Archive | August 6, 2019

Middelboe Chronicles, Part 27: The Multi-Coloured Jackal

“A king who doesn’t demand to eat us!”

An outsider with a coat of many colours arrives in an established kingdom and rises to a position of authority. No, I’m not talking about yesterday’s story of Joseph; I’m talking about The Multi-Coloured Jackal (“Animated Tales of the World,” 2004), a story from India:

SciFi SongFest, Songs 74-75

So he told them his scheme
for a Saviour Machine
they called it the Prayer
its answer was law ….

They’ve got earthquake machines and UFOs
and black helicopters wherever we go ….

74. David Bowie, “Saviour Machine” (1970):

75. The Vandals, “If the Government Could Read My Mind” (1998):

Odi et Amo

I posted this in the comments section of a post by Stephan Kinsella, but I thought it was worth pulling out separately:

When I was living in the Boston area (early 80s), many subway stops still had these ancient escalators with slippery, oddly-angled wooden steps that always made me clutch the handrail for dear life. Last time I was there they seemed to be gone, though I obviously didn’t check every stop.

Those wooden escalators encapsulated everything I love and everything I find unlovely about New England in one tidy package. An aversion to the new and flashy, a determination to make do with the old until it absolutely positively cannot be used any more, like using a pencil down to the shortest nub that can still conceivably be grasped with the fingers. On the positive side, an aversion to wastefulness, a rock-ribbed reliability, and a skepticism toward the showy, shallow, and gimmicky. On the negative side, a stingy meanness and hidebound traditionalism, a cramped narrowness of perspective.

New England is in those respects – both the good and the bad – the polar opposite of southern California, my first home, where I also find much to love and much unlovely.

Maybe Montesquieu was on to something with his theory of climate as an influence on culture.

When I think about either New England or southern California, though, my feelings of love predominate over my misgivings.

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