen and the person is actually able to commit suicide it no longer become an “attempt.” It’s then a standard suicide.
Later: Milt the managing editor must have stepped to the writer and took care of business. It’s fixed.
I’m fascinated with places and objects and their memories of what has happened around them. It must be from hanging around New Orleans and Jackson Square in particular. Not talking about ghosts or spirits or anything like that because skeptical disposition prevents belief in that but, the little atoms and molecules that were altered by events like Ceaser’s dying breath.
The photos when shown like that allow the reader to get a clearer view of the past. Usually you look at a photo as a memory of a place that you can take with you. Seeing the photo in it’s original context does something extra. It adds some sort of nostalgic, but haunting, element.
And you know what the Tanyas said, you pass through places and places pass through you…
I had just got off the phone with Cox cancelling some services when I saw that Netflix was doing some shuffling, changing their billing that just about everyone else called raising fees. People are pissed.
I wouldn’t say I’m pissed as much as I am vexed at how dependent I have become on media in general. So I began to think about how much I spend on media a month and, as a household, it came out to more than half what I spent on my mortgage. And I don’t even have one of those smart phones. It’s as much as myself, Romy and Tulane University spend on healthcare for us.
I thought a little more about the value of money and considered whether I would half the square footage of my house just to keep my internet, phone and television. Certainly not. Would I give them up if it meant I could add another half to my home? Probably so considering I could keep my digital rabbit ears and get the public TV.
But in the end, I wouldn’t give up my Internet. The Internet is worth it. Cable TV? Fucking forget it! Way overpriced for me. About right for my mom and dad though. They watch that stuff.
Of course, my predicament is my fault, my tastes have become so weird as I have aged that I’m pretty damn far down the long tale. I recently watched this, this and this. Would Cox have been able to predict that?
Netflix, or more importantly Netflix and an internet conection is everything a weird bastard needs. I spent an insominiac’s hour on Google Earth the other night tooling around the Dalton Highway and looking at strange formations in the tundra (Hey Maitri, what caused this? and reading about little towns and their double digit populations along the way. It was like a little road trip.
Netflix is fantastic, it is far superior to what Cox offers with their pathetic DVR and InDemand services. Those are a joke and that was covered here.
Netflix streaming needs more titles but its vastness has made a spoiled little prick out of me. Even though I have more than a hundred hand-picked titles right out of my own long tail, now I cater what I want to watch to every little nuance of my mood, whether it’s day or night, whether I am up or a little down, am I reflective or unchallenged? Is it that boring Monday through Thursday stretch or the more carefree weekend? What season is it? As obsessive compulsive as it sounds, that’s what occurs when one lives in a country where most of their needs are filled. They have long tails in their long tails like fractals. People don’t have these problems in the third world and they don’t love it if they do.
I still think the streaming is a good deal and it caters to my need not to watch more movies/TV but to watch better movies/TV. That’s where Cox lost me. That’s where movie theaters lost me. That’s where radio lost me. They are wisely going after the thicker part of the long tail.
So long as the rates aren’t nearing the cost of housing or health care, they can get away with it. But it should align with Maslo’s heirarchy of needs. Speaking from a sociological standpoint, shit at the bottom of the pyramid should be most valuable and cost more, shit at the top less valuable and cost less. So, health and shelter should be what we spend most of our money on and Netflix and cable, which could fall under love and belonging needs (social networking) but more appropriately belong under “need to know and understand” because we don’t need Facebook for love and belonging despite what seems to be happening to some of my friendships.
So as the Cox representative was trying to convince me why I needed more movie, sports and variety channels I had to cut her off and just said I was going to read and socialize more and she audibly chuckled!
Little did she know I just got me one of these…
And remember what Brother said about one of those…
(My viewing of The Wire made possible by Cox and Netflix.)
By Aristotle a Greek philosopher and tutor to Alexander.
From Ethica Nicomachea
AFTER what we have said, a discussion of friendship would naturally follow, since it is a virtue or implies virtue, and is besides most necessary with a view to living. For without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods; even rich men and those in possession of office and of dominating power are thought to need friends most of all; for what is the use of such prosperity without the opportunity of beneficence, which is exercised chiefly and in its most laudable form towards friends? Or how can prosperity be guarded and preserved without friends? The greater it is, the more exposed is it to risk. And in poverty and in other misfortunes men think friends are the only refuge. It helps the young, too, to keep from error; it aids older people by ministering to their needs and supplementing the activities that are failing from weakness; those in the prime of life it stimulates to noble actions — ‘two going together’ — for with friends men are more able both to think and to act. Again, parent seems by nature to feel it for offspring and offspring for parent, not only among men but among birds and among most animals; it is felt mutually by members of the same race, and especially by men, whence we praise lovers of their fellowmen. We may even in our travels how near and dear every man is to every other. Friendship seems too to hold states together, and lawgivers to care more for it than for justice; for unanimity seems to be something like friendship, and this they aim at most of all, and expel faction as their worst enemy; and when men are friends they have no need of justice, while when they are just they need friendship as well, and the truest form of justice is thought to be a friendly quality.
Be weary of those who claim not to need or to have “enough” friends, they are only attempting to excuse their inability to love or be loved. Within friendshiups there is warmth, compassion, trust kinship. It is through friends that societies, cultures and nations are born.
So today I was on the Square and was selling apiece to a couple and the fella asked in an accent I knew I’d heard many times but couldn’t place, “are there any good symmetries around heir?”
And I thought to myself how I just had a bout of symmetry the last day or two but didn’t want to get all into it.
So I said, “Well, yeah, there are lots of dilapidated houses next to million dollar homes and you can see the modern city rising next to the old French Quarter and then there’s all the riff raff that hangs out like, right in front of St. Louis Cathedral and such.”
He looks puzzled and says, “I heard come of them are closed on Sunday?”
Then I looked puzzled and figured it out, “I think St. Louis # 1 I think is open until noon on Sundays, it’s sorta the best one.”
Come to find out he was from New Zealand and I recognized the accent from copious amounts of Flight of the Conchords watching…