Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jean Paul Richter's "Extra-Thoughts" on inkstands and pens

When Fenk came, the _deceased_ Regent made him all he wanted to be: for
it was in this way: When the departed father of his people had become
in the physiological sense a child of the people, _i. e_., had returned
to the age of which he was when they had hung upon him the first
order-ribbon instead of leading-strings, namely, six and a half years,
the eternal signing of his cabinet decrees became much too disagreeable
to the Prince, and at last impossible. As, however, he must after all
still govern, when he could no longer write, the court-engraver cut his
decreeing name so well in stone that he had only to dip the stamp in
ink and press it while moist under the edict: then he had his edict
before him. In this way he governed fifteen per cent. easier; but the
minister one hundred per cent., who, at last, out of gratitude, in
order to relieve the enfeebled Prince even of the heavy handling of the
stamp, dipped, himself, the beautiful seal (which he preferred to
Michael Angelo's) into his own ink-stand; so that the old lord,
several days after his death, had subscribed sundry vocations and
rescripts--but this modeling-stamp of men in general became the
insect's-laying-sting[24] and father of the best government officials,
and at last spawned the Pestilentiary.

                  Extra-Thoughts Upon Regents' Thumbs.

Not the crown but the inkstand oppresses Princes, Grand Masters and
Commanders; not the Sceptre, but the Pen do they find so much
difficulty in wielding, because with the former they merely command,
but with the latter they have to sign what is commanded. A cabinet
councillor would not wonder if a tormented crowned scribe should, like
Roman recruits, amputate his thumb, in order to be freed from the
eternal making of his mark, as _they_ do to escape fighting. But the
reigning and writing heads keep the thumb; they see that the welfare of
the land requires their dipping the pen,--the little illegibleness on
cabinet orders which one calls their name, opens and shuts, like a
magic formula, money-chests, hearts, gates, warehouses, ports; the
black drop of their pen manures and forces or macerates whole fields.
Professor Hoppedizel had, when he was first teacher of morals to the
Scheerau Infante, a good idea, although only in his last month:
might not the princely tutor command the sub-tutor to let the
crown-abecedarian, who of course must one day learn to write, instead
of useless bills of feoffment merely scrawl his name in the middle of
every blank leaf? The child would write his signature without disgust
on as many pages as would be needed in his whole administration--the
sheets might be laid away against the child's coronation--and then (he
continued) when he had bespattered pages enough, as a college would
often require his signature yearly, if, accordingly on New Year's day
the necessary number of signed reams had been distributed among the
colleges to last the whole year--what more would the child need to do
in his whole administration?

                     _End of the Extras-thoughts_.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

In Memoriam

This post is in memory of a thought I had--a one-liner--that was pretty good, as I recall--but then couldn't for the life of me remember once I got all the way to this page where I am now writing my post that has now become a kind of gravestone for the forgotten but possibly reanimated thought I have forgotten.  I've been letting a lot of my stray thoughts back into the wild lately, but this one seems to have strayed away all on its own.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dear NRA Members

There can be gun control and
You can keep your guns. 
There can be gun control and
You don’t to have wait to buy a gun or have a background check run on you either.  
 Please bear with me.
Gun owners often compare car deaths and gun deaths.  OK. Think of a gun like a car.  They are both potentially lethal weapons.  
Cars have to be registered when we buy them, right?  And you need a driver’s license to operate a car.  To get a license, you have to know how to operate your vehicle safely.  And driving is policed primarily to reduce the risk of injury and death.  So why not do the same things for guns?  Why not require that anyone who buys a gun has to register it?  Why not require a gun owner to get a license to shoot it by passing a test showing that the owner knows the basics of gun safety?  Why not penalize people who have not registered their guns or gotten a license the same way we penalize people who break driving laws?  What do you have to fear, responsible gun owners?  If the government hasn’t come for your registered cars, why do you think it will come for your registered guns? 

This review is from: The One I Love (Amazon Instant Video)

Although  _The One I Love_ does not have a strong ending, the film itself is an inventive combination, or doubling, of two genres about the double, the horror film and the screwball comedy. In the horror genre, the doubles always become enemies, as in the Villeneuve film Enemy [Blu-ray], and one of them ends up dead. (See also the Jessie Eisenberg film The Double.) The earliest version is The Student of Prague. In the screwball comedy version, and The Lady Eve (The Criterion Collection) is a perfect example, a couple who is engaged or already married separates and then meets up again, only this time one of them doesn't know that the other is impersonating someone else. In The Lady Eve, Henry Fonda thinks that Barbara Stanwyck is really two different people in the film. "Positively the same dame" is the last line of the film, and Fonda never realizes that the woman he marries is the same woman he refused to marry mid-way through the film. It's on youtube for free, btw. Fonda falls in love with the double. The film can end as a comedy, however, because one of the two characters disappears, dies, in effect and displaced by the other, newer double. _The One I Love_ at first seems to be a kind of David Lynch horror film about a married couple who have a terrible relationship (think Lost Highway There are even scenes with iphones.) But then  _The One I Love_ becomes very talkie and the couple seem to get happier and able to renew their marriage, like in a screwball comedy. The interest of _The One I Love_ is that it keeps you wondering which of the two genre it belongs to. And the achievement of the film is that it manages to be, turns, funny, frightening, disturbing, heart-warming, and sad. Perhaps the ending is strong, if you consider that the film combines but never reconciles or synthesizes the two genres. The ending seems open-ended: it is perhaps horribly happy, or happily horrible.  There are only three characters, and the one played by Ted Danson disappears early on in the film. It's a very original film, and for that reason some people will dislike it, as the negative reviews here make clear. My wife and I only watched the film because I read it about it in an article about underrated films on Netflix. We were glad we did. You have to pay close attention to the film in order to follow and appreciate it. Even if you don't like my review, you may still like _The One I Love_.​